Bruce Baking Bash Volume 5: The End of The Road

Hey Folks,

We have come to an end of an unforgettable journey. Bruce’s Baking Bash is closing up shop. But not before one final hurrah. In last blog post, I mentioned that I will attempt to make homemade hamburger buns, but I decided to change things up. As Father’s Day is approaching, I selfishly wanted to make myself some muffins to celebrate.

Here is a link to the recipe I am following.

I have learned from my mistakes while making cookies and have taken the butter and eggs out prior to baking so they are room temperature and easy to mix

Another lesson learned was to make sure I have all the ingredients prior to starting. I got lucky in my cookie adventure, but was not going to expect that to happen again. Turns out I had everything this time!

Next is time to get the dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another.

Mix mix mix!

Apparently, when combing the wet and dry ingredients for muffins, the key is to NOT over mix. Below is probably even a touch over mixed from what I found out. So now they go into the muffin pan and into the oven. Fingers crossed.

Anxiously waiting…

Success! Now they need to cool for ~ 5 minute before I add the glaze.

The glaze was super quick and simple to make. Not to mention delicious! It wasn’t quite on the same level as the cookie dough a couple weeks ago but it was good!

This recipe makes a dozen and if you are wondering why the below picture only has 11…well I would love to say I taste tested one,but my daughters decided to split one before I could snap a picture.

 

Before I sign off on my last Baking Bash, I want to give you and overview of everything I learned about baking and the process of learning a new skill online.

I started off my diving into cupcakes. In doing that I not only attempted baking for the first time, but also searched for a recipe online for the first time. While I did not use an online recipe for this part, this definitely gave me a head start from my future projects (including next weeks). I found myself coming back to similar sites each time I searched. For example, the familiar name of ‘Betty Crocker’ appeared several times in searching for cupcake recipes, which lead me to try it for cookies. It is the experience of searching online for a recipe and following only the online sources that I found interesting. Allow me to explain. My wife is a small town farm girl and her parents still live out on the farm. With this, my wife and my mother in law both have an abundance of knowledge and experience in baking. As well, they also each have large recipe books. While recipe books may seem obsolete or out dated to some, to my wife and her mother, they are timeless. So when I said I was going to try baking cupcakes for this class, I was hit with 100 different recipes before I could finish getting the words out. It was here that things became difficult. I really had trouble with staying committed to learning online when I had two seasoned veterans peering over my shoulders. I would also venture to guess it was equally as hard, if not harder for them to sit and watch me screw up while they were biting their tongues. And that was just for cupcakes. At this point I had more posts I knew I needed to complete on my own.

For the cookies, I knew I had to make a change, so I waited for my wife to be out of the house and strictly followed the online protocol. Perhaps it was the lack of pressure from not having an audience this time, or the experience I gained from completing the cupcakes; but I found the entire process, start to finish, easier this time around. Everything from searching for the recipe online to double checking the recommended baking time online was simpler. I found baking was getting easier and using online sources was getting easier too.

When it came to the muffins, I again, waited for my wife to be out of the house to give it a go. And again, the third time was easier than the first two, in terms of using technology to help me learn a skill and my actually baking skills.

In summary, this was a very valuable project for me. I found that I was able to not only learn a pretty basic and awesome life skill, but was able to learn in through a new medium. I would argue that the majority of baking recipes and secrets are passed down from generation to generation (think of grandma’s homemade bread or baba’s perogies) through word of mouth not email. However, I was able to find quality recipes, advice and instructions in the online world. I will admit that I started very basic with my baking creations, and thus made it harder for me to screw up. But give me a break, I needed to start somewhere. I will undoubtedly continue to advance my baking skills in the future and maybe one day I will be able to bake something for my students.

Until then…

 

Cheers,

BDA

 

 

 

 

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To Sum Up a Semester

Hey All,

One of my last pieces of work for EDTC300 is to put together a video that shows what I have learned this semester. It was nearly impossible to slam 6 weeks of learning into 6 minutes of video, but I tried my best. I dabbled in making my own video, uploading it to YouTube and adding to my blog in a previous post. So I will try it again.

I hope you enjoy it.

 

Cheers,

BDA

My Contributions To Learning

Hey again everyone,

As the semester draws to a a close, my EDTC300 class was asked to discuss how we have contributed to the learning of others in the class.

Our class has used several mediums to promote communication among peers. One of which is through commenting on blogs like this. Just as I had a learning project, all of my peers did as well and we all were to comment on one another progress. Here is a page of comments I produced throughout the short spring semester.

Our class also used a course community called Slack and conversation could be used in a group or private setting.

As you can see in the above photo, the arrows point the subjects of communication we participated in and below the circled area is the private chats I participated in with colleagues.

The tool I used the most for communication with my peers was my Twitter account. This tool was not only the easiest, but most familiar to me. I found that I was not only chatting and posting thoughts with my classmates, but also networking with other professionals. One aspect of twitter which was new to me was the chat groups based off of hashtags. I found my self participating in the weekly #nt2t chat often enough that I was added to the #nt2t family!

When we were first made aware of how much online communication was needed in this course I was a little apprehensive. But as the semester moved forward I found my self using the tools we were given more and more; and perhaps more importantly, I found my self appreciating how much I was learning from participating.

A big thank you to Katia Hildebrandt for making this a vital part of the class. Outside of bi-weekly zoom meetings, this was the most beneficial learning tool for me.

 

Cheers,

BDA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coding For Dummies

Hey Gang,

For this post our class was tasked with diving into Coding. This is a foreign concept to me. I remember a WAY back in elementary school we were introduced to HTML, but nothing quite like this. Below is my adventure through Coding using the website Hour of Code. This site is a life saver! It literally walks you through Coding at numerous grade levels and topics. And by walks you through, I literally mean walks. At the lower grade levels (I chose grade 2) it takes you step by step through the foundation steps of Coding and progresses you through at a reasonable pace. See the below pictures for my Coding game.

I started by choosing The Grinch Game.

The first few steps were very straight forward and quiet honestly, hard to screw up

The steps then start to compound.

As you move from step to step the game lets you know if you were successful….

Or if you made a mistake

Each step gets progressively harder and more complex.

‘If’ statements are soon introduced to add to the complexity.

And then, of course, you are required to add multiple ‘If’ statements. Again, adding to the complexity.

And finally, after working logically through 20 stages; I have completed the Grinch Coding Game. As the title of the website states, it did take me approximately 1 hour. However, it sure didn’t feel like an hour. The game was interactive and fun. I found that because I understood the original story of The Grinch it made the coding process easier. If you are going to use this website for coding practice (and I would recommend you do), I suggest picking a game topic that is of interest to you. This may sound obvious but as our class was introduced to this site we looked at the Star Wars game and I was lost. The Star Wars and the The Grinch game actually follow the same format, only they have different characters (obviously). I guess having some background knowledge made me more comfortable and less overwhelmed.

The website is even nice enough to offer a wonderful certificate upon completion!

I certainly learned  a lot form this undertaking. Coding, while initially intimidating, is quite the opposite. Websites like Code Academy, Scratch and Hour of Code have unique ways of introducing Coding to even the biggest of dummies (like yours truly) and making it easy. As for its place in an educational setting. I will defer to a later date on that. While I have no doubt that there is a large need for knowledge of this topic in schools and business; I feel as if I do not know enough about the true power of Coding to be able to give a solid opinion. So please consider me firmly on the fence.

 

Cheers,

BDA

Bruce’s Baking Bash Volume 4: Reviewing What I Have Learned

Hey Blog Family,

I have decided to try something different for this post. Instead of typing out the lessons I have learned (most the hard way) from my baking adventures, I decided to make a video and share it with you that way. I decided to use this week as a week to reflect and learn from my mistakes (documented below) before I attempt my newest challenge…home made hamburger buns. Check back in next week for updates on!

Enjoy!

Cheers,

BDA

The War Against Fake News

It is not meant as disrespect that I post a blog with a title about war the day after the 75th anniversary of D-Day. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the brave men and women that serve our country. They are truly the Greatest Generation.

However, as danah boyd points out here, the information war has begun. As adults we are tasked with preparing the future generations for the challenges they may face. It goes without saying that we will not be able to prepare the younger generations for all they will encounter; however, it is our responsibility to teach them techniques to safely wade through the murky waters that await them. In 1944 those murky waters presented themselves as Propaganda. In 2019 those same murky waters are called Fake News. In 1944 they appeared on every lamp post and street corner in the form of flyers and handouts. In 2019 they are even more present. They are adds on your social media and promoted links that appear on websites on your phone. Hell, there may even be an add for one on this blog page (please note that I do not support that)!

As a pre-service teacher, there is a certain level of responsibility that I will have to undertake to make sure that my students (I am in the middle years program at the University of Regina) are digitally literate enough to be able to make it through the murky waters of disinformation. It is my opinion that this education starts with understanding what type of information is being presented to the student. This article does a wonderful job of breaking down the subcategories of false information that one may come across.

I would argue that at the middle years age (grade 6-9) most students are very familiar with and fluent with technological tools, perhaps even more so than most adults, so the need to introduce the tools themselves is likely unnecessary. However if you follow the NTCE Framework for Teaching 21st Century Literacy, you will find the next step is to:

Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought

Which is to say that while the students may have grasped how to use twitter to follow their favourite celebrities, athletes and their friends; they likely don’t understand the value that can be found in it’s ability to network with others on a professional level. Admittedly, it is naive to believe that a middle year student would be thinking about networking on a professional level at this young age. This, however, is just one example of how the technological tools that students are currently using can be brought into the classroom and used in educational ways.

As it pertains to increasing digital literacy in students, it is again my opinion that teachers should use tools like this TedED video below to help students identify flaws in headlines.

Here is another link that has a large selection of readings and activities that allow the students to participate in deciphering fact from fiction. These types of programs key in molding our future generations from mindless clickers into critical thinkers.

Stay critical my friends.

 

Cheers,

BDA

Cyber Sleuthing: The Professional Way of ‘Creeping’ Online

Hey again everyone,

This weeks post is going to be a fun one! My EDTC300 class is tasked with ‘Cyber Sleuthing‘ a classmate of ours. For those that don’t know what Cyber Sleuthing is, it is essentially ‘creeping’ someone online and finding as much information (good or bad) about them as  you can.

I am partnered up with my classmate Serena Lowry (follow her on twitter here and follow her blog here) and we cyber sleuth-ed each other. You can see what she dug up on me here. Serena did a very professional job and either did not find any dirty laundry or chose not to air it. Either way, a big thank you to her!

So without any further ado, lets see what we can dig up on Serena!

  • A simple google search reveals a few of different social media accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and a YouTube channel) all associated with the name Serena Lowry.
  • One of the Twitter accounts found on the first google search page is hers. Her blog is also visible from the same google page.
  • Its difficult to tell if the YouTube channel is hers as there are no stand out pieces of information that can be connected to other accounts.
  • I am personally not on Facebook, so I cannot confirm or deny if any of the accounts that appear are her or not. From a quick glimpse at the profile pictures available on those accounts, it does not appear to be the Serena we are looking for.
  • She appears to have a small digital footprint at this time.
  • Her Twitter account tells us that she is a proud #catmom, a defender of social justice and an environmental activist.
  • She appears to be quite the green thumb, as evidence by her learning project on her blog and referenced on her twitter account.

When all the dust is settled we have a very clean and professional looking digital identity for Serena Lowry. I wasn’t able to ‘sleuth up’ any juicy gossip. It appears as though Serena is an under-sharer, proven by the fact that other than her Twitter account (started in May of this year) and her blog, there was no other information available. I actually found more pictures of Serena Williams (tennis star) and Kyle Lowry (NBA player) than Serena Lowry, when refining the google search from Serena Lowry to Serena Lowry Regina.

While it is certainly possible that Serena has led this amateur cyber detective astray, it’s is more reasonable to presume that Serena is living a single online life; which is becoming increasingly uncommon in today’s world. However, as we are all aware (or at least all should be aware) having an online footprint or digital identity is permanent and risky. One ill-worded tweet can alter your reality whether it was intentional or not. One could only then assume that multiplying your identities will in turn multiply your risks.

Our digital identity or portfolio is quickly becoming as important as your resume. Some would argue that it has already surpassed the C.V. With that, we need to be cognizant of our online appearance. As future employers becoming increasingly prevalent online it is imperative that our students be given proper education regarding the importance of their own identity and how they can take charge of it.

 

Cheers,

BDA