Category Archives: EDTC300 General

Summary of Learning

Thank you for watching my Summary of Learning for EDTC300 in the Spring semester of 2018. I’m excited to share this with you because I tried to be creative with how I showed my progress through the course. Since the course started, I brought Twitter out of it’s shadowy hole and it’s a regular resource in my life. I’ve also started using screen-casting as a regular method of documenting. Lastly, I’ve completely remodelled this wordpress blog for the better since this course, adding more pictures, an “About Me” page, my teaching philosophy, a frameworks page for lesson plans, as well as widgets like drop down menus and displaying my Twitter feed.

I’ve also learnt that YouTube and Feedly are a great place to learn and explore. I think I’ll keep documenting my progress with my learning project, running, until the “race day” in September. It’s a great way to stay on top of my goals and see my progress. Also, my network on Twitter might like keeping up with it!

Above is my final project. I’m proud of it, and I’d love to know what you think! I go over aspects of the course that I found helpful, amazing, and significant. However, there was lots that I missed, only thinking about space efficiency and flow! MY bottom line and final point from this course is that the only way to stay safe on the Internet is to learn about how to stay safe and know the risks of posting. That being said, working towards a positive digital identity is crucial for every young person today. It is our job as educators to facilitate this!

What do you think, was my video accurate for a final project? What did I leave out that you would have added in?

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We’ve Had Some Good Times

Hi everyone,

I had a really hard time writing this post because I did not keep up with documenting when I commented or had conversations throughout this course… However I think that I did a pretty darn good job of communicating on Twitter, WordPress, and through our Google Community. I’m adding a screencast video I made to talk to you about how I communicated throughout the course:

Something I didn’t mention in the above screencast (if that’s even possible) is that I spent a lot of time “liking” Tweets on Twitter. I liked 215 posts to be exact, during the time of our course…. That’s a lot of Twitter time! Some notable Twitter conversations that I’d like to share from this course are shown below:

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I found that on Twitter it was easy to communicate with the course participants and I grew relationships with them strictly through the internet! Through the Sask Education Chat’s that I participated in, I was able to ask in depth questions and get more answers than I expected. This created a lot of really great conversation!

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The above photos are notable conversations that I had on WordPress. I found that by asking a question in my comment, asking a question in my blog post, and by quoting the writer, I could get conversations going. I stuck with commenting on three people’s blogs every week, and I found I really enjoyed doing it! I basically just played blog-roulette every week and picked at random, this allowed for me to see what lots of people were up to!

Lastly, I’m going to share with you this Google Document that I’ve made with links to “notable” conversations I’ve had throughout this course. Thank you to everyone who has contributed with me, I’m excited to be colleagues in the future!

How did I do on this post, did I represent my conversations well?

Learning to Code

Yesterday I did my first session of Hour of Code with the non-profit organization, Code.org. Code.org would like every student in every school to have the opportunity to learn computer science just like they do other subjects like biology and math. This would in turn create more interest in coding and programming, and students would be more likely to pursue this as a career in the future. I think this is a great initiative because computer science is extremely valuable to our society, and people in developing countries are able to contribute to  these technologies without needing many resources or much infrastructure.

 The above image explains my first interaction with coding. The program I chose was Star Wars themed, and the avatar at the top would give me jobs to get done for points. I completed them by using the tools in the middle of the screen and dragging them to the white area. Then I’d press “run” and my droid would move as it was instructed to. If the droid does what it was supposed to, you move onto the next level.

I liked how intuitive the game was, and I liked that it challenged your critical thinking at the same time. I’m not the kind of person who reads instructions a lot, and I found that I was able to figure out how to complete my task without trouble. It also took less than an hour to do all the levels for me, more like 45 minutes. I liked this, too, because it felt like an award on its own. The challenges started to get harder, but I noticed that we used the skills learnt in the previous level to understand the next. Here’s a screencast video I made with Screen-O-Matic, it’s of me working through a problem I didn’t quite understand.

I think I got through it pretty well, and honestly I felt like the program was enjoyable. I’d play it again, and I would definitely have my students try it. I signed up for an account so that I can use it in the future, and I think it would be great for any school-aged child. We would just have to ensure that they’re using the best program for them!

Above is my certificate of completion. Overall I loved the program and I liked exploring the website for other options. I think that it would be neat to work through a full 120 hour coding course, however the hour of code sessions are maybe more practical. What did you think of coding, have you ever tried?

Face to Face with Facebook

This week, Anthea and I collaborated together to learn more about the pros and cons of using Facebook in the classroom and in the school. As you’ll see from this Google Document, we wrote on behalf of a teacher and a principal. The teacher is interested in being progressive, as she is a new teacher, and she wants to try to teach digital citizenship through using Facebook to connect with students and parents. She feels that her personal Facebook is professional, and she’d like to create a page to add students and parents to in order to keep up to date.

The principal seems reserved about the idea of social media in general, and offers many compelling arguments against using Facebook as the new teacher’s primary way of contacting parents and students. The principal is mostly concerned with privacy and sharing, as she should be. As well, the principal is aware of the community that is involved with the school already and she feels that the newsletters and email system is much more familiar for the school’s culture.

The compromise that they end up deciding on is to continue using the school newsletter and email system, BUT also allowing the parents and students to connect with the teacher on Twitter. Twitter is where the teacher keeps her professional information and she states in her conversation that she’d like to put reminders and due dates on her page to keep everyone up to date. This pleases both parties, and it’s a great way to ease the community into educational uses for technology and social media. Lastly, it’s also a great way to teach digital citizenship to the students.

Please read our dialogue at the Google Documents link above!

Until Death Do Us Part

Maple Baxter, a student of Educational Technology 300 at the University of Regina (shown right), interviews herself on the issue of digital identity and social media in schools. 

Q:What are the implications of our students when it comes to the permanence of digital identity?

A: Our students need to understand that what they post is completely permanent, and that nothing is ever private. This means that students need to be sure about what they are uploading, and sure of why they are uploading it. This is for the safety of themselves, but also for the safety of those around them like their friends and colleagues. I think that by showing students (that are of the right age) resources on the seriousness of uploading content to the Internet, we can help them make good choices in the future about what they post.

Just like Monica Lewinsky said in her Ted Talk, we also need to be supporters of the under-represented on the Internet. We need to teach our students that there are two sides to every story, regardless of the popular opinion. Lewinsky preaches that we need to be “upstanders”, rather than “bystanders”, by reporting online bullying or posting a positive/compassionate post for the victim of an Internet news story. Students need to understand that the Internet can ruin lives very quickly, and that’s the cost of public shaming that we can all so easily contribute to.

Q: How is digital identity dealt with in schools?

A: In my experience as a student in elementary and high school, I believe the slogan was something like, “No posting, no problems!”… But in University I found that more and more groups encouraged positive social media presences. These days almost every business or organization has a social account that they attempt to keep active in order to represent them well. By not representing at all on the Internet, we assume that the business or individual is incapable of doing so. It’s become an issue of trust now, and we trust the businesses that have strong social media and online identities.

Schools that I’ve worked in have adopted the same mentality and almost all have an active Twitter and website. Many encourage students to do the same, while also educating on the permanence of their posts. It’s a great way to get practical experience working online. Students are also occasionally encouraged to find news and articles online, which can good for educating on the legitimacy of the news. As Lewinsky said in her Ted Talk mentioned above, the news can spread like wildfire these days with the help of social media, and it’s important to know how to check for accuracy. From this article on social media in schools we can see that there are many benefits going forward of adding social media into our lessons:

1. Going paperless
2. Giving students connections and experiences around the world from the comfort of your living room
3. Showing the world your student’s assignments and work, they feel pride
4. Connecting with parents more easily
5. Finding resources from the source! Students can use social media to find information from the people they are researching through platforms like Twitter

Q: What role should teachers/schools play in preparing students for a world that never forgets?

A: Teachers need to communicate the importance of being a conscious participant online. After watching Lewinsky’s Ted Talk, I believe we need to be aware of our own digital identity, and allow for students to create positive ones for themselves that outweigh any posts about them that are out of their control. Teachers also need to teach the power of our words to students, even online and through social media. The words we type have lasting and harmful affects, and they shouldn’t be typed if they’d never be spoken.

Lewinsky also believes that we, as a society, are becoming numb to the idea that there are human lives behind the screens. As teachers we need our students to know how to show empathy online. We all make mistakes in life and we should be thankful that most of them aren’t posted online for the world to see. Lastly, teaching online compassion will save lives and create educated and progressive online users.

Q: How do we balance the need to protect students with the need to help them develop positive online footprints?

A: No matter who you are, it’s important to have an idea of how to manage a social demeanour, and how to handle online resources. I believe that keeping student’s lives private is important, but I would teach my classes that if you’ve taken the picture digitally, it’s already posted. In Nathan Jurgenson’s article, The IRL Fetish, he talks about the irreversible changes we’ve made in response to social media.

Jurgenson argues that there is no “turning off” when it comes to social media these days. Even when we are offline, we are living our life thinking about what and how we will post later. I can personally contest to this, and I know that even when I’ve taken a break from social media I’ve done so thinking about the post that I’ll make later, explaining the break. Jurgenson says, “While eating, defecating, or resting in our beds, we are rubbing on our glowing rectangles, seemingly lost within the infostream”.

I think the big problem with this is when we miss out on real life moments because we are looking at other people’s. It’s nice to catch up, but we need to be present for our lives. Today at the farmer’s market I heard and saw a man shout at his son about listening better. I though to myself that maybe the man was trying to teach the child about being more present. However, when I walked by later the boy was sitting by a cooler, empty handed, selling soda. He was watching people go by and thinking. The father was sitting three feet behind in the shade, texting on his phone.

Q: What might it look like to teach about digital identity in your subject area?

A: For middle years education, I think that teaching about social media is very practical because most of my students would be using it in some way. Using platforms like Twitter would be a great resource in my classroom for learning about people and making connections. I think that I’d also try to find digital classrooms that my students could take part in to gain more experience about things they might be interested in on an individual level.

Other ways I can use social media in the classroom are:

– A Facebook Classroom Page (keeps parents up to date)
– Twitter Classroom Account (allows for reminders for parents and students)
– Pinterest Classroom Account (pin student’s work and classroom projects)
– Classroom Blog

I found these ideas and more at this link, writer by Best Masters in Education. 

How would you handle digital citizenship in your classroom?

 

 

Digital Identity, the Amber Barwell Method

Amber Barwell and I decided to team up together for this assignment for Educational Technology 300. I was excited to see what she’d find on me, and I think you’d find her blog post really interesting, too! But now it is my turn:

I started digging for Barwell on Google, my trusty friend. As of right now, her and I follow each other on Twitter, but that’s the extent of our social connections. The first few things that popped up after searching her name were: her facebook account, her Twitter account, her Foap account, her YouTube account, WordPress account, Pinterest, and  and her Instagram account. The rest of the pages Google shows me on are unrelated to Barwell specifically, and there are only two photos in the images area.

So let’s get into it, what did I really find? I found from her facebook page, where I started first, that Barwell works at Yorkton Threshermen’s Club Inc., which lead me to my first realization: Barwell lives in Yorkton area! Her facebook is otherwise fairly private, however she does publicize various interests and “likes” she has, including music, books, movies, celebrities, politicians, sports, and hobbies. This is perhaps Barwell’s way of showing her personality, which I love! She seems like she’s a down to earth person from her various likes, and even her love for her cats shines through!

On Barwell’s Instagram page, I find she posts about further interests like cooking, eating out, and photography. I also am reassured that she really loves her adorable kitties! I’ve come to the conclusion that Barwell doesn’t use her Instagram very often, because her biography on her account still says “Nursing Student”, whereas I know from her Twitter that she is an Indigenous Education Major at Parkland College in Yorkton, SK. Her Twitter also leads me to her birthday, May 25th. Happy belated birthday, Amber.

Barwell keeps both her Twitter and her Youtube professional, only sharing and posting educational material. This to me says that Barwell plans to keep her Twitter account for growing her professional connections. However, her Pinterest account and Foap account seem to strictly for personal/pleasure use. Barwell is an active user of Pinterest and uses it to find ideas for her interests like beauty and crafting, as well as to find jokes and funny pages! The one suggestion I have for Barwell is to limit pinning of content with mature language, but for the majority of the posts it’s very professional.

I got the impression after snooping on Amber Barwell that she is the type of person that likes to socialize, but lives off of the Internet as well — which is a good thing! From what I found online, I would absolutely hire Amber as a teacher, and she should be proud of her social media accounts. I know I sure had fun learning about you!
This project made me think about social media in general. How much is out there about me that I don’t know about, that not the average person can even find? I’m the kind of person who spends quite a bit of time on social media because I like to document. I like to see how things have changed over time, and I like to share and connect with others of like interest. But I can see how living around the silver lining too much can make a person a little self-conscious…. What if everything in the world isn’t shiny and nice? 

This ESPN article on Instagram really made me think about how it impacts young people’s mental health. Madison Holleran was an average freshman, but it seems as if social media was both deteriorating her self-image and hiding her pain at the same time. Because of the happy energy that Instagram promotes, Holleran felt alone in her suffering, and her family and friends were unaware of the severity of her feelings. 

This is important to be aware of as future teachers because we need to know what outlets students are using to communicate and express themselves. We also need to know the issues and set-backs of these platforms, and the risks involvedwith using them. These days young people will use social media like Instagram to communicate more often than they would call their friends…. But what is this doing for their mind?

The positive of these social sites is that a person can find more outlets for their passions. In this article by Nicole Lee, we learn that many people use different social media accounts, and often many of them, for different parts of their personality. This makes me think that in a lot of ways we make our lives seem “celebrity like” or “perfect” through social media, that’s why we’ve picked different outlets to showcase them. Teaching students exactly how to handle their social media identities is crucial to teaching them appropriately about social media.

 

Maybe We Can Save Ourselves: Discussing Digital Citizenship and the “Age of Selfies”

Last week, Dr. Alec Couros, a professor at the University of Regina, graced us with a lecture on online presence in our online Education Technology 300 class. We also watched a video by anthropologist, Michael Wesch, discussing the evolution of YouTube: An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube. YouTube is a website for uploading and watching videos. Both lectures made me consider the art of collaboration, and how this has grown and expanded since the age of the Internet. For example, producer and actor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has created a website to allow for film producers to share content, freely, around the world. The website is called Hit Record, and it is absolutely worth exploring. To me, this is a great example of what’s made possible by the Internet.

The discussion with Alec was really interesting to me because it made me consider how children these days see the world. Because of how I was raised, I see the Internet as a place that can be turned off (whether this be the case or not). However, something that Alec brought to my attention is that technology and the Internet is such an integral part of student’s lives now that they would see it less as something that can and should be turned off, but as something that is very much a part of their life.

This means that they use it to research, learn, play, communicate, record, and document. Wesch brought to my attention the importance and evolution of Youtube. Youtube has become a way to communicate and share all over the world. Wesch highlighted the positives of Youtube that include: creating communities, expressing yourself, and enjoying life more. Youtube is probably the platform I use the least in my life, out of all the popular social websites, however I think I’ll be changing that in the future.

New Culture of Participation

Alec discussed in the lecture presented for our Educational Technology 300 class that we are educating the “selfie generation”. However… This means so much more than selfies, doesn’t it? This means that the next generation actually communicates differently than we do. In my opinion, every generation has disrupted the habits and lifestyle of the generation before them. As teachers, we should be here to encourage the progression and facilitate the appropriate way to embrace the change! As Alec stated, we need to learn about technology through the children, “it’s a really interesting contrast to what we knew when we were younger”.

What does a “new culture of participation” mean? Well, this means that students will actually prefer to communicate and possibly work in different ways than we have experienced. Sending photos instead of texts, videos instead of emails, or gifs instead of responses is only the beginning.

What Does This Mean For My Future Classroom, and Schools?

            What this means for our students is that they are communicating with the outside world at a very early age and creating a digital footprint. For my classroom, this means that kids could be creating content inside and outside of school that is accessible world wide, something they might not completely be aware of. Alec’s daughter, who looked like she was less than six years old, was making makeup tutorials on her parent’s phone. For a six year old to even know what a tutorial is blows my mind, let alone make one accurately. But if you ask anyone over the age of seven whom their favourite YouTuber is, I know they’ll have an answer for you.

I’m reminded of my own elementary experience when I think of these situations. When I was in kindergarten we had one computer, and one computer game. For the whole year my teacher was going to allot a student to play on the computer game for one time slot every Friday. Her plan was to allow for every student to have at least one turn. I lied and told her that I had already played the game because I was nervous I wouldn’t know how… Would this reaction ever occur today or are students almost bred to understand technologies designed for them?

            Wesch argues that a platform like Youtube gives users the opportunity to share so much more and add things to the art of creation like they wouldn’t have done before. He gives the example of recreating a popular song in the comfort of listener’s homes. This experience allows people to create and enjoy themselves, while still being a “regular human” outside of the Internet. As mentioned above, YouTube has created international “cyber stars”, which actually disrupts the traditional perspective of fame. As of right now, almost anyone can go viral if they have a funny video, wifi access, and a hint of luck.

This form of community is not only for kids and fame-seekers, however. My father, whom has never owned a cell-phone and doesn’t know what “wifi” is, checks the computer for two things:

1) His email
2) Volvo lover’s blog

Below is a photo of us in the Volvo he worked on for me: an 1989 Blue 240, great car.

The blog he found for his true love, retro Volvo’s, is something that brings my 68 year old father into a community he would have otherwise been excluded from. This is significant for every industry, especially teaching. Teachers can share resources and experiences more efficiently with the Internet, and we can find communities that we wouldn’t have been able to before. For schools this means bigger and better things, but it also means we need to be aware of how we’re teaching our students to represent themselves online. Students (and teacher’s, for that matter) might not be aware of seriousness of publishing online, and bringing in digital citizenship to the classroom should be part of the job of the teacher.

Wesch’s lecture was significant to me because I remember growing up in the age of YouTube. The first video my family ever watched was of a man urinating off the roof of his house, a hose obviously doing most of the theatrics. We thought it was hilarious. My sister even showed my cousin, who’s mother called mine and told her it was inappropriate to be watching this.

I wasn’t old enough at the time to understand the significance of YouTube, but later in life I started an online blog with my best friend. We made funny videos and publicized them online for the world to see. People from all over would message us comments and requests, and for a short time we took our new online roles very seriously. It was a great way for us to explore and be recognized for our creativity, however we were unaware of the permanence of our creations.


Take Advantage of the Good and Deal With Negatives

            As stated above, we can take advantage of the “good” of the Internet by using it as a tool to teach, explore, and express. However, there are danger zones of this beautiful new platform. Something to consider is: what is taken away by technology in general? In some ways, we could argue that we are missing out on “real life moments” because of our ‘addiction’ to our smartphones and computers. A balance is key of course, but who is regulating us?

Another point I’d like to discuss is our freedom of choice and thought, influenced by technology. If a Facebook algorithm (for example) can find our interests and cater what we see by what we’d be interested in, could they do the same thing for news and advertisements? Of course they can, and I’m sure they do. This isn’t the worst thing, you might think, because you only really want to read about what you like… However, what if you never hear the other side of the story? This is a dangerous aspect of the Internet, and it limits our freedom of choice in opinion, because we may be seeing what we think is popular opinion, whereas it’s only popularized for our demographic.