Just a quick refresher, our first debate topic in week 1 was
“Does technology in the classroom enhance student learning?”
We pre-voted and post-voted and in both instances, the consensus was that indeed technology does enhance student learning – I will admit, I was and still remain on the same side. However, can I say the hugest congratulations to both sides of this debate! Arguing that technology DOES NOT enhance student learning in a technology based class is not easy and there were valid, educated and relevant points made on both sides. If you didn’t get a chance to, or aren’t in our class and want to peek the opening statements for both sides please check out the links below!
I want to start by bringing attention to the fact that both sides made it VERY clear that regardless of how much or how little technology we have available in the classroom, without the direct support and guidance of the teacher, there will be no opportunity to enhance learning or deepen learning for our students. Teachers play an integral part of ensuring that technology is used properly and safely for students. It was really refreshing to hear both parties agreeing on the fact that we are and will continue to be needed in the classroom. Technology (at least for now! ) does not, regardless of how valuable it is, create the rapport and relationship that is offered by the teacher.
I would like to tackle the wonderful points that the disagree group made that were close to swaying me. They posted this article by Timothy Smithee that outlined 4 substantial negative effects that technology could have in the classroom. I was really surprised because many of these I hadn’t considered. The first one that stuck with me was the idea that technology is not being used effectively in the classroom and therefore not enhancing learning. In a lot of circumstances, I really can’t disagree with that. There are teachers who are resistant to learning the ins and outs of new programs and devices and therefore are not doing them justice if they are being used at all. This in no way shape or form enhances learning, it just wastes time. The second and third points they made which in my opinion are closely related is the immense cost of technology and therefore when purchasing it, there is potential to divert resources from other areas. I get it – in order to use technology in the most effective way, the more you have, the more time each child gets with the device, the more potential for deepening learning rather just substituting. I was big into the arts in high school and I would have been livid to know that money was being funneled from arts programs to fund a computer lab. Granted, technology didn’t have the power it has now – that aside, to promote people’s passions and offer opportunities across the board is very important and was a valid point brought forward by the disagree side. The final point that the disagree team made was the one that I had assumed they would rest on – that technology is a distraction. There are so many opportunities for kids to spend more time fussing with the tech and learning enough about the topic, or just simply getting distracted by the million other things your device can do, other than what you’re supposed to do. My colleague Catherine pointed out that she struggled with distraction from technology through school and had to set strict guidelines for herself in order to get work done… I have to admit, I did the same….but thankfully, now we have the abiltiy to get kids young and start teaching them proper, healthy technology and social media use.
All of these points were well researched, well thought out, and well presented.
Now, on to the agree side. These gals made excellent points to support why they felt technology does in fact enhance learning. One of the main things I appreciated about this group was they openly admitted there were flaws in their argument and they argued their points regardless of them. They proved that even with these downsides, their beliefs would outweigh the cons. The article, “6 Pros & Cons of Technology in the Classroom in 2018” was a great read as I feel like it did the same thing – pointed out flaws but gave suggestion as to why, despite the cons, it’s still a great addition. The agree group pointed out that technology is in fact a tool like any other we would use in school and needs to be treated as such. When suggested that technology be integrated, it’s the same as being able to integrate any other newer tool or program. Another very important point that this group made was that we are using technology as a means to prepare students for the future. Kids are going to need to have a very specialized skill set for jobs moving forward and being digitally literate and competant in technology as well as multi-tasking and group work will be integral. We learned of Ribble’s 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship last term and they are once again relevant as we explore what the future might look like for kids. The agree groups main argument comes in the form of showing exactly how technology deepens learning and engages the students. They said, it improves access so that children who don’t have access 100% of the time at home, can still have a chance to dig through and explore resources online at school. Second, they mention that having chances for technology in the classroom makes it more teacher centered which essentially means that while you’re students are working independently, you can work with small groups who need extra support, etc. Our time is so precious and this is a huge pro. Another point that was brought up was that technology extends the audience that our students can write to, which can inspire purpose! As teachers we are always looking for ways to motivate our kids and showing them that the world is bigger than our classroom walls is a great way to do it.
All of these points were also well researched, well thought out and well presented.
I am SO excited to be back with Dr. Alec Couros for another Ed. Tech class. I have been so lucky to take 2 classes (ECI 831 and ECI832) with him in the past and have gained a plethora of relevant knowledge that I have translated directly back to my classroom! This term I think I am going to set up my blog a little differently – I am going to post my “pre-debate” feelings on the topic and then follow up after Monday night’s class and see if my opinion has been swayed!
This weeks question: “Technology in the classroom enhances learning”
I commented on the Padlet this week and tagged the following image from this site.
I am a visual learner and love this as a way to explain what technology does in a classroom. In my opinion, there is no way to steer clear of technology in the classroom. It is all around us and it is not going anywhere – by not using it and not teaching our kids how to use it safely, we are setting them up to fail in the world they are integrating in to. They need the important skills that learning through and with technology provide. The jobs that kids will have as they grow up require many skills that weren’t as crucial when I was growing up and technology allows for these skills to grow – multi-tasking, research based rather than rote learning, quick pace learning, etc.
In order for technology to enhance learning as the topic suggests, you need to choose worthwhile resources that transform and allow your students experiences that they couldn’t get elsewhere. As suggested in the picture, this will get you into the transformation stage where you are offering your students something new and exciting and relevant. Having technology readily available at school has the ability to enhance learning, but just because it’s there doesn’t mean it’s going to benefit children. We need to ensure that the skills they are gaining are creating technology and media literate learners, not just learners who know to use a computer or tablet.
Technology for technology sake WILL NOT enhance learning. This is the idea that you SHOULD be using technology so you show a video or find a website and use it because you feel like it’s good practice, and don’t understand the real life connection the resource can have for your students. Technology causes a great divide in many classes on account of accessibility at home and on the go, so using these resources in the classroom should be worth while and precious. Many families cannot afford or choose for their children not to have devices or social media for other reasons and this makes it hard to offer enhancing lessons outside of the school. Use the valuable time we have with our students in a meaningful, engaging, transformative way!
I’m so looking forward to hearing tonight’s debate and hopefully informing my opinion!
Sometimes we learn empathy in the most heartbreaking ways. Tragedies of this magnitude truly affect us all. Room 6 is Humboldt Bronco strong.
We learned through Jersey Day and a school wide bake sale that we need to look out for each other. Money is important to make sure everyone gets the support they need without ever having it be the issue that holds them back. However, we learned how important emotional support is too. We learned that showing people around us that we care and that we are thinking of them is invaluable. We want to be the kindness that the world so desperately needs.
Here it is everyone…my final blog post of EC&I 832 and it’s the summary of my major project! This project has helped my kiddos understand the importance of not just thinking about themselves. They now understand the immeasurable need for support not only around the world, but in our own communities, in our classrooms. Our “Think Globally, Think Locally” project has reminded me that there is hope for a bright tomorrow when we stick together. Enjoy the video.
Thank you SO much for taking the time to join us on this journey. It means the world to me, but more importantly it means everything to my students.
* DISCLAIMER! I have done my project a little differently! This post is my summary of learning of the class content! My major project will be summarized in video form instead of this information! Keep your eyes peeled for the video – coming to a blog near you! Well…coming to this blog to be exact!
It is seriously hard for me to believe that I am writing another summary of learning post as my second master’s class is coming to a close…first and foremost, the BIGGEST thank you to Dr. Alec Couros for another wonderful semester. I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to actually use the knowledge I am gaining directly in my practice – my kids are benefiting directly, and for that, I am thankful too. I have been interested and engaged, and for that I am so appreciative. Secondly, I want to thank everyone in the class with me! It has been such a pleasure not only getting to know you all through your writing but also hearing your points of view and seeing your tiny faces on Zoom. Thanks to Alec and all of you for allowing me to bounce ideas off of you and post questions when I was drowning. We did it!
Well, here it is, my summary of learning, my semester at a glance, my thoughts rolled into one…ok, you get it. There has been an overwhelming amount of content this term so I’m going to go back to the beginning and break it up by week to give my final thoughts. Before I start, I think this class’ over arching theme is the idea of digital citizenship – who’s job is it and what does it look like in schools? It is important to consider the implications from K all the way through 12, into adulthood as many people we work with both in our jobs and parents, haven’t grown up with the idea of digital literacy and therefore need support and guidance as well. Digital citizenship needs to be a chameleon, it needs to take many forms so that it can have the biggest impact on the people you’re working with. In Krista and Kelsie’s summary of learning they made a great observation, all of the pieces of the digital literacy puzzle that we are putting together is only further complicated by the starting point of the people you’re working with – everyone’s comfort level and skill level is very different. Oh the tangled webs we weave.
My own personal appreciation for digital citizenship stems from the fact that I now feel like I am both informed and capable to help guide others to feeling safe and efficient online. The key for me will be recognizing those starting points and building from there so there aren’t any feelings of being overwhelmed or overworked. Sit back, relax and enjoy a recap of my EC&I 832 journey.
During the first week of classes we focused on the fact that our digital world is expanding at rates that we almost can’t comprehend and regardless of whether you want to be a digital citizen…you are one. One of the most captivating thoughts from this week that stuck with me and made me feel grateful for growing up in the time I did, is that kids are growing up in a world that doesn’t forget. In this article, by Dr. Alec Couros and Katia Hildebrandt they both do a masterful job explaining what the impact of our digital lives has on kids today. They say,
“it is basically impossible to erase all “negatives” from a digital footprint: the Internet has the memory of an elephant, in a sense, with cached pages, offline archives, and non-compliant international service providers. What’s more, anyone with Internet access can contribute (positively or negatively) to the story that is told about someone online”
The thought that kids today do not have a choice in what is posted for them before they are old enough to decide creates an interesting dynamic as they are then responsible for cleaning up the mess afterwards. Platforms in which information is being shared change rapidly, policy changes rapidly and I think understanding digital citizenship is so important. It is our responsibility to keep kids safe online from cyber-bullying, extortion and identity theft or fraudulent behaviour.
This is Liv, my girlfriend Carli’s beautiful baby girl…she had just been born! Image pulled off of her Facebook. Although this is a stickin’ cute photo, Liv didn’t get to decide and she already had a digital footprint formed for her right at birth! Her job now, instead of creating her digital footprint, will be managing the one that has already been created for her. Food for thought.
Next up on the EC&I832 was learning about Professional Learning Network’s. A professional learning network, as shared by Brianna Crowley for an online publication called Education Week Teacher, “is a vibrant, ever-changing group of connections to which teachers go to both share and learn. These groups reflect our values, passions, and areas of expertise”. On this site, there is also an easy to follow 3 step guide to creating and building PLN’s. Building relationships with like-minded individuals is so integral to becoming a media literate digital citizen. We need to connect online and share online as our digital selves and our real life selves are becoming more and more intertwined. Our PLN’s allow us to come together but is the digital world, although literally bringing us together, actually tearing us apart? In Sherry Turkle’s TED talk, Connected, but Alone?she explores this idea and how we become so dependent on receiving affirmation from our online lives that we lose the ability to be in the moment in our real lives. How we communicate and share is changing extremely rapidly and we need to embrace these changes and channel the amazing power and capability they give us, without losing ourselves and the grasp we continue to need our “real life” selves. The video is below if you have a minute and want to check it out.
Another important piece we touched on in this second week of classes was the importance and relevance of hashtags and branding ourselves well using our social media and blogging so that the correct audiences are viewing our work! I have to admit again…I’m quite a N00B to the Twitter world and although I understood what a hashtag was, I didn’t understand the importance and impact that they can have on your digital identity. So, if you’re interested in digital education and literacy and happened to have stumbled upon this and you’re not in my class, mission accomplished!
This week was one that I found very interesting as I was sort of lost as to where I fit in to the idea of Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants. The way kids learn in school is changing all the time and there are important pieces that we need to remember to ensure that kids are not only getting the best education for the world they are growing up in, but also that they have the skills that they need to keep up with the times…it seems like they are speeding by and I don’t really see any signs that it’s slowing down. In my blog post from this week I had linked the video found below. Although there are obviously issues with the idea of natives and immigrants to the digital world, there were many pieces that made sense to me.
The video argues that kids today are born with adaptations to help them survive in the quick paced world we live in today, but as technology continues to drive the socio-economic wedge further between our classes, this statement is not necessarily true. During this week of class we spoke a lot about how technology can cause divides in our classrooms because of finances, accessibility and even the morals of families choosing to have their child online or not.
Another quote that got my attention from the video was, “access does not come prepackaged with knowledge”. Canadians and my students at Lakeview who have access to technology regularly do not necessarily have the knowledge needed to work safely and efficiently on the internet or technology on account of being able to access it. This is such a valuable piece of knowledge so we don’t jump to conclusions. I will again, link to my colleague Roxanne’s blog from this week, she said “digital citizenship skills need to be taught, they are not embedded in our brains”. I agreed whole heatedly then, and I still do now. We have an obligation to teach our children and students because it’s not ingrained. Although I believe that some of the skills kids have on the function side from their intuitive nature online, they do not have the capacity to make safe, responsible choices online without guidance.
As we move forward into the fourth week of school we looked at how the frameworks of our generations will help us understand the ever changing world our kids and students are growing up in. I felt like I really appreciated this week because the main point of my job is to try and prepare my kiddos for whatever the world is going to throw their way and in order for me to do that, I need to understand where I came from and have a good grasp of where things are headed in the future. In my blog post from this week of class, I sited an articled called 2020 Future Skills Report and it outlined the skills that kids will need as they move forward in the workforce. They identify the top 10 skills youth will need to know as they move into the workforce and beyond. They identify these ten skills as sense-making, social intelligence, novel & adaptive thinking, cross-cultural competency, computational thinking, new-media literacy, transdisciplinarity, design mindset, cognitive load management, and virtual collaboration. I am sure that if I looked back at the skill set kids needed 10, 20, 30 or more years ago many of these valuable assets would not be on the list, hence the importance of looking forward! This week helped my understand that kids cannot just get away with remembering information and being able to regurgitate it on command. First, the need to remember information is not necessary as there are a million and one ways to locate information at the touch of button, in the palms of our hands. You want an answer, all you have to do is Google the question. What is so important is that kids know where to find the answers, how to adapt to the information they find and then put the skills they need into practice to use the information.
Our kids now are multi-taskers both out of habit as well as necessity to keep up with the rapid rate in which they get information shared to them. As we had spoken about in previous weeks, there is an urgent need that adults begin to foster the idea of digital hygiene in their children as we would any other routine or safety skills. Cybrog Anthropology says, “Digital hygiene is a term used to describe the cleanliness or uncleanliness of one’s digital habitat. This could be used to describe one’s desktop icons, file structure, folder trees, Photoshop files or harddrive, Facebook page or digital persona. Just as one’s body can become unhealthy by the buildup of poor food choices, one’s hard drive can become unhealthy by the buildup of viruses, icons and fragmented software.” We need to teach kids to be “clean” online – to come up with strategies and skills that will encourage them to lead their best lives online meaning that they are safe, kind, responsible and efficient. Kids will end up doing most of their work and dealings in the virtual world so having the skills to be tidy and organized online will only make them more effective and essential in their workplaces. Children (and adults ) are creatures of habit so working these digital hygiene pieces into daily life is crucial.
The moral of the story is to teach kids to use technology to their benefit and to be safe and mindful when doing so. They have such an incredible amount of power to encourage change and start conversations but they need to understand that power and use it responsibly.
Ok, this week posed the big question, what does it mean to be a digital citizen? Well isn’t that loaded question! This week an article by Dr. Paul Gordon Brown brought attention to the fact that our real life identities and our digital identities are really not far removed from another regardless of our perception. How we choose to act and the public persona we embody online shouldn’t be different than that we showcase in real life. We have the choice to be who choose in both avenues and the idea of spreading kindness rather than hate should be a focus when teaching kids about how their digital citizenship. It is often perceived as much easier to spread hatred when you are protected by the anonymity of the online world and the protection of your computer but perhaps if we start to teach kids that their digital citizenship is forever and as much a reflection of themselves as their real life persona, we will see the tides change.
This week we were also encouraged to check out Mike Ribble’s 9 elements of digital citizenship and see how our major project ideas lined up with these elements! It was interesting to put my practice into check this week – why do I choose to do what I do in my class? What are my kids actually getting out of it that will help them in the world they are growing up in? I have linked my blog post here if you want to check it out. I was happy to find out that two of the elements directly connected to my project. In a lot of ways it validated that what I was teaching would hopefully be meaningful to the kids I’m working with in navigating the world they are growing up in. The whole point is to make sure that the technologies kids are using continue to be used in positive, productive ways!
During week 6 of our course we explored how we tackle the concept of identity in a digital and networked world. I think to sum this week up, it comes back to the fact that schools NEED to teach digital citizenship and NEED to teach children to have confidence online to make good choices and make positive change. As mentioned in my blog from week 6, I am cautiously optimistic – I was then, and I am now, about kids navigating the online world. There are so many opportunities that are opened up because of the technologies if we continue to teach kids to be wary but authentic. I will also encourage my students to find the truth and authenticity in others online while still remembering that there are so many filters, both literally and metaphorically in what they read and view.
There were a few things that stood out for me as I remembered back to this week of class, the first being a piece of information from a Danielle’s blog, a continuum document. If we want to ensure that digital identity is a priority, we need to understand when kids need what knowledge. We also need to lay these concepts out in an easy to understand, easy to navigate format so that teachers buy in. This continuum is such a valuable resource to aid in ensuring kids learn digital literacy in a format that makes sense and gives them skills that will build upon each other. The second piece that really stood out for me came from Anne and Amy’s catalyst project – she concluded from surveying her students, that their parents rarely asked for digital help, although they come from the generation that would be considered digital immigrants. My guess is that parents have gotten comfortable with the platforms they use on a regular basis such as Facebook on account of using them but also because there are many ways to get information about these platforms and how to use them. Anne also concluded that usually, when parents did ask their children for help online, it was to aid in spotting fake news – I think this could be on account of the fact that tools to help us spot fake news have only now started becoming readily available online. A big part of digital identity is comfort online, once the comfort level is built you can start building a true, authentic self online.
Over the course of these 3 weeks we welcomed Carol Todd, Patrick Maze and we spoke about who should be playing a role in teaching digital education. Carol Todd is the mother of Amanda Todd who’s daughter was the victim in a horrible online extortion case that ultimately ended in her untimely death. If you haven’t watched the video I have included it below – please be aware before watching, there is reference to suicide and self harm near the end, if you have sensitives please watch cautiously. This was the first video of its type and it has been replicated hundreds of times and used for others to share their stories – Carol Todd has used this tragedy to reach out and help others to ensure that this doesn’t happen to another child.
Carol very bravely spoke about cyber-bullying and the grave effects it has on children, their families and our communities. This was a really meaningful conversation because she told us what her hopes were for the future for parents and teachers to help combat this epidemic. Part of keeping our children safe online is to ensure that they are educated and it has become Carol’s mission after losing Amanda to teach not only empathy and understanding, but online and digital safety too. Carol created the Amanda Todd Legacy foundation that raises money for bullying causes, offers support and education and even has a place to share your story. It is these types of initiatives that will aid in teaching kids about the dangers of going online, while still showing them that you can’t be scared and get rid of technology but just use it safely and responsibly, trusting your gut and your heart and then executing through your brain.
In this time span we also welcomed Patrick Maze, the head of the Saskatchewan Teacher’s Federation. Pat took time out of his busy schedule to login and talk to us about the STF’s stance on teachers engaging in social media practice from their point of view. What I got from Pat’s post was not only be cautious about what we post, but be smart! We are teachers 24/7, 365 days a year – there is no off switch and we are held, by law, to a higher standard than most professions. Our online self and IRL self are one in the same. The expectations for behaviour and ethic obligations are the same online as they are in our day to day classroom life. Whether you think this is fair or not, it is what it is. I do have my own personal social media that are separate from my school ones and although there is nothing on my personal social media that could be deemed inappropriate, I feel as though I am entitled to some privacy. I understand my commitment to the profession but I have the right to have my children (should I have some one day) and my family private if I choose. As I stated on my blog from this week, I appreciate the STF and Patrick Maze but respectfully disagree with some of the guidelines they impose.
To finish this chunk of our class who spoke about who’s job it actually is to educate children on media literacy. This is a tangled web of opinions and you know what they say about opinions… I feel very strongly that it takes a village to fully raise and educate a child and that teaching digital literacies is no different. I think the responsibility is split between school and home as there are pieces of information that would be best shared at school, and absolutely some that will be more personal and better decided on at home. At school I think the owness is on ensuring that children have access to technology, even if they don’t at home, and to ensure that the skills to be safe and responsible online are taught – not just how to physically use the devices. I think it is the responsibility of the school to not stray away from technology but use it to its fullest and teach with it and about it. The responsibility of the home is to go over rules with online use and for parents to be present for their children by knowing how the apps and devices they are using work. Instead of isolating their children by banning technology, teach them and learn with them so everyone can be safe and informed.
This week we explored what it actually means to be digitally literate in today’s world! My content catalyst project was included this week so I felt prepared and excited to share my research with the class. I have put my video presentation below if you would like to have a look through. My main point and the information I felt set my Screencast apart from other’s presented this week (which were all amazing by the way!) was my focus on intuitive learning online as related to being digitally literate. I find it extremely interesting that without reading instruction manuals and watching “how to” videos children seem to understand how to navigate their way around the online world. Designers and creators of technology design it in such a way that we can use our intuition to understand how things work online. When you are using a program that “doesn’t work how it should” you are experiencing the frustration of poor execution of a program or device. The Norman door example explained in my presentation does a great job validating your anger, check it out around the 4:10 mark.
The overall take away from this week was that how children are literate in today’s world has changed dramatically. The “why” they need to be literate in this way has changed too. The world our kids are growing up in is forcing them to have a different skill set that allows for multi-tasking, group work, flexibility and often high stress work environments. Being literate not only in the traditional sense of books and numbers but online as well will allow them the best chance for success in this changing world. I will say it for the millionth time – kids need to be literate in navigating and utilizing the technology to it’s fullest, not simply able to operate the device.
This week we also looked at identifying fake news and stretched truths in the media. This skill is one that is so incredibly crucial in today’s world as anyone can create media, anyone can add it to the internet and really, there is no significant vetting of information before it’s posted. We are bombarded with information non-stop. My classmate Luke’s Vlog says that we receive between 4000 and 10,000 media messages a day so we desperately need the skills to be able to wade through and choose the messages that are crucial to us as well as true. There is no way to effectively take them all in, so teaching kids the skills to pick and choose and be critical is the only way. I came across the video below and it shows the devastating effects that not being critical online can have. Now more than ever we need to be able to spot fake news and “alternative facts”.
This graphic from International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions is one of many available online that help to aid people in taking the appropriate steps to spotting fake news. Making these steps available in school, even from a young age will be the key to changing what information is believed online, and hopefully down the road, what information gets posted in the first place. For more details on this topic you can also swing back to my blog post from this week here.
During this class we took some time to think about the legalities (moral, ethical and legal) about teaching digital education. This was especially interesting because I have to be honest, I don’t really spend a lot of brain power on this subject when it’s arguably one of the most important areas, with the biggest potentially for backlash. I am hyperventilate with permission slips ensuring they give both options for participation as well as all the important and relevant details of the event, if you would like to see an example of something I created for this project, please click the link, university-class-media-release-note.
I would never take any chances in this aspect and would rather be over prepared than the opposite! As far as thinking of the ins and outs of the policy for my division, I need to brush up. I would absolutely ask before doing something and getting myself in hot water, but truly, this is important stuff and I should be more acquainted with the policies. I suppose there is a goal moving forward!
Hard to believe the end is so near again. Throughout the course of the semester I have gained so much knowledge and grown in my personal viewpoints. This course has challenged me and encouraged me to listen to others who have different skill levels and sets, working in vastly different careers. I have a better, more thorough understanding of where to look to find information from leaders in the field and most importantly, where to direct my students to ensure the resources they are reading are true and relevant.
I have such a drive going forward to ensure that my students are digitally literate members of our community. I use the term digitally literate to include being safe, responsible and kind online but also meaning to be able to detect fake news, to be intuitive and efficient in their workings online, and foster the skills they will need in the technological field as they move forward in their lives into their high level education and beyond. I get excited when I think about the possibility of having kids growing up where some of the threats are eliminated online because kids (or adults then) have the skills to shut down false stories and the sense to treat each other better IRL and online.
For the second last time…remember, major project summary to come…thanks for reading.
I have to admit…most days I find the amount of information that is coming my way SO overwhelming. Between the insane amount of emails I get, the constant change over on my social media, the depressing and often “dooms day” esq. news stories rolling through the television media outlets – it’s too much. In fact, on the Rotchester University Medical Centre site, it says, “It doesn’t matter how smart teens are or how well they scored on the SAT or ACT. Good judgment isn’t something they can excel in, at least not yet.” it suggests that a teenagers brain is not fully developed until 25 or so years old.” With that being said, it’s pretty scary to think about how all of this information will affect our kids when I am only a few years past my own brain being fully developed. Back in the good ol’ days it was, in my opinion, MUCH easier to spot fake news….because let’s be real, it was REALLY fake news delivered to us from sources that we knew were fake. Now, it is much harder to distinguish truths from lies because they are everywhere and delivered in many very convincing formats.
In Jaimie and Jocelyn’s video presentation they quote a Harvard study that states that 80% of students could not identify fake news…I would venture a guess, without some kind of training, a similar percent of adults, couldn’t spot it either. I have been guilty of reading a story and believing it without checking its validity, in particular if it backs and supports my viewpoints. Want to give it a shot? Try this quiz from BBC News! Another interesting piece of this puzzle is, where is our news actually coming from? There used to only be a few options with TV news or news printed in your local post however now, there is “news” is everywhere! Another bad practice I have in my day to day is perusing news stories that come at me from Facebook and my other social media accounts rather than visiting sites that are devoted to news and only news. So, how SHOULD I be spotting fake or questionable news?
I really loved this graphic found from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions as a quick reminder of the things I should be doing more regularly. Currently, I read, analyze and then check the bigger things I have been trained to look for such as the IP address, double checking dates to ensure it’s current news, remembering the source, and ensuring that I am not just reading stories that would support my personal views by seeking difference of opinion. This just isn’t enough anymore and I know I am doing myself an injustice by not ensuring that the news I’m drinking in is legit. On top of all that, I don’t share new stories very often for fear of perpetuating fake news…it’s a vicious cycle.
I agree whole heatedly with Logan in his vlog for this week when he says that even the term “fake news” has become kind of “fake news in itself” on account of the large blanket is has started to throw over not only news outlets, but unreliable articles, unchecked stories, etc. He also states based on his research, that fake news travels 6 times faster than real news. Meaning…that a large portion of the news and information I am receiving is potentially fake, or at least exaggerated. I suppose in light of all of these discoveries, I need to really become more diligent with vetting the news I’m reading. Another point that really stood out for me in Logan’s vlog was the portion on how cognitive ease affects our ability to spot fake news. Cognitive ease is what occurs when we get comfortable with certain information either because it’s true, or because it’s fake but we have been fed it over and over so it becomes easy to accept as fact. For myself as well as my students, I think we are living in a time where, as mentioned we are bombarded 24/7 with news and information, so we get complacent with what is presented and sometimes it’s just easier to find things that align with our current beliefs and don’t challenge them.
I am looking towards the future and vowing to be better using the tools that I have learned this week from our presenters as well as all the information Alec has given us to make better, more substantiated choices online with the news. I want my kiddos to have the skills to determine
the difference so they can make educated choices, base their beliefs on fact and be able to sift through the crazy amount of information online. I loved this video from the readings this week as a spring board for the process of spotting fake news – it’s short and to the point!
We have been diligently working away at our Think Local/Think Global project (#lionkidshelpingkids) and things are going great! We have been taking time in class to work through the Red Cross’ Beyond the Hurt Program – focusing most recently on the difference between rude behaviour and bullying, the types of bullying, communication skills and conflict resolution. This program is designed for grades 5-12 so we have done some adapting so the my kiddos can get something from the program. We were also thrilled that we inspired another class to participate in The Red Cross’ 150 Ways initiative! They created posters and submitted them. My class was really happy to hear their hard work and how much they are trying to spread their message paying off. One of things that I personally have been most excited to see is that kids are realizing that not all rude or mean behaviour is bullying and that it doesn’t mean that we don’t have to deal with it, but that we may deal with it differently than we would bullying. I think this is particularly important because kids will have the knowledge to take home to their parents to help them understand the difference so we can curb the number of false bullying claims and focus on the real issues in our schools and communities. I ABSOLUTELY don’t condone mean or rude behaviour but the way we deal with it and the education around is different.
I love this article – I think it does a wonderful job distinguishing between the three.
As a fundraising option within our school, we chose to support The Regina Red Cross because we are using the “Chair Affair Gala” to support Grandmother’s 4 Grandmother’s – only fair! My kiddos have been working SO hard to advertise, bake and announce each morning over the intercom information about not only our bake sale, but facts about the Red Cross they have researched. They are very proud and very excited to see how much money they will raise! Our bake sale is this Wednesday at Lakeview BUT if you would like to donate to our cause please send me an email to email@example.com – donations are GREATLY accepted.
Here is a couple snaps of my kiddos getting their
advertisements done to hang up around the school!
To help prepare us for our “Chair Affair” contribution we welcomed Susan Holmes from the Grandmother’s 4 Grandmother’s Regina Chapter to our classroom! She came and shared a beautiful slideshow showcasing photos of real people that the foundation has helped, stories of her own experiences in Africa as well as showed the kiddos photos and artwork from Africa to help inspire their chair and table design. I think this presentation brought life and faces to our project which is the most meaningful part – the kids can see that their hard work is making real change happen all the way across the world! We have to have our chair and table painted by May 1st so we have lots of work to do! So far we’ve done design ideas on paper and then were going to pitch our ideas to the group in the week to follow. This should showcase teamwork at its finest.
Overall I am so happy with how this project is shaping up and how engaged the kids are with the content! It is AMAZING to see how empathetic they are and how much they truly care about one another. I am excited to keep you all in the loop as everything comes together! I am hoping that Scott McHenry, a former Saskatchewan Roughrider who now works with the Red Cross to accept our donation and talk to the kids!
As the wonderful mind of Dr. Seuss says, “The more you read, the more things you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you’ll go”. These words have never rang truer to me in my life than they do now. I think I am finally at a place in my life and career that I grasp what he meant by this quote. Being literate is such a gift and it opens an unlimited amount of doors – you can do anything, you can be anything, we CAN change the world with literacy and knowledge. I don’t even think Dr. Seuss could have possibly understood the vast ways in which we need to be literate in today’s society and the quick pace in which we need to wrap our heads around them.
I think the best way for me to break it down this week is to highlight some of the ways I think we need to be literate so that we can be a “fully” literate society.
Print and Numeracy Literacy:
“Helping someone to read and write effectively or acquire the basic math skills so many of us take for granted, improves the future of everyone in society. Literacy is critical to economic development as well as individual and community well-being.”
Project Literacy out of Kelowna, BC does a wonderful job breaking down the immense importance of literacy to many facets of our lives. First, to the economy, when we have an educated, literate society to work with, more people can pull themselves from poverty and become contributing members of society. Second, the benefits to both the individual whom is literate as well as the community in which they live. The project states the following ways that literacy can positively impact someones life,
“For new-comers to Canada, adequate English language skills are essential to forming friendships, without which they are susceptible to isolation, loneliness and anxiety. Persons with adequate literacy skills maintain better health through their ability to understand and interpret health information and From a collective perspective,” and finally “a literate community is a dynamic community; a community that exchanges ideas, engages in dialogue is more innovative and productive.”
As you can see, the reach is endless. A literate society is a successful, happy, healthy society.
In one of the articles we read this week titled, “What is Media Literacy and why is it Important?” posted on Common Sense Media, focuses greatly on the key points of WHY we need to be digitally literate by making ties to the above print/numeracy literacy stated above. The first line of the article is, “The word “literacy” usually describes the ability to read and write. Reading literacy and media literacy have a lot in common. Reading starts with recognizing letters. Pretty soon, readers can identify words — and, most importantly, understand what those
words mean. Readers then become writers. With more experience, readers and writers develop strong literacy skills.” We piece together our skills so we can be literate in whichever society we reside. Our current society depends on us to be digitally literate as many of the positives stated above from the print literacy are achieved now with aspects of digitally literacy. Everything is so interconnected.
As my classmate Danielle says in her blog this week, we need to take action to show kids what responsible digital literacy and technology use looks like! As we would model any kind of literacy as teachers in either print or numeracy in our classroom, we need to show kids that there are useful, meaningful, efficient ways to use technology and literacies online. The same way that the aforementioned print/numeracy literacy creates positive communities, positive relationships and economic growth, digital literacy has the ability to do the same!
I think in order to be considered literate in today’s society it means that we need to take the ability to read/write/use technology both in the literal sense of function and understanding the implications of technology as well, and put it all together to be able to think critically about the world around us. With the rapid rate in which information is sent at us, it is not even close to enough to only have the ability to be able to understand the words in the literal sense – we also need to be able to understand the message and the author’s purpose as anyone can create media. It is absolutely critical that we have the skills to vet out information that is untrue or partially true. In the Common Sense Media article they pose 5 important skills that digital literacy gives children and they are the building blocks to reaching the type of society and the type of world that I would be happy to live in.
Learn to think critically. As kids evaluate media, they decide whether the messages make sense, why certain information was included, what wasn’t included, and what the key ideas are. They learn to use examples to support their opinions. Then they can make up their own minds about the information based on knowledge they already have.
Become a smart consumer of products and information. Media literacy helps kids learn how to determine whether something is credible. It also helps them determine the “persuasive intent” of advertising and resist the techniques marketers use to sell products.
Recognize point of view. Every creator has a perspective. Identifying an author’s point of view helps kids appreciate different perspectives. It also helps put information in the context of what they already know — or think they know.
Create media responsibly. Recognizing your own point of view, saying what you want to say how you want to say it, and understanding that your messages have an impact is key to effective communication.
Identify the role of media in our culture. From celebrity gossip to magazine covers to memes, media is telling us something, shaping our understanding of the world, and even compelling us to act or think in certain ways.
Understand the author’s goal. What does the author want you to take away from a piece of media? Is it purely informative, is it trying to change your mind, or is it introducing you to new ideas you’ve never heard of? When kids understand what type of influence something has, they can make informed choices.
Teachers are SO many different things – we are teachers, nutritionists, psychologists, confidants, parents, role models, and more…to more kids than ever. There are pieces of our jobs that are more important than ever, and pieces of jobs that we will need to sacrifice in order to ensure we are able to provide adequate care and attention to these other areas.
If I begin by examining the current practice of my school in teaching digital citizenship I have VERY mixed feelings on the amount of success were having…we have banned cellphones without permission from the time the morning bell rings to the time the end of day bell rings. The senior kids can ask permission from staff members to use their phones for music, research, etc. but there is protocol in place for children who don’t listen. The first time we take it away, they get it back at the end of the day, second time they have to get it back from the principal and third time, they have to have their family come and retrieve it from the principal. I understand the distraction, I understand the cyber-bullying, I understand the many things that can go wrong with technology but I don’t know that skirting it is the best option. The crucial component to remember is that knowledge is power and that we can’t avoid the technology so we midaswell teach safe, responsible practice. To my knowledge in the more senior grades there isn’t as much teaching about digital literacy as there is assuming that kids know to use the technologies for school purposes with reminders to be safe as we go. As I mention in my Catalyst Content project – there is a difference between being digitally literate and being tech savvy so we need to careful with assuming…you know what they say about assuming.
In Luke’s Vlog he states that we recieve between 4000 and 10,000 media messages a day…that’s A LOT of information to process and if we aren’t teaching kids how to vet out information that is not relevant to them they will end up overwhelmed and missing the information that IS relevant. DIGITAL LITERACY IS SO IMPORTANT! In Nina’s Vlog she had a slide with a question that caught my eye too…she asks, “How does the news in media affect kids?” I can’t help but think that it greatly affects them as they are still utilizing a developing mind to sift through the messages thrown their way. We have to consider all of these factors when considering whether or not schools should be teaching digital and media literacy.
“Activities that involve creating media messages — such as writing and producing a video script complete with sound effects — not only create proficiency in writing and editing (core language arts goals) but also build teamwork skills, tolerance for another’s perspective, organization and delegation skills as well as appreciation for the variety of talents it takes to complete a large scale project.”
This snippet stood out to me because I think it really shows how interconnected literacy and digital literacy are and that they can support one another in the best way! Not only are kids getting the writing and editing skills with a larger scale digital projects but they are also working on skills such as teamwork and organization that are so hard to teach on their own. Digital or media projects and experiences in school are invaluable in my opinion. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have completed one major digital project and be in the middle of my second with my class – I have seen the best in my kids coming out because they are thinking about each other, the world and the impact that they can have. It’s very powerful and couldn’t be accomplished without the online world bringing us closer.
On account of my time in Dr. Alec Couros’ classes, I feel like my personal practice with teaching digital literacy has come leaps and bounds! As anyone who has followed my blog knows, I teach grade 2 so my kids interaction with technology is pretty guided, HOWEVER, they are being exposed to it earlier and earlier so there is no harm in starting learning safety, etiquette and responsibility early! I think it’s VERY important that school’s take the lead and start offering a focus on digital literacy. I talk to my kids daily about how we need to not only be respectful in our interactions in real life, but online as well! We speak a lot about how to stay safe online too. I’m hoping that we can start building knowledge and good practice young so that there aren’t as many issues as my littles grow up. Linked is a little video we made last semester!
If I’m thinking ahead to digital literacy in the future, Dimitri Christakis’ TED Talk inspired a take away for me – this was the immense need for digital literacy to be a balance between what we experience in the real world and as well as the digital world. We need to be able to both distinguish that these are separate entities, but also realize that they are so interconnected and that we need to be “real” in both venues. In Stacey’s blog this week, she had the same sentiment and took it to the streets – combing a real life and technological experience for her niece. We need to encourage these types of experiences for our kids and show them that they can have both! Thanks for the inspiration Stacey!
My own digital literacy practice – well, it’s a work in progress….a construction zone of slightly organized chaos. I am learning so much every single day and there is SO much more to learn. I feel it is absolutely my responsibility to ensure that good digital literacy practice is taught in school – it’s not a guarantee that these skills will be taught at home – and if they aren’t supported at home, at least they are being exposed to it somewhere. This week in our class Pat Maze from the STF spoke to us about the importance of not just being cautious of what we post, but generally just being smart about it. I think no one would have trouble if common sense was more common but unfortunately that is not the case. Teachers are held to a very high standard 24/7, not just in the hours in which we are at work – whether you think this is fair or right doesn’t really matter. Pat made it clear that our online actions can and do directly reflect our professional selves. I wasn’t surprised by anything Pat said in our talk aside from the fact that he said we shouldn’t need to have a personal and professional account for social media – there were many comments made in our discussion that I agree with – although there is really nothing on my personal account that I think would get me into trouble, there are things on there that would just be for the eyes of my friends and family, not necessarily people in which I just have a professional relationship with, including my families or kids. I think even though we are under the microscope all the time, I am still entitled to a life outside of my class. I appreciate that the STF is there and will help you work through situations or answer questions -thank you so much to Pat Maze for taking the time to speak with us.
I am beyond excited to share my class’ first contribution to our learning project! As part of the Red Cross’ 150 Ways Initiative, we created a little video to share some of the ways WE will stand up to bullying and mistreatment. My kiddos were so excited to share their ideas and hopefully be part of a positive change in our school, community, city, country and the world.
These kids give me hope for a bright, loving, accepting future. We got this.