Photography Project – Final Product

I used Photobucket to create digital photo albums of the work I completed in EC&I 831. I decided to include my favourite nature photos in two separate albums:

  • The Beginning of Autumn
  • Winter is Among Us

Find my Photobucket here and read my Final Thoughts on my Major Digital Project!

Also, don’t forget to check out my Photo Tasks as well as Daily Photo Shoot above – these are the tasks and reflections that helped me become a better photographer!



Photography Project – Final Thoughts

A large part of this EC&I 831 class was to complete a Major Digital Project that allows me to get involved in using technologies to build, learn, create, discover, and connect with others. At first, it was difficult for me to decide on a project I wanted to complete, a skill I wanted to learn, or a unit I wanted to develop. There were so many options to choose from!

After spending a lot of time outdoors over the summer and early autumn, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice to document and share this beauty with others?” So, it was at this moment that I decided I wanted to spend even more time outdoors, and become a better photographer. Therefore, I chose Option B from the course syllabus:

Option B: Based on the idea that individuals are now more able to learn and share online, you will choose something significant that you would like to learn, and share your progress openly in an online space. The ‘something’ might be an instrument, a language, a sport, or almost anything that requires more than a few hours of effort. Students should be prepared to spend 50-100 hours on this project. Students will be evaluated based on their regular and consistent documentation of the learning, including a before and after assessment.

Honestly, I didn’t have much of a pre-assessment to post. Before this class, I had an interest in photography but only took photos to document events and special moments with family and friends. This time, however, my photography would not necessarily show people I know, but instead, reveal the true beauty of nature! This was something I did not have any experience doing, so I was a little nervous to begin. I was a little nervous about the price of a camera too, but was lucky enough to borrow my father’s Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5 (the camera I used for the majority of this project).

The Photographer

Did I spend 50-100 hours on this project? YES! Do I know the exact amount of time I used to work? No, but I’m certain I exceeded 100 hours of work. I spent a lot of my time doing the following work for my Major Digital Project:

  • connecting and having conversations with photographers on Twitter
  • conducting research to find the best websites, videos, and editing programs
  • writing blog posts to share my photo tasks and discoveries with you
  • doing photography assignments as suggested by many helpful websites
  • participating in the @dailyshoot for twenty straight days
  • Skyping with an expert photographer and creating a video
  • capturing beautiful photos (practice, practice, practice!)
  • spending much of my time outdoors enjoying the sights and sounds of nature!

a) The targeted skill should be something that is complex to learn, worth learning, and of great interest to you.

My Major Digital Project was very complex, especially when I first began in September. A very challenging part of this project was connecting with people who could support me on my learning journey. My instructor, Dr. Alec Couros, suggested that I explore Phonar Nation and get in touch with award-winning photographer, Jonathan Worth.    A fellow colleague of mine spoke highly of as a good place to start. I have also connected with many photographers over Twitter. Even though it took some time to learn how to capture photos manually; use photography terminology in my own writing and conversations; and find opportunities to take photographs that display depth of field, contrast, and perspective; I truly enjoyed doing this project. I look forward to continuing this journey as I keep learning more about photography!

b) Online sources must be used to learn this skill (e.g. videos, text resources, podcasts, etc.), but local, face-to-face resources (e.g. community members) should be sought where possible to supplement the learning.

I would like to take this opportunity to list online resources I used to complete my Major Digital Project:

  • Phonar Nation – I used this resource to connect with Jonathan Worth, read important material, and complete a number of photo tasks.
  • – I used this resource to read about photography strategies I can use in the field, watch videos, and complete assignments to practice my skills on a deeper level.
  • Skype – I used this resource to connect with expert photographer, Jason Grover, so I could interview him about his work. Then, I posted the video of our Skype call to YouTube and typed a reflection that responded to our conversation.
  • Twitter – I used this resource to connect with photographers whose work seemed to interest me the most. Even though only a few of these photographers capture nature photography, using Twitter gave me the opportunity to ask questions about cameras and technique.
  • @dailyshoot – I participated in the @dailyshoot so I could practice my ability to capture specific images and subjects.
  • iPiccy – I used this editing tool to edit photos that were too blurry, dull,  or dark. The options are very similar to those of Instagram!
  • PicMonkey – Like iPiccy, I used this editing tool to change the appearance of my photos when necessary.
  • Photobucket – As a final product for my Major Digital Project, I used Photobucket to create digital photo albums to share with all of you! You can find these here, at Danielle Degelman’s (deedegs) Photobucket.

I hope you enjoyed following my photography adventures throughout this course!

The Photographer

Summary of Learning in EC&I 831

Here is my Summary of Learning I completed as a response to the course material, presentations, and activities from EC&I 831 – Social Media and Open Education.

Big thank you to my instructors, Dr. Alec Couros and Katia Hildebrandt, as well as all my EC&I 831 classmates!

1) Blogging, WordPress, Post, Share, Comment

I created this WordPress blog to post my reflections and comment on classmates’ ideas. I decided to name my blog, Teaching and Learning Beyond Four Walls, as a large part of EC&I 831 is making our learning visible and contributing to the learning of others.

2) Social, Application, Human, Passion, Data

Rick Schwier (@schwier) taught us about the true value of educational technology, and reminded our class that digital connectivity is all about passion and social exchanges of wisdom. It’s not all about the data.

3) Rhizomatic, Creative, Explore, Pathways, Uncertainty

From Dave Cormier’s presentation (@davecormier), I learned all about rhizomatic learning, and the multiple learning paths students can take when they are given the opportunity to drive their own learning, be creative, and embrace uncertainty.

4) Edublogs, Expression, Voice, Identity, Power, Freedom

Sue Waters (@suewaters) taught our class how we can slowly introduce our students to blogging. We learned that blogging can give students the freedom to express their own ideas, allow them to develop a voice, as well as develop an online identity.

5) Google, App, Collaborate, Brainstorm, Profile

Michael Wacker (@mwacker) got our class involved in using Google Apps to create our own online profiles on a single page. We added profile pictures and other additional information we wanted to share. We also collaborated with our classmates, while brainstorming and asking questions about these apps.

6) Maker, Culture, Inquiry, Innovation, Discovery

Sylvia Martinez (@smartinez) presented a session all about the Maker Movement – giving students the opportunity to participate in maker projects that promote inquiry and innovation. In her presentation, Sylvia states that “the best way to ensure understanding inside your head is through active construction of knowledge”.

7) Professional, Personal, Positive, Communicate, Boundary

Our next presenter, Bonnie Stewart (@bonstewart), reminded us to be aware of our own personal and professional online identities. Even though I do not change my identity to make a certain impression on social media sites, I need to be aware that my audience can view and make judgments based on my online activities.

8) Storytelling, Pechflickr, Animoto, Genres, Meaningful

Alan Levine (@cogdog) taught us how to involve and engage students in the art of digital storytelling. He introduced our class to tools such as Pechaflickr and Animoto, and got us involved in the visualization and sharing of oral exchange. From here, we realized how we can connect digital storytelling to Language Arts and other outcomes from the Saskatchewan Curriculum.

9) Gender, Stereotype, Harassment, Collective, Listen

Audrey Watters (@audreywatters) taught us about the marginalization of women online, as well as the destructiveness of technology. Online harassment is real, and it takes a collective effort to prevent and respond to such negativity. Certainly, every blogger, researcher, social media user, and teacher has a voice.

10) Learning, Preparation, Journey, Connect, Meeting, Needs

Dr. Alec Couros (@courosa) ended the semester by discussing the importance of using our digital identities to prepare students to live and learn in a connected world.

How will we motivate students to learn and live in this time of technological change?

The Power of Technology

Dr. Alec Couros‘ session on Tuesday, November 25th was the last online EC&I 831 class for the semester. It’s hard to believe we will be done this class in just a few days! Oh my, how time flies! The focus of the class was Living and Learning in the Digital Age. In Benita Struik‘s post, The Alec Session, she mentions that the power of technology and social media can be used to initiate change. Just because this class is done in three days, doesn’t mean we should “sit on our digital identities” and forget about technology use in the classroom. Instead, teachers need to be involved in planning and facilitating digital learning activities that invite students to be creative, develop a voice, and connect with other learners.

Like my EC&I 831 classmate, Benita, I also use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family. When I was first introduced to the Facebook world, I was overwhelmed with the connections I could make my “friending” people I know, posting status updates, sharing pictures and videos, creating events and inviting members, and “liking” pages that were interesting to me. There was so much to explore!

My immediate family doesn’t have Facebook, but a few of my aunts do. They tell me that Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends by reading their stories, and post the occasional update or family vacation photo from Mexico or Arizona. Many of my friends and high school classmates have Facebook and use it on a more regular basis than some of my family members. Many of them know how to connect their Facebook with other social media sites (like Instagram) to connect and share photos with even more friends and followers! I, for one, enjoy making connections and staying updated with the people I know. Like Jocelyn Skogberg mentioned in her post, Digital Learning Age, there are online spaces that can be used for building personal connections with family and friends, and other online spaces that can be used for growing and sharing in a professional manner. In my opinion, it’s all about appropriateness, privacy, and balance of the two.

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee via Flickr cc

A couple months ago, I got a Twitter account. Unlike my Facebook and Instagram accounts, I use Twitter in more of a professional way. I mostly use it to stay connected with other educators who have the same interests and questions as me – these can be educators I know personally, as well as educators who live halfway across the world. Other professionals use other social media sites to stay connected, learn, and explore their interests. To share a neat example, my dad is a pilot and a member of COPA – Canadian Owners and Pilots Association. As a COPA member, my dad can view and learn from others’ flights; post his own stories, photos, and videos to share with other pilots; learn how to safely handle and manage his aircraft; as well as get the best rates and coverage for his travels. My dad always mentions how interesting and inspiring it is to communicate with and learn from other pilots, both personally and professionally.

Alec ended his session with the following question: Are we purposely preparing students to live and learn in a connected world? I am amazed that some Grade 1 and 2 students have their own cell phones, Facebook and Instagram accounts, know how to Facetime with grandparents, and use apps to improve their reading fluency and comprehension. This was not the world I lived in as a little girl! Teachers need to respond to this changing world so students are better prepared to live and learn in a connected and digital world of limitless possibilities…

Photo Credit: Danielle Degelman

Photo Credit: Danielle Degelman

Like Jaylene Brass mentioned in her post, Living and Learning in the Digital Age, this means that teachers are sometimes required to shift from “educator/lecturer” to “facilitator” of digital learning opportunities, and at times, need to learn with students. I am going to continue teaching and inspiring students to learn from their Genius Hour projects, as well as blog their findings to classmates. You can find our class blog here: Degelman’s Dangerous Bunch! I also plan to connect my class with a Grade 5 class via Skype, so that we can share ideas and resources for upcoming Language Arts units.

Fellow EC&I 831 classmates, how will you use your digital identity to inspire change?

And now that I am not so nervous anymore…

Down, Down, Down the Stairs

@dailyshoot – #ds664 – “Make a photograph today of an interesting subject with as vertical or high point of view as you can manage.”

I took this photo at my parents’ place as the upstairs hallway overlooks so many interesting subjects, like the dining room table, the mantle that holds vases and picture frames, a crystal chandelier, and a stone fireplace. As the windows were letting in too much sunshine, I decided to take the photo from this point of view instead. I thought this perspective was interesting and leads the viewers’ eye through a trail of banisters. You can even see where the banisters continue to the basement…

Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5 Mode: M, f3.6, 1/5

Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5
Mode: M, f3.6, 1/5

From Photographer to Teacher

I completed another Phonar task – Moving Beyond Pictures on this cold and snowy day. My task was to create a sign that displays the following: “________ is important to me.” Many people, hobbies, places, and objects are of great importance to my identity and well-being. However, for the purpose of my Major Digital Project, I decided to fill in the blank with the word, ENVIRONMENT.

The environment has always been of great importance to me. As a little girl, I always loved playing outdoors, going for nature walks, and observing the sights and sounds of the environment. As a teacher, I think it is important to take students outdoors so they can enjoy and learn from similar opportunities. In my opinion, it is important for students to recognize and practice ways that they can preserve and protect the environment, so they can teach future generations about the significance of keeping our environment healthy. I have often allowed students to explore the blog, Endangered Earth, so they can read articles about endangered species and how they are impacted by changes in the environment.

I asked my younger sister, Michelle, to help me complete this Phonar task. I would like to mention that she knew absolutely NOTHING about photography, but was the only person who was available at the time. I asked Michelle to take three photos from various distances – close-up, mid, and full-length. However, before I could ask her to do anything, I knew I would need to do some research before we walked outside…

Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5 Mode: M, f8.0, 1/25

Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5
Mode: M, f8.0, 1/25

I found an article that would help me teach Michelle a few things about taking a photo: EPhotoZine – Ten Things to Teach Someone New to Photography. I realize that Michelle was no expert, so we needed to start with the basics:

  • holding and handling a camera
  • keeping the body still
  • learning how to focus
  • changing the aperture to change the focus and blur
  • changing the shutter speed to invite a certain amount of light

It did not take Michelle a very long time to figure out how to handle the camera properly, especially with it being so cold out!

Michelle and I also watched a series of YouTube videos so she could learn other strategies she had not been aware of before. These videos also gave myself the opportunity to review some of the basics that I already learned in EC&I 831.

Check out these YouTube videos by Jared Polin – FroKnowsPhoto. Jared Polin created a series of informative (yet hilarious!) photography videos for beginner and more experienced photographers. We found the following video the most helpul, as Michelle did not know how to properly hold the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5:

Our fingers froze after 20 minutes of outdoor photography lessons!

This is the work Michelle created as a response to Phonar Moving Beyond Pictures:

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Michelle did a fantastic job, and I definitely owe her for the time she made for me!

After today’s lesson, we typed out the following as a reflection for next time…

Michelle's Photo Shoot

Scrabble Anyone?

@dailyshoot – #ds621 – “We all have some sort of hobby or favourite activity. Make a photo that shows something you enjoy doing.”

I enjoy Family Game Night, especially when we get the chance to play one of my all-time favourite board games – SCRABBLE! The words we create aren’t always the strongest words, and we often rely on for those words that sound like “real words” but are created for the sake of the points.

I took this photo from the perspective of the Scrabble pieces. The Scrabble pieces in the foreground are very clear, whereas the game board is a tad blurry so as to highlight the pieces even further. As mentioned by Jason Grover via Skype, “this can be done when the lens opens and more light travels into the camera”. Therefore, I used an aperture of f2.8 so the background was blurred as much as possible.

I may use these Scrabble pieces for my Summary of Learning…

Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5 Mode: M, f2.8, 1/10

Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5
Mode: M, f2.8, 1/10