EDTC 300 · Learning Project

The Song That Never Ends – Final Learning Project Post

As the spring semester comes to a close, so does my learning project! I had such a great time learning the ukulele from exclusively online resources, and I hope that you enjoyed following along with my journey. This blog post is dedicated to looking over everything I accomplished, learned, and which top resources I would recommend to a beginning ukulele player who is looking to learn from online sources. Going beyond learning to play the ukulele, this project has enabled me with the skills to seek out valuable online resources, has given me the confidence to post videos of myself playing, singing, and teaching online, and has given me the opportunity to become a skilled video caption editor! This has been an incredibly valuable and fun journey, and I am excited to reflect on every step that I took to complete it.

Outline of My Journey:

Week One: Come On, Uke Can Do It!

This week I outlined my inspiration for choosing this specific project, the reasons behind this project choice, my goals for this journey, potential song choices, and how I planned on accomplishing my goals.

Week Two: Let’s Start Playing

Week two I learned how to play “When the Party’s Over” by Billie Eilish. I posted my first YouTube videos of me playing, and I recorded myself singing for the first time. This was a huge step outside of my comfort zone, but I am happy that I did it! The three resources I used this week were:

Week Three: Scavenger Hunt

This week I learned how to play “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver. I initially wanted to play “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran, but I quickly realized that this was far too difficult as a beginner ukulele player. I showed how to use a handheld tuner to tune your ukulele. I also used a ukulele app on my phone for the first time and screen recorded myself using it, which I have never done before. Finally, I edited my final video for the first time, which I continued to do throughout the rest of the entire project! The three online resources that I reviewed this week were:

Week Four: Unexpected Interruption

I had a bit of a hiccup this week. I ended up coming down with strep throat, which meant that I was unable to sing for the week. However, I still managed to challenge myself with a more difficult song called “You and I” by Ingrid Michaelson. This week I started to analyze my sheet music resources more thoroughly, and started to get more picky with the quality of online resources that I was using. I compared an online ukulele tuner with my handheld tuner to see how accurate it was. I also had an unexpected watermark show up on my video from the editor that I used! That was a learning curve and something I learned to look out for when using a free video editor! The three new resources I explored this week were:

Week Five: Striking a Chord

This week I learned to play the song “Joanne” by Lady Gaga. To show an online ukulele tuner, I used Screencastify for the first time! I ended up loving this online resource and actually used it for my summary of learning project for EDTC 300. Additionally, instead of reviewing the three resources for the week, I ended up teaching how to play all the chords in “Joanne”. I really enjoyed this change in my blog posts, and I found it fun to break down a component of what I learned during this project. The three resources that I used this week were:

Week Six: Stringing It Together

For my final week I decided to learn how to play one of my favourite songs called “For Emma” by Bon Iver. Instead of finding a strumming pattern online, I decided to take all my new skills and create my own strumming pattern! I thought that this was a fun and personalized way to finish off my learning project. I also found one the most accurate online ukulele tuners this week, which I will discuss later on in this blog post. Lastly, I used an online video editor for the first time, and was pleasantly surprised with how it worked. The three resources I used to help me complete my journey were:

A Look at Before and After:

Feedback Using My PLN:

I thought that it would be a great idea to use my new personal learning network on Twitter to reach out to ukulele professionals to gain their feedback. I tweeted and direct messaged a lot of individuals and groups to see if they would take time out of their day to give me feedback on my ukulele playing. Sadly, no one has gotten back to me yet, but I am hopeful that someone will soon! Here are some screenshots of the individuals I tried to get into contact with:

Hopefully one of these individuals will respond and provide me some feedback to enhance my skills and help me become a better ukulele player in the future!

My Top 5 Recommendations:

I wanted to close out this blog post by recommending the five top resources that I used throughout this journey. These resources were incredibly helpful and valuable in helping me complete my ukulele learning project.

1) YouTube:

YouTube is very helpful when trying to learn to play the ukulele. I am a visual and kinesthetic learner, so being able to see, hear, and copy people playing the song I was trying to learn was incredibly helpful. Additionally, there are a lot of tutorial videos on YouTube that can help you play the specific song that you are looking for. Sometimes there may not be sheet music made for the particular song that you are hoping to learn, but there is a high chance that someone created their own version and uploaded it onto YouTube so that you can listen to it and copy how they are playing. Furthermore, you can also upload your own playing to help others learn as well! I highly recommend using YouTube to support your learning of the ukulele.

2) Windows Live Movie Maker:

Out of all the editors that I used throughout this journey, the easiest to use was Windows Movie Maker. I might be a bit bias considering that I have used this editor once or twice in the past; however, the simple design, easy caption creator, and being able to view the breakdown and final look of your video is incredibly useful. I found myself always comparing other video editor programs to Windows Movie Maker. Therefore, if you are looking for an uncomplicated and simple video editor, I recommend checking this option out. That being said, if you are looking for a simple editor to only add captions to your videos, Kapwing is a great option. Keep in mind that this specific editor does not do any editing other than adding captions, and it does add a small watermark to your videos.

3) Ukulele Tricks Online Tuner:

I reviewed three different online tuning resources throughout this journey, and this one took the cake. First of all, you do not have to download this resource in order to use it. You simply go to the website, allow access to your microphone, grab your ukulele and you are good to go! Out of all the tuning resources I reviewed, this one was by far the most accurate. It was easy to use, accessible, and overall a great resource for beginner ukulele players.

4) DoYouUkulele Sheet Music:

All six weeks I used different online resources for sheet music, and I really enjoyed using DoYouUkulele. This resource had all the necessary components: lyrics, chords outlined in the beginning, what the chords should look like, chords lined up with the lyrics, a strumming pattern, and a controllable auto scroll option. I had never heard of this sheet music before, but it was the easiest, cleanest, and most appealing sheet music that I used throughout my learning project. Although they do only offer a limited number of sheet music options, if you are looking for sheet music I recommend checking out if this website has one created for the specific song you are looking for!

5) Screencastify:

If you do not already have this free Google Chrome extension, I recommend that you get it immediately. Being able to simultaneously record my screen and film myself was extremely helpful to complete my learning project. Screencastify enabled me to review online ukulele tuners, show you how I was using the website, and give you a live reaction of my impression of the tuner. Additionally, Screencastify came in a handy when I taught how to play the chords in the song “Joanne”. I was able to show a visual representation of the chord I was teaching on my screen, and talk and demonstrate the chord by filming myself. Having both of these options at the same time improved the lesson by appealing to more than one type of learner. If you are completing a project I recommend checking out Screencastify to see if it can strengthen your project!

I want to close out this blog post by thanking my EDTC 300 classmates for providing me feedback and support throughout my journey. You all enhanced my learning, and I am very thankful for that! I also want to thank Katia for creating this opportunity to reignite my passion for music and teaching me to find valuable online resources to learn a new skill from the comfort of my own home! I am excited to continue to grow and learn as a ukulele player. I hope that my own learning project journey has encouraged and motivated you to learn a new skill from online resources too!

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Blog Posts · EDTC 300

Enhancing the Learning of Others

Being a lifelong learner does not only involve continuously growing and seeking out new information to expand your knowledge and perspective, but it involves supporting others through their lifelong journey as well. This blog post is dedicated to going over how I have contributed to the learning of others inside and outside of my EDTC 300 class.

There were four main areas that I contributed to others’ learning: commenting on blog posts, Slack community, my own blog posts, and Twitter. Let’s dive into each online resource.

Commenting on Blog Posts:

First of all, I commented on as many blog posts as I could every week. I really enjoyed reading about my peers different learning projects and giving words of encouragement, support, resources, and ideas to further their learning. I also liked reading about the blog post responses to the provided weekly prompts. I enjoyed seeing how people’s ideas compared to mine, how they differed, new ideas I could consider, what I could learn from their perspective, and how I could enhance their ideas as well. I even went beyond my classmates blogs and commented on an article I found about inspiring teachers! Here are some examples of how I contributed to others’ learning by commenting on blog posts:

Resource for the benefits of coding.
A conversation about minimalism.
Suggestion for vegan baking.

 

Suggestion for a sign language resource.
Comment on origami learning project idea.
Comment on educators article.

Slack Community Contributions:

I found Slack to be super helpful to ask questions and receive help from classmates. I also loved that everyone was sharing resources on this website. I plan to revisit all of these resources and organize them to build my teacher toolkit. I think that this would be a really helpful idea for my upcoming pre-internship and internship year. I tried to answer questions when possible, and I also shared a lot of resources that I came across that I thought would be helpful for my classmates to read. Here are a few examples of my contributions on the Slack community:

Helping my peers create a static page on WordPress.
Sharing a resource for hosting WordPress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing the education Twitter chat list.
Sharing an educational technology tool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Own Blog Posts:

My own blog posts gave me an opportunity to share my thoughts and new discoveries with my classmates, and with other educators on Twitter. I was able to share articles that I read, discuss key concepts, and offer suggestions on how to connect it to the classroom. Additionally, I learned to play the ukulele for my learning project. Every week I was able to post about online resources that helped me learn the ukulele. I also was able to teach my classmates about how to play the ukulele based on what I had learned throughout the journey.

Teaching others how to play ukulele.

Twitter:

Twitter was by far the place that I was most active. Going from never using Twitter to posting at least two or three times a day was a huge transformation that happened during this class. In fact, I went from zero tweets to 418 and counting! I also participated in a lot of education Twitter chats and revisited them throughout this spring semester. Here is a list of the chats I participated in:

  • #saskedchat
  • #nt2t
  • #4thchat
  • #whatisschool
  • #goalchat
  • #nyedchat
  • #bcedchat

Here is an overview of what my Twitter currently looks like:

The chats allowed me to connect and follow other educators from all over the world. Building my personal learning network on Twitter became very important to me over this class, and I know that it is something that I am going to utilize for the rest of my life as an educator. Not only did I participate in education chats and follow other educators, I also contributed to others’ learning by tweeting articles, videos, TED Talks, my own blog posts and other ideas that I thought would be useful. I really enjoyed connecting with other educators, retweeting their posts, commenting my ideas, and engaging in conversations to contribute and grow my perspective. Here are some snapshots of my contributions on Twitter:

Examples of my tweets and replies on Twitter.
Direct messages with an educator on Twitter.
Contributions in #whatisschool chat.
Sharing resources on Twitter.
Contributions to #nyedchat on Twitter.

All of these platforms allowed me to grow my personal learning network. I was able to connect with my classmates and other educators and professionals. This allowed me to simultaneously expand my learning while also sharing my voice, ideas, and perspectives. I know that I will continue to use online resources like these to uphold being a lifelong learner, and I encourage you to do the same!

Blog Posts · EDTC 300

Summary of Learning Project

I teamed up with Alexa to create our summary of learning project for EDTC 300! Our video has two components. The first is our parody of “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars. We wanted to combine our learning projects, which were learning to play the ukulele and guitar, with our new knowledge about technology. Secondly, we wanted to outline our five main takeaways from this class. These five concepts will stay with us and help us effectively and appropriately integrate technology into our future classrooms! If you wanted to follow along what we are talking about for our five main takeaways, here is our script that we created. Below the video I have written out the lyrics for our parody song.

I hope you enjoy our video!

Lyrics for “Just the Way You Tech”:

Oh, EDTC, EDTC, I’m amazed with all the things you taught me,
Twitter, Tweetdeck, Feedly, WordPress, Zoom, etc.,
I will use all these in my future classroom.
Yeah!

The pros and the cons of technology goes on and on,
It has great resources, like apps, extensions, blogs, and videos,
These are so valuable to our professional growth,
and our students.

We must teach,
Our students how to be successful,
With technology,
Cause it’s everywhere.

We must not fear,
The screen time or the exposure,
Because we are digital,
Citizens of this world.

New voices, new ideas, tech opens up new conversations,
Social justice, politics, and opinions from various perspectives,
We all can join in this culture of participation.

Oh, for our learning project we both learned instruments,
We wanted to use both tech and our new talents,
To sing about being a good online citizen, you know I’ll say.

There might be fake news,
There might be online predators,
We will teach you,
To make appropriate choices.

Through digital literacy,
We can become critical thinkers,
And build our professional,
Online identities.

Online and offline,
Are intertwined,
We must be mindful,
Of how we present ourselves.

When I create my PLN,
I model being a good digital citizen,
Which helps me teach,
Ed tech early on.

They must learn young,
Incorporate it in all subjects,
Interdisciplinary,
Is the way to go.

EDTC 300 · Learning Project

Week Six – Stringing It Together

MONDAY:

This is it folks, my final learning project post. I thought that for my last week I would play one of my favourite songs, which is “For Emma” by Bon Iver. This song is short and sweet and is a perfect way to end my learning project.

The sheet music I will be using this week is from a new online resource called Tabstabs. Here is what the sheet music looks like:

So far, this resource is decent; however, it is not my favourite sheet music I have used throughout this learning journey. That being said, it does hit all of the necessary features that help me complete my goal of learning the song. There is not a specific outline of all the necessary notes in the beginning; however, the introduction shows all of the notes! If you hover over the chords, there is a pop up of what the note looks like with the correct fingering. There is also an option for auto scrolling which is really great for when I am going to start playing the song. The downsides to this resource is that there is no strumming pattern, the lyrics and notes seem to be a bit off-kilter, and the website is less aesthetically pleasing compared to other sheet music sites I have used.

Since this is my last week, I thought it would be fun for me to create my own strum pattern! Throughout this journey I have been watching a lot of ukulele and guitar videos. In my own exploration I found a strum pattern called “The Strum Slap”. This is where you hit all of the strings on the ukulele to add a percussion type sound and beat. Since I have not done anything like this before, I thought that creating a strum pattern for “For Emma” that incorporates this technique would be really fun. The strum pattern I have created is Down * Up Down * Up Down * and so on. The “*” represents the strum slap technique. Here is a short video of me practicing the strumming pattern.

Tomorrow I will check in and show you how I am putting together the chords and the strumming pattern!

TUESDAY:

Like last week, I wanted to try out another online ukulele tuner. If I did not own my own handheld tuner, I would definitely be searching the web for a reliable, easy to use, accurate ukulele tuner. The online tuner I will be looking at this week is from Ukulele Tricks. This website has a really clean layout and looks pretty easy to use. You have to allow access to your microphone, and then there is a big red dial that shows where your note is falling, and how much you need to adjust it to get the desired note. Below the dial there is also audio recordings of what each note should sound like so you could tune by ear, or simply just check that your note sounds similar. At the very bottom they also offer instructions on how to use their website properly, in case you are confused or can’t quite figure it out. Here is a video of me trying the website out for the first time:

Just as I have done for the past two weeks, I wanted to check the accuracy of this website using my handheld tuner. Since people without a handheld tuner will be completely relying on the website to tune their ukulele, I think that checking that the website is accurate is an important step to take. Here are my results for Ukulele Tricks online tuner:

Now that my ukulele is in tune, I can show you my progress for today! I mainly focused on putting the strumming pattern and notes together. I really like how this strumming pattern is unlike anything I have done so far! The song is definitely coming together.

I will check back in tomorrow to piece more of the song together!

WEDNESDAY:

This song is a little bit more difficult than I initially expected. The strumming and notes are fairly easy, but adding the singing on top is more difficult! There are times during the song where the singing is not meant to directly sync with the ukulele. I am just going to keep practicing and I am sure that I will get it! Here is my progress so far:

One way to that I have helped myself overcome this obstacle is to look up the song on YouTube and play along to keep myself on time. While looking at different videos, I stumbled onto a blog that features a video that combines all the songs from Bon Ivers album into one video. It is an incredible video to watch, so I highly recommend that you check it out! I even noticed that the creator, EatMyUke, used a similar strumming pattern to the one I created! That was super cool to see, and made me really excited to keep practicing this song to show you the final result tomorrow. Here is the video if you were interested:

THURSDAY:

I have completed my final ukulele video! I am so proud of myself for actually completing my goal that I set out in week one. This is my fifth full song that I have learned through online resources.

The last new resource that I used this week was an online video editor called Kapwing. Since the only editing that I do is trimming my video and adding captions, this editor seemed like an ideal option to use!

It specifically adds captions to videos, which means that I was unable to trim the video in this editor. However, my windows photo application has the option to trim the video, so I did this and then used the online editor. How was using this editor? Honestly, editors can be overwhelming, especially to people who do not use them super often. This editor was not overwhelming at all! It was really simple to use, and it allowed me to add in captions one by one, and it even automatically lined them up beside each other, which is something that my favourite editor, Windows Movie Maker, fails to do. If you are looking to simply add captions or subtitles to your video, I highly recommend checking out this video editor. As you can see from my video, there is a little watermark in the corner. However, it does not take up a lot of space and doesn’t cover the captions, so I don’t mind it! Here is my final performance of “For Emma” by Bon Iver:

Final Review Friday:

For my last week of my learning project, I think that I found some amazing online resources to help you learn ukulele. Let’s dive into the final breakdown of the new resources I used this week:

Tabstabs:

Although I admit that this is not my favourite sheet music resource, it was helpful to learn “For Emma” this week. Let’s go into the pros and cons.

PROS:

  • when you hover over the chords, there is a pop up of what the note looks like with the correct fingering
  • there is an auto scrolling option where you can control the speed
  • the introduction shows all the chords needed in the song
  • lyrics and chords are in one place

CONS:

  • there is no strumming pattern
  • the lyrics and notes are off-kilter
  • the website is not very aesthetically pleasing
  • there is no outro indicated, so I made up my own

Ukulele Tricks Online Tuner:

This was probably the most accurate tuner that I have used throughout this journey! I highly recommend that you check it out if you are trying to tune your ukulele but do not own a handheld tuner.

PROS:

  • you can play your ukulele and the tuner tells you the exact number that you are trying to reach
  • it gives you a check-mark when your note is correctly tuned
  • there are audio recordings if you wanted to tune by ear or double check that your note is in tune
  • they link to free 14 day video lesson course at the bottom
  • they have a video on how to use a handheld tuner if you own one
  • they give instructions on how to tune by ear

CONS:

  • the notes were slightly off; however, not enough to make a huge difference

Kapwing:

This editor was only designed for adding captions to videos, so if you are interested in doing this simple feature, I would highly recommend this online editor.

PROS:

  • it is simple to use and has a clean layout
  • you could pause the video and add captions to that specific spot
  • you could automatically place captions one right after the other to remove any space between them
  • you can change the font to how you want it to look
  • you don’t have to download this editor, you can just edit online

CONS:

  • there is a small watermark on the video
  • the only thing this editor can do is add captions

I hope that you enjoyed following me on this learning journey! I really enjoyed completing this project, and I know that I will continue to learn ukulele from online sources. Check out my next blog post when I review the entire learning journey. Have a great day everyone!

Blog Posts · EDTC 300

Don’t Fear, Coding Is Here!

I am going to be honest, when I realized that we were going to be doing an assignment on coding I got very scared. I did not really even know what coding was, I just knew that it was something that you dealt with in computer science classes. Hence why I never took a computer science class!

I found out that the entire internet is made up of code, so I actually have been using code nearly my entire life. Turns out that I can’t avoid it! Code is basically a computer language that tells the computer what to do. In fact, as I write this blog post I am using code! How cool is that?

I did not really know that coding has become a concept that educators are starting to teach their students. I never did anything close to coding when I was in elementary or high school, so this is a brand new territory for me. There are a lot of online resources, such as Code Academy, Hour of Code, and Scratch, that are introducing students to coding so that they have an understanding of what it is. I also thought it was interesting that you can start introducing coding as early as kindergarten! Instead of working with the written form of coding, you can work with blocks that are simplified versions of the same code. This makes is a lot easier for younger students, and people new to coding like myself, to understand how to code.

That leads directly into my challenge for this week. I played around with the Hour of Code site and chose to code my own Flappy Bird game. I remember my friends and I being obsessed with playing Flappy Bird in high school. Who knew that I could create my own game through coding?

The program started with a tutorial video to teach you how to drag and drop the code. I thought that this was incredibly helpful, especially since I have never used this resource before. Here is the outline of the 10 different levels of this program:

  1. You are coding the bird’s flapping and adding in a wing sound.
  2. When you hit the ground you end the game.
  3. You code the speed of the game.
  4. Code when the bird hits an obstacle you end the game.
  5. Code adding a scoreboard for when you pass an obstacle.
  6. Coding different amounts that the bird flaps to increase or decrease the difficulty.
  7. You are coding different backgrounds.
  8. You add a code for randomly changing the scene when you pass an obstacle.
  9. Instead of ending the game when you hit an obstacle, you code so that the score goes back to zero when you it an obstacle.
  10. You create your own code for Flappy Bird!

Now that we went over the outline of the program, I recorded two different videos to show you what the programming looks like. Here is the first video where I am over halfway through the program:

Once I got to the end of the program, I wanted to create an example of coding your own Flappy Bird game. Afterwards, I created a different custom game to share with you! So here is the example game I created:

Now that you have an idea of what the final programming looks like, I created my own game that I named “Just Keep Swimming”. Feel free to check it out and comment your thoughts!

Would I teach coding in my classroom? If I became much more familiar with it, and introduced programming like Hour of Code, I would definitely teach coding to my students. I always viewed coding as just sitting down, looking at a bunch of numbers and letters, and organizing them in a certain way to get an end result. I did not realize that you could create games, stories, characters, etc. with coding! I think having students understand the language of computers and how code runs the internet is really valuable. I wish that I learned about coding when I was in elementary school and high school! Based on how excited I was to create my own Flappy Bird game, share it with my friends, and hear their reactions, I know that my students would get very excited about coding as well. These online resources have changed the way that I view coding, and hopefully my students will also get to experience the wonders of coding and creating their own games and stories!