Leah's Education Portfolio

Created with respect to the the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples whose traditional territory I stand.

Thinking About the Classroom of 2040

Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash

When thinking about the classroom of 2040, just shy of 20 years from now, how might the classroom be the same? How might it be completely different? I found these questions a bit hard to answer because I really don’t know. I feel some of it will be the same – teachers that are people (no simulations or AI), designated locations for learning (schools), and students grouped together by age. However, I can see a shift into more co-taught classes, where two teachers work together. Research has shown that co-teaching can be very beneficial to students and teachers. I think schools will be more individualized or specialized. Even now, we are seeing specialized schools becoming more popular, such as the High Tech High and the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry. I think students will be taught in a broader age group (for example, grades 1, 2, and 3 in the same class). I also think we will be seeing more outdoor education. Montessori schools already function in this way, and I feel public schools will follow suit. The redesigned B.C. curriculum has already started to shift to a more Montessori approach focusing on core competencies instead of content. I also hope schools will be more inclusive in the classroom, as there is more to inclusion than having additional support for children with special educational needs. Whatever the future may hold, I am excited to see the direction education is heading.

Inquiry-Based Teaching & Learning


Guess speaker Trevor MacKenzie uses an inquiry approach in his classroom, which he finds to be very beneficial with his students. By adopting an inquiry approach in the classroom and allowing students to explore a topic they are passionate about, Mackenzie discovered that students are more engaged, attendance and work ethic improves, skills are acquired, and students collaborate with increased energy. The key to inquiry-based learning and teaching is not to throw students (and teachers) into the deep end to start. The types of student inquiry is a scaffolded approach to inquiry, meaning start small and work your way up. Gradually increase student agency while providing them with the necessary tools to succeed with their own inquiry. MacKenzie emphasized that inquiry is most successful when you begin in a structured inquiry model, transition into a controlled inquiry, then into a guided inquiry, and finally into a free inquiry. I think this too is the best approach, as it gives the time for students and teachers to learn the process. Studies show that inquiry-based learning leads to long-term retention, improved critical thinking skills, and higher academic achievement. It is the future of learning, and I am very excited to be entering into the field at this pivotal moment in education.

Gaming in Education Podcast

Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash


Backlund, Per, and Maurice Hendrix. “Educational Games – Are They Worth the Effort? A Literature Survey of the Effectiveness of Serious Games.” 2013 5th International Conference on Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications (VS-GAMES), 2013, https://doi.org/10.1109/vs-games.2013.6624226. 

Conditioning (2021, October 25). The Gale Encyclopedia of Science . Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved November 21, 2021, from https://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/psychology/psychology-and-psychiatry/conditioning#1O88conditioning. 

de Freitas, S. (2018). Are games effective learning tools? A review of educational games. Educational Technology & Society, 21(2), 74-84.

Deslis, D., Kosmidis, C.-V., & Tenta, E. (2019). Using a non-educational mobile game for learning in biology, geography and mathematics: Pokémon go as a case study. Communications in Computer and Information Science, 388–396. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-20954-4_29 

Egenfeldt- Nielse, S. (2008). Making sweet music: The education use of computer games. IT University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen.

[Extra Credits]. (2020, April 15). Gamification Sucks… How to Improve Gamification [Video]. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCODtTcd5M1JavPCOr_Uydg

[Extra Credits]. (2012, May 13). Gamifying Education – How to Make Your Classroom Truly Engaging [Video]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuDLw1zIc94&list=PLcu8U2-YTQG2RRlNQvRf8b0CeTAVlcayA&index=2&ab_channel=ExtraCredits

Febrian, Vania W, et al. “High School Technopreneurship Program to Increase the Educational Games for Students.” International Journal of the Computer, vol. 25, no. 1, 2014. 

Goldstein, S., & Naglieri, J. A. (2011). Encyclopedia of child behavior and development. Springer Science+Business Media.

Gee, J., J. (2013, November 13). Jim Gee principles of gaming [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aQAgAjTozk&ab_channel=ChrisThorn

Gunter, G. A., Kenny, R. F., & Vick, E. H. (2008;2007;). Taking educational games seriously: Using the RETAIN model to design endogenous fantasy into standalone educational games. Educational Technology Research and Development, 56(5/6), 511-537. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-007-9073-2

Habgood, M. P. J., & Ainsworth, S. E. (2011). Motivating children to learn effectively: Exploring the value of intrinsic integration in educational games. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 20(2), 169-206. https://doi.org/10.1080/10508406.2010.508029

Kim, S., Song, K., Lockee, B., & Burton, J. (2017). Gamification in learning and education: Enjoy learning like gaming. Springer International Publishing AG.

Kline, K. (2020, May 29). Video games don’t have to be educational to spark learning. NPR. Retrieved November 28, 2021, from https://www.npr.org/2020/05/29/864520287/video-games-dont-have-to-be-educational-to-spark-learning. 

Lopez de Castilla, M. (2018). History of educational games. https://commons.pratt.edu/playful-learning/history-of-educational-games/

Willis, J. (2011). A neurologist makes the case for the video game model as a learning tool. https://www.edutopia.org/blog/neurologist-makes-case-video-game-model-learning-tool

Nah, F. F., Zeng, Q., Telaprolu, V. R., Ayyappa, A. P., & Eschenbrenner, B.Gamification of education: A review of literature. (pp. 401-409). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-07293-7_39

Lee, M. (2019, October 1). The hero’s journey breakdown: Star wars. The Script Lab. Retrieved November 21, 2021, from https://thescriptlab.com/features/screenwriting-101/12309-the-heros-journey-breakdown-star-wars/.  

Oblinger, Diana G. “Games and Learning.” EDUCAUSE Quarterly, vol. 29, no. 3, 2006, pp. 5–7. 

Peña-Miguel, Noemí, and Máximo Sedano Hoyuelos. “Educational Games for Learning.” Universal Journal of Educational Research, vol. 2, no. 3, 2014, pp. 230–238. 

Şar, E. (2012). The role of history-themed non-educational computer games on Primary School Children’ (at grades 6th, 7th and 8th) perceptions of history. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 55, 776–781. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.09.563 

Token Economy System. (2021, October 25). The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Health. Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved November 21, 2021, from https://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/token-economy-system. 

Zeng, J., Parks, S., & Shang, J. (2020). To learn scientifically, effectively, and enjoyably: A review of educational games. Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies, 2(2), 186-195.

What it Means to Socialize Your Dog

Photo by Karl Anderson on Unsplash

There are many misconceptions around what it means to socialize your dog. Most often people believe that means introducing your dog to as many dogs as possible. But as that sounds logical, it is not what socializing is or should be. Dogs need to see the world, they don’t necessarily need to engage with every aspect of it. Socializing your dog is getting them use to loud noises, unusual surfaces (like bridge), people with different ethnicities, people with different abilities and disabilities, different kinds of animals, seeing other dogs, riding in the car, walking in a busy neighbourhood, basically, getting use to the busy world we live in. If you let your dog meet every dog that you come across, then they will expect that every time. You want your dog to be able to walk past another dog with no care in the world. Not all dogs are friendly, so it is important that you and your dog can walk past a dog without the need to engage with that dog. Choose a few dogs that your dog can have as ‘friends’ and arrange playdates with those dogs. But otherwise, on your outings with your dog(s) let them learn the world around them through observation.

Using Simulations in the Classroom


This week in EdTech, we were introduced to ‘MURAL Board,’ and my group discussed the topic of simulations used in the classroom. We all agreed that simulations could be useful to help learners see things that would be difficult to see in person. Particularly in science, simulations can be used to see how the aspects of the body work, such as how blood flows through the body. Simulations could also be used for Earth Sciences, seeing how the inside of the Earth uses convection to move plates, how ridges and mountains are formed, and how volcanoes erupt and earthquakes occur. Rick also had the idea that simulations could also be used in applied theatre. The issue with simulations is making sure you find one that is accurate. There are misconceptions around science, and I have come across simulations that were not exactly correct and supported those misconceptions. If I could find the link to that simulation, I would have posted it with the blog, but unfortunately (or I guess it’s for the best), that simulation is no longer available. So, to wrap up our discussion on simulations being used in the classroom, we agree they can be beneficial and a great way to see and engage with the “unseeable.” However, you have to be careful about what simulations you use and make sure they are accurate representations of what you want your students to learn. Below is a link to a bunch of simulations. Some are older, and therefore do not work, but there are a lot to go through in many science and math topics.


Jeff Hopkins Approach to a School of Innovation and Inquiry


We had guest speaker Jeff Hopkins talk about his school, High Tech High, and how he uses personal learning plans for students to attain competency in math, science, history, etc. The theory is that students will become engaged in these subject areas by their own inquiry. The focus is project-based learning, where students pursue their passions through projects, often incorporating inquiry across multiple disciplines. It is an intriguing method that I can see as beneficial since I believe students learn better when motivated. I did a quick google search on High Tech High to see its rating. Although I couldn’t find anything on Victoria’s High Tech High, there were a lot of reviews from the original San Diego-based High Tech High. The website greatschools.org rated the school an average of 6/10, with test scores average (6/10), college readiness above average (8/10), and equity below average (4/10). The score that strikes me the most is college readiness. I find myself torn between the idea that college is content-focused as well as project-based. Some courses were strictly midterms and exams, so I wonder how students who did high school through a project-based lens would be ready for a course where evaluation came from exams. Although our academic world seems to be shifting away from standardized tests and focusing more on inquiry and projects, we still see the old way of teaching and evaluating present. Therefore, I think it is important for high school students to know how to be successful when it comes to tests and exams. I think a blended model is a right fit at the moment, as we are still on the cusp of traditional and inquiry-based learning.

Revamp of the PDPP Discussion

In our TechEd class, a small group of us discussed the PDP and how it might be revamped to improve the program. We discussed what needs to be improved and what we thought was great in the program. Our list was much longer on what needed to be improved, including topics such as:

  • Admittance shouldn’t be focused on GPA
  • Observation day is great, but seminars after seem useless – not much, if anything, is learned.
  • More even distribution in teachable subject areas
  • Co-op vs. Practicum – why does the student pay for their practicum? 
  • Would be nice to rotate through the schools that observations are being done in.
  • Administration could try to accommodate students who make reasonable requests, such as requesting the observational school that was close to their home. 
  • More instruction on the nuts and bolts of teaching. 

What we thought was good about the program include:

  • Observation days are great
  • Program is taught by teachers
  • Good connections to the schools
  • Great professors

I think it is important and necessary to have conversations like these. Knowing that your fellow students have the same concerns is comforting. And being able to bring these concerns to the chair is also important. The program leads and admin aren’t present in the courses, so they may not know where the program needs improvement. Nothing is perfect, and nothing is set in stone. If the students this year can help the students next year, I think it should be done. After all, at the end of this, we will be teachers, so we are all in this together. Although we are not sure if we were really ‘heard’ by the department chair, we, at least, got the opportunity to address our issues.

History, Traits, and Behaviours of 4 Popular Dog Breeds

The German Shepherd Dog (GSD)

Photo by Wannes De Mol on Unsplash

If you have ever owned a German Shepherd you can account for their high intelligence and loyal nature, which is why they have been revered as the ultimate working dog. From home security, military patrol, police K9 duty, drug sniffing duty, bomb sniffing duty, search and rescue, air force security, and providing service to the physically challenged, the German Shepherd an amazingly versatile breed. But these ‘dog jobs’ are not what they were originally bred for. German Shepherds are in the herding group, and were originally bred to herd live stock. And because of their herding ability and intimidating presence, they got the title German Shepherd, instead of German Sheepdog. And their herding instinct is still very much a part of them, and are still used as herding dogs in both domestic and sport. In fact, if you watch them around young children their herding instinct are noticeable, and often try to corral children together. The GSD is highly affectionate with their family and good with children, making them one of the most popular breeds in the world. However, all breeds have behavioural issues, and here are four of the most common in GSDs

  • Aggression
  • Dominance
  • Digging
  • Hyperactivity

The German Shepherd is one of the most intelligent breeds, which is why behavioural issues such as digging and hyperactivity are common. If they are bored or have too much pent-up energy, digging and appearing hyperactive are outlets to deal those. Proper and continued training is necessary to keep a GSD intellectually engaged. Consistent and extensive exercise must be maintained in order to satisfy the breeds high stamina. And finally, proper socialization (see my other blog on proper socialization) is necessary to curb unwanted behaviours such as aggression and dominance with other dogs. 

Labrador Retrievers

If you’ve ever known a Labrador well, you might have noticed they always seem to grab something to bring to you. That is because the Labrador Retriever was bred to be a devoted hunting dog and friendly companion. Their job wasn’t to ‘do’ the hunting, rather retrieve the game for the hunter, so they needed to be bred to be both retrievers and loyal companions. Because of their breed standard, they are typically hardworking, good-natured, and love affection. You might have noticed that most labs are incredibly friendly. This is a characteristic of the breed, and even the American Kennel Club describes that labs eyes “glimmer with kindliness.” Their loving nature and has made them one of the best family breeds, and in the top five most popular breeds in North America. However, here are four behavioural issues we often see with labs:

  • Excessive and destructive chewing
  • Hyperactivity
  • Excessive barking
  • Digging

Because they were bred as working dogs, labs need outlets to keep mentally and physically fit. These behavioural issues stem from them being bored. Proper training and regular exercise need to be paramount for any lab owner. 

American Pit Bull Terrier

Photo by Jordan Bigelow on Unsplash

The American Pit Bull Terrier, often referred to as a pit bull, is a breed that originated from the Olde English bulldog in the United Kingdom. They were bred for the sport of bull-baiting, where they were required to attack a chained bull or bear. Because of the need to take down such a large animal, traits such as muscularity, strong jaws, and being compact and low to the ground were required in these dogs. In 1835, the British Parliament banned the baiting of bulls, but that did not stop people from using these dogs in other cruel sports. The attention was then focused on pitting rats, and other dogs, which required greater speed and agility than the Olde English bulldog attained. Therefore they were crossed with terriers, and the American Pit Bull Terrier was established. In the U.S., these dogs were seen as a working breed and became the U.S. military mascot during WWI. Their popularity grew, especially as family dogs, and they are considered an American icon. 

Pit bull owners describe their dogs as playful, loving and loyal, and very attuned to their humans. They are full of affection and can be great family pets. However, because of their breeding, pit bulls are powerful and determined. They require proper and early socialization. Remember, this breed was designed to fight, so it takes a lot of training and exercise to suppress their instincts. 

Behaviour issues we often see with pit bulls include:

  • Aggression
  • Excessive and destructive chewing
  • Jumping
  • Digging

Just like our other working breeds in this blog, pit bulls require a lot of attention, training, and exercise. If they do not receive this level of care, these behavioural issues will most likely arise. 

French Bulldog

Photo by Channey Tang-Ho on Unsplash

Using iMovie for the First Time

I know apple software and products have always been very user-friendly, which is exactly my experience using iMovie. Almost everything is a drag-and-drop scenario. You add photos and videos to your “My Media” (by drag and drop by selecting it on your hard drive). You then drag and drop the media you want below where you see the progression of your movie. Audio media works the same way. Add your audio to “My Media” and drag and drop it to the audio section (denoted by a music note). Editing your movie is also very intuitive. To make a clip longer or shorter, you just stretch or shrink it. There are also add-ins and transitions you can incorporate, again, by dragging and dropping. The intuitive nature of this program alleviated any frustration I might have had making a movie with some other software. And that is what will have me coming back to make another movie. I can see how this can be a tool for teachers. It is relatively quick and can be used in lessons, assignments, introductory videos, and I’m sure many other settings. If you haven’t tried it, give it a try, it’s not scary.

Revaluate, rethink, release

I watched Jesse Miller’s TedX “Revaluate, rethink, release” from 2014, which was about how we, and in particular, our children, engage and connect with technology and social media. I completely agree that children are often pacified with technology. I often see children in restaurants staring at a screen, not engaged with the family, just quietly watching colorful and bright things. And it is true, what Miller said, that that is not an example of a well-behaved kid. That is an example of a kid pacified with technology. That child is not learning how to behave while out in a public place. Or how to interact and converse with his family. It teaches him that it’s proper to be on your device while having a meal with your family. And with today’s youth feeling the need (or maybe even responsibility) to document and post their lives online for countless followers and likes, shouldn’t we do what we can as parents (and educators) to teach our kids when to put the phone down? Kids today are in a negative use of social media. They post anything and everything without the fear of any repercussions. And we, as adults, expect our youth to have the skills to have appropriate dialogue and content sharing, but that is often not the case. And often, something that shouldn’t have been shared is shared, and the damage is done. So, we need to teach our youth appropriate social media sharing. We have a multiliteracies course, and we have discussed the importance of being multiliterate, especially in today’s culture. I liked how Miller described that becoming media literate is more than turning the mobile device towards you and sharing a photo to social media. Media literacy means the device is turned outwards, and we capture the events around the world. Knowing when to record an event and when to put the phone down. And this is what we need to be teaching our youth.

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