Why did the chicken cross the road?

Why did the chicken cross the road?

This is probably one of the most told “jokes” out there. As silly as this question is, I want to draw attention to the search for the “why” and purpose that it invokes.

But, Why?

Even my children seem to be always asking “why”. Check out this snapshot of an imagined, but common conversation.

Me- “No, we can’t do…..”

Kelaiah- “But, Why”

Me- “Because I said so, that’s why”

Everyone wants to know why, and that’s great. It’s our natural curiosity and search for knowledge that fosters growth. When engaging in conversations such as the one above, I remind myself that I must answer the “why”; for it is the answer to “why” that fosters comprehension. However, there are situations in life where “why” is asked and the recipient also doesn’t know. Rather then settling for “because”, we must aspire to embrace our human curiosity and search together.

So, why did you take ECMP 355?

I have prepared a summary of learning called, My Digital Journey using a fantastic digital tool called, “voice thread”. I discovered this tool on the amazing resource hub, 5o Ways To Tell A Story, Although I used a personal image, most of the images where taken from a great photo resource called, PhotoPin.

So, What now?

As I said in my story, my digital journey has only just begun. I look forward to investing in blogging, exploring/implementing technology in the classroom,  staying connected, and engaging in digital lifelong learning.

Thanks for reading,

P.S. The chicken crossed the road to get to the other side.

 

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Awesome vs. Awefull

Awesome!

Man, I love that word.

Although I haven’t taken data, according to my wife, I say “awesome” AT LEAST 10 times a day!
So what does awesome mean? Dictionary.com states that awesome is an adjective that “show[s] admiration” or is ” slang [for] very impressed”.  Yet, I have been thinking, if we analyze the morphology of this word, it  paints a picture of awe, but only some of the time…

What do you mean, SOME of the time?

In order to explain my thinking I would like to present a continuum of “awe”;

Awful——–Awesome——–Awefull

Notice that the word awful has neither complete awe or containment. Therefore, I would like to propose that the polar opposite is the completion of the awe process: Awefull. Awefull, in morphology is truly bursting with awe!

Although I entitled my interview with my mentor, interview of awesomeness, in view of my new “nate-ism”; my experience was truly “Awefull”.

Did you just say what I think you did? AWEFULL INTERVIEW?

Yes, yes I said “awefull”. In fact, in some ways I would say my mentor experience has been truly “awefull”. My amazing mentor Michelle Baldwin and her students have taught me wonderful lessons about technology, the inquiry process, discussion, and digital relationship.  My interactions with Baldwin’s class and my interview were rich and full of awe(s). Please watch my “awefull” interview with Baldwin entitled, “The Epic Teacher Interview of Awesomeness”. Our time together was hilarious and “full of awe”; I would like to reflect on 2 nuggets that I extracted from our conversation.

1) Rather then use tech in the classroom 24/7, Baldwin commented that the challenge is to find a balance of, high tech, low tech, and no tech. I like this concept as it allows students to experience tech in various quantities and situations. In my interactions with Team Baldwin, I observed that students had the freedom to chose to engage in inquiry activities on this “tech continuum”. For example, for a creative project, some students utilized minecraft, while others chose to use lego.

2) Baldwin also commented that tech is not the answer to the world, but a connector. This nugget was a reminder that tech leads students to answers and connectivity, but they must learn how to navigate/negotiate this ability. Creating/fostering space where students exercise problem solving skills, meta cognitive skills, and interpersonal skills is is the crux of being an effective educator.  In fact, I would argue that technology has increased our responsibility of “what” we do with the knowledge we have. (OK, I have been reading Parker Palmer and he has been blowing my mind; but that’s another blogpost).

So, with deepest honour, respect and gratitude, I want to thank Michelle Baldwin and Team Baldwin for a truly “awefull” experience. I am thankful we can stay connected and look forward to continuing our life long learning. Thank You!

Thanks for reading, friends; it’s been AWESOME!

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I’m Jammin’, I’m Jammin’; I wanna Jam with you..

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I Wanna Jam with You

First of all, this post has nothing to do with Bob Marley but rather, Jamming of another sort. In #ecmp335 we had 2 amazing internet guru’s, Steve Dembo and Adam Bellow showcase their “unwrapping skills” by unwrapping classroom technology and sharing some incredibly useful and easy to use technology.

What does this have to do with jamming?

Our internet guru’s introduced us to great education tools such as: piktochart, padlet, and the noun project. However, based on the recommendation of a colleague, Lindsay, I chose to explore Ujam.

So, What is Ujam?

Ujam is a resource tool that is similar to Mac’s GarageBand as it allows you to record vocals and create musical projects. As a musician/music enthusiast, I love tools like this. Yet, I actually chose to explore another service offered by Ujam called, “Jam-a-gram”. a Jam-a-gram is a fantastic tool that allows you to create a 1 minute recording and then, with the help of some hilarious themes, turn it into a musical digital telegram to send to friends.

How can I use this in my classroom?

As I value literacy, I love having access to short stories that I can read to my students to foster discussion. I have a fantastic book that a former student gave me called, “The Book Of Awesome” by Neil Paricha. I got thinking, these stories are awesome, but it would be really awesome if I read one of these stories using the “Dark Lord” setting on Jam-a-gam. Pretty awesome, eh?

Then I thought, man it would be awesome to send out reminders to students, but it would be even more awesome to send out reminders “Reggae Beach style”!

O.k, so I got a little carried away with this tool. In fact, my children also loved making a jam-a-gram.

My #ecmp355 course focuses on allowing me to discuss, discover, and explore how I can realistically use technology in my classroom. I still need to do some more exploring/experimenting with UjamStudio to be confident in using it, but after using  jam-a-gram, I definitely think we’ll be jamming in Mr. Polsfut’s Class!

Thanks for reading,

 

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My Grandma died and all I got was this deck of cards!

cardsWhen you look at the above picture, what do you see?

I’m assuming most readers will say, “a deck of cards”. But when I look at this deck of cards, I see something else. I see..smell, hear, and feel…memories.

More than meets the eye.
You see, my grandma taught me how to play cards. Initially I recall Grandma teaching me “go fish”, but eventually, I she taught me how to play “the big kid game”- Crazy 8’s. Man, did I ever like playing Crazy 8’s.i have memories of begging my Grandma to play just one more game…she always caved in.

-perhaps I will remember this appreciation the next time my children inconvenience me with a request for “just one more time?-

Now, it is impossible for me to talk about Crazy 8’s or playing cards without remembering stories of Grandma.

Watching memory construction.
During the past year, my son has been spending 1 afternoon a week with his Grandma (my mother in law). I don’t think words can express the feeling of deep appreciation I have when I pick him up to find them playing cards together. Part of me wants to join in the game and comment, yet I also want to stand back, observe the snapshot, compare it to my snapshot, and cry.

My grandma died 3 weeks ago. When it came time to decide her possessions, my Mom asked me what I would like. In a heartbeat I said, all I want is a deck of cards. Some wanted her TV, her couch, jewelry and this is fine, but I wanted memories.

Every time we share stories we relive memories, create stories/connections in the imaginations of our listeners, and grow in appreciation.

Do we have time to listen to story?

I truly believe we must remember, like this deck of cards, all lives have a story… a hidden history. And we have the sacred opportunity to be apart of others story making. In Epsy 400 I introduced an acronym for pedagogy: CREED- consistency, relationships, excellence, empower, and differentiation. I am convinced that as educators we have an amazing opportunity to foster social justice through our acts of encouragement and story-appreciation. In fact, I would argue story-appreciation paves the way to empathy. As such, in my group presentation, challenged my colleagues to look at inclusive education as an act of social justice. A colleague, @deannagallipeau was kind enough to blog her thoughts on my group presentation. I am encouraged that my fellow professionals embrace life long learning and see the need for a pedagogical shift. Furthermore, I created a blog called “inclusion is justice” as a space to explore and share resources for inclusion as as an act of honour, empathy, and justice.

So, let’s be story seekers, story makers, and story tellers.

Thanks for reading,

 

 


							
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Yes, the “Eyes”, thats code for…

Nudge, nudge. Wink wink. Say no more

I love my wife. We have been happily married now for nearly 12 years. In our journey we have created a sort of secret language. Now this “code” or language has evolved over time but is effective. Our code is not based on words, but inconspicuous gestures and intonations in public spaces. The premise of this code is, “it’s time to get out of here”.

“The Eyes”

And then, there is, “The Eyes”. “The Eyes” are a code that I have never understood. Shadowed in confusion, the recipient to “The Eyes” is somehow meant to telepathically understand what the code is conveying. Yet, the messenger or “Giver of the Eyes”, often has no clue they even gave this bewildering message. Often this interaction ends up in the recipient seizing up and becoming completely passive.

What does this code have to do with tech. and education?

Actually, a lot. Although my metaphor opens up conversation for appropriate interpersonal communication, I would like to focus on my learnings of the use of coding for creating online games and apps. When I first heard of coding I found the idea of it boring, but my opinion began to change when I heard about what a student I am connected with in Colorado did for a project.

I am still learning, even from 9 year olds.

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In #ecmp355, I have had the opportunity to engage in a mentor/relationship with Michelle Baldwin and her amazing students. Although “Team Baldwin” is based in Colorado, I can be a part of their lives through our weekly Google Hang Out sessions.

During an inquiry project on patterns, the students each took turns discussing their projects with me.  One of the students began to explain his project on coding to me (pictured above). As the student unpacked his project, the ominous phrase, “coding” began to transform from boring to interesting. I was extremely proud of this students accomplishment,  but I still found the idea of “coding” incredibly overwhelming.

From interesting to awesome

In #ecmp355 we were challenged to explore coding. As such, I decided to check out a 1 hour tutorial.

Screen shot 2014-03-10 at 2.52.26 PM       Screen shot 2014-03-10 at 10.42.17 PM

The tutorial on Code.org is simple to use, has great videos, and allows you to manipulate games based on Angry Birds and Zombies. I realized the coding had nothing to do with boring and everything to do with control and creating things online! I highly recommend this tutorial for any educator as it gives you a basic rundown of coding lingo (repeat and if or else statements), allows you to progress through a familiar game format, only takes 1 hour, and you even get a certificate!

-1 What about the metaphor?

I suppose the commonality between online coding and human code is that it is a pattern of communication that is designed for a specific recipient. Both of these examples have the possibility to create frustration if not understood or wonder if communicated properly.

Thanks for reading.

 

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“Boy, do I have a story for you..”

“Story not only creates connections in learning and stimulates imagination, but it fosters empathy. Love it!#ecmp355 #lifelonglearning

This was my response tweet after an amazing, inspiring, and engaging class that was facilitated by Alan Levine.

I am fascinated by stories and autobiographical perceptions. As such, I appreciate the act of story telling, listening, and engaging in life with the idea that I am always creating stories/ memories.

Alan Levine has a plethora of fantastic digital storytelling/making resources on his blog, 50 ways to tell a story. I have chosen to share a story with my readers using 2 tools I discovered on Alan’s resource. Check these out!

“The Saskadventure” (TAPESTRY)

“Family Adventure” (Toondoo)

So, Nate. What did you think of these tools?

Toondoo is a wonderful tool that allows you to make cartoons. Toondoo boasts a wide variety of images/scenery choice, but the most appealing tool in this program is the ability to customize your characters or “TraitR”. Creating my Toondoo was especially enjoyable as my children were with me as we designed our TraitRs, this allowed them to have a voice and to enjoy the process. As such, I think the empowering and creative opportunity offered by Toondoo makes this a fantastic tool to use in the classroom!

TAPESTRY

gives the creator the opportunity to explore the power of the use of images, language, and space as “storymaking”. This tool is very easy to use and can be used for multiple disciplines. I did, however, have to seek help from one of my colleagues, Laura, as I am not savvy at manipulating images. Laura directed me to photobucket and I was able to manipulate my images as need.

Pedagogically speaking..

I appreciate the notion of digital storytelling as a redemptive ideology. Traditionally, technology is experienced as a shallow form of analytical information or communication. I resonate with the idea of creating philosophical spaces of story, connection, and, art. Although overwhelming at first glance, 50 ways to tell a story gives educators the opportunity to explore creative story telling and connects creators with a global audience making the results of sharing stories boundless!

Thanks for reading.

Peace,

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Phewf, it’s a good thing nobody’s looking…

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Phewf, it’s a good thing nobody’s looking…

I wonder how many times my daughter’s fish thinks this.

Teaching has always been a profession of public interest/scrutiny. After all, we are dealing with the most important aspect of society, people. Therefore, I propose that we as community leaders, as teachers, as activists (or anti-activists..) live in a fishbowl. Sure young people hear our words, but it is our actions that teach them life lessons such as respect, honor, and empathy.

Googlebumps?

Remember that teen series, Goosebumps? Well, I do.

According to the New International Dictionary of Nate, “Googlebumps” describes the fear to googling oneself. Why would people be scared of googling their name? Honestly, I think this fear is a result of realizing one hasn’t appreciated the fishbowl of a digital community.

I googled my name and here is what I came up with:

nate polsfut and nathan polsfut

I also took a screen shot for readers. Well, first I googled how to take a screen shot..:)

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I have googled my name a lot, so I wasn’t surprised that mostly contact, employment, and various volunteering information came up. Certainly nothing I am ashamed of, phewf!

It’s all about integrity

In #ecmp355, @gcouros addressed the common issue of teachers wanting a “private” digital identity and a “professional” identity. @gcouros proposed that teachers (especially in our global fishbowl age) should only have one identity, and it should be professional. I loved this! I value integrity and I feel the pursuit of integrity embodies professionalism.

Clean up time

During #ecmp355, we were also challenged to clean up our identity by compiling an about.me page. This way employers/public could find your bio, contact details, and links in one location. I certainly see the benefits of creating a “personal contact hub” both as a digital community member and professional.

Yikes, the pressure is on

Yes, the pressure is on. We need to begin living our lives with the understanding that we are being watched. Yes, we are human. Yes, we screw up. And, yes, we can always ask for forgiveness (for this humble act is also a rich lesson for our “bowl watchers”). We just must remember to always live life as if someone is watching, because whether you like it or not, someone is always watching.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Peace,

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