Blending Social Justice

How can I use online or blended learning as a teacher? How could either of these options enhance the learning experience of my students. How can I change my pedagogy to use technology to change and enhance student learning? Diana Oblinger and Brian Hawkins argue that if teachers implement technology to enhance a presentation, but everything else about the lesson remains the same, the learning will not change.

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All of these questions are floating around in my head while trying to plan a blended learning opportunity. My groups members (Benita Struik and Megan Weisbrod) and I began by trying to come up with an idea of a class we could use for this blended learning assignment. We all teach different subjects and different ages of students so we needed something that would be useful for everyone. What we came up with is not a class from the Saskatchewan Curriculum but more of a resource package on social justice using the blended learning model that could be accessed across grades and subject areas.

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I’m not entirely sure how this will look yet. Any suggestions and/or feedback is welcome. We thought we would offer three modules:

  1. What is Social Justice?
  2. Types of Social Justice – Global Issues
  3. Get Involved – Local Issues – What can you do?

Although our plan is for these modules to be used by anyone, we will be planning with our students in mind. We all teach at risk, disengaged students, from lower income families.

So far, we are thinking of using Google Classroom as our platform. I have never used any blended learning platform at all so I would like to do a little more research to see if it is the best one for our needs.

The module I am going to plan is ‘What is Social Justice.’ I have ideas on how to I would teach this in a face-to-face model, and even how I could use technology to improve engagement, but I’m having trouble imagining how I will my implement the instruction part with a video or podcast, and how this would further engage or increase learning. Any ideas and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Crochet is Cool

I have all my supplies and I’m ready to actually start crocheting. One of the blogs I read said it was easier to learn from pictures than it was from a video. I found some step by step photos and was completely lost! I couldn’t follow them and didn’t know how they got from one photo to the next. Panic was starting to set in. I went to youtube to see if I’d have better luck there. It was so much easier to learn from the videos. Crisis averted. I found a number of very helpful videos. They went through the process slow enough that I could follow along and repeated steps so I didn’t get lost.

This is a good reminder for me when teaching in the classroom. Sometimes I may go through things too quickly because I want the students to be able to finish before the bell rings. Then, because I’ve gone too quickly, they are confused or do the task wrong and it ends up taking more time. At times, I feel they really should have gotten it with the instructions I gave, forgetting that they have never done this before and I’ve done it many times. The feeling of panic I experienced when I wasn’t understanding the process is again a good reminder for me of what my students may be experiencing when they aren’t catching on to a concept right away.

Not all videos showed everything I needed so I had to watch more than one. To begin I learned the parts of the crochet hook, how to hold the hook, how to hold the yarn, how to make a slipknot, and finally, how to make a chain stitch.

Here’s a video of what I have learned so far. This is the first time I’ve made a video (had to go to Best Buy today to get a tripod that would hold my phone) so bear with me.

It is a bit difficult to get the hang of and I kind of feel like my fingers don’t work properly. I’m sure it looks a bit like my toddler learning how to use a spoon! Practice makes perfect I hope. The chain stitch, from what I understand, is a really important stitch as it makes up the first row for all projects. I guess I better get practicing!

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I was really excited when I did manage to chain together some stitches. I even had to show my friends when they came over for my birthday get together. We decided that crochet is cool, or maybe it was just me, and they just went along with it because it was my birthday! Either way, I am enjoying the process so far and I am excited to actually make something.