Freedom and Choice

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Hi! My name is Kelsie Lenihan and this is my 9th Master’s course in Curriculum and Instruction. This is also my third Alec course.

I was initially a little hesitant to sign up for a social media course because 1) our lives are so dominated by social media, do I really want to add another layer on top of it? and 2) I’m not the most active on social media.

But I dove in. I want to learn more about how to use social media effectively, both personally and professionally. It seems like a big job to curate your online presence in a way where you control the message sent to the world about you.

As well, I have two young sons. I want to know how to make the social media world inviting and safe for them by helping them create their online identity early.

On the first day of class, when we were assigned the task of learning something new through exploring online help, I was stymied.

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There were just so many avenues and options. This is a huge opportunity to do something — anything — that you’ve always wanted to try but never had the time. Here is the time. You need to do this.

So I started asking around. Everyone had a different opinion. My art teacher friend insisted I learn how to paint, because she saw how “well” I did at a Paint Nite. I thought about cake decorating but that got a hard “no” from my husband, who would most likely have been responsible for the eating of the cake.

Finally, it was my three-year-old who made the decision for me.

He’s been starting to get together his wish list for Santa Claus (thank you, Costco, for having Christmas decorations out before Hallowe’en). One of the things he’s been after is called a Code-a-pillar. It’s a way to introduce coding to preschool children.

This started me thinking about why I would want my child to learn how to code at such a young age. It came to me that this is about 21st century learning — about preparing him for jobs that don’t yet exist and to get him familiar with technology so that he’s confident using it and can adapt to the massive shifts in learning that are happening right now.

Computer science is no longer just for nerds. It’s become part of the core curriculum rather than a hobby.

Because my children will probably have coding for homework, I want to be able to help them.

I know nothing about coding. Quite literally nothing. I am starting from ground zero. Well, not quite ground zero, because I’ve got Twitter.

I’ve got a place to start from, but I’m still struggling with the end product. Backward design is ingrained in me, so I am trying to figure out what success will look like. Do I want to learn to code for Apple (I’ve got an iPad and iPhone) or for Android (much more open)? What do I want to code? A game? An app? What is being too ambitious? What is not being ambitious enough?

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If anyone out there has experience about coding, I’d LOVE to have your advice of where to start.

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One does not simply write a blog post without a meme.

To start off, which may sound like a typical self-effacing comment, I’m not terribly good at writing about myself. Maybe it’s because I spent all of my undergraduate essays talking about someone else?

Ask me to write an essay about literature and I’m your gal.

Autobiographical things? Forget it.

So, with that disclaimer out of the way, here’s a not so complete list of who I am and why I would want to take an Edtech class in the middle of spring.

For context about me, I’m a mom to an (almost) two-year-old boy, Eoin. My husband, also a teacher, works at Leboldus. I, however, work at their archenemy, Campbell Collegiate (go Tartans!).

I am a political animal. Nothing makes me happier than a good election. In fact, my favourite TV show ever is The West Wing.If you can do the Jackal, you’d be my very best friend.

Photo Credit: Kelsie Lenihan via Meme Generator

In my spare time, I garden, but this weather is making that very difficult. What this weather does allow is more time for my other (English teacher-obligatory) love, reading. I can hear your shock and surprise now. I’m a giant book nerd. I literally wore out two ebook readers and am now on a third (so far, it’s holding up). I have a (not so active anymore) Goodreads account, which I find invaluable at helping me discover new books.

Other than that, my whole family lives in the Ottawa Valley, which isn’t always awesome, but it does make for some great vacations. (If you’ve clicked on the link, zoom waaaaaaay out and you’ll see Ottawa to the north and Kingston to the south.)

As for what I’m paid to do, I teach English Language Arts, by and large. I teach all grades in high school and honestly, I don’t think I have a favourite course to teach. They’re all my favourite at the time.

Onto why I’m taking this course. To be fair, it’s because I need EC&I classes to get my Masters. However, I’ve always been interested in tech. In high school, I worked at (the now defunct) Future Shop and that jump started my obsession over the latest and greatest. Unabashedly, I enjoy using gadgets and apps and tools. (Speaking of gadgets, if you want to be friends on Fitbit, let me know! It’s been a really cool, motivating tool).

I am excited to see the impact this class will have on my teaching as so many people have told me this series of courses revolutionized the way they approach the classroom and its environment.

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Photo Credit: Kelsie Lenihan via Meme Generator