Well…the votes are in!

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Hello ECI830’ers and beyond,

Now, I assume most of you didn’t vote for pizza…but I did notice that most of you did vote for disagreeing with the fact the “Openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our children” and I can’t 100% say that I disagree with you.  I utilize many technological tools in my classroom that allow for sharing and openness and I, to this point have seen nothing but positive benefit from it.  Shelly, Esther and Kari did a wonderful job explaining the benefits to using sharing in our classrooms.  However, like my teammate Amy mentions in her post, I would not know nearly as much about the risks of sharing online than I do now if it hadn’t been for my reasearch for this debate.  I think both sides presented very good arguments – I just think that Amy, Joe and I presented arguments that are absolutely food for thought as move forward with this much openness and sharing where as Shelly, Esther, and Kari presented facts that show us the immense short term benefits only.  Check out our opening statements below:

Team Agree:

Team Disagree:

As you just saw, the disagree group broke their argument down into 3 main points, the first, that technology is the reality of today’s childhood.  In the article they posted, “Building and Keeping a Positive Digital Identity” it breaks down 5 main questions that we need to be asking to ensure kids are safe and protected when they share online.  I suppose the crucial thing is that we are doing our due diligence and ensuring the groundwork is laid for our students so they can understand and be safe in the world they are growing up in.  Knowledge is power and avoidance is unrealistic so I think education is key.

motivational the more you know GIFimage source.

The next point the disagree group brings up is that sharing and openness promotes connectivity.  I can’t disagree with this point as my own classroom Facebook page does just that.  I hear non-stop that parents love being able to see what happens in our day, look at photos, ask good questions, etc.  Our families are on social media and technology so allowing to connect with their kids this way is not an extra step.

The final point the disagree group makes is that we as educators can model and promote creating a positive digital footprint.  Children, regardless of when they are born, are not born just knowing what to post and what to do and say online.  This always comes with mistakes and speed bumps.  Teachers can help guide their students down this winding road and ensure that mistakes and missteps are only small.  In the article “Post No Photos, Leave No Trace: Children’s digital footprint management strategies” it reminds us that children around the age of 12, should be capable of curating their own digital footprints.  However, it also mentions that there is sometimes a divide in what the student or child wants in their footprint and what the adults around them want, which in turn makes their decisions stressful and their feelings about their footprint negative.  This is the perfect transition into a recap of our points, as we rebutted with the fact that children don’t feel empowered when the adults in their lives are doing something for them!

Our main points outlined the significant privacy and safety concerns with being online as well as outlining the small amount of long term data we have on how our information and digital footprints will be used in the future.  We concluded with the fact that we could be causing undue stress and anxiety in our kids by posting images, work or video without their consent.  Although I struggled arguing some of these points, I will say, it was eye opening to actually consider of the cons of our practice.  There is absolutely research that suggests that there are serious consequences to posting so much of our kids online.  You can watch our opening statement to hear a more in-depth explanation of these reasons, however, I would like to highlight one of the best reads in our posted literature this week.  It is an article titled, “Dangers of Posting Pictures Online I Is your Child at Risk?” by Robyn Trevaud.  This is a short read but quotes the BBC Poll we site in our video that addresses the implications of what we post online not only for ourselves, but for our kids.  It highlights the potential for anxiety and stress in dealing with social media and their un-chosen online presence.   She says there are three main points that parents should consider.  This ties into school in my opinion, because we work so closely with our families and our social media is pretty much solely for the purpose of staying connected, they are:

  • Utilize privacy controls and ensure that the image can only be viewed by a closed group containing your close friends and family

  • Be mindful of metadata – be sure to turn off geo-location enabled services

  • Always seek permission from other parents before posting images which include their children

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Image result for ask permissionAnother piece I would like to highlight, was one of the points we used in our rebuttal to the disagree group, they said, “we are empowering youth by allowing them to curate their digital footprint” but as much as I help curate my students’, I don’t know if I am actually empowering them to create a positive digital footprint, because in reality, I am the one creating it for them.  I love the idea of the voice this power gives them, the authority and reach and I believe whole heartily in teaching digital citizenship, but I don’t know if we are empowering them but choosing work and telling them what to take pictures of, or what to write.  As I mentioned above, knowledge is power and kids need to know and have guidelines but I am still on the fence if empowerment is what we are giving them…

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Image result for points to ponderOne huge piece that I honestly didn’t even consider, is a point that my classmate Rakan brings up in his blog post this week, he points out that we need to be mindful of openness and sharing on account of our students’ religious and cultural beliefs.  Our country and city are becoming more multi-cultural and diverse every day and the standard of what is alright and what is not, as far as pictures, where they are posted, if and when they are taken, etc. is drastically different among them.  Although the option not to sign the media release would obviously be given, there are much stricter policies that are not covered on those forms such as children’s photos’ simply being taken, or posted in hallways.  This is another dimension that I, ignorantly didn’t even consider.  Thank you Rakan for bringing this important piece to light.

Overall, although I am sore loser, I really appreciated the quality of the debate this week!  I saw value in the other sides arguments as well as the points that our classmates brought up in the chat and discussion.  So, like Joe’s wife brought up about his “post lose rage”, I had that too…but I’ve composed myself and I’m back…mostly. 😉

sad will ferrell GIF

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❤ Dani

“Educating the mind, without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

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This is it…get ready for the mic drop!

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Hello ECI830’ers,

This week (on Monday if we’re getting sticky on dates! 😉 ) Joe, Amy and I are presenting our argument on why IT IS unfair to our children to have so much openness and sharing in schools. scared dog GIF I’m not going to give away our arguments just in case the opposition is watching————————————>

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But I’m just here to tell you that I think myself and my team have put together a very convincing argument on why we need to, if nothing else, be more mindful of how much, and what we are sharing online of our kids and their work.  The world is a VERY connected place now and the implications of what we post will follow our kids throughout the rest of their lives.  We teach them to be careful and think of the consequences of their actions, but are parents and schools doing the same when they sign off the media consent, the facebook page consent, etc.  I’m not so sure!

Image result for pot calling the kettle black image source.

Now, before someone says, “well aren’t you the pot calling the kettle black”  – I know, I have a classroom Facebook page that I readily share both student work and pictures on.  That being said, I have a very strict permission package that goes home with every family that outlines both how I intended to use the page as well as the rules and guidelines around saving, sharing or tagging photos.  I feel better about this because it is separate from the division media release and I can police it’s comings and goings on my own rather than counting on the powers that be.  Also, all of my content is closed and deleted at the end of every school year.  I recognize and respect when a parent declines to be a part of the page however because I absolutely see the risks.

Looking forward to seeing how the debate shakes down on Monday!  Get ready Kari, Esther and Shelly!  We’re coming for you! 😉

❤ Dani

“Educating the mind, without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

 

Just google it they say! It’s easy they say!

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Hello ECI830’s and beyond,

It was another amazing debate this week – to be honest, both sides argued many of the same points which leads me to believe that this topic is one that will stick around for a long time as it’s relevant!  Our question this week was, “Schools should not focus on teaching things that can be googled”  If you are following along on my blog, you’ll know that I was on the side of disagree!  I think it is still the school’s responsible to teach information even if it can be googled – just because Google tracks it down for you, doesn’t mean that the information is correct, relevant or that you’re students understand it.  Google is wonderful, I couldn’t live without it and my job would look dramatically different without it, however, it is simply a tool to help facilitate learning and deep understanding.   

To summarize the “agree” group’s argument I have to say, they were  close to converting me!  Great work Channing, Nicole and Jodie.   So well researched and presented. 🙂

google GIF

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They made many very convincing points that really got me thinking about the potential for changing our mindset around what and how we teach in the classroom.  There is no denying that times are changing and the skills that kids need moving forward are not the same as the ones they needed when we were younger, and so how are we going to change and ensure that we are leaving kids with the knowledge and information they need?  The agree group argued that there is a rapid change of knowledge – things are moving lightning speed and we need to keep up and show students how to access this important information so they can keep up.  They devalued the use of rote learning and memorization saying that it was no longer a relevant addition in any classroom.  This group put huge emphasis on the fact that we have smart phones and the internet with us at all times so  we literally have the “keeper of knowledge” in our pocket.  They argue that rather than filling our heads with information, why not show kids how to find the information instead!  Again, as I mentioned above, the agree group focused on the idea that students now require a very different set of skills than they did before in order to be prepared for the “real world”.  In the article this group posted, “The Objective of Education is Learning, Not Teaching” from Wharton University in Pittsburgh posted an interesting question,

“furthermore, even young children are aware of the fact that most of what is expected of them in school can better be done by computers, recording machines, cameras, and so on. They are treated as poor surrogates for such machines and instruments. Why should children — or adults, for that matter — be asked to do something computers and related equipment can do much better than they can?” 

When do we just accept the fact that there are certain things that we can streamline and make more effective – not out of laziness but out of the fact that kids need the skills these tools offer and we need to prepare them for a world filled with them!  To conclude, both groups did agree that Google and it’s affiliates are a tool that needs to be utilized correctly and effectively in order for it to make a difference.  I loved how this group offered up the idea that it is our responsibility to make sure that our own biases are not holding our kids back.  Regardless of what we believe a teacher should be, we need to reside the fact that we are the be all end all of teaching and learning and start utilizing the tools we have to think forward to the skills the kids will need.

Next up we have the “disagree” group!  disagree office space GIFI will have to say, I had already sided with this group!

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I was hoping that the evidence they presented would reassure my decision to select the disagree side for this argument and they didn’t disappoint!  Awesome job to Catherine, Amanda and Shelby!  The first and in my opinion, one of the main points this group made was the need for an actual person facilitating the learning.  In order to ensure understanding and deep learning is happening we need someone in the classroom to talk to the students, to add text to life connection to the conversation.  Google can tell you an answer but it doesn’t offer much past that in the way of deep learning.  Google is a wonderful tool but not on its own.  Another great point that this group articulated is, if we aren’t focusing on or teaching things that can be googled, what would we be teaching?  You can literally Google everything!  The next point this group made was that memorization is important to learning.  It creates life long memories that will stick with students throughout their schooling and beyond.  In the article “Why Memorizing Facts Can be a Keystone to Learning” as posted on The Guardian it reminds us that our brain is a pretty darn cool thing – each time we learn something new, a new pathway and connection is created, the more we repeat it, the stronger that connection gets.  It’s like a work out for our brain!  We have the capability to learn how to organize our brains to get the most storage and the easiest retrieval.  Memorizing isn’t just a party trick – it helps train our brain to be efficient.   Finally, and this in my opinion was this groups weakest point, they brought up that Google is just another distraction.  This wasn’t as relevant to me as there are many distractions associated with technology and Google is no exception.  I don’t think distraction is a reason not use this tool as we should just be responsible and teach kids to use the program respectfully and efficiently, and therefore the weakest point.

Overall, both groups did an excellent job selling their side!  Although there were times that I absolutely agreed with the pro group, I couldn’t get past the fact that the teacher plays an integral role in making sure deep understanding is accessible to all students, and that we can’t possibly  not teach or focus on anything that can be googled.  I am a firm believer in the idea that just because you have an answer, or an answer is accessible, doesn’t mean you understand it or are even reading accurate information.

barack obama mic drop GIF by Julie Winegard image source

 

I’m now going to address one of the big questions Alec posted to our class this week, “In your discipline, is there any content that you feel you could replace?  With what?”  This is kind of a loaded question because I respect what we are asked to teach kids and understand that it works into a giant continuum that follows a specific schedule so that kids learn what the government feels they need to know, blah, blah, blah…HOWEVER…there are absolutely things missing that I would add.  I would, first and foremost, add a unit in health or literacy on digitial citizenship.  I recognize that there are issues with adding content as teachers plates are already full, but I think it would work in well with existing content too.  I think simply making this content mandatory would solve some problems with the generations of kids moving forward.  It is integral that kids understand how to behave online and that their “real life” selves are not too far removed from their “online” selves.  Digital citizenship and learning online etiquette young has the potential to stop the wild growth in online bullying, oversharing, etc. that sometimes comes with lack of knowledge.  Kids are not dumb, they have grown up with technology and they have a better understanding of the implications technology has than some adults.  I teach grade 2,  7 and 8 year old kids and although they don’t all have their own devices they do explore them at school and home.  They are curious and want to be active on the internet but their brains are not developed enough to understand long term consequences.  On the University of Rochester Medical Center website there is an article titled, “Understanding the Teen Brain” where it explores the fact that adolescents brains are not fully developed until around the age of 25.  It also states that there are fundamental differences between a child’s brain and an adult’s brain based on where they both process information.  Adults use the rational portion of their brain and children still use the emotional.  What better time in my opinion to add these skills into the curriculum!  Children NEED to be digitally literate – safe, effective and responsible online.

Thanks for reading!

❤ Dani

“Educating the mind, without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

 

 

To learn…or to google…that is the question.

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Hello ECI 831’ers and beyond,

Here we are, week 2 and you’re in for The Hackel Hub second pre-debate post!  I want to share my feelings on this week’s topic, “Schools should not focus on teaching things that can be googled”.  Again, just a reminder, this post is happening BEFORE our debate on Monday and so these are my feelings before hearing either side sell their point.  There are actually no articles posted yet so this is my own little bit of research into the subject too.  Enjoy.

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This is a LOADED question no matter which way you swing it…we literally have a world’s worth of knowledge in the palm of our hands, on our wrists, on a our desks, everywhere.  We have access to infinite information at the touch of a button.  So, the question arises, do we bother to teach kids in this rapidly changing generation anything that they can google?  They can pull out their phones, type in any question and find the answer.  They have the power to be self-centered learners, 24/7.  Sounds pretty amazing, almost euphoric.  However, I will admit, I am on the disagree side of this argument. 

I think schools absolutely SHOULD be focusing on teaching things that can be googled.  

I think schools and teachers play a valuable role in ensuring that kids not only find accurate answers for their questions.

I think schools can help students weed through falsehoods online – and let’s be real, there a LOT of falsehoods online!  

I think schools can offer the personal, text to life connections that might not be possible with just ask and search learning.

oh yeah ok GIF by Mauro Gatti

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To expand on my above thoughts – first, I think part of learning is being inquisitive and being self guided however, and maybe I’m bias as I’m a teacher, but I think that the role of teacher is an important one.  There is an incredible amount of information available online as the whole debate implies. This idea rolls into my second point, about helping kids weed through the false news, fake articles, dark web, etc.  It is increasingly easy for kids in this day and age to learn how to search for information but that in no way shape or form means that they know they are finding the correct answers.  I am also not saying that teachers have all the right answers, but I think we can help guide students in the correct directions, with the correct tools in their toolboxes for the job.  Education is shifting and changing and in order to keep children up to date I think it’s important not to shy away from a tool like google to help find answers but teaching kids, like anything online, how to use it safely and effectively is crucial.  If schools don’t teach that, who will?  If we don’t focus on anything that can be googled, in my opinion our kids are being done a serious dis-service.  They will eventually lose their curiosity about the world because everything can be found instantly – there is no point in wondering.  As I have also learned in my two previous classes with Alec, there is so much fake information online that if we truly believe that students should not be taught anything that an be googled, we can’t guarantee that what they are finding when they google is true.  There are dark corners of the web that will end up doing much more than good.  Again, I am not naive to the fact that not all information received from teachers is accurate or good, but it’s integral to incorporate the human connection with the information so that students can start to make educated, connected decisions.

education hug GIF by Teach Stem

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Finally, my third point, and maybe call me old school, but I still put value in the human connection and the connections that you can make with the world around you in person.  The feeling you get when working and learning together in the classroom is what you remember when you move on from school.  It’s often not the information, the facts and the points that you remember from school.  We need to encourage change in the world and do that, we can’t expect it from typing and reading and learning in a rote way.  Teachers can use google to help children find answers and then show them how to use the information to go further!  I am confident that this is the role of “teacher” going forward in the technological world.

 

I so look forward to hearing the debate on Monday and seeing if my opinion can be swayed! 🙂

Dani ❤

“Educating the mind, without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

Post Disputandum Week 1

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Hello again everyone!

Just a quick refresher, our first debate topic in week 1 was

“Does technology in the classroom enhance student learning?” 

We pre-voted and post-voted and in both instances, the consensus was that indeed technology does enhance student learning – I will admit, I was and still remain on the same side.  However, can I say the hugest congratulations to both sides of this debate!  Arguing that technology DOES NOT enhance student learning in a technology based class is not easy and there were valid, educated and relevant points made on both sides.  If you didn’t get a chance to, or aren’t in our class and want to peek the opening statements for both sides please check out the links below!

Disagree

Agree

I want to start by bringing attention to the fact that both sides made it VERY clear that regardless of how much or how little technology we have available in the classroom, without the direct support and guidance of the teacher, there will be no opportunity to enhance learning or deepen learning for our students.  Teachers play an integral part of ensuring that technology is used properly and safely for students.  It was really refreshing to hear both parties agreeing on the fact that we are and will continue to be needed in the classroom. Technology (at least for now! 😉 ) does not, regardless of how valuable it is, create the rapport and relationship that is offered by the teacher.

Image result for teachers appreciation

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I would like to tackle the wonderful points that the disagree group made that were close to swaying me.  They posted this article by Timothy Smithee that outlined 4 substantial negative effects that technology could have in the classroom.  I was really surprised because many of these I hadn’t considered.  The first one that stuck with me was the idea that technology is not being used effectively in the classroom and therefore not enhancing learning.  In a lot of circumstances, I really can’t disagree with that.  There are teachers who are resistant to learning the ins and outs of new programs and devices and therefore are not doing them justice if they are being used at all.  This in no way shape or form enhances learning, it just wastes time.  The second and third points they made which in my opinion are closely related is the immense cost of technology and therefore when purchasing it, there is potential to divert resources from other areas.  I get it – in order to use technology in the most effective way, the more you have, the more time each child gets with the device, the more potential for deepening learning rather just substituting.  I was big into the arts in high school and I would have been livid to know that money was being funneled from arts programs to fund a computer lab.  Granted, technology didn’t have the power it has now – that aside, to promote people’s passions and offer opportunities across the board is very important and was a valid point brought forward by the disagree side.  The final point that the disagree team made was the one that I had assumed they would rest on – that technology is a distraction.  There are so many opportunities for kids to spend more time fussing with the tech and learning enough about the topic, or just simply getting distracted by the million other things your device can do, other than what you’re supposed to do.  My colleague Catherine pointed out that she struggled with distraction from technology through school and had to set strict guidelines for herself in order to get work done… I have to admit, I did the same….but thankfully, now we have the abiltiy to get kids young and start teaching them proper, healthy technology and social media use.

All of these points were well researched, well thought out, and well presented.

well done good job GIF by Ecard Mint

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Now, on to the agree side.  These gals made excellent points to support why they felt technology does in fact enhance learning.  One of the main things I appreciated about this group was they openly admitted there were flaws in their argument and they argued their points regardless of them.  They proved that even with these downsides, their beliefs would outweigh the cons.  The article, “6 Pros & Cons of Technology in the Classroom in 2018” was a great read as I feel like it did the same thing – pointed out flaws but gave suggestion as to why, despite the cons, it’s still a great addition.  The agree group pointed out that technology is in fact a tool like any other we would use in school and needs to be treated as such.  When suggested that technology be integrated, it’s the same as being able to integrate any other newer tool or program.  Another very important point that this group made was that we are using technology as a means to prepare students for the future.  Kids are going to need to have a very specialized skill set for jobs moving forward and being digitally literate and competant in technology as well as multi-tasking and group work will be integral.  We learned of Ribble’s 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship last term and they are once again relevant as we explore what the future might look like for kids.  The agree groups main argument comes in the form of showing exactly how technology deepens learning and engages the students.  They said, it improves access so that children who don’t have access 100% of the time at home, can still have a chance to dig through and explore resources online at school.  Second, they mention that having chances for technology in the classroom makes it more teacher centered which essentially means that while you’re students are working independently, you can work with small groups who need extra support, etc.  Our time is so precious and this is a huge pro.  Another point that was brought up was that technology extends the audience that our students can write to, which can inspire purpose!  As teachers we are always looking for ways to motivate our kids and showing them that the world is bigger than our classroom walls is a great way to do it.

All of these points were also well researched, well thought out and well presented.

good job GIF

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Again, excellent job to both groups.  It’s so important to see both sides of an argument so you can informed decisions.

❤ Dani

“Educating the mind without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

Pre-disputandum Week 1

…But is it actually good for anything in the classroom???

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Hello ECI830’s and beyond,

I am SO excited to be back with Dr. Alec Couros for another Ed. Tech class.  I have been so lucky to take 2 classes (ECI 831 and ECI832) with him in the past and have gained a plethora of relevant knowledge that I have translated directly back to my classroom!  This term I think I am going to set up my blog a little differently – I am going to post my “pre-debate” feelings on the topic and then follow up after Monday night’s class and see if my opinion has been swayed!

This weeks question: “Technology in the classroom enhances learning”

First, what is technology?  It is defined on dictionary.com as,

1. the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts,engineering, applied science, and pure science.
2. the application of this knowledge for practical ends.
3. the terminology of an art, science, etc.; technical nomenclature.
4. a scientific or industrial process, invention, method, or the like.
the sum of the ways in which social groups provide themselves with the material objects of
their civilization.
Second, what is learning?  It is defined on dictionary.com as,
1. knowledge acquired by systematic study in any field of scholarly application.
2. the act or process of acquiring knowledge or skill.
3. Psychology. the modification of behavior through practice, training, or experience.

I commented on the Padlet this week and tagged the following image from this site.

Image result for samr model

I am a visual learner and love this as a way to explain what technology does in a classroom.  In my opinion, there is no way to steer clear of technology in the classroom.  It is all around us and it is not going anywhere – by not using it and not teaching our kids how to use it safely, we are setting them up to fail in the world they are integrating in to.  They need the important skills that learning through and with technology provide.  The jobs that kids will have as they grow up require many skills that weren’t as crucial when I was growing up and technology allows for these skills to grow – multi-tasking, research based rather than rote learning, quick pace learning, etc.

In order for technology to enhance learning as the topic suggests, you need to choose worthwhile resources that transform and allow your students experiences that they couldn’t get elsewhere.  As suggested in the picture, this will get you into the transformation stage where you are offering your students something new and exciting and relevant.  Having technology readily available at school has the ability to enhance learning, but just because it’s there doesn’t mean it’s going to benefit children.  We need to ensure that the skills they are gaining are creating technology and media literate learners, not just learners who know to use a computer or tablet.

Technology for technology sake WILL NOT enhance learning.  This is the idea that you SHOULD be using technology so you show a video or find a website and use it because you feel like it’s good practice, and don’t understand the real life connection the resource can have for your students.  Technology causes a great divide in many classes on account of accessibility at home and on the go, so using these resources in the classroom should be worth while and precious.  Many families cannot afford or choose for their children not to have devices or social media for other reasons and this makes it hard to offer enhancing lessons outside of the school.  Use the valuable time we have with our students in a meaningful, engaging, transformative way!

I’m so looking forward to hearing tonight’s debate and hopefully informing my opinion!

❤ Dani

“Educating the mind, without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

We are #humboldtstrong #saskstrong

Humboldt Broncos Logo Here

Sometimes we learn empathy in the most heartbreaking ways. Tragedies of this magnitude truly affect us all. Room 6 is Humboldt Bronco strong.

We learned through Jersey Day and a school wide bake sale that we need to look out for each other.  Money is important to make sure everyone gets the support they need without ever having it be the issue that holds them back.  However, we learned how important emotional support is too.  We learned that showing people around us that we care and that we are thinking of them is invaluable.  We want to be the kindness that the world so desperately needs.

Image result for green and yellow hearts    Image result for green and yellow hearts   Image result for green and yellow hearts     Image result for green and yellow hearts


Think Globally, Think Locally

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Here it is everyone…my final blog post of EC&I 832 and it’s the summary of my major project!  This project has helped my kiddos understand the importance of not just thinking about themselves.  They now understand the immeasurable need for support not only around the world, but in our own communities, in our classrooms.  Our “Think Globally, Think Locally” project has reminded me that there is hope for a bright tomorrow when we stick together.  Enjoy the video. ❤

 

Thank you SO much for taking the time to join us on this journey.  It means the world to me, but more importantly it means everything to my students.

Keep thinking globally and acting locally.

Dani

“Educating the mind without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

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The “Sum” of our Parts…aka my summary of EC&I 832!

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* DISCLAIMER!  I have done my project a little differently!  This post is my summary of learning of the class content! 🙂  My major project will be summarized in video form instead of this information!  Keep your eyes peeled for the video – coming to a blog near you!  Well…coming to this blog to be exact!

Hello ECI 832er’s and beyond,

It is seriously hard for me to believe that I am writing another summary of learning post as my second master’s class is coming to a close…first and foremost, the BIGGEST thank you to Dr. Alec Couros for another wonderful semester.  I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to actually use the knowledge I am gaining directly in my practice – my kids are benefiting directly, and for that, I am thankful too.  I have been interested and engaged, and for that I am so appreciative.  Secondly, I want to thank everyone in the class with me!  It has been such a pleasure not only getting to know you all through your writing but also hearing your points of view and seeing your tiny faces on Zoom. 🙂  Thanks to Alec and all of you for allowing me to bounce ideas off of you and post questions when I was drowning.  We did it!

 Thanks Giphy.

Well, here it is, my summary of learning, my semester at a glance, my thoughts rolled into one…ok, you get it.  There has been an overwhelming amount of content this term so I’m going to go back to the beginning and break it up by week to give my final thoughts.  Before I start, I think this class’ over arching theme is the idea of digital citizenship – who’s job is it and what does it look like in schools?  It is important to consider the implications from K all the way through 12, into adulthood as many people we work with both in our jobs and parents, haven’t grown up with the idea of digital literacy and therefore need support and guidance as well.  Digital citizenship needs to be a chameleon, it needs to take many forms so that it can have the biggest impact on the people you’re working with.  In Krista and Kelsie’s summary of learning they made a great observation, all of the pieces of the digital literacy puzzle that we are putting together is only further complicated by the starting point of the people you’re working with – everyone’s comfort level and skill level is very different.  Oh the tangled webs we weave.

Image result for tangled web Credit: Gary Neill

My own personal appreciation for digital citizenship stems from the fact that I now feel like I am both informed and capable to help guide others to feeling safe and efficient online.  The key for me will be recognizing those starting points and building from there so there aren’t any feelings of being overwhelmed or overworked.  Sit back, relax and enjoy a recap of my EC&I 832 journey.

 

Week 1:   

During the first week of classes we focused on the fact that our digital world is expanding at rates that we almost can’t comprehend and regardless of whether you want to be a digital citizen…you are one.  One of the most captivating thoughts from this week that stuck with me and made me feel grateful for growing up in the time I did, is that kids are growing up in a world that doesn’t forget.  In this article, by Dr. Alec Couros and Katia Hildebrandt they both do a masterful job explaining what the impact of our digital lives has on kids today.  They say,

“it is basically impossible to erase all “negatives” from a digital footprint: the Internet has the memory of an elephant, in a sense, with cached pages, offline archives, and non-compliant international service providers. What’s more, anyone with Internet access can contribute (positively or negatively) to the story that is told about someone online”

The thought that kids today do not have a choice in what is posted for them before they are old enough to decide creates an interesting dynamic as they are then responsible for cleaning up the mess afterwards.  Platforms in which information is being shared change rapidly, policy changes rapidly and I think understanding digital citizenship is so important.  It is our responsibility to keep kids safe online from cyber-bullying, extortion and identity theft or fraudulent behaviour.

Image may contain: one or more people, people sleeping and closeup This is Liv, my girlfriend Carli’s beautiful baby girl…she had just been born! Image pulled off of her Facebook.  Although this is a stickin’ cute photo, Liv didn’t get to decide and she already had a digital footprint formed for her right at birth!  Her job now, instead of creating her digital footprint, will be managing the one that has already been created for her.  Food for thought.

Week 2:

Next up on the EC&I832 was learning about Professional Learning Network’s.  A professional learning network, as shared by Brianna Crowley for an online publication called Education Week Teacher, “is a vibrant, ever-changing group of connections to which teachers go to both share and learn. These groups reflect our values, passions, and areas of expertise”.   On this site, there is also an easy to follow 3 step guide to creating and building PLN’s.  Building relationships with like-minded individuals is so integral to becoming a media literate digital citizen.  We need to connect online and share online as our digital selves and our real life selves are becoming more and more intertwined.  Our PLN’s allow us to come together but is the digital world, although literally bringing us together, actually tearing us apart? In Sherry Turkle’s TED talk, Connected, but Alone? she explores this idea and how we become so dependent on receiving affirmation from our online lives that we lose the ability to be in the moment in our real lives.  How we communicate and share is changing extremely rapidly and we need to embrace these changes and channel the amazing power and capability they give us, without losing ourselves and the grasp we continue to need our “real life” selves.  The video is below if you have a minute and want to check it out.

Another important piece we touched on in this second week of classes was the importance and relevance of hashtags and branding ourselves well using our social media and blogging so that the correct audiences are viewing our work!  I have to admit again…I’m quite a N00B to the Twitter world and although I understood what a hashtag was, I didn’t understand the importance and impact that they can have on your digital identity.  So, if you’re interested in digital education and literacy and happened to have stumbled upon this and you’re not in my class, mission accomplished! 😉

Week 3:

This week was one that I found very interesting as I was sort of lost as to where I fit in to the idea of Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants.  The way kids learn in school is changing all the time and there are important pieces that we need to remember to ensure that kids are not only getting the best education for the world they are growing up in, but also that they have the skills that they need to keep up with the times…it seems like they are speeding by and I don’t really see any signs that it’s slowing down.  In my blog post from this week I had linked the video found below.  Although there are obviously issues with the idea of natives and immigrants to the digital world, there were many pieces that made sense to me.

The video argues that kids today are born with adaptations to help them survive in the quick paced world we live in today, but as technology continues to drive the socio-economic wedge further between our classes, this statement is not necessarily true.  During this week of class we spoke a lot about how technology can cause divides in our classrooms because of finances, accessibility and even the morals of families choosing to have their child online or not.

Another quote that got my attention from the video was, “access does not come prepackaged with knowledge”.  Canadians and my students at Lakeview who have access to technology regularly do not necessarily have the knowledge needed to work safely and efficiently on the internet or technology on account of being able to access it.  This is such a valuable piece of knowledge so we don’t jump to conclusions.  I will again, link to my colleague Roxanne’s blog from this week, she said “digital citizenship skills need to be taught, they are not embedded in our brains”.  I agreed whole heatedly then, and I still do now.  We have an obligation to teach our children and students because it’s not ingrained.  Although I believe that some of the skills kids have on the function side from their intuitive nature online, they do not have the capacity to make safe, responsible choices online without guidance.

Week 4:

As we move forward into the fourth week of school we looked at how the frameworks of our generations will help us understand the ever changing world our kids and students are growing up in.  I felt like I really appreciated this week because the main point of my job is to try and prepare my kiddos for whatever the world is going to throw their way and in order for me to do that, I need to understand where I came from and have a good grasp of where things are headed in the future.  In my blog post from this week of class, I sited an articled called 2020 Future Skills Report and it outlined the skills that kids will need as they move forward in the workforce.  They identify the top 10 skills youth will need to know as they move into the workforce and beyond.  They identify these ten skills as sense-making, social intelligence, novel & adaptive thinking, cross-cultural competency, computational thinking, new-media literacy, transdisciplinarity, design mindset, cognitive load management, and virtual collaboration.  I am sure that if I looked back at the skill set kids needed 10, 20, 30 or more years ago many of these valuable assets would not be on the list, hence the importance of looking forward!  This week helped my understand that kids cannot just get away with remembering information and being able to regurgitate it on command.  First, the need to remember information is not necessary as there are a million and one ways to locate information at the touch of button, in the palms of our hands.  You want an answer, all you have to do is Google the question.  What is so important is that kids know where to find the answers, how to adapt to the information they find and then put the skills they need into practice to use the information.

Our kids now are multi-taskers both out of habit as well as necessity to keep up with the rapid rate in which they get information shared to them.  As we had spoken about in previous weeks, there is an urgent need that adults begin to foster the idea of digital hygiene in their children as we would any other routine or safety skills.  Cybrog Anthropology says, “Digital hygiene is a term used to describe the cleanliness or uncleanliness of one’s digital habitat. This could be used to describe one’s desktop icons, file structure, folder trees, Photoshop files or harddrive, Facebook page or digital persona. Just as one’s body can become unhealthy by the buildup of poor food choices, one’s hard drive can become unhealthy by the buildup of viruses, icons and fragmented software.”  We need to teach kids to be “clean” online – to come up with strategies and skills that will encourage them to lead their best lives online meaning that they are safe, kind, responsible and efficient.  Kids will end up doing most of their work and dealings in the virtual world so having the skills to be tidy and organized online will only make them more effective and essential in their workplaces.  Children (and adults 😉 ) are creatures of habit so working these digital hygiene pieces into daily life is crucial.

Image result for digital hygiene

Image Source

The moral of the story is to teach kids to use technology to their benefit and to be safe and mindful when doing so.  They have such an incredible amount of power to encourage change and start conversations but they need to understand that power and use it responsibly.

Week 5:

Ok, this week posed the big question, what does it mean to be a digital citizen?  Well isn’t that loaded question! This week an article by Dr. Paul Gordon Brown brought attention to the fact that our real life identities and our digital identities are really not far removed from another regardless of our perception.  How we choose to act and the public persona we embody online shouldn’t be different than that we showcase in real life.  We have the choice to be who choose in both avenues and the idea of spreading kindness rather than hate should be a focus when teaching kids about how their digital citizenship.  It is often perceived as much easier to spread hatred when you are protected by the anonymity of the online world and the protection of your computer but perhaps if we start to teach kids that their digital citizenship is forever and as much a reflection of themselves as their real life persona, we will see the tides change.

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This week we were also encouraged to check out Mike Ribble’s 9 elements of digital citizenship and see how our major project ideas lined up with these elements!  It was interesting to put my practice into check this week – why do I choose to do what I do in my class?  What are my kids actually getting out of it that will help them in the world they are growing up in?  I have linked my blog post here if you want to check it out.  I was happy to find out that two of the elements directly connected to my project.  In a lot of ways it validated that what I was teaching would hopefully be meaningful to the kids I’m working with in navigating the world they are growing up in.  The whole point is to make sure that the technologies kids are using continue to be used in positive, productive ways!

Week 6:

During week 6 of our course we explored how we tackle the concept of identity in a digital and networked world.  I think to sum this week up, it comes back to the fact that schools NEED to teach digital citizenship and NEED to teach children to have confidence online to make good choices and make positive change.  As mentioned in my blog from week 6, I am cautiously optimistic – I was then, and I am now, about kids navigating the online world.  There are so many opportunities that are opened up because of the technologies if we continue to teach kids to be wary but authentic.  I will also encourage my students to find the truth and authenticity in others online while still remembering that there are so many filters, both literally and metaphorically in what they read and view.

Image Source.

Image result for authentic self online There were a few things that stood out for me as I remembered back to this week of class, the first being a piece of information from a Danielle’s blog, a continuum document.  If we want to ensure that digital identity is a priority, we need to understand when kids need what knowledge.  We also need to lay these concepts out in an easy to understand, easy to navigate format so that teachers buy in.  This continuum is such a valuable resource to aid in ensuring kids learn digital literacy in a format that makes sense and gives them skills that will build upon each other.  The second piece that really stood out for me came from Anne and Amy’s catalyst project – she concluded from surveying her students, that their parents rarely asked for digital help, although they come from the generation that would be considered digital immigrants.  My guess is that parents have gotten comfortable with the platforms they use on a regular basis such as Facebook on account of using them but also because there are many ways to get information about these platforms and how to use them.  Anne also concluded that usually, when parents did ask their children for help online, it was to aid in spotting fake news – I think this could be on account of the fact that tools to help us spot fake news have only now started becoming readily available online.  A big part of digital identity is comfort online, once the comfort level is built you can start building a true, authentic self online.

Week 7,8&9:

Over the course of these 3 weeks we welcomed Carol Todd, Patrick Maze and we spoke about who should be playing a role in teaching digital education.  Carol Todd is the mother of Amanda Todd who’s daughter was the victim in a horrible online extortion case that ultimately ended in her untimely death.  If you haven’t watched the video I have included it below – please be aware before watching, there is reference to suicide and self harm near the end, if you have sensitives please watch cautiously.  This was the first video of its type and it has been replicated hundreds of times and used for others to share their stories – Carol Todd has used this tragedy to reach out and help others to ensure that this doesn’t happen to another child.

Carol very bravely spoke about cyber-bullying and the grave effects it has on children, their families and our communities.  This was a really meaningful conversation because she told us what her hopes were for the future for parents and teachers to help combat this epidemic.  Part of keeping our children safe online is to ensure that they are educated and it has become Carol’s mission after losing Amanda to teach not only empathy and understanding, but online and digital safety too.   Carol created the Amanda Todd Legacy foundation that raises money for bullying causes, offers support and education and even has a place to share your story.  It is these types of initiatives that will aid in teaching kids about the dangers of going online, while still showing them that you can’t be scared and get rid of technology but just use it safely and responsibly, trusting your gut and your heart and then executing through your brain.

In this time span we also welcomed Patrick Maze, the head of the Saskatchewan Teacher’s Federation.  Pat took time out of his busy schedule to login and talk to us about the STF’s stance on teachers engaging in social media practice from their point of view.  What I got from Pat’s post was not only be cautious about what we post, but be smart!  We are teachers 24/7, 365 days a year – there is no off switch and we are held, by law, to a higher standard than most professions.  Our online self and IRL self are one in the same.  The expectations for behaviour and ethic obligations are the same online as they are in our day to day classroom life.  Whether you think this is fair or not, it is what it is.  I do have my own personal social media that are separate from my school ones and although there is nothing on my personal social media that could be deemed inappropriate, I feel as though I am entitled to some privacy.  I understand my commitment to the profession but I have the right to have my children (should I have some one day) and my family private if I choose.   As I stated on my blog from this week, I appreciate the STF and Patrick Maze but respectfully disagree with some of the guidelines they impose.

To finish this chunk of our class who spoke about who’s job it actually is to educate children on media literacy.  This is a tangled web of opinions and you know what they say about opinions… I feel very strongly that it takes a village to fully raise and educate a child and that teaching digital literacies is no different.  I think the responsibility is split between school and home as there are pieces of information that would be best shared at school, and absolutely some that will be more personal and better decided on at home.  At school I think the owness is on ensuring that children have access to technology, even if they don’t at home, and to ensure that the skills to be safe and responsible online are taught – not just how to physically use the devices.  I think it is the responsibility of the school to not stray away from technology but use it to its fullest and teach with it and about it.  The responsibility of the home is to go over rules with online use and for parents to be present for their children by knowing how the apps and devices they are using work.  Instead of isolating their children by banning technology, teach them and learn with them so everyone can be safe and informed.

Week 10:

This week we explored what it actually means to be digitally literate in today’s world!  My content catalyst project was included this week so I felt prepared and excited to share my research with the class.  I have put my video presentation below if you would like to have a look through.  My main point and the information I felt set my Screencast apart from other’s presented this week (which were all amazing by the way!) was my focus on intuitive learning online as related to being digitally literate.  I find it extremely interesting that without reading instruction manuals and watching “how to” videos children seem to understand how to navigate their way around the online world.  Designers and creators of technology design it in such a way that we can use our intuition to understand how things work online.  When you are using a program that “doesn’t work how it should” you are experiencing the frustration of poor execution of a program or device.  The Norman door example explained in my presentation does a great job validating your anger, check it out around the 4:10 mark.

The overall take away from this week was that how children are literate in today’s world has changed dramatically.  The “why” they need to be literate in this way has changed too.  The world our kids are growing up in is forcing them to have a different skill set that allows for multi-tasking, group work, flexibility and often high stress work environments.  Being literate not only in the traditional sense of books and numbers but online as well will allow them the best chance for success in this changing world.  I will say it for the millionth time – kids need to be literate in navigating and utilizing the technology to it’s fullest, not simply able to operate the device.

This week we also looked at identifying fake news and stretched truths in the media.  This skill is one that is so incredibly crucial in today’s world as anyone can create media, anyone can add it to the internet and really, there is no significant vetting of information before it’s posted.  We are bombarded with information non-stop.  My classmate Luke’s Vlog says that we receive between 4000 and 10,000 media messages a day so we desperately need the skills to be able to wade through and choose the messages that are crucial to us as well as true.  There is no way to effectively take them all in, so teaching kids the skills to pick and choose and be critical is the only way.  I came across the video below and it shows the devastating effects that not being critical online can have.  Now more than ever we need to be able to spot fake news and “alternative facts”.

This graphic from International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions is one of many available online that help to aid people in taking the appropriate steps to spotting fake news.  Making these steps available in school, even from a young age will be the key to changing what information is believed online, and hopefully down the road, what information gets posted in the first place.  For more details on this topic you can also swing back to my blog post from this week here.

Week 11:

During this class we took some time to think about the legalities (moral, ethical and legal) about teaching digital education.  This was especially interesting because I have to be honest, I don’t really spend a lot of brain power on this subject when it’s arguably one of the most important areas, with the biggest potentially for backlash.  I am hyperventilate with permission slips ensuring they give both options for participation as well as all the important and relevant details of the event, if you would like to see an example of something I created for this project, please click the link, university-class-media-release-note.

Image result for copyright lawI would never take any chances in this aspect and would rather be over prepared than the opposite!  As far as thinking of the ins and outs of the policy for my division, I need to brush up.  I would absolutely ask before doing something and getting myself in hot water, but truly, this is important stuff and I should be more acquainted with the policies.  I suppose there is a goal moving forward!

Image source.

The Finale:

Hard to believe the end is so near again.  Throughout the course of the semester I have gained so much knowledge and grown in my personal viewpoints.  This course has challenged me and encouraged me to listen to others who have different skill levels and sets, working in vastly different careers.  I have a better, more thorough understanding of where to look to find information from leaders in the field and most importantly, where to direct my students to ensure the resources they are reading are true and relevant.

I have such a drive going forward to ensure that my students are digitally literate members of our community.  I use the term digitally literate to include being safe, responsible and kind online but also meaning to be able to detect fake news, to be intuitive and efficient in their workings online, and foster the skills they will need in the technological field as they move forward in their lives into their high level education and beyond.  I get excited when I think about the possibility of having kids growing up where some of the threats are eliminated online because kids (or adults then) have the skills to shut down false stories and the sense to treat each other better IRL and online.

For the second last time…remember, major project summary to come…thanks for reading.

Dani ❤

 Thanks Captain Obvious and Giphy.

“Educating the mind without educating the heart,

is no education at all.”

-Aristotle

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