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A week has come and gone since my last post.  My weekend was crammed with wedding showers which meant plenty of baking and gift wrapping for me.  I had mentioned my love of baking in the little blurb about me located in my blog sidebar, and have included a picture to showcase my wares.  They were vanilla cupcakes dipped in white chocolate ganache, and then topped with blueberry buttercream, blueberry-orange drizzle, and a fresh blueberry. There are few things that make me happier than baking and teaching.  Except for maybe editing videos, which I was also doing this weekend in an attempt to complete my Final Reflection on time.  Unfortunately my archaic computer was taking upwards of 7 hours to upload 30 second clips I had created with Screencast-O-Matic until finally giving me the metaphorical finger in the form of a spinny wheel of death and then shutting down for the night.  When I finally got it turned back on, there was not a trace of my project in sight. Thankfully my partner returned like a knight in shining armour Sunday night with his laptop in tow so I could proceed to basically start from scratch.  His Mac is much more modern than mine and was exponentially faster and easier to use, so I was able to complete it with no problems.

So, without further ado, I present to you my Final Reflection showcasing what I learned this semester. Leave a comment or question below!

 
 
A couple of weeks ago I came across a neat tool for creating email newsletters, called Flashissue.  My intention was to create my own, but my dinosaur of a computer isn't compatible with Google Chrome, which the program operates in.  I was planning to patiently wait for my partner to return with his new(er) laptop, but that isn't happening any time soon.  So I decided to stop selfishly making you wait, because they provide really stellar instructions that could have you spreading your news in no time.  I will, however, give you the gist of things. If you blog, or plan to blog, in your classroom, with Flashissue you can take your favourite posts from the month and turn them into a newsletter that you could email out to parents.  Or if you blog for personal or business reasons, you could send your highlights to friends, family, clients, or your personal fan club to keep everyone in the loop.  Either way, it looks like an easy way to keep people up to date without spending a lot of additional time.  And time is something teachers (especially new teachers) never have enough of.

Speaking of teaching, maybe once I re-enter the workforce in January I will finally be able to upgrade my old desktop to the innovative MacBook Wheel.  That way I can stop blogging about how incompatible my computer is and start living again. 
The Onion News - MacBook Wheel
 
 
I have been thinking a lot about my final reflection piece to sum up my learning in this class.  I have been inspired by the series of "The Web Is What You Make Of It" videos Google Chrome has created.  I like the screen shots they have used and the sound of typing you can hear over the music.  I'm not sure why, but it appeals to me.  So, I have started experimenting on my computer to try and create my own video.  I used Screencast-O-Matic to record my screen shots and then edited my clips in iMovie.  I have some experience working with iMovie from last spring while I was in Québec for the Explore program.  I figured out how to edit a movie using the French version there, so I feel confident in my ability to navigate the English version at home.  Here is a sneak peek of what I was playing around with tonight:
I already have some ideas for how to improve the quality and the types of shots I want to get, but I think that gives you an idea of the direction I am heading.  Feel free to post some feedback or suggestions.  I am open to hearing them!
 
 
I am admittedly a little behind in watching the live sessions for my ECMP 355 course.  I am just coming off my mid-week that was full of papers, presentations, and exams and just haven't had a chance to sit and watch for an hour. Tonight I watched the session from last week which featured Alec Couros, professor of educational technology and media at the University of Regina.  He presented on the topic of Digital Citizenship and Identity. He talked about lots of things like the scare ads put out to encourage children to be safe about what they post on the internet, because you never know who might be looking at the content.  Here is one I found:
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Picture courtesy of http://www.softwarewithstyle.com/guides/13?page=5
This always reminds me of the cautionary tales the Faculty of Education pass down to us about school boards searching for new teacher hires on Facebook to see what they are up to.  This seems to cause some panic amongst my classmates which makes me wonder what they have posted on their profiles.  Personally, I am friends with my dad so I always think about whether or not it is something I would want him to see.  If the answer is no then chances are it isn't suitable for the internet.  Plus, I am partial to posting things like good recipes and prompts to encourage people to read this blog.  And every once in a while I do what I refer to as a "friend cleanse" where I go through and delete people that I don't actually consider a friend.  I have one criterion and that is if I would look the other way if I saw you in public, then we are not friends and I do not think you need to be updated on the happenings of my life.  Or the delicious things I made for supper.

Alec also talked about some of the positive things that have come from the accessibility of the web and one was a website called the It Gets Better Project, which is a site dedicated to giving hope to youth from the LGBT community who face a great deal of harassment.  It all started with one video by Dan Savage and is now something much larger with inspirational videos from US President Barack Obama, Anne Hathaway, and Lady Gaga. Here is a short video that Google Chrome put together about the initiative:
I had never seen this video before Alec asked us to watch it tonight, and it almost moved me to tears.  Then he mentioned the video that a young man by the name of Jamey Rodermeyer contributed about his experience. Unfortunately, Jamey ended up committing suicide a few months later due to the bullying he was experiencing because of his sexual orientation.  I watched his video and you could tell that he was trying to stay positive but that the hurt he was feeling was cutting quite deep.  It made me sad to think that his life had come to be so unbearable that it had become not worth living. But when I scrolled down to the comments on YouTube, it all seemed so blatantly obvious.

I have never read such hateful and ignorant comments about something so serious.  Some had been written hours ago, some days ago, but they all had the same message of intolerance and were all being posted by the same user. I was astonished that no one was doing anything more then engaging this person in banter, so I took matters into my own hands and reported him/her to YouTube.  However, this was not as easy as it should have been.  It took me nearly 10 minutes to figure out how to report the inappropriate comments. I had to search in a number of places before I found the form here.  I am trying to stay positive about the situation by thinking that maybe other people had as much trouble trying to report the comments but weren't as persistent as me.

This whole situation reminded me about how easy technology has made it for people to spew hateful words at or about another human being.  It is much easier to say those things when you aren't confronted with the pain and emotion on the face of the other person.  Would that person have said those things to Jamey's face?  Or to the face of his grieving parents?  I doubt it.  I think I did the right thing tonight.  What would you have done?

“Always stand up for what you believe in…even if it means standing alone.” ~ Kim Hanks
 
 
The mystery of what Miss W looks like has finally been revealed.  I particularly love the awkward face YouTube selected as the cover for my video.  Really captured the essence of what I was going for.  Oh and by the way, this took me days to record.  I just couldn't get my hair/lighting/outfit/voice just right.  A true labour of love.  Enjoy!