Lacking the Sewing Gene or a Faulty Machine?

If you have been following my blog posts, then you know that my personal learning project didn’t exactly turn out as I had hoped. Perhaps believing I would be a professional seamstress after this learning project was a stretch.

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My first post set out a plan of learning to do alterations in order to make dresses into long shirts. Well . . . I didn’t quite make it that far. Here are some of the roadblocks and successes I encountered along the way:


Breaking needles (lots)

Bunching Thread







Button Holes


Threading the machine

Sewing on buttons

Resisting the urge to set my sewing machine on fire

Click here to get the full effect! Personally, I find it very relaxing. Kind of like that channel that has logs burning during the Christmas season.

I learned a lot about sewing machines; tension, thread, and bobbins. I feel like when I do invest in a better machine, all that knowledge will serve me well. Knowing how to thread the machine was also a huge learning curve, especially threading the bobbin and figuring out how to bring the thread up. This took me hours to figure out.

Once I figured it out, however, it got easier. Then the needle breaking. Oh my goodness. That was sooooo frustrating. I broke so many needles and could not for the life of me figure out why. I spent around 6 hours trying NOT to break needles.

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I am so glad that buttons ended up working out for me. I really needed that small success. Buttonholes, not so much. I just couldn’t seem to figure it out. I don’t think it helped that I couldn’t get the feed dogs to raise back up.

I can say for sure that I am glad I chose to sew, but if I had to do it again I would use a different machine.

What do you think? Is my machine to blame for all of my woes or is it simply a scapegoat?

Hole in None

I am glad I succeeded in figuring out how to sew buttons as it gave me the strength I needed to fail at buttonholes. Maybe it’s not the machine . . .

Here is a video of my buttonhole struggles:

Does anyone have any tips? What am I doing wrong?


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I found the instructions from the online user manual to be pretty easy to follow when it came to sewing a button onto fabric. I only did two button holes instead of 4, as it was just for practice, and I wanted to also try to create button-holes before the learning project is over.

Here is the link to my button sewing video:

But it actually went pretty well! This was a much-needed success after multiple failures. On a side note, I happened to be complaining to my mother about how hard sewing was and how I don’t remember being this bad at it the first time around when I was using her machine. She says “Oh, your grandma’s machine always gave her trouble”.

‚ÄúOh, your grandma‚Äôs machine always gave her trouble‚ÄĚ

Oh. My. Goodness! So my grandmother simply passed this wretched machine onto me without warning! It is pretty horrible! I thought I was just terrible at sewing, well I might be, but the machine is definitely faulty! I am going to continue to tell myself that.

What do you think will be easier, the button or the buttonhole?

1 Hour of Code

So I was introduced to coding during my EDTC 300 course where we were asked to do an hour of coding and then blog about it, so here we are. I decided to use the Hour of Code program which was pretty interesting. I chose the Star Wars theme. The first few levels weren’t too hard, but I got pretty stuck on level 7. Luckily there was a tutorial video I was able to watch and it quickly set me straight. Here is a video of me starting my coding experience:

I didn’t record the entire experience, just the beginning, and the end. You can watch the end of my coding experience below:

I really liked how the last level allowed me to create my own game that I can share with others. What a great way to get kids interested in coding. I have linked my game below if you are interested in giving it a shot.

Click here to play.

I also liked how the program provides players with a certificate of completion after they have finished their 1 hour of code. This would help students feel a sense of achievement.

My thoughts on code

I enjoyed the coding experience and found it very rewarding. I think it is important for students to code in order to help them to develop their computational thinking skills and prepare them for future job options in our increasingly digital world.

Coding is also an excellent way for students to learn problem-solving skills. When I was stuck on level 7, I just continued to try different solutions, and when that didn’t work, I looked for another solution (tutorial video). Students are bound to run into problems when they are learning to code and it is a great way for them to develop and become confident in their problem-solving skills (which are an essential skill in life).


Do you think we should be teaching code in the classroom? Why or why not?


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Below is an example of a well thought out *example* proposal from Elementary school teachers and the rebuttal from Administrators

Dear Ms. Gattinger,

For the last 2 years the influx of cyberbullying in our community and school has been on the rise. The grade 4 teachers have had an excellent idea that might help children develop digital citizenship and digital literacy.

Megan Woodard and Andrea Bregg have come up with an innovative fourth grade ELA project which incorporates posting to Facebook; a website commonly used by our students. During this project students will be expected to post to a private group, reflecting on their learning and updating their peers on the progress they are making on their project. The group will be closely monitored with only the teachers, parents and students have access to it.

Throughout this email we intend to highlight why incorporating Facebook into the classroom is key for building digital health and wellness.  We hope that this Facebook project will help students understand how to use the internet in a kind and responsible way.

Our students are needing to learn the tools to navigate our digital world.  Therefore this project intends to teach the students about the nine elements of digital literacy. There are nine essential elements to digital citizenship that our students should learn and understand in order to be an effective part of our developing society:

Digital Access:  We want to ensure that our students understand that people may not have the same level of access to technology.  Factors that can affect a person’s participation on the internet can include their family’s income or if they live in a rural or urban environment.  This is particularly relevant for our students as they have varying degrees of exposure to technology, due to the major differences in terms of wealth and access to technology.  We believe that bringing Facebook into the classroom can provide equal opportunities to participate online, without feeling pressured to bring the technology home. Using this tool allows all of the students to have a facebook page, which can help combat the bullying some students experience because they do not have an account.

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Digital Commerce: If you have been keeping up with the news lately, you would know that Facebook has come under scrutiny because they have been using user data to place ads on Facebook pages.  We believe that this can be turned into a learning opportunity to help students understand that the ads they see have been tailored specifically to them. We will also be doing several activities designed to help students spot and understand fake newsin a way similar to how it has been done before.

Digital Communication: The students will be able to use the online community to complete group work, reflect on learning and communicate with others. In light of the recent bullying incidents, we are aware that the students in our school are communicating with each other online.  One of the main goals of their project is to help students change the way that they communicate with each other. We wish to turn those negative interactions into positive ones by teaching students that what you say online isn’t anonymous and impacts the person who receives your comment.  We will be stressing using positive and constructive comments, leading to the point that if you don’t feel comfortable saying something in person why would/should you say it online?

Digital Literacy: We believe that students should have opportunities to navigate online spaces under the guidance of adults.  The majority of this ELA project will be done through facebook. We want the students to understand that the internet is a place where they can learn and share their ideas.

Digital Etiquette:  Once again I bring up the cyberbullying problem that our school has been facing.  We strongly believe that the students in our class need to learn how to be kind to one another online.  We will be using the THINK model when we are interacting online. This will help the students think about if they are spreading rumors, if what they are posting isn’t helpful or inspiring.  They will also think about if the thing they are about to post is necessary for an online space. And most importantly they will need to ask themselves if what they are about to post is kind.

Digital Law: Although this subject will not be formally addressed throughout this unit, we believe that students need to understand Digital law.  This can include addressing subjects like sexting where students are sending inappropriate photos.


Digital rights and responsibilities: Once the students post something online it is out there forever and often does not belong to them anymore.  This course will help students begin to understand how copyright works. We hope that they will become more cautious of what they post.

Digital health and wellness: In a world filled with Instagram models and filters.  We want our students to understand that you are okay just as you are, don’t need to filter yourself. We will be using the hashtag #nofilterneeded throughout the project.

Digital Security (self-protection): We will help students learn how to protect themselves by following the previous 8 elements as well as understanding that privacy is something that does not necessarily exist on the internet. You must guard yourself and be conscious of what you are posting and where.

Thank you for taking the time to consider our request and reading our rational and supporting evidence. We look forward to speaking to you further about our proposal.


Miss Woodard and Miss Bregg,

Thank you for sending your ideas and evidence to us about your proposal of using Facebook in the classroom. However, as the school administrator, I have received several requests from teachers in the past who would like to incorporate Facebook into their classrooms. I have looked into the matter extensively and have decided against it. My reasons for this decision are as follows:

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As stated in the article Facebook and Education: The Pros and Cons, we cannot require students be involved in something that requires them to put personal information on a server in the United States. This article rightly points out that many users do not know that when using an application like Facebook, that if students and teachers are not careful with privacy settings, they might be disclosing personal information to complete strangers.

Another strong point made in the article Facebook and Education: The Pros and Cons, is that Facebook stores data in the United States, there has to be an option for the students to preserve their anonymity. The fact that this is not possible with Facebook (which has its servers located in the United States) raises a bigger issue: users should be concerned with how secure the service is, where the data sits, who owns the content, and how it is being used.

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This raises the issue of liability and our responsibility to maintain student privacy. In her article¬†Should Public Schools use Facebook: Pros and Cons, Grace Chen points out that posting student information online is not only a bad idea in some cases ‚Äď it could actually be illegal in others.

Liability and privacy aside, we need to ensure the technology we incorporate into our teaching has educational value and is age appropriate. In her article,¬†Why Social Media is Not Smart for Middle School Kids,¬†Melanie Hempe asserts that Social Media (i.e.¬†Facebook, etc.) was not designed for children. According to Hempe ‚Äútween‚Äôs underdeveloped frontal cortex can‚Äôt manage the distraction nor the temptations that come with [Facebook] use.‚ÄĚ Hempe continues her argument by raising a number of concerns surrounding the utility of social media in an educational setting;

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Hempe argues that you cannot teach the maturity that social media (i.e. Facebook) requires. She argues that teachers who say they want to teach their students to use Facebook appropriately, don’t understand that their midbrains are not developed yet. She likens trying to teach young students to use social media to trying to make clothes fit that are way too big, children will use Facebook inappropriately until they are older and it fits them better.

Furthermore, she sees social media (i.e. Facebook) as an entertainment technology, asserting that it does not make students smarter or more prepared for real life or a future job. It is not necessary for healthy social development.

Moreover, she asserts that social media is attached to a marketing platform which extracts personal information and preferences from students.

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Hempe also cites the¬†addictive nature of social media¬†and¬†tweens¬†‚Äúmore is better‚ÄĚ mentality as a dangerous¬†match. She states that social media (i.e. Facebook) is an addictive form of screen entertainment: Like video game addiction, early use can set up future addiction patterns and habits.

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  1. Another negative cited by Hempe are¬†the lost opportunities for face-to-face interactions, which require an entirely different¬†set of skills than online communication She argues that social media replaces learning the hard social ‚Äúwork‚ÄĚ necessary for success. Notably, that the use of Facebook greatly lessens opportunities requiring students to practice dealing face-to-face with their peers, a skill they need to master to be successful in real life.

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Before incorporating Facebook into our classrooms we also need to consider the implications for a student at home. Hempe points out that social media can cause teens to lose connection with family: They view ‚Äúfriends‚ÄĚ as their foundation and since the brain is still being formed, they¬†need healthy family attachment more than with their peers. It is just as important now as when they were preschoolers.

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Lastly, Hempe addresses lost potential by raising the point that Facebook use represents lost potential for teens: The teen’s brain development is operating at peak performance for learning new things. Studies show that it is nearly impossible for them to balance it all and teens waste too much time and too much of their brain in a digital world.

Similar to Hempe, Karen Lederer, in her article Pros and Cons of Social Media in the Classroom, notes that a common complaint among educators is that social media is distracting in the classroom. These instructors maintain that tools like Facebook divert students’ attention away from what’s happening in class and are ultimately disruptive to the learning process.

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Lederer also addresses the very real risk of cyberbullying. She points out that while social networking sites like Facebook provide a way for students and teachers to connect, they can be a weapon of malicious behavior. When it happens in the school, it becomes our problem.

At this time, the risks and potential harms of incorporating social media tools such as Facebook into the classroom are too great. Therefore, in the best interests of our students, and based on my research, I have concluded Facebook is not an appropriate tool for children and teens in an educational setting.

Thank you,

Meagan Gattinger


What are the implications for our students when it comes to the permanence of digital identity?

According to projections made in the article Five reasons why your online presence will replace your resume in 10 years;¬†by the time our students are ready to begin their careers, employers will likely be relying heavily on information they find online. The reality is that as teachers, many of our mistakes from puberty are not ‚ÄúGoogleable‚ÄĚ. But our students‚Äô mistakes are.

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What role should teachers/schools play in preparing students for a world that never forgets?

Although a little dated, the message in the article 10 Things Your Students Should Know About Their Digital Footprints holds true even more today than when it was written in 2011. This article argues that since our students are going to live online anyways, it behooves us as educators to help our students shape and build a positive legacy.

The author provides several useful suggestions that could help educators do this in their classrooms:

  1. Educate students on the basics by asking them what digital citizenship means to them. Ask, What should it mean? Having students discover their own answers to these questions through inquiry and research would be most effective.
  2. The article also notes that educators need to tell students that they shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes, but that they need to be cognizant of the fact that “being careless, too open, too trusting, and realize spending too much time on the Internet, has real consequences.

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  3. Another important suggestion was to reinforce the golden rule ‚Äúif you don‚Äôt have something nice to say, don‚Äôt say anything at all.‚ÄĚ Reminding students that they can‚Äôt truly delete after they hit SEND.
  4. Most importantly, we need to help students build and develop their own positive image and brand themselves in a great way. Using the ‚Äėexample/ non-example method would help students understand what a positive image is and is not.

We need to be sure that our students are ready for the world that never forgets. Monica Lewinski, in her Ted Talk, Walk of Shame, shares how catastrophic it was for her mistake to be posted online.

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It negatively affected every aspect of her life. Although Lewinski didn’t post her mistake online, this is an important message for all of today’s youth about how one mistake can have significant consequences on your present and your future. Educators are in a position to educate students on how to navigate their digital worlds safely.



What else can we do to prepare students for a world that doesn’t forget?

Cyber Sleuthing Myself

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For my EDTC 300 course, we were asked to either cyber sleuth a classmate or ourselves. I decided to do myself, starting by searching for myself on Google by using my full name.¬†There really wasn’t a lot of information that comes up. Turns out I am pretty mysterious.

As you can see, one of the first results that show up is information related to my name on the PeakYou website.

Professional (job-related):

After searching the username associated with my name (as listed on the PeakYou website), I was led to my twitter feed. This provides a great deal of information about my professional areas of interest. It also provides a link to my blog address, which shows a little more of my personality.

Biographical (age, birthday, location, appearance, etc.):

PeekYou has my name and city information but has me listed as being 24 years old (wink). It also lists the username I use on a couple of online accounts. Doing a Google search of my username led to more results such as my twitter page and a photo. The same photo used on both my blog and my twitter account. The photo isn’t unprofessional but is pretty casual.

My name also appears on the Old Friends website as being a graduate of Miller Highschool.

Personal (relationships, family, hobbies, activities, likes/dislikes, etc.):

I was able to find a list of my family members from two obituaries that were posted both on  Spears Funeral Chapel website and the Leader Posts obituary page.

Additionally, the names of some of my family members are listed on a link to an individuals family tree.

Outside of that, there was no information on my relationships, hobbies, activities, likes/dislikes, etc.

Where am I on the web? (social networks, job profiles, etc).

I show up on the Google search results page as friends of a couple of people on Facebook, but I deactivated my Facebook account long ago, so my information isn’t accessible there. As mentioned above, my Twitter page also showed up after searching by the username provided on PeakYou.

Based on my digital footprint, what are my overall impressions of myself?

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Based on my digital footprint, do I appear to be trustworthy, hirable or friend worthy? Why or why not?

I think that information about me is difficult to find unless someone is actually willing to take the time to search for me using the username listed on PeakYou.

Assuming few people would be willing to do that, I would say that based on my digital footprint, it would be hard for a person to get a feel of who I am as a person and be able to trust me, hire me or be my friend.

Am I an oversharer or undersharer? Why or why not?

I would classify myself as an undersharer. I have shared very little information about my personal life. I have shared quite a bit surrounding my professional life and would consider myself an ‘average’ sharer in that respect.

What do you need to change to improve your digital footprint?

I think that I need to connect my twitter and blog accounts to my full name so that potential future employers are able to find me a learn a little bit about me from my online presence.  I definitely need to get around to having a professional photo taken. Lastly, I think I need to share a little more about my personal interests and hobbies so that my digital identity provides a clear and accurate picture of who I am.


Try cyber sleuthing yourself and reflect on what your digital footprint says about you. I would love to hear about what you discover!







Embrace or Reject Digital Participation?

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I have always been cautious about sharing my personal information online, and Alec’s talk several weeks ago really reinforced my fears.

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I was shocked that his identity and photos have been used so much in catfishing scams. We need to be educating our students about these risks. So, what does this mean for my future classroom? Well, for starters, ensuring all of my student information and photos are not being shared publicly, and sharing is in line with the school’s media policy. It also means educating students about the risks of posting personal information online, so that they are able to make informed and responsible decisions about what and how they chose to share their lives digitally.


This reinforces the importance of reviewing and setting up restrictive privacy settings where you limit the type of content that you share.

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However, that said, this technology and the trends of sharing our lives with others is not something that is going away, so we need to know how to use it responsibly. Showing students how powerful various forms of social media are (ex. tracking hashtags), as well as the damage various social media platforms have caused and could potentially cause to peoples lives (bullying, damage to reputation, future job prospects, etc.). Students need to be aware of the risks and how to protect themselves.


Wesch’s talks about how people have likened the YouTube community to free hugs, showing the power of YouTube to allow individuals to connect more deeply and share parts of themselves that they normally wouldn’t be conformable sharing in face-to-face interactions.

Individuals of my generation may not understand it, but today’s youth participate in social interactions differently than we did 20 years ago. Instead of playing outside with all the kids in the neighborhood, they are interacting and expressing themselves online, and they find value and meaning from this. It is important for adults and teachers to understand the important role technology plays in the lives of our students so that we can equip them to participate responsibly.


As teachers it is important to ensure that our students are engaged, and part of this means understanding the digital world they are living in, and how students participate in collective expressions. For example, by incorporating memes into lessons.

What’s the UpSide?

I think that there are so many positive and transformative ways we can use social media to engage and enhance learning. If we show students how to harness the potential of technology responsibly and model digital citizenship.

What about you? Do you think we should be embracing and teaching digital participation in our classrooms?


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