Many More Adventures (and lots of birds)

Hello friends!

It has been less than one week since my last post but, I thought I would give you an update after working with my partner on a guitar/ukulele duet. Today during our work block during music class, I met up with Maddie to practice our song together, a song called Birds by Thomas Sanders.

Both Maddie and I have experience playing our respective instruments so, the song was not difficult for us to learn. The tricky part today was learning how to play the song alongside another musician. Although we managed to pick it up rather quickly. We struggled a bit with transitions from the verses, to the chorus, to the bridge. However, with a bit of repetition, we polished up the transitions and the song in general.

One thing Maddie pointed out was that the chord before the chorus was an added 9th chord. Which I originally played out in the strumming pattern before moving on to the chorus. Although this made the beginning of the chorus sound a bit off, so we decided to leave the beginning with no chord.

Overall, this block was very productive, and I think with a bit more practice, we will be well ahead of schedule for my music plan.


Following all that success with my partnered song, I would like to talk briefly about my song-writing adventures. Although I will post more in about two weeks for my video midterm update. For now, I am liking the progression of G, Em, G, Em, C, G, B7 for the verse. I like the mix of a major chord and a minor chord in quick succession.

I also wanted to include a B7 in my song, as I said last week; putting the B7 at the end of the verse will provide a clear transition between the verse and the chorus. I am still working on the chords for the chorus, but that will all be included in the next blog.

Check back in next time for a special video of myself playing my original song and maybe a little snippet of the duet (played as a solo).

Very Cool Origin Story (The Sequel)

This post is a sort of continuation of my last free inquiry post, so I would recommend reading that one first. If you have already read last week’s post, enjoy this sequel. This means it probably won’t be as good as last time but, we will still have fun anyway.


Not to be outdone by National Comics, Timely Comics created a superhero that eventually became an icon of the Second World War in comic books. Created by Jack Kirby (known for creating Kirby Dots to mimic energy in print) and Joe Simon, Captain America was introduced to the world in 1941. The pair created the imaginary Captain to inspire Americans to fight back against Nazi Germany, hoping that his embodiment of the States would drive their purpose into the hearts of the American people.

Before Captain America became a superhero, he was a scrawny army recruit named Steve Rogers. Rogers signed up for a superhero serum that transformed him into a super-soldier. During WWII, he fought against the Nazis and many other smaller comic book villains. Captain America’s main rival was the Red Skull, a Nazi spy and terrorist.

The original cover of Captain America #1. Cover date March 1941.

Due to the time in which Captain America was first released, the politics and the war had an effect on his character. The very first issue of Captain America saw the title character punching Hitler in the jaw. His patriotism is a defining character point, and his introduction shows the start of comic books (more specifically superheroes) reflecting modern politics.

Captain America’s storyline has always had ties to politics, in the 50s Cap briefly fought a war against communism. However, this period did not last long.

The best example of politics I could dig up from the Captain America comics was that of the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s. While Watergate was never mentioned by name in the comics, the Marvel Comic Universe created a similar event, where a high-level official in the US government was revealed to be working for an evil system. For a character like Steve Rogers, this event caused massive distrust in the American government. Which caused Steve Rogers to drop the mantle of Captain America in favour of Nomad, signalling that the world was not as black or white as he once saw it.

Politics and social justice are common themes in modern comics, as I will talk about in further blog posts. Thanks for reading! Come back next week when I will talk about women in comics!

Digital Footprints

Hello everyone, and welcome back to my blog.

Today we had a guest come into our EDtech class to talk about internet privacy and media literacy. Jesse Miller came in and talked for an hour on various topics about technology and our lives on the internet. I found this talk a lot more engaging than the TEDtalk we watched for homework, perhaps because I could hear it a bit better :).

I remember talks about internet awareness and stranger danger of the online world from back in elementary school. However, we did not talk about the implications of social media on our future selves. My media footprints from middle school were erased to the best of my ability once I started applying for jobs in high school. My email from middle school, an address too embarrassing to release here, has long since been just for signing up for websites that require an email address. Although this is not the case for everyone.

For people who have forgotten their passwords to accounts that contain embarrassing tweets, videos, or pictures, there is little to do to erase these digital memories from their names. Before the internet, people made the same silly mistakes; however, they were not as well documented as today’s youth. For certain people, this could lead to not getting their dream job in the future because of a small mistake in their teens.

I wish we had talked a bit more about how parents are posting videos and photos of their children without consent, and how that could lead to trouble when the children get older. As children growing up nowadays already have a digital footprint, that they might not want. This is especially true in the mommy blogger circle.

Even though this might sound a little too Gen Z, there is a YouTuber named tiffanyferg who does social commentary and has addressed topics like these. I will link them below this post.

In addition to the privacy talk, we also learned a bit about iMovie. This was the first time that I recall using iMovie and it was pretty easy. I included some music in the background from a movie that I enjoy. I found the title cards a bit tricky to control but, I think with some more practice it will make sense.

Videos

Family Vloggers are Ridiculous 

The Importance of Deleting Old Posts

 

Post 2 – Pros and Cons

Here are some of the Pros and Cons of Cloud-based Servers. From Maddie, Kiya, and Catrina.

Google

Pros

  • Free 15 GB of storage
  • Cost-effective ($2.79/month for 100 GB)
  • Expanding offices into Canada
  • Easy to navigate- categories, folders, recent (if forgotten to sort), search bar
  • Easy sharing/collaboration
  • Option to set sharing preferences (who can edit, only view, public or private file)
  • Commenting, chat in documents
  • Most versatile free platform
  • Databases around the world to back up & secure information
  • Documents can be modified without wifi
  • Easy access from almost any device
  • Google account can be used to sign into multiple websites, apps, and services

Cons

  • Databases around the world in countries with different privacy laws
  • Documents do not automatically save to device for offline use
  • The smartphone apps are more difficult to navigate
  • At risk of crashing & losing information (like any cloud-based system)

Microsoft

Below are the Pros and Cons for Microsoft Office. Microsoft Office has been around the longest and is still running so it’s safe to say Office is a successful software.

Pros

  • Applications for all needs: Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, One Note 
  • Other applications for more business services: Publisher, Project, Teams, Visio
  • SKYPE is a very popular Microsoft application for video calls and conferences
  • Work on your documents from anywhere with access to the internet
  • Boosted productivity: easy to use, team collaboration (office co-authoring tool), regular automatic updates to the software
  • Reduced security risks: encrypted email, data loss prevention, mobile device management, advanced threat analytics
  • Around since 1988 and is most used cloud-based software (i.e. great reputation)
  • Multiple flexible plans catered to businesses of all sizes

Cons

  • Need a Microsoft account to use the services
  • Subscription-based payment (as a Uvic student we get these services for free)
  • If the internet is down you cannot access your document from another device
  • Competition with other cloud-based services in schools ( SD63 is using google exclusively)

Apple 

Below are some of the Pros and Cons of Apple’s iWork system and the devices themselves. iWork was first introduced in 2005 and has grown since then. 

Pros

  • Applications for all needs: Pages, Numbers, Keynote, and iCloud
  • Other applications on the Apple System include iMovie, Garageband and Photobooth
  • Free for all iOs and macOS customers
  • Applications are intuitive for beginners
  • Has started using peer-collaborating on documents (only for other mac users)
  • Apple works with educators to promote technology use in the classroom

Cons

  • iCloud storage space is limited (only 5GB for free) 
  • iWork is not supported on other devices (such as Windows or Android)
  • Apple products can be pricey for schools/students

A Song-Filled Week

This week has been a little crazy with schoolwork. So, to distract myself, I picked up my ukulele more than usual. This playing has lead to a slight loss of feeling on my left hand (which I’m used to but, I haven’t gotten used to the metal strings of the baritone yet).

I decided this would be a good time to revisit some old songs that I never quite mastered and to my surprise, I could actually play them. One song that I managed to master was Everything Stays from Steven Universe. It uses seven chords plus a bar chord that I don’t like playing. Although I think I managed quite well.

Here is a memo of me playing one part of the song:

I also took this time to revisit some songs I adore playing. Here is a list of some of my favourites that I practiced this week:

My Anthem by Christina Grimmie

All is Found from Frozen II

Edelweiss from the Sound of Music

Send this to Your Sad Friend by Blanks

and

A Non-Love Song From Nashville and Dear Happy by dodie

There are still some chords I find rather difficult, this includes the E chord. Although I will not give up just yet, I will keep trying to master it throughout the term.

As for my own song, I would like to include a B7 and an Em somewhere because I think they both have a melancholy sound that I would like to include in my song.

A Very Cool Origin Story

When discussing comic books and superheroes, it is important to pay homage to the original modern superhero and the two men who brought him to life. The superhero, of course, is Superman. Before I talk about the character himself, I would like to talk a bit about the artist and writer that created him.

Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster created the character in 1933. It is rumoured that the idea for Superman came to writer Siegel in a dream, where he mixed the strength of Hercules with the strongmen seen in the newspaper comics. Siegel and Schuster tried for five years to bring Superman into newspaper comic strips. However, it wasn’t until 1938 when Superman was first introduced to the public eye in Action Comics #1. Fun Fact: An original first edition copy was sold at an auction for 2.16 million dollars

This is the original cover for Action Comics #1, it is seen as one of the most iconic covers in comic book history.

Superman’s origin story is one that most people can recognize. Superman is an alien from the planet of Krypton and assumes the alter ego of Clark Kent, a mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet. Superman’s story is different from other comic book heroes of the 1930s. While most heroes from comic strips lived in medieval England or outer space, Superman was a reflection of the modern man. He lived in a non-descript city, where he fought crime similar to what people read in the news.

Superman is also a reflection of the immigrant experience in America. Now, I know that sounds a bit crazy. However, to quote comic book writer Mark Waid from the Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle,

“When you strip everything else away, what you’re looking at is a stranger in a strange land, who wants to be part of a world and not an isolated alien.”

Superman achieved what some would call the American dream. However, in doing so, he lost his name and his home. Even though Clark Kent is not human, people connected with his character through that struggle. In fact, Define American, a company dedicated to using media to spread immigration stories, started a campaign called Superman Is An Immigrant; where people could share their (or their family’s) immigration stories to show that everyone in America came from somewhere else.

Superman became a beacon of hope for children at the start of WWII, although that’s a topic for next week’s blog. Superman also started the Golden Age of comic books and the rise of the modern superhero. A reflection and a new interpretation of all of the myths/legends that came before.

Thanks for reading and tune in next week, when I will talk about the effects of WWII on comic books and the true beginning of Marvel Comics.

Quizlet – Week Five

In EDTech class today, we went into groups to work on a shallow dive into an educational resource. Myself, Angie, Brittany, Arnelle, and Maddie did a “brief” overview of Quizlet.

What is Quizlet?

Quizlet is a free website that provides learning tools for students of all ages. It includes a flashcards section, learn section, write, spell and test section. It makes learning fun! It is a digital take on the simple Q cards, which allows for students to think and share to learn. 

Below is a link to a Youtube video, which explains what Quizlet is

Did you know?

  • That 90% of students receive higher grades when using a Quizlet to study.
  • It is an American Company.
  • It was invented in California.
  • It has seven study modes.
  • You can share your Quizlet’s with your friends. 
  • You can include Quizlet diagrams. 

Study Modes and Games: 

Quizlet lets users create sets of terms and their definitions. These sets can then be used with several study modes:

  1. Flashcards: this is the most commonly used mode and it simulates paper flash cards. Users are shown a card for terms and they can flip it over by clicking it to see the definition
  2. Gravity: In this mode, definitions move vertically down the screen like asteroids. Users must type the correct term before it reaches the bottom of the screen. Gravity is one of the ‘Play’ study modes
  3. Write: in this mode users are shown a term or definition and must type the term of definition that goes with it. Users are graded automatically
  4. Long term learning: In this mode, users are given a study set that has been recommended to them based on whether they answer study set questions correctly. Terms are repeated if answered incorrectly. A dashboard shows learning progress. This mode focuses on spaced repetition to stimulate long term retention and mastery rather than short term memorization
  5. Speller: in this mode, the term is read aloud and students must type the term correctly. Correct responses are rewarded with a video of a monster truck using a flip
  6. Match: In this mode, users are shown a grid of terms in random order. They must drag terms on top of their definitions

How is Quizlet Used in the Classroom? (Pros and Cons)

Here is a good link for some pros and cons of using Quizlet in the classroom: 

Because Quizlet is a public website, anyone can go on and create a set of study notes. However, this freedom can lead to the spread of misinformation. Educators can combat this by creating study sets for their students and encouraging them to work with their peers to create concise notes. Another problem with Quizlet, is that if one word is out of place, the website will mark the answer as incorrect. 

Quizlet Live is an in-class tool similar to Kahoot for quizzes using devices. The students are shown a question on the board and must choose the correct response on their device (phone, laptop, or tablet). It is important to weigh the pros and cons of Quizlet, to decide whether or not it will work in your class. 

Pros

  • Free 
  • Allows students to share and create their own quizzes using various forms (MS, short answer etc, matching) 

Cons

  • It could be used to encourage cheating, as students can copy/paste material and find answers to online quizzes. 
  • Could provide false info because anyone can make a Quizlet 

History: 

Quizlet was first created by Andrew Sutherland while he was studying for his French class to help him memorize words. The coding for this program took him over 420 days to create, and was then posted to the public in October of 2005. Over the years Quizlet has been revamped and restructured to grow with modern day technology. Quizlet was then developed into an app available for iphones and androids so that students could view their flashcards anytime, anywhere. 

Privacy Policy: 

Information from Quizlet is stored in servers in the United States, which as we know, have different privacy laws than Canada. Quizlet keeps the information as long as the account is active. The information Quizlet can gather include: login information, google and Facebook accounts, language, and local time zones. 

GROUP: Catrina Moyes, Angie Cauthers, Maddie Osgarby, Brittany Johnson & Arnelle Basi.

Head to Head

Before I jump into this blog post, I would like to talk briefly about nerd culture. Or what I believe to be nerd culture. Nerd culture has gone mainstream in the past few decades with the rise of comic-con and popular culture mixing with traditional nerdy material (see Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter). Nerdy material includes most things science-fiction, fantasy, or intellectual. Nerds like to learn everything they can about what they are interested in and love to correct others. There is a great series on youtube called “Um…Actually”, which is based on this idea. 

What does nerd culture have to do with this week’s topic? Well, for this week’s blog, I would like to discuss the differences between Marvel and DC comics. 

As a bit of background, DC comics started as National Comics in 1934 after merging with several other comic publications. However, many people still called the comic company DC after the Detective Comics series. DC Comics officially changed its name in 1977. Marvel debuted in 1939 under Timely Comics. The comic company went under the name of Atlas Magazines for about a decade before changing to Marvel Comics in the early 1960s. I will discuss more about the early days of comics in a future blog post. 

Now back to my original narrative on nerd culture. As I said before, nerds love to learn everything that they can and, they love to debate. One debate that is prevalent in nerd (specifically comic book nerd) culture is: which is better, Marvel or DC? Some people will debate about the movies while others will choose to debate the source material, the comics. In fact, while doing some research for this blog post, I found multiple blog posts of people debating this exact topic

So, is there any merit to these arguments of which is better? In my opinion, no. Comics, like any other form of entertainment or art, is subjective. What one person enjoys may not be you enjoy but, that doesn’t make it any worse. If that is not a good enough answer, then perhaps a reminder that publications have collaborated in the past to release DC vs. Marvel, a miniseries that features both universes fighting each other. The series ends with the two superpowered brothers, personifications of the publishers, realizing that fighting each other is pointless.

If you would like more than my opinion on the matter, here is a link to a thorough examination of the comics, characters, movies, and comics. Although I will be touching on some of these topics in the coming weeks. 

Check back in next week, when I will be talking about the Golden Age of Comics and the birth of a modern superhero.

EdTech Inquiry 1

Hello! This is Maddie, Kiya, and Catrina for our group Ed Tech post. We have decided to look at the benefits of different cloud systems in schools. We are doing a deep-dive into Microsoft, Google, and Apple. 

What is a Cloud-Based System?

Cloud-based information systems are a generally new way of transferring information from the user to a server. These cloud-systems can allow people to access documents and applications across different devices, as the information is located on an external server and is managed by the service providers. For more information on cloud-based systems, click here. For our purpose as educators, we are more focused on the different applications these cloud-based systems host and some of the benefits and drawbacks of the system. 

Apple

The first example of a cloud-based system is Apple’s iCloud. iCloud was launched in 2011 and is used as a platform to share photos, documents, and music. However, iCloud has been developed and improved upon under many names such as iTools when it first launched in 2001. Apple’s system uses Pages as a note-taking and word processing application. In addition to Pages, they also use Keynote for slideshow presentations and Numbers for spreadsheets.

Microsoft Office

Another example of a cloud-based server and probably the most commonly used one is Microsoft Office developed by Bill Gates in 1988. Microsoft Office features a variety of applications for different uses. The most commonly used apps by businesses are Microsoft Word for word processing, Microsoft Excel to create and edit spreadsheets, Microsoft Powerpoint to create presentations, and Microsoft Outlook to manage personal information. 

Google

Google is a widely used cloud-based server and has grown its services considerably since its launch of Google Docs in 2006. It provides applications that allow students to work collaboratively from different afar and it saves work automatically. Google offers the freedom to move between devices and administrators with a variety of free services. Other similar platforms come at a cost, so Google is used widely in schools as a tool for students and teachers alike. Essentially, Google modernized the tools that Microsoft already offered.

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

Hello, musical friends. For our music class this semester, I have decided to continue in my ongoing adventure of pretending to be good at the ukulele (that’s only a little bit of a joke). I picked up the ukulele about three or four years ago after falling in love with the Youtube musician dodie, her music tugged at my heartstrings and made me want to start playing music again.

I had a little background in playing music before playing the ukulele. I played the baritone, which is basically a small tuba, for two years in middle school. I also learned how to read sheet music in bass clef instead of the treble clef, because I played a brass instrument. Although looking back on my time playing in my middle school band, I was not very good. I hope for everyone’s sake that I at least have a bit more rhythm.

Pictured above are my two ukuleles. The top is a tenor/concert ukulele (I can never remember which it is) and the bottom is a baritone ukulele. The main difference between the two is the tuning of the strings.

Back to the ukulele, the very first song I learned on the ukulele was a song called down by dodie. It was difficult at first, but after a while of practicing, the chords became subconscious. I performed that song at an open mic (my first time singing in front of a crowd since I was 11 years old), and I kept returning to that event to perform more songs, both solos and duets with my friends.

For now, my goal is to work on relearning the scale and practicing a few songs before endeavouring to write my own.