Category Archives: EC&I 832

Nothing but smiles for #thehappinessproject

#thehappinessproject. Wow! Talk about a rewarding experience. This term I knew that I wanted to do another project that would allow me to include my students and looking back I can say I am beyond proud of the hard work and dedication my students (and families) demonstrated this term. Below I will outline for you our entire journey of the happiness project from beginning to now because the end hasn’t happened yet!

1.An idea and a plot twist: Originally I had planned to focus on teaching about digital citizenship by incorporating social media into our everyday classroom. I had an idea to use a classroom Facebook page where my students could learn about appropriate online behavior as I modeled for them throughout this term. You can read about my original idea here in my blog post Let’s do this! After some careful consideration, I just wasn’t feeling this choice was the right one and I felt like I was being pulled in a different direction. Along came my plot twist, with this I decided that I was going to launch a student activism project within my classroom. I shared my original idea with my classroom and let me tell you they were beyond excited. You can read about the beginning brainstorming sessions with my students here: Plot Twist… Major Project 2.0.

2. Settling on a project: after much deliberation and brainstorming sessions, we decided that we were going to do some exploration around the topic of happiness in our classroom. In honor of International Day of Happiness, we launched a happiness project to explore inner happiness. We decided that over the next few months, we were going to participate in daily activities that encourage mindfulness, self-regulation, self-care, gratitude, with the end result of finding internal happiness. During this time we talked about ways that we could share our project with others and how we can reach out via social media to invite and encourage other classrooms to follow along and participate in our project. We decided on a classroom blog as a way to document our learning and a place for others to follow along, participate and collaborate. You can find our happiness blog here!  Our classroom blog is written by students who share their learning journey as well as updated with teaching resources by myself for these lessons so others can use them easily in their classrooms. You can read all about the fine details of our project at We present to you… The Happiness Project.

3.  Ribbles 9 Elements: We were encouraged to consider how our project meets Ribbles 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship. You can check out my project goals and how I planned to teach my students about Digital Communication, Digital Literacy and Digital Health and Wellness through the happiness project. You can read about these goals in my blog post #projectgoals. 

4.  The Launch: After the February break, we hit the ground running. We launched our happiness blog, used my social media including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to reach out to other educators to see who would like to be a part of our project. Students also drafted an email to send out to any teacher who had expressed interest from my social media accounts. This email outlined our project and how they can follow along on our blog! You can find our happiness blog here! This is where my students shared and documented their learning. My students also narrowed down and picked their organization of choice. The students decided on the Make a Wish Foundation Saskatchewan. They picked this foundation as they wanted to spread happiness to a kid who may need a little bit of extra happiness. They decided to raise money for their cause by selling rainbow loom bracelets for International Day of Happiness. You can read all about the launch of our happiness project here at The Launch! 

 5. Getting Started: You can read about week one of the happiness project below! This outlines our happiness journals, our first few lessons as well as breaking the news to our school about our project in a school assembly! In this post, you will also find links to the updates on our classroom happiness blog for the first week! You can read all about our first week in the blog post #thehappinessproject is underway! Here is the video that my students created to share our happiness project with our school community at our assembly!

6.Feelings Week: Mid-March we focused on feelings for a week. We did several lessons around feelings. We also had Trina Markusson the Mindfulness guru come in to speak with our class about tips and tricks for mindfulness. You can read my blog post Feelings Week to see what lessons we did around feelings! This will also share the links to our happiness blog where you can read the updates from my students.

7. Charity: Students picked the charity Make a Wish Foundation Saskatchewan to raise awareness and money for. Over the course of a few weeks, students shared our project with all of the classrooms in our school and shared how students can get involved by purchasing a happiness bracelet for International Day of Happiness to support our cause. The school community was so excited about this fundraiser. Our students worked so hard to make and fill all of the orders for our school. We even had orders from other classrooms around the province that were following along with our project! That was very exciting for our students to have other schools also purchase for our cause! One of the students in my classroom also went above and beyond doing her own personal fundraiser for our cause. You can read the blog post Giving to Charity Makes us Happy to see how we prepared and fulfilled our fundraiser!

8. Mindfulness: Building on Trina Markussons presentation we spent a few lessons looking at working on ourselves. You can read the update about these lessons as well as find the links to my student’s reflections on their happiness blog about these lessons. You can read about this at Working on Ourselves.

9. #thehappinessprojectyqr: Using social media I was able to reach out to someone within our community that has branded #thehappinessprojectYQR. I reached out to Makayla to see if she would come and speak with our classroom about how she uses social media in a positive way to spread awareness about happiness. You can read about how we reached out to Makayla and our afternoon spent with her at #thehappinessprojectyqr.

Over the past few months, we have accomplished so much with this project and I am so proud of the direction that it took. My class was able to spread awareness about self-care, self-regulation, mindfulness, and gratitude. They were able to use the classroom blog as a platform to share with others from outside our school community. They were so excited when others would comment on our blog and let us know that they are following along with our journey. I feel that this update is just a snippet of what we actually accomplished over the last few months!

Students worked so hard to make all of the bracelets that we sold to our followers. These bracelets were sold to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation Saskatchewan. It was such a great way to raise awareness for both our foundation as well as International Day of Happiness. The school was excited and it was so amazing to see all of our students united in wearing their bracelets on March 20th to show their support for our cause! Our fundraiser was beyond successful. Although this total is still a top secret from our school until our April Assembly check out the photo below to see how successful our classroom was in our fundraiser! Shhh… don’t spill the beans!

We gratefully raised $1500 for the Make a Wish Foundation Saskatchewan. We are blown away by the support our classroom received from our school community as well as our followers for this project. We are extremely excited to share this with our school at our April assembly and then proceed to make our donation to the Make a Wish Foundation.

Throughout this project, the most rewarding experience for myself has been to watch my students blog about their learning and the fundraiser. Allowing my students to reflect on their learning on a public forum has empowered them to dig deeper into their learning and share their work to inspire others. We had a class discussion about the benefits of using social media to share our work and they felt very proud that they could use the blog to share happiness with others. They shared how if we didn’t have our blog our learning and ideas would have just stayed in our classroom but because they put their work on the blog they were able to share happiness with others. This was extremely powerful.

All in all this project was extremely rewarding and I am excited to share that we are not finished yet! We have moved on to celebrate Grateful in April which is a great way to wrap up our project. We are extremely grateful to everyone who followed along and supported us along the way. Thank you to all who took the time to read our blog and comment for my students to see that their work has gone public! This was by far their favorite part. Also, thank you to any teachers who tried some of our activities in their classrooms as well as supported our fundraiser. We are beyond grateful.

I feel like this project is hard to wrap up and summarize in one blog post. Please head over to our Happiness Blog which can be found here! This is where the true happiness lies and you can see the full scope of how much work my classroom did over the last few months. Make sure to subscribe because there is still more to come!

Thanks for following along on our happiness journal!

We will meet YOU at HAPPY!


Adios EC&I 832

Since I just returned from Mexico for spring break, and I am practically fluent (not) in Spanish I will prepare to say Adios to my new friends and colleagues that I have met through this course. Thank you all for another amazing semester of learning. This course for me was a great building block to the content that I learned in EC&I 831. I feel that combined these two courses have allowed me to fully understand the importance of educating our students on the importance of Digital Citizenship as well as Media Literacy.

This course has allowed me to reflect on my current teaching practices and encouraged me to consider how I can change and adapt my teaching to ensure that I am fully preparing my students for the world that they are entering. Technology and media are here to stay and as teachers and parents, we need to be committed to helping our students navigate this world appropriately and safely. I feel that I now have a great understanding of the topics that I need to begin to explore deeper into my classroom and from this class I have the confidence to know how to begin that.

Thank you all for the great discussions, feedback, and support. You can find my summary of learning below!  Take care all!


Adios, my friends!




When Learning Happens in Layers

Photo Credit:

There is something about learning that I find interesting. When I began this semester I wasn’t sure if I had made the right choice in choosing another class based on educational technology. I am passionate about #edtech but understand that there is so much to be learned through taking a masters program and maybe I should ‘spread my wings’ a little. I found myself wondering if I might be learning some of the same things over. The thing about learning is that it comes in layers and when we have one piece we are able to take that and build. There were times in the class when I felt I already understood some of the topics but the conversations, blogs and class discussions are what added that next piece for me. I realized it even more as I put together my summary of learning, the pieces I had before were a framework for what I gained from this class.

I now feel more knowledgeable about how to discuss ways to incorporate digital citizenship and media literacy into my own classroom as well as in conversations with colleagues. I feel I can continue to lead by example and that can be a powerful thing!

I had been hoping to try something new and come up with an original idea this semester for my Summary of Learning and google pulled through for me! I came across Brackify one afternoon over the Spring break and decided to go for it. I really like how this turned out and although I am not much of a March Madness girl, I thought it was fitting for the time of year! Thank you to those of you in EC&I 832 who took a few minutes out of your time off to help me out with the results of the bracket! I had reached out on Twitter in hopes of a couple responses and received more than I thought I would! Check out the link to the bracket and results in the tweet below! What I found most interesting and encouraging was that many of the choices were the same ones that I chose and the overall winner was the one that I anticipated to be the winner!
So without further ado here is my Summary of Learning for EC&I 832!

Ohh and I should add that not only do I believe in learning as a lifelong endeavour but I also believe in following your passions so… see you in #eci830 next semester Alec!

When Class Ends but the Learning Doesn’t – Major Project Wrap-up

The age-old saying that goes a little something like “the learning never ends” is how I would categorize my major project this term. The learning certainly isn’t complete and there is so much more to do but the piece that I have had to remind myself about, the important part, is that learning happened! Much like Megan mentions in her final post for her project, this isn’t just a project that ends but a project that allows for continued growth and learning. As I’ve mentioned in my posts outlining my process and the progress throughout the term, this was an evolving project that eventually took on a two-sided approach.

As I began to form my plan for this project I had originally set a goal for myself and my students:

“…to create a collection of students in my building who are confident digital citizens with a growing understanding of media literacies. I want them to be able to share the value, possibilities and opportunities that technology can provide in a learning environment with their classmates and teachers.” – From Panic to a Plan… Sort of! (January 20th blogpost)

My goal helped me to set my purpose and the conversations throughout the term allowed me to build on what I already knew to support the students I was working with. My conversations with my classroom students as well as my school tech team were what guided my process for this project. In an effort to share how I went about organizing my knowledge I have created a Padlet to show my thinking process. I don’t think this is a linear process because I still feel like I am working on all 3 steps but I know that I am making progress and in my mind, that’s what counts!

Made with Padlet

Demonstrating Digital Citizenship using Seesaw in my Grade 2 Classroom – Where are we now?

  • The like button is very popular now!
  • Students seek out opportunities to view peer posts and leave feedback
  • Students are leaving both text and audio comments for peers
  • Parent engagement with Seesaw has increased
  • Students are continuing to work towards comments that are on topic, along with appropriate emoji use
  • Students who showed little engagement with Seesaw prior to the project now seek out opportunities to post

A sample of some of the work being shared and comments left by the grade 2 students and their families:

Goals moving forward:
  1. Continue to model positive digital citizenship and engage my class in the conversation
  2. Provide further opportunities to engage in giving feedback comments to classmates
  3. Work on taking intentional time to talk with students about the posts they’ve made

Developing Media Literacy using WeVideo with the MacNeill Tech Team – Where are we now?

Team members now know:

  • How to join a Google Classroom
  • How to organize their Google Drive
  • How to set up folders and organize their Google Drive
  • How to create a Google Slides presentation
  • How to create a screencast using WeVideo
  • How to use features within WeVideo to create a video using a created screencast

The learning curve for these grade 5 & 6 students was large and I asked a lot of them. They stepped up and did a great job! WeVideo was new to the team and myself, we worked through many challenges together as a team and I am really looking forward to seeing the growth that this will see as we continue to work together.

Here are a couple samples of the videos they created:


Goals moving forward:
  1. Look at the videos that were created and provide feedback as a team, looking at what was done really well and how we can work to improve certain features
  2. Work to build the teams understanding of digital citizenship (I had to edit out pieces of their videos as they had shared first and last names within the video)
  3. Continue to allow the group to create videos and supports that they feel would be valuable for the students and staff in the school

Local News Bubble…

News. To be honest, this is one thing that can completely overwhelm me. Media, in my mind, has allowed the access to and the spread of news, true and fake to become so widespread. In today’s society information and news is always visible and present and that to me has become overwhelming. Because the access and amount of news overwhelm me so much, I have found that for the most part, I try and put myself in a bubble of staying local with my news intake. By doing so I feel that I am able to stay informed about what is happening in my immediate community and up to date with the news that directly impacts myself and my community. Amy shares the same feelings I do about news in todays society, she shares,

I can’t make sense of my world. What I learn about in the news constantly tells me that there is so much going on that I can’t understand and have no way of even beginning to understand.  I feel overwhelmed by the complexities of the moment we’re in, politically, socially, humanitarian-ly, and environmentally.

 With acknowledging these overwhelming feelings I feel about my news intake, I do acknowledge that it ultimately is a privilege that I have in that I  am able to choose which news I concern myself.

Currently, the strategy that I use in order to stay informed and away from the fake news is that I try to primarily ready and watch local news, listen to local radio and also browsing online local news sites in order to stay informed with my communities news stories. I try and make sure that I cross-check facts between different local news stations as I find even between local news stations the stories that each station shares can present different facts and different information. I feel that in today’s world no matter what the source of news that you are reading it is important to always cross-check the information to truly guarantee that you are getting truthful facts of the news stories. If we do not cross-check the facts we then risk becoming part of the problem in spreading of ‘fake news’.


Credit                                  Credit                                   Credit

There was a time in my life when I relied on my social media platforms to keep myself informed with news. Many people use their social media accounts to share stories of news that is happening around the world. It is hard not to click on the catchy headings and read stories of what is happening around the world. The problem with relying on social media platforms is that there are many fake news stories floating around on these sites. This is why it is concerning that in today’s society many people are using social media as their primary news platform but in reality, this is where the majority of ‘fake news’ stories begin to circulate.

It is just in the last few years that I have learned to become skeptical of reading news stories circulating on social media and have become aware of the idea of fake news and how to begin to decipher if a story is real or fake. In Jocelyn and Jamie’s video this week, they share a study done by Ofcom that polled 12-15-year-olds and half of the students shared that social media is where they get their news stories from.The following is a video that Jocelyn and Jaimie’s shared about the importance of fact-checking news stories found on our social media feeds.

As an educator, we have a great responsibility in helping our students understand fake news and helping them build the skills that they need in order to understand and think critically about what they are reading. I can see after reflection this week that this is something I need to work on myself to become more comfortable with reading news and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone to become more informed with what is going on around the world. I need to work towards becoming more comfortable with reading online and being able to confidently identify what is true and what is fake news. Jocelyn and Jaimie shared the following picture which I think is a great starting point for myself as well as my students when looking at classifying news.

Photo Credit

Although I think this is a great start to helping students identify ‘fake news’ we need to remember what Alec shared last week in class. Nicole shared on Twitter how Alec quoted that”no checklist is going to make your student’s media literate.” Sharing tips that students can work through is great but even beyond this, we need to ensure that we continue to have conversations with them and provide them with real experiences to help them truly understand and be confident in the skills they need in order to become media literate citizens.

So my question to you is how are you committed to helping your students become digital literate citizens in this fake news world? For me, I acknowledge that my first step needs to begin with continuing educating myself and becoming more confident in my media literacy skills.

Thanks for stopping in!



Can You Spot The Fake?

“According to a Stanford study, only 25% of high schools students were able to identify an accurate news story compared to a fake one.” –The Problem with Fake News byJohn Spencer

Photo Credit: Meme Generator

Reading between the lines has taken on a whole new meaning thanks to the term ‘fake news’. Now Mr. Trump might believe that he is responsible for coining the term but The Long and Brutal History of Fake News piece in Politico Magazine highlights world events that suggest otherwise.   If we don’t know how to or know that we should, question the stories we come across on a daily basis we are allowing ourselves to be uninformed and quite likely persuaded by untruths.  Now as Dani talks about in her post this week, figuring out what’s fake today is a more difficult task than it was 20 years ago. However, when we base our opinions and responses on things we believe to be true, without verifying, we are creating a culture where manipulation of the truth is accepted. This is scary!

Prior to starting my graduate degree, I wouldn’t have considered myself someone who was critical enough of the things I read online. I was aware that there were things I shouldn’t believe but certainly didn’t question things quite enough. As I have worked through my courses I have spent a large portion of them in educational technology classes with Dr. Alec Couros and have grown to be more critical and aware of what I am viewing online because of what I have learned in these classes. If you are in education or have a child and aren’t already following him on Twitter, go right now and do that, I promise you won’t regret it and that you will definitely learn from him! I think those who have the knowledge of what it means to be critical of media today, have a responsibility to share how we have come to develop those skills and what that means when it comes to being an informed citizen.

I can’t even begin to count the times I have seen “Click Here to Win A Costco (or any large retail store) Gift Card”, “Share This Post and You Will Receive $1,000,000.00”, “Share this Post and I Will Share My Lottery Winnings With You”, news stories from 5 years ago being re-shared, missing (but now found) pet posts being re-shared and anything else along those lines on Facebook. I will admit sometimes, I get just a tad bit frustrated by these but then I have to remind myself that I have some background knowledge on how to question these things. Since gaining this knowledge I have realized I spend a lot less time focused on the ‘news’ that comes across my Facebook feed and more time spent viewing posts from friends and family.

This past week I made a conscious effort to stop myself when I clicked on something to read, outside of posts by friends and family. I found it interesting to go back at the end of the week because I was spending less time than I thought on Facebook and more time interacting with media created by people I actually know and would stop to talk to on the street. I should also mention that during the last 6 months or so I have made an effort to unfollow several business or celebrity accounts on social media because I was missing out on posts from those very people! Twice throughout the week, I went into my settings on my phone to check out just where I was spending my time when I was on my phone.

I was actually quite surprised to see these results when I went in there. Sometimes I feel like I spend way too much time on my phone but knowing about the efforts I’ve made to interact with posts that I know are real, I was happy with what I saw. One important observation I made with that the Buzzfeed app didn’t have more than 1% either day. I am curious what that would have looked like about 6 months ago because I could certainly lose a lot of time on the quizzes and stories on that app not all that long ago.

Throughout the week I also took a screenshot of a couple articles that came across my phone that I stopped to question! After watching Jaimie and Jocelyn’s video this week I realized, that through time and practice, I have developed the 5 skills for identifying fake news that they discussed. I did google the first one to check if it was a true story and came across several different links to the same story being reported by various sources. I actually didn’t make it through the complete list on the second posts because I just didn’t feel like it sounded real and even if I had googled to fact check, I’m not sure we can ever trust what is reported on the lives of celebrities unless we hear it directly from them. I don’t know that I consciously always use each step but I didn’t realize until this week, that I was using them at times. Also, I learned about Snopes this week! I had heard of it before but really didn’t know anything about it, will be checking it out in further detail! These two are the examples from this week but I would say, with confidence, that this is something I do on a regular basis and I can attribute that to becoming educated and informed.

As educators, we have a great responsibility and power to help our students understand how to decipher what is fake and what is real. However, one trend that I am starting to see pop up on social media from time to time is celebrities taking to their accounts to let their fans know what accounts are real and which aren’t. When it comes to young people, celebrities hold a great power as well. Check out Jason Aldean on Instagram taking a moment to educate his fans about how to identify fake accounts.

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!


wut does it mean 2 b literate?

I used to think that being literate only meant being able to read and write. As I learn more about literacy, I am starting to realize that it is really about understanding different types of information. For instance, when we think about fake news, the idea of fully understanding how to interpret what is fake news is a literacy. More and more, it is becoming important for people to understand the information available to us.


In the article The Grim Conclusions of the Largest-Ever Study of Fake News: they explain that “It seems to be pretty clear [from our study] that false information outperforms true information. . .  “And that is not just because of bots. It might have something to do with human nature.” Carter video also touches on this. He mentioned that fake news is shared more because it evokes more emotion. I thought this was very interesting. I think that the majority of information shared on my Facebook feed are posts that make people mad, sad, frustrated or happy. It is not very often that you see someone share something that is just everyday news. It is often something that they are passionate about.

In most of the videos this week, they stated that “80% of students cannot id real from fake” when it comes to the news they are reading. They do not know how to distinguish what is real, nor do they check to see if it is real. In the article Fact or Fiction: Fake News and its Impact on Education there are examples of how people have acted out based on fake news such as the Comet Pizza Story.

More than ever, it is important for teachers to take the time to teach students how to determine what is fake so we can prevent incidents like this from happening again. The article claims that recent events have “shed light on the problem that most students are not taught media literacy in current curriculums,” I really appreciated that this article gave tips to help teachers teach about media literacy such as: incorporate news-related key terms into the curriculum like credibility and bias, discussing news, and providing different types of news so students can distinguish between the two.


Another good resource we were given was the video The Problem with Fake News (and how our students can solve it) they give us a five C’s of critical consuming: context, credibility, construction, corroboration,  and compare. I feel like students should watch this video and then students should use this with an article of their choice!

Based on this week’s readings, I would say a large part of being literate is understanding information. It is important to understand what information we are taking in and interpret that information, how to properly use the web, what to post, and what to share. Most importantly, it is important to understand what fake news is. It should not be a teacher’s job alone though. Everyone should ban together to understand this new form of literacy including teachers, parents, communities and social media sites.


21st Century Literacy

Teaching is one profession where the requirements and expectations are constantly changing due to the changes in society. As teachers, it is essential that we are educating our young people to keep up with the changes happening in society. It is also crucial that teachers are committed to understanding the changes happening in society and are thinking critically about how their teaching practices need to continue to evolve to meet the different demands of society.

Traditionally, literacy in the classroom was defined by the student’s ability to read, write and do arithmetic. As society progresses literacy also progresses and in today’s society being literate means much more than having the ability to read, write and do arithmetic. So what does it mean to be literate today?

Image result for traditional literacy

Photo Credit

Our world is changing at a pace that can sometimes seem difficult to keep up with. Literacy alike is also changing rapidly. To become fully literate in today’s society one must acquire skills greater than just reading, writing, and arithmetic.  As stated in the article Media Literacy: A National Priority for a Changing World,

The convergence of media and technology in a global culture is changing the way we learn about the world and challenging the very foundations of education. No longer is it enough to be able to read the printed word; children, youth, and adults, too, need the ability to critically interpret the powerful images of a multimedia culture.

No longer is being literate having the ability to just read and write. To be fully literate one must have the skills to also become media literate which is having the ability to think critically and understand the many messages we receive through multimedia throughout our day. As Staci defined in her catalyst video, “Media literacy is the ability to identify different types of media and understand the messages they’re sending.” We now live in a multimedia world where messages are sent to us through many different media throughout our days and it is our job as educators to help children understand these messages and teach them to be able to think critically about what the messages mean to them.

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As teachers, we need to begin to understand how the curriculum we teach in our classrooms needs to change as well as our teaching methods and approaches need to change to address the multimedia world that our students live in. We need to help them learn not only how to navigate the technology and use it to gather information but also how to be critical in the way that they analyze the information that they have gathered. Through a change in education, we can teach students how they can use technology to further their understanding of multimedia information.

As stated in the article Media Literacy: A National Priority for a Changing World, becoming media literate allows students to move away from the idea of teachers providing knowledge and students storing all of the information in their brains, towards students having the skills to acquire and search for any information that they will need to know. The world is constantly changing and data is produced at a faster rate than ever before therefore it is unrealistic for students to be able to store these amounts of data in their brains. These skills, in turn, allow students to be able to find knowledge rather than store knowledge we have provided them with.

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It also means that we are taking time to teach students how to approach new technologies that they will encounter. We help them to build and understand the skills they need to approach new technology with enthusiasm, fearlessly as well as skeptically and critically. We build on their reading and writing skills by teaching them how to use technology to help further their thinking and understanding of the world around them. This allows students to become digital learners where they can learn anything, anywhere at any time. Becoming digital literate is an essential and powerful tool students need to master to become fully literate in today’s society.

As a teacher what are you doing in your classroom to ensure that your literacy program is pushing beyond the traditional understanding of what is literacy? How can you ensure that you are providing your students with the experiences they need to become fully literate in today’s society? As teachers, it is important that we question and challenge our teaching pedagogies to continue to grow as an educator and ensure that we are providing our students with the skill set that they need to be the best that they can be in today’s society.