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Innovation in unlearning

“I build upon what I already know, but I do not limit myself to myself.”

If I could relate to anything in George Couros’ The Mindset of an Innovator, it would be this quote. As a future educator, it’s a given that the topic and concept of learning is in the forefront of my mind. I’m fascinated by learning; I want to know how people learn, what works best for them, and how I can facilitate the learning they need. However, with every new article I read about the topic, the fuzzier it gets; I realize that learning is not a single stream, one-size-fits-all event that happens in select places under select circumstances. Perhaps that’s why it’s so important to continually “unlearn” in order to move forward.

For me, learning is exactly like the quote above; I am continually hungry for more knowledge, and I don’t necessarily limit it to what I already know. I want to learn about everything and anything. One month I’ll devour novels about the Tudors and research practice of court from that time, and the next I’ll be learning about astrology and the stories behind constellations. I have my interests like anyone else, but if I find something interesting or something I have no prior knowledge about, I want to learn and gain understanding. This is one of my strengths, but I know not everyone learns the way I do. Not everybody will have the “get up and go” instinct to seek knowledge in areas they’re unfamiliar with.

That’s where unlearning comes in. Somehow, the idea has been pushed that we all must learn the same content, the same way, without explaining why. As Will Richardson stated, “We need to unlearn the idea that every student needs to learn the same content when really what they need to learn is how to self-direct their own learning.” How true is this? Instead of pushing uniformity, why aren’t we teaching our students to seek understanding on their free will, thus making learning completely theirs?

This semester I’ve been able to formulate a few ideas about how I’ll kickstart self direction in my classroom. I may know how to do it for myself, but for other students will need to know how to do this as well, and from using “hackschooling” techniques, project-based learning, and passion-based learning, I feel that self-direction isn’t such a far-reaching concept. I’ve unlearned many more concepts, but for every concept I’ve unlearned there’s been five more I have learned. From those five I can learn ten, twenty, and so on. I will not “limit myself to myself,” and I’ll show my students to do the same.

From this unlearning we can achieve innovation. We certainly can’t move forward if we stay in the same rutted, routine line of thinking, and if we want to be the best educators (and learners) we can be, we have to unlearn.

 

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My final ILP

Ugh.

I’ve been dreading making this post, not because I didn’t want to post it, but because I didn’t want my ILP to come to a close.

When I first set out to learn calligraphy, I thought it would be (somewhat) of a walk in the park. I knew there was an art to it, sure; I knew there were THOUSANDS of styles to choose from and learn, but there’s something about seeing a piece of art as seemingly simple as handwriting and thinking, “Hey, I can do that myself, easy!”. So you get this faux confidence, and once you start trying it yourself you come to the hard and fast realization that no, this isn’t easy. It’s actually pretty hard. But if it’s something you’re really eager to learn and have a tenacity for, you can get it done.

These past few weeks have consisted of me looking up different styles, printing out every free worksheet I can find, and tracing, tracing, tracing. When I began this I thought tracing was cheating; I wanted to learn it by sight and by sight ONLY, but I’ve come to find that tracing is beneficial in creating muscle memory in your hands, and you really do learn the styles faster. So I traced, and lo and behold some of the trickier styles started to become not so tricky. I paired that with a few scribbled drawings here and there, and I made some stuff I can be proud of.

Like promised, I worked mainly on gift tags and Christmas cards. I’ve got a few I’m still working on; they’re mixed with watercolor, so I’m really taking my time on them (I’ll post another little update in a day or two when they’re done, just because I’m so excited about them). But, here’s a sample of a few tags and a card I’ve made!

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I first did the lettering by pencil, then filled it in with black fine point Sharpie. I also used Twistable colored pencils to do a sort of draw-over for a pop of color on the text. Like always, they’re never as perfect as I want them to be, but I think these look pretty good!

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This has been one of the most enjoyable learning experiences I’ve had thus far. Being able to learn about something you’ve dreamed of for a long, long time has felt like such an accomplishment. Even though my project shifted a bit and I didn’t get as much learned as I’d hope for, this is something I’ll continue to work on. Thank you everyone for all the positive comments I’ve received as well! They have been greatly encouraging throughout this whole journey.

My digital story

So I decided to go a bit of a unique route to tell my digital story; I made a picture book!

I used the Storybird program to do this, and it was a pleasant experience. There’s a lot of illustrations (breathtaking ones, if I may add) to choose from, and by picking an author you can use their illustrations to make your book. You can also do chapter books and poetry on there, but I thought a picture book would be the best medium to use.

I’ll stop babbling about my “book” and let your read it. I have to wait on moderation to put an embed code on here, so for now just follow the link and it’ll take you to the story. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

https://storybird.com/books/my-learning-in-a-book/

 

DS 106 Daily Create 30 day challenge: Days 18-24

 

Another week, another create post!

If it weren’t for my Google Calendar reminders over break, I could have let my mind slip and forget about my creates altogether. It’s not that I didn’t want to do them, it’s just that break was that great! It was truly one of the best Thanksgivings I’ve had in a long time.

That being said, I did get my creations completed, and here they are:

Day 18: Cartoon Yourself #tdc1994 (Nov. 24):

This was the perfect chance to get my Bitmoji exactly how I wanted.

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Day 19: Unlucky Uncliche #tdc2104 (Nov. 25):

Three seeded lemons: can’t drink them, obviously evil.

Day 20:  Turn the DS106 Open Syllabus into #ClickBaitSyllabus #tdc1718 (Nov. 26)

A syllabi clickbait for Shakespeare’s Henry VII: Want Beheading, Divorce, and Baby Saviors of England? Click link to learn more.

Day 21: Make Pentagram Art #tdc2149 (Nov. 27)

Pentagrams within pentagram

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Day 22: DS106 Human Kindness Day Poem #tdc2150 (Nov. 28)

A poem to my mother.

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Day 23: Captain Remington #tdc1497 (Nov. 29)

Take a Frederic Remington painting and make it a meme!

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Day 24: Super Power Selfie #tdc2074 (Nov. 30)

Cat woman. Literally! The ability to morph into any animal I choose.

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DS 106 Daily Create 30 Day Challenge: Days 8-17

WHEW. So after a fantastic weekend in Lincoln watching my boyfriend’s sister’s senior All-State Choir concert, returning home late yesterday, and finally getting time to myself this evening, I’m ready to post my creates from the past week. I’ll admit it was hard to do some of my creates on the go, but this has been a pretty fun, out-of-the-box creative experience.

Without further ado, here are my creates.

Day 8: 1 red element #tdc2135 (11/13)

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Day 9: Write a diamante poem #tdc2053 (11/14):

To summarize, this is what a diamonte poem is (psst: it forms the shape of a diamond, hence diamonte):

Line 1: Noun or subject – one word
Line 2: Two Adjectives that describe line 1
Line 3: Three ‘ing words that describe line 1
Line 4: Four nouns – the first two are connected with line 1; the last two are connected with line 7
Line 5: Three ‘ing words that describe line 7
Line 6: Two adjectives that describe line 7
Line 7: Noun Synonym for the subject

A letterhead is the heading at the top of a sheet of letter paper (stationery). That heading usually consists of a name and an address, and a logo or corporate design,and sometimes a bac

Day 10: Design a pictogram based on your favorite book title #tdc2137 (11/15):

The Book Thief, my all-time favorite.

What goes best with a cup of coffee_

Day 11: Tiny Magical Mouseling Adventures #tdc2138 (11/16):

Three Hungry Mice

Day 12: Folding shadows #tdc2139 (11/17):

A volcano!
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Day 13: What is Your Kryptonite? #tdc2097 (11/18):

Any day of the week.

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Day 14: The Math for the End of the World #tdc2141 (11/19):

Me, anytime I try to do math.

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Day 15: Let’s Draw Small #tdc2115 (11/20):

The tiniest thing I could think of: a button.

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Day 16: Post-it in the Wild #tdc2114 (11/21):

Just a friendly reminder.

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Day 17: Beautiful Spirals #tdc2110 (11/22):

Harvest spiral

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Using Piktochart

So I made a Piktochart. There’s a first time for everything, and this was definitely a rocky first for me.

After reading through the articles this week, I chose Piktochart because the charts and infographics they presented look amazing. I’d seen charts and graphics before on other sites that made me think “Wow, this is aesthetically pleasing and makes me want to read it,” and by picking through Piktochart I guessed that’s where they were made. So, naturally, I wanted to make my own sweet poster to showcase my latest focus on my ILP.

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This is the final product, and I have to say I am VERY happy with how it turned out. It’s clean, gives a nice visual relevant to the topic, and is something I’d be proud to show in public. I will admit I gave myself a small pat on the back after finishing this poster.

Now, let’s go through the steps of making this mini masterpiece. Which, by the way, are far too many than there should have been.

I began by going through the quick tutorial, which gives the bare minimum on how to navigate Piktochart. It’s set up a bit like Adobe Photoshop, so I figured I could find what I needed if only I tinkered with the site for a while. This was partially true; The sidebar has the standard tools like picture, icons, text, color scheme, and such, and it was easy to access those and peek at what they have to offer. It’s a lot; too much, almost, as it’s a bit hard to sift through and find the right icon or text box. The toughest part was finding something I liked, deleting it to try another, and then searching endlessly to find the first item! I started with a blank chart, though there are templates to choose from. However, there’s only about 10 to work with, unless you’d like to “level up” and buy the full version for $39.99. Because my chest tightens when I think of the groceries that could be bought with that $39.99 instead, I elected not to buy the full version.

I also noticed Piktochart was sluggish and often glitched out quite a bit. There were about five times where the page froze and I had to close the tab and reopen, which was irritating. The templates themselves are also kind of hard to really customize, like changing the color of a text box or formatting icons, so I ended up choosing a simpler template.

I think Piktochart is a cool tool to create some really state-of-the-art posters, presentations, and infographics, but I fear that my students would have the same issues navigating it as I did. Perhaps when the bugs get fixed I’ll reconsider my stance on it.

P.S. I now notice I forgot to add the ‘2017’ on the end of my blog address for the poster. I tried to go in and fix it/re-download the image, but after waiting 20 minutes I called it a day. Sigh.

DS 106 Daily Create 30 day challenge: Days 1-7

 

So I finally hopped aboard the Daily Create train.

I won’t lie, it took a lot of reminding (Google calendar is my best friend) to get the creates done, but I’m lovin’ what I’ve made so far. I learned how to make GIFs! If that isn’t the hallmark of millennial technology, I don’t know what is.

Some of the daily creates I picked from creates of days (or years) past depending on what interested me. I posted a couple of my creates on Twitter, but here’s a total list from this first week below.

Day One (11/6): What’s in your toast? #tdc1334

All my fellow Game of Thrones enthusiasts might enjoy this one…I did at least!

Day Two (11/7): Mix up a tourist slogan (real or made up) for one place with a picture of another place #tdc1576

This is a picture from my hometown!

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Day Three (11/8): Illustrate the Idiom #tdc2130

Once in a Blue Moon

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Day Four (11/9): What is Hidden inside Room 106? #tdc2131

Day Five (11/10): Handwritten #tdc2071

A short poem by hand.

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Day 6 (11/11): Six word ride on a roller coaster #tdc1688

How many bugs did I eat?

Day 7 (11/12): What Other Video Game Didn’t Exist? #tdc2134

How can we forget about the game Roy: A Life Well Made from Blips and Chitz?