Category Archives: ETEC 522

Assignment 4: Self-Assessment of my Participation in ETEC 522

Please click on image  to access the PDF (or on this link A4 Reflection Dana Bjornson).

Requirements for Assignment 4 can be found here.

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Digital Textbooks and Business Pitches: The One-Two Punch!

This last month has been somewhat of a blur.

As luck would have it, my group presentation was exactly one week before my Pitch Assignment, resulting in 50% of my grade being determined in a very short period of time.

Although some folks would prefer to have the band-aid ripped off quickly,  when it comes to completing projects for my Master degree, I am not a fan!

“Mum.  You’ve had too much screen time.”

…said my son, as I lay in a crumpled heap at the base of his bed. Yes, Son. I have.

Punch One: Digital Textbooks, An Opportunity Forecast

What I am particularly proud of is that my group produced our project as a digital textbook. As obvious as this may seem to do, from what I can tell, groups of the past created websites to present.  As time was short and three people were working on their own chapters, the cohesion of our book could have used a bit of glue.  With more time to fine-tune, I would have liked to have planned the aesthetic of our book a bit more.  It is not terrible, however, and the look of the book is pretty slick, overall.  One of our goals was to include as many different features to our book as possible: quizzes, timelines, videos, images, PDFs, sidebars, SoundCloud, etc. This resulted in the book being less “book-y” and more “website-y”.

The platform that we chose was Avatist. I would definitely use this Platform again.  Limitations on the free version included not being permitted to have more than 5 editors at a time.  This was problematic since our entire class was slated to create a group book, as their weekly activity.  We worked around this by having classmates fill out a Google Form that indicated which chapters they preferred to work on and which days they were available. I was able to schedule everyone, and conflicts were easily avoided.  Another warning to any who chooses to undertake a similar activity is that if two editors are working at the same time, on the same chapter, then only the last person to save will have their work saved.  The other person’s work will be lost! #goodtoknow

To view our opportunity forecast on Digital Textbooks, click here.  My major contribution was to Chapter 1, where I probably spent a little too much time on that timeline.   It really became a passion project, however.  Should the history of textbooks from the very first to where we are today, is of interest to you, have a peek!

To view our collaborative book, click here. Each student in ETEC 522 contributed to one or two chapters of our Tips and Tricks book for being a UBC MET student.  I would like to add to another chapter or two myself, and I would also like to set up a system to allow other MET students, past or present, the opportunity to contribute.  The bigger the book the better, no? Send me a message if you would like to contribute!

Punch Two: My Business Pitches

I think for this blog entry, I will take a shortcut and post my Reflection for the project.  It sums up things pretty nicely!  Here is a link to my work via the course’s blog, where one can access my project and read comments from my classmates. For just the project, see below:

My Reflection
  • Strengths: The biggest strength to the Third Space Learning pitch is that it provides forward yardage in a cultural playing field that has been unfairly refereed for too many decades. The idea itself is solid, is needed, and not only that, it has the potential to perpetuate more ideas that nurture culturally responsive learning spaces. I feel that not only my passion for the topic was evident, but that I created a realistic venture opportunity.  Every statistic that I used was sourced from reputable websites (BCTF, SD61, StatsCanada, The Government of Canada). The only fictitious value was fabricated from the grant money, however, the actual grant does exist, should I wish to pursue my venture.  The cost of creating the videos came from a local videographer, as well; overall, I am very proud of the fact that this venture was researched to the best of my abilities. I also feel that I produced a product that thoroughly describes the pain point and that I feel like my pitch told a story, as opposed to merely checking the venture pitch boxes. I think that my favorite part the project was the creation of the Elevator Pitch. My friend Gail, who agreed to be part of my Team, said that seeing the school and listening to my message made her tear up, as she only just left our school last summer. Having my friend’s support fills my heart.
  • Weaknesses: I really valued Cassy’s comments (her input throughout the course was truly remarkable, actually). In her feedback, she would have liked to have learned more about distribution networks: “…this content is great but only if the right eyeballs are on it”, she wrote. Jonathon also mentioned wanting to learn more about the next steps, beyond the videos. Both Cassy’s and Jon’s comments are very valid, and should I ever move forward with this venture, I will address those deficits.  I clearly went overtime for my venture pitch, and I think that if I had started this project earlier, I would have been able to find some additional edits.  I think that I put about 50 hours into this project, however, and once I had completed the slides, I had personally attached myself to them too much. When I posted the final project, it was akin to biting into apple pie immediately after it comes out of the oven. I recognize that projects, like fresh baked pie, need time to cool before submitting! Another issue I had was simply making the videos so that the sound quality was not horrible. In the end, because I was not able to figure this one out in a timely manner, my audio for my venture pitch was not as solid as I would have liked. Consequently, I simply did not have enough time to do a fourth take.  In general, time management is not one of my strengths, at all.
  • Key takeaways:
    • A large amount of my time was spent watching YouTube videos and reading articles on how to make a great pitch. Although I may not have mastered the steps, I feel like I have a decent foundation on the pitch components. This legwork allowed me to more easily see the strengths and deficits in other pitches, as well.
    • I thoroughly enjoyed creating the two videos, despite having to overcome a few steep learning curves. I learned that in these pitches, it is better to have fewer words on the slides. Although website pitches were of  excellent quality, I did not enjoy my classmates’ website pitches as much as the video pitches since they were very wordy. Because of this, I ranked Robert’s and Shannon’s the highest (out of the ten that I reviewed).  Both classmates created final products that not only covered the bases but were easier for me to follow. I am but a simple math and physics type; too many words and I get bored. (How I made it to the end of Course 8 in MET is somewhat astonishing to me!!!)

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Filed under Digital Textbooks, ETEC 522, Indigenous culture, Technology & culture, Uncategorized

TeachBack: An Opportunity Forecast

This week, classmates Kat and Derek showcased the inner workings of TeachBack via their website found here.   In a nutshell, TeachBack can be summarized nicely using this graphic that I snipped off of their website:

Apologies for the poor quality of image, but hopefully the four main steps are readable, along with the arrow pathways.

The TeachBack process is proving to be very prominent in the health care profession where up to 88% of seniors are reported to be leaving their medical appointments without understanding the key information points from their doctors or nurses. In any industry, where the transmission of knowledge is important, TeachBack methodology will undoubtedly be beneficial. Essentially, the student needs to repeat back to the instructor, what they have been taught.  The instructor, based on the response, will either provide an explanation again (from a different angle) or move on with the interaction, once they are assured that the student truly understands.

I think that because I am fairly a “seasoned”  educator, the strategies in TeachBack are not entirely new to me, even though I have not referred to my questioning method formally as TeachBack. Having been a tutor and teacher for about 25 years, I routinely have students “teach back” to me, in one-on-one situations. My biggest takeaway from this week was from what I learned after watching the opening video from Kat and Derek’s website:


What I very much appreciated learning this week, was a new tool that refines my questioning technique.  In the above video, it is suggested that when we ask our students, patients, employees or colleagues to explain the concept, that we include a clause that puts the responsibility of learning on the instructor, as opposed to the student.

I love this.

We all know that learners will be more responsive to acquiring new knowledge, if they feel at ease and are calm. So many of my students don’t even want to ask questions, in fear that they will “look dumb” in front of their counterparts. By phrasing the confirmation question such that the onus is on the instructor, immediately, the learner can take a sigh of relief, should they not know the answer.

Modified questions from the above video could be:

  1. We have gone over a few things… do you mind repeating the key ideas so that I know if I was clear?
  2. We have gone over a few things… so that I know if I was clear, if you were going to help a friend with this concept, how would you go about explaining it to them?
  3. Would you please show me how to do <insert task>, so that I know if I was clear?

I am a bit at a loss to truly understand why TeachBack is an “opportunity horizon”, as a venture in educational technology, however, I do see its value as a pedagogy.

Any wording that educators can adopt, or practices that they can follow, that make students more at ease in the learning environment, has my two thumb’s up, without question!


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Virtual and Augmented Reality: An Opportunity Forecast

What an interesting week!

Members of ETEC 522 were treated to a very thorough, engaging and interactive learning experience that exposed us to VR and AR technology. Please follow this link to go to the homepage that Tanya and Jonathon created.

Admittedly, my experience with this technology is extremely limited.  Via my Pokemon Go habit, AR is occasionally utilized.  Last year, I bought a birthday card for my father-in-law that gave the recipient a free, hot air balloon ride, using VR technology. I know that my husband bought a HMD (Head Mounted Display) from Visions recently, and the family used it for about 48 hours, before the novelty wore off.

And that is just it.

Are VR and AR here to stay, or are they nothing more than a novelty that sticks around the same amount of time as She Blinded Me with Science by Thomas Dolby?

Situating myself in this technology this week makes me believe that it is here to stay.  The technology is evolving; becoming both smaller, and more affordable. Since it has also been around for quite sometime, early adopters are producing some really great exemplars and how-to videos, showing us newbies the ropes!

My largest takeaway from this week came from the time spent with HP Reveal.

If you are keen, go to your app store and download the HP Reveal app right now.

Once you create your account, watch this quick screencast I made from my phone, that shows you how to view an AR video.

To view the AR video, simply hover the converging and diverging array of points over the narwhal image on this post.  Unfortunately, my classmates videos are set to “private” so I can’t share their creations here.  If you stick with my video, you will meet my parent’s dog, at least!


  • Having images beside stations in a science room that explains the instructions, as the students require them.
  • Having math problems on a bulletin board that are the key ideas of the unit.
  • Having a treasure hunt throughout the school with video clues guiding the adventurers.
  • Having an image of every teacher outside their door that links to a welcome video on the first day of school.
  • Having videos of the band, the choir, the improv team, the basketball team, the robotics club, the ??? on the bulletin boards throughout the school. 
  • Having a student explain the inspiration behind their artwork or to read their poem to a wider audience.
  • Having student projects brought to life with music and video.

There are endless possibilities to this technology and the best part is that HP Reveal is easy to use and free!

We also spent time with CoSpaces EDU. After a very short experimentation time (which is nicely set-up by their programmers), I was able to create my very own VR project.  Although I wasn’t able to intuitively learn how to program the characters, at least I know that it is possible.  I am certain if I watched a couple of YouTube videos, that the coding process would be a heap easier.  Click on the image below to see my amazing product! The image I used was a regular photo from a camping trip to China Beach, Vancouver Island.  Using a panoramic image would have produced a better product, and if you have access to 360 imaging, then I am jealous!


I am not seeing the immediate applications of this technology to my practice, admittedly. At this point in time, VR is still in the novelty category for me.  That is not to say that I won’t eventually see its worth as an educational tool, however.  Time will tell!!!

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Filed under Augmented Reality, ETEC 522, Virtual Reality

3D-Printing: An Opportunity Forecast


My very first attempt at 3D-rendering. Note the rounded ends, the curved elbow, the metallic finish. For a newbie, I was extremely pleased with myself!  Following the Fusion 360 tutorial video, step-by-step, I think that this model came pretty darn close to their’s.  If you would like to try this process out yourself, Fusion 360 offers a free, 30 day trial, and their site provides a variety of tutorial videos, to step you through the process.  If you can follow a recipe, you should be able to follow their videos.  Remember that the Pause button is your best friend.

This week in class, we situated ourselves within the world of 3D Printing. Classmates Ebru and Marshall produced  an informative website, guiding fellow ETEC 522-ers through everything one would want to know about utilizing 3D-printing technology at school or at work. As always, I LOVE learning a new skill that utilizes technology.  Spending time with Fusion360, creating my copper “thinga-ma-doodle” was really great!

Will I be using this technology with my Math and Physics classes?  That is a really great question…

Right now, applications are not really jumping out at me. This is not to say that they do not exist, however!  Students must invest time, and heck, I need to invest time, into Fusion360 skill sets. I do not have in-class time to devote to this, but perhaps as an out-of-class time project, individuals could opt to utilize this technology.

Ebru and Marshall provided 3 programs as suggestions to experiment with, however, Fusion 360 was my unquestionable choice. My school’s technology teacher uses this program, so I wanted to go with a program that high school students actually work with.  Here is a link to the Fusion 360 site.  I downloaded the free 30-day trial, however, it seems that more serious individuals can sign up for a free, 3-year trial, if they are in education. Through this link, the software also provides learners with many tutorial videos, for different skill levels. This program has an extremely broad range of functions, to say the least. If you were looking to jump into this technology, I would give Fusion 360 my green thumb’s up!



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Microlearning: An Opportunity Forecast

This week, Shannon and JoAnna shared their website focusing on Microlearning.  “Microlearning” is a classic example of new but not new pedagogy. The following capture is from Shannon and JoAnna’s website: 

Talk about being on the cutting edge of Ed Tech!!!  The ink is barely dry on the term, “Microlearning”!!!  (This would explain why the spelling editors keep underlining the word in red…)  That being said, my guess is a lot of educators have been utilizing microlearning techniques for years, if not decades.  I know I have, at least; I just have not labelled the activities, as such. To learn the basic idea behind Microlearning, go here.


In every course I have taken in MET at UBC, I have been able to apply the learning directly to my practice.


Every time I learn about something new, I try and apply its purpose to mathematics, physics, and/or general learning.  Before truly immersing myself into the Microlearning website, I was pretty skeptical of its use in my practice.  Math and physics are typically taught from a lecture and note taking format, as this is what works for most students (although, not all) and educators can cover a lot of material quickly.

What I am now contemplating, is how to break up the monotony  of the lecture-notes format, even more than I already do.  On their home page, Shannon and JoAnna picked a very compelling video to introduce the concept of microlearning:

This under 2 minute video perfectly exemplifies the power of microlearning. It teaches a new concept, in a very chunked and engaging format.

When I see a video is under 4 minutes, a little part of me says, “Thank God.”

It isn’t that I won’t enjoying watching longer videos ever, but I am not sugar-coating anything when I say, I am insanely busy these days! When my learning is chunked into bite-sized pieces, I really appreciate it. For what ever reason, I would rather climb up 10 small learning hills, than 1 or 2 learning mountains.  This was not always the case… but my life has changed dramatically since having kids, teaching, undertaking a Masters and staying married.  (Yes, “staying married” needed to be added to the list. Not because I am on the brink of divorce, but having been divorced once, I truly appreciate the fragility of all good relationships!)

If you do not have time to navigate throughout the entire Microlearning website, here are two highlights.

  1. The Collaboration Page: Has links to my classmates examples of their own microlearning lesson.  Some folks had one “in the can” already; others created one for this week’s activity.  I did a lesson on factoring quadratic equations.  It needs some work but doing it, sparked some ideas for future math/physics lessons.
  2. The Resource Page: Here, you will find some technologies that people have already tried and approved of, for engineering their own microlessons.

Happy Microplanning!!!

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Big Data & Learning Analytics: An Opportunity Forecast

This week, classmate Aaron Friedland, presented his Opportunity Forecast topic, “Big Data & Learning Analytics”.   A link to his final product can be found on the link I just provided, or you can go here.

Considering Aaron did his presentation without the aid of a team member, I was really impressed with the depth he was able to achieve on his own.  Instead of simply jumping into a presentation on Big Data, Aaron introduced us to his non-profit, educational venture, The Walking School Bus. Navigating through his site, learners will experiment with the effectiveness of “Reading Out Loud” and “Reading While Listening”, two strategies to help students improve their literacy skills. Moving into Big Data and Learning Analytics,  Aaron does a great job of tying these topics into education.

For myself, “Big Data” and I have not always been at peace. I know I am not alone when I say that I do not like that it is possible that every click, every search, and every cruise-through, is being tracked by multiple parties. I don’t like that my data is now a commodity to be sold, without my direct consent. It feels icky!  During my ETEC 511 course, I was part of a team that produced a website for students learning to be more aware of their online privacy. One of the videos we sourced is shown below.  I have programmed the code to start where the visuals get very interesting for anyone who is a bit paranoid of who is tracking their data.

Did you see all of the sites that were tracking this speaker before he had even had two bites of his breakfast?  “Big Data” is somewhat of an understatement…  how about “Ginormously Epic Data”?!?! Much better.

Bringing it back to Aaron’s presentation, I must say that I am feeling somewhat better about the notion of people and corporations using my data.   This is for a couple of reasons…

  1. I now see how collecting data can be used to optimize learning.
  2. There is practically nothing that I can do about it.

Although #2 is somewhat cheeky in nature, it is absolutely true. This is one of the reasons I signed up for Facebook, years after the majority of my inner circle had. Facebook wasn’t going away, so I could complain about it, or I could check it out, and then complain about it. And once I completely gave in to Zuckerberg’s Cult, it actually wasn’t so bad. Sure there are valid reasons to stay off Facebook, but there are too many reasons to stay on it, and just ignore the bad reasons. Can I not positively reframe Big Data’s grip on my particulars, as well?  I think I can.

After all, there are many great reasons to collect data. Heaps of data, in fact.  Ginormously epic tons of data!!!

My favorite bit of Aaron’s website was the Ted Talk by Hans Rosling.  Here is someone who was a very gifted educator and mathematician. If you have not heard him speak, this will be a treat on many levels!  He is part statistician, part entertainer, and part sportscaster! In the video below, Rosling exemplifies perfectly how Big Data can be used for the greater good.  On a side note, Dr. Rosling sadly passed away this year.  From this piece, you can get a sense of his legacy.

Another brilliant example of Big Data being used for the greater good was discussed on today’s episode of CBC’s The Current.  We are now able to map your entire genome for about $1000!  In 2001, it cost 3 billian! In this interview, the researchers describe the accuracy of matching gene indicators with actual issues that present themselves, such as cancer. The analogy they used is that presently, the genome predictions are like the early days of GPS.  Sometimes, drivers were sent to wrong locations, dead ends, etc. However, as the data improved, the accuracy of the GPS technology improved,  as well. They are predicting that as the data banks increase, so will more instances of accurate predictions.  Have a listen if you have the time…

All in all, I have moved from a place of icky to a place of awe and wonderment.  I recognize that this is a ginormously epic jump.  Admittedly, it did not happen overnight, but this week definitely pushed me into much farther from icky-status!!

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Game-Based Learning: An Opportunity Forecast.

This week, classmates created fictitious company, Game-Based Learning International.  Please click here to check out their informative, and interactive website that will try to convince you of the merits of GBL!

Perhaps it is my age?  Perhaps it is my subject areas of high school mathematics and physics? Perhaps it is because I do not spend time gaming and thus, do not see GBL for all of its potential.   Regardless of the reason, I simply do not see GBL as more than a reward or review activity, to spend class time with.

Granted, saying that all GBL platforms are ineffective is like saying you don’t like soup. There are simply too many out there, to be able to generalize to that extent.

The best GBL software that I have used in my physics classroom is produced by The Universe and More.  They produce new material every year or two and the developer is an actual high school physics teacher.  That makes a huge difference in the quality of the game.  This teacher knows students, he knows curriculum, and he knows how to program.  It is the trifecta of attributes for an edu-venturer, in my opinion!


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Filed under ETEC 522, Game-based Learning, Video Games

Throwing a Pitch; Getting that Hit!

I have so much respect for people who are not afraid to put themselves out there in this typically unforgiving world.  Rejection stings.

The odds seem to be stacked against the passionate entrepreneurs, as well. This week, we learned that fewer than 1 in 20 elevator pitches make it to the venture pitch. Of those that do, fewer than 1 in 20 venture pitches make it to the business plan.  And of those that make it to the planning stage, most fail during the execution of the plan.  All of this failure and loss, despite the best efforts of a team of passionate people, who have likely invested money themselves!

That is incredibly depressing!  Who would put themselves out there with such ridiculously horrible odds?

Not a mathematician, that’s for sure.

I sense that those with the entrepreneurial spirit, are powered by something special, though. Something that us folks with Pension Plans, may not recognize or understand. Like an adrenaline junkie,  an entrepreneur has to keep following their passions, to get their next “hit” with a potential investor.  Those with true talent will undoubtedly have a higher rate of success, than those whose talent is perceived.  Perhaps the terrible odds are due to too many day dreamers!

For my post on this week’s task, I found the following pitch.  Would you invest your money with this young entrepreneur?

In my quest to locate a current elevator pitch worthy of analyis, I found countless videos of entrepreneurs’ products, without the actual pitch.  It seems as though the art of making a pitch is evolving into a hybrid format, that combines elements of an elevator pitch and elements of a venture pitch. Sites like Kickstarter and AngelList vastly contain videos that sell the product, as opposed to obtaining investors.  The pieces of the traditional elevator pitch are typically listed below the product video, in graphic or paragraph format. It makes me wonder if the traditional elevator pitch is on its way down?

I have decided to present this “eleventure pitch” for two important reasons:

  1. It contains some of the “Five T’s” of Adam Lorant’s lecture, “Perfecting Your Pitch” (jump to the 8:40 mark for the 5 Ts). The T’s that are not included in the video, can be sourced from the site. This webpage is very well laid out and will answer many questions that a potential investor may have. (Should one of my ETEC 522 classmates decided to critique this hybrid pitch, please go to the site, to find the remaining elements.)
  2. This is a pitch that is very active. Money is coming in as I type this sentence!  The CEO is answering questions, as they come in.  I am finding it very exciting to be following this venture, in real time.

Admittedly, prosthetics are not directly related to the world of Ed Tech. However, this product utilizes both 3D printing and AI technologies, both of which are technologies moving into the world of Ed Tech. Moreover, this is one product that makes me want to invest! CEO Easton LaChappelle conveys passion, domain expertise, and leadership in his eleventure pitch (complete with inspiring “eleventure music”!). These are but some of the qualities that David Rose talks about in his TedTalk, “How to Pitch to a VC (Venture Capitalist)”.

Click here to read my classmates’ replies to my post. Then scroll to the bottom. 🙂

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Opportunity Horizon Assignment

For our first official weekly assignment, we had two options.  Either source out a new, previously unposted market or trend in the world of educational technology, or critique a preexisting post.  To read the full instructions, click here.

We all know that as soon as you buy the latest iPhone, that within the year, the next iPhone will be one the market.  Technology evolves and advances so quickly that following trends, can be very time consuming and never-ending!

For my contribution this week, I chose to source out a trend that had yet to be posted. Truth be told, I have almost no background knowledge on any emerging trends and markets in EdTechLand! Before I could even begin this assignment, I had to spend a few hours just sourcing out a trending market both, relevant to 2018 and one that I could connect with professionally.  This is what led me to Adaptive Learning (AL).

In our first week, “Adaptive Software” was presented to us as an emerging market, yet I did not quite clue in to its relevance to my practice.  Armed with a multitude of clues, I added the following comment to the AS post:

Now that I have immersed myself with the topic of “Adaptive Learning (AL)” this week, I now realize that it falls under the umbrella of “Adaptive Software”. When I initially read the Adaptive Software post, I most definitely did not appreciate its enormity and relevance to the future of education. I have always LOVED crafting and delivery lessons and so the thought of being a fulltime, “guide on the side” has never sat well with me. Knowing the affordances of AL, and knowing the adaptability of the software, has completely won me over, however. I can still put my own spins on the lessons; I can still help students with the material; my expertise is still needed, in order for students to fully thrive. My new vision is to offer one AL-pathway for those students who are interested in a new approach. Students who have traditionally experienced math-anxiety, and for some, math-trauma, could possibly experience an entirely new set of emotions, in their math classroom. This truly excites me!!!!

Having completed my analysis of AL, I have also tried to make contact with McGraw Hill Canada.  I am very interested in piloting an AL environment for a group of adventurous math students at my high school.  McGraw Hill’s software can be used on desktops, Chromebooks, and iPads, making the infrastructure a non-issue for me. What I am concerned about, is the cost of the ALEKS software.  Anything more than “free”, may be problematic! I am hoping that if I am the first adopter in the region, I may be able to secure a deal.  What I do know, with certainty, is that if I don’t make shot, I won’t score a goal…

Wish me luck!

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Filed under Adaptive Learning, assessment, educational apps & programs, ETEC 522, Mathematics education