Sucked into Minecraft: ECI834 Summary of Learning

It is hard to believe that this is the end of the semester and the last course of the five course I have taken from Dr. Couros. This course has broaden my understanding of the importance of connection, UX design, introduced myself to a variety of educational technology tools, and has allowed me to create and collaborate with Raquel Oberkirsch on the Treaty Education and Minecraft project. The course has allowed me to explore the possibilities of blended learning, and connecting two topics that I am passionate about, Treaty Education and Technology.

Be sure to check out mine and Raquel’s and my summary of learning video where we highlight our key learnings in a Minecraft Build, and hear from some of our guests in the class. Everything in the video was created by scratch, including the Minecraft World, the Canva Images, the effects done in Adobe After Effects, all compiled together and produced in Camtasia. We hope you enjoy our Sucked Into Minecraft Summary of Learning.

Moral, Ethical and Legal Issues in Technology in Education

As an instructional technology consultant, much of my job revolves around the implementation of technology in education.  Our Instructional Technology team in the past year has tried to do a lot in the sense of promoting the importance of protecting student privacy and looking at copyright.

Our division has strongly encouraged teachers to use specific programs and digital resources for our students in order to protect student privacy.  For example, our school division has enrolled in Seesaw for Schools.  Many teachers in our school division were previously using Seesaw in their classrooms as a communication tool and a digital portfolio tool.  However, even though Seesaw has a great reputation in the world of education our school division found value in signing up for Seesaw for Schools as you are able to store data in Canada, not in the United States.

In my teaching practice, it is very important that parents understand the programs that their students are using.  It is important that we send home permission forms to parents to give them information on the applications and the programs used at the school.  In my opinion, the media release form and the current acceptable use policy is not good enough for parents and students. Often we try out new tools and parents need to be informed.

Copyright has also become a center of attention for our school division.  We have provided professional development around the topic of copyright and fair dealing.  Schools have to be ever more cautious when showing movies or having movie nights at their school. For example, a school in California was fined for a screening of Disney’s “Lion King”.   Many people do not realize that when you show movies or film outside of a home you need to have permission to do so as it is considered a public performance.  Our school division has purchased a license for a program called Criterion on Demand. A subscription to their services provides film-rights to the Canadian non-theatrical market. It features more than 1500 titles.  This service provides teachers in our school division to legally show films, as we encourage our teachers to not use Netflix or other streaming services in the classroom.

As a was researching for my 5-minute video on Moral, Ethical, and Legal regarding Technology in Education.  I began to do more research on fair dealing and what fair dealing is.  According to fair dealing recognizes that certain uses of copyright-protected works are beneficial for society. People can use fair dealing for research, private study, education, parody, satire, criticism, review, and news reporting.  It is important to consider several factors, the amount that you are copying, who you are copying to, and whether or not the copying might have a detrimental effect on potential sales of the original work.

One tool I like to showcase to teachers is something called the fair dealing decision tool.  This website allows teachers, “to decide whether ‘fair dealing’ permits classroom use of print materials, artistic works, or audiovisual materials without getting copyright permission.  Teachers can look up, consumables, articles, books, artistic work, poems or musical scores, newspaper articles, reference books, audiovisual, or other material to learn how much they can legally use in the classroom.

To learn more about moral, ethical and legal issues in the classroom. Check out my video below.

Painting 101 – Painting with Curtis

Painting with Curtis is a new title for which I am calling this project.  I am working hard at attempting various landscape paintings.  I have recently finished another landscape painting and had another one hung on the fireplace mantle at my mother’s house.  After my experience of the first painting, I had decided to do a painting through another tutorial by  Allison Prior.  If you are thinking about painting, she is a great art teacher.  With broken up 10-step videos it is very easy to replay the videos.

Here is what my mother has named Priceless Artwork by Curtis, on display above the fireplace at my house.

IMG_0018However, I am now almost half way done my semester goal of eight paintings.  My most recent completed painting has taken me the longest.  I think I have spent roughly 4 hours on this one following Prior’s videos. In this painting, I wanted to try to brighten things up and add some colour.  I want to attempt to try a bunch of various scenes.  I so far have completed a water scene, a nighttime tree line, and just finished the sunset country scene.  Snapchat-451535744142607535

On my recent painting above I am happy with how the clouds and tree turned out.  It was very difficult to get the trees in the background to get them the way I wanted. However, I really enjoyed the blending of paint in this one.  Using blue, red, and yellow for the sunset.  One of my future paintings, I want to complete sunset painting with a waterfall, and mountains in the background.  However, I believe it will be a big jump for me to get away from the tutorials and for me to complete my own paintings without the tutorials. That is going to be my goal.

If anyone is wondering how I paint something in my paintings leave a comment, I will set aside a quick tutorial on how I completed it using the strategies that Allison Prior uses.



Feedly? What’s That?

Feedly, must be a site for recipes. Nope! When we were asked to download a RSS reader, Feedly was recommended to us.  Feedly allows me to save sources of education-related material, video game material, news articles, all in one site. Wow, what a deal!  But here is the trouble, I need to find credible sources of information to read on Feedly.  I did some searching added the must haves, Edutopia and TED Education. As well as a couple other blogs that I thought looked interesting, TeachThought, Free Technology for Teachers, The Cool Cat Teacher Blog, as well as some sources to feed my video game addition.  To find some of these sources I perused around Twitter to find some of these blogs.

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One of my favourite posts that I came across was Equity vs. Equality: 6 Steps Towards Equity.  This article reinforces the idea of “giving each student access to the resources they need to learn and thrive”.  It is a good reminder for first year teachers that it goal is not for our students to be equal.  In order to create an inclusive classroom we need to take the steps in order to create equity.

How are you going to take steps towards equity in your classroom?



A Bit About Curtis

For those of you who don’t know me I am Curtis Bourassa, I am currently in my last semester of the education program at the University of Regina.  I am excited to be almost done my teacher program and start teaching in the real world.  

Some of my interests include playing slow pitch, hockey, traveling, playing video games, and trying to further my education,  I am also interested in painting right now as it is my learning project for this semester.  

Some of my experiences I believe that have shaped me who I am include my volunteer experience in working with kids at the Family Place, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.  Some other experiences that I feel have shaped who I am include my interest in social justice issues.  When I was in grade 11 I had the opportunity to travel to Europe for a World War II tour.  This tour is part of the reason why I am so passionate about social justice.  During this tour we went and visited Auschwitz and Dachau, two concentration camps in Germany.  This experience in seeing how people were treated in Auschwitz was very eye opening, and reassured my interest in protecting people’s rights.

I am all for using technology in the classroom.  I am very interested in learning about how to facilitate and join in on Twitter chats in the classroom as well as how to structure Twitter in the classroom.  I am very open to learning about how teachers are implementing various forms of technology in the classroom.  

Educating Students to be Good Citizens

According to the article Political Education and Citizenship: Teaching for Civic Engagement by Ken Osborne.  Osborne in the article states, “Schools have largely succeeded in educating children to be good people but have been much less successful in turning them into good citizens”.  To understand what the difference between a good person and a good citizen we have to look at what he means by both.  Osborne states that a good person is someone who helps others, respects other people’s rights and obeys the laws.  However, Osborne says citizenship demands much more.  Osborne says, “Citizenship requires a willingness and an ability to play an active and morally principled part in public life of one’s society”.   This would include voting in elections and being engaged with public affairs.

The connections I made to Osborne’s statement resonated to my schooling.  I have noticed that our schools prep our students to become good people.   This is through the many programs, SRC, choir and music programs, as well as through the needed volunteer hours to graduate high school.  These are all ways in which the students will help benefit the community.  However, I think that in my schooling we did not have a lot of citizen education.  We got the basics.  We learned about the history of politics in high school, but I think that to teach citizenship education you need to be involved on what is going on today.  What issues are happening in politics? What does each party stand for?  For example, in my schooling we never talked about what grounds each political party stood on.  I think that it is important for students to look into this to get them interested in politics.  I also think that by getting students to know the political parties, to know the people within the political parties. I think that they would have a much better understanding on who to vote for and why they should vote for them.

In my classroom what I would do to encourage to teach citizenship education is have a discussion as to what a good person and what a good citizen are.  I think that it is very important for students to know what is going on around the world.  I think that current events, local news stories, or anything that involves Canada on the global scale should be talked about in class.  I would really like to teach my students how to debate because of the fact that they could learn for to form their own opinions and stand up for themselves, attend political rallies, etc.

Classroom Management Response

In the articles “The Great Respect Deception” & “ Inner-Ninja: Using ClassDojo for Classroom Management” have given me guidelines and options for classroom management in the classroom.

I think the Edutopia article talks about some very good points. I think that our classrooms do glorify the idea that we only have simple rules in the classroom. In turn the point is made that most of these rules aren’t rules at all, but they are just values. I think that often most teachers will try to combine these values and create rules for the classroom, but as Curwin states, “Values explain the why of behaviour, and the rules explain the what.” I think as educators it is important that we combine these rules and values to create a classroom where there is are detailed rules so that students know when the line will be crossed. Having these rules in the classroom will enforce classroom management and will help students guide their learning to stay more focused on their school work.

Classdojo is a resource that supports gamification in the classroom. I think that it can be used beneficially in a variety of classrooms. I see it as an option as in “all else fails situation” because I don’t believe that bribing students with points is necessarily the right option. This is because not often to people in the outside world get points for performing good behaviour. Most of the time proper behaviour in the real world is just expected. On the other hand, I feel that it would be very effective having students be informed of when their points are getting taken away. Or it will give them a boost in confidence if they get a point. I think that it would be a great way to enforce classroom management in the classroom, however this method is not for me.

Final Reflection: My Experience at Davin

The pre-internship experience has been one of the best opportunities (if not the best opportunity), that I have experienced thus fair in my education schooling. The experiences that I have gained from my time at Davin have reassured me that this is the direction I want to go. I have learned a lot from Mrs. Schapansky. I feel as I have grown as an educator in the short 8 days I have been in the classroom. I have learned a lot about lesson planning, classroom management and a variety of resources that I can use in the classroom. As well as focused on goals that I thought needed improvement.

At the beginning of pre-internship I thought about some areas in teaching that I would experience some troubles with. My first goal was how many times I say “um”.   Throughout the semester I focused one target specifically for communication and saying um. I recognized that this is a fairly bad habit. I tried to watch myself over the course of the semester. Although I did not come out as perfect, I think that great improvement was made on this goal throughout the semester.

As my second goal I had was to observe classroom management. I struggled in classroom management in the beginning especially the first day when I was teaching physical education. I think that the students were trying to push my buttons to see how much they could get away with as me as a teacher. I learned many different ways to keep control in the classroom. The main use of classroom management that Natalie uses is effective grouping, a seating plan, and use of attention getters. Natalie will say “class, class” and the students will respond, “Yes, yes”. I found this effective, once that Natalie started using this the students caught on really fast and were able to pay attention. In my lesson I tried to use a couple different attention getters including my “Sharkbait”, and “Ooo Ha Ha”. However, I did not find this completely as effective as Natalie’s simple and effective “Class, Class” saying.

My third goal of staying calm and not getting jumpy, and making sure my voice projects clearly was met. In the beginning of teaching my lesson I always was a little bit nervous on whether the students were going to like my lesson or if they were going to think it was ridiculous. However, I was able to keep them on task most of the time. I tried to do my best to make their learning relevant to them. This is noticeable in my digital footprint lesson. I thought that the students really enjoyed this lesson because it dealt with technology, which I found out is a major interest to these students. I tried to differentiate for my students to help them be more engaged in my lesson by providing them opportunities to pick what activity they wanted to do. I wanted to make sure that my voice was able to project and that the students could hear me clearly. Tammy and Natalie told me that I have a great voice and that I am able to circulate the classroom really well. On another note, I was able to stay calm, and lower the nerves when I was actually up teaching and started doing my lesson.

Overall, my placement was a major milestone I have accomplished on my way to becoming a teacher. I loved the opportunity I had to be able to make relationships with the students in the class, as well as help the students when they needed some one on one time, or simply answering questions whenever it was needed. I feel like I will have to come back to Davin before March, because of the amazing opportunity that I had with these great group of kids.

Reflection Seven: Golden Ball

Today I taught a physical education lesson. I must say that it went much better then my first physical education lesson. That being said I believe that my lesson could have been a lot better. The students have physical education right after recess, however it was an indoor recess and as a result some of the students we unable to blow off some of the steam during their recess. After recess I got the students settled down after some time and we moved down to the gym. I had the students warm up with some dynamic stretches, while I went and got the materials.

I then began to go over the directions for the activity. Giving directions this week was very easy because they were able to easily relate the game to another game they play called hoops. The students got organized and then I divided them into teams. I had the students partner up and had one partner standing and one partner sitting. I then put the standing players on one side and the sitting players on the other. I then received lots of moans and groans for “tricking them” and also received the comment “Why do you gotta play me like that!” Tammy thought it was pretty hysterical.

One of the main challenges that I found based on my lesson is the physical space that the gym is in. It is very hard for the students to move around freely in such a tight space. I also faced some discipline issues with one of the boys acting rough and not respecting person space. I called the individual over and gave him the option “act appropriately or you can sit down and watch”. He chose to sit down and watch.

I now wish that I would have chose a different target for this week. My target was on questioning and asking good questions. I wanted to make sure my questions were inspiring multiple answers. This target probably was not the best for this lesson because I only asked questions at the end of the class. I feel as this target would be more effective if I was asking questions throughout the entire class.