Independent Learning Project

Google Autocomplete?

For this weeks post about my independent learning project, I wanna talk about what to talk about. What are some things you can do when you draw a blank? I will be talking about one major tip that you can do. This tip is Google Autocomplete, also known as Google Suggest.

Google Autocomplete is when you start typing in the search bar and it gives you suggestions on what you might be looking for. Looks something like this.


Google Autocomplete works very simply. When you type a word, the autocomplete is established by popularity of the search. Now, how does this tie into blogging?

When you need to know something or want more information about a subject most of us use Google to solve this problem. Well, one way to get ideas from blogging is by Googling a subject you are interested in. This is a point in my past post and it is something that multiple bloggers do. The autocomplete comes into play because it can bring up different topics to talk about. An example is if you type “”blog” Google autocompletes it to “blog tips”, “blog sites” and “blog help”. (On mine anyway)

Another thing about Google is it can base your searches off of things you have searched in that past. This is if you have a Google account and you are logged in when searching or if you search something on the same computer. Say you read news from CNN, if you Google something and CNN has done an article about it, CNN will come to the top of your search right away. It can be very personalized if you want it to be.

Now, what if you have no idea where to even start. Say you just want a general concept to write a post about, how can you use autocomplete? Thanks to the internet, I have found some popular keywords that you can look up to give ideas what to write about. These words are just some of the popular words that people search and write about in 2016.

These words are:

  1. Facebook   2. Youtube  3. Aquarius  4. ESPN  5. Popular  6. Test  7. News  8. Art           9. Free  10. Amazon

These are just a few popular searches. You can pretty much find anything you need with Google or another search engine.

Hopefully, Google Autocomplete makes more sense and can help you in your future blogging career. It has helped me immensely!

Until next time,


Digital Lit Posts

What is ds106?

Before taking Literacy in the Digital Age, I have never heard of ds106. My goal of this post is to teach you what ds106 is and some key points of this website. All of the information I will be sharing with you can be found of their website (ds106).

First off, what is ds106? Well on their website it says “Digital Storytelling or ds106 is an open, online course.” This online course if offered through the University of Mary Washington and can be taken at any time! Ds106 allows students to build and design their own online identity. This is cool because it allows you to be whoever you want. There are things you can control so not everyone can know about you.


Something a found really cool is the assignments that ds106 gives you. On the website, you go to components then assignment bank. (Picture for help) When you click assignment bank, you get so many different options for assignments. These include: visual, design, audio, video, web, mashup, writing, fanfic, animated gif and 3D printed. This just adds to the coolness of ds106! It gives you so many different ways to express yourself. This also can help you become super savvy with the internet. These ten different subjects can make you very skilled in the different parts of the internet. The assignment bank is by far my favorite part of this website.

As a future teacher, I could use ds106 with all ages but in different ways. For high school, you could allow your students to create their own digital storytelling project and they can personalize it to their own taste while still meeting the requirements of the assignment. With younger kids, I would use ds106 as a visual aid. I would more than likely create my own projects and share them with students to help them get a better understanding of the lesson.

Overall, I find ds106 very cool. Personally, I would use this course for more personal reasons than teaching reasons but it is a helpful website that provides options for both! I find the internet to be a very interesting thing because of how much freedom we have and ds106 only expands that freedom. If you love the internet and want to have some fun while expanding your knowledge about it, I would highly suggest checking out ds106. Once again, you can go to their website by clicking HERE.

Until next time,




Digital Lit Posts

Feed the Fire! PLN Style.

Image Credit: Caroline Bucky

How to cultivate a personal learning network: Tips from Howard Rheingold really helps to understand some tips and tricks to feeding you PLN. To start off, Howard Rheingold is a critic, writer, and teacher. He specializes in cultural, social and political implications of modern communication. Rheingold has multiple different articles and provides more tips on his Twitter! (@hrheingold if you wanna follow him) However, this article is not written by him but by Chuck Frey who discusses the 8 thoughts on how to build your social network. If you wanna check out all 8 you can click HERE but I will be only talking about a few.

The first tip I want to talk about is tip #4: “Always keep tuning your network, dropping people who don’t gain sufficiently high interest; adding new candidates”. This is a very important process of your PLN. When using your PLN you want to learn from it, L=Learning. There are so many inactive accounts on a variety of social medias. With these people being inactive, you are not learning anything from them. It is important to know who and what you are following. Another big concern is fake accounts. This has become growingly popular with “news” networks! I found one a couple days ago that was displaying themselves as a news station but when you clicked their stories…there was no story! The link took you to an inactive or different story than the one you clicked. It is all a matter of doing some research to have an efficient PLN.

Image Credit: Tyler Letkeman

The next tip I want to bring up is #5: “Feed the people you follow if you come across information that you suspect would interest them”. One way we are able to learn is by others and being able to share information. This has becoming so easy in social media! With one click, you can share any post with your followers or friends. This is something I do everyday. I am almost positive I tag my sister in a post that has to do with crafts or just to bring a smile to her face.


From reading How to cultivate a personal learning network, these are the two tips I have found the most helpful. All 8 tips are informative and will improve anyones PLN. Just remember, your PLN is what you make it! If you don’t wanna follow these tips, you don’t have to because it is YOURS!

Until next time,


Independent Learning Project

7 Tips for Beginning a Blog

For my independent learning project, I will be learning to create a successful blog. I found some very useful tips and wanted to share with you my top ten tips I’ve read. These tips come from multiple resources, including regular people and expert bloggers.

  1. Do not try to be perfect.

No one is perfect and no post is perfect. It is important to remember this when writing your posts. There is always going to be someone that disagrees with you but there are people who do agree with you and will find the post you are writing interesting.

2. Blog what you are passionate about.

Image Credit: Wanda Di Mattero

When you are thinking about what to post about, consider things you find interesting. Try to reach write something you would want to read. This way you will get the audience you want. Something I do is go on Twitter and find some popular stories on subjects you enjoy.

3. Do not lie in your blogs!

Blogging is almost like a news source. You are talking about a subject and telling people about it. Just like in person, you don’t wanna lie about this subject. If you do, you loose all your credibility and your reputation will drop dramatically.

4. Write something that can last.

Image Credit: Josie Hopkins

This is my favorite tip! If you want your posts to be popular for a long time, write about subjects that people generations from now will have questions about. Say tips for blogging. People are always going to be looking for tips because there are new bloggers everyday. Same with DYI projects or reviews.


5. Personalize your website.

When someone first comes to your website, their initial reaction will determine if they want to read your blog or not. If your website is plain looking with no pictures or colors, that will make the reader uninterested. Make it good looking!

6. Take advantage of social media.

If you truly want to make your blog successful you need to get it out there. With how much social media there is, that is the best free advertising you can get. Try using the popular ones and share it with your friends. The social medias I would recommend advertising on is Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. These are three super popular platforms and have multiple connections to different search engines.

7. Use images.

Images provide so much extra support and gives more appeal to the audience. This is just another way to show the meaning of your content.

These are some tips I found very useful and will definitely be using them in future posts.

Until next time!


Featured Image Credit: Candid Writer


Personal Learning Network

PLN otherwise known as Personal Learning Network. What is PLN and how does it connect to a future teacher? Well, I am here to answer these questions!

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>True … you are a part of my personal learning network because I put you there. Your voice has a value in my learning journey. <a href=””>#satchat</a></p>&mdash; Dennis Dill (@DennisDill) <a href=”″>April 22, 2017</a></blockquote>

PLN is broken down into three parts. 1. Personal 2. Learning 3. Network. These things all combine to make something that influences our lives everyday. General PLN is a way to connect with people to learn from their stories and resources but we will be going a little deeper.

The first part is personal. This is a personal network because you are able to pick what you see. Just like Twitter, you pick who you follow and see what they post. You pick these people because their posts interests you and possibly share the same interests.

The second part is learning. The things you choose to follow or read influences your learning. Your learning is what your network is based on. What interests you? What do you want to know? This is all based on the subject you are trying to learn about.

The third part is the network. The network basically connects everyone to each other. Going back to Twitter, whoever follows you is connected to you on a network basis.

*These points are explained in greater detail from Teacher Challenges*

Image Credit: Jurgen Appelo

How can a teacher use PLN? The internet is an amazing place and it is awesome how much access we have to different resources. We are able to communicate and share ideas with a variety of people from across the world. We are able to take different tips and experiences from others so we can incorporate them into our own classroom.

One website I use for this is Pinterest. I can proudly say I am addicted to this website. This site has things called “pins” which is pretty much a link to a website/blog. There is a variety of topics to search for from tattoo ideas to book recommendations. Pinterest can be used by anyone! One board on my Pinterest is called “Teaching”. From the title, you can safely assume it is about teaching. I use this board to save pins about classroom management, different subjects to teach, and different projects to try with students. Some of these pins are just pictures that explain the post but when clicking some, it will take you to a blog that explains the topic! With Pinterest, you are able to choose what you look up and what you see on your feed. I would recommend Pinterest to anyone that has a social media. Pinterest is able to connect to everyone.

Steps to build my PLN:

  1. Take more time in what I read online.
  2. Choose who I follow carefully.
  3. Begin sharing my own experiences.

What are some of your steps for PLN? Comment below! 🙂



Digital Lit Posts

How to Speak so People Listen

“How can we speak powerfully to make change in the world?” This is the question of Julian Treasure. In this TED talk, Treasure brings up multiple points of effective speaking. These points include seven deadly sins of speaking, HAIL, and a toolbox for teaching.

The seven deadly sins of speaking are things you should avoid when speaking to others. These include gossiping, judging, negativity, complaining, excuses, lying, and dogmatism. These seven things are said to be uninteresting and rude by Treasure. When practicing speaking, these things should be avoided because they are not relevant to the point you are trying to make. You need to be reliable when you are speaking and if you use these terms that takes away your reliability.

The next thing that Treasure talks about is HAIL. HAIL is the way you should speak or things you should include when speaking. HAIL has 4 different points. H stands for honesty, A stands for authenticity, I stands for integrity, and L stands for love. Of course no person is able to be honest or show love their entire life but you need to make sure you use these points when it matters!

One of the last things Treasure brings up is the toolbox for speaking. The first tool is register. Register is the connection that you have with the other person. When speaking, you want to make sure you have the audiences attention. Treasure brings up a great point that we tend to be more attracted to someone with a low voice. Lower voice is equal to power. The second thing is timbre. This is the way your voice feels. Most people enjoy listening to a voice that is smooth and rich. Prosody is the next point and this is the way you speak to show a meaning in your words. It gives your voice a variety so you do not sound monotone. Next is pace, how fast you speak. Then pitch (how high or low your voice sounds) and volume (how loud or quiet your voice is). These are just a couple of effective techniques so that when you speak you will get the attention you deserve.

Overall, Treasure’s TED talk gave great tips to make an effective speaker. Treasure also end with some exercises to warm up your voice before giving a speech. If you’d like to see them, I highly recommend watching this talk!


Digital Lit Posts

Passion-Based Learning

School is standardized.  Learning is personal. How often is this true? After reading “School vs. Learning” by George Couros, it really gets you to think about the differences. If you remember Robinson’s TED talk about school kills creativity, this talk ties directly into this article. Are students able to express themselves through creativity in such a “demanding” environment? This all goes back to passion-based learning.

Passion-based learning is a way for students to learn threw expressing their passions. When expressing their passions, students are able to focus and participate in the lessons. Now, there can be some students that do not know what they are passionate about. I didn’t know until about 6th grade. If you want to use passion-based learning but have young students with no clue about passions, Ainissa Ramirez has two tips from the article “Passion-Based Learning” to help you out. The first tip is “finding out what each child is innately passionate about” and the second is “be an instructor that exudes passion for the topic, and infect your students with that excitement”. These tips are great and really show that students are going to follow by example. If you show passion in teaching, students will show passion in schoolwork.

The second article I picked is by Sage Briggs and it is about 25 ways to institute passion-based learning in the classroom. Students are going to follow by example but these are just some tips to ensure that you are participating in passion-based learning. Since there is 25, I am only going to talk about my favorite. The first I will talk about is “letting students express their passions”. This is so important. If a student feel that they can not be themselves or show their passions, this will take a huge toll on their confidence. This also allows the student freedom in their assignments as well as more effort put into the assignments. Something else Briggs wrote was “treat all passions equally”. The passion a student has is pretty much their personality, if you criticize their passion that is a major take down to their personality. This brings up the old saying “treat others how you want to be treated”. If someone came up to you and said something you loved doing was stupid or wrong, you would feel terrible for liking it. This is even worse with kids. In my opinion, the best thing you can do is treat all your students equally.

In conclusion, these articles were a good read for future teachers.



Michael Phelps vs SHARK?!

If you have not heard the news yet, Michael Phelps is going to be racing a shark! Why? Television. If you do not know who Phelps is, let me tell you. Phelps is an American olympic swimmer who has 28 olympic medals. It is safe to say he is really good at swimming. However, is he so good that he can out swim a Great White Shark? Guess we will find out!

Image Credit: The Stars Fact

Phelps is racing a shark because he is making two television specials on television. These specials will be in association with Shark Week. Shark Week is on the Discovery Channel and is an eight-day marathon about sharks! I don’t know about you but I’ve seen Jaws enough that I don’t want anything to do with a shark. So, why in the world is Phelps doing this? Publicity? Money? To show how cool he is? Who knows, but I am excited!

Image Credit: George Probist

Before watching the big race, let’s look at a couple things from a scientific stand point. According to ESPN, Phelps can swim about 6 MPH. That is pretty darn fast when you think about swimming. However, a shark can swim 35 MPH! This is not looking good for Phelps. Of course, I highly doubt he will be racing a shark side by side because we need to protect him! I am sure there will be plenty of things there that will avoid Phelps getting actually inquired in any way. Just doing a little research, I do not think winning against a shark is physically possibly for humans but if some miracle happens when Phelps beats a shark…I don’t know what I’ll do. I will be very impressed for sure.

As for the show itself, the 8-day marathon starts July 23! Phelps will be taking part in two different shows (according to CNN). The first being “Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White” and the second being “Shark School with Michael Phelps”. These two shows are really going to make the week worth it. From what I could find, the race is suppose to be happening on July 23rd as a kick off to Shark Week. Even if you are not into swimming or sharks, it will be so interesting to watch a human try to take on a shark in any matter!

What are your opinions? Do you think Phelps can do it or is he way over his head? Comment below!




Independent Learning Project

Independent-Learning Project

For the CSC “Literacy in the Digital Age’, we were given an awesome project to spend 4 hours on whatever subject we’d like and post our way through each step. For this project, I decided to use my own blog as my project. For the remaining weeks, I will be spending time researching and try to make a successful blog.

First, I need to determine what a successful blog is. My goal in these next couple weeks it to gain followers outside of my classmate followers. I will be attempting to gain these followers by creating a variety of blogs on different subjects as well as sharing every post to Facebook and Twitter. On top of my school posts, I want to do at least one different topic each week as well as an update blog each week. This update blog will talk about the stats I get from each week as well as different tips and tricks I learned from the internet.

Second, I need to determine what type of blogs I want to post. I am really interested in media and different popular medias, such as Youtube, and the “trending” tab. This could serve as a review as well as different possible reviews (movies and books). Another thing I have thought about is different cooking recipes. I became interested in cooking from my mother and eventually took classes in high school which was pretty funny. I think it

img_5818.jpgwould be funny to try to see some “average Jane” try intense cooking recipes. One last thought I had was different welding projects. I was in welding or shop (as some schools call it) for 3 out of 4 years of high school. The first year, I learned the basics of multiple shop tools and found my own techniques on them. For second and third year welders, they would have to make their own projects and submit them for a grade. Being the person I am, I wanted to make welding art. This has become very popular with welding art made out of horseshoes. I did this a lot and thought I could share my experiences andfile_000.jpeg knowledge with the good people of the internet. With all these ideas, it is probably safe to say, I am not a professional with any of these things. They are just simply my hobbies.

*If you have any ideas PLEASE comment them!*

*Also, all the images uploaded are my own personal projects.*

Hopefully you are able to follow me through this journey!

-RachelFile_000 (1)

Digital Lit Posts

Hacking the Education System

Reading Bud Hunt’s Make Play Hack and watching Hackschooling Make Me Happy gave me some interesting, new insights on the education system. The best idea of these two pieces is the idea of hacking. Like Hunt says, hacking gets such a bad reputation. When I hear the word hacking or hack I think of someone exactly described by Logan, some creepy man sitting in a basement hacking on a computer. These different ideas need to be opened up to more people because they are exactly correct. Hunt states “The original definition of a hack was a fiddle that improved a process or program.” Of course, as the years continue, the idea of hacking got worse and worse because of the creepy man in

Image Credit: Roland Buulolo

the basement. However, Logan’s idea is interesting because he has shown that hacking his school system has made an incredible impact on his life. While Logan’s main focus is towards his career in a ski shop, he still needs “general” studies such as reading, writing, and math.

Listening to Logan makes me think of different ways to make students happy and prepare for their own future. Not every student is going to go to college and not every student will need to know what happens in Macbeth in order for their career to be successful. As a teacher, I will have to teach things that some students will have no interest in. The trick is to give them options. Say I am teaching Macbeth to a class and they have to do a final project. What I would do (depending on the class) is give them options to present their project. They could write a paper, make a poster, or many other things. The students can come up with an idea to do and run it by me. This type of teaching was shown to me while I was in high school. My teacher did this exact thing and I decided to create multiple MySpace accounts for main characters and have them post things as they would throughout the story. It was one of the best projects I ever did in high school. It took SO long to complete and I had to explain why I chose the posts I did.This type of flexibility in my English teacher is one I want to continue with my students.

Some points I would clarify is the idea of hacking. These ideas can only be changed by changing the mindset of others. Try explaining the positives rather than the negatives. I would love to hear some ways from Hunt on how to incorporate make, hack, play into classrooms using real classroom examples. I see that his is a teacher and it would be interesting if he made another post with some tips and tricks to incorporate these different ideas into every scenarios.

Overall, these two pieces were very interesting and thought provoking. As you couldprobably tell, my favorite part was the idea of hacking from both people.

Until next time!