Author Archives: Katie Rosenkranz

More Media Needed

This week we are asked to blog about what an average day looks like for us in terms of reading and making sense of information, media, and the world around us. We are also asked to explore/reflect on our own personal strategies for analyzing and validating information.

I have to say this prompt has been one that I’ve struggled with. Dare I admit that my average day does not include reading a newspaper, watching television news, or even listening to the radio?


I know, I know… I should be more concerned with being an informed citizen and with the happenings in the world around me. But to be honest, news media outlets have never captured my attention. I don’t usually listen to radio, I hardly ever watch TV (especially cable TV), and I had been fairly dormant on non-social media internet use. I’ve relied on staff room chatter with co-workers, conversations with friends, and Facebook largely for updating me on big news stories. Once I hear of something that interests, or concerns me, I do investigate on my own, to not only help me make more sense of the information, but also to confirm and legitimize what I have been told. Although I know it seems naive of me to wait for others to maybe spark a conversation or to share an article on Facebook, I don’t feel that I naively interpret, believe, or analyze information.

I use Facebook everyday for a variety of reasons, so as a site I visit multiple times a day, it is the place I most often see information being shared. I have recently began using Twitter daily again (thanks to this class!), so this is another avenue in which I am consuming media information most frequently. As I read this week, it is alarming to discover that fake news spreads faster and further on social media sites like Twitter, than any truth does. Soroush Vosoughi, who was one of the researchers in this MIT study of fake news, developed an algorithm for identifying facts and fiction in tweets. Whether the author was verified and the language used were important aspects – and when I think about my own personal strategies for deciphering fact from fiction, these are vital for me.

Often on Facebook, I see people sharing or liking posts for contests or to win giftcards that just don’t seem right. Sorry everyone, but I don’t think Costco is going to give you a giftcard just for sharing this post. When I look and see how many shares/comments these posts have, I often shake my head. If you actually look at the author of the post, you can easily see that it is not really a large corporation like Costco’s Facebook page. Although, for someone who is not media literate, this could definitely be one of many scams that could trick them.


Image found HERE

A big downside to the amount of time I spend on getting information from Facebook or Twitter is that I get very frustrated with political posts, rants, comments, etc. There has obviously been a ton of controversy over politics and fake news – especially with Donald Trump and the U.S.A, and Justin Trudeau has even been a hot social media topic. Linking back to digital health and wellness – like I always do ;), these are the types of posts and things on social media that make my experience negative, whether it is what people are sharing or ignorantly commenting, so I do tend to try and ignore or avoid all political conversation on social media. This sometimes makes it difficult for me to stay up to date on political news, and can become overwhelming when I do want to find truth in this information.

Jocelyn and Jaimie shared some great information about fake news in their vlog. I especially liked the image they included about how to spot fake news. As I was reading/watching, I realized that these are all strategies I use myself.

how to spot fake news

Image found HERE

I also learned about sites that can help you (and students) validate information such as: Snopes, Politifact, and FactCheck. I have never used these sites before, but I will definitely use these in the future if I am questioning if something is true or false.

Writing this post and reflecting on my intake of media has made me set a goal for myself moving forward. I want to expand beyond the ways I am currently reading information on a daily basis. Rather than just happening to come across something on Facebook or from my coworkers, I am wanting to seek out information. I have created a column on my Tweetdeck to follow the Regina Leaderpost, CBC, CTV news and Global news, to better inform me of what is happening immediately around me. (I wasn’t following any of these before). If you have any other suggestions for what media outlets I should follow that would be appreciated!


Well-being Literacy


This week we are asked to respond on what it means to be literate today? In considering what is means to be “fully” literate, right away I began thinking about the most obvious forms of literacy in terms of being able to read and write, and also the literacies I specifically teach every day;  physical literacy and numeracy (aka mathematical literacy). I have an understanding, and passion for these areas, but I had never really considered media literacy before. Thanks to my awesome classmates, and their vlogs this week, I now feel I have a better grasp of what digital and media literacy are, (sometimes used interchangeably – sometimes not – which can be a bit confusing), and how important they are in developing literate individuals.

In Dani’s vlog about media literacy she had this wonderful graphic from ResourcEd, which breaks down digital literacy, and she also talked about six deep learning skills from this site: collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, citizenship, character and communication.


Image found HERE

Luke’s vlog was also very informative and he references an article from the Center for Media Literacy and explores 5 key questions that our students need to understand and be able to apply as critical consumers of media.

  1. Who created this message?
  2. What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?
  3. How might different people understand this message differently from me?
  4. What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in — or omitted from — this message?
  5. Why is this message being sent?              (Thoman & Jolls, 2004)

The author’s of the article Elizabeth Thoman and Tessa Jolls, reference a report created by the Partnership for 21st Century Learning Skills, and I couldn’t agree more!

“People need to know more than core subjects. They need to know how to use their knowledge and skills – by thinking critically, applying knowledge to new situations, analyzing information, comprehending new ideas, communicating, collaborating, solving problems, making decisions.. (they) need to become lifelong learners, updating their knowledge and skills continually and independently.”

(Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2003). A Report and Mile Guide for 21st Century Skills)

Andrea Quijada’s TED talk on media literacy talked about the importance of being able to decode text and subtext presented to us in media, and the untold stories that exist.


I also really liked this article from Common Sense Education, which breaks down media literacy very succinctly, and they list how the following helps kids in terms of media literacy.

  • Learning to think critically
  • Become a smart consumer of products and information
  • Recognizing point of view
  • Create media responsibly
  • Identify the role of media in our culture
  • Understand the author’s goal

(Common Sense Education)

When I think about what it means for someone to be fully literate, I think it is important to consider one’s well-being. I think the interconnectedness of the various forms literacy takes on, is similar to the connection of the dimensions of wellness. If our physical well-being is suffering, it will ultimately have an effect on our mental well-being. We have to seek to balance our wellness wheel, and improve our well-being in every area for our wellness to be optimized. I think the same could be said for literacy. If one area of our literacy – say physical – is not developed, I do not think we are fully literate, nor is our overall literacy optimized. The connection between our physical health and our mental health is undeniable, and this affects how we are learning with and using our bodies and minds.

I like to think Well-being Literacy could be the all-encompassing word to describe what is means to be fully literate. Our bodies and minds optimized and balanced in all areas of literacy and wellness.

We need to teach kids to be saavy at interacting in all ways

This week, we have been asked to reflect upon what our role as teachers/school do we play in educating our students on digital citizenship. As others have blogged about, including Jana, and in reading Dennis Pierce,  I do agree with the need for Digital Citizenship to be weaved throughout the K-12 curriculum. Students need exposure early on, as they will be exposed to many technologies, social networks, and begin forming their digital identity from a young age. I worry though with this approach, that it will often be ‘left out’ due to time, or some teachers will put more or less emphasis on incorporating digital citizenship into their classrooms depending on their own personal comfort, understanding, and opinion. It needs to become a priority in education from our government, (which then will be a priority of school divisions), and supporting curriculum documents/updates will need to be made. There is already a great policy guide surrounding digital citizenship in education for Saskatchewan that I have referenced before, however I have never seen this document outside of this class, which leads me to believe it is not being used by schools.

I also believe we need to make it a priority to educate our educators on digital citizenship before we can put the responsibility on them. There are so many conflicting views towards using technology in our classrooms often to completely banning phones. I recently read this article shared by classmates on Twitter regarding a school in Saskatchewan that has a no cell phone policy in place that is working wonderful in the eyes of those teachers and students involved. In the short team, I do not doubt that student distraction is minimized, and thus interaction and attention is up. But in the long term, I think banning cellphones misses the mark hugely on preparing students for life in a connected world.

If we do not teach students to work through distractions, I do not know how they will manage distractions on their own. I personally feel we need to teach students appropriate use of their phones, and by completely banning them, we (our students) are stripped of this opportunity, and it is assumed our students will get this digital citizenship education elsewhere. Where elsewhere is, I am not sure. I compare teaching abstinence is the only way in terms of sex ed, instead of teaching appropriate behaviors and safe practices to prepare them for that aspect of life. Responding to a message, listening to music, or even checking an app while working independently is appropriate in my classroom. I have many students who work a significant amount of hours outside of school, and I do not think it is inappropriate for them to ask to step out and take a call, and deal with a situation in 2 minutes, and get back to work. I would say this is rather responsible. I know many teachers who would not be okay with this. I am not sure what would get everyone on the same page aside from specific policies or curriculum in place.

There is also different opinions on what is considered appropriate behavior regarding digital etiquette. Some people are completely offended by someone looking at their phone when they are say out for coffee, and supposed to be completely engaged in face-to-face conversation. For others, this isn’t rude at all, but rather no different than checking one’s watch might have been years ago. How these behaviors are interpreted is important to consider, and I think this plays into what I see as frustration from a lot of teachers, or just adults in general when interacting with kids. Our kids are so used to having these devices with them every moment, that checking your phone mid class, or mid conversation doesn’t feel inappropriate to them.

I think its important to not only realize ourselves, but to teach our kids that different behaviors regarding our digital etiquette can be viewed differently depending on our audience. I would compare this to being taught to only speak when spoken to by our elders. Not every elder holds this view, and you have to learn to interact appropriately in various settings. This is the same when it comes to digital citizenship. We have to teach our kids how this can vary – and will vary – from different workplaces, to individual classrooms, to social settings. On a first date? Checking your phone could be perceived as uninterested. Out for supper with your friends? Checking your phone in a break in conversation can be appropriate. It all depends! We need to teach kids to be saavy at interacting in all ways.

I personally would like to see a locally developed course on Digital Citizenship at the high school level. I think Digital Citizenship 30L would be a great chance for students to learn more about all 9 elements of digital citizenship, and reflect closer on their own personal use of technology, social media, and the continuation of developing their digital identities as they continue to post secondary, or the “real” world of work. Having students interact and connect to the community and beyond in positive contexts, would give them a greater understanding of the reach and impact of the online world, and the power of social media movements. It makes me think about how we are learning in EC&I 832! Blogging, vlogging, and exploring topics such as fake news, catfishing, cyberbullying, (and everything to come!) will undoubtedly build media literacy skills students will use for the rest of their lives.

Citizenship in general looks different now than it did before. The digital world is such a part of our kids interactions, friendships, and learning (academic and otherwise), so we must adapt how we are teaching students how to be good citizens in 2018 and beyond. Not to say that being a “good person” is different at the root of what that means, but the tree growing from that root is much different than it was 10, 20, or 30 years ago. I loved what Luke had said in his blog post about it being a community based approach, and ultimately character education. As Luke says “Teaching digital citizenship should, in essence, be an offshoot of  what teachers are already doing all day, every day, anyway:  teaching kids to be good humans.” (Braun, 2018)

It is important for parents to teach digital citizenship at home, but as educators we can’t count on that in the same way we can’t count on sex education or personal finance being taught at home. More and more traction is being gained to teach Personal Finance in schools – there is now a Personal Finance 30L offered in most schools in Regina – and I think the same can follow suit with Digital Citizenship. As much as a stand-alone course is a pipe dream, I think is is a perfect compliment to the digital citizenship teachers, schools, and ultimately communities need to incorporate, model, and build upon in every class, at every grade.


Digital Health & Wellness Survey

One of the things I wanted to do to gain insight for my major project was to create and collect responses to a survey on digital health and wellness.

The survey is available here. Please take a few moments and help me out by responding!

Coming up with the questions was actually quite a bit harder than I originally thought. Not only because I have shifted to a more positive attitude towards digital well-being, but also because there are so many areas of our mental health I feel like technology and social media is affecting. I didn’t want my survey to come across as only focusing on the negative effects of technology on our health, but at the same time these are areas of concern that I am interested in examining.

I have been doing a lot of reading over the course of this semester in regards to digital health, and when creating my questions I used a few key articles/resources to focus my survey.

The first being which features a variety of resources aimed to educate on many issues surrounding technology use including digital distraction, digital privacy, impact on environment and society, and of course health and technology. Key issues affecting our health highlighted and explained on the website include:

  • Psychological issues such as: distraction caused by technology, expectation of instant gratification, narcissism, cognitive losses
  • Social issues such as: deficits in social skills, sense of isolation, depression
  • Health issues such as: vision loss, hearing loss, neck strain, and sitting too much

I tried to incorporate questions on almost all of the areas in psychological and social, but I did not include the physical health issues (not because they aren’t important!) but because I have wanted to focus my project more on the other areas.

The second document is by CommonSenseMedia, and is a Road Map for Kids’ Digital Well-Being. I came across this on Twitter a few weeks ago, and loved the message it was sending about wanting to create change to help our kids’ learn to use technology for good. The document nicely lays out issues to start regarding mental health, physical health, and democracy, and then 5 key actions to move towards creating technology that promotes well-being.

Commonsense partnered with The Center for Humane Technology on this project, which then led me to their site. The Center for Humane Technology was founded by a former tech company employees, gurus, and CEO’s who are looking to change the way technology and these companies essentially are affecting our mental health, democracy, social relationships and our children. This site breaks things down into the problem, the way forward, and offers ideas to take control. They are looking at how we can better design (and for companies looking to make money) to use technology to not manipulate, or take advantage of our human nature.

As I continue to dive into this area, I am looking forward to further exploring and utilizing these resources, and also to getting responses to my survey!


Will the real Katie Rosenkranz please stand up…

Digital identity is an important aspect of digital literacy, and often seen as a separate part or extension of identity strictly related to our online persona. After exploration of various articles, my own vlog creation, and viewing other classmates vlogs and blog posts, I feel this needs to shift from being viewed as a part of who we are, but rather to a more holistic approach. Online, “in real life”, professionally, personally, who we are is just that…who we are.



The main article my classmate/”in real life” best friend Jana, based our vlog on was by Cristina Costa and Ricardo Torres titled “To be or not to be, the importance of digital identity in a networked society.”   What I really appreciated about this article was the breakdown of aspects of digital identity into dichotomies, which made the large over arching topic of digital identity easier to relate to and reflect on.

  1. Open vs. Closed – What is public for the world to see about you? What is private?
  2. Single vs. Multiple –Do you have separate personal and professional accounts?
  3. Genuine vs. Fake – Is the persona you use online true to who you are?

In this blog post, I want to reflect my own digital identity and these dichotomies, as well as the impact this will have on the students I teach.

Although these dichotomies are presented separately in the article, they are undoubtedly intertwined in the presentation and reputation (see our vlog for a sweet T-Swift duet.. for real), of ourselves online. I got Facebook when I was in grade 12, and it’s popularity continued to rise as I went through my undergraduate degree. I remember being quite literally terrified by my education professors that my students, colleagues, and future employers would find my profile and I would ultimately never get a job because there would be some party picture of me tagged to ruin my life. My security settings needed to be top notch (open vs. closed), I needed to go by a different name (genuine vs. fake), and I better not ever be seen drinking a beer in a photo. I locked down my profile, changed my name to Katie Nicole (my middle name), and removed almost all options to be tagged without my approval first.

This is not to say anything I had been posting was inappropriate, but from my early use of Facebook, as a young soon to be educator, I was definitely hyper aware of  what I was sharing. As much as I don’t think these scare tactics were the best method, I consider myself lucky to have been “older” when I first started using Facebook. I think back to all the photos my friends and I took in elementary school with our disposable cameras, waiting an hour for my pictures to get developed at Wal-Mart, and the genuine silliness that went along with being a pre-teen. I am happy to say those photos are stored safely in a box in my storage room, only seeing the light of day for embarrassing slideshows at friends’ weddings or the odd throwback Thursday.


Speaking of embarassing photos…

I even remember my first ECMP 355 class with Alec, and being hesitant to create a Twitter account that was open. Anyone could see this? I had been trained to view public as bad as a future teacher. I would have followers/follow people I didn’t know personally? The whole thing weirded me out. It took me a while that class to get comfortable using Twitter, and I won’t lie I created a separate “personal” twitter account once the class was done. It has taken me 6 years of teaching and many more of maturity for me to really become comfortable with who I am, digitally. (And in more ways probably). I am a teacher –every moment of every day and I am also a human. I share things that are important to my life, with people who are important to me. In researching about personal vs. private, I came across this article. These words rang true to me and my beliefs:

If you would not want your professional connections to see what you post in your personal social media feeds, it might be time to reflect on why you post the kinds of information on any feed at all. The truth is that, no matter how tight your privacy settings, anything you post online is potentially discoverable by anyone. – Kerry Gallagher

Our students today, don’t have this choice at all. For a lot of them, and for our future students, Facebook has been around since their birth. Their parents have been sharing those cute chubby roll leg photos and buck teeth moments with their friends, family, and ultimately the entire digital world, starting their digital footprint, and beginning to build their digital identity for them. Some parents purchase domain names for their kids, or even create Facebook or Instagram profiles. Is this being pro-active in building their digital identity, or is this an issue? Sharenting is a hot topic, as is the potential of kids having the right to remove online content about them when they become adults. I think it could be fair for kids to remove things they did not post, but I think this becomes murky water when kids are allowed to remove “stupid” or hurtful things they may have posted themselves and just to use the excuse that they were young. The above linked article touches on this issue of “whitewashing” which I feel will become more relevant in the years to come if this legislation goes through.

What I do know, is that we need to teach kids to be mindful of what they are posting, to who, and how they are building their digital identity – and there is no time to wait for this to begin in schools. Students are spending more and more time online, and thus more and more of who they are, and who they are becoming as young adults, and ultimately people, is being influenced by the online world. For me, I started to build my digital identity as a young adult and educator, and my digital identity has grown to reflect who I truly am. For our students, their entire identity is growing and being shaped day by day in every interaction they make whether online or offline, and I am not so sure that is different anymore.

We are not digitally well…yet…and we never will be if we don’t start letting kids practice appropriate use in school

Very early this semester we were introduced to Ribble’s 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship as we began to ponder our major projects and what avenue we might explore to best guide a large part of our personal learning over the next four months. I was immediately drawn to one element in particular – Digital Health & Wellness and after a lot of deliberation, I was able to somewhat coherently outline what exactly I was hoping to accomplish in my first blog post back.

Since then, I have spent a lot of time reading, and sharing articles on Twitter having to do with all things related to Digital Health & Wellness.  I have tried to use #digitalwellness, and I am actually starting to see more and more things come up, so I am hoping this trend can continue! I have also tried to view all of our learning so far in class sessions as well as through reading others blogs and following #digcit and #eci832, through a lens of digital wellness, and trying to always connect back.

I am still mostly on the same track with the things I originally outlined that I wanted to complete for my major project.

  • A closer look at my own digital health and wellness. I don’t feel I lead a balanced lifestyle with digital technology. What would balance look like and how do I find it? I wrote one blog post so far about my own issues revolving quitting social media, and I plan to continue to write and reflect on this.What example am I setting as a teacher – and are we setting as adults and parents for our students? I also realize that my project and this specific portion relates to digital etiquette, which is another of Ribble’s elements and I begin to look at this area later in this post.
  • Survey/collect information on digital health and wellness from ECI&I 832 classmates, Twitter followers, and students. Is our technology affecting how we sleep? How we view our bodies? Do we feel “addicted” to our technology? Addicted to social media?
    I haven’t got here yet, but I still plan to do this!
  • A variety of online resources centered around teaching students about digital citizenship, specifically digital health and wellness such as Common Sense Education, and use these resources as a starting point to curate my own. I have been exploring and saving galore!
  • Develop a presentation/session on digital health and wellness for F. W. Johnson‘s Wellness Day in March which is a day dedicated to Grade 10 students and positively impacting and improving their overall well-being. I haven’t developed my presentation yet but am mulling over ideas. I want it to be based on building healthy social media and tech habits, vs. “scare” tactics on how their mental health is at risk. I am scheduled in for two presentation time slots! I just need to come up with a creative title for my session so kids want to sign up… any thoughts?

The one area I feel like I have shifted on in my major project is moving towards positive digital health, vs. highlighting all the ways our digital health is being affected negatively. I feel like I started off pretty strong with a mindset that we need to drastically improve our digital health, and that our students are experiencing difficulties in many areas of their lives because they are not digitally well. Not to say that I don’t believe this anymore–because I definitely do think many of us are not digitally well, but I do think there is a lot of hope…perhaps you could call it a “cure” for the sickness we are currently faced with.

I could give you, or quite easily you could find for yourself, a long list of articles stating the dire circumstances of our kids’ mental health currently (and trust me, I see this everyday in schools and it worries me as I wrote about last week), and how the rising rates of depression, anxiety, and self-image issues are explicitly linked to the rising rates of smartphones, social media, and technology in the hands of our youth. But instead of just scaring ourselves – like our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were scared of the the radio, the television and video games – and blaming this actually very new in the grand scheme of things technology – why are we not doing more to learn with our kids about it?

This leads me into the realization that although my project focuses on digital health and wellness, it also relates to one of the other 9 elements which is digital etiquette .

“We recognize inappropriate behavior when we see it, but before people use technology they do not learn digital etiquette (i.e., appropriate conduct). Many people feel uncomfortable talking to others about their digital etiquette. Often rules and regulations are created or the technology is simply banned to stop inappropriate use. It is not enough to create rules and policy, we must teach everyone to become responsible digital citizens in this new society.” (Ribble, 2017).

I believe digital etiquette is really one of the first areas we need to start teaching, modeling, and talking about in our schools and classrooms, and ultimately this will connect us to digital well-being. Banning cellphones seems to be the direction where fed up teachers and schools are heading, trying to engage students in learning, and disengage them from their phones. The Toronto Principal in the above article who just banned cellphones states the reason being “to minimize distractions in the classroom and reduce the inappropriate uses of the devices during the school day.” The grade 7 and 8 students can use them at lunch but there are ridiculous (in my mind) restrictions.  “…the rules will be: no social media, no texting, no taking or viewing photos and videos.” So…. playing candy crush is cool, but basically you cannot use your device for any of the other ways it is able to communicate with the world around you. I have so many problems with this.

Banning cellphones, is something I completely disagree with. Many teachers express their frustration with kids not being able to focus on the lesson, or getting their work done because they are so focused on their cellphone. Whether it is keeping up a snap-streak, chatting on Facebook messenger, or scrolling vines, they are evidently disengaged from class, and locked into  that device in their hand. There are a few issues at hand here  that connect to digital etiquette. Obviously, conversations need to be had between teachers and students about who/what/when/where/why they can be on their cellphones during those 60 minutes of class (and no, the answer shouldn’t be never). If we just starting taking kids phones away without setting clear guidelines, we shouldn’t be surprised if they get upset at us for doing so.

My refusal to take away a phone stems from the fact that that is a $500-$1000 (or even more) device that I have no business or desire to be responsible for. I don’t want it falling off my desk and having a screen shatter, or seeing anything (inadvertently or not) pop up on their screen that isn’t meant for my eyes. I would much rather ask a student to put their phone away in their pocket, or binder, if I am really concerned with their inappropriate usage of it at the time. If my phone cannot be out at all in a meeting, or in a graduate class, I would expect the person in charge to tell me that. I am a responsible adult (okay sometimes), and I feel like I possess proper digital etiquette skills that I know I could check my phone, reply to a message or email, or even take an important call during a meeting or class in a respectful manner, at an appropriate time. Teachers do this in staff meetings, heck teachers do this during the classes they are teaching. Because sometimes you need to reply or answer that call, and that is acceptable. We need to allow our kids to do the same.

Students will ultimately struggle with judgement and being able to know what needs to be replied to, versus what doesn’t need to be replied to at that very moment. Can they wait until you are done your lecture (please reflect on the amount of time you’re lecturing if you are…), or until you are done  an activity, or until you are done having a class discussion? Yes, it most likely can. But if they don’t begin to practice this appropriate use, how do we expect them to master it? We all know mastery of a skill (or a behavior) doesn’t happen without opportunities to try and try again, and we can expect students to start at a low level of acquisition, and with our help and guidance perhaps move to progressing, to meeting, to hopefully exceeding our expectations! We need to give them this chance.

We as teachers can not only talk about appropriate use and set out guidelines in our classrooms, but we can model it as well. My cellphone is either in my pocket, or on my desk at all times. I don’t lock it away – I’m not scared of it being stolen, nor am I uncomfortable with students seeing me check my phone, and *gasp* reply to a message or email. No, I am not going to do this mid-math example or during a workout in Phys.Ed, but I am going to do it at an appropriate time. And students need to see this, if they have any hope of beginning to understand appropriate use as we ween them off the idea and current reality of checking it every 5 seconds.

Someone in class (sorry I can’t remember!) had mentioned teachers in their building modelling digital etiquette and for example not walking down the hallways looking only at their phone, as many of our kids are. This is such a simple suggestion, but I think can totally be effective and is important for teachers to be aware of in creating a climate of appropriate use. It reminded me of this PSA that Luke had shared on Twitter a few weeks ago.

I know I am guilty of walking inside and outside of school at my phone, and could easily be one of these people in the video! I think this video appeals to kids with humor, but it also sends a serious message about the dangers of being glued to our phones not only when we are walking, but especially when we are driving. Texting and driving, Snapchatting and driving (seriously it’s crazy), scrolling Instragram and driving, really anything that has you looking at your phone screen is a huge distraction and relevant issues for not only all drivers, but especially today’s teens learning to drive.

I remember my parents being very worried about my  music being too loud to distract me, and when I got my license was also when they introduced the only “one friend” in the vehicle rule for new drivers in Saskatchewan. With all the distractions that can take place on the one little device that we probably don’t want to send our kids on the road without (in case of an emergency), it doesn’t matter how many people or how loud the music, the danger is right in their hands.

We have 5-6 hours a day with our students, and instead of treating that time as time that needs to be spent away from their phones, maybe we need to shift our mindset to time spent with their phones. No, not 6 hours on being glued to their phone screen, but 6 hours that we can help them begin to learn and understand appropriate use and etiquette. Cellphones, social media, and instant communication is here to stay, and it is only going to become more prevalent, more normal, and more engrained in the fabric of our students lives. We need to work towards helping them achieve mastery of appropriate use, just as we want them to achieve mastery of every other skill we teach.