Sunday, 23 September 2012

Closure of Blog

It seems that having two blogs (One for my classroom as well as a personal one) has caused some confusion.  If you were looking for updates on Mr. Bresciani's 7/8 class please go to:  That blog will have all the information you need to see what is happening in Grade 7/8 this year.  In addition, this blog will no longer be updated.  This blog will now serve as an archive of the past assignments and posts I created from my ECMP 355 class.



Monday, 16 April 2012

Is Curving Marks Fair?

Just a heads up, this is more of a rant and less of an insightful blog post!

Today I received an email from one of my professors with some last minute stuff about our Final.  In the email the professor highlighted the some basic stuff about the final but ended it by letting us know what the class average and what the highest and lowest marks were in the class.  We were also informed that the class was marked on a bell curve.  Well when I saw the class average was in the low 60's and the highest mark in the class was an 80% I knew I was in some trouble. 

This semester I legitimately tried the hardest I've ever tried in any semester of University because I wanted to end my university career with a bang (up to this point I figured I had). The average in the class was based on the 3 midterms we've had this semester each of which was worth 20%.  I worked extremely hard for each midterm and received a 88%, 80% and 96% on each of the midterms respectively.  This works out to an 88% average overall in the class.  If my average based on each midterm is 88% how is possible that the highest mark is an 80%.  From this I get my major question: How is this fair to students who have worked hard to get a mark only to have the university curve the marks down.  I've heard of some classes having the average curved down because marks were to high (which is still ridiculous) but if the average is already in the 60's why would you want to curve marks down any lower? 

Some other questions I have about the subject:

Has the class average already been set before the class begins, with the professor adjusting to marks after to reach this average? 
Who gets to decide what marks are too high or low for a class? 
Is there a specific chart that outlines what the average should be in different classes based on the Faculty?
Why should it matter how high or low the class average is?  Shouldn't students be entitled to receive the marks that they have legitimately earned and not one the university thinks suits the class? 

Students should get the marks the are entitled to without any meddling from the university!

What do you think, do you agree with curving marks?

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Learning Project Reflection

As I mentioned in my previous post, the semester has unfortunately come to a close today.  Which means the end of my favourite class ECMP 355.   While this class may have come to an end, that doesn't mean my learning and progress with the Ukulele has to.  So don't fret, I still plan to continue to learn and post more updates on what I am learning on this blog!

In my first post for this learning project, my only real goal was to learn enough of the Ukulele so I could play the song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ol.
However, as the semester progressed I began to realize how much more learning I was able to experience as a result of this project.  Instead of simply documenting my progress in Blog Posts like I initially planned, I tried out my first ever V-Log after watching Michael Wesch's Youtube video, "An Anthropological Introduction to Youtube. Although my initial V-log felt really awkward and proved to be a little difficult for me to do, I decided I would continue to document my process in V-Log format rather than writing.  This turned out to be one of the best decisions I made during this learning project because making the V-Logs became easier and more natural as I made them.  I really began to enjoy them and I feel that they allowed you, my readers, to really experience my learning with along with me.

As my progress continued on the Ukulele I was also very fortunate to have various people post encouraging and helpful comments on updates.  Using the comments I was able to connect with various people across the internet who were happy to share resources and helpful tips with me as I continued my journey. The contributions of these people were crucial to my success in this project so I am extremely grateful for their help and support. (Special Shout Out to Zachary, randilyninspired, Leslie, William Chamberlain, cynthiaschultz1, Brenna Moser, Kirk Fiege, Nick Barnes and Alec Couros)

Another aspect of my learning project that I didn't anticipate at the beginning of this project was the collaboration with other students in this class who were also learning instruments for their learning projects.  After working with Kirk and Nick on a few Tech Tasks in ECMP 355, we talked about getting together and trying out a "Jam Session" with all our instruments.  This turned out to be an awesome idea because it not only made the learning project even more enjoyable but also allowed us to work together and experience what it was like playing our instruments in sync with other instruments.  It also allowed me to expand my learning to more than just the song I intially selected to learn.  Through both Jam Sessions I was also able to learn how to play Free Falling by Tom Petty and Let It Be by The Beatles.  I can honestly say I had some of the most fun during this project creating Jam Session #1 and Jam Session #2 with Nick and Kirk. 

As I conclude this blog post, I can confidently say that I have really seen progress from the beginning of this project to where I am today! I really wanted to post a V-log for you, although the string on my second Ukulele just snapped this morning.  However, I plan on replacing it this week and will definitely post a final V-log on "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" because I really want to show you how much progress I have made this semester.  I'm very happy that I made the choice to learn the Ukulele for my learning project because I feel that it it will become a useful tool in my future as a teacher.

Once again I would like to thank everyone who contributed to my learning through my process.  I would also like to say a special thank you to my Professor, Alec Couros, for his constant encouragement throughout the semester and for just being plain awesome!

If you would like to review any of my previous Learning Progress Updates you can view my Learning Project Page.

Also a quick shout out to Cynthia for helping us take the Light Photography pictures on this post!

Monday, 9 April 2012

How I created my Summary of Learning

Below you will find the step by step process I used to create my Summary of Learning Mario Video:

Initially it was a bit of an uphill battle to achieve my goal of inserting myself into a video game, but I'm quite happy with the end product! I began the process by finding an existing video on Youtube of someone playing a level on Super Mario.  I then copied the URL and pasted it in KeepVid so I could download a copy of the video. Once I had the video, I imported it into iMovie 11 and created a new project.  In order to break the video down into thousands of images I then shared the project with Quicktime and changed the Export Setting to "Movie to Image Sequence" which then converted the entire video into thousands of images.
Once I had all the individual frames from the video, I began opening them up one by one in Adobe Photoshop CS5 and inserted myself and other images into them.  Once I finished each image I re-saved it as a Jpeg and placed them in a new folder. (In total I Photoshopped 1395 images)

After I completed Photoshopping all the images, I then created a New Project in iMovie and imported all the images into the project and changed the length of each image to .1s.  Then I exported this as a regular Quicktime movie. However, the frames still weren't progressing fast enough so I imported the finished movie back into iMovie and sped it up 400% to get the appropriate transition for each frame.  As for the real life portion at the beginning of the video, I used the Camera from my iPhone to film and iMovie 11 to edit the video.  I also used the audio from the original video that I downloaded from KeepVid by detaching the audio in iMovie.  The final step was adjusting the audio clip so it would gel with my end product.

Summary of Learning

As my final semester of University approaches the end, I found myself completing my final project for ECMP 355.  Essentially, I had to summarize what I had learned in the course over the semester and present it in the format of my choice.  This wasn't going to be an easy task because I've honestly learned so much over the past semester I didn't know how I was going to fit it all into a 5 minute presentation.
One of the most important things that I learned this semester is the importance of connecting and collaborating with others online.  Whether it was commenting on blogs, sharing idea's through twitter or becoming involved with the online community of Youtube, I feel that those experiences have truly helped me to grow as a person.  I'm sure that if it wasn't for the connections that I've made online I wouldn't have been able to progress as much as I did in my learning project. While others have contributed a lot to my learning this semester, I've also tried to repay the favour by doing my best to contribute to the learning of others as well.  I've compiled google doc of some of my experiences contributing to the learning of others!

Now onto my Summary of learning:
As I thought about the project, I remembered how much fun I had in High School creating Stop Motion movies, so I jumped at the opportunity to try it again.  When looking about how I wanted to structure my Stop Motion project, an even cooler idea hit me-- "What if I could use Stop Animation to put myself into a video game and summarize my learning that way?"  Building off this idea, I decided to import myself into the original Super Mario Game for Nintendo.  As I go along through the level,  I encounter many artifacts that symbolize some of the most important things I learned this semester.

 Note: After the initial video concludes I have replayed it again at a reduced speed and have inserted a commentary explaining why I chose each artifact and how they were essential to my learning. 
Here's my Summary of Learning:

 If you're curious about what tools I used to complete my Summary of Learning, check out my blog post about on it!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Jam Session #2

Back after popular demand, The "band with no name" finally reunited for highly anticipated second Jam Session.  As I mentioned in my earlier post, after much deliberation, we decided to learn "Let it Be" by The Beatles.  Once we got started, we contemplated how we wanted this Jam Session to go and how we could make it better than our first one.  Eventually we decided that instead of all trying to play the song at the same time, we would each take turns individually playing different pieces of the song.  By doing this, we were actually able to hear each persons progress with their instrument and appreciate the diversity of sound that our different instruments creates.  As we were playing we thought it would be fun if, while each person was playing their potion of the song, the other two would sing song together.
Overall I found that our second Jam Session was by far our best and I'm really impressed with the progress that both Nick and Kirk have made over the semester.
Take a look for yourself, and let me know what you think! Oh and we still need a cool band name so any suggestions would be appreciated haha

Monday, 2 April 2012

Tech Task #10

For our final Tech Task we were asked to perform a comparison between two Learning Management Systems of our choice.  Rather than work on the task alone we were able to work on the assignment in a group. Big surprise here, but I once again worked with Nick and Kirk for this assignment.  As we looked at some of the LMS options, we eventually settled on comparing Edmodo and Schoololgy.  Now I don't want to spoil too much for you in my description, but we did find some really valuable aspects of each program that would be highly beneficial in a classroom for each.  However, if you want to hear which one we would recommend and our comments about each you will have to check out our podcast found below!
Here's the second episode of the Rant Show with a focus on Edmodo and Schoology: