Digital Project Learning Summary

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As I think about my masters journey I think what a great way to end it…with CROCHET!! I have always been a woman who likes to do…I enjoy furniture restoration, decorating, painting, gardening…really all things I can do with my hands. Even when I am sitting, which isn’t often, I like to be productive. Crochet is a craft that allows me to stay focused and keep busy when I have some down time and what a great craft to learn in my final class. Here is my crochet journey!

Blog 1: What matters to me…

https://firstever.home.blog/2019/10/01/what-matters-to-me-final-project/

This blog allowed me to contemplate what I would like to learn and how I was going to achieve this. I knew right away I would be choosing crochet as my final project-but how was I going to get there? How could I incorporate digital learning into this craft?

The few weeks before this blog was created was big learning…I had opened a twitter account, figured out which blog site I wanted to create my blog on, created an account with WordPress and finally stepped into what I wanted to do. As many people in this class, I work and finding the balance between taking my final 2 masters classes and working was a struggle. I work full time with Saskpolytech as a Clinical Advisor in the SCBScN program, mentoring new staff and assisting struggling students. I wear my uniform every day and head out to various clinical sites, either hospital or community, assisting as needed. I also work as an RN every few weeks at the Regina General Hospital – I truly love being a nurse and staying casual reminds me why I chose nursing as a career. In a typical day-the most I spend online is looking at Facebook and Instagram…maybe 30 minutes. This was a huge learning curve for me.

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What did I learn?

  • that my laptop at home needs updating and won’t even handle WordPress or Zoom to be downloaded ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
  • Twitter account
  • WordPress Blog
  • inserted a YouTube video into my blog
  • incorporating images into my blog
  • how crochet can be a stress reliever

Blog 2: Crochet 101

https://firstever.home.blog/2019/10/15/crochet-101/

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These weeks were spent more tackling the logistics of researching yarn online, heading to the local Micheal’s store to buy yarn and my first crochet hook, searching out other yarn stores in Regina, researching crochet on Pinterest for free patterns, tutorials, stitches and ideas as well as signing up for free online crochet patterns.

What did I Learn?

  • that despite watching tutorials on Pinterest for step by step guides–i am a hands on learner who needs someone to give immediate feedback ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
  • Micheal’s can be overwhelming if you aren’t sure what you are starting with…colors, weight, cotton vs. wool vs. acrylic vs. many other choices
  • it’s ok to ask a real person for help

Blog 3: Jumping In

https://firstever.home.blog/2019/10/22/jumping-in/

This week was a busy week of learning. Once I got the hang of a stitch I didn’t want to put my project down. I just needed to get less clumsy with my fingers and more adept at managing the wool and the hook. I found myself picking up project everytime I sat down and could really focus.

What did I Learn?

  • met with my “crochet elder”
  • I started my first project- a cotton dishcloth…when it didn’t go according to a square dishcloth plan-i flipped it over and started stitching on the other side

Blog 4: Learning the Ropes

https://firstever.home.blog/2019/10/29/learning-the-ropes/

I spent this time thinking about how I could take my project further and explore more online. I figured out the time lapse feature on my phone’s camera, so did a quick video. I also searched on my favorite social media outlets of Instagram and Pinterest to get digital.

What did I Learn?

  • By this time, I had been going to visit my “crochet elder” weekly for some tips and to get feedback on my progress.
  • I was able to take a quick time lapse video but until the last 2 weeks didn’t know how to embed it … so here it is!
  • I researched on Pinterest the crochet abbreviations and how to read a crochet pattern
  • I also joined some crochet online communities through Instagram and Facebook

Blog 5: A new level

https://firstever.home.blog/2019/11/19/a-new-level/

I had a bit more time this week in my office, so was able to explore Wakelet and start a collection of Crochet ideas as well as figure out some ways on WordPress to make my blog more visually appealing.

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  • critically reflected on my crochet journey
  • finally figured out how to block color my headings on WordPress and organize my posts into categories:)
  • started a Wakelet account to organize my crochet ideas
  • incorporated GIF’s
  • decided thrifting for an afghan may be easier than spending the time, however, realize that the good things aren’t always easy
  • Watched crochet podcasts and created my own YouTube channel to follow podcasts

What did I Learn?

Blog 6: Learning from Mistakes

https://firstever.home.blog/2019/11/19/learning-from-mistakes/

By this time I was frustrated with my journey and realizing how exhausted I was. I knew it was time to either undo my entire project or call it a day and realize that it was an infinity scarf. So-I learned how to end the project with a couple of knots and started my christmas list early by sending my niece a scarf made by her favorite auntie!

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What did I Learn?

  • follow a pattern
  • ask for advice
  • don’t mix up your stitches
  • it’s ok to realize that you need to start over with new yarn
  • explored Wakelet more and added more to my collection
  • look out the front windshield, not the rearview mirror

Blog 7: Quick update

https://firstever.home.blog/2019/11/26/quick-update/

My first YouTube video

What did I Learn?

  • that it’s ok to learn at my own pace…what may seem huge to me is day 1 for others
  • record a YouTube video and create my own YouTube channel
  • embed a YouTube video onto my blog
My final Project in progress ๐Ÿ™‚
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Summary of learning

This is a summary of learning for my EC&I 831 last Masters Class! Many times I felt out of my comfort zone in this class…but I do believe this needs to happen for learning to occur. Thank you to everyone who took time out of your day to read my blogs and make comments.

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https://firstever.home.blog/2019/12/10/175/

Quick Update

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This is just a quick update of the week! I am so excited that I actually may have figured out how to have my own YouTube channel with a live video and uploaded onto my blog…no views but if this actually works I may be famous some day!

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Me! Crocheting ๐Ÿ™‚

One reflection

I decided to take my crocheting to my Monday night grad class while I listened to group presentations. At the break, 2 people came up to inspect my project and neither one of them told me how great it looked or asked me what kind of stitch I was using. The only thing they pointed out was the one spot that I missed a stitch. They told me how I could fix it by stitching in a separate piece of yellow wool or undo the stitches back to that point (given that I had already unstitched it once to make it wider there was little doubt in my mind that would not be happening). I calmly told them that it was meant to be that way…that it was a reminder to my daughter who would receive the blanket when I am done that not everything is perfect.

Remember everyone…its the journey ๐Ÿ™‚

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#SocialMediaActivism

What is Social Media Activism?

Social Activism “refers to a broad range of activities which are beneficial to society or particular interest groups. Social activists operate in groups to voice, educate and agitate for change, targeting global crisis.” (Ghobadi, 2018) The primary goal of social activism is to do good for society through various activities and movements such as Greenpeace.

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Social Media Activism refers to online activism that “allows activists to organize events with high levels of engagement, focus and network strength.” (Ghobadi, 2018) The activists use various forms of social media to engage in online activism. The primary good of social media activism is still to promote good in society with a more collective effort.

Seems simple? One form of activism is done through activities such as letter writing, protests and in person conversations and the other is through social media-facebook, twitter, blogs and any other type online media. Although the two are meant to be similiar- in many ways they are different. Many of the differences are not only through the way people communicate, but rather the type of dialogue that is communicated.

Differences

I feel that Social Activism is more “old school” and that the people who grew up with protests and wanting social change through actions are primarily the activists. These people may not be able to see the benefit of words unless they are on a picket sign or in the areas that they feel passionately about. There is something to be said about getting out from behind your computer and facing the issues in a protest with others or seeing the effect your efforts have on people.

Social Media Activism can be much easier to engage in compared to Social Activism and the fact that it can be done with the click of a key or a hashtag would make it appear that more people are engaging in the issue. However, the risks to this are that many times people can write words that they may not normally have said and “hide” behind their computer or device.

“The ways in which people come together, voice their opinions, and protest have changed and evolved over the years. With the introduction of technology, this has allowed for a new avenue to disseminate widespread movements. Viral marketing campaigns to gain support has proved to be a very effective alternative to physically collecting in the streets to voice concerns.” (El Abbassi, 2019)

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Online Social Activism

Throughout time, there has been activism. Wars, movements and change have arisen from people being activists. Online social activism can prove to be meaningful to society today as the world evolves and changes. People use technology more and more to share their ideas and viewpoints, however I do feel that it is how we share that is the important key. How are we treating others-either online or in person should not matter. Online activism can see huge results and high engagement, however, it is how we use this to make good in society. I feel at times that I see the world through rose colored glasses and truly feel that people need to be kind to each other, online or in person.

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As I continue on in my first online class, I notice that people tend to be much more honest online… I see people who need to share everything about themselves and what is happening in their lives to people who rarely share anything. Twitter can be seen as a forum for sharing personal stories or to follow others journeys, Facebook is seen as a more personal side of online media, Instagram as a quick picture story or even followers on Pinterest can comment and follow your boards. As in life-people can be positive or negative, however sharing on online media tends to be more brutally honest.

Absolutely!

Meaningful and productive conversations can happen about social justice online! I reflected on this as I read the blog post titled “In online spaces, silence peaks as loudly as words” where the author discusses how silence speaks as loudly as works and went further to describe “So hereโ€™s my argument:ย I have a responsibility to use my privilege to speak out and use my network for more than just my own benefit or self-promotion; not doing so is a selfish act.” (Hildebrandt, 2015) I am not sure I agree with this statement, but need to think about and reflect. It was interesting reading the comments people felt compelled to write following the post and I question many things- Am I one of the privileged who should be speaking out? When does silence speak louder than words? What topics of social justice am I passionate about? What is the best online media platform?

Responsibility of Educators

Our responsibility to engage in active citizenship online that can be see as a type of role model for our students is huge…as I believe in daily life outside of social media to be positive role models is just as huge. Our students, whether we realize this or not, “look up to us”. As a nursing instructor, my students look to me in how I dress in clinical, how I interact with patients or even how I perform skills. We need to remember this! Many times I have students tell me that they have looked me up on Facebook or Instagram to “creep me” or see my views. That is why I often keep silent on social media-but after reading some online articles this week, I feel it also a social responsibility to be a more responsible digital citizen in this world. To embrace the social media outlets we have and use it responsibly. “Instead of focusing on the problem and the need for change, activists can share information that explains why and how the current situation has been created and what can be learned for the future. Online activism in such manner can gradually lead to the development of people who are capable ofย generating new knowledge and wisdomย to respond to changing social environments.” (Ghobadi, n.d.)

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References

http://theconversation.com/going-viral-what-social-media-activists-need-to-know-96043

In online spaces, silence speaks as loudly as words

excal.on.ca/social-media-activism-or-slacktivism/

Learning from Mistakes

This week was one of learning from mistakes.  I was unable to meet with my “crochet elder” as I was in clinical all day last Friday-so decided to take matters into my own hands and tackle my big project on my own.  I decided to forgo a pattern and just wing it with the stitches I have learned.  I went ahead and did the chain stitch for the first row and then I did two rows of the double crochet stitch.  The double crochet stitch is two stitches high and to me speeds up the process of making something-so I saw this as an easy way to get ahead faster–remember this….good things don’t come easy


After the two rows of the double crochet stitch, I did two rows of the single crochet stitch.  The look of the two varying stitches looked good…at least for the first couple of times I alternated.  It started to look almost “frilly” and wouldn’t lay right when I put it down.  I asked my office mate who has just started crocheting and we decided together that it would eventually lay flat and that I should just keep going.  So-keep going I did.  I would sit quietly in the morning and do a row, I would sit quietly when everyone had gone to bed to do a row and the relaxation of just crocheting became a touch addictive.  


Bowling Bag

I even took my bowling bag of yarn and hooks to a Professional Development workshop offered by our nursing program and sat at the back of the classroom crocheting while the presenter discussed Cultural diversity in our classrooms.  At one of the breaks, a crochet guru came over to look at my project and asked to see my pattern.  After explaining that I am a true diy’er and made up my own pattern, he explained a few things to me….

  • beginners should never not follow a pattern
  • I wasn’t taking from the right stitch on every continuing stitch 
    you should always count how many stitches you do on your first row of chain stitches and count that many stiiches on every subsequent 
  • my blanket was never going to lay flat
  • I had “created”, unknowingly, a beautiful SCARF ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Looking out the front windshield…not the rearview mirror

I am usually the optimist in the room-so I decided that this first official scarf would be given to my niece as a little early birthday gift. She lives in Calgary so I won’t be too disturbed by my failure and if she doesn’t wear it-I likely won’t know ๐Ÿ™‚

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The week ahead

This week my goals include:

  • exploring podcasts related to crocheting
  • exploring Wakelet – Can it work for me?
  • figuring out how to insert a time-lapse video on my blog
  • what else?
animation craft GIF by Julie Smith Schneider

A New Level

My new start… eventually a blanket

I feel that I am in the plateau of my project stage and need to step up my game. I have learned a couple of crochet stitches, picked out my wool and have started my blanket.

Almost every day I am sitting down and making time for a few rows on my blanket and some critical reflection has occurred about why I chose to start crocheting.

Reflecting & Remembering

My grandma & me, May 1977

As a kid growing up, my grandma’s infamous white afghan became a symbol of healing. My grandma had learned to crochet when her kids had left home to pursue careers and her first project was a big white afghan. We lived close to my grandparents and truly my grandma was one of my best friends. When either my sister or I was sick or even needed some comforting, out the white afghan would come. It was kept in a plastic storage bag and would always be washed before it got put away. Why my grandma picked white as her wool color-I will never know. But she was also a stain guru and it didn’t matter what got spilled on that afghan, she could get it out. That white afghan was a symbol of healing and we always felt that my grandma’s arms were around us when we were snuggled up in that blanket.

My son was always close with my grandma. He was the first great-granchild and really could do no wrong in her eyes. She died 10 years ago this October and we have felt a hole in our hearts since then. She was really my biggest fan, and my son’s. After my divorce 7 years ago, my son decided to live with his father and things got tough. He got very bad into drugs, and despite trying everything to get him to stop, come and stay with me or even talk to me, he stopped all contact with me. I remember being desperate to get through to him and help him remember the values I had instilled in him. I tried everything-calling the police, going to his high school, smashing his bongs-to name a few things. As a last ditch effort I decided to pull out my grandma’s white afghan. I knew how much she meant to him and decided it was time for healing. The night I gave it to him was tough- I drove around Balgonie to his favorite hang outs, found him in a car full of his “friends” and opened the door. I handed him the plastic bag that my grandma had put the white afghan in and told him I didn’t know what else to do but hope that he remembered how much his family loved him. So weird-the look on his face. I knew I had to just walk away and give him space to think about what I had said. That blanket still smelled like my grandma- I hadn’t opened it up since the day she had given it to me before she went to the hospital, at least 3 years before.

Since that day, my son has pulled himself out of drugs, graduated from high school, started a career in Power Pole Linesman (3rd year apprentice) and passed all of his drug tests. We communicate either by phone or text weekly and usually meet at least once a month when he isn’t working. I am extremely proud of the man he has become. I have thought of that afghan many times over the years, but never asked him about it…mostly because I was afraid that maybe it hadn’t mattered as much to him as it had to me growing up.

My son & daughter at his high school graduation

He recently moved into an apartment of his own and invited me over the day after he moved in. I walked in and on his couch he had the white afghan, an afghan my sister had crocheted him and a patchwork pillow my mom had quilted him. All I had to do was touch that afghan and all of the memories came flooding back. He looked at me and we were both crying. WOW…those balls of wool stitched with love have never meant so much

My sons apartment

What’s new?

This week I have made time to watch a few podcasts and also discovered Wakelet!!

crochet podcast

My Daughter’s Inspiration

My daughter is a thrifter…her and I love going thrifting for treasures and recently she has started going every Saturday with one of her friends to the thrift stores. She came home just beaming last weekend with this…

“MOM…I got this HUGE afghan at Salvation Army for only $3.99! By the time you spend your time and money going to Micheal’s for yarn and sitting on the couch crocheting the wrong way look at the time you could be saving!”

text wow GIF by Omer

The Week Ahead

  • step-by-step tutorials on the crochet stitch I am using to make my blanket
  • learn more about podcasts and how they can work for me
  • spend more time exploring Wakelet and how it can work for me
  • spend more time on WordPress…categories, color blocks and getting to know my blog site
  • Determine if I can make 8 of these for my daughters friends for christmas as she has requested…
Crochet cactus

Open Education & Me

I have struggled with this topic.  I am not even sure why, other than I feel almost old school.  I have reflected on some of my own values and judgements over the last couple of weeks about open education and what it means to me.


What is open education to me?

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I first had to decide about what is open education in my eyes.  As an instructor in adult education, I see open education as a system that gives open access to all resources including articles, textbooks and online material at no charge in order to advance knowledge.  It would be free access that could be utilized by students in order to gain knowledge and be accessible not only throughout their education, but also after they graduate.  It could essentially mean that all information be open to access by all.  That textbooks would be online and free, articles online and free and that all knowledge will be online, accessible to all and collaboration would assist all in the acquisition of knowledge.  


Who pays? Here lies the dilemma…who should pay for all of this sharing of knowledge? Should there be licenses, copyrights, journal subscriptions or textbooks in print? Should educators be encouraged to download information and alter it in order to better serve their students?   

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My opinion…I personally love a hard copy book.  I don’t enjoy reading articles or information online, but would rather print it out- touch the paper, highlight important information, make notes and turn pages.

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 I have never been able to grasp the concept of a Kindle or other type of online reader since I love bookmarking and actually turning the pages.  I have also never been one for sharing my favorites…whether it be a textbook or a novel.  Although I feel that open education resources should be shared, I wonder about how people will get paid for their knowledge and whether it will be fair.  That being said-does it have to be an all or nothing concept? Could there be open education for some and not?

    

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Who benefits the most? The people who will benefit the most from open education are those who can utilize the resources the most…students.  Although educators will benefit in terms of being able to use these resources, students gain the most knowledge from the open education and its resources. I found it interesting to read about what is happening across Canada https://bccampus.ca/2019/02/19/canada-oer-group-2019-update/

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Do I think Open Educational Resources can be sustainable?

After much deliberation, I have come to terms that this really isn’t for me to decide. The world will keep turning and open educational resources will continue to be provided to who needs them. I do feel that it is up to all of us to ensure that it is appropriate and the people who need it the most get what they need.