#TreatyEdCamp – My Experience

Last Weekend, I attended the Treaty Ed Camp that was held in the Education Building of the University of Regina. At the camp, I attended a keynote, a couple individual sessions, and an open conversation space all in the same day. These different experiences opened up my eyes to a whole new world of Treaty Education. I’ve heard it discussed before, but never to this extent and never has it made me question what I knew about it this much.

The first thing we had in the morning was the keynote given by Charlene Bearhead. One major thing I took away from the keynote was the fact that even though we say “We Are All Treaty People”, do we know what that means?  I can say that I, for one, don’t really understand the implications of what being a “Treaty Person” means. This is something I feel could be explored much further as a teacher, to pass on this knowledge to my students. Understanding what it means to be a “Treaty Person” is the first step to not only understanding the treaties themselves, but being able to empathize with the Aboriginal people who suffered because of these treaties.

One of the individual sessions I went to was “Rethinking Mathematics”. The session was about how to integrate Aboriginal ideas into Mathematics using what was called the “Indigenous Principles of Mathematical Teaching”. These principles involved such things such as respecting Indigenous knowledge and respecting the learner. The principles weren’t far off from what I feel is expected of normal teachings, but it does go a bit deeper into it than that, especially into Indigenous ways. After going over that, we discussed different ways we could integrate Treaty Education into a classroom, and one of the people at the lecture recommended the Office Treaty Commissioner, specifically the Treaty Education part of the website. It was a very nice look into a different way to teach an already established subject.

To close out the day, I attended the open discussion groups. The one I ended up staying at for the majority of the time was the “What does indigenization mean to you?”, run by Anna-Leah King. The discussions we had while, not always being completely on the topic, were EXTREMELY interesting. It was probably the most engrossed I had been in a topic relating to a culture not my own. The time I had in that room flew by as I was engrossed with the stories that Anna was telling.I really enjoyed my time there and I feel like I learned quite a bit about her life and lifestyle that I would have otherwise not been aware of.

All in all, I had a really great time at Treaty Ed Camp. I feel like I learned a lot about the treaties and the Indigenous people that I would have never learned otherwise. I’m really glad that I was able to participate in this camp and I’m excited to further explore my knowledge in Treaty Education.

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Writing the Self 4: Painted

[Writing the Self #4]

I’ve always been comfortable with my gender. I’ve never been worried that I may do something that someone would deem as “girly”. I definitely thought that people may think that, for sure, but it was never something that stopped me from doing what I wanted. I always thought, “It’s my life, I can do what I want, and no one can say otherwise”.

One such case I remember quite well – mainly because it was recent – was in the summer of 2015, when a coworker of mine was being very stubborn on wanting to paint my nails. I was against it at first, only for the reason that I figured it would be a pain to get off (I didn’t know about the magic of nail polish remover. It seriously works wonders). Eventually, after enough coaxing, I gave in and agreed to have my nails painted. I met up at her place one day and she showed me her many different varieties of nail polish. There were a LOT. I knew that many different kinds of nail polish existed, but I thought it was similar to shampoo – lots of kinds, but you buy one or two and it’s over with. I didn’t think that people owned this many.

After a bit of pondering, I picked a shade similar to navy blue and she got to work on painting my nails. The hardest part was holding my hand still as to not get the polish all over my hands. One thing I can say about it is that it was a strangely calming experience. The act of someone else painting my nails just felt soothing, but I can’t really explain why. Once it was over, I had to hold my nails up as to not get the wet polish on my clothes or to rub it. After that was done, my coworker laughed and said she had always wanted to “try painting a guy’s nails”. I didn’t really get why it was any different than doing it to a girl, but I thanked her and went home.

When I got home, my mom noticed my nails and asked me what was going on with them. I told her my coworker painted them and she laughed at me.

“What are you, a girl?” She said.

It was weird. Up until that point, the thought people thinking I was “girly” for painting my nails hadn’t occurred to me. It’s not like I had never had that thought, it’s just that in between my coworker asking me to have my nails painted, and me taking to my mom,  it hadn’t ever crossed my mind. I think this is the point where I realized I didn’t really care about being seen as “girly”, though it’s hard to tell. I haven’t really done anything very “girly” since, so I’m really not positive on whether it would still bother me or not.

Regardless, this is probably my most memorable of a time where I preformed my gender contrary to the “norm”.  Instead of acting like a “man”, I did something that society would consider “girly”. However, it didn’t bother me at the time, and the thought it still doesn’t bother me now.

Scaling Above and Below

EDIT: I’m sorry this update is so late! Last week I was having multiple tech issues on my computer. Sadly, to fix these issues, I had to revert my computer to a state before I had recorded the learning project videos for this week, so sadly, I have lost the video. I am REALLY sorry about this, and I promise that I will cover everything from this post and the next in my next post. Apologies!

QUICK NOTE: I do have a video to go along with this post, I’ve just been having some technical difficulties today and wasn’t able to get it completed in time. I will have it up as soon as possible and added in to the end of this post. Sorry about that!

I̶ ̶h̶a̶t̶e̶ ̶t̶i̶t̶l̶e̶s̶.̶

Here we are on week 8 of the EDTC300 class. We are officially PAST the half way point! That means we are half way to finals! Scary!

So how’s my progress with the piano going? It’s going great! This week, I passed a huge road block of mine that I’ve been having the past couple weeks – playing hands together, but fluently!

The last learning project video I did had me playing a song at the end that I did do hands together. However, what you don’t see is the thirty other takes I did before finally getting that one that was half-decent. However, these past few days, I have FINALLY been able to smoothly play both C and G Major Scales up and down the piano with both hands at the same time – hence the title!

Even bigger, perhaps, is that I’ve finally conquered a harder-than-simple song with complex time signatures, with hands together! And it sounded good! It feels great to finally be able to play with my hands together without feeling like I’m fumbling about the piano. It’s been a block of mine the past little while, and it’s awesome to finally be past it.

The aforementioned piece of music.

While this week was pretty big for me in terms of what I learned, that’s really all there is to the past week. However, I feel like this week will open me up to MUCH deeper learning in the weeks to come. I gotta start working on my goal, after all!

Until next week!

 

Searching for the REAL Me… on Google!

This past couple weeks in the EDTC300 class, we’ve looked at digital identities and how they can impact your view on a person. This got me wondering – what does my digital identity say about me? What kind of person does my digital identity portray me as? How much can I even find on myself? And so, I went on a journey… to find myself.

Hopping into incognito mode, a quick Google Search shows some interesting results…

A whole lot of NOTHING!

Absolutely nothing on me. It doesn’t show in the picture, but at first,  Google thought I spelled “Jesse” wrong (recommending “Jessie” instead)! Regardless, none of the first page’s results have anything to do with me. Even after browsing through TEN PAGES of results, not a single thing about me pops up. Instead, all kinds of things pop up. Jesse’s going to court, Jesse’s who run businesses, and more. It’s crazy to think that so many people share the exact same first and last name as me, especially since I don’t think “Jesse” is a very common spelling of my name (as shown by Google’s recommendation of “Jessie”).

Anyway, it’s obvious I need to narrow down my search. So I throw my old home town into the search bar, and…

Results!

We have a few hits! The first hit is actually this very blog! Not too surprising, since the main page itself mentions my old home town. The picture in the “Images” tab is actually from this blog, aswell! Other than that, there is a YouTube video of a band concert I recorded and uploaded on a channel I made a long time ago and forgot the password to and couldn’t recover as I made it with an email I deactivated a while back (here’s a link if you’re curious [I’m not going to put it in the post since it’s not 100% related]. Warning, it’s not amazing).

Outside of those, the other relevant results seem to be more about my family than me. The Indian Head High School result is about my younger brother, and the Town of Indian Head result is about my Dad. Outside of these few results, there doesn’t seem to be anything else directly related to me. So what next?

Well, social media would be the next big thing. We’ve already established my YouTube channel, but like I said, it’s an old account with only the one video on it. Nothing else and no links to anything. So how about Facebook? Well, I actually tried looking through it when it popped up in the first search, and… I actually can’t find myself on it. I don’t know if it’s because of some sort of privacy setting I used at some point, but I don’t pop up at all, even when searching “Jesse Simpson Regina”. The only person that pops up is another person from Regina with the same name as mine, which I found curious. I might have to look into my privacy settings to see what’s going on with that.

The other major social media I can think of is Twitter, and I think the search results of that will be rather obvious, considering the Twitter account IS linked to my blog.

My Twitter Page.

My Twitter page is entirely professional. All I’ve used it for (so far) is stuff directly related to the EDTC300 class. Everyone I follow is from EDTC300, and all my posts relate to it. It also links directly to my blog. Though it is professional, it does show a little bit into my personal life, with the heading image of my band’s music gear, similar to the heading image on my blog with a picture of a concert we played this past summer.

Anyway, this really ends my digital identity. I can’t find anything else tied to me through searches on Google or social media. Apparently, I’ve kept my digital footprint quite small over the years, even if inadvertently.  The only suspicious thing is the Facebook searches – I find it strange that I do not appear no matter what I search, so I feel like there may be something missing there, and perhaps me not being logged in had something to do with it? I’m not too familiar with exactly how strict my Facebook’s privacy settings are,

So what does my digital identity say about me? Well, from the things I’ve found, my love for music is immediately obvious, what with all the nods to music throughout my blog, twitter profile, and YouTube channel. Outside of my passion for music, my Twitter page shows the professional side I possess and how serious I take it. I can see how someone might find the lack of information on me a little suspect, but that just goes with having a name that’s shared with people all around the world.

Learning to Play An Upright is Pia-No Problem!

I already apologize for the title. I’m groaning just as much as you are its also not factually correct because im not learning on an upright piano but who cares.

 

Even though last week I said I’d be making more weekly videos to showcase my progress rather than doing long-winded blog posts, this week ended up being kind of a slow learning week. The summary of what I’ve learned in the past week can be summed up pretty quickly, so this might be a pretty short blog post. Apologies!

Anyway, the past week has been spent refining scales. We have added the G Major Scale to our arsenal, and it’s practically just the same as the C Major Scale, just starting at a different note and hitting one black key at the end rather than hitting all white keys. I also learned the C Minor Scale, which is quite a bit different to play than the C and G Major Scales, but is still fundamentally the same fingering wise. I can’t really confirm it at this point, but my gut feeling is that it’s going to be the same way all the way through, with the scales all being kind of the exact same.

G Major Scale up and down. By Midway (Using Sibelius) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Outside of scales, we also worked on a new piece. It’s an odd piece, because it’s in what is known as a complex time signature. Complex time signatures are counted differently than normal time signatures like 4/4, so it’s rather odd to play, especially as some of the timings in the piece between the left and right hand are rather odd and off-beat. Separately, it’s not too hard of a piece and actually rather fun, but together is a real struggle. I want to at least play most of it hands together by next week, so hopefully I can fulfill that goal of mine.

There’s not much else that happened this week, so I’ll end this post here. Hopefully this next week will be a lot more fulfilling and I can maybe start working towards my end-goal of playing I Won’t See You Tonight Pt. 1’s intro! (That I talked about in my first learning project blog post!)

We ARE the Future: How Technology is Changing the World

Even as little as six or seven years ago, technology was not as prevalent as it is today. At least, not where I grew up. In my last year of Elementary school, not much had involved in the ways of technology compared to how it was when I started Kindergarten. If we wanted to watch a movie, we had to use the bulky CRT TVs with a VCR Player built-in. If we needed the internet, we had to go to the designated computer lab instead of using laptops or even our mobile devices. Life in my high school years was quite different, with technology being around every corner. For example, we had a SMART Board in each and every classroom in the school (the only exception being the music room), and we also had two laptop carts that we were able to book and use. It was really useful in enhancing our methods of learning.

The huge kind of TV we used back in the old days. By Morn (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The moral of that little look into my past is that technology has become more and more prevalent in the modern world. Every where you look, there are new technologies being used for both personal and educational reasons. Michael Wesch, an anthropologist from Kansas State University, created an introduction to YouTube and presented it at the Library of Congress in 2008. In it, he talks about the creation of YouTube and just how powerful it is as a tool for community, and he even talks about how he uses YouTube in his classrooms. The way he uses it is quite different than how most teachers nowadays would use YouTube. Wesch actually used it as a project of sorts, having his students watch videos of their choice and filling out a form with what appear to be some sort of rankings. This method of using YouTube allowed the students to still do something they find entertaining and apply it into a classroom format.

The way today’s technology is used in the classroom isn’t much different. One big example that I can think of from recently is Minecraft: Education Edition. It takes a game that many young kids or teens enjoy nowadays, and changes it up a little bit to apply in a classroom setting, with specific goals being set that students can group up with other players to complete. It’s a little different, but it is surely an effective way to engage students in a classroom, which is really what we all strive for – engaged students.

 

Last Wednesday, we had Alec Couros come in to our EDTC300 class and talk about how technology has evolved within the past few years and how it can be used for both good and bad. The good included examples of raising money for bullied adults, people around the world connecting with each other, and how it can be used as a teaching tool both personally and in the classroom.  Couros provided a deeper look into how today’s technology rather than the start of technology liked Wesch did. He provided many examples of how people in modern society interact with technology on a daily basis and the legacy left behind by that, such as your digital footprint.

The deep look we had in technology over the past week was very interesting. We got to see it from it’s humble beginnings and how different it was even just ten years ago, to how it is now with technology being absolutely everywhere in our lives whether we like it or not. It’s interesting to see just how much has changed in such a little amount of time, and makes me excited to see how much it will change within the next ten years.

Another Week, More Progress

Another update on my piano learning escapade – I finally bought my own keyboard!

Over the weekend I purchased a used Samson Graphite 49 keyboard, a 49-key USB keyboard that I can just plug into my computer to emulate a piano. A keyboard like the Samson, however, does not actually make sound by itself – all it does is emulate the keys being pressed on a keyboard. To rectify this, I use a program called Addictive Keys that I got for free with the purchase of some audio hardware. It has a Grand Piano plugin built into it, so if I load it into a Digital Audio Workplace program (a DAW) and plug in my keyboard, I can use my keyboard to play sounds through the Addictive Keys program! It’s super neat.

As for my actual playing progress, I will let the video do most of the talking. Since I actually have a keyboard at home now, I can finally record progress videos instead of having to completely write about everything I learned in excruciating detail. Very convenient!

Clip Converting – There’s An Easy Way!

Sometimes, whether it’s for personal use or for use in the classroom, you may want to download a clip from Youtube show to a friend or your students. Maybe you only want to show a small portion of the middle of a long video, and perhaps your internet isn’t great. In that case, loading the video off the internet and then actually getting to that segment can be a real hassle. As someone who went to school in a small town with sub-par internet, Clipconverter is a website I really wish my teachers had been able to make use of.

What the website looks like

Clipconverter is a website that lets you download clips from Youtube and have it on your hard drive to played through a dedicated media player rather than being played off the internet. The benefit to this is, like I mentioned before, not having to wait for the video to buffer right when you’re trying to show it off. This is VERY useful if your internet is slow and it takes a long time to load these things.

The website is incredibly simple to use. Simply put the URL (located at the top of your browser) of the video you wish to download into the bar on the website and the format you would like to convert to. Doing this will load the video into the website, and allow you to customize your download. You can do things such as change the file format, change the video quality, and, more importantly, change the duration of the video. You can start or end the video at different times. This is very useful if you want to only download a small portion from the middle of a video, rather than downloading the whole video then skipping to the part you want to show.

The website after loading in a video and choosing a video type. You can see the many different options, such as video quality, conversion format, and start/end times.

There are a variety of different video types that you can choose to convert the video into, such as MP4, AVI, or MOV. You can also select from different audio types, in case you only want to download the audio file of the video instead of the video itself. After downloading either a movie or audio file, you can play the file off of your computer. Super useful!

The downloaded video after being converted by clipconverter

There’s an even easier way to use clipconverter, too. Clipconverter has an add-on for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. To install it, you must first install a separate add-on called Tampermonkey, which is a userscript manager. It allows you to do certain things on web pages if you install certain scripts for it, which is exactly what the Clipconverter add-on is. Once you install both Tampermonkey and the add-on, you will see a large Clipconverter button under any Youtube videos.

You can see the aforementioned button under the like/dislike bar

Clicking this button will automatically take you to the Clipconverter website, with the URL bar already filled in with the video you clicked the button on. It saves the time finding and copying the URL, loading the Clipconverter page, and pasting the URL in the bar. It’s merely a quality of life add-on, but it does save a small amount of time which is very convenient.

All in all, Clipconverter is a very nifty tool that I think more teachers should utilize. Not only is being able to download videos very useful, but it also saves from having to go onto Youtube to find the video. This does save time because you won’t have to load the internet trying to get to the video, but you also wont have to deal with potential problematic “related video” thumbnails, or problematic comments (such as ones that are inappropriate to show in a classroom environment, especially for younger students). I would 100% recommend Clipconverter to everyone who might want to show videos to anyone.

Writing the Self 3: Noticing a Difference

[Writing the Self #3]

My first day of Kindergarten. The thought of it terrified me. Being put into a room with a bunch of other kids who I didn’t know? Nuh-uh, not for me.

“I don’t want to go, mom,” I whined. My mom laughed as she pulled over beside the road.

“Too bad, so sad,” my mom retorted. I pouted. Why was I being made to go here against my will? It didn’t make any sense. As I was pulled out of the car, I realized it was entirely too late to back out. I walked into the school and was taken to my classroom, where the teacher invited me in. My mom waved goodbye as she left, and I waved back sheepishly. I looked around at the other people in the room, some laughing with one another, some sitting at a table keeping to their self. I went and sat at the table with the people minding their own business, and proceeded to also mind my own business.

I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I didn’t know anyone, how was I supposed to talk to them? Or more importantly, how was I supposed to play with them?  I pondered these questions so much that I didn’t notice that someone was standing beside me until they poked my side. Startled, I looked up at them. The person smiled.

“Hey!” He said cheerfully. “Wanna come play with us?” I blinked.

“S-sure,” I nearly whispered. That solves that problem, I suppose. I got out of my chair and followed him over to a group of people all sitting in a circle and playing with various toys. I saw trucks and LEGOs splayed all over the floor. I sat down next to a girl who was sitting there, picked up some LEGOs and began to build.

“Hello!” I heard the girl beside me say. I looked up at them, nervous.

“Hi!” I said, maybe a little too loud. I could tell I was scared, but I don’t think the girl did because she just giggled and went back to playing with her toys. I looked at her and noticed something different about her.

She was… tanned?

I knew it wasn’t exactly a tan, though. I’ve been tanned before, and her skin didn’t look quite like that. I stared at her, wondering why she looked so different. I was too nervous to ask her myself, and no one else around me seemed to notice or care. I decided it didn’t really matter enough to try and bring up the courage to ask and went back to playing with my LEGOs. I figured if it mattered, she’d tell me, and if she didn’t, maybe I could ask once I was her friend.

It still confused me though. Up until that point, I hadn’t seen people who didn’t have white skin (or maybe I had, and it just never clued in). Why was she different? It was a question I pondered on for a moment, but forgot as the day went on. By the time I was picked up from school, I had completely forgotten about it. We had talked more that day, and I found out that, regardless of what she looked like, she was still the same as me or anyone else in that classroom. We liked some of the same things, she got along with us the same as everyone else did, and there seemed to be nothing else different between her and us. Regardless of how she looked, she was still the same as us, and that’s all that really mattered.

#edchat – An Experience

Today, I experienced something new that I had only learned about recently – a Twitter chat!

I didn’t know that Twitter chats existed until we learned about them in one of our EDTC300 classes, so going into the #edchat, I had no idea what to expect. And once it started…. Ooo boy.

Small excerpt from the #edchat.

The chat started with a question – “What are the best methods to educate parents about what they need to know about the edu of their kids?”. This was something I had never really thought about. My school had parent/teacher conferences twice a year (one for each semester), but as far as I knew, they did not have the best attendance. I personally didn’t go to them in high school, since my grades were never any cause for concern for my parents, but I have had teachers say that they wish more parents of students who were having trouble with subjects would come in to see them. That way, they may be able to figure something out with the parents to try and help the students

That is why my answer to the question was “Communicate as much as possible”.  By this, I mean to talk to parents outside of the parent/teacher conferences. This could be done through various methods, such as using mobile devices through apps such as Remind, or using old fashioned email. This solves the problem of hoping parents attend the parent/teacher conferences, and while it might not be a surefire solution to the issue, it’s definitely a way to help it.

That question was really the end of my involvement with the chat. I didn’t see any other questions asked by the same person who made the first one, so I just read through the responses made by other people, and it was actually quite interesting to see into the head of other education people.  A few people had the same rough idea as I did – communication – but many of the answers varied.

It was kind of overwhelming since I had to participate on the chat on mobile, so it was a little tough to follow the chat completely. Looking at some of the previous chats, such as #saskedchat (which I meant to participate in last week, I just had scheduling conflicts), they were done a bit differently with more questions to answer and a lot more interactivity. If I do this again, I’ll be sure to participate in a different chat just to see the differences between the #edchat and any other ones I choose to enter.

All in all, it was fun, and I can’t wait to do it again!