Author Archive

Tech Team Micro:bits

What is the name of the device you have chosen?

The name of our chosen device is “Mini Servo Analog Motor”.

What is it used for? Can it be used for other things in a classroom setting?

This device, when activated spins to the beat of hot cross buns (it also plays this melody). When integrated into other objects (such as a stuffed animal), this device may assist the objects to rotate (such as the animal’s limbs or neck). In a classroom setting, I’m not certain of how it might be used. If it were in an instance that students required a mobility and rotation component for a complex project, I’m sure this device could be integrated with ease (as it is also very easy to code).

What code did you use and what does it do? (Pictures or video’s please)

CLICK HERE to watch a video of the Mini Servo Analog Motor in action.

This code rotates the device in small increments while playing the melody of hot cross buns.

Can you think of any other meaningful ways micro:bits can be used in previous and/or current classes you have taken? Please think about this and explain how and where you think micro:bits can be used.

This past semester, I took part in the amazing science co-op program. With hopes that we would apply everything that we had learned thus far, Ms. Jackson implemented a thermos challenge. My team and I wanted to push the boundaries of this challenge and in doing so, we created a battery operated thermos. With hopes that we could implement a Micro:bit, we planned to create a thermometer to help us measure the temperature difference at the beginning of the challenge vs. the end of the challenge. The Micro:bit would have displayed the temperature while an attachement would have been placed in the actual water/thermos. Although we were unsuccessful in implementing this component (mostly due to time), I am proud that we were able to even brainstorm ideas for how we can be using the many amazing resources that we have access to at Riverside. I hope that teachers continue to encourage this challenging mindset and that students begin to feel more confident with the tools in our makers space. I’m sure that with more time and experience, Micro:bits will find their way into many projects of future Riverside students.

 

Short Story Talks-Allegory and Allusion

Allegory and Allusion: 

What is an Allusion?  

In literature, an allusion is a literary device used to make an implied reference to a person, event or another piece of writing. It is often assumed that there is a general knowledge shared by the reader and author, allowing for easy comprehension and understanding of the allusion made. By providing further meaning to a text, allusions can enhance one’s writing and may even provide an ironic comment through contrasting dissimilar aspects. Biblical and Greek mythological references tend to be most often used in Western literature due to the fact that they are well known amongst many civilisations. However, many Modernist writers prefer and purposely use complex and intricate allusions that only a few individuals may understand. Allusions can also provide bias perspectives of the reader and even a society.  

 

What is an Allegory? 

When interpreted, an allegory is a fictional narrative that provides a symbolic and hidden meaning. This form of writing is most apparent in prose and poetry with the purpose of teaching as well as conveying a moral. Allegory is commonly mistaken for symbolism due to the similarity of their functions within a story, however it is important that they are differentiated. Symbols are typically objects that stand for a particular meaning, while an allegory is the entire story, which includes characters and a plot that implies an abstract idea. Many authors prefer writing allegories because they provide multiple layers of interpretation, and also reflect the writers viewings and insight towards the world. 

 

Examples of Allusion: 

  1. In the short story by Ray Bradbury, A Sound of Thunder, an example of an allusion would be in the phrase “If Deutscher had gotten in, we’d have the worst kind of dictatorship. There’s an anti-everything man for you, a militarist, anti-Christ, antihuman, anti-intellectual.” The story was published in 1952, which was seven years after World War II had ended. When the author says Deutscher, he is referring to the Dictator Adolf Hitler, which would have been fresh in the memories of many people. This is an allusion because the author is referring to a specific person from history, attaching a more detailed description to his character.
  2. Another example of an allusion would be in Ray Bradbury’s short story, Evil Robot Monkey, when the author names his characters Vern and Delilah. This is an allusion because both of these names have a separate meaning which symbolize and add to the personalities of their character. Delilah is a biblical reference which symbolizes a trickster as in the story, she tricks Samson into revealing his strength (his hair), to which she later cuts off. The name Vern means “Alder Tree” which signifies protection and safety. These names were chosen purposely to imply a personality for each character. 

 

Examples of Allegory: 

  1. The short story, Evil Robot Monkey by Mary Robinette Kowal is a perfect example of an allegory because it has many different depths of interpretation. The names of the characters have a significance to the story, and it is also written to convey a moral to the audience. The introduction of the clay is the moment when the reader needs to put the many figurative puzzle pieces together to understand what is being exemplified. After realizing the history of the character’s names and interpreting the roles and messages from the teacher and her class, readers can make the connection that the clay symbolizes a coping mechanism and happiness for Sly. The entire story has a deeper and symbolic meaning in regards to humanity and whether individuals base their judgements off of appearances instead of getting to know an individual.

  2. The short story, The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson is also an example of an allegory because it has multiple layers to the story’s meaning. This story conveys abstract ideas about tradition, change and human instinct. The title itself also has an important meaning to the story because at first glance, many would interpret it as something positive, however after reading the story, it is associated with a negative meaning. The black box is also described as old and in need of replacement, yet due to the fact that it has been used for so long, it is a tradition and the people refuse to change it. This also applies to the ritual itself and the people’s conformity to tradition. The moral of the story in regards to following tradition blindly is expressed through the villagers unwillingness to change.   

 

 

 

Semester Reflection

What are some things you have learned and/or tasks you have accomplished this semester? (Use videos, pictures, upload materials etc. as evidence of learning in your blog)

Even though I finished this project before the semester began, it is one that I am truly proud of. Throughout our school France trip (this past May), I made sure to take a lot of videos. My thought was that by taking these clips, I would be able to eventually put them all together as a vlog. The amount of time and patience it took to sort and edit this vlog was tiring, however, I am so glad that I now have this memory of the amazing adventure we had.

This past semester (and over the course of last year), I have been working along side a team of teachers and students to create a legacy wall at Riverside. Beginning in September we were able to make enormous progress and we are finally at the stage now where we will be able to have the Wall of Excellence up and running by the end of the school year.

Just before Christmas time, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to play with the Cricket in the Makers Space. I have a much older version of the Cricket machine at home, however, I had never spent the time to learn how to use it. I entered the Makers Space with the idea that it would be much harder than expected, however, it was even easier than I could have ever thought. I was able to create a beautiful water bottle sticker as well as learn about the many attachments and possible projects for the Cricket. I am inspired now to learn how to use my machine at home and hopefully create something beautiful!

For the following questions, I will be reflecting upon my experience with MicroBits.

  • What aspects of your work are successful? Explain why.
    • My experience with MicroBits is very limited due to the fact that I have not invested nearly enough time to learn the many tricks and components that make up the program and the MicroBits themselves. Although my skills limit me at times, I have found success in the design process. I have been able to imagine many projects and tools that I believe could have a positive impact on the members of my school and community.
  • What aspects of your work is challenging? Explain why.
    • As mentioned above, the aspects that I find challenging when referring to MicroBits is the actual use of the program. There are multiple codes and options for a person to select when programming a MicroBit and for someone with little to no knowledge, at times it can be overwhelming.
  • What steps did you take to overcome these challenges / what adjustments did you need to make?
    • In order to overcome these challenges and see my projects through I have been sure to either ask for help or further research the topic. At times I have found projects that are similar to mine (on the Internet) and therefore, I am able to see how people code their MicroBit or I can observe which attachments they use to make their creation function as desired.
  • Is there anything you can do improve? (with your approach to the project, or altering the project)
    • In order to improve my MicroBit skills I can easily spend more time playing with and learning about these amazing little devices. I look forward to the MicroBit training day and shortly after, the lesson with SD43 members to improve my skill and hopefully share my knowledge and experience with our guests.

As Riverside continues to immerse itself into innovation and technology, what do you think Riverside can do to provide support and help for teachers and students? (Provide specific examples)

  • The transition into high school (or from another school) can be overwhelming for many. I believe that continuing to provide support for these new students (such as the Digital Bootcamp and the Parent Information evenings)  is a vital component to ensuring their success at Riverside.
  • In terms of supporting teachers at Riverside, I believe that by providing them with the necessary tools and potentially training, teachers can start to incorporate the items found in the Makers Space into their lessons and projects. There may be individuals who refuse the idea of these new resources, however, through exposure and opportunity for play, I hope to support and explore new components of the Makers Space along side both the staff and students at Riverside.

Do you have any feedback or suggestions, as we move forward, that could help the Tech Team meet the needs of our school and staff / be more effective? (Provide specific examples)

  • As we are still in the beginning stages of the Wall of Excellence, I understand why this is not one of our main concerns, however, I do worry about how we will maintain this legacy wall once the original members of the creation team have said goodbye to Riverside. I believe that this wall will be an amazing addition to the spirit of Riverside and I hope that it will continue for many years to come. With that said, I suggest that once the wall is up and running, we, the creation team, spend additional time brainstorming a two or three year plan in hopes that we can help to keep the Wall of Excellence a success.

Writing on the Wall Infographic

Below you can find the attached copy of an infographic explaining many components of the short story “Writing on the Wall” by Celia Rees.

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Waves Lab 2019- Maya, Cam, Didi and Kelsey

Wave Definitions:

  1. Pulse Waves: A non-repeating wave that has a single disturbance.
  2. Transverse Waves: Spring is pulled perpendicularly to the direction that the wave travels, disturbance is at a right angle.
  3. Periodic Waves: A wave re occurring at regular time intervals, requires regularly repeating disturbances.
  4. Longitude Waves: Several turns of the spring are compressed causing a disturbance length wise.

Thermos Challenge 2019

Below I have attached our Thermos Challenge Reflection. This document explains the process in which my group built our thermos as well as the reasons as to why we chose these specific materials. Alongside this document is a core competencies reflection. I explain that this project was one that forced us to use many different core competencies. At times it was difficult but I am grateful to have had this experience and the ability to create something that we could have only dreamed about making a few weeks ago.

Thermos Challenge Reflection

Thermos Challenge Self-Assessment

Tech Team Project

Wall Of Excellence:

a) Briefly describe your new and improved idea, by incorporating ideas and/or feedback.

Our new and improved ideas are regarding how and when we will be able to actually implement the Wall Of Excellence. We hope to have the wall up and running by the end of this school year. The idea is that it will not be a literal wall, however a screen that will “recognize current and past, staff and students, individuals and/or groups, for their outstanding achievements and contributions to our school and community”. We hope to place this screen across the stairs underneath the big windows on the top floor. Once all of this is in place, we will be able to go ahead and start advertising. This will consist of searching for candidates as well as getting Rapid Nation excited about celebrating our successes. Although this appears to be an easy step in comparison to the work we have already completed, I have a feeling that it may be the hardest yet. It will be nearly impossible to get every student in the school excited about this project, however I hope once everyone is aware of just how amazing Rapid Nation is, they will be that much more proud to call themselves a Rapid.

b) Answer the following questions:

– What problems might we run into?

  1. We may run into issues with funding. Although this has been discussed, I worry that  we will not have enough money to buy a screen to display our project.
  2. I worry that nobody will apply to be on the Wall Of Excellence.
  3. I am still uncertain how we might present the information on the screen. Will we create a Power Point presentation and set it on a loop? Will we have to have a computer beside the screen at all times to display the Power Point? Will the information remain on the screen long enough for people to read? Will people get board of looking at the screen if it is only showing one person for too long?

– What skills do we need to complete this project? How can we attain these skills?

  1. We will need to have good problem solving skills for this project. This means that we have to adapt and change our plans if we do not have the necessary funding or support. I believe this is a skill that our group feels confident with as we have already practiced adapting our plans throughout the beginning stages of this project.
  2. We will need to advertise and work on our communication skills. We can work with the social media team to make posts about the project as well as ask Mr. Gee to add information to the daily announcements.
  3. Our group may have to enlist help from other Tech Team students when brainstorming ideas for how we might present the information on the screen. I am not familiar with many programs that could help us accomplish our vision for the screen and therefore would appreciate having someone with more experience beside me (whether this person be from our group already or a Tech Team member from another group).

c) Create a brief timeline of key things that need to happen to ensure successful completion of your project. What happens next?

  1. I hope that before we leave for Christmas break, our group will be confident enough to set the plan in motion for the new year.
  2. When we return in January, we will have purchased the screen.
  3. The next step will be to decide on a program (as well as the theme/design) in order to display our information on the screen.
  4. I hope we can complete this task by February and install the screen shortly after.
  5. We will then take on the task of explaining the Wall Of Excellence to Rapid Nation and sourcing applicants.
  6. By the end of the school year, I hope we can recognize a handful of people from Rapid Nation (who were featured on the Wall Of Excellence) at Awards Night.

Tech Team DiVi Review

A) What are the strengths? Things you found useful.

One of the strengths of the Divi Builder is that there is a video tutorial for almost any feature. If I got stuck, I was able to click on the question mark and watch a video to answer my question. After playing around with this plugin for a few hours, I found that the layout was pretty simple to use. It did take some time at the beginning to learn the simplest of features, however, once I mastered those, the program seemed to offer any design element I could think of. Each option (a countdown clock, a photo gallery or even a text box) was very customizable, making it incredibly easy to customize my posts and overall personalize my blog.

B) What are the weaknesses? Things you found could be improved.

Some of the weaknesses regarding the Divi Builder plugin are simply due to the fact that I do not have an account for the Elegant Themes feature. I would have liked to change my whole blog theme through the Divi Builder, however after multiple attempts and still no progress, I realized that this was one of the features we were not provided with. From my understanding, this feature also restricts us to using the map option. If we did have access to the map, I would have placed pins to represent the places in this world where I have been lucky enough to visit.  If I had any items to critique, it would be that these features should be free so that we can further enhance our blogs.

C) How can this plugin be used in a classroom setting to enhance student learning? Would you use it and/or recommend it?

I would most definitely recommend this plugin as it allows students to present their work in a creative fashion when posting projects that are more than just text. I believe that this plugin could be taught at the Digital Bootcamp (for those who are more technically advanced) or incorporated in the grade 9 technology course. This plugin will take patients when learning and exploring; however, once students figure it out (and have the confidence to play around with their blogs while making mistakes), I am sure their blogs will be much more visually appealing and expressive of who they are.

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