Kaci Kopec INTE 4340/5340 Learning with Digital Stories

Surviving Your First Year — July 12, 2016

Surviving Your First Year

This week I chose an article that aligns with my professional growth. This coming school year will be my 3rd year of teaching. After reflecting on our weekly class reading and participating on some online group discussion I began thinking about how we prepare individuals to become teachers. I reflected on my own experience and what I found to be beneficial/detrimental. As such I thought this article titled How Can Schools Support Beginning Teachers? A Call for Timely Induction and Mentoring for

Effective Teaching, would be fitting.

I was first drawn to the article because the introduction very accurately covers what a first year teachers experience is often like. Its aim is to convey to readers why there is a need, but this section also for me was an affirmation that this is totally normal. The portions that stand out to me were first there is a gap between theory and actual implementation in a classroom. This got me wondering what in reality is really stick from years of education and what is lost in translation trying to, “survive” your first year teaching. Secondly the emphasis on expectation stood out to me. As a first year teacher the expectation and demand is the same as veteran teachers who have had years to fine tune their skill. As such I believe that additional support is needed. But what does that really look like?

This article state that major contributing factors to success are mentoring for effective teaching, quality preparation and careful selection of mentors. Careful selection of mentors includes not only strong teachers who exhibit qualities of being a good teacher, but also teachers who are trained on how to be an effective mentor. This article goes on to talk about how one mentor is not as effective as a whole school approach. Each professional within the school can offer assistance with different areas they are best at. I am fortunate to be at a school with a lot of support and I think this whole school mentality would be extremely beneficial. Making a connection to our course learning the social nature of the whole school approach would allow for increasingly more growth than a traditional mentoring model.

The article then goes on to discuss the three biggest causes of burnout of new teachers. Lack of appreciation from students, lack of professional recognition, and lack of collaboration. I personally can attest to the importance of having a supportive and collaborative team and how much it helps as a first year teacher. This section concludes by adding that in order for steps to be taken to fix these things first year teachers must be asked their opinion on school support and need for change. I thought that was so interesting and definitely necessary. Getting teacher opinions on how support in currently lacking and what would be the most helpful seems like the best way to initiate meaningful change.

Their findings were that individual teachers felt that their needs for support differed from person to person. Although it is a subjective experience there were some common themes, “managing student behavior, creating a work-life balance, in which resilience strategies needed to be part of the preserve teacher development, including problem-solving techniques, and ways to manage people within the work environment”. I thought the following image was a powerful summary of way in which first year teachers could be supported.


As we get closer and closer to beginning a new school year I plan on passing this along to my principal. Hopefully this will help myself and others to aid all the first year teachers’ e come into contact with!

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Collaborative Learning —

Collaborative Learning

Check out our reading for this week!

One thing that really stood out to me in this reading was the following quote, “by separating learning from ‘authentic’ activity grounded in physical and social contexts and situations, formal education largely defeats its goal of promoting ‘useable, robust knowledge.” I think that the preface for this statement is very much rooted in old school teaching techniques. I agree that education in the past has been very much segregated from, “authentic” activities rooted in social context. I also think that there has been a really big push in this area and a ton of growth has been happening in schools. Even as a teacher who got my teaching license recently and has only been teaching for 3 years, I was exposed to a lot of, “old school teaching techniques” in my student teaching. As a first and second year teacher some of the teachers I work with are still very worksheet based/separation oriented in their teaching style. I love to see and work with teachers who push themselves to develop in order to make this classrooms more usable and robust for our students. I think the remix of education that is currently happening is inspirational and I am excited to see everyone get on board!

Another big learning for me was the idea that, “Activity, concept, and culture are interdependent.” I have in my teaching and learning over this course and others have already gained a lot of insight into this. Seeing it in the text presented in this manner I think really drove the point home for me though. I really think learning should be so multifaceted that all three components are present. As the text states one cannot stand alone without the others. In order to get truly meaningful learning activity, concept, and culture all need to be present. The idea that learning concepts are linear and fixed in not accurate when working with kids. Showing examples or reading from a book does not create the diverse learning which we hope our students can access. In order to get away from these fixed practices we as educators must address all three aspects of learning. The shift in learning needs to ensure that lessons are addressing means, contexts, and generate knowledge.

I also found the three related factors of social learning to be very interesting. I had not previously made explicit connections to these things and social learning until reading this chapter. The first factor was a nice inclusion of developments in social learning and what changes needed to preface these concepts. The increased need of knowledge for all different skill level positions was something that stood out to me. In order to compete with job outsourcing and increase in competitive edge working citizens had to increase knowledge and furthermore make learning a lifelong process in order to stay current. Along with this increase in knowledge and skill there were increases in complexity and need for everyday systems. Increased in rigor of competition and expectation lead to need for better systems in order to keep business functioning. The min connection that stood out to me here was the need to people to be able to recognize these systems and be able to participate and operate within them. And finally technology is a factor in social learning. As technology continues to advance and connect more and more people the impact of social learning continues to increase. These technologies make way for a plethora of diverse contexts and opportunity for multifaceted learning using a medium that students are already invested in.

So much to consider from just one reading! Want to see more great learning and response to this chapter check out #ds106 and #ILT5340.


Watching One Of My Favorite Characters Grow Up — July 11, 2016

Watching One Of My Favorite Characters Grow Up

Take a look at the prompt that started it all.

Check out my Video completion of Harry Potter’s transformation as he grows up. I absolutely love the Harry Potter stories! I would read them religiously as I grew up. I remember pre-ordering copies of the books and getting them the very day they were released. I would sit and read the book cover to cover and be a missing person until I had finished. That being said I of course love the movies as well. I think that this is one of the only series I actually live the movies as much as I do the books. 

I thought that Harry potter fit with my focal theme in two ways. First I correlate Harry potter with my own youth and growing up. I was so engrossed in these books and characters as a child! I wish I had the social media outlets there are now when I was into these books in my prime. I would have loved to really explore the characters with other peers my age in the digital world! Second I think this fits my theme of growing up because as the book/movies progress we literally get to watch Harry grown up and develop. Even within the context of the movies along you can physically see Harry as well as other characters as they grow over the production time of the movies. Within the books we get to read about Harry growing up and see how he changes and grows based off of his experiences and obligations. I was really excited to get this opportunity to explore how one of my favorite characters of all time grows and changes over the course of his story. 

Ready for more great learning? Check out #ds106 and #ILT5340

More Vampire Novels! —

More Vampire Novels!

Check out the daily create that sparked my interest!


The craze that never seems to end is vampires! I chose to pick some well known vampires and put them all together in my cover. Looking up all kinds of vampires through time was a lot of fun! I picked mostly more recent characters as they pertain more to my age group.


Check out more great learning #ds106 and #ILT5340!

Monkeying Around! —

Monkeying Around!

Check out the daily create assignment that started it all!


In my story a monkey who has has a few too many bananas is trying to impart his wisdom on this dog who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. While the monkey is preaching to the dog about life the dog is looking to his owner asking for help. Super cute picture!!


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Weekly Reflection —

Weekly Reflection

I completed this week’s assignments as well as I could. I had a lot of fun with this week’s assignments, and worked to understand my photo editing and audio editing software more thoroughly. I recently switched my photo and  audio editing software and  I really enjoyed getting to know it better this week and using it more effectively.


I had the most trouble specifying what I wanted to focus on for this week. I found myself very involved in my peer work and really enjoyed delving further into other’s work and blogs. As such I think it was hard to focus what I wanted to dig further into and really focus on for this week. The thing I enjoyed the most was really exploring my group’s focus and exploring all the great learning they have discovered. My biggest learning was around how collaborative learning has such an impact on meeting goals. I really liked hearing my peers sound off on their growth and ideas based on learning from collaborative efforts. I really liked hearing other sound off on group learning and having my confirmation on what group learning looks like and its benefits.


If I could go back in time the the only thing I would change is my ability to respond not only to my blogs but also to the blogs of others I had commented on. I have found the comments and responses on my classmates to be very beneficial. As such I would love more time to interact within this realm.

As of now I do not have any issues around my focus area. I have really enjoyed my personal research as well as my peers research and reading/exploring it. So far I think this is a great fit for where I am in my life!

I have exceeded expectations I have set for myself in personal growth and exploring in order to grow myself, I really have enjoyed growing based off of course expectations as well as classmate exploration.  I  meet expectations on my own growth and self expectations in this course. I think from the beginning of this course I have tried to grow in technological advancement and I feel like I pushed myself in this area this week. I feel like I was below expectations in thinking outside the box. Next week I would really like to challenge myself to explore different facets I am not as familiar with

Over all I think this was a very strong week of study! I would love to continue to explore my classmates work as well as push myself to grow further!


What Teaching About Computers Really Is — July 8, 2016

What Teaching About Computers Really Is

While this Ted Talk does not relate directly to my focus I think it is so applicable to this class I could not pass it up! I chose to blog about the Ted Talk titled Linda Liukas: A delightful way to teach kids about computers.


The type of involvement I saw in this video was expressing a social commentary. The presenter speaks to our lack of education to kids about computers and how they really function and work. While we spend time talking to think about how to operate programs or work computers we are in essence training them to be consumers. She speaks to the lack of education about coding and computer parts. I really appreciated her stance on the need for education in these areas and though her presentation was moving.


The biggest literacy dimension I identified was the presenter’s message that appeals to others. Her reason for presenting this on Ted Talk as well as creating an entire curriculum for kids to learn about computers was due to the need for change. Her message appeals to others because it call for change that is necessary for our kids in order to stay current and make a difference when they get to their adult age. The second literacy dimension was her ability to convey a lot of meaning in a little amount of time. Her presentation lasted only eleven minutes and three seconds. Even for a Ted Talk that is a short amount of time. In that eleven minutes she was able to cover a lot and really get her point across in a meaningful way. I think her addition of stories was amazing and really substituted a lot of parts that could have easily become wordy. Instead she painted a picture of her vision using anecdotal supports.


The first online space that really brings life to this presentation is Ted talk itself. Having the opportunity to create a Ted Talk and have it posted on this sit in and of itself gives her a lot of reputability. On the Ted Talk website her video already has 1,319,709 views. Other online supports for the presenter are her twitter account, her website offering information and access to her books, as well as a personal website linking it all together.  These matter to the impact of the story because it give listeners next steps after hearing her ted talk. They can look further into her work and message in order to take it and remix it or implement it in their own way. These supports are great ways in which to give people information and empower them to help you in your cause.

Based off of my assessment I think the only thing I would change would be more information included in her presentation about how she implements her, “curriculum”. It was not clean as to if she did this for a research project, if she offers classes, if she develops curriculum, or if she teaches and this is part of a classroom. I would like to know a little more about the background behind her stories so I can better understand her presentation. I think having a basis for her stories within the presentation would strengthen her message.


Check out more great learning #ds106 and #ILT5340.

How Te Relax —

How Te Relax

Piggybacking off of my article from last week I chose to focus this week on ways to distress your life. I chose an article titled relaxation techniques. I really think that having skills necessary to reduce stress can help make you more successful in other areas of your life. While this piece of writing aims more towards college students I think it can be applicable to everyone!

The portion I found to be the most helpful was the discussion about different types of relaxation techniques.

One form of relaxation is autogenic training. This techniques utilizes visualization and body awareness to help move a person to deep relaxation. When using this technique you visualize somewhere calming and focus on different body parts for example, your limbs, breathing, or calm heartbeat. I really liked this techniques because it is something that you can quickly and easily take a break and do.

The next relaxation technique is breathing. Simple right! To accomplish this one hand needs to be placed on your chest while the other is placed on your belly. Take a deep big breath in and slowly exhale. While you do this focus on the movement of your body and hands.

This article also talks about utilizing progressive muscle relaxation. This involves tensing and releasing each muscle group individually. You start with your toes and work all the way up to your neck and head. I can imagine now having calming music on and taking a few minutes to do this. I am one of those people who holds all of my stress in my muscles. I often and clenching my muscles and do not even realize it. Something like this could distress and relax me and my muscles!

The next tool they talk about it meditation. As meditation is such a prevalent thing in our culture now I am not going to spend a lot of time talking about this.

Last but not least this article introduces guided imagery. This involves listening to a recording or therapist voice while they guide you to a state of relaxation. When completely relaxed the state of mind that you are in can help you to have revelations related to emotions health and spiritual well being. I have never personally tried this but it sounds interesting. Some shortcomings I see are that it may not be something you can do without help or immediately. This would also be more time consuming and require the proper environment (quiet, peaceful, clean) to be successful. I think if you could pull this off it would be a fantastic way to accomplish deep relaxation.

This article then goes on to in a nutshell identify the reasons you should use relaxation techniques, how they work, what to watch out for, and practicality of doing it on your own. I love the straightforward and easy to use nature of this. If you are already stressed it’s a great quick reference to use for advice. As I am buying and moving into a new house next week I may need to try one of these! Next time you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed maybe one of these techniques can help make life manageable again!


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Why Technology — July 7, 2016

Why Technology

Check out our reading this week!

I loved the following quote from Jenkins (2008), “for the generation which has come of age alongside networked computing, these practices  do  not  simply  represent  “entertainment” or  “distraction. “These practices are important gateways into larger learning cultures that help support young people as they construct their identities and navigate their social surroundings.” I think this is at the crux of why it is so important to value technology and incorporate it as a teacher. Today’s kids really find identity within technology. Technology is not just a time waster or distraction it is at the crux of their social growth, identity, and learning. As such the old school teaching techniques feel more foreign to them than anything computer based. Another connection I made was that technology is a gateway and support in helping students learn. This makes complete sense as technology is so prevalent and imperative to our kids learning. Technology allows for students to access and implement effective learning strategies as well as have control over their own learning. Making a connection to my own classroom I see this all the time. Some of my lower readers will challenge themselves so much in their work as soon as it is computer based. I love watching my lower readers explore a reading website or program and not only picking their own learning but challenging themselves to read more! The above quote really resonated with me and truly is what I believe as an educator.


I loved the portion of this reading that talked about making connection to the real world and rooting learning in real world application. At the end of the day as teachers we are trying to prepare students to participate in and function in a fast paced world. Rooting learning in real world connection and application is really the most effective means to this end. This coupled with incorporation of DIY practices and progressive teaching could change learning and success for all of our students. I love the idea of students making online connections and meaning in their own way but also incorporating their learning into it. As a teacher I think this is the ideal way to demonstrate learning and mastery of classroom concepts. Not only do they first have to understand and know the material but they have to remix it and incorporate it in a meaningful way to them.
Another big takeaway for me was that teachers need to get their hands dirty and do it themselves and learn. As an educator you are never done learning and technology is part of that! In order to do our jobs as educators to the best of our ability we need to be current on technology and explore. We need to have an understanding of technology and its ability in order to integrate it into the classroom in a meaningful and productive manner. If we as teachers don’t first have a basic understanding how can we hope to maximize the potential of learning technology can offer. Furthermore I think teachers also need to realize that they technology piece is something that everyone is working on and can support each other in. I would love to see learning communities and supports within my school to help teachers develop and grow together. As a joined team we could accomplish so much more and be so much more effective!


For more great learning check out  #ds106 and #ILT5340


Me Then and Now — July 6, 2016

Me Then and Now

Check out the Daily Create assignment that started it all!

While the assignment was to recreate the same pose and location neither were very likely.

I am 28 now so sitting on someones solders is not so easy, so I went with a good old fashioned piggy back ride because that is pretty close! I also could not replicate the location as my grandparents have sold their house since taking this photo.

Then- In my then picture my Uncle Alan is giving me a ride on his shoulders. I am looking a little like I am just waking up or am unsure about being so tall.

Now- In my now picture I am getting a piggy back ride from my fiancée and I am looking like I am unsure about really anything! In reality I am not a huge picture person so I was struggling with taking engagement photos seriously. Looking at these pictures side by side makes me laugh and reminds me of how much life changes.

Then and Now

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Titanic Remix —

Titanic Remix

Check out the assignment that inspired this creation!

I chose to focus on the inspirational picture of Jack and Rose in their iconic picture standing on the railings of the front of the Titanic. Here is the original photo!


This particular movie was a big deal and just come out when I was in middle school. I remember all my friends talking about it and what an amazing movie it seemed like at the time. To this day my friends and I still make titanic references in our jokes. Below are two of my best friends doing their best Titanic remix on a dinner cruise we went on in Costa Rica.

Photo Dec 21, 4 00 53 PM


I think this is a great way to reminisce on what this movie represented in my youth and what it represents now. Every time we reference moments in Titanic or iconic songs I always laugh and take  trip down memory lane! I constantly find as I get older and the, “cool” things from my youth become more and more distant that I always appreciate little reminders of them!

Here is my final product! I would like to call it Titanic photo bomb. Hope you enjoy as much as I enjoyed brainstorming and creating it!

Titanic Remix

Check out more great learning #ds106 and #ILT5340.

Week 4 Reflection — June 30, 2016

Week 4 Reflection

Being brave and posting my weekly reflection on my blog!

I feel like I completed this week’s assignments very well. I am starting to make connection to my work and others work which is exciting for me! I think I did a good job balancing all the parts of this class which in past reflections has not quite been the case. Challenging myself and continuing to grow has been a theme during my time in this course. I feel like this continued to happen this week!

The most challenging part of my week this week was learning all about my new photo editing software.  While it was a little frustrating this week I think in the long run I will be glad I switched to adobe. I finally feel like I am getting the hang of it and I think my creates next week will be much more refined! Coupled with that I think my big learning was how to work adobe. I think knowing how to use this software will be more beneficial to me in the long run. This week I most enjoyed looking at and exploring classmates work and comments.

If I could do something differently this week it would be to spend more time with the recommended text. Time constraints did not give me a lot of time to explore these things this week which is unfortunate. I would have loved to dedicate more time to reading them more thoroughly not just skim. My lingering question is can I put videos on soundcloud of just audio? I know I can find the answer easily :).

A larger issues surrounding my work is how to narrow down what articles to pick to blog about. I am finding a lot of interesting material and always getting new ideas about what to write about! Not a bad problem to have though!!

I believe I am meeting course expectations. I have tried to give due diligence to all portions of the course and make sure I am meeting all expectations as well as trying to challenge myself. I went through and looked at my website and was glad to see an improvement in my work! I think I am holding myself accountable for my learning and am really enjoying all the course material I am working with.