Rose Couture

Aspiring teacher. “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ― William Arthur Ward

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Final Learning Project Assessment

As the semester comes to an end, many projects are due and the majority require reflections and assessments on the acquisition of knowledge. For my ECMP355 learning project, I chose to learn the Italian language. I planned on doing so with the help of a Google App named Duolingo, in addition to trying to connect with others online to find more resources. For the most part, I used the application weekly and went through the learning units like a “good” student would. I cannot say that I have learnt how to be fluent in Italian or that I  know how to have a conversation with someone, but my vocabulary is broader than it was when I first began and I can pick up words and general meaning when listening to Italian “conversations”. With Duolingo, I learnt:

  • To conjugate a total of 48 verbs from andare (to go) to volere (to want);
  • 56 markers of dates and time such as: months (dicembre, gennaio, febbraio), days of the week (domenica, lunedi, martedi, mercoledi), seasons (primavera, l’estate), hours (ora), time of the day (mezzogiorno, mezzanotte), etc.;
  • 82 words that have to do with food, including how to say lunch (pranzo) and dinner (cena);
  • A total of 28 animals, my favourites are penguin (pinguino) and turtle (tartaruga);
  • 28 words to describe clothing so that I can now say: Io porto un capotto e i guanti a l’inverno (I wear a jacket and gloves in the winter);
  • 26 preposition words, 13 question words (che, come, perché), 13 colors (arancione, giallo, grigio), 13 conjunctions as well as 12 common phrases (arrivederci, grazie, ciao)
  • For a total of 375 words

I have learnt quite of bit of vocabulary with Duolingo, but I realized at the end that I needed to “hear” it more. Yes, the lady recited the sentences as many times as you wanted, in addition to giving you the correct answers/translations, but they were for the majority short sentences that always had the same structure. I read that one of my classmates Ashley also had a similar dilemma (she was learning ASL) where she learnt a lot of vocabulary, but not enough sentences and/or discussions. One of my readers suggested that I look online for Italian radio stations where they play the “typical pop music”, but where all the commercials and dialogues were in Italian. I made a quick Google search on these Italian radio stations, but did not find anything right off so I decided to stop digging. Bad move. Today, while I was summarizing what I learnt with Duolingo, the vocabulary discussion question came to me and I remembered the comment from my reader. So I went and looked again for Italian radio stations, in addition to Italian podcasts, BINGO! This is when I fell upon this News in Slow Italian website, which I really wish I would have found way before today (I made a post about it too) as it seems to be an incredible learning tool. Maybe after listening to conversations for a while and increasing the speed, I will be able to finally watch a movie in Italian without thinking about how fast they are talking and how I cannot understand anything.

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I was the most happy to have completed my Prepositions unit, as this was my biggest challenge and I did have to dig on YouTube to find additional resources to completely grasp the material that was making me flustered. I completed a total of 16 units like the ones in yellow you can see above, that were made of a total of 73 lessons. I had to try each lesson at least twice, if not more in the difficult ones to unlock the following lessons, which in turn unlocked the following units. One of the things I liked the best was that I was able to practice the lessons as much as I wanted to if I did not feel confident with the material, and I was able to learn at my own rhythm, without fearing a test or having someone quizzing me on the spot about Italian expressions, words or verbs. It was not a stressful experience and this is one of the reason why I will continue learning the language so that I can achieve my dream to one day visit Italy and its thousands of treasures!



Google Docs & Sharing

As I was sitting quietly in the residence building this morning, I was browsing through numerous blogs and looking at what was happening on Twitter. At the top of my feed was the following Tweet from @shareski :

I did not know what the document would be about when I clicked on the link, but I soon found that the document was named “Thoughts on Innovation” and in the document was about 4 questions where people could post links and add their Twitter name at the end for contribution recognition. Within the first minutes, I watched anonymous animals type down links underneath the questions, and good ones too! I am once again *wowed* by Google Docs and the endless possibilities that can come from it. If you have many Twitter followers or Blog followers and are looking for ideas for a presentation or a lesson, Tweet a link to your Google Docs and everybody who follows you and feels like contributing will take the time to look at your document and help you out. Ideas from all around the world in the SAME document for you to use as a learning tool; amazing. This could very well be something I would do in the future if I needed more ideas or some inspiration to get the little hamster in my head to start turning the wheel. I have used Google Docs for the first time with a group last week and I loved how easy it was for all of us to work on the same document/project even though we were not necessarily together. So if you have tried Google Docs before and you are not a big fan, I suggest you try again and consider the many outcomes. If you have not tried it yet, what are you waiting for?

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Experimenting with Piktochart

Today in class, we had the opportunity to experiment with an application that allows you to present information, graphics and data in an interesting way. In order to do that, we used Piktochart, a free online platform that offers you different themes you can play around with, many icons, images and backgrounds that will help you making a visually appealing presentation. You can sign up for free or sign in with your Facebook or Google+ account. I chose to use a template that was already made and I changed the colours to colours I liked, switched some icons (the console, pc and smartphone ones) and I entered my own data in the chart (yes, you can put whatever you like in there). As I am part of the “female gamer population”, I chose to compare the percentage of women and men who played video games and threw in some facts. I was very surprised that the female gaming population is so high and that many women who play video games are over the age of 18. Please try out this new and fun way to present your data in the classroom, as you can personalize it as much as you like with the free version! Rose Gamers

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My Shoes, Age 5

After this Thursday’s ECMP355 class, I could not wait to start creating my presentation for this week’s assignment! I was inspired by Dean Shareski’s own presentation of “A Childhood Walk”. As most of the roads and trails I took walks on as a child are grid roads, and in the boonies, I could not access these special places on Google Maps, so I decided to put my own twist to the childhood walk. I would take you on an overview of a day with me at the age of 5. From the region I am from, to the school I attended, I take you in my younger self’s shoes.

As I was planning the making of this video, I use the Search for Creative Commons’ link we were given in class, and I was able to download a few songs that I could play in the background, as I was recording my screen and my own voice. Links for these songs are in the video’s description, and righthere. I hope you enjoy and show me your own versions of the “childhood walk”!

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Learning Project!

Here we go.

This is me, telling you what I’ve chosen to do for my learning project, why I chose this particular subject and how I will be documenting it. In the course of my ECMP355 class, we are assigned to pick a certain skill, language or an instrument that is meaningful to us and to document our learning and findings through our blog. What I have chosen to do for this project is to learn italian.

Why italian? Because I believe it is a beautiful language, it sounds like music to my ears. I would qualify Italian as the language of love even though I know that some might say that French is the language of love. In addition, my dream is to one day visit Italy. I have seen pictures and let me tell you, this country is breathtaking! But then again, we all like different things and just the thought of all the delicious foods they make in this place makes me drool. I also have many friends who are from Italian families back where I am from and I have met a few people in my classes at the university that are also Italian. Because of my school history, I have also had a taste of learning the language. It is challenging in some ways to learn this new speech as I have experienced many challenges with it at college level, but it is also very close to French, which can be an advantage because my first language is French.

I plan on documenting my learning through videos and posts on my blog. I will do so using the Duolingo app/website I found while I was browsing the fabulous Google Apps. At first, I was going to have my roommate teach me how to work with Fraps, but since I have a Mac computer (they don’t do Fraps) I chose to find something that would work on my device. So I went and entered in the Google bar, Fraps for Mac and clicked on the second YouTube video I saw. resource

This young boy told me I did not need Fraps. I did not even need to download any new application! I could use an App that was already installed on my computer and with which I could record videos, audio, or screen videos with audio. Its name? QuickTime! I already have a Duolingo account so I will not need to create one and I have already begun to learn a while ago (a couple lessons), before I even knew what I would do for the project. I will try my best to put up a post every week that will document what I retained from the whole week’s lessons. Let me know what you think and leave me some feedback to let me know how I am doing and if you have any new suggestions! 🙂