What’s the point…and who gets to make it?

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Hello ECI 832er’s ,

Teachers are SO many different things – we are teachers, nutritionists, psychologists, confidants, parents, role models, and more…to more kids than ever.   There are pieces of our jobs that are more important than ever, and pieces of jobs that we will need to sacrifice in order to ensure we are able to provide adequate care and attention to these other areas.

If I begin by examining the current practice of my school in teaching digital citizenship I have VERY mixed feelings on the amount of success were having…we have banned cellphones without permission from the time the morning bell rings to the time the end of day bell rings.  The senior kids can ask permission from staff members to use their phones for music, research, etc. but there is protocol in place for children who don’t listen.  The first time we take it away, they get it back at the end of the day, second time they have to get it back from the principal and third time, they have to have their family come and retrieve it from the principal.  I understand the distraction, I understand the cyber-bullying, I understand the many things that can go wrong with technology but I don’t know that skirting it is the best option.  The crucial component to remember is that knowledge is power and that we can’t avoid the technology so we midaswell teach safe, responsible practice.  To my knowledge in the more senior grades there isn’t as much teaching about digital literacy as there is assuming that kids know to use the technologies for school purposes with reminders to be safe as we go.  As I mention in my Catalyst Content project – there is a difference between being digitally literate and being tech savvy so we need to careful with assuming…you know what they say about assuming.

Just sayin’. 😉  Source.

In Luke’s Vlog he states that we recieve between 4000 and 10,000 media messages a day…that’s A LOT of information to process and if we aren’t teaching kids how to vet out information that is not relevant to them they will end up overwhelmed and missing the information that IS relevant.  DIGITAL LITERACY IS SO IMPORTANT!  In Nina’s Vlog she had a slide with a question that caught my eye too…she asks, “How does the news in media affect kids?”  I can’t help but think that it greatly affects them as they are still utilizing a developing mind to sift through the messages thrown their way.  We have to consider all of these factors when considering whether or not schools should be teaching digital and media literacy.

Image result for assuming makes a fool outta youKids need to learn to speak the online language rather than just learn how to use the programs.  In the article, “Media Literacy: A National Priority for a Changing World” by Elizabeth Thoman and Tessa Jolls its says,

“Activities that involve creating media messages — such as writing and producing a video script complete with sound effects — not  only create proficiency in writing and editing (core language arts goals) but also build teamwork skills, tolerance for another’s perspective, organization and delegation skills as well as appreciation for the variety of talents it takes to complete a large scale project.”

This snippet stood out to me because I think it really shows how interconnected literacy and digital literacy are and that they can support one another in the best way!  Not only are kids getting the writing and editing skills with a larger scale digital projects but they are also working on skills such as teamwork and organization that are so hard to teach on their own.  Digital or media projects and experiences in school are invaluable in my opinion.  I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have completed one major digital project and be in the middle of my second with my class – I have seen the best in my kids coming out because they are thinking about each other, the world and the impact that they can have.  It’s very powerful and couldn’t be accomplished without the online world bringing us closer.

On account of my time in Dr. Alec Couros’ classes, I feel like my personal practice with teaching digital literacy has come leaps and bounds!  As anyone who has followed my blog knows, I teach grade 2 so my kids interaction with technology is pretty guided, HOWEVER, they are being exposed to it earlier and earlier so there is no harm in starting learning safety, etiquette and responsibility early!  I think it’s VERY important that school’s take the lead and start offering a focus on digital literacy. I talk to my kids daily about how we need to not only be respectful in our interactions in real life, but online as well!  We speak a lot about how to stay safe online too.  I’m hoping that we can start building knowledge and good practice young so that there aren’t as many issues as my littles grow up.  Linked is a little video we made last semester!

If I’m thinking ahead to digital literacy in the future, Dimitri Christakis’ TED Talk inspired a take away for me – this was the immense need for digital literacy to be a balance between what we experience in the real world and as well as the digital world.  We need to be able to both distinguish that these are separate entities, but also realize that they are so interconnected and that we need to be “real” in both venues.  In Stacey’s blog this week, she had the same sentiment and took it to the streets – combing a real life and technological experience for her niece.  We need to encourage these types of experiences for our kids and show them that they can have both! 🙂  Thanks for the inspiration Stacey!

My own digital literacy practice – well, it’s a work in progress….a construction zone of slightly organized chaos.  I am learning so much every single day and there is SO much more to learn.  I feel it is absolutely my responsibility to ensure that good digital literacy practice is taught in school – it’s not a guarantee that these skills will be taught at home – and if they aren’t supported at home, at least they are being exposed to it somewhere. ❤  This week in our class Pat Maze from the STF spoke to us about the importance of not just being cautious of what we post, but generally just being smart about it.  I think no one would have trouble if common sense was more common but unfortunately that is not the case.  Teachers are held to a very high standard 24/7, not just in the hours in which we are at work – whether you think this is fair or right doesn’t really matter.  Pat made it clear that our online actions can and do directly reflect our professional selves.  I wasn’t surprised by anything Pat said in our talk aside from the fact that he said we shouldn’t need to have a personal and professional account for social media – there were many comments made in our discussion that I agree with – although there is really nothing on my personal account that I think would get me into trouble, there are things on there that would just be for the eyes of my friends and family, not necessarily people in which I just have a professional relationship with, including my families or kids.  I think even though we are under the microscope all the time, I am still entitled to a life outside of my class.  I appreciate that the STF is there and will help you work through situations or answer questions -thank you so much to Pat Maze for taking the time to speak with us. 🙂

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Thanks for reading!

Dani ❤

“Educating the mind without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

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4 thoughts on “What’s the point…and who gets to make it?

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  1. First of all thanks for the plug! Secondly, I agree with the assuming part when it comes to our kids and technology. We also tend to assume they are working on a Google Doc when in fact they are just minimizing their game whenever we walk by (ha)… kids know about technology but do they really know about digital citizenship? I’ve had countless conversations about Snaps taken at recess, privacy, etc. and it goes in one ear and out the other… assume nothing! Thirdly I also agree with teaching about technology use vs taking tech away…. technology is never going away and although consequences are sometimes needed for rule breaking, relevant discussions and teachable moments are needed more than ever….

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  2. Very thorough blog! I am not sure where I want to start…
    I have many thoughts on the banning of cellphones. I don’t agree, as a broad concept, for many reasons. One, I am CONSTANTLY on my email, answering emails, sending emails, setting reminders to answer emails… These emails may be from colleagues, but they’re also from parents and other students. Why can I answer an email from a student or a parent but not allow my students the same courtesy? Of course I could just shut down my email, but I’d rather model good behaviour in trying to manage distractions and multitasking. I think having explicit conversations with students regarding what I’m doing will help the transparency we all strive for when educating students.

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  3. I’m like you in that I consider my Digital Literacy Practice to be a “construction zone” – I have lots to learn and thus far it’s been a steep learning curve, but it’s also manageable.

    Thank you for weighing in on Patrick’s words – I agree with much of what he said, too and it honestly makes sense. What I think should change is with respect to educators on social media is to define a clear policy around Personal/Professional/Official Social Media accounts. Because I agree with you – some stuff I share, I want to share with my family and friends, not acquaintances from work…and vice versa! And that is perfectly within our right.

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