Gotta catch’em all!

Screenshot Pokemon Go

I am fortunate to have some lovely walking paths very near my home. I enjoyed walk along Mud Creek and seeing all the creatives, real and virtual. And it is something I miss greatly. Particularly in 2016, I was walking 2 – 3 kilometers per day taking pictures of the neighbourhood cat who followed me part of the way every day or of the ducks and geese that regularly blocked my path. During this time, I also enjoyed playing Pokemon Go. It was fun and it kept track of how far I had walked.

Neighbourhood Cat

I became quite ill in late 2016 and was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis in early 2017. I have not yet reached remission but I am hopeful. Right now, if I work, there is no energy left over and I can make it to the end of the block and back but not to the paths.

These daily adventures taking photos and playing Pokemon Go are probably the most interesting things I have done with my phone. I hesitate to say smart phone because mine is kinda dumb. And I like it that way. I think cellphone and data plans are too expensive in many cases. I do not feel the need to spend a couple of thousand dollars a year to be in constant contact. I don’t check my email or do work on my phone. I have a few close friends and family who have my number.

I know there are many cool and useful apps available and maybe I will find some new one to add but for right now, I am happy to live in the dark ages of cellphones.


Response to Daily Extend #oext198



Sirona Vapes After Dark

The title of this post is the name of one of my Vaping Shows. For the last 18 months, I have been part of a community that produces online broadcasts using either OBS or Xsplit for the Vaping community. So what does this have to do with creating a PLN. A lot, actually. I have been very interested in different ways of communicating online with technology and I have used other interests such as vaping and gaming to explore those technologies. I found that I am a teacher and a communicator where ever I am and I have been able to extend my learning through leisure activities to my work as a faculty member at a Ontario college.

Using Coggle, I created a map of the types of communication technologies I use in different arenas of my life (pictured below). I have been a full-time faculty for almost 11 years with another 13 years of part-time teaching and support staff contracts at St. Clair College. I have been an online gamer for 13 years and a vape broadcaster for a year and a half. I have been working on a PLN using Twitter for just over a month. Not long at all in comparison.

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I have more experiences in developing and maintaining a Personal Learning Network with the Vaping and Gaming communities then I do with the Higher Education community. My gaming experiences in creating a YouTube channel of instructional videos and my broadcasting experiences in the vaping community improved my ability to create videos for my work. Using chat through Skype and Discord with players from all over the world increased my cultural awareness of communication patterns and pitfalls that has helped me in speaking with and understanding my International students and tutors. Building reciprocal relationships though Facebook helps me to better understand what is needed to develop online connections on Twitter with other Higher Ed professionals. But I am still finding it hard to generalize my experiences and to understand the requirements of the Collaborator Module for Ontario Extend.

Perhaps part of this stems from my struggles in trying to create a PLN at the college with other faculty. As a faculty member in Student Services, I have found that Academic faculty and others in the Academic sector often don’t think of Student Services people as faculty. I am currently classified as a counsellor and while I may not be a professor, I do have a practice that includes teaching. I have an interest in teaching and learning but do not have many opportunities to meet with and talk with faculty outside of Student Services. The kinds of meetings we have and the sort of communication vehicles we use (email and telephone) do not lend themselves to community building or finding allies. Even our schedules make this difficult. As faculty who are scheduled 35 hours per week, we have regular lunch periods and most in-class faculty have, can I say, erratic schedules that don’t necessarily allow for a 12 noon to 1 pm break.

I will attempt to create a PLN map for the Extend Activity, I just hope I can figure out at least 10 people to put on it!

2 Extends, 1 post

Small figurines and lego structure in medievil game setting

Extend #oext163 & #oext164 were, what I will call, “easy ones.” Today’s Simple Sunday Share: Unplugged was a good reminder about unplugging. The online world is a fascinating one but don’t forget about the everyday world and the natural world. Perhaps that is why I am choosing to drive over to Sarnia for the Extend West kickoff. I could stay home and do this online but I want  to meet real people in a real space before we go back to our online spaces.

Aviary Photo_131496629051862010

I unplug on Sunday afternoons because it is Dungeons and Dragons day (5e, in case you are wondering). I play with a group of friends and family and my son is the Dungeon Master. We started this round in September of 2016. We play for three to six hours most Sundays and we do some special events such as D&D New Years Eve. In this realm, I am a 4 foot dwarf fighter with a battle axe and a white dragonette. I have the highest hit points so I am considered the tank (the one that takes the damage). I have no magic, and a lawful good alignment. I have no charisma to speak of and too loud and heavy to sneak up on anything!

But while that is all interesting to other D&D players, the point is unplugging for me means sharing time with close friends and family doing something we enjoy, building new memories: talking, eating, drinking. laughing and knocking a few heads together!

Yesterday’s extend asked us to play a few rounds of GeoGuessr, a google map based game where you try to figure out where you are based on whatever image information the google map cameras captured at that location. I found my self thinking about clues. What side of the road are the cars on? Are the speed signs in miles or kilometers? What kind of tree is that? Can I turn around and see what is on that sign? After collecting some data, you make a guess. In five rounds, I made it to the right country three times. Given that the countries were Russian, Japan and Costa Rica, that should be a little more impressive than it sounds.

Screenshot (4)

I have been thinking about how this game could be used in a classroom. I have also been thinking about Constructivist approach and the idea of building on what students already know. This could be an interesting low risk group activity. In groups of three, play 5 rounds. Talk about the clues you see and the ones you look for and share what you know that could help your team figure out where you are. Critical thinking, problem solving, logic skills come into play, but so does communication and teamwork skills. In a diverse group of students, it could also lead to some mutual appreciation of different perspectives and knowledge.

After about a week of doing the Daily Extends, I have found most pretty easy to do but the benefit is not in the doing or the posting. I have found the benefit in the mulling over of both the experience of doing and posting and the possibilities of extending these ideas into practice.

To play GeoGuessr, check out their website