Thursday, April 7, 2011

ECMP 355 Final Project

Marie's Curriculum Guide

This is a wikispace I created and integrated the teachings I received from ECMP 355 (how to use wikispaces, using technology - YouTube, inserting pictures), Aesthetics 201 (making use of the process of art rather than worrying about the product, the therapy methods of dance, how to create a curriculum), and Kinesiology and Health Studies 232 (the BASTE method, integrating dance into education). I wanted to make a final project that summed up everything I learned this year in Arts Education. I didn't want to make a video, so I decided to create a curriculum that could be used in a school-setting, with videos and pictures to enhance the material. I referenced the books and websites I used to help me build this wikispace; however, a lot of it comes from my background knowledge of being in dance.

ECMP 355 Reflection Project

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Canada's Failure of Nation-Building

Today's blog post will be about the article the Globe and Mail did on the Nunavut crisis. Crime is at its peak in the Northern territory, with the homicide rate being ten times the national average, and would be considered high in Mexico. The rate of violent assault is four times that of South Africa's. Inuit males aged 15 to 24 have a suicide rate 40 times that of their peers in the rest of Canada, and children are abused at a rate 10 times the national average.

Being so far north, Nunavut is struggling on all levels just to meet the basic needs. 7 in 10 preschoolers grow up in houses without adequate food.

Nunavut is currently celebrating its 12th year anniversary of becaming an official territory in Canada. Since then, troubles have been arising for the government has chosen to neglect its traditional values of its people, the Inuit. The lack of teaching, and teaching in general (unemployment isn't rare- many educated people move south and no one wants to live so far north), has led to various problems. It is common for students to not reach high school- level education. Why? It all goes back to residential schools. Had people not been scarred from the brutality exhibited in residential schools, more First Nations people would be open to education presented to them by non-First Nations people. As told by the Globe and Mail, a man by the name of Leo Nangmalik had attended residential school and was sexually assaulted upon his first day. When he went home and tried to tell his parents of his unfortunate abuse, they beat him and told him not to spread lies. The anger grew inside of him and he became a convict. He would go on to spend years in prison. He has held a rifle to his head. “I could never pull the trigger,” he said, adding that he didn't want his 13 kids growing up without a father, even though he hasn't been much of a father.

After he had told the Globe and Mail his story, he took his life.

I believe these people are in desperate need of funding and more education. If the government made the effort to build Nunavut's towns and villages into more contemporary accommodations, more people would be attracted to the territory. Currently, many families must fit into one household, which would not pass the living standards of other Canadian households. The roofs leak, the floors sag, and mold grows. Schools are inadequate, as well. Many teachers don't want to make the effort to live in such poor conditions, let alone teach in them. The children need education and hope in order to keep away from criminal acts later on in life. They need trust.

This article tells the story of the Inuit people in Nunavut and I find it to be an interesting read, especially since it is happening in Canada. Not in some far off place. The statistics show that troubles here are just as bad as anywhere else. What does this say about our failure as one of the world's most wealthy countries?

The Trials of Nunavut

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tech Task #10: 21st Century Teaching

Today, in the 21st Century, teachers have a lot more resources - like Google for example, than they did fifty years ago. How easy it is to interact with students through technology and how quickly it is to receive a response. Rather than sending home letters, teachers can now e-mail families or post updates in their blog that parents and students can have access to. Open to students and teachers alike is the internet: the world's fastest way of receiving information. Teachers can use the internet to learn more about their choice of topic, how to introduce the subject, creative ways of exploring it, and interact with other teachers across the world. They can create online tutorials for their students to use and post links to various websites that contain relevant information that cannot be discussed in class due to time restraints, or they may post links to sites that were discussed in class and are needed for future reference. Here are the thoughts about one educator who shares my viewpoints on internet use in schools: Michael Lipinski - The Use of Internet in Schools. Blogging is a tool more and more teachers are using, along with Wikispaces. Here, teachers can post their curriculum, classroom updates, school-wide information, homework assignments, subject information, and learning tools. It is a great and simple way to make learning accessible, since most students today have computers and internet access via cellphones, smartphones, laptops, iPods, iPads, etc. They can also access other teachers' blogs and comment on posts they find interesting or relevant to what they are teaching. Teachers are also taking advantage of social-networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to interact with colleagues, friends, students, parents, and people with similar interests who can give valuable information. This list contains a number of sites that teachers may find useful to connect with others:

Youtube is also becoming a widely used education tool, since educators can record themselves or something they find useful and post it on the web for all to see for free in a matter of minutes. Many educators post educational vlogs (which are basically videos of themselves talking about a topic of interest) that teachers can refer to and show to their class. Everything posted on Youtube is up for grabs, basically. One of the largest, most widely used sources of information is Wikipedia, which some teachers frown upon because it can be updated and changed by anyone in the world. However, Wikipedia holds information about... just about everything imaginable in our world. People collaborate ideas and opinions into an article that is usually truthful and insightful. Nothing on the internet is 100% fact, though, just as how anything someone tells you in person isn't 100% fact, but simply their own opinion and viewpoint.

Suddenly, teachers have all of this information available to them which can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Good, because it makes their job a lot easier since students can have access to information from people all over the world rather than relying just on your knowledge. Bad, because it also makes your job harder by having to filter out the good, useful information and the information that can ruin a child's view on something. Teacher's "digital footprints" must be monitored, meaning that anything they do on the internet can potentially be seen by their students and fellow workers that could ruin their career. However, if teachers are cautious about what they say and do inside and outside of the classroom, the internet can be a valuable source of educational information and communication.

As students, the internet is open to us to learn more. Sites such as the Khan Academy lets students learn online about various subjects like Calculus, Astronomy, and Biology with simple tutorial videos without the expensive costs of paying for a class. There is so much out there that is available nowadays that there really is no excuse to not being able to learn, find information, and gain knowledge. If the internet were available to the entire world, to every single person, don't you think the world would be brought a little closer together and we'd all be less ignorant to different viewpoints?

New Six-Word Stories

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tech Task #9: Six Word Stories

These images tell a story about the current disaster happening in Japan. The first image, Peace, represents the serenity Japan once had. The second image, Destroyed, shows the destruction caused by the earthquake. Lost, the third image, depicts the country in ruin and lost as to what to do with the nuclear meltdown. Lost also goes hand-in-hand with Innocence, the fourth image, which shows a child being scanned for radiation. The innocence of these children have been lost in the disaster. The last image, Hold Strong, shows the Red Cross helping and trying to rebuild the ruined country.

The second six-word-story involves a child who can't learn through sitting and reading. He needs creativity to shine and reach his full potential.

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Year as an Arts Ed Student

Today's blog post will discuss my thoughts on the Arts Education program here at the University of Regina.

I am no longer an Arts Ed student, but I would like to say that the past year has shown me so much about creativity and myself. Last semester, I took Theatre 100, Music 100, Art 100, English 100 and ECS 100. I got a taste of what it was like to be a teacher in the classroom through my ECS field work. It was an amazing experience to work with children all throughout elementary, from pre-K to grade 8. It made me realize that no matter what I did, I still wanted to work with children.

The arts-related classes I took showed me who I was as an artist and where I fit in the arts world. As much as I love the arts, I also realized it wasn't for me. I learned a lot, especially in Music 100, Art 100, and Aesthetics 201. It was an experience I don't regret one bit, but rather thank for pointing me in another direction and giving me insight on what it is like to be an arts teacher. It opened my eyes to the amount of creativity and spontaneity required. Being a dancer, and a perfectionist, I found this difficult to achieve at times but it changed my view on the end product and the process. I now respect the process more and take my time on art projects rather than expect a perfect end product.

I have taught dance before to children between the ages of 3-14, but as I learned and discovered more about myself, teaching requires so much more than just showing steps and keeping the children entertained. Although I am very passionate about dance and teaching, I found I just didn't fit in with the Arts Ed curriculum.

However, despite my switch, I definately respect what the University of Regina has to offer for art teachers. This is a one-of-a-kind program meant to educate future educators of every art discipline and become effective advocates of the arts. I recommend it to any artist. It really is a brilliant program and you have the opportunity to earn two degrees- a Bachelor of Education degree AND a Bachelor of Arts degree.

This past year has been, simply put, amazing. I don't regret having my first year done through Arts Education. It definately showed me things I'll take with me into the future, even if I am not going to become a dance teacher.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Just a Ramble

Hey guys,

So I said I would try to post more often on this blog as part of my class mark, but I've just gotten so caught up in many different things. Assignments for other classes, figuring out what I really want to do, if teaching is really for me...

Yeah. About that.

So this is ECMP 355 class - an education class for education students. I am very grateful to have taken this course. I've learned about so many resources that can be applied not only in the classroom, but in different classes I am in now and in everyday life as things become more technology-based. However, as my views change throughout my first year, I am trying my best to keep focused. I apologize for not posting as often as I hoped to at the beginning.

I have actually just applied to the Faculty of Arts Bachelor of Psychology with Honours program. So, with a heavy heart, I say goodbye to the teaching dream I once had. I am still aiming to complete all of my education courses I am in now, of course. It's just that my interests have veered elsewhere. Well, not exactly veered as in an unexpected sharp turn... I've always had an interest in psychology but never thought I was smart enough to make a career out of it, since it is a science and I would have to get a doctorate. That has all changed, though, as I've received a taste of what university is like and have become more ambitious and confident in my abilities as a student. I plan on becoming a Clinical Psychologist and dropping my Arts Education degree with a major in Dance.

So please, forgive me for not updating frequently to this blog. A lot has been on my mind lately, but I've never thought of sitting down and typing it all into a blog. I'd just like to thank the people who have read it and who have encouraged my teaching viewpoints. I am still very passionate about child education and art, but I believe my calling is elsewhere. One day I'll return to this road. I am sure of it.

Thanks for such a great class and for all of the amazing tools it presented!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Thoughts on Twitter

So today's ECMP 355 class was about social networking - particularly, Twitter. I had already done a blog post on Facebook, so here is my say on the ever-popular Twitter...

When I first got Twitter, I went on it for five minutes then stopped for four months. My friend made me create an account but I didn't really see the point of it. Having random people follow me was kind of creepy and I couldn't talk as much as I could on Facebook since there was only a 140 character limit. To me, it was stupid.

I came back to it because my close circle of friends all had accounts. It was more personal; Facebook has a mass population and I have many friends, whereas on Twitter I only had around 12 followers. I can post simple, quick thoughts and read other people's thoughts. Facebook became more like Rantbook, with people's statuses reaching paragraph level.

As more people followed me, I made my account private. Since ballet is one of my main interests, my tweets became more and more geared toward it. To my surprise, I had begun receiving follower requests from big-time companies like the New York City Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, and some dancers from Europe.

Twitter became both my personal insight to my friends' lives that I moved away from to come to University - I still keep in close contact with each of them, thanks to Twitter, and my professional image to the dance world which helps in my education endeavors as a dance major. I can receive the latest news on choreography, dancer's health, receive discounts on clothing and more. I can then pass on this information to my students. Twitter has become a fantastic resource for information and I can monitor who I follow and who follows me.

For teaching purposes, I would most likely create a separate account for my students and colleagues since the account I have now is still personal. I enjoy the simplicity of Twitter and the ability to connect with different people with similar interests. I can use it in more advanced ways than I can with Facebook, which is also great, but doesn't have the same professional quality that Twitter does.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My First Curriculum Guide!

This is for my Aesthetics 201 class. I'm not finished editing it yet, but it's looking good so far.

I learned how to use Wikispaces in this class. Thanks for showing me this wonderful site! It's basically a site about dance therapy and the benefits of dance, along with a mock lesson plan and curriculum guide from Saskatchewan's Arts Education Curriculum. I am not 100% sure if this is what was supposed to be done for Aesthetics class, so if you are also in my class and would like to add some input, please do!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Recreational Classes VS Exam Classes

Today's topic will cover some recent news I overheard. My old dance studio cut all recreational classes and students are only allowed in if they pass an exam. ... What? This has not been 100% confirmed yet, but I'm going to rant about it anyway because it affects children and their arts education.

The studio is known for being exceptional and has won several awards from many competitions over the years. The teachers are knowledgeable and qualified, each coming from an extensive dance background. The building is fairly large with two huge studio rooms and one small room for young children and the drama class. There's a built-in dance store where you can buy all the apparel you need and a waiting area with dance books and toys for children. The used to offer classes for many different levels. Ballet, jazz, modern, lyrical, pointe class, hip hop, boys only classes, musical theatre, tap... everything. They were separated by level for recreational dancers who just wanted to dance for fun. There was Beginner, Junior, Intermediate, Senior, and Adult. For the more dedicated dancers, there were Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) syllabus classes and Canadian Dance Teacher's Association (CDTA) syllabus classes, which were graded from 1-8, Intermediate Foundation, Intermediate, Advanced Foundation, Advanced, and Pre-Professional. These classes required their students to pass an exam before going on to the next grade. If you were good enough, you can skip grades without taking exams. When I first started, I was placed in Grade 6 Ballet and Intermediate Foundation Ballet. I also took Senior Ballet, Senior Jazz, and Senior Modern for recreational fun, since I liked to dance sometimes without someone making sure everything was absolutely perfect and well-placed on my body. Now those classes are cut.

What happens to the dancers who just want to dance for fun? What happens to the dancers who aren't good enough to pass the exams but still want the physical fitness dance has to offer?

I believe in having a strong foundation in dance and having that firm discipline, but c'mon. Not everyone is going to want to be a professional. Many dancers were asked to leave and drop their classes, including my friend who had been dancing there for thirteen years. She was never good enough to take exams, but she enjoyed moving to the music and learning new steps. It was just a hobby for her. Young children also need that "fun" in dance before they should decide if they want syllabus classes or not. Syllabus classes are also really expensive. I was lucky enough to get my syllabus classes for free of charge, courtesy of my dance studios. Exam classes also require expensive uniforms. Depending of your level, you will need a solid coloured leotard, usually black. Sleeved or sleevless. V-necked, or scoop-necked. Ballet pink tights, pink ballet slippers or pointe shoes, hair in a tight bun with absolutely no wisps of hair sticking out, and everything must be clean of any floor markings or dirt. In recreational classes, you are free to wear anything that is comfortable to move in. I've even seen some people wear jeans to class, which made me cringe, but reminded me of the freedom people were allowed.

Now there is no freedom. Everything is restricted. It's not really fair to those who don't want that added stress of dance exams on top of regular school exams. For the studio to cut recreational dance classes is just insane. How does this contribute to the fun of dance? It doesn't.

That is my rant for today! I will try to update more often on this blog, but it's hard to keep up! Bye for now!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tech Task #6: Podcast

So I did a little song using Aviary. I wasn't sure how long it had to be so it's fairly short. I'm not really musically-inclined, but I hope you enjoy it!

Maries Music by MarieSanderson7

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Door Project

For ECMP 355 "The Door of Paranoia" movie.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tech Task #5- Priceless

My first time using movie maker! I got help with audio and music from my friend Jarrett. The images are from some galleries of ballet dancers, featuring Gillian Murphy and the American Ballet Theatre. I don't have any images of my own on the university desktop, so I did the best I could. Hope you enjoy it!

Video put together by: Marie Sanderson
With the assistance of: Jarrett Crowe
Images by: Corbis and Gene Schiavone
Music by: Tchaikovsky

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tech Task #4- Edited Quote Picture

This image was taken courtesy from nellyfus 's Flickr photo gallery. It was originally titled "Lady Gaga Monster Ball Tour 2010". I cropped it and added text of a Lady Gaga quote, which was one of my favourites.

I chose this image because of the dramatic lighting and dark background. There's so much passion shown in the way her head is thrown back, as if she's throwing her entire self into her music.

The quote is interesting to me and I find it to be very inspirational toward my teaching style. As an Arts Ed. teacher, it is my job to unleash the creativity within children and youth. When I was young, my art was always restricted once I moved up into contests and competitions. It caused me to lose the source of creativity I had as a child. I'm currently trying to find it again. Artists have to work toward being original, otherwise their art isn't theirs. Lady Gaga is always critiqued as pushing the limits and being an awful excuse for an artist, but I admire her a lot. She's different and unafraid; two things I want to be, but that's hard to accomplish in today's world.

I know she isn't the best role model to idolize for a teacher, but it isn't the way she dresses or the way she acts on stage that I'm idolizing. Her lyrics can get pretty bad, too, for young innocent ears. It's the passion she throws into her work and the message she's trying to send that intrigues me. She tries to make people become less afraid of who they are and embrace their imperfections. She's not scared of people's opinions, and states: "well, that's your opinion, isn't it? And I'm not about to waste my time trying to change it." This is a great message for people who are different, like homosexuals, bisexuals, transexuals... people who are yet to be fully accepted into society yet live amongst us everyday.

She is a bit over-the-top, I admit. I wouldn't expose her to my students in an elementary setting. I'm sure that would get me fired straight away. But high school students are a whole other story. They need to feel loved for who they are, no matter who that person is. Another one of my favourite quotes by her is: "I want women - and men - to feel empowered by a deeper and more psychotic part of themselves. The part they're always trying desperately to hide. I want that to become something that they cherish." This is important for people who are suffocating in their current, suppressing lives to hear. I hope to send this message to my older students and give a more watered-down dose to my younger students.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tech Task #3

Today's tech task will be on Ken Robinson's "School Kills Creativity", which I had watched briefly in my Education Core Studies 100 class last semester. Today I watched the whole video and it was even more amazing. This video is about how school sucks the creativity out of children. Children are born artists. We don't grow into creativity. We grow out of it. As an Arts Education student, I can relate to this speech very well.

Ken Robinson tells of a little girl who was in a drawing lesson. She was six years old. This little girl hardly paid attention in class but in the drawing lesson she did. The teacher was fascinated and asked the girl, “what are you drawing?” and the girl responded: “God.” And the teacher said, “no one knows what God looks like.” And the girl replied, “they will in a minute". Children are not frightened of being wrong. If you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original.By the time they become adults, most kids lose that capacity. Society stigmatizes mistakes. We are now running national education systems where mistakes are the worst things you can make.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. As a little girl, I loved to draw. I'd draw on the walls, I'd colour the table, I'd draw absolutely everything. Eventually I learned how to use paper. However, in school, I was criticized for what I drew. "That doesn't look like a horse", people would say. It wasn't supposed to be an average-looking horse. It was a magical horse. As I grew older and began drawing more realistically, my art work would be submitted into contests, where they were criticized even more. I stopped drawing by the time I was 10. I never took it up again.

Another story Robinson brings up is the one about Gillian Lynn. She is now a world-renowned choreographer, but as a child, she was deemed as having a disorder. At school, she was completely hopeless. The school in the 1930s wrote to her parents, saying she had a learning disorder. She kept fidgeting and couldn’t sit still. Today, doctors call this ADHD. She was sent to a specialist. Her mother told the doctor of all the problems Gillian was having. The doctor took her mother and left Gillian alone in the room, with the radio on. The doctor told her mother to stand and watch her. Gillian was on her feet, moving to the music. The doctor turned to Mrs. Lynn and said, “Gillian isn’t sick. She’s a dancer.” That’s when she began dance lessons.

In elementary, I was a good student. I tried my best to pay attention to everything my teacher said and was a perfectionist. I no longer wanted to be an artist. I wanted to be a doctor. This continued throughout my middle years until I hit high school. Suddenly, numbers and science meant nothing to me. I couldn't understand, thus I couldn't pay attention. I was extremely fidgety and got in trouble a lot during class. Teachers who had me before understood the way I was and accepted it. My math teacher, Mr. Miller, was extremely accepting of it. He knew math wasn't for me, but helped me if I asked. New teachers punished me, and so I came to hate them. I was still very good in school. My marks were fairly high and I handed everything in on time, but my focus was not academic. My creative writing teacher advised me to audition for the spring musical. I'd never been in a musical before but I went for the audition anyway. I made it and loved it. That's when I discovered dance. In school, I couldn't memorize ANYTHING even if my life depended on it and it took me longer than other students to learn a topic I was not interested in (which was a lot), but in dance, I learned and memorized things it took other dancers years to understand. My mind and body linked in ways others just couldn't. In two years, I was able to catch up to people my age who had been dancing since they were three.

My point is, and also Robinson's point, is that intelligence is distinct. Not everyone is smart academically. All children have talents and we squander them. Creativity is as important in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status. The main goal of educational institutions around the world is to produce university professors. They are the people who come out on top. Everyone else, artists especially, are stupid. Uneducated. Which is wrong. There isn’t an education system on the planet that teaches dance to children on a day-to-day basis, like we do for mathematics. This is unacceptable. Dance, which incorporates the entire body and mind, is as important as mathematics, which only requires the power of the mind. What happens to the children who are better at expressing themselves through dance than math? We forget about them.

My goal in life is to change this. I wasn't able to find my calling until later in life due to schools enforcing the idea that artists are uneducated and won't succeed in society. I am majoring in dance, and I am hoping to teach dance on a day-to-day basis in schools in Saskatchewan. For free. (For the children that is, I still have to make a living and am hoping to be paid as much as the average school teacher! Dance classes usually cost around $50 a month for a weekly 45 minute class.) I will not let children who thrive in the arts be forgotten. They are just as intelligent as children who excel in math. This was my main argument when I was applying for scholarships. You see, university scholarships look for people who are either big business people or engineers. "Smart" people, as today's society calls them. To me, that is wrong. And so, I fought for my right as an artist to be paid through university just as a medical doctor or scientist could. The result? I had received Saskatchewan's most generous scholarship from SaskTel, which was originally for business majors, and I am currently being paid through four full years of university.

I think Ken Robinson and I would be good friends if we knew eachother in real life. This video is very educational and has several good points on how schools need to incorporate the arts more than they already do. And by arts, I mean ALL five arts areas: dance, drama, visual arts, literature, and music. Today's schools only teach music, visual arts, and literature. Drama and dance are often forgotten. Every disciplinary should be treated with the same status if children are going to be able to thrive both academically and creatively.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tech Task #2

Question: Should teachers be friends with their students on Facebook? Are there certain circumstances when this is acceptable, or circumstances when it is not?

This question, surprisingly, has been haunting me for a while. My teachers from high school began adding me on Facebook after graduation and I immediately put them on limited profile. It had me thinking: why did I do that? I don't have anything to hide and they've known me for 3-4 years. It was just the fact that they were my teachers and I still see myself as their student. There are boundries between teacher and student.

To resolve this conflict, I began debating on the idea of creating a professional profile for potential employers, teachers, colleagues, etc. and keeping a personal profile for friends and acquaintances. Or, cleaning up my current profile and keeping it rated G for everyone.

Becoming a teacher means creating a professional image that must be kept both inside and outside of the classroom. And so, I chose to clean up my current profile (although, there are still some silly photos I am tagged in posted on my wall and such, but they aren't bad.) and accept my teacher's requests. I do know of a few young teachers who taught me and added me but did not keep their Facebook "clean". There were pictures of them at weddings and parties, and I thought, "oh, I did NOT expect them to behave that way!" The pictures were not career-threatening, but surprising for a student to see.

My opinion, in short, of teachers adding their students on Facebook is this: keep it professional. If you choose to have a personal life, that's great. But please, make a personal profile for that and leave it for your friends and NOT your students! It is acceptable to have students on Facebook because it's an easy way to communicate outside of the classroom; however, it is unacceptable to add them on "friendly" terms. I don't want to see pictures of how smashed you got at a party. I still expect to see you as Mrs. or Mr. whatever your last name is. So please, if you choose to be on Facebook and you are in a highly-regarded profession under public scrunity, make sure it is presentable!

Don't end up like her and get fired for posting too much information!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

ECMP 355: My thoughts on Technology

This blog post is for my ECMP 355 class. As I had said in my previous blog post, which was solely just a post introducing myself, I know only the very basics of technology. I don't use the computer much other than to research, type assignments, Google information, use Twitter and Facebook, and to check my e-mail. It's more of a form of entertainment than a work-based instrument, although it does come in handy with university assignments.

As I am on my way to becoming a teacher, I can see that computing technology in the K-12 classroom is important. During my field experiences in an elementary school, I saw that every grade above kindergarten used the computer in one way or another. Reading quizzes, assignments, and the teacher's blog (which included homework assignments and links to further education) was all accessed through the internet. Some children played around during free time while others typed up their assignments. The benefits of using the computer in the classroom include: work can be done quicker because writing and explaining things takes up more time than typing and reading, children become more knowledgeable of technology in the advanced information age we are currently in, classrooms become more "up-to-date", and students find it more interesting than sitting at the desk listening to the teacher instruct. However, I prefer the "old-school" way of education. Children now have more access to a broader range of materials and resources, but they're losing out on literacy skills and face-to-face interaction. I did not have a computer until I was in my early teen years. Sure, my school had computer classes and such, but we still relied on reading books and handouts, handwriting with a pencil, and listening to our teacher rather than reading their online blog. It helped with university because I learn more by writing in class as opposed to typing what the professor says into a Mac. I also find it more reliable because computers crash, but you'll always have your written notes in a binder or notebook (unless you unfortunately lose it, or, as the old elementary saying went: your dog ate it). I just think that students in classrooms nowadays should balance computer-use and the old ways of learning. And, as educators, we should balance that in our classrooms. It is nice to have typed assignments since we all can't read the dreaded chicken-scratch some students call "words", but it is also nice to have them learn how to write properly. There is also the topic of Microsoft Word's spellcheck. Too many of us are using this tool and taking advantage of it. It isn't hard to grab a paper dictionary to look up words, you know!

In closing, my expectations regarding this ECMP 355 class are pretty... moderate, I suppose. I don't expect to leave the class a computer whiz, but I do expect to leave with a fair amount of computer-based knowledge that is applicable to the modern classroom. I hope to leave feeling confident in my computer skills and more up-to-date with technology.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My first blog post!

Okay, so this is my very first blog post. Ever. I've never done anything much more than Facebooking and Tweeting, you know. The usual.

So... hi! Let's start with finding out who I am.

My name is Marie Sanderson. I'm 18 years old and am in my second semester of my first year of university. My major is dance and I'm pursuing two bachelor degrees: a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education, with a minor in theatre, at the University of Regina. I'm still trying to get out of high school mode and become accustom to being on my own for the first time. I'm originally from Lac La Ronge, Saskatchewan but moved to Prince Albert for my high school years. I went to St. Mary High School, which I enjoyed greatly; partly because the teaching staff was excellent and helped me through the toughest years of my life, and partly because of the drama program I was completely infatuated with. I hope to return there someday as an intern or a teacher.

Getting more personal, I come from a family of six. My mother currently works within the Catholic school system in Prince Albert and my father stays at home watching over my twin 20-month old brothers. He is currently awaiting surgery. My 13-year-old sister anxiously awaits her high school debut and is one of my best friends. I wish her the best of luck in her future, and I'm afraid she's going to beat me as the "family nerd"! I have one kitty named Checkers and, quite frankly, just talking about everyone makes me miss home so much so I'll move on.

I moved to Regina to pursue dance education. I haven't been dancing for very long but my eagerness to learn has given me a lot of opportunities to explore the art. I've taken classes like ballet, jazz, lyrical, musical theatre, and contemporary at several studios, sometimes all at once. I've been trained at the Performing Arts Warehouse and Ballet N' All That Jazz in Prince Albert, the Birch Hills Dance Centre in Birch Hills, and the Assessippi Dance Camp in Manitoba. I'm currently taking ballet at the Youth Ballet Company of Saskatchewan in Regina. I had my first taste of teaching when I taught a 4-week dance camp in my hometown of La Ronge. I'd have to say that was the best summer of my life. The children, although none of them had any experience whatsoever, were wonderful! My background in theatre, which is my minor, runs deeper than dance but isn't as extensive. I've been involved in theatre since early childhood, both as acting and working backstage. I won't go in depth about my elementary experience, but my high school productions were really the highlight of my teenage years.

I'm currently at university on full scholarship. This is a very exciting, stressful time for me but I'm actually having a lot of fun experiencing what it's like to be a uni student living on campus. I have a few friends from Prince Albert here with me. We all try to become involved in this busy setting and I have become a member of different groups. I am a mentor for the Aboriginal Student Mentorship program, meaning I help Aboriginal high school students in their transition into post-secondary education. I'm also apart of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) as Saskatchewan's Artist Representative and a member of the Indigenous Students Association. This summer, I will be traveling to Australia as part of the International Student Volunteer program for wildlife conservation and to help restore lost habitat.

I think that's enough for the first post. I think you know more than enough about me now! See you soon!