Canva-ing

Writing my ILP.png

I’m going to start off this blog post by explaining the above graphic, and then move into its creation. When thinking of my ILP, and what I could share in a graphic format I thought simple is better. I didn’t want to fit too much into a small graphic, but wanted to get across a point about what my ILP is to me. I also thought keeping it shorter made it a little more poetic, and poised!

I put up the picture of the books to signify all of the stories and ideas I started during my ILP. I then chose the notebook lined background because that is where all of the good ideas start from. I then put “Writing my ILP” because that is what my title of my ILP has been since the beginning. Then the “Practice Makes Perfect” is about how many times I wrote something, and had to edit the crap out of it. Though in my opinion it is near impossible to practice writing enough to be perfect at it in any circumstance. This is my quick explanation of the graphic for my ILP.

This week for class we were looking at different tools that can be used that aren’t the normal ones introduced in classes. I chose to use Canva as my resource for the graphic this week. It looked simple to use, but had multiple options for putting it to use. I also created a book cover/poster thing on it. It does a walk through right when you get on to ensure you understand how to use it, and with a little extra looking around and playing with it I figured out a majority of its tools.

They start you out with simple layouts that allow you to switch out for your own information, but have a template for you to follow for the look you’re going for! For this graphic, I searched their pictures, and found the books which I really liked for the theme and color scheme. I then looked at the font options, and chose the two different ones that looked good. I then went to background options until I found the notebook paper! It really was as simple as that!

My biggest challenge for creating the graphic was getting the sizing of the text to look okay. I had originally chose a different font for the bottom text, but it wouldn’t line up properly no matter what I did so I ended up just choosing a different one. Besides that I found my way around with ease!

Canva would be a great asset to any classroom. As I have said, it is simple to use. Especially, for anyone who has a normal amount of digital literacy. If you had students who were good with tech doing this in a classroom it would be super easy and beneficial! Teachers could use it to make handouts, and other important sheets more interesting. Students could use it for presentations, or maybe teachers could make it a fun homework assignment for the students! I would recommend it to my teacher friends for sure!

These graphics allow more color, and easy navigating that Word cannot offer to some. They can be manipulated to fit different classes as well. They will maybe be more eye catching for students. There is definitely value in utilizing these in teaching!

-C

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Tell me a story…

Podcasts and Digital Storytelling are both interesting in their own right. I personally prefer Digital Storytelling because it is like a colorful informative movie done in many different mediums. Even the ones that may have mono-toned voices I was able to pay more attention to than to the podcast that ranked at the top last year, Serial. This unit was eye opening for me. I knew I didn’t like podcasts, and never really think about them because of that. It was interesting to see how many ways that podcasts and digital storytelling can be useful in and out of the classroom!

The differences in voices throughout both the podcasts, and ds I think would keep most students interested than if it was just a single voice. Podcasts are able to paint pictures with their voice inflections which isn’t an easy task. Its as if you’re watching tv, but the screen won’t turn on. This can be a big asset to students who learn in a more audible way than those who learn visually. Digital stories are also an asset because it is in the language of students and their technology. They can utilize their own personal knowledge to tell a story without having to write it down. This could make a huge difference to students. Here is a link to a great article that gives great ideas for utilizing DS in the classroom- Teacher’s Guide to Digital Storytelling,

Using podcasts and digital storytelling in the classroom for tools can be an asset to both the students and teachers. If I were to be a teacher I think I would utilize them more in a creating option than listening. Letting the students have these as options for homework can help them learn beyond what they may in a book.

The few disadvantages I can see lie in the fact there are a bunch of people who don’t learn the same way. Making sure to offer different types of learning is something that will help a classroom. It also can be a disadvantage depending how much extra time a teacher has to take in order to get their lesson plan done.

My biggest take away from this whole unit is that podcasts are not all completely boring mono-toned scientists talking about their findings. Though I still do not feel a connection to them, and know for a fact I will probably not touch one again, I do see their use for others, and think it can be a huge asset when done the correct way.

-C

IMHO

The black strikes the heart like an assassin of the night. The mind numbly follows, submerged into an icy black lake. The attack swift; an ambush. The hollowness inside unable to fight back. The body completely useless as the inklike ice continues twining its way around the soul. Until there is nothing left. The resemblance of a human now a husk, a shell. The cure offered is only temporary. The light back long enough to remind what has been lost beckoning the black to pierce the heart yet again. Sometimes the cycle of it is too much to bear. The black beyond calling to its mate now nestled in the diminishing soul. 

This week for my ILP I decided to do a little poetry. I find poetry interesting. Rules to follow and yet, nothing is off limits. Though I enjoy rhyming, and parallel verses I very much enjoy writing in free verse. It also may be a little cliche, but it allows you to write freely without having to think too much about it. Because it is telling a story of its own without needing an actual beginning middle, and end. Poems are also often times left to the reader for interpretation. This can either be riveting for a reader, or it can drive them nuts depending on personality.

Each day I chose to write something a little different. I tried working with alliteration a little bit in this poem. Though I never had a sentence full of it I tried to incorporate “b” a lot as it is a harsh sounding vowel that helps set the tone brought on by the poem. I chose free verse for this poem for that reason as well. It sets the tone, and I wanted it to flow through on it’s own. Not allowing the reader any real breaks that would have been brought on by lines instead of sentences.

It is a little nerve wracking every time I put out something I wrote for the scrutiny of others. I am normally able to take criticism okay, but as we have been talking about in Dig. Literacy people are a little more free with their thoughts through the keyboard than they would be in person. I would love to hear opinions though in order to grow as a writer you have to be willing to hear what people have to say instead of sitting and wondering. I would like to say I am curious to see what people think of the poem, whether it is what you think it is about or any comments!

-C

The Good, The Bad, and The Unintentional

We are a generation lucky to be born into a world with information at our finger tips. I find myself often thinking of how we have research papers so easy compared to when people actually had to read full books for information. We have GPS that literally tells us where to go instead of having to plan a route, and follow a map. We have all of these amazing things, but sometimes it seems they take over. It is so easy to get lost in them, and not think about those around us.

According to a post called Bored…And Brilliant?  they show that, “Many of us reflexively grab our phones at the first hint of boredom throughout the day. And indeed a recent study by the research group Flurry found that mobile consumers now spend an average of 2 hours and 57 minutes each day on mobile devices.” They also mention an app called Moment, it is supposed to track your phone usage in order to make you more aware of what you are doing when you may  not notice it.

I downloaded an app similar to it called QualityTime, it tracks what apps you use when you open your phone, and for how long. They then are able to show how long you spent on a certain app throughout the day. It is currently 9:49 pm, according to the QualityTime app I have spent 3 hours and 33 minutes on my phone. Yikes! Though I am proud to say that over an hour of it was spent on reading a book I bought on my phone.

I think this is where it gets tough for people. Yes, I am still on my phone a lot when I could be doing other things, but it would be the same had I been holding an actual book in my hands. This is the beauty of the app, you can see if you are at least spending your time on things that will build you up, or if you are truly wasting your time. I am not usually good about being mindful on my phone or computer or TV. I really hadn’t thought much of it until this unit, and hope to change some of my habits.

When we are permanently tied to our devices we lose out on pretty much everything. We may be in the know, and up to date on certain things. But, we are completely missing everything around us. As we saw in the TED talk (shown below) there really is a balance that needs to be found. The internet can offer connections to people we may not be able to see any other way, but we also need to be available to those around us. As he gets to the end he mentions his sister telling him his wall is going back up once he is back on the internet. You can tell this meant something to him as I think it should to all of us.

Be an Activist

Digital activism was a new term for me! I have participated in, and shared digital activism plenty of times since I began my digital citizenship. I just didn’t have a name for it. There are many things that go into the idea of digital activism: petitions, funding, blogs, tweeting to spread knowledge of a subject.

Activism online can be a huge relief to someone because anyone can join in no matter their circumstance, and you can see how you are really helping! “With an estimated two in five young adults engaging with social issues online, we’ve entered into the age of digital activism, where grassroots movements are created through tweets, reblogs, likes, and status updates.” TeenVogue even did a story on it where I pulled this quote.

I have shared/commented on plenty of articles about domestic violence, sexual assault, consent, human trafficking from my job’s Facebook page. These are topics that need talked about, shared, and information spread all around. Anytime I can help push the agenda towards a DV free world I am going to do it!

I have signed a couple of petitions, one being Bring Back Brendan Fraser. They are super close to their goal! “In early 2013, Fraser petitioned the courts for a reduction of his alimony, asserting he was unable to meet the annual obligation of $900,000.” Taken from the change.org page. It may seem silly, but they only need a little over 5,000 signatures to reach 50,000. That just proves one signature and a share can reach thousands of people. This petition started in Australia! If you wanted to take some time to sign and get them closer to their goal it would be awesome, and maybe a good first step towards digital activism!

As for all of the teenagers out there who are selflessly utilizing the social media at their fingertips to help out others who are dealing with issues amaze me. As a teenager it was hard to see past my own problems to even think about helping others. They actually give away awards each year to kids who are doing something with digital activism. Teen Activist Finalists all are doing something bigger.

A lot of them are dealing with bullying, suicide, and other issues teens face. I think having another teen there for them during this time is great! Another great side to it being online is they get to stay anonymous if they want to! Sometimes knowing the person doesn’t know it is you may make it easier to talk, and that can really help someone out, but doesn’t give them the okay to bully anyone themselves!

What I leave you with today: Go be an activist either in person or online. These issues are your issues. There are 13 year olds doing more with digital activism than a lot of people who are older and capable. It doesn’t take long, and you can find many different causes to become a part of! Enjoy searching, and feeling like you’re making a difference, because you are!

-C

Show and Tell

Working a full time job, going to school, being married, and having a teen living with you doesn’t leave much time for fun. I used to have a book with me every where I went. I have read 2 books for pleasure in the last 6 months. I don’t know if I can fully explain how sad that makes me, or how thrilling it was to read a book yesterday for fun. Though I am also calling it research for my ILP! The book was Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. It is part of a 5 book series, and I cannot wait to start on book 2!

In order to remember why I write I need to remember why people read. Though it isn’t always for pleasure, (especially as a student) books can move people. They can pull you into their world, and hours can go by. Finishing a book or a series can truly change your life even if you don’t notice it. Through writing you have the chance to connect people who would have no other reason to be connected. There is power in the written word.

I love when I am reading and something happens in the book and my heart leaps to my chest, or when a character you love dies and it can bring you to tears. I saw a quote recently, “Reading is just staring at a dead piece of tree for hours and hallucinating.”-Unknown. Though it is funny, and slightly exaggerated, it is true. There is power in the pages that can make a book take you so much farther than a movie ever could. If it is done right, of course. Which leads me to my topic of this blog post. Showing not telling.

I think way too much about showing and not telling. This can sometimes make my job in writing hard. In a normal day we don’t talk or write to show something, or paint a picture. We usually are just trying to get a point across. It takes me a lot of time and effort to make sure I am not telling in a story. This time I forced myself to just write, and not think about it. I wrote my little heart out without stopping. This helped me get a lot farther than I have in a long time since I wasn’t thinking about anything but the story I was trying to tell.

I talk about editing in all of my ILP blogs, but it is something I was wanting to work on this semester. By writing through the story first it gave me the chance to not only edit for grammar, but for making sure to show the story through my words as well. Sometimes I still have to question whether I am showing vs. telling. I look up examples and it helps get me out of my head instead of over thinking it. One site that is a big help is Creative Writing 101 it gives many examples, and has extra tips when needed.

Writing is meant to be soothing, and not a chore so I don’t know why I make it one. I’m excited to work on something new next week!

-C

 

If you’re reading this…

You’re a digital citizen! Congratulations! This means we are all in charge of our digital citizenship, and for those of you who don’t know what I am talking about watch this video…

Digital Citizenship has become a part of everyday life for a majority of people in the United States. Though the sad fact of this is a lot of people have become desensitized to how they should act when talking with other human beings even if it isn’t face to face. They are behind a screen, and have a pretty good chance of never seeing the person so why not say everything you’re thinking.

Image result for picture beyonce wants removed from internet

This is a very flawed concept though, because what you put on the internet doesn’t go away. No matter who you are. Beyonce had her lawyers try to delete the following picture from the internet. Even with all her money and power as you can see I still found the picture by literally Googling, “Picture Beyonce wants removed from the internet” it even pops up with a drop down option!

Image result for picture beyonce wants removed from internet

The point of all of this is to show that nothing you do disappears. I have heard many people joke about their great-granddaughters being able to see all of your tweets, and Instagram selfies. While our generation just gets old photos you hope to not lose! Though the amount of people who don’t have their privacy turned on amazes me! Some people are going to be able to see stuff you may not want everyone to see. That is just how the internet goes. It can only be so secure.

This is important to keep in mind as many jobs, colleges, and just random people have the access to get a lot of your information. If you look at how you act online will jobs or colleges want you? If not you may want to start cleaning up!

A quick switch in gears back to my first point. People say horrible things through technology because they can.  Cyber-bullying is real, and there unfortunately not a lot that can be done about it. I believe wholly in prevention, but unfortunately until prevention is possible there are certain things people can do to protect themselves from those who find courage behind their screens. I read a great article on how you can deal with Digital Cruelty. Though what they suggest is easier said than done!

I hope this was helpful for some, and all I can say to send you away with is to please check your privacy settings for all accounts, and be good people. It really is simple I promise!!

-C