Monday, 27 March 2017

Genius Hour Update #7 + Final Thoughts

Welcome back!

My Ted Talk for my Genius Hour Project is now live; go check out the "Genius Hour Ted Talk" link on the right-hand side of this page! In it, I talk about my journey through the project, what I learned, and what I will do going forward. Warning, don't watch it if you're hungry, I am making my lunch while I film!

This will be my final post on my adventures during EDUC 8Y24. Before I go, here are some reflections on my progress and growth throughout the semester.


Problem-Solving Badge: I included this badge because I have learned how to facilitate a Problem-Based Learning lesson in a tech-enhanced way. If I was to run a PBL lesson in my classroom (which would encourage collaboration, critical thinking, and initiative in my students), I would use tech tools like Padlet for students to contribute their new understandings in a class-wide forum, or Google Forms for students to submit their understanding. Since I enjoy having my students learn in a PBL environment, I can definitely see myself including these tech tools to enhance the learning process!

Digizen Badge: I included this badge because although I thought I knew a lot about the rights and responsibilities of citizens in the digital realm, I had never heard of Creative Commons before! Now, I know where to go to source images and media that won't get me into copyright or plagiarism issues. I also furthered my knowledge of how to keep myself (and my future students) safe on the internet, in terms of using avatars when you don't feel comfortable including a profile picture of yourself, and limiting the audience to your content (like setting a video as "unlisted" on YouTube).

Overall, I do feel that I have grown in my professional knowledge on technology throughout the duration of this course. I am a big user of Google products, so learning how to use Forms and Sites was the highlight for me, as well as actually diving in and learning how to edit a short film on iMovie. I know there are several resources from this course that I can see myself using in my future classroom, and now not only do I have those resources, but I also have the know-how and the skills to go out and find (and then use) new resources and platforms, as the pool of resources only grows every day!

Until next time!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Genius Hour Update #6 - A Quick Detour

Welcome back!

In my research for this Genius Hour project, I was getting really deep into looking at healthy quantities of iron, protein, vitamin B12, and other essential nutrients. I felt like I was losing the big picture. So this week, I took my investigation into vegetarianism in a different direction, watching lots of videos and reading lots of articles about the global impact of vegetarianism. Below are two of the better videos I explored!

This video talks about what would happen if the world went vegetarian.

This video discusses why people find vegetarians annoying.


Thanks for reading and watching. Until next time! 

Monday, 27 February 2017

Genius Hour Post 5 + Learning Object - Haiku Deck

Welcome back!

It has been a while since I posted about my Genius Hour project! The infographic is looking, well, informative; I am adding my final details. My research on vitamin B12 is also progressing; slower than I would have hoped, but progress is progress.

Over the weekend, I volunteered at a sleep-away camp. The meals had lots of fruits and veggies, but for someone who doesn't eat meat, there weren't a lot of protein or iron-rich options. By Sunday, I did notice a difference in my energy and alertness levels, having not eaten too many of my usual foods, like nuts, beans, or leafy greens. I thought it was an interesting experience, seeing just how much our food can impact not only our overall health, but also our day-to-day functioning. I am getting myself back on track now that I'm home again. This "eating healthy" thing is definitely an on-going and very important endeavour!


During our exploration of technology tools today, I had the chance to learn about Haiku Deck. Essentially, it is a slideshow creation platform online that sources images and backgrounds from Creative Commons (no copyright infringements here!). According to sources like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, Haiku Deck is an easy-to-use tool for creating visually appealing presentations in a fraction of the time it takes on traditional platforms.

I could easily see Haiku Deck being incorporated into a Genius Hour project. Either students could use it to present their findings, or the teacher could use it as a tool to present the project and guide students' learning. It would be most useful for visual learners and students who need text organized into manageable chunks. Also, Haiku Deck is usable on mobile, tablet, and desktop devices, making it more accessible for students.

Maybe for my next presentation, I will try creating a Haiku Deck; with the ability to embed videos, and the option to download and save the presentation, I can see it working really well for my purposes.

Until next time!

Best of Ontario Educators

Welcome back!

Today we explored a daily newsletter posted and curated by Ontario educator Doug Peterson. While checking out the newsletter archive, I came across an article entitled "The more innovative I have become, the less classroom management I have to deal with".

Essentially, the article is about giving students agency and control in their learning environment and on their learning journey. The argument is that it builds the student-teacher relationship, allows for diversity in the classroom to thrive, and creates students that are more engaged, focused, and excited about their work. The part of the article that caught my eye the most was the quote by Alexander Den Heijer : "When a flower doesn't bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower". That is so true! By adapting the classroom and our teaching practices, creating flexibility in the learning process, and honouring student voice, we can create strong, positive, and effective learning environments for all of our students. And if classroom management is positively affected by these changes, even better!

Until next time!

Monday, 6 February 2017

Genius Hour Post 4

Welcome back!

My infographic on iron in the vegetarian diet is coming along; it’s a work in progress since I’m simultaneously learning how to use a tool called “Piktochart” while compiling my research and information! I’ve already been putting my learning into practice; over the weekend, I bulked up on my iron intake with stuffed peppers and a salad. I had black beans, quinoa, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and tomato sauce (all high in iron), and tomato, strawberries, and leafy greens (which all increase iron absorption); I hit most of the iron-rich foods featured in this graphic from "The Vegan Junction".

This week my focus shifts to vitamin B12 and omega 3’s. Stay tuned for how that works out. I can’t wait to see how the next step in my Genius Hour project influences my eating habits!

This experience has been positive so far; my Genius Hour topic is something that I am personally interested in, so doing the project doesn’t feel like the regular course work that I am used to. I would definitely consider implementing a Genius Hour project (or something similar) in my own classroom. I see it working best with older Junior students, or the Intermediate division, since they have developed their own interests and have basic research skills.

If I were to do Genius Hour again, or if I were to use it in a classroom, I would be sure to organize and implement a stricter timeline for the project to follow. Since this is the first time trying this project, planning out a five week schedule has been a little tricky, whether it be carving out specific times to work on the project, or pacing the research and learning at a good speed in order to stay on track. While the results are great (more knowledge and understanding and skills related to research and of course the Genius Hour topic!), some students might struggle with the open-ended nature of this project, so implementing a timeline or schedule would help those students stay on track and succeed.


Until next time!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Genius Hour Update 3 + Educational Technology

Welcome back! Since I last blogged, new developments have taken place in regards to my Genius Hour project. Some are good, some not so much, but that's all part of the researching and learning process.

I have learned that identifying the "ideal vegetarian diet" is a fairly subjective process; some resources and schools of thought recommend a specific amount of protein, while another source might list a completely different daily intake of protein. Add onto this the varying opinions on daily intake of iron, many vitamins, and omega 3's, and you've got yourself a real big mess to untangle!


In general, the recommendation was about 17-19 milligrams per day of iron for women above age 19. My focus this week was finding a substantial list of vegetarian munchies that are iron-rich; I'm happy to report that the options I found are delicious and abundant. I am developing an infographic that will display my findings!

Here's your vegetarian-related fact of the day: coffee and tea contain tannins, which can inhibit the absorption of iron. So delay your "cuppa joe" for at least an hour before and after consuming iron.

For next week; moving on to vitamin B12, and maybe even omega 3's. I'm tacking those vegetarian diet deficiencies one by one!

Educational technology

Part of our 8Y24 class has been taking the time to explore and become familiar with many new and different technological tools, such as Google Drive (Forms, Sheets, Gmail, Blogger, etc.), Powtoon, Twitter, Pinterest, Popplet, and so much more. My "ah-ha" moment would be using Google Forms. I consider myself pretty familiar with Google and its products; I frequently use Docs, Slides, News, and Scholar. However, I had never used Forms before, and I like its functionality within the 21st century classroom. I think it's a great tool to get quick feedback from students, whether for diagnostic assessment purposes, as a quick check-in, or to seek their thoughts and ideas. I would use Forms in my own classroom if I was interested in hearing students' answers or opinions without worrying about some students being influenced by their peers' responses.

Overall, I'm still keeping my mind open to educational technology. I can't see myself using a tool like Powtoon as a teaching tool, but can see its appeal to students for a visual presentation. On the other hand, I am appreciating the further exploration of tools I was previously familiar with, like Pinterest and Google. Hopefully I will continue to develop these skills and familarities over the rest of the semester!

Until next time!

Monday, 30 January 2017

Google Forms, Blogging, and Lions in the Library, Oh My!

Today we created quizzes on Google Forms in response to stories from the website Storyline Online. I chose the story 'Library Lion' by Michelle Knudsen. Quiz yourself to see if you understood the book!

Monday, 23 January 2017

Genius Hour - Update #2

We are entering the second week of our Genius Hour projects, and things are happening!

I have chosen for this week to focus on a couple of vitamins and nutrients that are difficult to come by on a vegetarian diet; specifically, iron and B12. I did some preliminary research last week and found out some interesting facts! Particularly, iron comes in two forms - heme and non-heme. Iron from animals is mostly heme iron, and it is easily and readily absorbed by our digestive systems. On the other hand, iron from plant-based foods is non-heme iron, and the body has a harder time absorbing it. We can boost our chances of absorbing non-heme iron by consuming it with vitamin C and avoiding calcium, which is an inhibitor. So the next time you're sitting down to a black bean and quinoa salad, considering swapping that glass of milk out for a glass of orange juice - your body's iron supply will thank you!


As I delve further into the research part of my project, I anticipate that I will come across conflicting information, especially with ideas about how much protein is healthy for someone my gender, size, weight, and age. Everyone seems to have different opinions! I intend to "shop" around and find some average amounts in order to pin down an accurate quantity. Vegetarianism can be hard sometimes with various sources all recommending different approaches to getting the right nutrients, but I think it's worth the effort.

Jumping back to 8Y24, this past week we used Google Forms, a way to create and use surveys and polls in the classroom. I found this app to be really straightforward to use, and the surveys and polls are easily and quickly made, with flexibility for multiple choice, short, or long answer questions. I could definitely see myself using it in my future classroom as a comprehension tool or exit ticket. It would work best in a classroom where all students had access to a mobile device or laptop, so there are some limitations with Forms' use, but that's an issue you run into with many technological platforms.

Until next time!

Friday, 20 January 2017

Virtual Field Trips and Genius Hour

This week in 8Y24, we explored the world of Virtual Field Trips! VFT’s are a great way to “take” your class on an adventure that would not be feasible in the real world, such as a tour around a European museum, an African safari, or even the local farm. These online tours span everything from photo tours to immersive experiences complete with video, audio, and interactive segments. I chose to explore “The Nine Planets”, an online and informative way to explore everything about our solar system. My field trip included an informative article about Jupiter, a chance to check out stunning astronomy photography, and finished with the “Express” version of the Tour of the Solar System. I had never really heard of or experienced a Virtual Field Trip before; I think they are great tools for teachers who want to take their class to exotic or memorable locations around the world, and VFT’s provide great opportunities to engage in learning that wouldn’t happen without the use of technology.

We also furthered our knowledge of the “Genius Hour Project”, an initiative started in part by Google that encourages people to spend their time pursuing and expanding on their knowledge of a topic they are passionate about. Productivity and motivation increase when people are supported in following their “pet projects” and interests; this is where Gmail and Google News originated from! Genius Hour is also used in the classroom, where students can choose any topic from which to develop a project.

In 8Y24, we are starting our own Genius Hour Projects! I chose to research the question “How can I improve my health and nutrition on a vegetarian diet?” I challenged myself to try vegetarianism last year for a couple of months as an experiment, and ended up really liking it. Now that I'm more committed, I'm interested in exploring new foods, recipes, and tricks for making sure I am getting the right amount of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. After choosing this topic, I went home and kicked off my planning for this project with a healthy smoothie!

It had cashew milk, pomegranate, avocado, blueberries, banana, and kale.

Check out the additional pages on this blog, like my proposal page, to find out more about my Genius Hour project!

Until next time. :)

Tuesday, 10 January 2017


Welcome back! This week in EDUC 8Y24, we delved into the world of copyright, learning about attribution, Creative Commons, and finding copyright-friendly images.

Prior to this class, I had actually never heard of Creative Commons (CC)! After exploring CC and its functions, I think it is a handy resource for people to both share and use some great content, like photos or videos, in a way that makes both parties happy. I learned that CC gives uploaders a few options for the level of copyright on their content; the options range from requiring proper attribution, to granting permission for modification of content, and more.

Pixabay. (2014, March 14). "Kids Celebrate at the Computer" [Online image]. Retrieved from
During my placement last semester, I taught Media Literacy to my class. We talked a lot about images and media that they see on the Internet, who posted the images, and who sees it. Now that I know more about copyright permissions and restrictions, if I were to teach Media Literacy in a similar way again, I would include mini-lessons and hands-on learning about copyright rules too. Just because you see a funny image online doesn't mean you can download it, share it, or even pretend that you created it! My students were all talented at finding images (and yes, memes) on the internet, but I would hazard a guess that few to none of them know how to locate and post the information of the original creator. Since plagiarism is a serious offense in higher education, I do think it is important to educate students from a young age about giving credit where it is due.

Plougmann, L. (2011, January 20). At the computer [Online image]. Retrieved from:

Thanks for reading! Until next time.


Hello and Welcome!

Hello! My name is Laura, and I am a teacher candidate at Brock University, Ontario. Welcome to my blog for EDUC 8Y24, Teaching and Learning with Technology. This site will chronicle my journey through the intertwined worlds of technology and education, and will showcase what I learn along the way! For example, this is a passion heart that I created on Google Draw:

Here's my Pinterest page if you'd like to know more about me!

Be sure to check out my Twitter account that will also follow my adventures in EDUC 8Y24! Bear with me as I learn how to condense my chatty self into 140 characters or less. ☺

And in case you needed a little dose of motivation in your day, here's a pep talk from the one and only Kid President!

Until next time!