Samantha's EdTech Blog

Learning about Teaching and Technology

November 8th Class Reflection: ED Tec Presentations

Stop Motion Presentation

  • App called stop motion- free for Apple
  • Question button and shows you what every button means
  • Animated it on Photoshop
  • Added a drawing component onto the stop motion
  • Used twinning button-she did 4 layers
  • Take your time, leave room for error, and have fun with it!




Maps Presentation

  • Google Geographic projects
  • Google Maps
  • How can get students to make own maps- Google My Maps
  • Can find out perimeter, routes, and area of shape
  • Attach media
  • Can colour the map based on numerical value (e.g. temperature and red for hotter and blue for cooler)
  • Share the map to collaborate

Lesson/project ideas

  • Points of interest map
  • Student commentary
  • Family heritage map
  • Where people are from
  • Where they’ve visited
  • Map languages
  • Map out fictional settings from novels
  • Trip planning- real or imaginary

Google Street View

  • Not just streets
  • cultural , political, physical geography
  • Google cultural Institute
  • Museums, natural wonders, architecture
  • Art, curricular content, historical documents, deep dives

Google Earth vs Google Maps

  • Google maps more for utility but don’t get a feel for what places are like
  • Google Earth gives high resolution 3D imagery-immersive experiences for children
  • On Google Earth can:
  • Find your house and get up close with Street View
  • Flight simulator
  • View the past-sliding scale from current to years ago to see how the land has changed
  • View layers- can add for different data-global awareness layer-can see endangered habitats and species
  • I’m Feeling Lucky button- go look at a place haven’t thought to look themselves
  • Google Moon, Mars, and Sky- moon had immersive interactions with apollo missions-narrated by people who were actually on the missions
  • Voyageur- curated tours of various places around the world-one of chimpanzees in Tanzania for example

For lesson plans

  • Could do 20 questions
  • Real world math
  • Explore different environments
  • Create your own KML tour
  • Scavenger Hunt- coordinates and ask children what is at the coordinates found
  • Another wants you to find the latitude and longitude

Using my Maps in the classroom: Grade 4 cross-curricular project

  • Could have students follow main characters during the Gold rush, can measure distances and give criteria for visiting specific sites along the way
  • Could keep road trip journal
  • Can add in custom icons, change the base maps

What Google Maps knows about you can be scary or awesome

  • Give up a lot of privacy
  • Google can track you if you don’t opt out
  • Go into Google maps and click on timeline
  • Settings-location services turn off-won’t track anymore but don’t have the same benefits of convenience
  • In class could talk about online presence and responsibility
  • Can speak about corporations and their power-take your information and use it to sell you stuff. Fair?

What is Digital Literacy and how can we bring it into the Modern Classroom Presentation

  • Information literacy- being aware of what is authentic and teaching kids how to recognize that-quality and credibility-who benefits from the information- biases
  • Ethical use of digital resources-what is plagiarism-how do you properly cite information-do you or do you not need to cite
  • Understanding your digital footprint-passwords, IP address, internet service provider, cookie-what are you leaving behind
  • Protecting yourself online- be careful how sharing your privacy-privacy settings- have a critical understanding- if needed to go deeper- can talk about data encryption and hacking
  • Handling digital communication- don’t be a jerk, don’t let the screen dehumanize conversations, cyber bullying-what to do when someone’s bullying you online-encouraging to walk away, not engage, and tell an adult (build trusting relationships)


  • Experiment more in classroom
  • Promote more student participation
  • Boosts engagement
  • Endless resources that could be used
  • Less paper


  • Can be distracting sometimes
  • Not everyone has equal access
  • Less opportunities for in person group discussion
  • Not all research is reliable
  • Potential exposure to inappropriate content online
  • Cyber bullying
  • Some students and children have little to no experience with digital tools

Strategies, tips, and best practices

  • YouTube- Crash Course Navigating Digital Media Series
  • Fact checking
  • Lateral reading-checking for biases-who’s writing this and why
  • Evaluating evidence
  • YouTube: Crash Course Media literacy series
  • History, influence and persuasion, advertising, media ownership (how impacts us/biases)
  • Canadian specific content
  • Resources for teachers and parents
  • -including lesson plans

Best practices

  • Student choice and voice
  • More creation than consumption
  • Include multimodalities
  • Centre collaboration
  • Ensure accessibility of all learners
  • Crowd-accelerated learning (e.g. citizen science-need data processing but can’t teach computers how to do it so get human brains to engage with data-e.g. Categorizing pictures of galaxies with telescopes galaxy not galaxy galaxy not galaxy-mildly boring-but some really interesting citizen science projects can get students engaged in and working through that data
  • Social media and peer-to-peer social learning
  • Core competencies

How to talk to parents about digital literacy

  • Don’t assume parents understand and are aware
  • Different families have different rules
  • Not all know about their child’s online use and footprint
  • Digital literacy is a key component of the BC Curriculum-21st Century Citizens
  • Communication with parents is key- helping them understand what teaching their kids, how engaging them with digital literacy
  • -You could organize a Digital Family Night (classroom or school wide)


PRO TIP: will give you a new document quick if already logged in

Technology integration

No technology in class is starting point

Think about ways how to Substitute -tech acts as a direct tool substitute, with no functional change (enhancement)

Augmentation- Tech acts as a direct tool substitute, with functional improvement (enhancement)

Go deeper- Modification– tech allows for significant task redesign (transformation)

Redefinition-tech allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable (transformation)



Image from Sylvia Duckworth


Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)

Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK)

Technological Content Knowledge (TCK)- google maps to teach Geography

Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK) how to know how to use technology appropriately/effectively, and not just because new and shiny



Origami Creation 4: Paper cup

Step 1: Fold into triangle

Step 2: Fold one side across

Step 3: Fold other side across

Step 4: Fold the top flaps down

Step 5: Open up and voila! A paper cup.

Origami Creation 3: Swan

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:

Step 4:

Step 5:

Step 6:

Step 7:

Finished swan!

November 1st Class Reflection: Minecraft

We had a great presentation about Minecraft today by a teacher and five Grade 8 students from Colquitz Middle School. They talked about how Minecraft allows people to develop their communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and critical thinking. The teacher talked about how it can also help students to develop their leadership skills, and gave an example, where students would ask her for help and she would give them the recipe on how to do it, and one of herstudents would tell them the materials they needed but would let them figure the rest out. She also talked about how students who were really quiet in some classes would really shine in the computer lab working on games like Minecraft, where their voices really came out. I thought this was a great example of how everyone has different passions and interests and shine in different ways.


October 21st Class Reflection: Inquiry at George Jay Elementary

Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt gave a really great and inspiring presentation about how inquiry can be used in an elementary school. I really liked how she opened the floor to her students and encouraged them to think about their “wonderings.”

She talked about using Ada Twist books, such as “Ada Twist Scientist” by Andrew Beaty, to spark curiosity of children and introduce them to inquiry concepts. She talked about how it is important to provide the right environment for children to ask questions as not all kids have their questions ready right away. An important takeaway I had was the idea that one of the most powerful shifts you can do in adopting inquiry into your practice is to begin learning with questions. It shifts the power! For example, “What are shapes? Can you point out any shapes?” Etc. Inquiry CAN be teacher driven for younger students. It can start out structured and the teacher can gradually release responsibility depending on the situation and the learners.


Her classroom was such a warm and vibrant environment, and really made me feel like the students had a myriad of opportunities to explore in their learning and use their imaginations. As well, Rebecca talked about various ways to honour the children’s questions. Some examples are using a Wonder wall, which ensures all voices are heard, using a Curiosity jar, Wonder journals, clipboards, and iPads  or different modes of technology to express their inquiries and explore in their learning.

October 18th Class Reflection: Graphic tools

  • We discussed how Power Point is an easy tool to use to make graphics, and not just for presentations (can do lots of interesting things with simple software
  • Vectors are fun to draw with because can make as big or small as your like and still clear and crisp, whereas Photo shop resolution is not as good
  • Freeware is open source software can get but asks you to pay after a certain point
  • It was really interesting to see interactive slides on PowerPoint and think about how you can present information in a more engaging way, like covering up the text and then deleting the shapes as you go over the information
  • and are great graphic creation tools online
  • Some other neat apps are: Apps Galore (Freeware app-some free then pay), Prisma, Mirror Lab, 8 Bit Photo, Comica
  • Inpiration and tools from Bryan Mathers ( The Fabulous Remixer Machine

Origami Creation 2: Dog







Step 1:

step 2:

step 3:

step 4:

step 5:

October 11th: Reflection-Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry

I thoroughly enjoyed the visit to the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry (PSII). Jeff Hopkins gave a fantastic presentation, and it was so interesting to hear about how the students are given so much autonomy and choice in their learning. I thought it was great that students can take their inquiries and with the guidance of their teachers, find ways to explore these inquiries and incorporate learning from a variety of subjects or curriculum.

  One of my main questions was how the school ensures their students are self-directed in their studies, and what the process is like to get in. Jeff answered that they talk before admitting the students and make sure they fully understand what they are signing up for, and that after an adjustment period, most students can never go back to the ways of the standard B.C. school system. If students are struggling to start something or do not know how to proceed, the teachers try and scaffold and help them figure out what they need to do, gradually giving them more autonomy over time as needed.

  I also thought it was so interesting that the students can choose what group lessons they want to attend based on what is relevant to their inquiry project and what interests them. The types of learning and projects completed by many of these students are above and beyond what one typically would think possible for most high school students. I love that this program has been so successful and am feeling very inspired to think about ways of incorporating inquiry-based learning, autonomy, and choices in my own teaching practice.

October 4th: Class Reflection-Jesse Miller Presentation

Jesse Miller came and shared his Mediated Reality presentation with the class today and it was incredibly fascinating and educational!

It was really interesting hearing about the various byproducts of the things we do online, like how the information from responding to a CAPTCHA will be used to help AI collect information for self-driving cars, or the various advertising uses of our social media posts and images, to name a few.

Through discussing “Bait-Click” headlines in regards to technology use, such as “Why social media is not smart for middle school kids” and “a philosophy professor argues kids should use more technology, not less” we were reminded of the importance of checking the studies behind these articles to get full and accurate information. For example, in the second headline above, the professor was discussing the various ways families could use technology to build connections with one another, not that children should play video games 8 hours a day.

Talking about the shifting societal changes and behaviours and how to navigate certain tricky situations was really interesting (and anxiety-inducing) as well. There are so many challenges around the appropriate boundaries concerning social media use inside and outside of the classroom. A good point was that if the classroom is an engaging place to be, there will be less issues with cell phone use most likely. One’s private life is not really private and it is important to keep in mind one’s role as an educator in all aspect of their life. As well, making sure you have all your bases covered and are keeping in mind the policies and expectations of yourself in your role as an educator at all levels is crucial so that the public, parents, staff, and students are all happy.

Also important, is respecting children who have interests in technology-related activities outside of the  classroom. We talked about how society has changed so that now gaming is a huge culture, E Sports is a way children can be involved in teamwork and critical thinking and can lead to future careers and monetary rewards. A child’s wish to be a You-tuber is not just a fanciful dream, but a real possibility. Educators need to think about their preconceived notions surrounding technology and acknowledge the pitfalls and take precautions, but also think about all the beneficial and relevant ways children are using technology today and how we can be a part of this dialogue.


A quote from Jesse’s slides that I will leave you with:

“We shape our tools and thereafter, our tools shape us.” – John Culkin

September 27th Reflection: Video making and climate change action

  I really enjoyed trying out iMovie today and learning about some of the little tweaks you can do to make your movie more interesting. I had never used it before, and it was a fun, easy introduction into the world of home movie making. I especially enjoyed using the green screen and searching through the audio options. 

  I took part in the climate strike walkout at 11am on September 27th, and made sure to take lots of pictures from the event. It was unbelievable! The energy in the air was crazy; there was such a feeling of hope and resilience. It was really powerful to see all the signs, and ways people were coming together to fight for the future of our planet. Below is a short video slide of pictures I took from the event.

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