Matt Giesbrecht's E-Portfolio

Musings

ECMP 455 Wrap-Up: Summary of Learning

With the semester coming to an end, it was time to look back and reflect on what all I have learned in ECMP 455. Although I had a tough time battling with YouTube uploads crashing on numerous occasions, my Summary of Learning is finally complete and uploaded!

For this assignment, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and create something which I have very limited experience creating: video blogs. Before this assignment, I had only made one video blog. By doing this, I wanted to take one last chance to create something new and experiment. While this may not be as polished as something I could have created with a different program or presentation option, I am happy with what I created.

I look forward to possibly creating more video blogs in the future to become more comfortable. Enjoy!

 

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ECMP 455 Wrap-Up: Major Project (Funding The Fight)

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For anyone who has read my blog before during the last three months of the semester, Funding The Fight should be a very familiar name. My ECMP 455 class required me to create a major project of my choice to commit to for the entire semester. After reading through the list of options provided in the courses syllabus, there were many options which appealed to me. When Lacey and I heard that no one had previously attempted crowd-funding as a project for the class, we jumped at the opportunity. We could only image how well it would have turned out!

FTFWe managed to bring in a final total of $1,240 to donate to the Canadian Cancer Society, specifically for melanoma research! Once this project was complete, it was easy for me to reflect back on what all Lacey and I had accomplished. Networking was one of the clear influences on the success for this project. After establishing our fundraiser page (including a custom logo and domain name), I began reaching out for supporters. While this started with a very small group of people within our class, sharing on Twitter allowed for our initiative to reach indescribable distances. On a larger local-level, I was able to successfully reach out to multiple MLAs in Regina and Premier Brad Wall. While this didn’t have the result I hoped for, it still added a sense of legitimacy to our cause!

Overall, I am very happy with what we accomplished! This is a cause which is very close to my heart, and I have no regrets. I look forward to attempting projects similar to this in the future!

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ECMP 455 Wrap-Up: Networked Professional Learning

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As my time in ECMP 455 comes to a close, I am now tasked to look back on the past three months and review what I had accomplished in this class in a variety of areas. One of the major areas in this class was named Networked Professional Learning. Looking back on the semester, I feel that this was one of my strongest areas. The goal of this section was to create personal learning networks and engage in the online community. In many ways, I feel that I successfully completed this assignment.

Twitter

Throughout the duration of this class, Twitter was definitely my most useful tool. Using Twitter not only allowed me to connect with my classmates, but also with many blogs. Blogs such as edutopia and Huffington Post Education allowed me to find articles which we very thought provoking. Since this class was a focus on technology, I also followed tech blogs like Gizmodo, Engadget, and CNET to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in technology and consider how they may be used in my classroom. If I came across an article that I found interesting and worth sharing, I would tweet it out on my own account and hope that my classmates would read and share it, as well. This would often lead to engaging conversation between myself and classmates. By using hashtags such as #edchat, #techchat, and many others, I was able to connect with a large community to have some of my questions answered. There were many times when I was working on assignments for other classes and would have a question that I needed answered. Asking a question on Twitter with #edchat was a great way to collect a variety of opinions on whatever my question was. This was something I had never explored previously.

Interacting with my classmates was primarily done through blog commenting. On a regular basis, I would go to the ECMP 455 Class Blog Aggregate Site and read my classmates’ posts. This was a great way for me to consider different perspectives on a variety of topics that my colleagues felt like sharing. On a vast majority of the blog posts that I would read, I would also leave a comment to let the blogger know what I thought of their work. I felt that this was a great way to show appreciation for the hard work they put into their post.

WordpressMy blog was a great way for me to share my thoughts and opinions with my classmates and the world. With the rough guideline of “1-2 blog posts a week,” I would ensure to meet this goal and occasionally exceed it. I believe that I found a healthy balanced between class-centered content and personal musings. I would often try to make a blog post about something of personal interest to me, such as my movie review of Her or my conversation with my basketball team about the dangers of selfies and head lice. One goal that I tried to accomplish was to acknowledge all comments being made on my blog posts. Whenever one of my classmates took the time to comment on my blog, I would attempt to respond to the post as a thank-you for taking the time to read my writing and as a way to potentially further the conversation.

Finally, I used my blog as a way to share what I have learned in terms of new technologies. One of my best posts about this was when I broke down my impressions of Evernote and If This, Then That. In hindsight, if I were to take this class again, I would have taken more time to explore new technologies that I am not familiar with. I feel that this would not only benefit me by expanding my repertoire of applications and programs, but I could also help share these with others.

Overall, I believe that when it comes to networking in the class, I did a pretty great job. I genuinely enjoyed blogging and was always excited to share my thoughts and opinions with others through my own work and comments!

 

Foundation: The Story Behind Your Favourite Sites

foundation-podcast

As I have posted about several times before, one of my favourite ways to past the time is by watching and listening to podcasts. As I continue to expand my knowledge of technologies and their many uses, I have become obsessed with one of my long-time subscriptions: Foundation. Foundation is hosted by Kevin Rose (shown below), an investor and founder of sites such as Digg and Revision3, and it involves Rose sitting down and learning about the history of many of the world’s most popular websites, apps and businesses.

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I have posted about this fantastic podcast once before. While in ECMP 355 with Dean Shareski, one of our lessons involved learning about creating and about.me page – find mine here. To supplement my learning about this tool, I made a post about the history of about.me through a Foundation interview with Tony Conrad.

Now I am deciding to share some of my favourite stories about some of my favourite technologies with you! If you ever need a brain-break from your work or want to pass the time, I suggest watching some of these videos!


 

Jack Dorsey – Creator of Twitter

Twitter is easily the most frequently used application on my phone, as I check it numerous times throughout the day. In the inaugural episode of Foundation, Kevin Rose takes us into the history of Twitter.

 


 

Chad Hurley – Co-Founder of YouTube

Let’s be honest, I’m quite certain that everyone has a soft-spot for YouTube. Whether you’re looking for a video to show in class or wasting hours watching cat videos, it is one of the greatest services available!

 


Kevin Systrom – Founder of Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular mobile apps in the world, playing host to over 100 million active users.

 


Phil Libin – CEO of Evernote

Evernote is one of the newest technologies that I learned about in this class. Find my thoughts here.

 


If you do happen to watch any of these videos, please let me know what you think! Also, I’d be interested to know from any readers what sites they use frequently and wanted to know they history of! Drop a comment below!

Why I Coach…

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Two weeks have now passed since my time as coach of the Ruth Pawson Girls’ Basketball team has come to an end. The playoffs are done, windup has happened, I took my bowling beat-down at the hands of my 13-year-old girls like a champ, and now the gym is closed.

I have to admit, I’ve been a little lost this week with not having any practices or games. Granted, not having to wake up for 8:00 a.m. practices is a pretty great feeling. Now that I am done with my coaching career is done for now – as there are no Spring sports taking place at the school – I am finding myself reflecting on what I enjoyed most as a coach.

Without a doubt, the greatest and most rewarding experience of my internship and beyond has been my involvement with coaching. Of all the subjects that I teach, Phys Ed is my greatest passion. This passion easily translates to the court or field in a coaching capacity. This is why I decided to return to my school in my personal time to work with the students on my team for the past four months.

But what is so great about getting up before the sun rises to work with a bunch of pre-teens for 30 minutes, three times a week?

There were many positives that happened over the course of the basketball season: my girls were undefeated in the regular season, we finished in first place going into playoffs (the same accomplishment was made in our volleyball season), and we won the Feeder School tournament at Thom Collegiate to begin the season (shown below). All of these were great achievements, they are not the greatest takeaways that I had from my time as a coach.

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Although we were able to enter our playoffs with a perfect record of 6-0 (10-0 counting the Thom tournament), we were unable to deliver in our first round of playoffs. While many would see this as a bad thing – which it is, don’t get me wrong – I saw it as one of the most rewarding experiences. For many of the girls, this loss was a very emotional experience. This would be the last time that they’d be able to play on a team for their elementary school. These girls put hours and hours of work into practices and games to have it all end after this one game. Seeing this outpouring of emotion is what stood out to me most during my time as a coach.

Seeing the amount of emotion that came over these girls after losing the game showed to me that the amount of effort that I put into developing them as athletes paid off. From the start of tryouts to the final game, I saw an amazing amount of skill development from all the girls in their own ways. They always held their heads high and carried themselves very well. Especially at the Basketball Beat Tournament, after losing our first game we were able to just have fun and not worry about being competitive. It was a perfect way to end the season!

For all I care, we could have gone without a win during the season and I would be just as proud. The growth and commitment shown was enough of a reward for me to make it all worth it!

Now if only there was a Spring Bowling Season so I could redeem myself after the poor showing I had at the windup…

Go Panthers!

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Funding The Fight – Update #5

FTF 5

With two weeks to go in our fundraiser, I am excited to announce that we have surpassed our goal of $1000 and we are currently sitting at $1100!

After several slower weeks of not having many donations coming in, we had a flood of donations arrive over this past week. As this project winds down, Lacey and I have decided that we will continue to collect donations for two more weeks. After that, we will go to the Canadian Cancer Society location in Regina and donate the money to go towards melanoma research.

As always, thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share links and kind words, and make donations! Every dollar counts and we are confident that we will now be able to reach our new goal of $1500!

Find us on Twitter: @FundingTheFight, @Matt_Giesbrecht, and @LaceyEuteneier

Find our donation page at www.fundingthefight.ca

At First These Teenagers Were Just Taking Selfies, What They Discovered Next Will Shock You…

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First and foremost, please forgive me for the Upworthy-esque title. After seeing continual sharing of articles on my Facebook Feed from the website Upworthy, I decided to give it a try and see if it boosts my reader base. Couldn’t hurt to try…

Last week I attended the playoff game for the Boys’ Basketball Team at the school where I interned. While sitting near the Grade 8 girls who are on my basketball team, I noticed a common trend throughout the game: selfies, selfies, and more selfies. By then end of the basketball game, I feel confident in saying that more time was spent staring into the front-facing camera than watching the court.

During halftime, I decided to ask these girls a few questions about their constant cell phone use. The first thing I asked them was at what age they got their cell phone. They responded by saying that they received their cell phones, all of which were iPhones, in the last several years. Keep in mind that these girls are 13-years-old. When I showed them a picture of my first cell phone at age 13 (shown below which could not send text messages or take pictures), they were appalled. “How did you survive?”, one of them asked. I felt that this was a very interesting question of how normal cell phones are for them.

Motorola Phone

Next, we moved on to the topic of selfies. Selfie, which is now an official word in the dictionary, involves an individual taking their own picture, alone or with friends.

After discussing with these students why they felt it was important to take so many of the same picture over and over again. They claimed that they were “capturing memories.” This then lead us to take an inventory of our phones to see how many selfies we each had in the Photo app. Although I though my four selfies were good enough (evidence below), that amount was nothing compared to theirs which reached into the hundreds.

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I then decided to share with the students a recent article that I came across. This article, posted on CNET, is entitled Are selfies causing the spread of head lice? At first, they all chuckled, and then I witnessed the realization and look of horror cross their faces as they instantly jerked away from one another to create space.

In the article, lice-treatment expert Marcy McQuillan claims that since people taking selfies are putting their heads together to fit it in the frame, this creates the potential from head lice to transfer from one person to the other. Throughout the article, the accuracy of this is contested, but I still feel that it was a very interesting read. The major argument against this claim is that the amount of time that people take to place their heads together for a selfie does not allow sufficient time for the lice transmission to occur.

Overall, I felt that this was another one of those articles that I was instantly drawn to based on the title. This was one of the major reasons that I decided to take the Upworthy route in titling this post. Although this article does not confirm the claim outright, it still provided a very entertaining debate showing the validity of the claim and the possible holes. I found it to be a great way to provide a form of technological propoganda as a joke to these students.

What I would be interested in knowing is if there were any other myths or claims about the harmful effects of technology that readers may have experienced over time.

 

Addendum: The top photo in this post is one of the new photos that have been made public by Getty Images. If you are ever looking for a high-quality stock photos for your posts, create an account on Getty Images and you’ll find a large amount photos available for free to be embedded.

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