Kaci Kopec INTE 4340/5340 Learning with Digital Stories

Final Reflection — July 27, 2016

Final Reflection

Final reflection

This course has been a learning experience on so many levels! While frustrating at times and completely unlike any course I have taken before I really enjoyed this course over all! Check out my learning portfolio that highlights some of the learning that was inspired and created over the last eight weeks.

Me as a learner in this course.

The way in which we learned in this course was one of my favorite aspects of the class. Instead of being given very strict guidelines or specific ways in which to learn, we were given flexibility. I know this does not sound that life changing but we were not given flexibility as in pick option A or option B. Instead our learning was really catered to our interests and driven by us as learners. While there were guidelines as to what was required to pass the course and what needed to be done, we were able to pick our own focus of learning. I know for me as a learner having this choice and being able to pick my learning made a huge difference in my interest and dedication. Much like I state in my review of  Voice in Digital Storytelling Through Creativity, Narrative and Multimodality students have to want to do something and see meaning before they want to create. Being flexible and allowing differentiation through choice and self guided learning is a fantastic way to build student buy-in and participation.


One of my favorite parts of this course  was the peer interaction and meaning making. While the course facilitators were definitely present to help guide and offer a helping hand, the hands off approach to this class was refreshing. It really allowed for groups to work together to find answers and explore concepts. While at times with the technology piece it was frustrating to not have explicit instructions, I can honestly say that I learned more and will retain information that I had to problem solve and find for myself. I think as a teacher I strive for this in my own classroom but can be too quick to jump in and help when my kids are struggling. This course has been a good reminder that frustration is not always a bad thing!


This course will impact my future learning through increasing my ability to problem solve and prosper. I really found my bearings in being an independent learner and I think in future endeavors I will strive for that independent experience. When I say independent I do not mean lack of collaboration. I mean working to solve problems on my own and working to find answers on my own. I think growing up and going through so much traditional schooling I sometimes look for confirmation or answers from teachers. I found the lack of that in this course refreshing and in turn will strive for that in future learning opportunities.


I feel like I am very much a connected learner. As a teacher I understand the value of having a strong team for support and working toward goals together. I think this is very applicable to social learning and learning communities. There are a lot of online resources and communities in my district. I plan on getting more in touch with those resources over this school year and looking for other online supports that can help me as a teacher. I really love the idea of finding online communities and utilizing them to find support and answers. As such I see this kind of connected learning being a big part in my professional and personal life.


My co-design in this course

This course was different than previous graduate courses in many ways. Here are the biggest ways that I thought had an impact on learning. Flexibility in content area. As I said earlier being able to choose my focus and manipulate assignments to cater to my interests made a huge difference.  Another big difference was emphasis on technology and technological ability to problem solve/interact with classmates in a meaningful manner. Yes we have all done the group work thing countless times over our academic career. Group work does get people talking and there are a lot of positives. The interaction online in this class was more meaningful to me than traditional group work. Online communication allowed me to function within my learning community and grow while still being able to fulfill my own needs as a learner. Finally the last component that was vastly different was the technological aspect. While many classes in my learning have involved technology this course had technology at its core. While this was not a course in which we were learning how to use technology, the necessity of it made learning it necessary. The technological knowhow (or figure it out) for this course was rigorous but in a good way.  Realistically these are things I need to know and be able to utilize in order to keep up with my class. Incorporating technology in a NON-superficial way was a fascinating experience, and I really enjoyed the learning that went along with it.


I contribute to the development of this course and its associated learning community by bringing my voice into it. The crux of this course is that we are creating a community in which we are sharing ideas and learning together. Without everyone voices, ideas, connections, interpretations, and input the course could not be successful. The dynamic nature of blogging including hyperlinks, gifs, images, sound, animation, tweets, videos etc… gives everyone’s voices and ideas so much more impact and meaning.


I was responsible for directing my own learning by picking my focus area and what materials associated with it I was going to pull into my blog. I fould after picking my focal theme that there are thousands of resources and directions that I could take my ideas. I loved being able to pick the parts that interested me the most and taking my learning (and by association my classmates learning) in whatever direction I was passionate about. I also directed learning through comments that I posted on other’s work and weekly reading. Being able to share my ideas as well as interact and discuss other people’s ideas was a powerful tool within this course.


The only change that I would make to this course would be one reading more geared to what this can look like in a classroom setting. I would have loved to annotate with my group and explore more explicitly what application could look like in a classroom. Getting ideas and hearing what others do would be great. I also do realize that not everyone taking this class is a teacher so I could see how this may be challenging.

My understanding of pedagogy


My understanding of pedagogy. Remi and Lisa designed this course to be very fluid and individualized to each student. They were there to act as facilitators of learning but not creators of learning. I believe the decisions around the course were based off of desired learning outcomes and goals but other than that seemed to be fluid and based off of student learning. As an education I know that I make in the moment decisions all the time based on what my students are saying and doing. I would imagine that Remi and Lisa do much the same thing with our learning.


This course changed my understanding of pedagogy by making me really think about what my role is as an educator. While in traditional education an educator’s job is to impart knowledge on students and then assess for learning the role of the teachers in this course was much different. I now see the importance of taking less of a hands on approach and allowing for students to struggle a little and make their own discoveries. While lessons need focus and a end goal it is important for students to make their own learning and discoveries in order for them to be meaningful to them. There are so many parts and pieces that go into pedagogy but I can truly see from this course that student interest and voice needs to be the driving force behind learning. Students need to be able to learn and explore through social learning and culture. I also see now that technology can help accomplish many of my pedagogy needs and wishes as a teacher.


The only feedback I have as of now is that I really enjoyed the exploration I got to do in this course. I think the materials pulled into the course, the assignments given, and the online resource exposure were extremely effective. This course and the places it took me really opened my mind up to so many ideas and possibilities. I am excited to continue to grow the skills I developed as well as continue to research and push myself. Such an interesting experience and I really enjoyed my learning!

Check out other reflections on learning #ds106 and #ILT5340.

Final Portfolio —
My View On Story Telling Remix —
Week 7 Reflection — July 23, 2016

Week 7 Reflection

This week was a whirlwind! I cannot believe that week 7 is coming to an end! I feel like I completed this week’s assignments really well! I explored other people work who were not in my group which was very fun and interesting! I also explored different resources and outlets that I have no experience such as fanfiction movies! I really liked that a focus for me this week was less on the working technology portion and more on the exploring and discovering new things area.

I think I had the most trouble finding balance this week! I closed on and moved into a new house, so between that and all the moving parts that go along with it I felt a little frazzled this week! I most enjoyed exploring other peoples work and seeing what they have been accomplishing over the last 7 weeks! The different focal themes were so interesting to me! I learned that the world of fanfiction videos is immense and impressive. I really enjoyed exploring and looking into the things that people have created around my favorite books and movies.

I would honestly do nothing differently this week! I think with everything going on and not having internet access until Wednesday it went pretty smooth! I and excited to dive in next week and explore all of our great learning even more next week!

I did not run into any issues this week as far as my focal theme. I am at this point in my learning where I am trying to transition everything I am learning and shift it to a classroom lens for my students. I feel like I have learned so much and I really want to implement it in a meaningful way for my students! I love learning and growing and I feel like my focal theme and experience in this class have allowed for that to happen! Now it is up to me to determine what I do with that learning.

I think me work for this week was meeting expectations. I felt like I used all the resources I could in order to accomplish class expectations. I also feel like my interaction with classmates was strong and I really got a lot of perspective from others around our weekly readings. I really feel like I am pushing myself to make connection from this course and my professional career. I really am trying to be intentional and thoughtful about things I pick to read and review as well as thinking about what this all means for my students.

Check out other peoples thoughts on this week #ds106 and #ILT5340.

How To Develop Voice —

How To Develop Voice

Check out our reading for this week!

The first big takeaway I had from the reading was the definition of what reading is.  Reading is defined as an ability to read and write as well as ability to make connections, conclusions, and associations with text. I have seen firsthand in schools the focus on the reading and writing portion of this definition. While of course students are exposed to the other aspects presented in this definition the focus is primarily around the decoding and writing portion. The connection I made to this was how important it is to service all kinds of learners within a classroom. While some kids may excel in the reading and writing portion there are a whole bunch of kids who live and thrive in the making connections, drawing conclusions, and real life application world! I find it so interesting some of my kids who are awesome at reading and writing struggle to be creative and make connections/inferences within a story. It is so important that we are servicing all types of learners and that means challenging different areas that can be improved as well as giving opportunity to be successful in every lesson. Taking this a step further the reading goes on to make a connection to other forms of text not simply print on paper. Inclusion of this such as images and sound even further the learning types that can be reached and inspired through digital stories. The opportunity for student to demonstrate learning, express interests, find identity, and explore concepts through digital stories is immense! I think classroom dynamics and potential would be positively impacted in so many ways through implementation of these definitions and mentalities.


I also found the portion of this text about writing to be very interesting.  In essence writing is given two definitions. The first is writing with voice and fluency, there is rhythm to the writing and it is similar to the way which we speak. The second definition was writing with real voice which empowers people to pay attention and understand the writing. Reflecting on these definition I think a majority of academic setting teach to the first definition. Students learn a code to writing and use it in order to be successful. There is not a lot of soul or real personal voice in the text. I know as a teacher I definitely see this disconnect. I have such animated students and know them so well, but when I read their writing their personality does not come through. While real voice would take some time and social cultural exploration to develop I believe these skills begin in primary years. I can only imagine the writers that would develop being given the opportunity to really put their voice into work through digital stories and self-exploration.

I got confirmation through this text about how important it is to have students writing about concepts they are interested in and have background information on. I remember being younger and having to write about the, “dumbest things” I would have nothing to write about and would just end up doodling and waiting to ask a neighbor what they wrote about so I could say the same thing. Giving student’s choice in writing not only allows for them to write about something they have investment in but also something that are knowledgeable about. All of our kids are so different picking a topic they are ALL passionate about and also knowledge is impossible. Differentiation through choice is huge in helping with this.


I love this quote, “Thus, the challenge is to create within the child the motivation to write and then to help him or her master the techniques of writing.” Kids have to want to write first and see meaning and purpose before they can fully invest. As such primary years are so important in building that love for writing. Rooting this in self-expression and digital stories is a great way to build this motivation. After there is that buy in on student part then there can be more focus on techniques associated with writing. I think writing has su much potential in our classrooms and is something that kids should intrinsically love if done correctly. I love starting writing and hearing my class cheer because they are excited! This article had a lot to say about building voice in digital stories and other context. I really found it useful and got a lot of affirmations about my own teaching.


Check out more great leaning! #ds106 and #ILT5340


The Power Of Meditation — July 21, 2016

The Power Of Meditation

This week I decided to pick a reading that addresses stress of students in school and its effect on their growing up and lives. As my study focus is growing up I have talked a lot about my own growing personally and professionally. This blog is making that connection to my students and the factors that may contribute to their growth.


I read the article A Quiet Transformation. This article was written by a principal who taught in San Francisco in a middle school setting for 40 years. During his time as principal he watched a number of his students struggle with challenges such as, gangs, drugs, and violence. In his writing he makes the connection that these stress factors coupled with the academic stress placed on students today is compromising their physical health as well as their  cognitive/physiological capacity. As such a number of supports were put into place such as clear behavior goals, after school programs, counseling options, and peer mentoring. While these things helped there was still a large gap in reaching their end goal of student success. The staff decided to try something new and instead of focusing on the cause or the result they additionally focused efforts on reduction of stress itself. As a school they implemented a program called quiet time in which daily school wide meditation routines were put into place. I won’t go into to too many details as I hope you take the time to read the article yourself. The outcome was powerful resulting in less suspension, increase in student productivity, as well as decrease in student altercations. Of all the amazing this this school put in place to help I find it really interesting that meditation was the key to making it all fit together!


I found a special connection to this reading because the school I work at also has students who can have high life stressors. A lot of the support put in place resemble those at my school and a lot of their goals mirror ours. I have been doing all this work on how to find balance in an adults life and why it is important. I immediately make the connection through this article that the same things are necessary for our students. Having that time to center yourself and calm your body is so important as an adult why would the same not be true for our students? I am so glad I found this article and I really look forward to trying this in my classroom and making it my own! I love to see connections between all the different moving parts of my area of study!


Want to see more great learning? Check out #ds106 and #ILT5340

Discovering A New Force! —

Discovering A New Force!

Check out the fanfiction film that inspired this post!

Last week my time was spent looking into and investigating written fanfiction. This week I decided to explore more into the word of fanfiction short movies. I chose a video titled “Kara” | (2016) (An Unofficial Star Wars Film). I must say that overall fanfiction video far surpassed my expectations. I was preparing myself for some epic home video situation. Instead I was given some pretty good quality video with special effects! It was very interesting and fun to explore all the creations related to some of my favorite videos from my childhood. I think that this is a great example of how technology changes the way that kids today interact socially with the world around them. I think back to when I was growing up and I can only imagine how much time I would have loved to spend watching harry potter or ninja turtle fanfiction! I think this relates easily to my area of study because socially these are the things that are shaping growth and development of the culture around us. Fanfiction short films are a fantastic form of remix in which people can explore aspects of their favorite movies and characters further.


The first identity that becomes apparent in this video is expressing fan identity. The video delves into a character named Kara living in the star wars universe. There are multiple references to the original Star Wars movies but through the film the writer stays mostly true to the Star Wars rooting and parameters. The consistency with the original films coupled with the producer’s own twist their fan identity becomes very apparents! The graphics in this film closely resemble those seen in Star Wars further indicating their fan identity and inspiration.


The first  literacy dimensions present in this film was the use of original video that was re-edited to create a new video. I believe this was the process used to get the battling ships and falcon into the video. Pieces and pictures from the original film inspired and were used in order to set the seen and plot for this video. This film also includes faux company credit sequences to give it more authenticity. The addition of this piece makes it look very professional and speaks to the creator’s ability as a short film director and producer.  

This video is brought to life by youtube the site on which it is published. Right off the bat being such as well know name youtube increases the chances the video is viewed and spread quickly to consumers. As well and being able to add notoriety youtube allows viewers to post comment about the video and the creator to respond. It was interesting to read the comments left on the video positive and negative. Some comments were praising the quality and work itself. Others were scrutinizing the factual basis of events in the story. Others were offering advice and possible extensions. I found all the comments would be very useful as the creator in order to refine skills, get new ideas, and increase ability. The attention and comments on the video are in essence what online culture is about so seeing so much interaction off of the video is great!

If I was to change anything about this production I would make the opening scene slightly more in line with original Star Wars introduction. This would really build rapport with avid fans as well as give an opportunity for the creator to give a little insight into the background and precursors to the story. Although the story become clear as the movie goes on in the beginning viewers are left with a let of questions. Having these questions addressed upfront would allow for the film to delve deeper into the story and become more involved.


Check out other great reviews #ds106 and #ILT5340!

The Power Of Facial Expressions —
Sometimes We All Need A Day Off! —

Sometimes We All Need A Day Off!

Movie QUote

Check out the prompt that started it all!

SO as it turns out I misread the direction on this assignment and did my own remix! I chose a quote from the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off because I really enjoyed that movie when I was younger and though that particular quote was applicable to my focus area. The simplicity of the statement that sometimes you need to slow down and take a minute to enjoy life is to the point and so true! The remix portion was I coupled this quote with a picture from the movie Back To The Future. I felt that the two went together because the whole time Marty is racing against time to make sure that his current life stays intact. This is how I feel most of life goes by, you are in such a hurry to accomplish things and get somewhere that sometimes we forget to just stop and enjoy the ride. I feel like the picture within my project represents how life can feel when you have a million things going on. The quote is Ferris’s advice on how to make sure life doesn’t pass you by!

Check out more great learning #ds106 and #ILT5340.

The Grass is Always Greener! —

The Grass is Always Greener!

Check out my daily create assignment!

I chose the aphorisms, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” I chose this aphorisms because O often use it and though it would be fun to look into it a little more! Here is what I came up with.

The Grass is always Greener

If you want to check out more great learning visit  #ds106 and #ILT5340.

Week 6 Reflection — July 14, 2016

Week 6 Reflection

This picture pretty much sums up how I am feeling right now!

I am feeling very accomplished this week! I completed my assignments well and had a lot of fun doing it!  I think my sense of accomplishment this week stems from the balance I have found between everything going on in life right now. I was very proud of the work I completed for this course while juggling what feels like a million things right now. I am glad I got to find the time to explore the world of fanfiction and really think that opening my eyes to that world in a lot of ways!

I think the thing that gave me the most trouble this week was video editing for my assignment bank creation. I am still getting into the world of video editing while I find it to be a lot of fun it can also be frustrating. As such I also found video editing to be my learning for this week. I chose the assignment I did because I wanted to explore more video editing options. I found some cool new tricks and shortcuts so I definitely thought it was a good choice in the end. While I am not at the level I would really like to be I feel like I am off to a good start! The part I enjoyed the most this week was exploring the world of fanfiction. I really like the fanfiction culture and find the whole thing to be very interesting. As I find myself with more time I would love to look into the fanfiction around some of my current interests!

The thing I would do differently is spend more time on recommended text. I have been reading them and skimming as I find interesting points. I would love to spend more time reading classmates comments though!

I do not currently feel like I am having any hardships in relation to my focal theme. I love the broad nature of it and think that it has really given me the opportunity to explore a plethora of options that interest me. I really enjoy the lack of limitations and ability to explore any area that interests me that day. I would really like to be able to foster this educational freedom in my classroom. I have really enjoyed being able to delve into anything that strikes my fancy at the moment and make it applicable to my focal theme. I think a lot of the articles I have pulled into my blog have given me insight in my personal and professional life. I really feel like the past two weeks has created an exemplar for me of how individualized learning can be more powerful than a lot of traditional learning techniques.

I think this week I am meeting course expectations. I think the critical thinking pieces are fitting together and I am making connections to course materials. I really think I have embraced this learning experience and am excited about the growth I am seeing! I hope to continue to be a lifelong learner and I think this course has given me a new direction to go in! More to come next week!

See what my classmates thought about this week #ds106 and #ILT5340!

Ghostbusters Fanfiction —

Ghostbusters Fanfiction


Check out the fanfiction that inspired this post!

I decided to explore a little bit of fan fiction this week. I have never really spent a lot of time exploring or getting into fan fiction, as such I thought it was about time! I chose to look into fanfiction related to Ghostbusters. I chose this because my theme is growing up and when I think about Ghostbusters I think about watching all the movies as I grew up. I also am reminded that as the movies and technology advance they have undergone their own remix and done some growing of their own. I found fanfiction to be extremely interesting and creative. I really like the remix of all the great characters and plots of our favorite movies.

The first type of involvement I see in this work is creating fan identity. Through their creation of this, “pilot episode” as well as following episodes pieces of their fan identity become apparent in their writing. Their willingness to write and publish their work in and of itself is a testament to their fan identity and connection to Ghostbusters.  Along those lines there are also aspects of writer’s identity. As with any piece of self-published work pieces of writer’s identity come through in all aspects of a story. The tone and wording with the text speaks to the writer’s identity. The characters as well as events within the text also are representative of writer’s identity.

The literacy dimensions within the story are understanding of chapters. The writer chooses to write and publish their writing in the form of pilot episodes. Each one has its own beginning and ending point. Breaking work into chunks like this demonstrates understanding of chapters and makes it easy for readers to read work in manageable chunks. This fanfiction writing also demonstrates knowledge of the original story drawn on within the fan fiction. While none of the characters so far are the same as those within any of the Ghostbusters productions there is a basis within her story of the concepts with the movies. There is also much of the same terminology and process as is present within the original stories. Essentially the author has taken the rules and parameters around Ghostbusters and remixed it into their own plot and story.

The online space that brings this story to life is fanfiction.net this is a site on which people can post their fan fiction for movies, books, music, video games, anything you can think of. There is also an interactive aspect on which producers and consumers alike can post, comment, and reply to their work and others. I think the communication aspect brings this website and the work on it to life. You can sort fanfiction based on category or name. As such people who are passionate and driven by the same things can look at each other’s work and create a community around their interest.  I think this could benefit this particular piece of writing because peer interaction could help improve writing and ideas. This also gives opportunity for people to comment and the author the make changes to better their work over the course of their story. Fanfiction.net could have significant impact on their story first by getting it out there for people to see, and second by allowing peer collaboration in order to grow and develop. I think the collaborative aspect offered by Fanfiction.net is awesome and with more recognition and interaction the creator could have a lot of fun with this project!

I think one change I would make would be to increase audience engagement through better character development. As the write is not using the characters directly from Ghostbusters but instead is choosing to use more of the concept and basis for the movies character development is important. This particular, “pilot episode” jumps right into the action portion and never really lets the reader get acquainted and invested in the characters. Along those lines I think the narrative could be improved with more description. While intentions are not clear as to whether this is supposed to be more of a book situation or screenplay as it is currently written it is hard for readers to picture what is happening. The lack of description of visual setting, characters, events etc. makes it hard as a reader to see what is happening and therefore hard to really get sucked into the story. I love to see people taking a chance and putting themselves out there with their work! I especially enjoy that after all these years Ghostbusters is still thriving and continues to be remixed to stay current!

Check out other great reviews #ds106 and #ILT5340.