Making Connections

Because this class is looking at how technology can help people connect, we were asked to keep a log of the conversations we had with our classmates and others on the internet.

The slack community

IMG_8324I struggled a little bit with the slack community in general. Many of the questions that my classmates had were either questions that I also had or questions that I did not have the answers to. Some of the resources that my classmates shared were helpful such as the website that Alexa shared.

Some other classmate questions were somewhat simple answers but the answer was dependent on other factors. For example I only know about video editing on a mac because that is what I use so that would be an easy fix for someone with a mac but a little harder for someone without one.


I enjoyed commenting on my classmate blogs about their learning projects. Many of the posts were so descriptive and had great sources, it almost felt like I was learning along with them.

For example, I love following Mary-Anne’s project because it kept me accountable for cleaning my house as well. At one point when Mary-Anne was preparing her camper I was able to give a few tips that I have learned over the years.

I enjoyed looking at the weekly blog prompt posts, especially those who were in a different grade area than me because they look at issues through the eyes of a different aged child.


I was able to connect with others even outside of my classmates on twitter. During my time in this course I was able to participate in 2 #saskedchats,the one we did within class and one on June 20, and the themes were new/pre service teaching and summer professional development.Screen Shot 2019-06-22 at 5.52.54 PM

Screen Shot 2019-06-22 at 5.51.12 PMScreen Shot 2019-06-22 at 5.50.45 PM

Screen Shot 2019-06-22 at 6.29.44 PMI started to also connect with EdTech K-12 Magazine and Texthelp for Education (the company that owns the EquatIO)

There were times and questions were my job as a librarian and reading program coordinator came in handy.


I was also able to have great conversations with my fellow classmates about different topics.


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Shared and met some current educators.


Even one of the local elementary schools in my city started to share some of my resources.


I will be totally honest, I forgot to screenshot a lot of my conversations (even though Katia told us not to forget). Many times it felt like a natural conversation so taking screenshots was not what I was thinking about, as I was actively involved with the conversation.

I found that portion of the class was vital, especially because it was online. We were able to make connections with classmates and other educators around the continent.




This week I started to learn how to code, which was one of the things that I was scared of at the beginning of this class. I chose to learn through Hour of Code playing the Dance Party game. Dance party is a coding game for grades 2-5 that has the user manipulate aScreen Shot 2019-06-21 at 10.21.35 AM mascot to do popular dance moves. Students learn to create a code through block coding meaning the person takes one block from the block station and moves it into the corresponding work station to make the mascot move.  Within this example I was learning how to make a second dancer, which is really easy. All that was needed is another starting block but as you can see I some messed it up. My mess-up was simple, as I just needed to move one robot to the side, but it made me think how easily one line of code could change the entire goal.

Near the beginning I realized that only one block within the pattern Screen Shot 2019-06-21 at 10.20.37 AMmatters and the rest can come in any order after. Within this one, the green block saying the amount of time before changing dance moves needs to go first because there is no indent on the top just the attachment on the bottom. These patterns are really good for students to find because it helps practice their problem solving skills.

Screen Shot 2019-06-21 at 10.31.27 AMAs I was coding I realized that the website itself has a particular code that it needs to follow. For example, I tried to have my mascot move along to the treble of the music but that did not match the code that the website had which was the mascot first had to react to the bass of the music.

I was on level 5 was when I began to have problems. The point was to Screen Shot 2019-06-21 at 10.24.55 AMuse the “every 2 measures” block but when I did the website must not have liked it because it would not let me move to the next station. I was able to move past it but I still do not know what happened.

A few years back the library that I worked at introduced coding for kids between the ages of 5-8. I was impressed with the outcome, there were at least 8 in each class. Students are able to be creative in new ways through coding and it helps strengthen their brains to look at situations in multiple ways. This article explains why every child should learn how to code, it even explains that coding does not need to be online but can be through paper and a pen as well.



Final Photos

So we have finally arrived at the end of photography journey (or it may be just the beginning, as there are always many new techniques to learn.) This past weekend was my sister’s high school graduation, which is held in a hockey rink (horrible for lighting). The ceremony portion is done with the house lights off and alternative stage lighting. I went back to the tried and trusted article of  How to take great pictures in bad lighting and I also found one that outlined 10 Graduation Photography Tips. Though many of these tips were self-explanatory I found it helpful to refresh my knowledge to make sure I had everything.

The first photos were under the arch at the top of the stairs.  This was difficult because I had to zoom in from far away. To paint you a picture I was sitting where the ice would be as my sister was at the top of the stands. Thankfully our last name is at the end of the alphabet so I was able to practice on a few students before she passed through the arch. I was able to get her in the pictures but I think that the focus missed her a bit and was more on the arch.

Thank goodness she was on the opposite side so the light was able to hit her face.

The second group of photos was her actually crossing the stage to receive her diploma. Though this had better lighting, the subject had to be in the right spot to be hit by the stage lights, meaning when she was coming and leaving stage it was hard to see her through the camera.

The second half of grad is called the grand march, where the graduates are in their suits or gowns and walk around the rink. Though the house lights were on during this portion making it easier to see, the lights were on everywhere meaning the crowd could be in focus when I was hoping to get a photo of someone walking by. They also go in reverse alphabetical order so I did not have time to practice on other people before my sister processed. The first two photos show how different a change in the light meter can do. In the first photo the light meter was centered at zero but as you can see it is very bright and almost 2D, the subject look flat to the background. This was due to the light meter miss reading the amount of light, because of the large white screen in the background. With the second I moved the light meter to around -2.5 to help even out the light. I love the set-up of this shot because of the blurry foreground that helps to frame the photo.

By the time I got to the third photo I had figured out the perfect light ratio so that the subjects were light but the background was not. The fourth photo was a complete accident but I love that it just shows the raw emotion.

The final part of grad is the dances. So my father and sister were so nice to me that they dance right under the stage lights so the lighting was much easier.

Around this time, I was close enough to my subject that I could use my flash and it focus on the right area.  It just happens that my sister has a sensitivity to light because of her concussion so she graciously wore her sunglasses. I was also able to drop my ISO to make the photos less grainy.

The two weeks that prepared me the most for my final week were week 3 (Sunsets) and week 5 (portraits). Week 3 taught me who to take pictures in bad lighting and to adjust my light meter quickly every time I moved. Week 5 of course taught me how to take pictures of people but I also learned how to make my camera take multiple pictures at once.

Week 1

I was trying to mimic what I thought the photo should look like and was not stepping out of a box view

Week 2

During this week I was able to play with lighting and color. I went back to the basic of exposure triangles and focusing.

I was given this website afterwards but it was very helpful, thanks Serena

Week 3

The sunset week. This maybe one of my favorite weeks because I had such a short matter of time to get these photos but it was so cool to see how I could and did improve. This was something I had never done before so it was so cool to see the process that goes behind a picture like that.

Week 4

This is the week where I found how my creativity could match with my photography skills. I love looking back on these pictures and the vibrant colors they have.

Week 5

Coming into this I did not like taking portraits that much, I actually found them quite stressful because you are portraying a person.

This focused me to be present, I was not thinking about anything other than my subject. I was able to use photography as a creative outlet to put myself into as I was both learning and creating.

Is it fake or real news?

To start my dive into fake news I thought to check my Facebook to see if I was being fed fake news and if so what was it about? Though I did not find much, I found that there was a lot of creditable news centers, such as the Leader Post being shared around but the articles were five plus years old.

Within the article “How do we teach students to identify fake news?” it explains that students should be taught to find biases within media. I made a lesson plan for grade 8 health students to find Saskatchewan biases, particularly in the news. Students may not be able to see how a news article is manipulating them to lean one way or the other on a topic.

In grade 8 ELA, we practice pre-reading skills all of the time, before reading anything we went over all of the areas of the text, including table of context, photos and page numbers. This is something that could be used when finding news articles including looking for the authors, headings and photos.

The following two outcomes from the grade 8 English curriculum ask students to view and react properly to text (which can include news articles)


Select and use appropriate strategies to construct meaning before (e.g., previewing and anticipating message), during (e.g., making inferences based on text and prior knowledge), and after (e.g., paraphrasing and summarizing) viewing, listening, and reading.


View critically and demonstrate comprehension of a variety of visual and multimedia texts including videos, television broadcasts, informational presentations, dramatic presentations, websites, and news programs to locate and interpret key messages and details, to develop conclusions, opinions, and understanding, and to evaluate the effectiveness of the text.

At the beginning of the year I would have my students complete a quiz similar to “Quiz: can you spot the fake news headline? to see what my students look for in news articles. I would start by having the students take the quiz individually, then as a class going over every area and ending by taking a different quiz as individuals to see if they could use the techniques they developed.

When creating research assignments, especially for younger students, giving students the links to websites to use for research will help them to know what is credible before they start searching through other websites. Having the five C’s from John Spencer’s video hanging up in the classroom as a friendly reminder of what to look for when they are researching.

The biggest questions that students need to learn is “why”, in particular “why is this content being made”. As Claire Wardle explains in her article, there are 7 types of Mis and Disinformation, which help to show why the content is being made.It would be interesting to see if students would be able to put different articles onto the spectrum they provide.

With anything a student reads, it is important to have them read it with an open mind but understand that all news is made for a reason

Photo Credit: Christoph Scholz Flickr via Compfight cc

Smile for the camera

I have found that I learn best from websites that are set up in a list format, for example 14 portrait photography tips you’ll never want to forget, though videos, especially from Skill Share, are helpful and full of information but many are long and not very clear.

This article gives a based understanding of what to do when taking portraits.

To start with portraits, you need asubject, and in this instance, my sister so graciously agreed to be my subject. Next islocation, where are these pictures going to take place. I would recommend going outside since lighting inside can both be difficult to manipulate and can look harsh on the subject’s face. It just so happened that we were camping this weekend so the trees were a great background.

Camera settings, this is very important. When taking portraits, you want the ISO to be as low as possible, for a reference it sound be between 200 and 600. If you shoot with higher ISO there is a greater chance that the results will be grainy, which looks even worse on a person’s face.

The biggest thing when taking any portrait is that the eyes need to be the focus.

There are two basic forms of portraits: action and posed.


With posed photographs you need to decide how close to the face you are shooting, meaning is this going to be a close up or a full body shot.

I started with full/partial body shots. (sorry for the weird poses, but she was singing Waka Waka by Shakira while dancing)

With the first two pictures they were cropped weird. With the first picture, though it does follow the rule of thirds, her leg and arm guide the eye away from the main focus of the picture. The second photo is cropped better but just like the sunset photos; she is right in the middle so the photo is not portioned right. With the third picture, I finally thought to change my levels, so this shot was taken with me sitting on the ground and looking upwards at the subject.

Then we went to close ups and headshots. (and again she was singing)

With these the background does not matter very much because there will be very little of it shown in the photo.  These are the photos where the eyes are so important and need to be showcased.

Action Portraits

These can either be really great or really bad, it is hard to get an in between. I would recommend setting your camera to take multiple shots, also known as burst mode, when you hold down the trigger so you can catch every part of the movement. You have a lot more photographs to sort through but you have better odds of getting the just right shot.


What is our online identity?

I guess that my last blog did not post properly so here it is.

This week I was asked to search Hyomin Moon. My technique for this was to use the steps that I have learned from the TV show Catfish on MTV. The steps begin by finding all of the information or profiles you have contact with, being her blog and twitter, then check other social media platforms to see if there is anyone similar. Take the information from the online profiles to google, such as searching the school they are affiliated with or doing a reverse image search on their photos.

I started my search by going onto her professional blog. I knew prior that she was in her third year of middle years’ education at the U of R. On her blog there she has a page explaining who she is and a little about her life growing up including the fact that she was born and raised in South Korea but has lived in Regina for more than five years.

I went to her twitter page next, since it was so nicely advertised on the side of her blog. As I was looking through her account, she is mostly following those within our EDTC 300 course as well as some teachers that are active on twitter.

After the blog and the Twitter account, finding another social media platform was difficult. I try a few different combinations of Instagram handles that could match her name, but I was not able to find any. The other network I tried was Facebook. There were two different profiles with the name Hyomin Moon, one is from Korea and the other was a faceless profile that attending school at the University of Regina.

I finished by doing a basic google search of her name followed by Regina and Saskatchewan. Due to the fact that he last name is moon, most of the result were about the moon phrases.

It is clear to see Hyomin’s digital identity is quite small but professional, there is nothing on the social platforms that her students or parents of students would not be able to see.

 Nicole Lee explains in her article “Having multiple online identities is more normal than you think”, many people have different profiles for different people in their life, for example Instagram is for their friends and Facebook is for family.

This got me thinking whether it is better to have a small or large online identity. As Jon Ronson explains in his TED talk, we surround ourselves with like-minded people, and we are able to feed off of those people. Having a smaller online identity can allow one to make more personal connections with each other, but those people may not help you grow as a person. But on the flip side is it better to be more known and open yourself to the world of cancel culture. I think it truly comes down to what you are comfortable putting online, but understand that things can also end up online without your permission.

I also decided to do a quick google search of myself. Coming into this I knew that there was another Sarah Wright that is of similar age to me living in Saskatchewan (no we are not related), so I knew that when googling my name, I would need to put Estevan after it. I also have the joy of sharing a name with the actress Sarah Wright Olsen so it is a little harder to find myself online. When googling Sarah Wright Estevan on google images the articles I am link to are involving my job at the local library, my old dance recital photos and the Women of Today Awards; the google search is quite similar.




Inspiration of Pinterest

This week I dove into the world of Pinterest looking for inspiration or a new photographic technique to learn about.  Now that I understand the main setting and functions of the camera, I wanted to go out and take pictures of my own. From my past weeks I knew how to manipulate light so all of the extra light was from the flashlight on my phone.


Screen Shot 2019-06-04 at 9.24.15 AMMy first search was still life photograph and this picture showed up. Knowing that I don’t have the patients or talent to make fruit balloons, I decided to find different ways I could manipulate fruit.

I took most of the pictures at a bird’s eye view (camera is higher than the subject and looks down) and then changed it so only one slice of the fruit was in focus. If I were to try this again I would bring the food outside to have better lighting and spray the fruit with a little water to add detail.


Next I was trying to make a heart by taking the handle of the mug and making its shadow reflect onto the side of the mug. I_MG_4832 did this by pointing the camera straight onto the mug and shining the light from the left side. I was somewhat successful; I was able to get the shadow in the right spot but when it would line up with the handle the shadow would expand. If I were to try this again I would either move the light source or the camera to see if I would be able to make the shadow right.

After this I decided to go on a man hunt to see if there was anything else within my house that I could take a picture of. After searching for a little bit I found a form paint roller and a monopoly game piece, so I decide to try a tunnel technique that forces the eye to look at the object at the end of the tunnel. I started by setting the hockey player behind the roller, though I was able to get a few good pictures from it, half of the body was cut off and it was not very interesting. I than taped the hockey player inside of the roller and put my phone behind it. The light from behind helped to backlight the game piece and add dimension. If I were to try this again I would use a larger and longer roller to make it a little easier and I would try to tilt my phone so you cannot see it in the background.

I think my favourite of this week was this orange one, because of the detail and colour. _MG_4793Since I had added light and smaller objects I was able to lower my ISO so my pictures were less grainy this week.

Social Media Permission

This week I had the pleasure of working with Hyomin to discuss the use of technology in the classroom. Our topic was parent permission for the use of social media in the classroom, mainly Twitter. We decided to make a text conversation between a teacher (Ms.Anderson) who would like Twitter in her classroom and a parent (Sharon Smith- Amy’s mom) how does not understand or agree with social media at her child’s age. Coming from a house hold in which I did not get Facebook until I was 13 and Instagram until 17, I understand where both the teacher and mother are coming from. Let me know what you think.

EDTC Twitter text 1EDTC Twitter text 2EDTC Twitter text 3EDTC Twitter text 4EDTC Twitter text 5

Here is a sample newsletter that would be sent home with the students to describe Twitter in the classroom.Screen Shot 2019-05-29 at 1.50.16 PMScreen Shot 2019-05-29 at 1.50.26 PM

These would just be some of the resources that would be shared with the parents and students…

Math is now digital

This week I learned about a Google Doc extension called EquatIO, which simply makes math equations digital.  The main area that I used it with was the ability to write or speak about an equation and EquatIO will translate it into an equation that is digital and editable, almost like google translate. It was made to make sure STEM subjects were not left behind as school becomes more digital.

This video gives an over view of what is offered within EquatIO for free.


The software itself is easy to use and simple to navigate. The only down fall that I can see right now is not knowing enough of what it is capable of. I looked at many of the reviews and so many teachers are loving the extensions, it saves them from having to give hand written worksheets and have everything saved in the same place.

The first way I thought of using this was on a smart board for the class to see. Say you had a graph on the board, students would be able to record themselves saying what they believe to be the equation and see if it matches.

There is a premium feature that builds upon the already existing extension. Within the premium package there is the ability to use the app on a smart phone as well that allows for many students to input the equations at one time.

Because this can be used by both teachers and students, and it leads itself to fall into multiple areas of the SAMR model. Within the graphing area, a student can manipulate the graph or the equation simultaneously making it a modification. For the worksheet area it is substitution because the questions are the same as they would be handwritten it is just easier.

This app can be used both by students and teachers, either at home or at school, this can be a cheaper option for graphing calculators. It is acceptable to almost anyone with a google account for free. Give it a try yourself, I think you will be pleased with what you are capable of doing on it.