Positive Vibes

For the past two weeks I have been leaving positive messages around campus and town to help anyone who sees them to have a good day. For the first week I wrote notes on pieces of paper and put them onto cars around our campuses parking lot. It’s a stressful time of year for university students, everyone is scrambling to finish midterms while also trying to begin studying for upcoming finals! I figured after a long day of school it would be very exciting to come back to your car and see something kind on your window. What I didn’t think of is that when you’re approaching your car and you see a piece of paper on it, a car owners mind immediately jumps to two things :

1: I got a parking ticket

2. Someone hit my car and left a note with their details

Now obviously I didn’t mean to scare people into thinking their day was ruined more, but I did it on some of my friends cars and their said it was too much of a rollercoaster of emotions for them to be super worried and then just read a little note! So I decided to try something new the following week.

Week two of positive messages I wrote kind words on rocks and placed them around campus and around town. This was a fun art project that i was able to include my friends into and was also very visually appealing. I thought this would be a great way to spread positivity throughout the community without leading people to think of the financial burden associated with car mishaps.

The rocks were cute, and when people saw them they definitely liked them… but they were a lot harder for most people to see. In general when someone is walking they’re not looking directly down on the ground, which is something I didn’t think of because I never think of how we walk I just simply walk. So this one worked pretty well, however, I knew I wanted to do better for my final week.

Week three of positivity was a hit. I went back to campus and decided to aim this one directly at students who are running out of money, stressed with exams, and struggling to get to class on time. In my room I have a jar of change, I don’t often spend change when it’s given to me so I end up putting it into a mason jar and never knew what to do with it! I decided that I would put little bit of change into individual plastic bags (I know plastic.. I am sorry for the environment impact) and then I hung these bags on parking meters around campus.

This is something that definitely excited students, made their days, and encouraged them to go through their day with the “pass it on” attitude.

QR Codes

QR codes are a useful tool for teachers to use when creating handouts and worksheets. They are small square boxes which, when scanned, bring the reader to an external link. The codes are quite easy to create as there are many websites which will generate them for you! All you have to do when making them is attach the link or file that you are wanting the code to bring your students to and then click “go”. The website will then generate a code for you which you can copy, paste, or print to wherever you would like!

QR Code for peacemaking in Victoria

In the classroom this is an awesome way to link tutorials onto complicated math problems, audio clips onto readings, and even youtube videos for extra information/visual aides! And example of this could be on a complicated question from a math homework sheet. Attached to the question and be a code which will show students how to do the problem if they get stuck.

If you have followed my other blog posts you may have seen the one under the “Open Inquiry” tab titled “Placemaking”. When a group or my peers and I created a handout for faculty and parents about the positive impact of peacemaking, we added a QR code at the bottom which would bring them to an interactive map of popular placemaking sites around Victoria. If you are intrigued by QR codes and are now wanting to try one out, feel free to give that one a shot and experience some of the beautiful art that this city has to offer. This is placed above!

Augmented Reality in the Classroom


Augmented reality is an awesome learning tool that can be used in classrooms for all ages. There is a cool app that was demonstrated to us today in class called HP reveal. This allows teachers to create hot spots on text which, when students scan, whatever the teacher links to it will appear on the screen. Teachers can link tutorial videos to math problems. answer keys, audio clips, and so much more! A specific example that was shown to us was with chemistry. Our teacher had three cards with elements on them, in this case there were two single hydrogen cards and one oxygen card. As our teacher pushed them together the cards appeared to be folded together to show the element created: H2O. This technology can be used for so many learning opportunities which students would not otherwise have!

Virtual reality is a form of augmented reality which can be users useful learning tool for older students. This technology allows students to be brought to and experience different places around the world in a realistic manner. It is a great aide for hands on and visual learners to be able to experience and learn! The downside to virtually reality is that many people grow nauseous while using it, it has some affects on brains functioning systems, and, because of these affects, children under the age of thirteen should not use it. Everyone should limit themselves to 30 minutes maximum while using this equipment to help ensure their psychological and physical safety remains the same.

Coding

In class today we had a group of classmates present what they have learned about coding over the past few months. They showed us all the hard work that they had put in and explained that so much work and understanding goes into a basic code. Basically coding is even more difficult than you think it is going to be, which my preliminary assumption was already that it would be quite difficult! They also explained that it is easier for children to learn, as with any new skill, and there are apps that are being made to help teach students how to code such as Move theTurtle.

The group used the app “Scratch” to teach themselves how to code and then gave us some time as a class to try and figure out what to do. I must say that this is not an area of technology where I excel, but it was definitely cool to see what I can do! The website we went to was: http:// codeclubprojects.org/en-GB/scratch/

This website offers step by step instructions on how to code multiple different things. It contains many different projects for people of all coding levels. This would be an awesome tool to incorporate into the classroom to help teach students how to code. It not only will allow each individual to work at their own pace in an encouraging way, but also will advance students technological knowledge and will provide them skills which will help them throughout their future educations and career.

Microbit https://microbit.org is a different coding program which is in javascript instead of blocking. The group learning to code recently moved on to learning on this platform but I am far from being capable to do so. Basically Javascript shows you underneath the hood of the car and blocks are like being able to change your windshield wiper fluid and fill the gas tank. The group learned how to pay rock paper scissors against a computer.

Manual Mode

For our final blog post we decide it was time for us to learn how to use a camera in manual mode. Where as in our previous blog posts we demonstrated how a camera could be used as an educational tool, this week we have learnt the basics of how to take pictures without using the highly convenient “auto” mode. The first step the learn how to do this we had to understand what aperture, shutter speed, and ISO actually do in a digital camera.

Aperture

The aperture refers to the how wide the shutter is opening and will affect how much light is being exposed to the sensor, but also the focal length of the photos you take. When you are in a very sunny environment not as much light is needed to reach the cameras sensor to create a picture, so using the aperture you can set the shutter to open only slightly. When taking a photo in a dark environment more light is needed to for the camera to be able to create a photo, so in this case you can set the aperture to be larger so the shutter will open more to let more light onto the sensor. For photos where only a smaller depth of field is desired, a larger aperture is needed. For example a close up photo of a plant or a portrait of someone. A smaller aperture is needed for photos of a larger area, such as a landscape photo, so everything in the frame will be in focus.

Large Aperture (f/5.6)
Small Aperture (f/10.0)

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is the speed of which the shutter is opening and closing. This can be used to take photos of thing moving very quickly making it appear if they are standing still, or using a long shutter speed will make water looks soft and blurred or cars long steaks moving across the entire photo. If your shutter speed is too slow your photo could be overexposed, or blurry if your subject moves. If it is too fast your photo may end up underexposed.

ISO

ISO is the measurement of how sensitive your camera sensor is to light. ISO 100 is a low sensitivity, and would be used in sunny conditions where the sensor does not need to be very sensitive to achieve the correct exposure. A lower ISO also shoots a very clear, non-grainy photo. A high ISO, such as ISO 3400, would be used in low light conditions, such as a dark museum, to increase the camera’s light sensitivity and multiply the smaller amount of available light.

High ISO 6400


Lower ISO 200


Triangle of Exposure

These 3 functions all have an effect on your photo and must always be in balance with one another. If you were to set your aperture to be more large to let in more light and also set your shutter speed to be very slow you may end up with a very overexposed photo like this.

The stats on this photo are F / 4.5, 1/4000, and ISO 6400. So in the case of this photo the aperture was letting in lots of light by opening the shutter very wide, and the shutter speed was very fast to match this and not let the shutter stay open too long, but the ISO was very high meaning the sensor was very sensitive to light. The ISO and the aperture were not matching in this photo so it turned out to be over exposed. To make this photo balanced we would have needed to lower either the aperture so less light came in the lens or lower the ISO the sensor was less sensitive to light. To create a normal photo the aperture, shutter speed and ISO must all be in balance to not have a photo that is over or underexposed.

f / 5.6, SS 1/4000, ISO 6400
f / 4.5, SS 1/1600, ISO 100


/ 5.6, SS 1/3200, ISO 6400


f / 5.6, SS 1/320, ISO 400

Audio and Video Editing

A few months ago we learned some useful tools for audio and video editing that are simple and get the job done. I’m not sure why I never wrote about it, however, I want to share this experience and these tools with you all!

To edit our movie clips they introduced iMovie to the class. For some this was a new experience, but I had already used this tool to edit some projects in past semesters. It is definitely an intimidating app when you first get into it because it takes some practice, so don’t jump in right away thinking you can easily do it, definitely a lot yourselves some time to research tutorials. Once you upload your videos that you are wanting to edit together or cut, you can easily follow the directions on the bars below and above! Remember that nothing is permanent and you can always undo your edits. The one part that confused me the most was trying to add music/audio files on top of your videos. iMovie has fixed sounds that you are able to use, and granted there are many sounds, but because of copyright reasons you can’t actually add music over your videos! Maybe you can and have just yet to figure it out, so if someone know how please message me and teach me how!

Garage band was the next app that we used and this is for audio editing. I used this software once in high school when our teacher assignment us a “Bio Rap” so we had to take the audio track, record ourselves singing, and then overlap the two. This is also a tricky tool when you first get into it so its important to give yourself a little bit of time to learn the terms, controls, and to figure out the overall software. Once you get a hang of it it is a very simple tool to use! I was able to figure out how to use it at the age of 17 with no help so it is definitely a tool which can be easily incorporated into the classroom!

You can also use the musical keyboard which is where you click the keys to generate sound and the sounds go directly onto garage band an allow you to overlap them! You get a very crisp sound which goes right onto your track when you use the piano, it also makes it so that you don’t have to own keyboard. It only had one octave at a time though, and because if this small range of keys you cannot do a duet.

Final Music Reflection

This past semester I set out to learn how to play the ukulele. My original goals were to learn a  few basic chords and scales and then maybe learn a song. When I was making these goals I did not know much about the ukulele, quickly after beginning to learn my first two chords I realized that scales are not as commonly practiced on string instruments so decided to jump right into learning a basic song. The first song that I learned how to play only had three chords in it and is a very well known pop song for me and my peers, it was Riptide by Vance Joy. Learning the chords was difficult but it was a challenge that I took on and accomplished, the harder part was definitely learning the strumming pattern.

I decided that instead of trying to perfect every chord transition and strumming pattern, which drove me crazy trying to do, it would be more fun for me to learn a few songs that my friends will be able to sing along to while we are spending time together at the beach. So far I have learned how to play: Riptide, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and Country Roads. Once I learned the basic chords in Somewhere Over the Rainbow it was easy to find other songs which contained these! I think the hardest part of learning a new song, still, is having to learn a new strumming pattern. I found with the last song I learned, which is Country Roads, that if I drew out big arrows on a piece of paper in the direction of the strumming pattern, that it is a great visual cue for me while I am playing!

The hardest song out of the three is definitely Country Roads, I still struggle with some parts of it when I play. This song introduced me to finger plucking the chords as well as doing a strumming for the chorus, i didn’t realize just how challenging putting the two together would be! Even harder than that is try to get my singing to match the song even though I’m finger plucking much slower than the real time. I am very proud of myself for being able to play the song from beginning to end even without singing, so adding singing on top was just the icing on the cake! My playing is far from perfect, however I still wanted to share it to show how far I have come already.

I have been very sick the past few months, I have a had a very bad cough which I am on antibiotics for and the doctors are still figuring out what is wrong. Because of this, it has been really hard for me to practice my singing! It is very rare for me to be able to make it through an entire song without having a full-blown cough attack where it is hard to breathe, but it is so much more fun to sing while I play.

I am so proud of myself and all the work that I have put into learning the ukulele. I was very hesitant at the beginning of the semester because I am not usually very good at self-regulated learning and dedicating time for myself to accomplish tasks. I think because I knew this about myself I put a lot of time in in the beginning so that I could definitely accomplish my goals! Since my midterm reflection video, I am no longer doing ten minutes a day, but I am playing more frequently as a way to relax rather than as a school project that I have to learn. I’ve never experienced playing an instrument for fun or simply laying down and thinking “I want to be playing an instrument” was not only a super weird lifestyle change for me but it has also helped me drastically reduce my screen time and get a better nights sleep!

I am thinking of buying a ukulele of my own this summer. My dad was so excited when he found out the songs I was learning that he pulled out his old guitar and learned the same ones. When I go back to my parents house to visit on holidays him and I are going to have our own little jam session, and I am so excited to be able to make these memories with my father thanks to this course.

This whole process has helped me to learn more about myself and my own learning habits, as well as has forced me to reflect that everyone learns in very different ways at varying rates. A large group of us set out to learn to play the ukulele over the past few months and everyone has accomplished different skills. Some are off writing their own songs and singing, some have learned a song, and others are proud that they were able to learn three basic chords! This whole project helped to put me back in the shoes of the learning rather than the instructor. It will definitely help me when I am creating lesson plans and assignments. Now when I am figuring out what to do for assessment or for projects I will be sure to try and create a place for all learners as well as allow them to practice regulating their learning in order to create proper study habits for the future!