Walk With Us will be visiting Taykwa Tagamou Nation on Saturday, June 23rd to capture Street View imagery of the community! We’ll be meeting in front of the band office at 1:00 pm, so if you’re in the neighborhood, please say hello and learn more about the Walk With Us project. WWU thanks Chief Bruce Archibald and TTN for hosting us! Stay tuned for Street View and a virtual tour.
Walk With Us held our May 3rd meeting at the Timmins Museum’s DGTL Creator Studio. Under the guidance of Tyler Levesque; Julian, Natalie and Neebin learned about lighting techniques using LEDGO equipment and portable reflectors – and therefore how to take the perfect selfie. 😉
Click the Spark story below for a glimpse into our meeting!
It’s finally March, and that means the official start of the seasonal cycle in the Omushkego culture. In the Omushkego Cycle of Life (Ininiwi Pimatisiwin), there are six seasons, beginning with Spring, or Sikwan. Next comes the Blooming of the Earth (Miloskamin), then Summer (Nipin), Autumn (Takwakin), Freezing Up (Mikishaw) and finally, Winter (Pipon).
Spring means warmer weather and longer periods of daylight, and the arrival of spring provided much excitement for the Omushkegowuk, according to the Omushkego Cycle of Life document (Omushkego Education Dept). And in the beginning of the Blooming of the Earth season (this begins in May), this was the time to clean up, store winter tools and equipment, and begin preparations for summer.
As we all know and experience in northern Ontario, Spring also reveals the debris hidden beneath the snow from our long winter season – from the coffee cups that once held that delicious dark roast to get us through the work day to the cigarette butts that drivers flick out of their windows. These are obviously examples of some of the negative impacts of human interactions with natural habitats and communities, but whatever types of trash we find, each piece can effectively be turned into data in order to analyze these impacts.
Enter the Litterati app, available on iOS and Android. Litterati started out as an Instagram account dedicated to taking pictures of trash (uploaded with #Litterati), and then taking those already geotagged, time-stamped images and plotting them onto a Google map to visualize this data. Then, others around the world started taking and tagging pictures of trash, until eventually, Litterati became a movement – a way to crowd-source cleaning the planet:
Earth Day is Sunday, April 22nd. A common school activity for the Friday before or Monday after this day will be to supervise students in beautifying their schoolyard or neighborhood as they pick up litter and either recycle or toss it. Why not take it a step further and use technology to record the number and types of trash? Litterati not only allows you to track the quantity of litter, but it also allows you to tag each piece of litter with what it is and even the brand, thereby collecting qualitative data too. And with this data comes questions, which leads to further research, and finally action – a process known as geo-inquiry:
Keep in mind that students need to create their own accounts, and therefore the age rating is 13+, and if under 18, they need to have a parent or guardian’s permission. See the Terms of Service “For Humans” here. One word of caution is that students should not be posting pictures of themselves, as the photos are taken directly through the app and then will be uploaded into the “digital landfill” for use on the interactive map, seen below. Photos should only be of litter, and each photo counts as one piece!
Photos are held in your Litterati gallery until you tag them appropriately and Upload into the Digital Landfill. Maps are updated hourly! Tagging is important because this information is then used to place litter into pollution categories – for example, if you come across a Dasani plastic water bottle, you might tag it using the brand name #Dasani and then #plasticwaterbottle. See below for suggested hashtags.
The Delta Conservatory, Sacramento Area Creeks Council and the Franklin High School Plastics Club has put together a great guide to use in your own trash mapping efforts – here is a list of hashtags found in their guide:
ALTERNATIVE: This activity can also be done by making your own classroom collaborative map using photos you take with your phone/tablet (with Location services turned on so that said photos are geotagged) and Google My Maps. The image below shows a geotagged photo taken by a phone, and imported into My Maps:
If your photos are backed up by Google Photos (How-To here), you can easily import photos (briefly illustrated here):
You can then easily share your class map on school-approved social media, and even start your own trash mapping hashtag.
NB: If you have multiple photos to upload, you can import them using a CSV file, spreadsheet or KML. More info on this method in a subsequent post!
As part of a new online course at the ACCESS Centre here in Timmins, Ontario, I was asked to give two half-day workshops at the end of the month. The students will learn how to use the Ricoh Theta S camera along with the Google Street View app in order to take 360′ images at Gillies Lake. They will then upload these images into D2L’s ePortfolio app as part of their learning journey. Walk With Us Project will be lending eight 360′ cameras to support this unit. My presenter Slides are below:
I thought I’d create a brief, no-talky screencast about how to embed your own Google Street View images into a WordPress site. You can embed these interactive images into any site that supports iframe; I just demonstrated using WP as I personally use this platform. If you have ever taken 360 photos with your phone or a 360 camera and uploaded to Google Maps, you’ll have a tracking list of these photos in the G Maps menu under “Your Contributions”.
If you haven’t taken these types of photos, you can also find existing ones by searching a location in G Maps and choosing a 360 photo within the knowledge card (indicated by a circular arrow – if it’s a still image, the icon would be a camera). Then you would click on the 3 dots beside the photographer’s information to open a menu, and choose “Share or embed image”. Then, Ctrl-C to copy the code and Ctrl-V to paste into a site of your choosing. To illustrate, I searched for Science Timmins in Google Maps:
Here is the result using a pano I had taken of the Timmins Wake Park in June 2017:
And here’s the silent screencast so you can try it yourself!
Walk With Us traveled to Moosonee, a community in northern Ontario located on the Moose River, from May 10-11, 2017. Our goals were to map as much of the town as possible with our 360′ cameras, talk to community members to learn more about Moosonee and the people who live there, and finally, to spend some time at Bishop Belleau Catholic School, where we had a surprise planned for a group of five Grade 3 students!
This was our travel itinerary:
WEDNESDAY, MAY 10, 2017
Leave Timmins 6:25 am (ONTC Station: 54 Spruce Street South: 1-705-264-1377)
Arrive Cochrane 7:45 am (ONTC Station: 200 Railway Street: 1-705-272-4228)
After traveling for 6 hours, 20 minutes (not counting layover time in Cochrane), Walk With Us arrived in Moosonee, where we were met by Mrs. Wanda Zelau, principal of Bishop Belleau. She graciously offered her vehicle to transport our bags to Christ the King Cathedral, where we would stay the night.
After we were settled, the cameras were out and it was time to capture some photos before dinner at the Sky Ranch Restaurant (where we would also have breakfast and lunch the next day – we love Sky Ranch)!
We captured a fair bit of the community in 1.5 hours, and two of our students even took it a step further and captured an entire street with proper spacing between panos – 3 metres – so that they would be able to connect the panospheres together using the Street View app. This will allow a viewer to actually be able to “walk” down the street using the advancement arrows. More great learning!
The next day, we had scheduled an interview with Madelaine Blundon, an elder in Moosonee. We were greeted at the door of the Seniors Complex and shown to the common area, where the students sat at a large table in the middle of the room and opened their Walk With Us folders, ready to record their interviews. These folders also contain a consent form, and students ensure that anyone they interview and/or take photographs of must be asked for their permission before any material can be used in the virtual tours they will be creating.
A big takeaway for me from the conversation was when Madelaine very simply and thoughtfully stated that we need to listen to our young people, as they have something to say. I remember thinking to myself that the Walk With Us project was built on this exact notion.
Aboard the train on the way to Moosonee, we had met Reverend Norm Wesley from Moose Factory. After hearing about the Walk With Us project, he agreed to speak to our students on the same day as our interview with Madelaine. We had lunch together at the Sky Ranch, where he informed us that he had prepared a presentation for the students. Reverend Wesley spoke about the significance of the six seasons as known by the Cree people: Winter (Pipon), Spring (Sikwan), Break-Up (Mithoskamin), Summer (Nipin), Fall (Takwakin), and Freeze-Up (Mikiskaw). He had the students each choose a puzzle piece and allowed them some time to read what was on their card. Then, he started a timer with 6 minutes on the clock to solve the puzzle in a way that made sense to the students. Let the problem solving begin!
Prior to Reverend Wesley’s beautiful presentation, our students had the opportunity to teach five Grade 3 students about the SAM Labs Curious Cars kit, where the kids would have the chance to build and program cars using the Curious Cars iOS app which connects wirelessly to various rechargeable modules, or SAM blocks.
Back in March, I presented a workshop at the International School of Brussels (ISB)’ “Learning by Design” conference, and the workshop was all about the Walk With Us Project. The founder of SAM Labs is a graduate of the ISB, and the company had set up a kiosk at the conference. Upon hearing about Walk With Us, Ivelin, an employee of SAM Labs, generously donated the Curious Cars kit to the club so that we could learn it and gift the kit to students of Bishop Belleau. And that’s exactly what we did!
Finally, it was time to head back to Timmins after a whirlwind of a trip. Walk With Us would like to thank the community of Moosonee for all of the kindness and hospitality shown to us, and rest assured we will be back! Hopefully next time we will be able to cross the river and visit Moose Factory. Until then!
As holidays approach and 2016 comes to an end, I thought I’d put together a few updates about Walk With Us and thank all WWU supporters for all of the encouragement, expertise, time, energy, and all around #edulove given to us this year.
While there was a focus on learning the different types of technology this year (360′ cameras, working with Google Maps and publishing panospheres to Street View, WalkInto tour building software, Twitter for our social media campaign and Google Classroom’s mobile app for communication purposes), 2017 will bring our Storytelling Series, where we will invite artists, writers, reporters, and other local and not so local storytellers to help inform our digital storytelling.