CONTRIBUTING TO THE LEARNING OF OTHERS

At the beginning of my EDTC 300 class my professor Katia Hildebrandt told us that we would be making a post about how we contributed to the growth and learning of our classmates. It was essentially to prepare us so that when we shared a good article or commented on someone’s blog we could screenshot it and log the information for later. Well now the class is wrapping up and it’s time to show some of my examples when I hopefully helped my classmates out because I know they sure helped me!

Blogging

Throughout the course while reading through as many blog posts from my classmates as I could the thing I tried to do was show them support. I found out very early on when my classmates would compliment my cakes it really made me feel good about what I was doing. That’s why I wanted to return the favour as best as I could and present some positive reinforcements for my classmates. I tried to keep up and post frequently on others blogs, I’d say I did this three or four times a week. I kinda relate what I was doing to this article where when you complete an insightful blog post and then the comments really make it feel worth it in the end and motivate you to keep working. Here are just some examples of the posts I made throughout the semester.

Twitter

 During the semester I focused on doing my daily two or so tweets a day and I’m glad to say that I stuck to it for the entire class. Twitter for myself was mainly focused on sharing resources. I would check Feedly regularly to find articles I felt could help my fellow classmates regarding different aspects of learning and teaching. Also, when I scrolled through twitter and found something I really enjoyed that one of my classmates shared I would retweet it so more would be aware of it. This class made me realize that there are so much resources for teaching and with that I hope to continue to share them with my peers going forward. I feel that even if one person finds what I share helpful that it’s a rewarding experience. Also, just interacting with each other on our tweets is something I feel contributed to our learning and I was glad to be involved in that.

Slack

I put more of my focus into my twitter and blog but I did occasionally go onto slack. I found slack was more for if you had any questions and I either didn’t necessarily have many questions or had the right answers for my classmates. I did stop by the site to see if I could be of any assistance and show some positivity!

Overall, I feel that throughout the duration of EDTC 300 I put in the effort to contribute to the learning of my fellow classmates as they did for me. The community we formed was very real and I feel that we really did support and help each other learn during the course. I hope they also feel that I played a role in the learning of others!

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FINAL POST – IF THERE’S A WHISK, THERE’S A WAY

Now that my EDTC 300 class is coming to an end and I have completed all of my learning project posts it’s time to reflect upon what I have actually learned. If you haven’t seen any of my previous learning project posts the skill that I choose to learn was icing and decorating baking. I will give you an overview of what exactly I learned in each week of my journey and my overall process of learning online.

Week One – Simple Swirls

This was the beginning of my journey and it started off with preparing myself and getting supples. I started my online learning process early on by using this article to figure out what kind of stuff I might need to buy. It was very helpful so that when I went to start baking I wasn’t left wishing I had bought some of the stuff I would later see in many videos. After I had finished getting all my new supples it was time to start baking.

For my first week I decided that I would start off fairly simple and ice cupcakes. I made my favourite kind of cupcakes, white wedding ones and every week I used the same buttercream frosting recipe. Both websites were very easy to follow and made my first week of baking a bit less stressful. After my cupcakes were cooled and my frosting was ready I used the four different icing tips from this video to ice my cupcakes. They were fairly straight forward and the video was helpful but looking back on it I can notice now that her icing is not a very good consistency so maybe it wasn’t the best to look off of. Either way it was a great first week for a beginner like myself to start to get a handle on icing cupcakes.

Week Two – Icing Up Swirls and… Roses?

This week I made the same white wedding cupcakes and built on what I did in week one. The first week was all about becoming comfortable with icing as I was just starting out. So this week I decided I would continuing to work on those skills with a little extra challenge. I iced multiple amounts of cupcakes with the Wilton 1M tip that I used last week and with the practice it was very easy to see my improvement with the swirls. This made me realize it was a good decision to keep practicing. However, I did do something different as I made the swirls multicolour by adding different colours of icing in my piping bag. It felt intimidating at first but I watched this video online and it made the task seem way easier. It gave hints like not letting the colours get too mixed or you would have a gross brown colour.

Lastly, for this week I decided I would really push my self outside of my comfort zone and attempt to ice roses. For this I watched this video and at first I misheard what she had said so they weren’t working out quite right. I watched it again and learned what I was doing wrong so it just showed that she knew what she was doing and even though it’s just a video I still had to pay close attention. Overall, this week was a success as I got better at my previous skills and tried to push myself with a more difficult technique.

Week Three – Mixing It Up

This week was the biggest jump that I made in my progress. After making cupcakes in week one and two this time I decided I would attempt to create my first cake. I made a simple white cake and baking it was fairly straight forward. However, icing the thing was much harder than I anticipated. I watched this video and it taught me many things that I otherwise would not have known. I learned that when you ice a cake at first you put a very thing layer of icing on so that you lock in the crumbs and then you have to put it in the fridge to set. After that I put a much thicker layer of icing on as the video showed and using my icing spatula to make it as smooth as I could. After that I used my cupcake icing skills to fancy it up a little. Overall, the first cake I had ever made turned out fairly well in my opinion.

Week Four – Dripping with Flavour

This week I would be making another cake but I would try something a bit different. For the cake itself I used a different white cake recipe from the week before. This week I decided I wanted to make a drip cake. For this I needed to make a cake that was tall so I had to make 3 cakes from my 9-inch cake pan and stack them. When on the internet I came across this video and it had everything that I was planning on doing. It gives great detail on how you need to stack the cake and explains not only how to make the chocolate ganache but how to drip it on the cake as well. It was perfect to learn from and besides my icing maybe not being as smooth as I’d hoped I really loved how the cake turned out.

Week Five – A Piece of Cake

Then it was finally time to create my very last cake. For this cake I decided I would try making a three tier wedding styled cake but in a somewhat miniature form. I used the same white cake recipe I used in week four as I really enjoyed it and once my cakes were cooled it was time to get icing. This project I found more difficult than the past two weeks because for this cake I essentially had to ice three separate cakes. It was difficult for myself but the more practice I could get with icing cakes the better. Now the new technique of building the cake I would be learning came courtesy of this video.  I had to make adjustments to how I would build because my cakes were significantly smaller. However, it still told me specifics like using cake dowels that I would have never thought of. After I finished building it I used the piping skills I learned in week one and two to make the cake look much less plain in my opinion.

Takeaways

Overall, I really enjoyed the whole process of learning online that I took part in for my EDTC 300 class. Regarding finding recipes it was something that was done with ease, instead of looking in cook books I would search it up and have my recipe within a minute or two. Then for the different icing and decorating techniques I would go looking on YouTube for videos. Rarely could I not find exactly what I was looking for. It is just shows how far the internet has come, where if you want to learn how to do something the resources will be there for you. For myself without these resources I’m not sure where I would have even started. All I can think of would be cook books but that wouldn’t overly help with knowing how to ice roses exactly unless you had complete step by step pictures. I’m just saying that these resources on the internet that can be used to learn online should not be overlooked as they can go such a long way.

As for what I have learned regarding icing and decorating cakes there is quite a bit actually. After completing this project I can say with confidence that I can bake cupcakes and cakes without over/under cooking them. Besides that I learned multiple icing techniques for cupcakes and feel they are at a high standard. When it comes to cakes I learned the fundamentals of icing them but I know that I still need a significant amount of work as I know they could be much smoother but that will come with time the more I do it. I learned how to make chocolate ganache and drip it on a cake. Lastly, I learned how to stack cakes and build a 3 tier style of a cake. I wanted to learn skills like these because I’ve always been interested in decorating baking but have never had the motivation. This project has taught me patience and that with hard work you can develop skills that you weren’t sure were possible. In the end, I’m proud of what I was able to achieve during my learning project.

SUMMARIZING MY EDTC 300 KNOWLEDGE

Hello everyone, for the end of my EDTC 300 class I was tasked with putting together a video to summarize what I have learned. This course was filled with so much helpful information so I tried my best to put in as much essential points as I could. To put together my video I used the program iMovie on my laptop and used Photo Booth to take the videos. This is the first time I’ve used either of them since I was a little kid so that was interesting. I tried to put some creativity into my video and make it seem like a conversation you might have with someone you doesn’t know the topics in this class. Also, you can just ignore the occasional corny joke that I threw in. Overall, I like how the video turned out and I hope you enjoy it too. I would love to hear any thoughts you have on it!

ESSENTIALLY A CODING MASTER

This week for my EDTC 300 class we were put to the task of discovering more about coding. At first my reaction was a little nervous as I have never done it before. However, after my professor Katia Hildebrandt showed the level of coding we would be doing my worries were washed away. Out of the programs she showed us I decided that I would use code.org and do an hour of cord. I’ll take you through my process of coding and then give you my thoughts on it. So the coding activity that I chose was of the game “Flappy Bird” and the reason I picked it was because it was something I played too much of when it first came out.

So the first step was fairly straight forward as it gave me the option of what happens when I click my computer mouse. The goal was to get the bird to go up so I choose it to flap so that would happen. Also, I added the laser sound effect for my bird because who doesn’t want a bird that makes laser sounds. Again, this is for a lower grade level so they start to gain an understanding of coding so it may seem as though it’s a tad easy for my age.

Fast froward and I have slowly added more codes into my flappy bird game. On step four I now have the speed that the game will go and I chose normal because I wanted the authentic experience. However, the biggest thing added was the fact that when my bird hits an obstacle the game now ends. So far I think I’m getting the basic understanding of what coding is.

As the next steps of the hour of code went by I made my game a bit more interesting. Now the game also ends when the bird hits the ground. However, the biggest addiction to my game was the fact that after the bird passes each obstacle the player gets a point and the background will change. Also, whenever you click now the bird will change into something else. I wanted to make the game different than the original and now it’s a bit chaotic which is pretty fun.

Now for the last step of my hour of coding you can watch me put together my flappy bird game from the start and see just how high of a score I can get!

From this assignment I think it helped myself learn the fundamentals of what coding is exactly. I know I’m not some type of coding genius because I put together a flappy bird game but it has made me gain more experience in the subject then I ever had before. I knew computers and what not run on codes but that is about it. From what I’ve gathered from doing this activity is that coding is something that lets the computer know what it should be doing.

I thought that coding was actually pretty neat if I’m being honest. However, I know my opinion might have been different if I would have had to do a much higher level of coding. I still feel that it was good for myself to gain some knowledge so I actually have an understanding of the topic. Coding is something that is essential in our lives and should be taught to students at a young age. I looked at this article and I couldn’t agree more with it. Coding is something that even if you aren’t going to be some type of software engineer is still helpful. The process of coding that could be learned through activities like an hour of code or code academy can really help improve critical thinking skills from a young age. That’s why I think that coding is something that is very important to learn in our society.

WEEK FIVE – A PIECE OF CAKE

For the final week of my learning project I decided I would try something a bit different. That of course would be a three tier wedding styled cake but in an almost miniature form. The reason that I felt like this would be a difficult cake to make would be the fact that I have to essentially ice three different cakes and place them on top accordantly without ruining them. So for this project I’ll be taking the concept of icing a cake that I learned in week three and four but I will also be using one of the cupcake piping techniques that I learned in week one. It should be a challenge because it’s much easier when I only have one task that I have to do for a project so we’ll see how it ends up. I’ll be using the white cake recipe I used for week four as I found it was beyond delicious. Also, I will continue to use the same buttercream frosting as it has been very reliable for me so far. Now, let’s get baking!

                                  

First I made the cake batter and put the cakes in the oven. When they we’re all finished and out of the oven I had to let them cool completely so I let them sit for a couple hours. When I felt they were ready I cut the rounded top offs off with my serrated knife. After this it was time to get icing the cakes and this was a pretty long process. Each cake I had to ice separate and considering the two previous weeks all I had to do was ice one full cake I had to be more patient this time. However, it was good because it helps improve my skills because the more cakes I ice the better! Anyways, icing each cake was a similar process as I would put them on the cake stand and put a thin layer of icing on them to lock in the crumbs and then into the freezer to set. After that they would get another thicker layer of icing and I tried to get them as smooth as possible using my icing spatula. Then since I would be moving and stacking them I decided that it would best to have them in the freezer again for a bit to set so that they wouldn’t fall apart when I was transferring them.

Next up for the cakes was the building process and to help me out with that I ended up using this helpful youtube video:

I found this video very helpful as it made the whole idea of building this cake less complex than I originally thought. However, if you watched the video you might notice how much larger her cake is. Usually the style of wedding cake is much bigger than the cake I am creating. I used one cake for each tier and for her cake it’s quite clear that she stacked roughly 3 cakes for each tier before icing. I thought about doing this but it would have taken longer and I already proved I was capable of doing this technique in week four when I stacked the cakes. So using this knowledge I realized that some of the things she was doing were a little unnecessary for my cake. I couldn’t find a video for the exact type of cake I was making but this one was still helpful. The main difference was she put four cake dowels in each tier and then one very long dowel through the whole thing. For my cake I knew I would only need the one long dowel to keep it in place.

                                   

After the cake was built it was then time to decorate it and make it look more appealing. For this I went online looking at pictures of cakes to see what I might want to do. I decided that I would use my icing techniques that I learned in week one and two for this. I wanted to show how far I have come from learning just the four most simple icing techniques from this youtube video. It was very helpful and I was able to apply what I learned from it to my future projects including this weeks.

Overall, I was very pleased with how my last cake came out. The sides were not as smooth as I had hoped for but again that is something I will have to continue to work towards. I feel that the building process of a three tier cake has it ups and downs. I do find it more difficult when you have to ice multiple cakes. However, putting the whole thing together wasn’t that hard because I only had to put the dowel in the middle of it. As I said earlier it would have been even more time consuming if I had each tier with two or more cakes. Nevertheless, it’s something I will try in the future hopefully. Besides that I still have to work on creating a smooth icing surface on a cake but I was able to use my cupcake icing skills with the swirls which was my favourite part of making this cake. Well, I think that’s a wrap for week five of my learning project, hope you enjoyed my last cake. Stay tuned for my review post where I’ll talk about my whole experience of learning these skills online throughout the past weeks!

THROWING OUT THE FAKE NEWS

This week in my EDTC 300 class we went over the topic of fake news. The main way to overcome the problem of not knowing if real information is being provided to you is to increase your digital literacy. Well this might sound easy to accomplish I think it would take a while to be familiar with all the strategies that help you determine if something is indeed fake news. In class we even had little examples where we would choose what we felt was the fake news article. I’ll admit in some cases I wasn’t sure which one to choose. It shows me that this is something that we as educators should be able to do. It’s a valuable skill and is worth trying to improve our student’s ability in as well. That leads back to the purpose of the post which is how we can teach students about deciphering what is fake news. I’ll be looking at how this can be done in a high school english class as that is what my minor is and I feel it fits in there much better than my major which is math.

Photo Credit: journolink2019 Flickr via Compfight cc

To try and teach high school students about what exactly is fake news and improving their digital literacy skills, I have an idea in mind on what I would do. First off, I would I do an activity like my EDTC 300 prof Katia Hildebrandt did with us. I would have various articles and have the students use the website menti to vote which source is more likely to be trustworthy. I would gather the results and see just were the students currently are at when it comes to picking out fake news.


Photo Credit: verchmarco Flickr via Compfight cc

After this was done I would go over some points on how to pick out fake news. A big thing to go over would be the fact that when researching you shouldn’t pick the first article that agrees with your beliefs. In the article written by Camila Domonske, it states in a study that “people were better at correctly identifying a factual statement if it aligned with or supported their political beliefs”. This just shows that people are more likely to believe an article if it’s what they want to be true. I would explain how you need to not be opinionated and look for the hard facts. Also, in a different article written by Claire Wardle, she brings up another excellent point I would bring up regarding how after reading some information you should process and think about it before you go sharing immediately. If you start to question it then maybe you should do some more research and look at the source a little more in-depth. After going over some of that I would want to show them this TedED video:

This video brings up various good points about figuring out what is fake news. This includes skipping the middleman and instead trying to find the original source to see if they are reliable. Another point brought up is for any breaking news you are better off waiting till the information is confirmed instead of looking for instant updates that may not be true. You also need to learn how to know if something is a fact or an opinion. Overall, the video has various good ideas that I would want to discuss with the students. So, after a fairly good discussion on fake news and some things that you should be thinking about when you are gathering information. I would then want them to do some more research on the computers and have them make a list of what they think is important to look for when deciding if something is fake news. When they were completed I would have them present and hopefully the students have a better understanding and have improved their digital literacy skills. For fun I would then have some more examples of fake and real news and have the kids tell me which they think is which using menti. I think it would be good if they were actually sure of the answers now instead of likely just guessing when we first tried the activity. I feel like this like would fit into the curriculum because I’ve seen presentations on fake news in high school classrooms and I feel like this would be better because it would engage the students to learn rather than sit and probably not retain as much.

This was just an idea I had regarding how you could teach fake news in a high school english class, I’d love to hear your feedback on my idea and how you think it could be improved!

WEEK FOUR – DRIPPING WITH FLAVOUR

This week for my learning project I decided I would once again make another cake but try a different style to decorate it. In week 3, I decided that I would go for a simple icing technique for my first cake. I wanted to try a little different approach this time around but overall still practice my skills a bit more. I once again chose a white cake but used a different recipe then I used last week. However, I’m still using the same buttercream frosting recipe from the first batch of cupcakes. At this point I don’t even have to look it up when I go to make it. I’m more interesting in the aspect of new decorating skills than new types of frosting.

Last week when I made my cake, I used a fairly wide pan and that made it fairly hard to ice the top surface. This week I decided that I would stack smaller cakes as shown in the recipe I chose. So I made my cake batter and then I had to cook a cake in my 9-inch round cake pan and repeat the process 2 more times. Once I had my three cakes cooked and chilled it was time to begin the “building” process.

So to build my cake I had to cut the rounded tops off of the cakes so they were all decently level. Then as you can see in the photos above I placed the first cake down iced it and then placed the next cake on till it was built. I put a significant amount of icing in-between the cakes so that they wouldn’t move out of place. However, to really set the cake into place I put it in the freezer for about half an hour. After I pulled it out of the freezer I used my icing spatula to put a thin layer of icing on the top and the sides and the reason for this is to set all of the crumbs in. After the thin layer was on, it was again time to let it set and pop it back in the freezer for another half an hour. After it was set I grabbed my icing spatula again to put a much thicker layer of icing onto the cake. I smoothed it out as best I could by pressing the edge of my spatula against the cake and spinning the cake stand. Now that this was complete, I was ready for the next step of decorating my cake. For this week I decided that I would be attempting to make a drip cake. Here’s the video that I followed to help me make the chocolate ganache and place it on the cake.

I felt that this video was very helpful for all aspects of my project as it gave various tips. It was my first time making a stacked cake and I followed the various instructions she gave regarding letting it set and having a good amount of icing between each layer of cake. Also, when it comes to the ganache I was very unfamiliar with how it was made or how I would place it on the cake. This video makes it seem very doable for even a novice at decorating like me. Overall, I found the video very helpful.

Instead of explaining how I put the chocolate ganache on here’s a little how-to video I made of the whole experience, hope you enjoy!

I was pretty happy with the end results I feel as though my icing was fairly decent definitely not as smooth as in the videos but I’m seeing progress. Ive noticed that in all the videos I’ve been watching lots of the people have been using this tool that after searching I have learned is called a cake icing smoother. I’m very interested in picking one up and seeing if makes a big difference because I feel like it might be better to use then just the icing spatula. The drip technique was a little overwhelming at first but having videos like the one I posted to look off make the whole situation of learning at home less daunting. Next week will be the last of my learning project and I have a plan in mind for what cake I will be making. I’m thinking it might be a bit difficult but I hope you come back to see how it goes!