digital citizenship

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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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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Examining UNESCO’s Five Laws of Media and Information Literacy

Posted on February 21, 2017. Filed under: digital citizenship, Eci834, educational, Masters, online safety, Social Media, Social Networking, teaching and learning, Technology |

I read an article this week that discussed UNESCO’s launching of it’s framework for media and information literacy. I found it very intriguing.  Especially considering our EC&I 834 discussions around media, media platforms and Learning Management Systems (LMS). It gave me some insight into international thought regarding these learning outlets.

UNESCO stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. It’s main purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration on these matters. Their 5 Laws have to deal with media engagement, creation, transparency, communication and acquisition. I am going to walk through each of the laws and discuss how I think it pertains to myself as teacher and the students who will be accessing my material for my online course.

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Photo credit: Alton Grizzle and Jagtar Singh via Unesco.org

Law 1- I love how it mentions that information and communication are for use in critical civil engagement and that all media and information are equal in stature. Just because technology has come a long way, does not make books irrelevant. All types of media and information (MIL) are useful to help citizens engage critically. I also think Law #1 is trying to reveal that certain types of information are not more valuable than others. In the 30’s the German Student Union ceremonially burned books that did not agree with Nazi ideologies. This MIL law would condemn that practice and encourage all forms of information and media providers.

Our online course modules are trying to promote student’s critical civil engagement. In fact my module is going to be focusing on works cited and digital citizenship, which relates to this law quite well!

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-9-15-11-pmLaw #2- Media and Information literacy is for everyone! What a great statement! Men, women, and children all deserve access to new information and should be allowed to express themselves. China and North Korea are examples of countries that don’t believe in this MIL law. China censors their citizens through “strict media controls using monitoring systems and firewalls, shuttering publications or websites, and jailing dissident journalists, bloggers, and activists” (Xu and Albert, 2017). Basically anyone that can/will speak against the Chinese government is stopped. Have you seen this video of a BBC journalist trying to interview an independent candidate running for office in China? It’s terrifying.

North Korea has similar but perhaps worse censorship with their citizens. The Kim Jong-un dynasty spends millions of dollars each year indoctrinating their citizens with government propaganda that the Kim dynasty is infallible. They entirely restrict access to any outside media and information, and people like Kang Chol-hwan go to great lengths to smuggle it in. Read about that in The Plot to Free North Korea with Smuggled Episodes of Friends.
Law #2 seemingly empowers students to be creators of media and express themselves through it. In our course’s modules, each of my group members and I have decided that we will have a blogging/journalling component so that students are producing and publishing their own content on a weekly/bi-weekly basis. We are also trying to use many different tools that promote content creation rather than content consumption.

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“Consolidation” photo credit: Sam Churchill via Flickr

Law #3- Is basically talking about all news we see today isn’t it? It seems that if the screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-6-35-48-pmcurrent Facebook article we are reading or sharing isn’t fake news, it is still riddled with some type of political undertones or journalistic bias. I could be exaggerating a bit, but I definitely feel like today’s news articles aren’t as cut and dry as they used to be.  It seems harder and harder to just report the facts, and easier for the journalist/author to choose “a side” and go with it. (I wonder if that’s because practically all of our news outlets are owned by the same people! See infographic above!) That said, if we don’t want our media outlets and information to support indoctrination and/or propaganda, we should make sure that we are teaching students (and parents) how to critically engage with media. They need to be taught how to question the message, and understand the information that is trying to be communicated… Especially if/when there are political

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“Trump’s Fake News” photo credit: outtacontext via Flickr

undertones or hidden agendas. Can students (or teachers for that matter) spot Fake news? You can take Globe and Mail’s fake news quiz to find out! (I only got 4 right! But in my defence, I mistook some satire news for fake! …but still :|) Furthermore, this article discusses how the top fake American election news stories generated more Facebook engagement than the top election stories from the major news outlets. Scary right?

My group member, Adam Krammer is going to be doing part of his course module on quality research, finding reputable sites, and evaluating resources. I imagine he will touch on what students can do to avoid some of the aforementioned pitfalls.

Law #4- I actually need some help figuring out what this law means. screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-9-42-24-pmSo is it saying that
everyone wants knowledge even if they say they don’t? I’m not really sure I understand. Who or why would someone say that they don’t want to engage with new information or knowledge? Would this be like my North Korea example? They actually want new knowledge even if their government says they don’t? Please help me out friends, I don’t think I’m reading this one clearly enough!

screen-shot-2017-02-21-at-9-48-48-pmLaw #5- I completely agree that media and information literacy are not acquired all at once. Classes like EC&I834 are great examples of this! Every time I take a class with Alec and Katia, I learn more about technology and its different tools. I am also challenged on the pedagogy behind the technology and how it pertains to teaching and learning. It has definitely been a lived and dynamic process for me, and my learning is ever changing and shifting. I don’t believe my MIL is complete as I don’t have knowledge in every area of access, evaluation/assessment, use, production and communication of information. I try to pass what I do know on to my students, and we grow and learn together from there.

Because I am focusing on digital citizenship and works cited skill development in my online course module, I have decided to try out some pre-made dig cit activities to engage the students within their level of media and information literacy. One of the activities my students will do in my module is take part in an online game by Common Sense Media. The game takes students through a “choose your own ending” type experience where they get to navigate through cyber-bullying, privacy, memes, ads, spam, good sources, behaviour and copyright to name a few. It is a fun and easy way to take a quick look at these various topics and test their knowledge on what they have learned. It is by no means comprehensive, but is designed to get students thinking about this content and how it pertains to them and their online media literacy.

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“Information Literacy” photo credit Ewa Rozkosz via Flickr

When I was in high school there was a class called Media Studies. I didn’t take it, but imagine it was doing what this post is talking about- engaging with Media in a critical capacity.  High school teachers, is this still a class? If not, is it because critically looking at media belongs in every class? The more I dug into these MIL laws, the more I realized how important media literacy really is.  The term “literacy” no longer just means traditional reading and writing anymore.  It is our job as teachers to guide students into examining media and information literacy at a deeper level… in EVERY class.

 

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Getting Started with Google Classroom

Posted on January 29, 2017. Filed under: digital citizenship, Eci834, educational, Genius Hour, Google Classroom, Masters, online safety, Technology |

Our ECI834 group has chosen to use Google Classroom as an LMS. It seems to be the most practical choice as many of us will have opportunities to use it now (or later) in our classrooms.

google-classroom

Photo credit: Alice Keeler via alicekeeler.com

I, for one, have not tested out Google Classroom before as I have taught grade 1 or 2 for the past 5 years and it’s a little bit too difficult to navigate for that age group. Instead, I have used SeeSaw pretty extensively. (Which I love btw!)

I am hoping to move up in grades in the next little while, so I know I will be able to use Google Classroom more and more.  I’m especially excited to use it for Genius Hour with older students.

The first thing I had to do in Google Classroom was create a class. I asked my group if we each wanted to create our own class for this project, or if we should have one class with different units. We decided on just one class.

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That meant that the next thing I needed to do was add my group as co-collaboraters within our “Genius Hour” class. For that, I googled “collaborate with other teachers on Google Classroom.” Helpful Google gave me step by step instructions, and the first thing I had to do was go to the ‘About’ tab, and “Invite Teachers.”  The only problem was that there was no one to invite! I tried typing in my group’s email addresses, and it didn’t work. Nothing came up.

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It turns out I needed to have these teachers as contacts before I could invite them to collaborate. So I had to open up ‘My Contacts’ with this specific Gmail account and add each of my group members as contacts.

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This step seemed a little excessive, as I feel like I should have been able to input their email address directly into Google classroom. It was especially difficult as a couple of my group member’s uregina emails didn’t work.  Once we got that sorted out, I was able to add all of my group as co-teachers for our class.

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Now I needed to create an assignment and somehow organize it so that my assignments would only show up in my module.  Google Classroom has a “Stream” for the students, and things show up in there as they are put in. I figured this could get confusing considering we were going to have six people adding assignments to this one class.  The Google expert, Alice Keeler, wrote a post about adding topics to Google Classroom. I learned that “topics” is a way that we can organize our content into units. I called my topic, “Digital Citizenship and Works Cited” as that is what my Genius Hour module is going to be on.screen-shot-2017-01-29-at-10-27-00-pm

I encouraged the rest of my group to create their own topic when they create an assignment as well. That way students can use the filter option later to navigate through the different assignments for each unit.  I will organize my own assignments with the Dig Cit/Works Cited topic/unit and then call them Assignment 1, 2, 3 etc. with a description of what they will be doing.

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Digizen.org

For my first assignment, I have decided to have the students complete an interactive digital citizenship game made by Digizen, write a reflective blog post, and fill out a Google Form that shares their digital citizenship score with the rest of the class. I figured this would be an interesting way to engage my students in the topic and get them thinking.

Some of my other EC&I834 classmates have also chosen to use Google Classroom for their LMS, and Jayme reminded me that one of the best features of Google Classroom is that students will have everything they need in one place. They won’t need to worry about losing assignments or misplacing certain instructions. I came across this powerful blog post a couple months back written by Pernille Ripp. It talks about how we as teachers need to try and remove barriers for learning rather than add them. This resonates with me while thinking about Google Classroom. Why would we get mad at students for losing assignments when we can help them by creating a place for them where this very thing is impossible? Google Classroom will be a great tool that will help students in this way, among others. I’m excited to dive into it further.

While testing it out this week, these are my Google Classroom pros and cons

PROS

  • Easy to navigate
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Simple ways to attach URLs, documents, Youtube videos, and any other Google Drive options to assignments

CONS

  • Had to add create new Google contacts to add other teachers as collaborators
  • There was no way to add a specific folder for a unit, so I had to use the “topics” tag
  • Once I have used the “topics” tag to specify units, I won’t be able to use it to specify other subjects.  I will have to create a new class for each new subject I would want. Ex: Science, ELA, Math etc.

Does anyone know a way around this issue? If so, please share in the comments!

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Unfollowing Idiots

Posted on January 26, 2017. Filed under: Anti Oppressive Ed, digital citizenship, Eci834, educational, Facebook, Masters, online safety, Social Media, Social Networking, teaching and learning |

Ok, I apologize for using the term idiots. I guess I just need a catchy title that will grab attention and then we can start dealing with the issue at hand- what to do with those people on Facebook who annoy the crap out of you because of what they post!

 

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(No he doesn’t have an earring, it’s the lights behind him haha)

Meet Jon. Jon is my husband. Jon does not struggle with being a people pleaser, and he rarely cares about other’s approval. In fact, he frequently unfriends/unfollows people on his Facebook because he doesn’t like what they share/post. He doesn’t worry about his friend count, and if he hasn’t spoken to you for a while and you aren’t really friends, he will probably delete you.  It’s just the harsh reality of being a “Jon acquaintance” I guess.

While Jon is a little extreme in his Facebook decisions, I do remember having a conversation with some anti-oppressive educators about this very thing.  The advice we had been given in this anti-oppressive education class was that maybe it was time to ally with the oppressed by cutting out “friends” who would speak racist, sexist, classist things… online or face to face. This seemed like a good idea at the time as it was a small way to step out in activism. It was a way we could take a stand, put our foot down and say enough is enough!

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“Stop” photo credit: Brett Davis via Flickr

Well, I never did end up deleting anyone off of my Facebook, but there are a few people who have gotten close. The interesting thing about my life is that I am proud to say I have a VERY varied friend pool. I have anyone and everyone from the extreme left, to the extreme right, and many in between.  This was evident during Trump’s election. Even despite the algorithms Facebook sets up for you to show you what it thinks you want to see, I was blasted with both sides of the Trump debate.

Fast forward to last night where I saw an article shared that was blatant fear mongering.  Thank God someone called this person out for it as I was so close to just deleting the person. I went to bed and thought about if I should delete this person or not. I want to. I’ve wanted to for a few months now, but I couldn’t help but think of the echo chamber idea.

What’s an echo chamber you ask? Well Wired says an echo chamber is destroying democracy. Independent UK says social media echo chambers gifted Trump the presidency and the NY Times say that through echo chambers, most people are more likely to trust their social group than the news media. An echo chamber is basically surrounding yourself with people who amplify and reinforce your own ideas and beliefs.

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“Freed” photo credit: new alluminati via Flickr

I thought about what deleting this person off of Facebook would mean.  Sure, it would mean that I wouldn’t have to see some of their ridiculous posts anymore, but it would also mean that they wouldn’t be able to see any of mine. It would be limiting this person’s access to articles and ideas that are different than theirs.  I am lucky in that I have people from church, work, University, camp, friends, family members, among others who I dialogue with on Facebook. From what I know about this person, they are fairly isolated in their sphere of influence. Maybe I am one of the only people that will share something that challenges their thinking.

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“Critical thinking: Why our students need it” photo credit: open source.com via Flickr

Well, I could take a page out of Jon’s book and just unfollow them.  But all day I have been thinking about how that limits my own critical thinking. I clicked on the article this person posted yesterday.  I read through it and noticed there weren’t any references or any real facts. I was taking a critical look at this piece of writing and coming to my own conclusions. And truly, I am thankful for this opportunity. I am thankful that I have been taught critical thinking skills so that I can question something being put out there as truth. I believe this is an extremely valuable skill, especially for students, and we as teachers need to take this into consideration as we grant our students full access to the web.

So do you want to know what I did? I have decided to keep following this person. Endurance Marketing suggests 5 ways to eliminate your echo chamber and one of them is by continuing to follow people you’re not exactly friends with.  Another take away I got from their article is to get offline. How true is that! What are the chances people are going to get upset and storm out mid conversation when someone else says something they don’t agree with? The chances are slim.  People are much more likely to engage and hear another point of view when you are conversing face to face. They also suggest that being aware is the first step.

Are you aware of your bias? Am I aware of mine? Are you conscious of your social media echo chamber? Will you think twice before unfollowing the “idiot,” and will you think twice before only clicking on things you agree with.

Comment below with your thoughts! Are you guilty of living in an echo chamber?

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An Online Genius Hour Unit

Posted on January 23, 2017. Filed under: digital citizenship, Eci834, Genius Hour, Masters, Technology |

I am excited to be working with Jen Huber, Jorie Gilroy, Kyle Dumont, Adam Krammer, and Lorraine Wagner on creating a Genius Hour unit/class online! Not only do we have a super sized group- we have a super awesome group. 😉 There is a lot of teaching expertise among these 5 teachers and I’m looking forward to working with them on our project.

twitterFirst, we decided to communicate through a Twitter chat. We are all using Twitter anyway, so it seemed like an easy tool for a group chat. From there, we decided on a Saturday morning Zoom meeting to meet “face to screen” and discuss where we were heading.zoom

During our conversation, different ideas came up around what type of modules should be included in this course. We decided on 6. One for each of us:

1) Introduction/start up- Jen

2) Questioning- Lorraine

3) Research- Adam

4) Works cited and dig cit.- myself

5) Demonstrating knowledge- Kyle

6) Evaluation- Jorie

I am really happy with these modules as I feel they encompass what Genius Hour can/should look like. Since I won’t spoil the rest of my group’s amazing modules, I will talk about my plans for how I will manage works cited and digital citizenship.

dig-cit-meme

In her blog, Jen Stewart Mitchell explains how she has seen the researched benefits of exploration and student driven inquiry. She notes that these types of projects help students become “passionate and engaged life-long learners.” I completely agree.  In fact, incorporating Genius Hour has changed my classroom entirely… BUT I don’t want this project to just be an explanation of how to do Genius Hour in a classroom. I feel it’s very important that since this is going to be an online course, there needs to be a reason it’s online. It really needs to be 2.0… It should not be paper content horizontally transferred to a word processing page on the computer. There should be a certain depth and interactive component that only online tools can bring.

img_1927My tension with this is that when I have done Genius Hour in my class, (check out my posts about those times under my category, “Genius Hour”) I have used many paper activities or resources. In fact, I still stand by the philosophy of using paper if it’s easier than tech, BUT for the sake of our course development, I want my module to be able to be used completely online, and then adapted for less tech rich classrooms if need be.

Making Genius Hour substitutions from paper activities to tech activities can be quick and easy; instead of students writing down their Genius Hour project ideas in a notebook or on scrap paper, they can send their ideas to Padlet or brainstorm using an app like BaiBoard. Though this substitution is pretty low on Bloom’s Technology Taxonomy, it does allow for some more interaction and collaboration between students, which may up their engagement level.

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Bloom’s Taxonomy for iPads via Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano’s Langwitches.org

For my module around citation and dig cit, what I really want to do is find valuable interactive ways for students to practice these skills within our course. I don’t want them to just learn how to cite properly and remember what being a good digital citizen looks like.  That wouldn’t move past the lowest two levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, Remembering and Understanding. I want to see students engage with Genius Hour citation and digital citizenship in a way that helps them retain it. If possible, I want to help them evaluate and create!

memory

 

I know there are many resources out there that allow for students to practice citing things properly and to be good digital citizens, but if you have one that you think this project should NOT do without, please comment below, and I will incorporate it!

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