Category Archives: EC&I 832

Instagram: Everything You Need To Know

insta

We bring you closer to the people and things you love

 

What is the purpose of the app/intended audience?

Instagram is a free social media app to share videos, photos and messages.  The app allows users to follow accounts of their friends, public figures, businesses, organizations and more.  Instagram is one of the Facebook Products after being acquired by Facebook in 2012.

How to use the app

Signing up/Getting Started

Note – The minimum age to have an account is 13 years old. There is the option to have a private (you must approve followers) or public (anyone can view your content) account.

Sharing Photos and Videos

  • You have the option of choosing a photo from your device camera roll or taking a photo directly within the app. You can upload up to 10 photos or video clips between 3 and 60 seconds long.
  • When you select a photo/video you can crop/trim, rotate, straighten and/or add filters/effects to the photo/video.  The filter option allows the user to create a specific “look” with one touch, compared the the effect option which requires to the user to manually adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, etc.
  • Before you share, you can add a caption and attach your location data to an image. Hashtags are frequently used to connect with similar content and users.

Note –  You have the ability to edit your caption after posting, share to other networks (you can connect your Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr accounts) and tag other users in your post.

Exploring Photos and Video

  • ‘Search and Explore’ photos and videos are chosen for each user based on the types of accounts you follow or posts you like.
  • Choose to follow public and private accounts (private will require you to ‘request access’) and specific hashtags.

Note – Some accounts can choose to restrict their content to people over a certain age (ex.  alcohol accounts). Based on the information you provide Instagram (or Facebook), the app will determine if you are able to view the restricted content.

Direct Messages (DMs)

  • Instagram Direct allows you to send private messages to one or more people. The message can include your own photos and videos or posts/stories you see in your feed.
  • Sending disappearing photos/videos – the option to ‘View Once’, ‘Allow Replay’ or ‘Keep in Chat’.
  • ‘Unsend a Message’ – you can delete a message before a user opens the message
  • Send messages to people you do not follow, but they will have to approve the message request before it enters their mailbox.

Note – Instagram has a ‘Report’ feature to flag any abusive or inappropriate messages that are sent to a user.

Stories

  • Stories are photos or videos with the option to add effects, captions, filters and stickers.
  • Upload a video/photo or record directly within the story feature.
  • Stories appear on your profile for 24 hours before they disappear, but you have the option of ‘Highlighting’ or ‘Archiving’ a story for future viewing.
  • See which accounts have watched your story..
  • Record “Live” video to connect with followers in real time.
  • Tag and mention other accounts in your story, which allows users to share a story within their own profile.

Note – Instagram has many controls and options to limit who can see/share your stories. In particular, there is a ‘Close Friends’ feature which allows you to select a sub-group from your followers.

Feed

  • Photos and videos from the accounts you follow are displayed in the feed, with the accounts that ‘Instagram thinks you care about most’ at the top of the feed.
  • Suggested posts and accounts relevant to the people and hashtags you follow will be displayed.
  • Double tap the post or tap the heart icon to like a post.
  • Mute posts/stories of accounts you still want to follow, but do not want to see their content within your feed.

IGTV

  • Upload videos in MP4 file format (15 minutes from a mobile device, 60 minutes maximum from the web).
  • A short excerpt of the video (maximum 60 seconds) will appear on a user’s profile, and then the view can chose to watch the full length video on IGTV.

Terms of Use, Privacy, Safety and Data Collection

All content must follow Instagram’s Community Guidelines:

We want Instagram to continue to be an authentic and safe place for inspiration and expression. Help us foster this community. Post only your own photos and videos and always follow the law. Respect everyone on Instagram, don’t spam people or post nudity.

  • Share only photos and videos that you’ve taken or have the right to share.
  • Post photos and videos that are appropriate for a diverse audience.
  • Foster meaningful and genuine interactions.
  • Follow the law.
  • Respect other members of the Instagram community.
  • Maintain our supportive environment by not glorifying self-injury.

Here is the TL;DR version of Instagram’s Terms of Use:

  • Offering personalized opportunities to create, connect, communicate, discover, and share 
    • Instagram “builds systems” (algorithms) to try and understand who/what you care about and uses this information to create a unique user experience.
  • Fostering a positive, inclusive, and safe environment.
    • Teams and systems exist to combat abuse, violations of terms and deceptive behaviour. Instagram may share information about misues with other Facebook Companies or law enforcement.
  • Developing and using technologies that help us consistently serve our growing community.
    • A big part of Instagram is using “cutting-edge technologies” to help personalize and protect users. This includes artificial intelligence (AR), machine learning and automated technologies.
  • Providing consistent and seamless experiences across other Facebook Company Products.
    • Instagram is part of Facebook, so it shares technology systems, insights and information about you to provide “safe and more secure” services.
  • Ensuring a stable global infrastructure for our Service.
    • Data is stored and transferred in systems around the world (meaning, outside of your country of residence).
  • Connecting you with brands, products, and services in ways you care about.
    • Data from Instagram (or other Facebook products) and third-party partners is used to show ads, offers and other sponsored content.
  • Research and innovation.
    • Instagram uses information you provide to study the “Service” and collaborate with others to make the “Service” better.

Instagram clearly explains that to use their service, you agree to the “collecting and using” information requirement. This is outlined in the Instagram Data Policy. (A reminder that information shared on Instagram is also used to support other Facebook products).

Information collected:

  • Information and content YOU provide (in or about the content, like metadata – location of a photo or the date a file was created)
  • Things you see through features like the camera (so masks and filters can be suggested)
  • Networks and connections (the accounts and hashtags your follow) and if you choose to upload, sync or import it from a device (such as an address book or call log or SMS log history), to help you find people you may know.
  • Usage – the types of content you view or engage with, features used, time, frequency and duration of activities.
  • Information from others, like when they share or comment on a photo of you or send a message to you.

Device Information

  • Attributes (information, operating system, hardware, etc); signals (Bluetooth, Wi-Fi access); device settings (GPS location); Network and connections (mobile operator, timezone, nearby devices); Cookie data (including cookie IDs and settings).

Instagram Cookies Policy

Cookies are used to improve your overall app experience. A few key points:
  • Instagram or advertising partners will use cookies to deliver ads relevant to your interests.
  • This information may be shared with organizations outside of Instagram.
  • First (belong to Instagram) and third-party cookies are used (placed on your device by business partners for advertising products to you elsewhere on the Internet.

How is the information used?

  • Provide, personalize and improve our Products.
    • To offer content/advertisements you may be interested in and topics you want to follow.
    • Connects information across all Facebook products (example, Facebook might suggest a group to follow based on the people you follow on Instagram).
    • Location information (current location, where you live, where you travel, businesses and people you are near). Collected from ‘precise device location’ (if you allow Instagram to collect it), IP addresses and information from other Facebook products (like events or check-ins on Facebook).
    • Face recognition (read about how they use face recognition technology) and how to control it in Facebook Settings. It is currently only used on Facebook, but if it is introduced on Instagram, they claim to “let you know first”.
    • Ads and other sponsored content – all based on information collected and supplied by you.
  • Promote safety, integrity and security.
    • The information you provide is used to verify accounts and activity, harmful experiences, detect and prevent spam.
    • The company even uses AI to detect when someone needs help.

How is the information shared?

  • People and accounts you share and communicate with
    • You chose the audience (public or private accounts) and the information that is available to all public (like usernames, profile bio).
  • Content others share or reshare about you
    • Be aware of what you are sharing with others, because even if you have a private account, your followers could download, screenshot or reshare your content on or off Instagram.
    • Your comments on other posts are visible to those account followers
    • If you are uncomfortable with what others have shared, you can report the content.
  • Apps, websites, and third-party integrations on or using our Products.
    • Facebook uses a lot of third-party integrations (like games), but the policy makes it clear that it will not share your Instagram information with third-party apps that you use on Facebook.
  • Important note from the policy: “We are in the process of restricting developers’ data access even further to help prevent abuse. For example, we will remove developers’ access to your Facebook and Instagram data if you haven’t used their app in 3 months, and we are changing Login, so that in the next version, we will reduce the data that an app can request without app review to include only name, Instagram username and bio, profile photo and email address. Requesting any other data will require our approval.”
  • Third-Party Partners
    • Types include: analytic services, advertisers, vendors, researchers, law enforcement or legal requests.

Managing or deleting data

  • You have the ability to access, rectify, port and erase your data in your Instagram Settings.
  • Data is stored until it is ” no longer necessary to provide our services and Facebook Products, or until your account is deleted – whichever comes first.”
  • When you delete your account, Instagram deletes all your posts. You have the option of deactivating your account if you want to temporarily stop using Instagram.

Potential Educational Value

Instagram is very relevant and current among younger generations. This Instagram Demographics analysis shows who uses Instagram in the USA:

  • Ages 18–24: 75%
  • Ages 25–29: 57%
  • Ages 30–49: 47%
  • Ages 50–64: 23%
  • Ages 65+: 8%

Furthermore, “According to Piper Jaffray’s 2019 Taking Stock With Teens consumer insights survey, 85% of teens say Instagram is their preferred social network (followed shortly by Snapchat). This is a massive jump from 2017 when a mere 24% said they preferred the site.”

With these stats in mind, it is fair to say that Instagram is a very popular social media app.  If you want to use Instagram for educational purposes, you do not need to attract your students (middle years students and higher) to use the app – they are probably already using it.  Also, many parents may have an account and might prefer to see classroom updates on Instagram compared to a separate school app.

This article suggest ways to use Instagram in education, always highlighting the importance of following your school division social media policy.  With a private class account, you could share student work or capture class memories.

Overall

While I like the idea of using Instagram with schools (mostly because it is an easy way to connect with a large audience that already uses the app), I think there are better educational apps for this purpose (like SeeSaw).  Instagram is a fun tool to talk about with students and way to explore digital leadership when using social media.

Pros

  • Very simple and user friendly interface with a focus on photo and video media.
  • Many creative options like filters, stickers and text options. Even though it is a “photo and video” sharing app, the post captions are a place for users to express themselves through text.
  • Wide user base (personal, businesses, public figures, organizations, pets, journalism – the options are endless). Verified accounts make it easy for users to find public figures, celebrities or brands they want to follow.
  • Professional Accounts can access business features and insights to grow their business (including paid “promoted” posts).
  • Easy integration to share posts on Facebook account, since Instagram is owned by Facebook, BUT…

Cons

  • Instagram is a ‘Facebook Product’, therefore all your information is also shared with Facebook. Similarly, the information you provide Facebook affects your Instagram experience. While the cross-platform idea is designed to make your social media experience very personal, your data is being shared in many different places. Bottom line – make sure you understand that Facebook owns Instagram.
  • The educational opportunities are limited. This is not an educational social media app (like Flipgrid), but rather a tool that could be used for educational purposes (more of a “create your own” educational experience).
  • There is no “consent” option for parents if educators want to share images of students on Instagram. Schools/divisions would be responsible for developing their own policy regarding the use of social media (similar to a media release that allows school photos on a Twitter account).

I am a big fan of Instagram and it is my preferred social media app.  I like that I can follow a wide range accounts (from personal friends, large organizations, public figures, pets, and more) all in one place.  I also follow funny meme accounts that I can share in direct messages (DMs) with close friends and create/share posts and stories of my personal experiences like travel.  I keep a private account and only accept follow requests from people I know personally and routinely adjust which accounts I follow to keep my feed more interesting.  All that being said, I do not think I will be using Instagram as an educational tool any time soon.  I think it is a great way to discuss social media and digital citizenship with students, but I am not convinced that it would enhance our educational experience.

Until next time,

@Catherine_Ready

A Real Media Smarts Resource!

I had planned on completing these reviews earlier in March, but as our teaching worlds were turned upside down recently, they are a little later than I would have liked, but no less, here’s another one!  Hopefully it will be of good use to my colleagues and classmates as they embark on their newest remote, online teaching journeys.

Media Smarts is the second resource I would like to review for my major project.  It is another website dedicated to educating children about digital literacy and media literacy, and it’s Canadian!  They have many different types of resources for teachers, for parents, and for kids.  They have an entire section dedicated to Digital & Media Literacy with many different Media Issues like body image, intellectual property, and violence listed.  The website also listed a variety of Digital Issues ranging from authenticating information to cyber security, and online ethics. It also includes general information about digital and media literacy as well as information about video games, movies, and music.

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There is a “For Parents” tab that offers many resources for parents to begin talking to their children about media and digital literacy.  There are resource links to blogs, games, tips, guides, videos, and workshops.  This is a great option for parents because I think it is very user friendly and easy to access, especially if you are not 100% comfortable with the topic.  All the links provide detailed explanations and videos on how to discuss certain topics or how to become familiar with different ideas online.  It definitely breaks things down, however I found some of the videos I browsed to be very simple, which can be good if you are brand new to the internet or teaching young kids, but any child older than ten would likely find the videos too simple and childish.

But the part of the website I really want to dig into is the Teacher Resources.  I found this page to be incredibly resourceful and informative when it comes to the different sources and information listed.  There is a Digital Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools which is actually broken down into K-3, 4-6, 7-8, and 9-12.  These then connect to specific lessons and outcomes for students to hit and connects it to a specific framework piece, like ethics and empathy, privacy and security, community engagement, digital health, consumer awareness, finding and verifying, and making and remixing (very similar to Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship if I do say so myself)!  And there are a ton of lessons to choose from to connect to the framework and age of students.  As I scanned some of the example lesson plans, they all seemed age appropriate and suitable for the students they suggested.screen2There is also a page connecting outcomes by province and territory to digital and media literacy which I haven’t seen before.  It goes so far as to break it down by province, and then by subject area and then to specific curriculums.  I was shocked when I decided to look further and found when I clicked on the English B30 tab (since that is the focus of my project) that it listed every outcome digital and media literacy could connect in.  Beyond that, it even gives lesson plans and suggestions for each outcome!  You will definitely need to check this out if you are looking for lesson plans on media and digital literacy in the future!  It’s an unreal library!!

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You can also find lessons and resources using the search engine, but I think finding them by outcome or subject to be much more useful.  However, the search is also useful because you may search by resource type like game or guide, topic like aboriginal people or cyberbullying for example or by media type like music or movie for example.  Again, I would recommend checking it out yourself as it’s something I will be using in the future.

I thought for the purpose of this post that I would talk about one of the lessons I found that would fit very well into my already established unit plan.  It’s called Fact Versus Opinion and the overview states:

“This is the fourth of five lessons designed to teach students to think critically about the way aboriginal peoples and visible minorities are portrayed in the press. “Fact Versus Opinion” begins with students discussing the difference between fact and opinion. Students then apply what they have learned to an opinion piece selected by the teacher, and then an opinion piece that they have selected.”

It gives a very clear outline of what is expected of students and gives all the necessary materials for the lesson.  It also includes outcomes for the lesson itself and what students should achieve by the end of the lesson.  The only thing I would mention about the lesson as it does seem a little young for grade 12 (it is recommended for grade 9-12) and would probably need to be adapted a little more for a higher-grade level.  However, you could easily use the provided editorial for a warm-up and gradually make the analysis for thegiphy (9) activity more difficult.  Overall, it is a process I would like to use in my classroom.

I was really impressed by Media Smarts resources and I would definitely recommend using their lesson plans especially because they connect so well to Ribble’s Nine Elements and our Saskatchewan curriculum!  Have you used any Media Smarts lessons?  How did it go?

Thanks for reading my review!

Until next time,

Shelby

Common Sense Media – A Major Project Review

As part of my project, I wanted to evaluate a couple of key resources that have come up a lot in our discussions over the course of the semester.  The first resource I want to focus on is Common Sense Media.  This has been a staple in resources and conversations, with a lot of us directing each other to the website for lessons, resources, and information.  I have used it a few times this semester for informatCommon_Sense_Media_logo.svgion and I find they have an incredible library of questions and answers for both educators and parents.

They have lists of resources for apps, books, movies, and websites all in relation to age level!  But the part I want to focus on is the pieces for educators.  Once you click on the “For Educators” tab, you are taken to a screen with tabs for Digital Citizenship, EdTech Reviews, Professional Development & Advice, Resources in Spanish, and now, Coronavirus Resources.

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There is clearly no shortage of resources here and it is well-recognized because of the professionalism, and ease of implementation for the resources.  There is even an Implementation Guide to help teacher integrate these resources and lesson plans into classrooms, schools, and divisions (and it’s free!).  Under Professional Development, there is even a link to a webinar for the Digital Citizenship Curriculum.  This could be very useful for any teacher, whether they are skilled with digital citizenship or just getting started.

Now, to the important segment of this blog post: the lesson plans!  There are a variety of different topics to choose from and you can even filter by grade.  So for the purpose of this blog post, and my major project I am going to focus on the grade 11 and 12 resources.  What I notice right away is that they are definitely age-appropriate topics and would work in a grade 11 or 12 classroom.  I’m sure my students would have enjoyed the conversations that began from the topics.

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The lessons are listed below:

One thing I love about the lesson plans is they give a snapshot right off the bat, telling you the approximate time and a lesson overview.  There are individual links to the lesson slides, handouts, and quizzes.  It also includes take-home resources for family engagement and activities – and it opens in google docs and slides!

My only complaint would be that it connects to standards from the United States, and unfortunately does not connect to other curriculums, however, I think these lessons could have their place in many Saskatchewan curriculums given time and creativity.

I decided to check out a couple lessons I would consider using in my ELA classrooms and I was impressed with the resources as well as the connections made to students their age.  There were applicable questions asked, and examples that I believe would engage students and make them reconsider their online identities without rolling their eyes or replying sarcastically.  I like the maturity of the discussions and the opportunities the lessons allow students to explore within the classroom but that might also extend beyond the classroom walls.

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One lesson I really liked was “The Change You Want to See” which I thought connects well with my Global Issues unit in my ELA B30 course, and connects to my major project the best.  It asks, “How can you create a digital footprint that showcases your purpose?”

I like that it focuses on the why of a digital footprint and how it can help find purpose.  It also focuses on thinking about problems students would want to advocate for, and aligning themselves with like-minded individuals online.  This lesson could begin my whole unit plan, and even lead deeper into them campaigning in an online forum for their cause.  The lesson plan outlines everything a teacher needs to prepare, as well as steps to help students make their way through the lesson.  It even lists organizations reviewed by Common Sense Media to help students engage in a campaign, which I think is very important because it takes a little of the weight off the teacher in terms of making sure students aren’t becoming involved in online places that may not be entirely appropriate.giphy (17)

Overall, I would recommend using Common Sense Media for educational purposes, and I think it is age-appropriate, convenient, knowledgeable, and easy to use! I know I will be using it in the future and look forward to the conversations I will have with my students about Digital Citizenship!

Until next time,

Shelby

Weeks 5, 6 & 7 – Changing my approach

Over the last few weeks, I have re-evaluated my major project goals. I decided to make the shift to focus only on Flipgrid, Instagram and TikTok and removed Snapchat from my list.  Thinking about quality over quantity, I decided to narrow my exploration to three apps and think about potential educational opportunities with my students.  With Snapchat, while I am curious about the privacy policy and terms of service, I am not convinced that it is worth exploring for classroom use.

Big news – I finally completed my Flipgrid app overhaul.  This was a long process since the app was completely brand new to me (other than using it a few times in my EC&I Ed Tech courses).  Enjoy!

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Flipgrid: Everything You Need To Know

Flipgrid

My plans to use Flipgrid with students fell short with the announcement of schools closing this week.  Luckily I started up a few prompts with my students before this happened, so I am hoping I can continue using the tool if/when we start working with students again.  Three things I tried with my students:

  1. I had to be away unexpectedly, so for my sub plan I posted the link to our Flipgrid in Google Classroom with instructions for students to complete! Super easy to plan and I felt confident that I was leaving a high quality assignment for my students.
  2. I asked students to try and explore all the capabilities of video editing with Flipgrid. This included using stickers/emojis to cover their face and to use text and captions.  I tried to compare it to Instagram stories – where some people post stories with lots of text instead of only audio (because often views don’t want to listen to a story on full volume in public).  I found that my students were more engaged working on the technical aspects of Flipgrid.
  3. Using the Disco Library – so many great ideas and options to filter by grade and subject area.  Some of my favourites come from “Wonderopolis”. Check it out!

Here is my Week 5&6&7 Instagram/TikTok recap with @callie.the.golden.pup:

Instagram: @callie.the.golden.pup

One of my goals over the last few weeks was to post daily to see if it increased engagement. Unfortunately my posts were less frequent and I think it affected my overall engagement. For example, my average photo likes are down and I even noticed that I lost 2 followers! (I have since regained new ones, but still!)  It made me realize how number of likes and followers correlates with how I feel about the account.  When I am getting lots of attention, I want to post more.  It’s a weird cycle and I am sure that many young people today feel the same way.  That being said, I did notice more comments on my posts this round and I enjoyed engaging with my followers.

Next step was looking into the brand ambassador opportunity with Akioka Pets.  I receive comments like the pictures below every few posts, always from a different account:

I was all set to sign up, then I thought I would do a little cross research (aka, Googling) to learn more about what it means to be a brand ambassador. scamsWhen I started typing “akioka…”, one of the suggestions was “akioka pets ambassador reddit”. I learned all about the “too good to be true” scam with Akioka Pets on Instagram.  How it works:

  • comments from other pet ambassadors to “sign up”
  • to become an ambassador, you need to purchase products and “sponsor” the products on your feed (you receive a 50% discount on products and your followers receive a 25% discount)
  • General consensus is the products are WAY overpriced (even with the discount) – many of the same products are available on other sites for less

After another search “akioka pet ambassador legit”, I read this post which gives a almost an exact recount of my experience with the company on Instagram!  I will stick to buying Callie new toys and treats from some local establishments instead.  Giving a company my payment information in return for more followers is way too risky.

TikTok @callie.the.golden.pup

I had more success with TikTok compared to my last update and I felt inspired to try a new challenge.  In this article by the ‘Social Media Examiner’, I learned how using TikTok challenges can boost business (or in my case, engagement).  One day last week, I quickly stopped home at lunch and put together the ‘paper towel challenge‘ with Callie.  Not my best work, but it took about 3 minutes to prepare and record. Here is the 10 second video if you did not watch my recap above:

IMG_3155And this is where TikTok confuses me. Every time I access the app, I have between 60-100 notifications of comments, likes and new followers.  All because of the paper towel challenge video.  It baffles me! At the time of this post (March 21, 2020, around  9:00 pm CST) – I have 5700+ views, 1502 likes, 122 comments on the paper towel video alone (and counting!).  Also, I have gained over 500 new followers since the video.  What makes this video special and continue to rack up views more than ten days after posting? Is it because I ask a question, which engages the followers? Is it because I used a relevant TikTok challenge?

Another cool thing I saw this week was that any post that included a #corona or #covid19 hashtag had a disclaimer at the bottom: “Consult your local health authorities for the latest on COVID-19”. And the World Health Organization (WHO) created a TikTok account to spread accurate information!

Plans for next week:

  • Begin TikTok and Instagram app overhauls
  • Switch to a ‘Professional Account‘ on Instagram to use metrics to have a better understanding of post engagement and insights
  • Final push for creating lots of content with both apps!

I have to admit that I felt like I lost a bit of my enthusiasm and drive for this project amidst everything going on in our world right now.  But after getting back and engaging in this project, I realized it is the PERFECT distraction from the 24-hour news cycle of doom and gloom.  Stay informed, but don’t let it take over all the good things in your life 🙂

Until next time,

@Catherine_Ready

Literacy in the 21st Century

This week in EC&I 832, we were asked to consider what it means to be literate today.  First, I looked at a few different definitions of literacy:

“Literacy has always been a collection of communicative and sociocultural practices shared among communities. As society and technology change, so does literacy.” – NCTE “Literacy in a Digital Age”

“Digital and media literacy is an expanded conceptualization of literacy.” Renee Hobbs, EdD Interview

“Literacy is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society” (UNESCO, 2004; 2017). UNESCO Defining Literacy

The following is an excerpt from a conversation with a few grades 3 students this week:

Me: “What is literacy?”

Student 1: “Like our literacy time? It’s when we do Daily 5.”

Student 2: “It’s when we practice reading and writing.”

Me: “Do you know what it means to be literate?” 

Student 3: “I think it means we know how to read?”

Student 2: “Yeah, my mom says I have to learn how to read if I want to get a job one day.”

Quite simply, these students have a decent understanding of literacy – learning how to “identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts”, and understand that it is important so they can “participate fully in their community and wider society” (UNESCO).  Learn to read and write so you can get a job one day.  If only it was that easy!

Before digital citizenship, there was just citizenship, and before digital literacy, there was just literacy.  As the world evolves, so does our teaching and learning around literacy.  The NCTE updated the definition of literacy in a digital age in November 2019 in response to the “continued evolution of curriculum, assessment, and teaching practice”.  Furthermore, Renee Hobbs, EdD explains that there are “five inter-related competencies that are now needed to participate in contemporary culture”:

  • Access: understanding how to access information in a digital space
  • Analysis: ability to identity author, purpose, point of view, evaluate credibility
  • Create: be able to brainstorm and generate ideas to create messages with media tools
  • Collaborate: with create, the ability to work together to create messages
  • Reflect & Take Action: ability to apply ethical judgement and social responsibility to online situations
13-literacies
“The world demands that a literate person possess and intentionally apply a wide range of skills, competencies, and dispositions.” NCTE

To be a well-rounded individual in today’s world, Kathy Schrock identified 13 literacies that should be taught across content areas. Her post gives a great overview of all the different resources educators can use to teach the literacies.  A note – the post is routinely updated, and the last update was January 8, 2020 (at the time this post was published).  Here is a link to a slideshow with definitions of all the literacies.

As I think about what it means to literate in a digital world, I consider my ability to interpret, criticize, understand, analyze and create through media and information literacy.  Like many of my classmates (and really, the entire world), I have been glued to social media during the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.  While one might feel anxious and worried about all the fear mongering and misinformation online, I have been practicing my media and information literacy skills.  Before I compose or retweet a tweet, I read laterally and incorporate a few tools to spot real vs fake news.

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Screen capture from our EC&I 832 class with Dr. Couros on March 10, 2020

One tool we discussed in our EC&I 832 class was using the CRAAP test to evaluate sources. Dr. Couros highlighted a few of the potential issues with the tool, but it is a starting point for teaching students how to evaluate information.  I think it is important for educators to explain that there is no one tool that is the “be-all-end-all” for evaluating sources online.  The practice of discussing how to evaluate information and media is the first step in changing the future of how news and information is shared online.

Like many of my classmates, Shelby shares how the COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity to discuss digital literacy and the dangers of misinformation.  Daniel describes the constant questions from students and says, “I’ve come to the conclusion that rather than answering their questions, I should be investing in their literacy skills [and] helping them develop sound information gathering and research skills.”

For example, with my students, we talked about reading laterally and using accurate news sources.  With COVID-19, the information is changing at a rapid pace, so an article from even a few days ago may no longer be relevant.  I think a lot of the panic and hysteria arises when people continue to post and re-post things like “a doctor friend of mine said this:….”.  While the information may be relevant, what is their authority or credentials?  How does it make you feel when you read the post?  Do you feel confident that this information is accurate before sharing?

Let’s be honest. This week has been long for teachers – with uncertainty regarding Sanctions, and the fear and anger regarding schools staying open or closing amid COVID-19.  It is impossible to not talk about what is going on – this is an unprecedented event in our history.  With the mass consumption of information and news taking place online, our job to teach digital literacy to students is more important than ever.

So, what does it mean to be literate today? Going back to Renee Hobbs, EdD, we need to find a way to “connect the dots between accessanalyzecreatereflect and take action“.  This means both in the digital sphere and offline in a way that is socially and ethically responsible.  For example, how are you going to take action during COVID-19?  My goal is to use my digital literacy skills to share accurate information and avoid fear mongering during this panicked time.

Until next time,

@Catherine_Ready

 

 

 

 

 

The Planning is Coming Together!

Hi all!  This week, I put more work into my major project and it is slowly taking shape.  If you need a refresher on what I’ve been up to, check out this blog post.  Basically, I have been planning and using my grade 12s as guinea pigs this semester and the results are almost in!!  I’ve now started putting the pieces together in a formal document for my unit plan, outcome connections, and big questions.  It’s not quite finished, as there are a few attachments I am still working on, but for now, here is my unit outline!

My next steps will be to finish the handouts and videos, and ask a few of my amazing students if I can use their projects as samples!  I will also be creating a resource page for all the sources I have used throughout this project, as well as additional sources I found useful in my hunt for activities and strategies I used.

My original plan was to create a Google Classroom with all the documents, handouts, videos, etc.  but I’m not sure if this is still the route I want to choose. I really love using Google Classroom, but I’m wondering if others would appreciate a working document instead?  Thoughts??

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Thanks for checking in and stay tuned!

Shelby

Be More Than Just Digitally Literate

This week’s prompt could not be more perfect for the current situations going on in our world – what does it mean to be literate?!  I don’t know about my fellow teachers, but I am exhausted after this week!!  It was jam packed with bad and surreal news – giphy (15)provincially and globally.  And with all this uncertainty circling the STF sanctions as well as the pandemic of COVID-19, it has left A LOT of opportunity to have a lot of real conversations with my students.  I have to say, the overall maturity my students have shown this week has been impressive, even if it has come with it’s fair share of debate as well.  We have had a chance to dive into these topics, what it means for them, look at different sides of the arguments, and generally appreciate where our province and our world currently is.  We have discussed the dangers of misinformation and the importance of being informed by the right sources.  If there is one take-away from this week I have learned, it’s that there is a time and place for social media, and there are other times to just step back and let go.  I think this week has been really informative for students to test how digitally literate they really are!

So, what does it mean to be digitally literate in today’s world?  Common Sense Media defines digital literacy as the “ability to effectively find, identify, evaluate, and use information. Digital literacy specifically applies to media from the internet, smartphones, video games, and other nontraditional sources.”  I think in today’s world, it is greatly important to be literate online, especially with all the misinformation and the dangers that it presents.  However, it does extend beyond just being digital literate.  In my major project, I plan to begin with digital literacy in my ELA course and then extend this to include other forms of literacy, especially those in literature.  It’s important to improve on skills like lateral reading and being as unbiased as possible when navigating the world’s information as discussed in my reading from this week.  This does not just apply to recent news.  It also applied to many different facets of life, including things like health, wellness, and general information.

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If you were looking for a “new diet” for example, it’s important to do your research and not buy into the first fad diet you come upon.  The same goes for the latest workout plan or the latest information when raising young children.  You cannot believe the first thing you read, and it’s important we give students to tools to be successful in life beyond the classroom.  Being literate obviously includes making smart and informed decisions, and it includes steps in Fren Blumburg’s interview with Renee Hobbs including access skills like reading and listening and using a computer appropriately, analysis of a given piece of information, collaboration with others, reflection on who is affected or what the multiple-intelligences-learning-stylespurpose is, and action related to changing the society we live in.  Leigh’s post discussed the idea of multiple intelligences, and she is completely correct.  We all have a range of multiple intelligences, and it is important to improve them all throughout our lives as some pieces are stronger than others.  These multiple intelligences help improve our overall literacy which I believe makes us more rational, intelligent, well-rounded people.

There are many types of literacy, just check out this infograph here.  It is incredibly important to be vastly literate in a variety of facets, and to have the skills to improve on these different literacies.  They range from media, digital, visual, data, game, health and finance, civic and ethical, news, computational and coding and foundational literacy.  One not mentioned on this list that I spend much of my days as a teacher on is mathematical literacy.  And this is also where people bring up their pitchforks and claim “I hate math.”  But it goes much farther beyond computational mathematics and more about a way of problem-solving and rational thinking.  Even the Saskatchewan curriculum states that mathematical goals include logical reasoning, number sense, spatial sense, and math as a human endeavor.  The curriculum states, “All students benefit from mathematics learning which values and respects different ways of knowing mathematics and its relationship to the world”  and “the more exposure that all students have to differing ways of understanding and knowing mathematics, the stronger students will become in their number sense, spatial sense, and logical thinking.” sask

Teaching AP Calculus over the last few years has really changed my perspective on mathematics and what I want my students to gain from a course.  It’s changed from teaching content for the next level to understanding the process and applying it to new scenarios.  The thing I’ve learned as a math teacher is most of my students won’t use math in their daily lives the way we study it in school so it is important that they come away with skills that they can use in their daily lives, like being challenged, problem-solving, and thinking rationally when faced with a difficult situation, in a way improving their mathematical literacy without really knowing it!I-fear-the-day-that-technology-will-surpass-our-human-interaction.-The-world-will-have-a-generation-of-idiots.

Overall, improving our literacy is very important and helping our students be well-rounded is just as critical in this world.  We tend to focus a lot of digital literacy in this course and it’s being pushed much more recently in schools as well.  It is a very important skill, but so are many of the other pieces of being literate.  Let’s not forget to have growth, we need to encourage it in all aspects of life, struggle, and find balance in all things.

Until next time,

Shelby

Major Update – Still Under Construction

It’s been awhile since my last update on my major project and I figured it was time to let everyone know what I’ve been up to!  I have been spending lots of time researching, brainstorming, and compartmentalizing how to bring this unit plan to fruition. I didn’t actually think making a unit plan for digital citizenship would be this difficult!  giphy (5)However, I have a plan set to get some physical evidence of my unit plan finished this week.  I have started to outline my unit plan and I have matched my outcomes to Ribble’s Nine Elements as well.  I have goals and vision for what I want my project to be; it’s just difficult to put into words (hence my lack of blog posts lately).  My brain has been all over the place!!

Over the past few weeks, I have been making small tweaks to my ELA curriculum in my everyday classroom.  We began a new semester in February, and it was perfect timing to begin making adjustments.  I’m hoping these adjustments will influence my unit plan as it continues to mold.  One thing I have realized since beginning my project and outlining it, is that I do not want it to be a stand-alone unit plan.  I don’t want to discuss digital citizenship in-depth and then not discuss it again later in the semester.  This has created a challenge in how I approach this formation of the plan.  I have decided to create a few general resources to use at various points throughout the semester, so I can encourage my students to keep thinking about these important topics.  These resources are beginning to look like fact-checkers, and critical thinking questions to challenge my students’ opinions on what they are reading.  I had a “research organizer” I used last year and now looking at it, I know it needs A LOT improvement, so I have been updating it! (Stay tuned!!)

However, the real focus of my unit plan will be setting expectations, discussing online etiquette, and setting up the mindset for our semester which I have decided will be finding valuable sources, fact-checking, as well as recognizing bias in a variety of formats.  Students are attacked with messages, advertisements, and news all day, every day, and I want my students to take a step back from this overwhelming world of data and communication.  As an ELA classroom, we will need to look at more than just news articles and videos but also plays, short stories, poems, and novels.  It is my idea to hopefully incorporate these templates I will create to help my students understand not only how to find valuable sources of research and news, but also understand what the real purpose is of any piece of literature or video or speech.  I want them to become critical thinkers and also more responsible citizens in the online world.  I would be lying if I said our conversations surrounding the Portrait of a Graduate has not left an impact on me.  My students aren’t going to remember Hamlet or the poems we read in two years, but it is my hope I can teach them something about digital responsibility, advocacy, and bias as they move forward in their lives.

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A big part of our semester focuses on The Search for Self which I think connects directly to my students figuring out who they are and how they can be better people.  I also discussed in my first update that I will connect this unit to the other unit of focus which is The Social Experience.  It is my hope that I can touch on every one of Ribble’s Elements within these two units.  I have linked each one of Ribble’s Elements to an overarching unit question.  It’s something we spend a lot of time focusing on, and always link our content back to during the unit.

So, my unit plan is definitely still under-construction, but I feel like I’ve made real progress in what I am trying to accomplish.  My next steps will be to finish the resources and link them on my blog for some feedback then create some vlogs for some of the online resources I’ve found to help other teachers with digital literacy!Brain-Under-Construction

Stay tuned!

Shelby

#DigCit in Schools

Go to Twitter and search #digcit. You will find interesting discussions and credible accounts to follow regarding digital citizenship. You will also find many educators and accounts sharing information about digital citizenship, for example:

This is an important topic for all educators, regardless of subject area. This week in EC&I 832 we were asked to reflect on the role teachers and schools have in educating students about digital citizenship, our current practices and how to address digital citizenship in the future.

In November 2013, the Saskatchewan Government released the Saskatchewan Action Plan to Address Bullying and Cyberbullying. The action plan included six recommendations, including: Support Students to Develop Responsible and Appropriate Online Behaviour.

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Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools (2015), Preface

 

 

In response to these recommendations, the Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools was created to assist schools and teachers.  The guide was intended to respond to the following action:

proposed action
Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools (2015), Preface

Similar to the Saskatchewan, other provinces have created digital citizenship guides and resources to support teachers and schools. A few examples:

With all of these resources available, it is easy to see that policy makers and schools divisions believe that providing digital citizenship resources is important.  There are many suggestions and recommendations for providing instruction to students in our schools, but there is no plan to hold teachers accountable to incorporate these teachings.  So what should be the role of teachers and schools in educating students about digital citizenship?

School and Teacher Role

Using resources and supports made available to school divisions, I think it is important for teachers to model responsible behaviour when using digital tools.  Stand alone “digital citizenship” units may have been useful in the past, but at this point in our digital world it is necessary to follow digital citizenship guidelines in all teaching and interactions.  Using various guides and resources mentioned earlier, teachers must begin to close the gap between teaching citizenship vs digital citizenship.

For example, in the article “Turning Students into Good Digital Citizens“, Helen L. Chen explains that skills to navigate the web and social media are, “no replacement for the very basic foundational skills of critical thinking, written and oral communication, and, increasingly, flexibility, teamwork, and the ability to adapt to new working environments and collaborate with people from a wide range of backgrounds”.  Knowledge and experience using digital tools must be paired teaching students how to be good citizens.  I wrote about what it means to be a digital citizen earlier in the course:

  • “At this point, digital citizenship and citizenship are intertwined as life does not exist without the Internet anymore. As educators, it is more than managing a digital footprint, but rather acting ethically online with knowledge and empathy and making the transition towards ‘Digital Leadership’ as described by George Couros.”

Most importantly, I think schools should be able to teach students how to think critically, be aware of safety online and be a responsible participant.  Mark Ribble’s 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship is an excellent guide for teachers to think about and incorporate digital citizenship across curriculum.

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In short, I think the responsibility of educating students about digital citizenship can take place when teachers and schools are provided support, resources and most importantly, time.  Teachers need time to learn about digital citizenship through professional development opportunities before they can teach their students.

Current Practice

Every school I have worked in during my six year career (six different schools – life of an arts education specialist) has had a different dynamic when it comes to technology in the school.  This is affected by the changing tools supported by my division over the last six years (for example, introduction of Chromebooks, iPads, Google Suite and other approved apps), as well as the level of engagement from administration and down to staff and students.  Using the SAMR Model, technology was often seen as a substitution tool at the beginning. The overhead projector was replaced with the digital projector or using computers to type up written work instead of a neat handwritten copy.

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I moved into a new build school in 2017, complete with beautiful interactive projectors.  We received “training” on these projectors which included a 30-minute presentation on how to connect your computer to the projector (by someone from the company).  I am not kidding – these very expensive projectors with lots of capabilities quickly turned into a very expensive data projector.  It was not until after I did my own research (watching YouTube videos) and then attending another training session that I was able to make full use of the projectors. But, I recently returned from maternity leave to the same school with a huge staff change this year, and unfortunately many projectors are not being used to their full capabilities again.

While that story is not related to teaching digital citizenship in our schools, I think it shows the importance that teachers and schools need to prioritize and commit to learning how to use digital tools effectively and responsibly.  In my current school, without digging very deep, the only guidelines I can think of are a Media Release form (provided by my division) and “cellphone jails” with the senior students.  That being said, I am one of the arts education specialists, so it is possible all the grade alike PLCs have their own digital citizenship practices in place and I am not aware.  My thought is that if I am using technology with students, digital citizenship conversations and teaching need to take place.

BUT, before I started taking educational technology courses at the U of R in 2018, the term digital citizenship was not part of my vocabulary or teaching.  I have always had a keen interest in using tech with students and considered myself to be “tech savvy” and current with social media.  But I had no idea about my role and responsibilities as a teacher to create well-rounded digital citizens.  I bet there are many teachers today who feel the same as I did two years ago.  How do we change this?

Digital Citizenship in Schools – The Future

During our class this week, we participated in a discussion to determine key characteristics of digital citizens at various ages.  Two of the questions looked at ways to support teachers and schools and anticipated challenges.  Something that stood out to me was the lack of professional development for teachers.  Sure, policy guides and resources are great, but they are only effective is teachers are given an opportunity to understand how to use them.  And while there are many optional PD sessions available (Digital Citizenship PD offered by the STF), it still requires the teacher to find the information about the sessions and time to attend.

My classmate Shelby explains that the importance of educating students on media literacy and shares a definition from CommonSense Media: media literacy is the “ability to identify different types of media and understand the messages they’re sending”.  Teaching media literacy includes helping students learn to think critically, be smart consumers of products and information, recognize point of view and create media responsibly.  These skills are relevant in many subject areas and are an important part of the digital citizenship puzzle.

What if our school division identified digital citizenship as a focus area (similar to numeracy, literacy, early years and FNIM instruction)?  Then every school would be required to create a school-wide goal that aligns with the school division goals.  Individual teacher professional goals could then relate an align with the goals.  School-wide and community engagement would result through various initiatives (instead of a Literacy or Numeracy night, we could host Digital Citizenship Night).  With a little extra push from school divisions to include digital citizenship as part of all curriculum with students, I think we would start to see a trickle-down effect, especially if we involve families.  If we begin to speak a common language regarding digital citizenship/leadership with staff, students and families, then we will be moving in the right direction to prepare our students for the future.

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Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools (2015), p.5

Until next time,

@Catherine_Ready

Digital Citizenship Moving Forward

In this week’s class, we elaborated on the idea of a portrait of a graduate, and focused on the portrait of a digital citizen.  The conversation ensued and debates about age, access, and expectations evolved. Every group focused on a different age, and these conversations left me thinking about my expectations for my grade twelve students.  I take a lot of pride in what I teach and molding their young adult brains into what I hope to be successful citizens of our world. I have always left opportunities for discussion on real issues, global issues, and debates they take interest in within my ELA classroom.  I believe it is really a place they can explore who they want to be and what they want for their future and their world.  reynoldsburgportrait-1c962cd241d306876be2bff000011dea3

I think as we move forward in the world of education, it is greatly important we educate students on media literacy, as much if not more than regular literacy.  For those who don’t know what media literacy is, it is the “ability to identify different types of media and understand the messages they’re sending” according to Commonsense Media.  This is not a subject many teachers feel comfortable with and as we discussed in class, I think NOPEeducating teachers on digital citizenship is the best place to start.  It is too easy for teachers to say they don’t understand what to do so they just don’t teach anything to do with media. According to Fran Blumberg’s article from this week, Ezther Hargittai stated, “there are substantial skill gaps between people who claim to be effective Internet users…Many instructors at the high school and the college level remain woefully ignorant of the economics of the Internet and few can explain how Google produces a list of hits when you enter various keywords.”  We need to give teachers the tools to be successful in order to then successfully educate our students. It cannot be a stand alone unit or lesson either. Digital Citizenship needs to be integrated into many subjects areas and lesson plans – that is where it is most effective and valuable for students.

As Adam said in his blog this week, many students don’t understand the ideas of privacy or the inappropriateness of taking photos of everyone and anyone around them.  This is where the education needs to begin – online etiquette and empathy. I recently had a teachable moment in my classroom where we discussed why we do not check banking information over public wi-fi and it shocked me that no one is telling students this!! giphy (14)It is these simple teachable moments where this information can be taught.  Students need to be responsible for their technological uses and we just assume because they grew up in a tech world, that they understand the uses, but they don’t. Students need to be able to “consider the potential risks and harms of media messages; and understand how differences in values and life experience shape people’s media use and their message interpretation.”

In the interview with Renee Hobbs also said in the article that teaching media literacy can be messy, but that’s why it works and teaches students how to be responsible online.  They need to experience it. If I think about my current practices, I always assumed students understood what to do and how to do it online. I never educated on properly giphyresearching because I assumed they had figured it out by the time they got to me.  I was soooo wrong. This year, I am really trying to focus on finding credible sources and having high expectations for the resources they use online. It is time consuming, but I know it is worth it!  In Alina Tugend’s article, These Students are Learning About Fake News and How to Spot It, I found the acronym IMVAIN to be really useful moving forward:

“Are sources independent, are there multiple sources, do they verify evidence, and are they authoritative, informed and named sources?”

My students are currently working on a research project, that I will be talking about more in the upcoming weeks in my major project updates.  They have really taken to the challenge of lateral reading and finding good sources. They have been asking good questions, and trying to be as unbiased as possible while preparing their presentations.  I’m excited and looking forward to seeing the results! I also want to challenge my students to use the following questions I got from the Renee Hobbs article:

(1) Who is the author and what is the purpose? 

(2) What techniques are used to attract attention?

(3) What lifestyles, values and points of view are represented? 

(4) How might different people interpret this message? 

(5) What is omitted?word-cloud-web

It is easy to use these questions for fake news and checking sources, but my hope is to apply them to all literature challenging my students to always think no matter what they are reading, viewing, or listening to that there is a purpose and viewpoint to the text.  I am hopeful for the future of teaching digital citizenship in our classrooms. As Tegund put it nicely, “research has shown that an inability to judge content leads to two equally unfortunate outcomes: People believe everything that suits their preconceived notions, or they cynically disbelieve everything. Either way leads to a polarized and disengaged citizenry.”

Until next time,

Shelby