Emily's Ed Tech Portfolio

"Think first about what you want to achieve, then find the technology to get you there."

Motivation to learn (and the treats that get you there)

Cocoa on a mossy log at Francis King Park. November 30, 2019.

Click on map to see CRD full size map.

Cocoa took us for a walk this weekend to Francis King Park. It is a favourite spot of ours with towering red cedars, mossy Douglas Firs, ferns, streams, mud puddles all the fun of a rainforest to explore.

It’s so important to get out and do these things I love. Making time for it even with the busy school and life commitments. The motivation to get out  comes from the feel-good part of the fresh air. That and the good company of my four-legged bud.



Motivation is such a key and something that is the most basic ingredient to teaching and learning. The motivation to learn. The motivation to teach what we teach.

And for Cocoa, what’s her motivation? According to the Dogthusiast, dogs can have a variety of motivations that can depend on breed, temperament and backgrounds.

Motivation can vary greatly and you can use it in all sorts of ways, good and bad. Your dog could be motivated by food (it’s tasty and he’s hungry), could be motivated to have fun (chase a ball), wants to get close to you because you’re fun (emotion and relationship), wants to get to safety/you (fear of something else), motivated to experience excitement (get to that park he knows is at the other end of that walk!), chase that squirrel (prey, fun, instinct, hunger!), or could be motivated to avoid pain (not get yanked on the leash, hear your yell). If you want your dog to do something, you need to work with motivation – positive forms of it.

Jen deHaan, What Motivates Your Dog? from www.dogthusiast.com


Cocoa is most definitely motivated by food, which has helped training efforts for the sing challenge, but it must be that high-calorie, extra special treat or she ain’t in to it. Dried liver, kidney, beef chews, cheese, and, though I hate to say it, the delicacy she goes crazy for is freeze dried lamb lung. That’s the good stuff.

Chilling at Francis King.



Learning is Learning – Verena Roberts and Distributed Learning

Week 11 ~ intro to distributed learning and guest speaker, Verena Roberts.

Michael met us via video-conferencing from the sunny shores of Tofino. Good times! In fact, he was next door using the video-conferencing. Michael did a great job of introducing the special guest for the morning.


Dr. Verena Roberts, whose @verenanz Twitter handle says she is a “K-12 & HEd Educator, Open Learner, Elephant in the Room Examiner”, video conferenced in to us to speak about Open Learning Design Intervention (OLDI). Unfortunately, the connection was not great and we had to cut the dialogue with Verena short. Below are my notes from what time we did get to spend with Verena and she kindly passed on her slides for further review.

Education technology and open ed possibilities

How many different ways an we teach beyond the classroom walls?

OLDI – Open Learning Design Intervention

What: K-12 students have opportunities to access people, context, gain ideas

Why: There are real and preconceived barriers to accessing digital networks outside K-12 classroom walls

How: Not all teachers have experiences open learning and they are looking for ideas and examples of expanding learning

Learning is learning

In classrooms be reflective

  1. Building relationships
  2. Co-designing learning pathways (teacher and student)
  3. Building and sharing knowledge
  4. Building PLN

Start in classroom > community > networks

Start with:

  1. How do I search and communicate online?
  2. Who is my online audience?
  3. How do I solve a community problem?
  4. What is my story and how does my story inform my identity?

Teach kids how to search online, how to read data and compare it to their own lives. Connect class to home life to make it relevant.

Distributed Learning

Classrooms have evolved from the face-to-face classrooms where if you’re there you’re there, and if you’re not, you’re not, to a more flexible style that breaks down those physical and spatial barriers to have classrooms that have different configurations than just having the holder of knowledge at the front of the class.

Consider the arguments against this recent Ontario government suggestion to take high school classes online: Mandatory online courses for high school students ‘a terrible idea’ experts say.

Today’s classrooms can include online environments where teachers are never seen in person, and all learning is done via chats, emails and skype to a blended learning environment where there is a mix of both in class and online learning.

Synchronous online classrooms and multi-access classrooms can help students who are not able to attend school in the traditional sense because of exceptionalities, physical health, learner needs, anxiety, physical barriers, remote/rural locations and time constraints. Opening up the classroom to a more flexible teaching style and environment does have many pros for those who can relate to the above comments.




Cocoa sing: Take one

Cocoa bean has been working for her big debut.

The training over the past couple weeks has been starting to pay off. I haven’t been as consistent with the training, which suggested a minimum of three times a day, but we are pretty happy with the most recent (albeit short) tune Cocoa shared with us. Check it out here:


It is clear that consistency and time is what is working against us so we will keep at it and hope that this gal will be in form for a second take on the weekend. Stay tuned!



Geographic Mapping

Geographic mapping can be used in class to create maps, create history projects, explore the world and so much more.

Photo by Jan Vernarec on Unsplash

Google Geographic – How to create in maps
  • Google “My Maps”
    > use layers to attach media, routes, area and landmarks
  • Can be used for lesson/project ideas such as:
    > points of interest
    > student commentary
    > family heritage maps
    > fictional settings
    > trip planning
  • Google Street View
    > not just streets!
    > visit architectural sites
    > can show cultural, political, physical geography
  • Google Earth vs. Google Maps
    >experience over utility
    > 3D imagery
    > get students to find house as an activity
    > use flight simulator
    > view past to see how land and cities have changed/grown over time
    > use layers to show endangered habitats
    > google moon, mars and sky to see space
    >voyager theme – curated tours of various places around world

Project ideas for using Google maps could include:

  • 20 questions
  • math games with activities to find distances
  • scavenger hunt – give coordinated and find
  • explore different environments

Using My Maps in classroom
> cross-cultural project
> gold rush history project
> road trip journal
> historical timeline




Stop Motion Animation and Digital Literacy

Thanks to Keiro for a fantastic intro to stop motion animation and the first to of our education tech presentation.

A few good apps to great stop motion include

Stop Motion App that is free on Apple.

Animated on Photoshop > go to window > timeline > layers > select photo and select twinning

Can have more than 1 layer for movement

Stop motion can be fun to use to create math questions, literacy projects, uses important tech skills

Something to watch out for is camera shakes.

A few good resources to check out:





What is digital literacy?

  • Information literacy
  • teaching students to think critically about where they are getting information from
  • ethical use of digital resources
  • digital footprint
  • protect yourself online > self-regulation on screen time
  • handling digital communication
  • cyberbullying

Digital literacy is part of the BC curriculum

Possible idea to make a communications/digital family night at school to see what families are using, to provide resources and to share information.


YouTube videos that are good for fact checking, lateral reading, evaluating evidence.

Canadian content with lesson plans and information for all grade levels.


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Every time I complain about our school day, Dad always says the same thing. Freddie98.

“You know kiddo, when I was a kid we didn’t have the same freedoms you have. Our memories were taken up with passwords. Passwords to write our thoughts, passwords to get our money, passwords to install and passwords to engage.”

“Gawd, Dad. You make it sound like that was all you did.”

“Not all we did, but nothing was ever just given to us. We signed up for everything. You’re lucky we just do it for you.”

“I still wish we had the choice, Dad,” I said.

“Freddie was such a good dog. If he was here he’d be smelling up that 3D tree you just printed.”

Photo by Eugene Zhyvchik on Unsplash

“Can you do that whistle you used to do to call him? You know, that super high-pitched one that freaks out the neighbours cat.” I asked.

My dad put his fingers to his mouth and blew. At that moment, Freddie came bounding into the room.

“What the…” my dad’s face confused.

“Surprise! It’s way easy to make you bring up Freddie,” I smiled. “Ms. Bricher got us to make VR for our inquiry project. It’s Freddie, Dad! Whaddyou think?”

“I think he’s incredible,” Dad said, bending down and giving Freddie a scratch and rustle on his neck.

“See, this is definitely not something that was around when Freddie was here.” Dad said pointing to the little mark on the side of his head that had the VR adapter.

“Got to go, Dad! Just wanted to give you Freddie to hang out with for the afternoon.” I switched my VR back to school mode and rejoined my other players who were rebuilding the streets of Venice after the latest flood.

“Nice to have you back, Jacob.” Ms. Bricher said. “Hope your dad liked the surprise.”

A step-by-step guide to Sing

Cocoa is such a trooper! Little does she know she is the muse for my Education Tech Inquiry. Below are the four steps to get Cocoa to “Sing,” according to Babette Haggerty’s The Best Dog Tricks on the Planet: 106 Amazing Things Your Dog Can Do on Command.

  1. Identify a trigger for any song-like sound from your dog, for example a fire engine or a high-pitched sound you play for her. > Cocoa will howl along to another dog or human howl. So, we are good there. See video below with a howling Cocoa.
  2. Once she starts howling, tell her, “Sing Elvis, Sing.” Praise her lavishly. > Hmm, may need to edit that command to just a simple “Sing Cocoa, Sing.” Mmm, treats, love and more treats!
  3. Repeat this whenever you catch her howling. Over time you can play around to help her develop different pitches, and play with your own voice so she’ll sing back to you. > I swear I’ve heard Cocoa say “I love you” before. Mental note to prove this in the inquiry.
  4. Practice three to five times a day for seven to ten days. > We are getting there. We tried three times today; off to a good start!


And because who doesn’t want to hear a dog say, “I love you!”

Minecraft or bust!

Week 9 – November 1 | Minecraft EDU class with visitors from Colquitz Middle School

This week we had guest lecturers Heidi James and five middle school students from Colquitz give us a tutorial on MinecraftEdu.

I was encouraged to learn about this game and see how it might be used in the classroom. Below are a few take-aways from Heidi and her experts.

Minecraft touches on many of the core competencies and can be cross-curricular. The game itself is highly social and can be played in team environments and with group objectives. The students who were helping us agreed that there is a social aspect to the game that brings out another side to a student that may not be present in a traditional classroom setting. Minecraft also involves:

  • uses problem-solving skills
  • collaboration
  • social studies > use class to create civilizations
  • math > coordinate grid use
  • formative-based assessment
  • student self-assessment

As a newbie Minecrafter, I found the experience in the tutorial world to be engaging, though about 15 minutes into playing I did have a strong feeling of motion sickness that never really left me for the remainder of the session. I understand that playing the game on a smaller screen may help this feeling and it did indeed lessen when I went back on to a reduced screen size.

If I was to take this up in my classroom, I think I may use it through a core competency lens, and get students to be engaged and build on the collaboration aspects of the game before I would be confident to branch out into other curriculum areas.

It was inspiring to see a teacher so connected to her students and advocating for something that she finds to be an important educational tool. A nice note left by Heidi on her Twitter page after a week of visiting UVic Education students. A reminder of just how important connection and engagement with students is.

In case you’re interested in a Minecraft tutorial walkthrough, check out this Youtube vid…


Personal Meets Public

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Jesse Miller, otherwise known as Mediated Reality, stopped by our class to chat about social media and professional responsibilities online.

Back in 2014, Jesse spoke on TedX about how we connect and engage with technology. To find out what Jesse is thinking today, visit his Twitter account @MediatedReality.

Jesse brought up the notion of 2020 as the time to focus on networked citizenship.

What does networked citizenship encompass?

⇒ digital identity

⇒ digital rights

⇒ digital literacy

⇒ use of communication networks (social, professional, personal)

⇒ safety (networked connections)

⇒ security of self

“We shape our tools and thereafter they shape us.” ~John M. Culkin, Saturday Review, 1967

Check out more about “The Man Who Invented Media Literacy” here.

Our tools shape us by @bryanMMathers is licenced under CC-BY-ND

There are three audiences for educators:
  1. Public: Understand what the standards are we are held to as educators.
  2. Staff: Do we all need to be friends? Consider who is on your social media networks and what you post there will affect your reputation as an educator.
  3. Students: Know how your school plans to use social media, what is acceptable at school and understand how school wishes to use social media to educate students.

Know how schools and the school district work in handles communications – via text, email, etc. Understand the policies of school you’re employed by, ie. policy around classroom use of cellphones. Teaching kids about consequences of their online actions.

Some references for future use:

Canada’s centre for digital and media literacy. A great resource with Canadian themes and lesson plans for a variety of grades and digital/media topics.

Dr. Amy Orben
Amy’s research uses large-scale data to examine how digital technologies affect adolescent psychological well-being and mental health. She uses innovative and rigorous statistical methodology to shed new light on pressing questions debated in policy, parenting and mental health. She also campaigns for better communication of trends in data and the wider adoption of Open Science.





Looking for #dogs and #dogtrainers? Here are a few social media influencers out there in the #dogsofinstagram world. Twitter and Instagram have a lot of dog people offering advice, information and shared knowledge about how to care for your dog.


@VHSanimalrescue Victoria Humane Society is a community-based, registered charity where animals and their needs come first. VHS rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes animals.

@BC_SPCA BC SPCA is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting & enhancing quality of life for animals in B.C.

@zakgeorge Well-known relationships-based dog trainer.

@PetLifeGuru Developing healthy, happy, holistic dogs is our passion. Sharing the best dog nutrition, health, recipes & canine CBD tips.

@cesarmillan Dog-training guru and author with over a million followers on Twitter. Rehabilitates dogs and trains people. Known as the dog whisperer.

@ModernDogMag Modern Dog magazine – the best dog magazine ever!






And, in case you are wondering…Instagram’s most popular dog account belongs to a Pomeranian named @Jiffpom. Add yourself to his followers list that has tipped over the 9 million mark.

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