Category Archives: EDTC 300

Coding, It’s not as scary as it sounds.

As a part of my EDTC 300 class, we looked at coding using two different applications. Hour of code, and Scratch, both of which are great services and I would use either of them in the classroom.

For this post, I will be using Scratch.

I enjoyed coding, and it really isn’t as bad as it sounds. I liked being able to control these characters and have them do different things. It was so simple just put the commands together like a puzzle and then have them go through the motions and see what you can do with sounds and movements of the characters.

I think students will enjoy using this coding service it is simple and really easy and enjoyable.  It can also teach students to think deeply and plan things out, like what do I want this cat to do? what would I like this ball or balloon to do? and then problem solve and achieve what they want the characters to do.

I learned a lot of this too while coding, I had to think about what I want to do and being able to achieve what I wanted and when something did not work like I wanted to I had to rethink my plan and fix things.

What I liked about Scratch I that I have full control over my character and can do whatever I want with it.   I feel that there is a need for more commands but you can create more of them yourself but I have not done that.  It would be worth checking out in the future.  I also liked that I could control everything even the sound they make and the color they are, even how fast or slow the sound was and if it echoed.

I enjoyed this experience and I hope to use coding in the classroom in the future.

If anyone has something they would like to share about coding or anything else please leave a comment!

Networked Learning Post, how I have contributed to others learning.

A large part of EDTC 300 was to contribute to others learning by using Twitter, Slack and commenting on other peoples blog posts on WordPress.


I also participated in #saskedchat on twitter and realized how helpful and useful Twitter can be.

Take a look at my twitter @tyrel_bertram and see what is happening there too!

Check out my journey learning about how to refinish wood furniture here in my learning project page.

I had a good experience working with the other students in EDTC 300 and tried to contribute to the learning of others in a meaningful way.

Even after this class ends I will still keep using Twitter and keep having my voice heard online.


Summary of Learning

Please take a few minutes to watch my summary of learning video.  This class has meant a lot to me because I was quite lost and scared around the use of technology and Katia was able to help me put my fear to rest.

Enjoy the video!

Thanks for watching!

Please take a look at my other posts on some of the topics discussed in the videos.

Combatting fake news.

My two cents on Twitter and #Saskedchat

Cybersleuthing: What Google says about you.

Learning Project: Refinishing an old dresser. 

Please leave a comment and tell me what you think.

The Final Post, Learning Project Post #6

Well, folks as EDTC 300 class draws to a close it is time for my final learning project post.  Those who have been reading all along have read about my journey that was re-finishing the old dresser that I had gotten from my late grandfather.  Woodworking has always been an interest of mine and when I had this piece that needed re-finished I decided to take the project on and that it would be perfect for my EDTC 300 learning project.  I decided that because I had no idea how to complete this project, so I was able to learn about it online.

So I started the project and jumped right into it.  Please take a look at my First Post.

This is what the dresser looked like at the beginning.

Now I have been through this journey I am now ready to unveil my finished product, which has been a hit with my family, they can’t say enough good things about it.


Note the shiny look to the finish, this is because I used a stain and gloss all in one.

I completed staining the dresser three times, I used the technique outlined in my fifth post, check it out here.  This took several hours because the stain has to dry for 8 hours per coat, so I did the three coats over two days.

Then I put the new knobs on the drawers and re-attached the mirror on the body of the dresser.  To hold the mirror in its frame, I used a heavy piece of cardboard from an old fridge box we had in our house.

In review:

The most challenging thing about finishing the project was re-attaching the mirror to the main dresser frame.  Before there were three screws that held the mirror stand on the base.  It was clear after my Dad and I tried to put the mirror on that three screws would not hold it, so we put five screws in.  The stand makes the dresser pretty top heavy so that is why it’s leaning against the wall, to give it some added stability.

For future projects, I need to take more time to make sure all the paint is off and nothing is visible that I don’t want visible.  I learned that this type of work is very tedious and requires a lot of attention to detail.  I will try to develop these traits more in the future and I hope to do more projects like this.  (there is a bookshelf I may tackle next).

Overall, I gained valuable experience in the woodworking trade with this assignment. I know now how to better re-use old furniture and make it look like new again.  Antiques have always caught my eye and  I find this way to breath new life into old furniture is a good ability to have.

Traits that I have developed and understand a better need for is attention to detail and the ability to take more time and slow down.  I need to work on these more.  however having these skills can be very helpful in more than just a hobby, I feel they could become useful in a classroom setting.

Learning online is very useful but not something to be relied on.  Offline resources can be very useful too.  I found YouTube to be the most useful to learn about re-finishing furniture.  I also found Ron Hazelton’s website to be very useful because he knew a lot about many topics and was able to make a lot of sense and helped me a great deal.

As with most technology use, there are disadvantages, like needed access to the internet to use the online world to its fullest potential.  the videos on Youtube helped me to see what should happen and what it should look like after I’m done.

The Learning project portion of the course was very helpful and useful and I will use both my new found knowledge of wood re-finishing and the experience of learning online for many years to come in both my personal and professional life.

Here is a list and links to all my posts:

Post 1: Intro. 

Post: 2: starting to strip paint.

Post 3: Drawers Prep.

Post 4: Getting ready to re-finish. 

Post 5: How to prep wood for a new stain.

Post 6: Final post and review. (This post).

As always, leave a comment if you want to share your experiences with woodworking or learning online, or just have something to say.

Big Thanks to all those who read this blog and who have left comments in the past.

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Combating Fake News and teaching digital literacy in the classroom.

For this weeks post, I will look at how to combat fake news and disinformation in the classroom and how to teach good digital literacy within the high school social studies and English classes.

A resource that is important to read and understand is the NCTE framework for 21st-century curriculum and assessment.

Source: Screenshot from NCTE website

This framework is important because it allows teachers to give their students the tools and skills necessary to work and function in the 21st century.

The United Nations called Fake news and movements like the anti-vaccine movement as one of the largest threats facing society today. That said only combating fake news by trying to stop people from creating it is not the only solution.  What needs to happen is better education so that people know how to spot fake news and stop its spread.

That is where teachers come in.   I see it as no an issue of if it’s important to teach this in every class but an issue of how to teach digital literacy in each class for every age of students.

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I have an issue with the term “fake news” simply because it is bigger than just news, it is the influence and manipulation of users and their data.  as Claire Wardle points out in her article Fake news. It’s complicated the reason we have trouble with the term fake news is that it involves more than just news, it involves the entire information ecosystem. I agree fake news is an attack on our information ecosystem and threatens its purity and well being.

This video by Damon Brown and TedEd points out, today more than ever we are all reporters, which I believe to be a large part of the issue because now hundreds of thousands of people have their own platform to tell the world everything that they think and any information that they want to tell regardless if it is real or fake.

In social studies class where the students will be doing reports and research, I good way to teach them about the differences in sources it to explain what a primary source is and what a secondary source is.  As long as they understand that secondary sources have been interpreted by someone and their biases could be a filter what they read.

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Damon Brown also points out that it is important to get news from other sources.  I find this to be very important as well, again if students are writing a report in Social studies class have the students look at multiple sources on the same topic so that they can get all the information. The last thing that Brown points out is that it is extremely important to verify any type of news before you share it! and that cannot be stressed enough to all students, knowing the whole story and whether a story is real is crucial before sharing it. A simple google search can save a lot of grief and help combat the spread of fake news.

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This next video outlines five steps to avoid fake news and therefore avoid spreading it.

This video really helps to put everything into a short list that could easily be taught to students and make getting the message across a lot easier and have a better chance of the students understanding.   the point that I feel is the most important is comparing to other news sources to get the whole picture and looking to see if any other news sites are talking about this news.  If more than one source is reporting on that issue or event than there is a better chance that the news is credible.

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As teachers, I feel it’s important to foster an environment where students can develop the skills to consume news and think critically.

Incorporating digital literacy can be tricky but also easy depending on the curriculum. For example, the ELA 20 curriculum calls for a section on asses and reflect.  Digital literacy could fit into here by calling for students to asses there ability to view, listen, read, speak, and write these things could be applied to news and other resources looked at in the semester.  there are many ways to incorporate digital identity into the class, we owe it to our students to prepare them the best we can.

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The NCTE framework is a document that is very important and well worth the read.  instead of summarising the document I will just point out what I feel is the most important.

The first element involves students understanding and being able to use tools involved with using digital technology in the classroom. This is important because in order for the students to get the most out of what I am teaching them it is important for them to be able to use the tools necessary.

Another important element is being able to analyze and synthesize multiple streams of information. This is important because students will be bombarded with information so if they have the ability to take in information at a fast pace it will help them develop the ability to think critically.

Students being able to create good forms of multimedia texts so that they can stay well informed and don’t contribute to the spread of false information and misinformed information.

These guidelines are important to understand and fulfill in every subject area.  However, with Social and English where creating written work and interpreting other peoples work is a major part of the classes, it’s important for students to make there work as informed citizens and be thinking critically.

That is my post on combatting fake news and teaching good digital literacy.   If anyone has some helpful hints or resources to share please leave a comment.


How to Prep wood for a new stain. Learning Project post #5

This week I will share a step by step how to re-stain wooden furniture.

Step 1: Remove the old paint or stain off of the wood piece that you wish to refinish.  I recommend a gel-based paint stripper especially if you will be removing paint or stain from vertical surfaces.  Watch this short video to help remove the old paint or stain.

Step 2:  After you have removed all of the old paint or stain than you need to prepare the surface, the first thing to do is to use a brass bristled brush and some steel wool (both can be found the most hardware stores). I used paint remover steel wool that is a little more aggressive on the wood.  You may have to apply a thin layer of stripper to use the wool and brush to its fullest capacity.  These tools will save your life and will make removing the final bit of paint or stain happen like a dream. If you would like a visual, visit Ron Hazelton’s Website, this video uses this technique.

Step 3: For this step, you will need to sand the wood.  I recommend using 120 or 150 grit sandpaper (can be found at most hardware stores).  Take a full sheet of sandpaper and cut it in quarters and fold each quarter in thirds.  I outline the technique for sanding in this video:


Step 4: Time to clean the wood for staining.  Sanding will leave a lot of dust and debris on the surface that you are refinishing.  This debris can create unwanted blemishes in your stain and leave impurities in your finished product.  So I use TSP (a cleaning solution found at most hardware stores).

Step5: Now the final part to cleaning the surface is using a Tack Cloth (a sticky cloth found at most hardware stores) to pick up any leftover debris from sanding or from dust settling from the air. How to do this is outlined in this video:

Step 6: Now it is time to apply the stain to the piece of wood that you desire.  This video will help you get started.

Step 7: After putting the second coat on, its time to prepare for the next coat or as many coats as you desire.  This video will help you prepare for another coat.


Helpful hint: To get better cuts and straighter edges on your sandpaper I built myself a sandpaper cutter.  How to do this is outlined in this video:

I hope this How to was some help.  Tell me about it in the comments.

cyber-sleuthing: What Google says about you.

For this week’s blog post I teamed up with Brenna Smith to do some cyber-sleuthing to see what Google says about us and if what we are posting is good to have on the internet.

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Cyber-sleuthing is the process of Googling someone’s name and seeing that Google brings up for search results and exploring what that person has put online or what is being said about them online.  Employers may do this before they get someone for an interview or after they read a persons resume.

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At first, I Googled her name and got a lot of hits or people that had nothing to do with the Brenna Smith that I was concerned with.  so I added to the search “Regina” which narrowed the search down and allowed me to choose the right Brenna Smith.

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First, I looked at her Twitter @brenna_smith11 and was very happy with what I saw.  Brenda’s Twitter account is very clean and everything that she posts are related to educations and EDTC 300.  everything on Twitter looked good and I would change nothing.

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I then looked at Brenna’s Blog,  this blog was well designed and user-friendly. everything posted on here was related to education and other classes that she has taken. The layout and content of the post were appropriate and professional.

The last thing that I looked at was her facebook, no big surprises there.  All of her posts and activity on Facebook were professional and reasonable posts for a teacher to be making.

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The rest of the search results that Google came up with where very professional even though they where not the Brenna that I was concerned with, these search results could still have an impact on her digital identity so it is important to know what Google is saying about you or who they think you are.

If anyone has any thoughts or wants to say something please leave a comment!

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Learning Project Post #4, getting ready to re-finish

This week I set out to finish taking the paint off and preparing to stain the dresser.  I went to the Hardware store and got more supplies.  items that included Steal wool, sandpaper, cleaning solution, and a brass brush.

The last thing had to strip the paint off of was the sides and legs of the dresser.

To do this I applied the pian stripper and used the putty knife to scrape it off then I used the steel wool and brass brush to take off any finish that still remained.   Steel wool and a brass brush are great tools and a must have if you are stripping paint to get off that stubborn stuck on paint.  The idea cam again from Ron Hazelton’s website. 

After doing that I applied simple household bleach to the holes where the drawer hardware had left a black mark and did a light sanding to prepare them for the staining.

After I finished stripping the paint and using the steel wool to take off any paint residue I put the drawers back in the dresser.

Before I stripped the front of the dresser.

This is before I started stripping.
After I stripped all the paint and treated the drawers.

Next week I will stain the dresser and see how that turns out.

As usual, leave a comment if you have any suggestions or just have something to say.

The Google Classroom debate.

For this week blog post I was asked to choose a partner and debate the use of a tool on the classroom.  My partner and I chose Google Classroom.  My Partner Klair played the concerned parent (grey messages) and I played the teacher (Green messages) using Google Classroom. here are the photos of our text conversation.

If you have anything to add please leave a comment!

-Tyrel CK Bertram

Whats up with Drop Box.

Just recently I downloaded Dropbox, a workplace app where all of your files can be brought into one place and shared with whomever you want. I also feel that Dropbox could be used in a classroom as well as used between staff in a school.  Dropbox can also “safely sync [your files] across all your devices”.  I have heard about Dropbox before on the radio but never really knew what it was about.  not only is it an app but it is also a website.  that way your files on your computer can be synced to your phone or other computers. to get more information take a look at the Wikipedia page on Dropbox.  Or follow them on Twitter.

The user can also share files with someone who doesn’t have a Dropbox account which is nice.  The coolest feature I found was the document scanner feature that comes with the app. very useful for sharing notes or other paper items.  multiple people can also edit a document through Dropbox.  Fully compatible with office applications like Word and Excel.

Dropbox also works well for photos so that you will never lose your photos if your camera or phone crash, Dropbox will keep them safe and you can download them onto your computer and never lose them.

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The downside is that many of the features are locked until you buy a plan that is billed either monthly or annually.  For the app, I had to sign up for a basic plan that costs $12.99 per month.  to use the app you have to have an internet conn connection. You can make files available offline but then that takes up valuable storage on your phone.

This would be useful in the classroom because a teacher could share documents like assignments and notes on Dropbox and their students can access it anywhere. Dropbox would also be good for other teachers to collaborate with others on staff or from other schools. or be connected with the STF or Education ministry and get documents there instead of cluttering up your email inbox.

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As far as the SAMR model is concerned I feel it fits in on the Modification side because it’s not only acting as a platform to hand out assignments but it allows for paperless editing and fosters a collaborative atmosphere online.

Dropbox can not only be used in teacher to student relations but also from teacher to teacher and teacher to other education agencies to help with the sharing of documents.

Take a  look at this short video on how to get started with Dropbox:


If anyone has used Dropbox and knows of other ways it could be used in a classroom or anywhere please leave a comment!

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