Technology

I Got Rid of My Social Media

Posted on October 2, 2018. Filed under: Facebook, personal, Social Media, Social Networking |

This is my story about my positive experience getting rid of social media and taking a big step back from technology in general.

It all started after I was part of a local summer festival. I was doing a lot of the behind the scenes tech work; the social media accounts, emails, scheduling etc. I was on my phone A LOT. I had even downloaded an app called Moment a week before, because I wanted to know just how much I was using it. Here are my stats for that week:

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Yep, you got it. The LEAST amount of time I was on my phone was 4 hours 31 minutes. Isn’t that gross? Yes, I was doing “work,” but I didn’t love what I saw. I decided that I needed a technology break. I was going to get off my social media accounts, try to use my phone much less, and have a breather.

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Time to Quit- Photo credit: Marco Verch via Flickr

So what happened? Well first off, I realized I had fallen into some BAD habits. I wouldn’t call it a full fledged addiction, but it could have been pretty close! For the first week, I clicked on my “social” category at least 5-6 times a day, only to realize that I had deleted the social media apps. I kept the Twitter app, as I am a teacher and I have a class account that I tweet from, but I deleted my personal account from the app so I wouldn’t be tempted to check it. Gone was my Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. I decided to keep my Timehop app as it basically just brought up baby pictures of my daughter from the last two years which I love. I kept my Messenger app as I am part of some communities (like our small group from church) that only uses Messenger to communicate. I also kept my Pinterest app which I don’t use for social networking… More for the rare lesson plan idea. I am on Pinterest so minimally, I wasn’t worried about needing to delete it. But the goal was to not just be off those apps, but to be off my phone more period.

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This week marks one month since I’ve been off social media, and honestly, I am feeling great! I do not miss Facebook as much as I thought I would, even though I was spending quite a bit of time on there a day. I would mostly read articles that interested me, and then scroll scroll scroll through the newsfeed. I have quite a varied group of people on my Facebook, due to my desire to not surround myself with an echo chamber. See my post on that here. But I’m sorry to say friends, you guys just aren’t THAT interesting. Not enough to be spending the time I was on there, at least.

twitterThe craziest part is that I thought I would get off tech for a month and then go back on, but I’m not ready! I am going to slowly re-introduce my social media accounts back into my life. Yesterday I did re-add my personal Twitter account again. It’s funny to me that I missed Twitter the most. I don’t even know if “missed” is the right word. Maybe I felt like it was the most useful? My Twitter account is mostly for professional use, and I follow a lot of awesome teachers who share neat, encouraging ideas. Either way, it’s what I’m starting with.  Maybe next month, I will add something else back in, although I am getting used to being off of it…  Hmm, my life might just be changed forever!

Have you ever gone off grid? How did you like it? Anything you missed too much? Anything that changed the way you interact with your digital world? Leave a comment!

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EC&I 834 Summary of Learning

Posted on April 10, 2017. Filed under: digital citizenship, Eci834, Garageband, Google Classroom, Masters, Social Media, Technology |

I used Emaze.com for my summary of learning! It’s a great alternative to Powerpoint, Keynote, or Prezi as a presentation tool. One of Emaze’s options is to create a mini site. It’s a really neat way to showcase learning!

Here is a quick screen cast to explain how to navigate the mini site.

Explore my Summary of Learning mini site for yourself here.

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Feedback Considerations

Posted on April 9, 2017. Filed under: Eci834, Google Classroom, Masters, Technology |

It was great to hear the positive feedback around our Genius Hour course prototype. Our group had a lot of fun putting together the online Genius Hour course, and we wanted it to be as practical and usable as possible.

Initially, we had the course set for grades 3-8.  I am a grade two teacher, and tried to Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 10.12.21 PMmake my course content accessible and readable enough for grade two students.  However, one of the comments and feedback we received quite often was that people were worried about the content level and reading level for the youngest (grade 3) students. Our group took this into consideration and decided to change our grade level to 5-8.  The course can be adapted if need be to the younger grades, but people were right; some of the modules would be a little difficult for those young ones. It was a simple change that our group was happy to do.

Our group chose blogging as the “thread” that would tie all our modules together. We Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 10.13.57 PMeach had different content, and we figured blogging would be a good way to root the students in something similar throughout all of them.  We had decided that the teacher who was doing this online course would have taught the students how to blog before starting this course, but I guess we didn’t quite make that clear enough.  We have now added this into our course.  If for some reason the student missed the class where they learned how to set up their own blog, they can watch the video and make one for themselves.

One of the comments that we got was that our Google Classroom set up was very easy to follow. This took me a very long time to do, but I am glad I did it. Our whole group just put in assignments as we finished them, and our stream was pretty chaotic.  We had Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 10.14.55 PMvideos and assignments from different modules all over the place. Once everyone had all of their content in Google Classroom, I went through and reverse organized them. In the top right hand corner of each assignment it says move to top.  So I started at the last assignment and moved it to the top.  I then worked backwards all the way until the very first assignment, so that the first assignment you see is the Introduction 1.1, and then 1.2 etc. This only works if you can import all of your content before the students start the online module.  If you are adding content daily with students, this option is not available.

Someone suggested that the last video and slideshow in my module are a little bit Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 10.15.51 PMdifficult (content wise) for young students. They are totally right. I only added those in because I didn’t feel like I gave the “works cited” portion of my module enough learning time. So that said, I’ve decided to change the instructions so that the videos/slides can be for those students who are interested in going above and beyond.  Perhaps they want to move from a “meeting” to “established” knowledge of digital citizenship.
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The only other feedback I would like to comment on would be how the content is organized. I think as people get used to Google Classroom, they would realize that we had two ways to view content. You could click on the “Topics” tab, and see each of our
individual units/modules as a cluster, or you could follow the
Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 10.18.06 PM stream in order from 1.1 to 5.5 which included the assessments and evaluations.

Overall, I find that the peer feedback was an excellent way to improve this course. It makes me wish I would have actually filled out more course evaluations during my University career haha! Teachers give great feedback, and our group was happy to change our course to make it more accessible, available, and appropriately levelled. Thanks to everyone who had a chance to give us some feedback! I would love to share our module with others who would like to use this online Genius Hour course in their class!

Here are all the blogposts about our course prototype.

If you would like to check out our course prototype, please go to Google Classroom and use the class code: ku6m8y The course outline is under the “About” section.

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How to subtitle? Well I just don’t know!

Posted on April 3, 2017. Filed under: Eci834, Technology |

I had quite the experience trying to learn how to subtitle a video I had made with Tellagami. By watching YouTube music videos, you would think it should be no problem at all! Well, I was humbled to say the least! I tried two different software platforms, and couldn’t figure out either! After at least 3 hours of trying, I ended up going to a platform I was familiar with and just making it work.

Maybe someone knows what I was doing wrong, and wants to comment below? That would be awesome!

Here’s my journey…

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Authentic online spaces: Good or bad?

Posted on March 19, 2017. Filed under: Anti Oppressive Ed, Blog on Blogging, Eci834, First Nations, Masters, Privilege, Race, Technology |

This blog prompt comes at an interesting time for me as I have had a couple great conversations around this topic just recently. Both have to do with blogging and the conversations that occur because someone shared their thoughts/opinions/knowledge online; good, bad, or otherwise!

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Photo credit: Will Lion via Flickr

The first story happened in the last couple of weeks for me.  I have been blogging my reading responses for my other Masters class, EC&I 814 Critical Perspectives of Pre-school Edece-bookucation. We have been diving into topics around how to de-pathologize curriculum and re-situate early childhood education into an asset oriented perspective.  It goes along nicely with the anti-oppressive education work I have been doing this last year of my life.  In these posts, I often quote Luigi Iannacci who is one of the authors of our textbook, Early Childhood Curricula and the De-pathologizing of Childhood. I got an unexpected surprise one day last week when Iannacci emailed me through my blog’s ‘About page’ (which as a side note is why it’s important to have a contact form on your blog) and commented on my blog post. He was very encouraging…

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This led to me emailing him back, and we have had a little conversation back and forth for the last couple weeks. He has been very open and genuine, and I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask him if he wanted to Skype/Facetime in with our class during my presentation coming up on March 28th. He was more than happy to do it, and we have been figuring out exactly what that will look like.

But what can I say? What an amazing opportunity for myself and my classmates to actually talk to the human behind the stories and theory represented in our text. This opportunity happened BECAUSE I blogged my reading response for the world rather than wrote it for my professor. No, our conversation didn’t happen in the comment section of my blog or in a discussion forum, but none the less, it happened because of my blogging platform.

What do I take from this?

  1. Teachers need to give their students opportunities to write for someone other than themselves.
  2. Authenticity is inspired in others when it starts with me.

 

The second story happened to a friend of mine, Claire Kreuger. By the way, she has given me permission to tell this story. She has been blogging her thesis– HALLELUJAH! (I am so glad that this is starting to become a thing.) And she has had some interesting conversations around some of her posts. The story she told me yesterday was where her authentic online space did not go over so well.

Through her thesis, she has been actively trying to disrupt her own understanding of Whiteness, colonial spaces, and privilege. Her thesis is an Auto-ethnography, which involves her using stories from her own family, classroom and experiences. In her post, H is for Headdress, she explains why it is unacceptable for non-indigenous people, children included, to be wearing and making headdresses. Though this issue has been brought to light multiple times in the media, and in education, it still seems to be happening quite frequently. Claire mentions how even her own daughter made a feather headdress in class last year.  This is actually where the authenticity/openness of her blogging takes a turn for the worst.

Shortly after mentioning her daughter’s craft in her blog post, Claire got an email from her child’s teacher with the principal cc’d. The teacher wanted Claire to come in and chat… Uh oh! Anytime a teacher is willing to schedule a meeting on Friday after school, you know it’s not to talk about some awesome answer the child gave in Science that day. Sure enough, the teacher and principal wanted to speak about her blog post. The teacher

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“Blog With Authenticity Without Getting Fired” photo credit: Search Engine People Blog via Flickr

felt like Claire attacked her in the blog posts, and was telling others that she was a bad teacher. She had printed off pages from Claire’s blog (kind of ironic, right?) and challenged Claire on what she had written. Claire had to do damage control and explain the situation.  She told the elementary teacher that she thought she was an awesome teacher, but that Claire did have issues with that craft in particular, and how Indigenous people were being (mis)represented on a classroom and even school level. She tried to
apologize to the teacher and principal and explain that she was not trying to condemn the teacher per se, but rather address what her daughter had shared in conversation at home. Her daughter’s lack of knowledge and language around First Nations people was actually more of an issue than the craft itself, especially since Claire is actively trying to educate her own children about First Nations content at home. It is a symptom of the bigger systemic issue, and Claire clearly pointed that out in the blog, or at least she thought she did. Though the conversation was awkward, it was one that probably needed to happen on both accounts.

In this case, Claire being open and authentic in her blog caused tension with her face to face relationships. She was forced to stand behind her convictions and call somebody out on their racially insensitive actions. Though she was pressured to censor her opinions and thoughts, she found a way to adjust her blog’s comments, but not erase the story itself.

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“Blogging Readiness” photo credit: Cambodia4kids.org via Flickr

In either story, the good news is that the blogging platform brought out conversation, good or bad.  The public nature of the writing brought on discussion. The openness of the content spurred on more conversation. It can’t always guarantee that other’s will be authentic or genuine, but it sure helps when you know the writer is starting from that place.

 

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Classroom Interactions Online

Posted on March 7, 2017. Filed under: digital citizenship, Eci834, educational, Genius Hour, Google Classroom, Masters, Social Networking, teaching and learning, Technology |

As I was reading through this week’s assigned chapters, I became very thankful that Alec and Katia know this research well, and have shown our class, by example, what online learning should/can look like. As I was thinking about learning communities, I decided that one of the reasons why I feel our class’s learning community connects so well is because of the systems this class has in place to connect with others.

  1. Zoom live video. I can’t think of a better tool to feel like part of the class without a classroom. Even if most students don’t speak out loud during the classes, the live feature of being able to see everyone if you wanted, really helps with accountability and presence.
  2. Zoom chat. I compare this to when the chapter was talkingzoom about the MSN chat. Having the chat option during the live feed really builds community as there can be joking go on, side conversations and little comments here and there that not only make people feel like they are contributing, but encourages participation.
  1. Zoom breakout rooms. These short small group interactions help put faces to names, and allows you to feel like you know at least a few people on a more personal level. Usually during these breakout sessions, you at least find out what grade the other people teach and possibly one or two things about their classroom.
  2. Twitter chats. Using a class hashtag is an effective way to have asynchronous twitterconversation and sharing with classmates. Because of it’s ‘favourite’ and ‘retweet’ options, you feel connected with other members of the class even when you are not speaking face to face.
  3. Google+. Because of its closed/private discussion boards, Google+ can feel like a safer social media sharing platform than Facebook or Twitter. There isn’t a chance of anyone else (besides those in the class) that could read the posts. I think this helps people feel secure when they share something.

I love Shweir’s definition of participation in regards to online learning communities. He says participation is

“social interaction, especially participation that promotes self- determination, respects the autonomy of members and sustains the community” (2002).

This is important as it moves past the definition of raising your hand- virtually, or face to face.  I also know from my own experience that mandatory participation and participation marks don’t automatically equal engagement. There have been discussion boards and conversations that I have been involved in only for the sake of that participation mark.

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“Power Law of Participation” photo credit: Ross Mayfield via Flickr

Pedagogically speaking, I really feel like we need to move past participation marks… into finding ways for authentic participation and engagement that promotes a growth mindset. Our group has decided to use Google Classroom as our LMS. I have been learning about the different ways Google Classroom allows students to get involved within that platform, and I have been thinking about ways to use that platform to the best of my ability.

google-classroom

Our group has decided to use blogging/pingbacks as a way for students to interact with the teacher and each other. We have also thrown around the idea of having the students use Twitter or another similar tool to connect with each other. (Rochelle’s post this week confirmed this is always a great tool) BUT the more I think about it, the more I feel like Google+ might be the better option because we chose Google Classroom as the LMS, but I could be wrong. What do you think? Should our group use Google+ as an added learning community just because we are using GC as the learning management system? Do you think that kids will buy in more, or have a better understanding of how the tool works because it’s created by the same company?

This journal article talks about how gamification and student competitiveness can boost student learning. I know that I love a healthy competition between friends or classmates. That is why for my module, I chose to have the students share their score from a digital citizenship game that they will be taking part in. I created a Google Form for them to input screen-shot-2017-01-29-at-11-15-26-pmtheir answers. This game is a fun way to make dig cit choices, and because there’s really no right or wrong answers in this game, sharing their score is a healthy way to promote participation and a little competition within their learning community. Along with the score, they will be writing how they think they could improve their score if they played the game again.  This way, they are also sharing tips and tricks  with their classmates that will share their knowledge on good digital citizenship behaviour.

 

I believe the best way to have student interactions that are meaningful, relevant and supportive, is to have the students engage with relevant content and actually care about what they are talking about. I think our group has a hand up in this sense as our group is

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“Genius Hour” photo credit Denise Krebs via Flickr

doing Genius Hour which is where the students get to learn about whatever they want! Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of ways to make curriculum fun and engaging, but I am very excited to see how the students will build a specialized learning community throughout this process.

 

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