ECMP 355 Finale

This is the final blog post that I will right for ECMP 355, but it is just a new beginning to my presence online. I have learned too much to turn back. I have broken through the barrier and been able to feel connected to blogging and networking online.

This semester I learned to network, to find tools and articles that will help me navigate the internet and teach my future students with these tools and how to use these tools.

As I continue to grow, I will be continuing to use twitter, and feedly. I will look more into coding and ways to teach technology in the classroom. Among other things, I will continue to use and practice what I’ve learned.

For a better idea about what I have learned, watch my summary of learning video:

Learning How to Draw: Connecting the Pieces

Over the course of this semester, I have undertaken an online learning project as a way of learning how to draw. I have always wanted to put the images of characters I have in my mind onto paper. I am certainly proud of the work I have been able to accomplish, thanks to the wonderful learning resources on the internet. This is not something that could always have been done, so I’m lucky that these resources are available to me so readily. I can also see the great help they can be for many different study areas and learners and look forward to working on similar projects with my future students.

I completed my pre-assessment by watching a video and drawing along with it, so that I could eventually compare where I started to where I am now.

A simple pencil portrait drawing

 

This image is the result. This is where I started. My drawing skills were very limited, but it gave me an idea of where I was and what I needed to work on. I decided that the best way I could start my learning process was to go through the individual parts.

I started with my drawing instruments. If I wanted to learn how to draw, I needed to get drawing pencils and figure out what each of the pencils did and what I would be using them for.

PencilSketch

 

I started learning how to draw the eyes first. They are my favourite part to draw and there were a lot of resources to help me learn how to draw.

Eyes

 

 

Then I took a step back and learned how to draw the basic face and facial proportions. And building off of this I took on how to draw the face from different perspectives in the following lesson I.

MaleAndFemaleFacesFacePerspectives

 

 

 

One of the toughest lessons along the way was learning how to draw noses, but I stretched myself and learned a lot with helpful resources and much practice.

I took a break from these individual lessons to seek out a learning community. I was secluded in my learning and part of learning is belonging to a community of learners. I was able to find tips and see communication among others learning how to draw.

My last lesson was on learning how to draw mouths. It was a good stopping point and I was able to make connections to other parts I had learned with the shape being similar to an eye, but wanting to keep in mind that the lips join to the face like the nose, so be careful where you put your lines.

OpenMouth

 

I have learned to draw these different parts better than I ever could have before. I felt like I couldn’t but this project made me realize that I can. I will continue to learn and improve my drawing with the help of the internet, but I will search out opportunities in my community when I can. So, how did I progress? Where am I now? Pictures are worth a million words…

FinalAssessment

I’ve finally been able to put all of the pieces together and show just what I was able to accomplish during the semester through my learning project. Here it is. You can view it on instagram, along with my other pictures for another view of my learning process. Here is my journey unfolded. I look forward to more learning ahead.

Learning How to Draw: Mouths

This week, I took on one of my final steps before putting what I’ve learned together. I learned how to draw mouths/lips. I found mouths easier to draw than noses, because there is a general shape and some lines you can draw. That being said, I didn’t find as many resources as I have been able to find for the other parts I was learning. It’s possible I wasn’t looking in the right places or overlooked possibly valuable resources. However, some of the videos I found were quite helpful and I took away some helpful pointers.

In a couple of the simpler tutorials, I learned basic shapes. I learned to use an oval shape and how to draw the middle line to create a smile or neutral expression, and to try a boxy shape for an open mouth smile. I learned a triangle technique for drawing a mouth from a side angle. All of these drawing tips/lessons I learned with Howcast’s video: “How to Draw Lips| Drawing Tips“.

In an attempt to find additional resources, both because of limited tutorial videos and difficulty seeing light lines in some videos, I found a series of images that go through a step-by-step tutorial on how to draw realistic lips. My attempt is in the bottom right corner of the picture below. It turned out less detailed and less realistic looking than the example, but this is partly because I didn’t really follow the later instructions because they didn’t make sense to me. You have to create dark swatches of pencil to use a brush to dust shading in, which seemed odd to me and not something I wanted to do in my own drawing.

PracticeMouths

My favourite learning resource is the video by markcrilley that I have embedded below below. He took his time to go step by step and the steps were easy to follow and made sense. Additionally, the result is something that if you practice enough you can see your work improve.

The opening of the instruction starts with a grid. This grid is great for beginners especially, and helps me achieve a symmetrical and realistic shape. Here is what it looks like:

MouthGrid

 

You use the grid as a guideline, with the top and bottom of the mouth extending beyond it, because they are round and not flat.

He also goes into the lines you create to make your lips have a realistic shape, curving to show the shape and shading to make them look realist. The results of this learning tutorial are something I’m proud of, and with the tips given in the video, is something I can recreate. Sometimes my scanner makes the shading look a bit grainy, but you can also check out the results on my instragram.

OpenMouth

 

This learning process has been exciting, and I have learned a lot so far. It is really important to practice, so if you have any additional resources or tips please send them my way; I appreciate it. And if you have any questions about my learning process, please ask.

Digital Storytelling

"Mystery Writer" by Nanagyei is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Mystery Writer” by Nanagyei is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Here is my first venture into digital storytelling. I constructed a simple six word story about a realization as a writer. I used a few tools to help me accomplish this image. First I used photosforclass.com, which helped me search for an image that went with my story, with the copyright condition that I could edit it. I used picmonkey to edit the image. I added the text for my six word story and used a texture tool to brighten the spot around the text and fade the rest a bit to make the writing visible.

I really appreciate all of the resources and platforms available for digital storytelling in education. As an English major, learner and writer, I not only love storytelling of any kind, I see wonderful importance in the sharing and communicating of ideas through stories. Digital storytelling adds more possible layers to the practice. Learners can be creative in how they tell and showcase their stories. Learners can connect and collaborate with others, and an important part of learning is belonging to a community of learners. Digital platforms expand that community. Digitizing stories, can get students considering their audience and final product with more interest/investment if they know a large number of people could possibly view their work. It also differentiates how they can possibly tell their stories. Learners can use their own voices, images, computer animation, etc.

Digital Storytelling fits into the English Language Arts curriculum in many places, including:

CC A10.1: Compose and create a range of visual, multimedia, oral, and written texts that explore:

  • identity (e.g., Foundational Stories);
  • social responsibility (e.g., Destiny and Challenges of Life); and
  • social action (agency) (e.g., Human Existence).

CC B10.1: Compose and create a range of visual, multimedia, oral, and written texts to explore:

  • identity (e.g., Diversity of Being);
  • social responsibility (e.g., Degrees of Responsibility); and
  • social action (agency) (e.g., Justice and Fairness).

CC 20.1: Create a range of visual, multimedia, oral, and written texts to explore:

  • identity (e.g., Relationships with Family and Others);
  • social responsibility (e.g., Evolving Roles and Responsibilities); and
  • social action (agency) (e.g., The Past and the Present).

CC A 30.2: Create and present visual and multimedia representations including using photographs to explain a range of contemporary course-related perspectives or landscapes.

Digital storytelling is a great way to have learners create visual, multimedia, oral and written text, and is therefore a good tool to help learners to reach these outcomes and become engaged in the communication goals of the language arts curriculum.

What do you think of digital storytelling? Can you identify any other ways it could be helpful or tools that could be used in the activity? Have you used digital storytelling in your learning and/or teaching?

Learning How to Draw: Looking for a Learning Community

In addition to my learning through mainly youtube videos and still photos, I wanted to expand my network and search for a learning community, specifically an online learning community, engaging in the same adventure as me.

I have been blogging about my experiences and learning process, but my learning is still very much a one-way communication rather than collaboration. I watch videos, practice, post about my learning, but get little feedback and opportunity for discussion and collaboration. An important part of learning, even though I am self-directing my learning, is communicating with other learners. So, in the midst of my learning, I searched for communities of learners learning how to draw using online platforms.

I found reddit a particularly helpful space for what I was looking for. There are multiple communities that I can join and partake in the sharing of my online learning experience. There are two communities that I took interest in and added to my learning project resources.

The first is called “Art Fundamentals: Learning to Draw from the Ground Up“. I believe that this is a group started by a single user, who has made and linked lessons, “extra-curricular” material, an optional challenge, and discussion sections. You can subscribe to the group and post comments to get in on the discussion or ask questions. This group is nice for learning material as well as opportunity to be a part of discussing the material.

DrawingCommunityScreenShot

The second is “learnart” and it says that it is for “artists that want to improve”. It is a more open community, with many contributors and continually updating series of posts that can be helpful in my process of learning how to draw. I can join discussions that interest me or provide me with the opportunity to discuss issues and ideas that will help me improve my drawing.

LearnArtCommunity

 

A few posts from this community include one on “Beginners: 10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me…” underneath the initial post are comments that are also helpful and show how learners as well as people who are learned can discuss things beginners should know. Or this graphic that someone posted on how to draw with your eyes rather than your brain (warning if you are sensitive to certain language: there are curse words in the image). Then there is a comments section to discuss the image and the opportunity for learning from it. You can also post pictures of your art and receive constructive feedback that can help engage in the learning community and get tips on how to improve.

I found a few other spaces that I haven’t explored as much and am not as engaged with, but other learners may find helpful.

  1. Learn How to Draw – By: Helen South
  2. Draw Space

If you learned or are in the process of learning how to draw online, what are some communities and/or resources that you are using, like, have found useful, etc…? If you are working on a different learning project, have you found any online communities that are helping you?

Scratch as a Stepping Stone to Coding

Scratch is described as an online learning community that helps learners move toward learning coding. Scratch can be a great tool for learners and educators. There is even a community, ScratchEd, for educators to learn and share ideas about how to teach with Scratch.

While I have heard about coding, I have never learned coding in my own education or personal adventures. The stepping stone that Scratch provides made coding seem more accessible to me. I am not the most tech literate person and used to see coding as something only super techy people could do. I am happy to find that I can do it, and I can work towards including coding through tools like Scratch into my teaching. I made a short interactive animation called “Kitty Adventures“. While it may seem short and simplistic, it is the learning process that is truly remarkable.

While using the system of coding to achieve the simple animation, I learned by making mistakes. I would try something out, find errors and ways to fix them, and learn different ways of accomplishing my goals by testing things out. After a while of using the program I got used to what I would need and where I should put it to get the desired outcome. You definitely get a sense of how to create commands and see them come to life. Scratch made me excited to see that even I could learn (and maybe someday teach) about coding.

Because of my experience and understanding, I can see why coding could be an important thing for students to learn about. As is stated in the post by Santosh Bhaskar K, “Why Should Young Students be Encouraged to Learn Programming” programming can be helpful in many ways. The list the post comes up, says that learning programming: makes kids tech geniuses, provides multiple career opportunities, can be a hobby and skill development activity, builds logical thinking, can make money, helps others share knowledge, helps learners make a mark in the world, and can be used to automate tasks. Moreover, as Santosh Bhaskar K points out, it is important to understand that even if learners don’t grow up to be huge money-making programmers, “…programming is a life enhancing skill…“. I agree with these ideas and anything that helps the learners today and in their future, is something I feel I should include in their education if I can.

Learning How to Draw: Noses

Learning how to draw a nose has been the hardest part of my learning project. I was not looking forward to learning how to draw the nose as much as I had been with the eyes. However, the improvement I have made I am more proud than any other improvements I’ve made in my drawing. I think what makes the nose so difficult is that it is mostly shading. There are very few lines you can make and have it look realistic.

I began learning  how to draw the nose from a structural point of view. I learned to draw the nose from the front, the side, three-quarter view and from below. I used a couple of youtube videos to help me out with this part.

I found this video particularly helpful. It’s easy to follow and nicely organized. I was able to follow along and gain a good grasp on the basic structure of noses, which I can use detail to create many different looking noses. Also, because it goes through the different perspectives I gained a better idea of how to draw the nose and I will be able to draw portraits from different perspectives.

NoseStructure

 

I practiced drawing the nose structures a bit more and searched for another video to give me another example to get another way of approaching the construction of a drawn nose. I believe this video is by the same person, but goes over slightly different material.

NosesPractice

Next, I learned how to make the nose look realistic, referencing what I learned of the structure. I struggled at first to find videos that were actually helpful. There are less videos on how to draw the nose than there are for the eyes. A lot of the videos out there do not provide step by step examples, which I find helpful.

Videos that I used are:

  1. Pen & Ink Drawing Tutorials: How to draw a realistic nose” by: ALPHONSO DUNN
  2. How to Draw a Nose” by: Drawing and Painting Tutorials – TheVirtualInstructor.com
  3. How to Draw a Realistic Nose: Frontview” by: Daisy van der Berg
  4. how to draw nose realistic” by: Xia Taptara
  5. How to Draw a Realistic Nose” by: Drawing and Painting Tutorials – TheVirtualInstructor.com
  6. How to draw people – The Nose” by: uitdf227

I also used a non-video resource in order to get a step by step lesson. This picture tutorial gave step by step images and words that gave me insight into when I should be shading, blending, sketching, etc.

After watching and following along with the many resources I found, I was able to practice drawing noses.

Noses

 

Next I will be learning how to draw mouths. If you have any resources to share, that can help with any step in my process of learning how to draw, I would love to hear about them. Also, if you have any questions about my learning process so far, please ask them in the comments section.