Category Archives: ECI832 Course

Learning new tech skills, was it Mission Impossible?

I have really appreciated the support that this group of classmates has given each other both through your comments on the blogs or on Google +. This course has not only educated me about the topics of Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy but has also pushed me to be a creator online, not just a consumer.

My Summary of Learning includes some highlights from this course in a “Mission Impossible” style that I hope you will enjoy!! It is really hard to sum up in only 5 minutes the many topics that we have covered and the relentless hours exploring new technology. SO here I have included some of the highlights for me. I used Google Slides to create the visuals and Screencastify to record. Check it out:

 

 

What’s your Superpower?

Hey you………yeah you!! If you are reading this then you are using your media literacy skills!! Right now you are probably thinking should I read the rest of this, is this going to be worth my time, will the information be valuable or even reliable, who wrote this, is this based on opinion or fact? These are all very good questions to ask yourself while you are “deconstructing” the information you are reading. According to Andrea Quijada in this TEDx Talk, “once students know how to deconstruct media, they have gained a superpower”. As educators, we need to encourage our students to think critically about the media they are experiencing in their everyday lives.

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What IS media literacy you ask? Well, this article suggested by Erin, not only explains WHAT it is but also WHY it is important. We all are users and consumers of different kinds of media that are all around us but you can’t believe everything you read, watch, or hear so asking questions while your brain is receiving information is a skill that needs to be taught and practiced.

How do we explore this topic with our students? Dani suggested this video would be a great place to start:

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What are other ways that we can be “literate” in this world? Well, beyond being media literate, physically literate or even mathematically literate, I think we also learn to be “socially literate” by learning some social cues like taking turns and giving people personal space. Anyone remember this guy?

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As educators, we know that increasing our students’ skills in media literacy is important to navigate through their journey in life. What are you doing to build media literacy superpowers?

Know Your Role

When reflecting on the role of schools in teaching Digital Citizenship, I wonder IF it is even being taught? How many educators are not aware of the policy planning guide from Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Education that Krista discusses in her blog post called “It takes a Village to Raise Digital Citizens!” I could not agree more with the idea of educators playing a major role in teaching students how to be more equipped with the skills to be safe online but what resources are being utilized and is there consistency from grade to grade?

Where can educators look for resources?

Common Sense Education is a great place to start!!

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It is time for Digital Citizenship to be weaved throughout curriculums so lessons aren’t just a “one-off” and will have a greater impact on student online behaviour. This article includes ideas for educators to incorporate on a daily basis. We need to be role models and lead by example so students can not only relate to what is online but also to respect it.

In addition, Google has made resources on how to be safe online with their “Be Internet Awesome” site which includes an online interactive Interland game. My students recently played the game and were very engaged and at the same time, learning how to be smarter online. Check out how to play:

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Teaching Media Literacy is also important for our 21st Century Learners. I agree with Dr Rob Williams in this TedTalk that “we can define Media Literacy Education with 4 action verbs: access, analyze, evaluate and produce”. How can we incorporate these into learning about online behaviour?  Finding good resources(like those mentioned above) and using them for our students to become critical thinkers is the role that teachers need to fulfil.

What resources do you use to teach Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy?

No WiFi?!?! No Hay Probelma

Have you ever taken a digital break from all social media apps, emails etc?? How did it make you feel…..anxious, less connected to your friends or even the world?? Well I just spent the last week in Mexico and WiFi was not included so instead of paying $55 USD per device my husband and I decided to take this time to be disconnected on our devices.

I totally understand that this is much easier to do while on vacation surrounded by your new surroundings and occupying your time with eating, swimming and beach activities. The only use I had for my phone was for music, as a camera and as a clock(which I rarely cared what time it was). So I  reflect on how I felt being disconnected and if it had an impact on my routines after returning home.

Travelling with another family meant we spent a lot of time together and I didn’t even have time to watch TV!! That’s right…..no news, no Survivor, no “This is Us” episode(although I knew this would be recorded at home). While I felt that I really wasn’t informed with the current happenings in the world, I also felt like “ignorance was bliss” and considered what do I really need to to know that would impact my life right now?

Our friends did pay for WiFi and when we asked what they were using it for, they replied with playing an online golf game, Candy Crush and checking/updating Facebook.  I am not on Facebook but I am on Instagram and as I was taking pictures of my family throughout the week I thought about posting them later on Insta(which I still haven’t). I later found out after returning home that our circle of friends knew about some events-like the kids decorating cakes in their chef hats-before I was able to tell them about it. Who has the right to disclose the events in your life? My friend never asked my permission to post any pictures that may have included myself or my children on Facebook so who can control their own “Digital Identity” when others could be? Should moments in your life be kept to yourself and not posted? Does that make them more or less special?

SO has this “Digital Break” had an impact on my daily life after returning home? Will I stop watching TV?? Of course not!! Am I more aware that I am using my phone to “check out” instead of relaxing or being present with my family-YES!! After checking my email and finding almost 100 emails where there was about 4 that were important, do I need to reduce or unsubscribe from a lot of them-YES!! Even looking at who I follow on Instagram and Twitter makes me want to question-what the purpose of following them is, do our needs change over time and do we need to have a “Digital Detox” to refresh our Digital Identity? What do you think?

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To Be or Not to Be? That is the Question for Education Today

The world is changing……A LOT!! How is that going to impact the next 20-30-40 years?? The answer is…..we don’t know!!

SO how do we prepare our students for a world that we are not sure what it is going to look like or even need? Well I feel that my job as an educator is to prepare my students for anything. They need to be able to have the skills and the confidence to diversify.

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This article has some ideas about what will be Shaping the Future of Education in 20 years that I agree with: students will learn at different times and places, more choice, personalized learning and ownership of their own projects and learning, as well as, assessments that reflect ways of applying their knowledge.

I believe that as long as parents need to go to a workplace then students will need to go to a school but what happens in that building will look very different. Teachers responded with more creativity and classrooms looking like a makerspace according to the article What’s the Future of Education?  I do believe that education can happen from anywhere but what will society lose if we decrease the face-to face social interactions that our students currently have on a daily basis?

Which leads me to think about common values, that I believe(and hope), will never change; like showing empathy and compassion. Will we lose the ideals about “waiting your turn” and “treat others the way you want to be treated”? These continue to be important building blocks for interpersonal skills so if most of the interacting students will do in the future will be online, what impact will that have on society?

After all that discussion about what could possibly change or stay the same, I ask the question: Will schools BE the place where students develop their skills for the future or NOT BE because education has a difficult time evolving?

Visitor or Resident??

 

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I must admit something……..I was born in the 70’s, that’s right-I’m THAT old!! Which means according to David White’s video Visitors or Residents, I am a visitor which I actually do agree with. I use technology as a tool to find something or accomplish a task. I do not feel that I have an online identity(although I am building one here).

I still remember when I was around 12 years old, my Dad brought home our first ever computer which was used more like a word processor. The typing was only one color-green and when you printed your writing out the printer had a roll of paper with perforated holes on each side that you had to tear off.  It was only 4 years later that I started my first email account(which I still have) and began searching for information on the “World Wide Web”. So does that make me a “Digital Immigrant” to the current generation of “Digital Natives”?

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That’s right I grew up in the age of the “Cabbage Patch Kids”-the original ones!!

I agree that the description in the PBS Idea Channel video about growing up with more access to technology doesn’t mean they are versed in the facts of how they function. I also think that your attitude and motivation to learn about technology can have an impact on how “intelligent” you are in it, or as Prensky would say Digital Wisdom but the facts are the facts-my generation did not grow up having an online identity.

So how does this affect me as an educator? I used to try to be in touch with the latest trends in technology and I could teach my students something new but in the last few years, I know I am not keeping up(and who can these days) and it’s my students who are now showing me digital trends.  I agree with Logan, when he discusses important points from Prensky that education and teachers in particular need to evolve and listen to their students in order to create 21st century citizens who think more and create products to show their understanding. I am hoping this course will enlighten this “guest” to bridge the gap closer to it’s “citizens”.