Category Archives: eci832

(Digital) Citizenship… It’s More Than What You Think

Digital Citizenship.

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What is it? Is it important? How do we teach it?

Those are questions that are often asked by teachers and administrators who are unaware of the topic or don’t see the value in it. So let’s start by breaking it down.

According to, a digital citizen is “a person who develops the skills and knowledge to effectively use the Internet and other digital technology, especially in order to participate responsibly in social and civic activities.”

There is some truth to this, but there has to be more to it.

If we want to truly understand what it means to be a digital citizen, we need to understand citizenship. Being a good citizen goes even further than being a responsible member of our world. Being a positive citizen means living with purpose and giving back to the world we live in. So just as we intend to teach our students how to be active, contributing, and caring citizens in our world, the same goes for the online world. It’s important to note that “digital citizenship requires the same integrity, respect and care for others as real world citizenship”, as Andrew Kovalcin says.

As teachers, it’s our responsibility to authentically integrate digital citizenship into the curriculum in a positive way. It’s about developing active and caring citizens in our classrooms who want to make change online. Trevor makes a good point when he says that “students must be taught that the digital world is actually the real world, there is no difference. Therefore, their actions, behaviours, and words online should resemble the person they are when not using technology.”

Along with integrating positive citizenship into our classrooms, we need to develop critical thinkers as well. The article, “How Finland Starts its Fight Against Fake News in Primary Schools”, talks about the success that Finland has had when teaching students the skills of “thinking critically, fact-checking, interpreting and evaluating all the information you receive.” They focus on integrating these skills among every subject area so that it becomes second nature to them. It’s important to recognize that even though students might seem tech-savvy, or are looked at as “digital natives”, they still need to be taught these critical thinking skills because these characteristics are developed over time, and are not automatic.

So how do we, as educators, teach our students to be digital citizens? First of all, we need to remember that “digital citizenship education is not intended to be a stand-alone unit, course or lesson, rather it is best learned and under- stood when taught in context through supported online practice and real-life examples and experiences”, according to Saskatchewan’s Digital Citizenship Policy Planning Guide.

When it comes to teaching our students to be thriving digital citizens, ISTE says that it is more about the “do’s” rather than the “don’ts”. They say “it’s about being active citizens who see possibilities instead of problems and opportunities instead of risks as they curate a positive and effective digital footprint.” They also come up with a list of attributes that make up a positive digital citizen.

ISTE’s 5 Competencies of Digital Citizenship is a list that every teacher can focus on when raising digital citizens in their classrooms.

Along with teaching students the 5 Competencies of a Digital Citizen, it’s important that we encourage our students to be motivated citizens online. In a previous blog post, I talk about the importance of raising digital leaders in a digital age who feel empowered to use tools online for good. I bring up a quote by George Couros who says that students need to learn how to be digital leaders who use “the vast reach of technology (especially the use of social media) to improve the lives, well-being, and circumstances of others.”

As we progress in a digital age, we as educators need to progress in our practices. We need to be aware of the value and importance of raising online citizens who are critical thinkers and world changers…

…because after all “educators can no longer ignore their roles in helping students to develop as digital citizens; schools must respond to the changing needs of our learners in order to prepare them for our rapidly changing world” (Saskatchewan’s Digital Citizenship Policy Planning Guide).

As I say in the video I created about what it means to be a (digital) citizen:

While it’s important that a digital citizen knows how to be safe and responsible online, we need to remember that we can’t stop there. Let’s encourage digital citizens who want to lead and inspire.

I am a (digital) citizen. Are you?

Digital Citizenship In School – A Teacher’s Perspective

As I reflect on the school’s role in teaching digital citizenship, it’s quite clear to me that we must continue developing these skills and understandings in our students. For last week’s class, Matt and I created a video that focused on the school’s role in teaching digital citizenship. We are both big time supporters of digital citizenship in the classroom, as we have experienced the positive and negatives that come with an increased use of technology in our students.

Mike Ribble – Digital Citizenship

What role should schools play in teaching digital citizenship?


“In Canada, 99% of young people in grades 4 through 11 access the internet outside of school.” – Technology is very much a part of kid’s lives these days. Whether they are using it for educational or entertainment purposes, it’s in every aspect of their life. That alone is a good enough reason to teach digital citizenship, as they need the skills to use this technology effectively. Technology is not going away anytime soon…or ever. So I think we must embrace it and further develop the skills in our young people.

“Students are generally proficient at basic use of technology, but are not necessarily critical users and lack the skills to be safe and responsible online.” – I’m sure at some point you’ve heard, “These kids are so good with technology these days.” While that statement is true 99% of the time, a student’s skill set must go beyond simple being able to use it. Students must be taught to critically analyze images, stories, tweets, and the news. They also need to be taught about privacy and digital law, such as using creative commons to legally use pictures in their presentations. They also need to be taught how their information is used by big corporations to target advertisements towards them. That’s a small sample of all the things they need to be taught to be good digital citizens.

“Active Digital Citizenship & Participation” – One of the most important jobs as a teacher is to create caring kids who stand up for one another, participate in their community, and become positive members of society. How does this look in the digital world? Students must be taught that the digital world is actually the real world, there is no difference. Therefore, their actions, behaviours, and words online should resemble the person they are when not using technology.


For digital citizenship to be effective in school, I believe there needs to be a strong effort to embed these topics and concepts into all curricular areas. If I critically analyze my current practice, this is an area that needs some improvement. At the start of every school year, I often take my students through a series of lessons and activities focused on digital citizenship. Although these resources and activities are exceptional and have been developed by strong education technology leaders, I need to continue working on incorporating these concepts in all subject areas. As shown in Finland, these strategies can be extremely valuable in developing strong critical thinkers when using technology. Some basic examples include:

Regina Catholic Schools Approach to Digital Citizenship – Dean Vendramin & Jennifer Stewart-Mitchell

Overall, there’s an incredible amount of information to support digital citizenship in the classroom. As the world deals with fake news, disease, political turmoil, and many other issues, we need to properly prepare our students to live and participate in this world. If we fail to properly educate our students, what does that mean for the future of our students? More importantly, how can we develop strong leaders that leverage technology to maximize their positive contributions to society?

Starting Simple on Scratch

Where to begin! Over the past few years as a middle years teacher, I’ve briefly dabbled with Scratch here and there. Nothing major and I have definitely not been using the program to it’s fullest capability. Lucky for me, I get to focus my major project on a few coding programs that can be used in the classroom. Even though I’ve used a little bit of coding, I still consider myself to be a beginner with a lot to learn about coding. Not only do I have a lot to learn about the actual process of coding, I have a lot to learn about curriculum connections and the pedagogical thinking behind coding.

For my “first” experience using Scratch, I wanted to simply explore the program and see what I would notice. I choose not to read any articles or watch any videos, as I figured this would be an authentic way to experience the program. Would anything stand out to me? Would I have any major challenges? Would I be able to create anything interesting? Here’s how it went!

As I have used a little bit of Scratch in the classroom, this screen wasn’t a total surprise to me. I’ve been on this screen a few times and yet, I’m still confused as to what I should be doing at this point. Is there truly a “starting point?” I don’t really think there is a specific place to start. To get my bearings, I played around with some of the functions and tools on this page. As I have done a little bit of coding, it didn’t take me long to figure out a few features on this page. For a beginner, I foresee this page being very intimidating and challenging for someone logging on to Scratch for the first time. There are many different functions and buttons that I think would be very confusing at the beginning. A few questions I could see include:

  • Where do I put the code? – In the big box, in any order… I think
  • What is a sprite?The character that you can move
  • How do I get this sprite to move?I put in random blocks hoping something would eventually work. Start with an event and then motion block.

The first thing I changed was the background, as the white one wasn’t doing much for the setting of my story. I changed this background by clicking the backdrop option in the bottom right corner. You have the option of using a stock background or upload one of your liking. I used the boardwalk option, as I figured my sprite would enjoy a walk across the boardwalk on a nice summer day. Also, I’m getting sick of winter so this was made me feel better!

Changing the backdrop

Moving the sprite (character) is very simple as you can drag and drop wherever you would like it to start. You also have the option to input x and y coordinates to change the location of the sprite. These coordinates will be beneficial later in the coding process, as you can return your sprite to the original location or somewhere else.

X & Y Coordinates for Sprite

So now that I’ve established a setting and character, I decided that I wanted my sprite to walk across the boardwalk. During his walk across the board, he got very excited and leaped into the air. After his leap, he said that he wanted ice cream and then continued to walk across the boardwalk.

Basic Coding Sequence

Some things I learned in this section include:

  • Make sure you start your sequence of code with an event. I wasted time putting in motion code blocks assuming it would just magically work. In my example, the movement begins when I click the little green flag above the work area.
  • I created a second event that would return my sprite to the original location. This was very helpful as I was developing the sequence. You can use the original X and Y coordinates to return your sprite to the original location.
  • The glide block makes for better transitions than the move block. You have control over the speed and the precise location you want the sprite to travel. The move block is very abrupt and you have less control over where you would like the sprite to move.
Scratch – Project #1

In the end, I was able to successfully create a very short sequence of coding. I know it’s nothing spectacular, but it’s definitely a good starting point in terms of my understanding of the coding process. Going forward, I hope to create a more complex coding sequence with multiple backgrounds and sprites.

Stay tuned for more!

The Podcast Playback: A Conversation with Kathy Cassidy

Have you ever had a conversation with someone new and instantly connected? That’s how I felt about my latest podcast guest, Kathy Cassidy– a retired grade 1 teacher, published author, and classroom blogging expert. Talking to her was like having coffee with a dear friend. She shared so much knowledge and inspiration about her days in the classroom, and more importantly, her “connected” classroom.

Are you wondering what a connected classroom even means? Well, Kathy talks all about it in the latest podcast EdTech Endeavours podcast episode. She explains the benefits and opportunities that come with making online connections through blogging and Twitter. She reminds us that connection creates community, even if it’s done online. Kathy talks about how the connected classroom gave her students an audience and a purpose for their writing, artifacts, and assignments. Her students authentically learned about digital citizenship through the online conversations they had and the posts they interacted with. Her stories and experiences will inspire you to connect online so that you too can gain valuable learning experiences that go beyond the walls of the classroom.

If you’d like to learn more about the experiences you can encounter when using a classroom blog and Twitter account, you can listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and most recently,– a hub for educational podcasts and blogs.

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Connected from the Start- Kathy Cassidy

Don’t forget to check out Kathy Cassidy’s free downloadable book, “Connected from the Start: Global Learning in the Primary Grades.” You can also connect with her on Twitter and through her blog, which is packed full of great content and resources!

Thanks for tuning in!


Establishing a Thriving (Digital) Identity

Arifranklin via ourpangea

When I think back to my first years on the Internet, it consisted of writing on Facebook walls, creating Piczo websites, and having scheduled chats on MSN Messenger. During those early days of online connection, there wasn’t a lot of guidance or instruction because it was new for everyone. My parents and teachers didn’t bring it up in conversation or teach me about online ethics because it seemed harmless at the time. Over the years, the Internet has evolved into what it is now… a beautiful way for people to connect and create, but with a bit of a darker side than the “good ol’ days”. When I first started using social media, my online identity was separate from my “real” identity. It took time and effort to connect to the internet, log into my social media accounts, and navigate the internet. Now that technology has evolved, we have access to the online world at any waking moment… so is my digital identity still separate?

Before we get into the discussion of whether there is a difference between our real identity and digital identity, it’s important to know what a digital identity even entails. Our digital identities “include how we present ourselves and interact in digital spaces” as stated in “Research Writing Rewired: Lessons That Ground Students’ Digital Learning” by Dawn Reed and Troy Hicks. They also explain how our digital footprints “speak to this identity as we leave tracks that give information about ourselves in online spaces.” Our actions and words have have significant contributions to our online identity, so doesn’t that mean our online identity and our offline identity go hand in hand?

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According to ISTE, “as our digital connections and interactions grow, the lines between our education and personal lives, our career and private activities, become blurred.”

Our physical lives are intertwined with our online lives now more than ever, so it’s time that we equip not only ourselves with the positive tools to thrive in this digital world, but also our students. In order for us to do that, we as teachers need to be aware of what kind of digital footprint we are leaving behind. In a recent blog post, Shelby mentions that “leading by example and setting expectations for students is the real way to get them to listen and think about what they are doing online.” She says that instead of living a “perfect” digital identity, it’s more important to live a real digital identity “showcasing that we are indeed human too, making mistakes and also having lots of different opinions, talents, and interests beyond just being teachers.”

So how can we model, lead, and teach our students to have a thriving digital identity that isn’t so separate from their everyday lives? We can teach them how to maintain positive citizenship, whether it’s online or offline, and better yet, we can encourage active leadership within them.

Here are some important ways that we ourselves can have a positive identity online and offline to make the world a better place, and in turn, teach our students to do the same.

Create and Cultivate Community

Just like our personal and professional lives can only function through human connection and relationship, our online lives need the same. There are many social media platforms that we use for connecting with others, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. We can use these tools to maintain positive connections with friends, family, and my personal learning network. Yes, these platforms can be used negatively, but that is why we need to instil digital citizenship within our students. If we do this, they will understand the benefits of having an online community and take pride in it. We have incredible opportunities to meet others, gain friendships, make connections, and build up a community through the social media and the internet.

Look at the Bright Side

It’s important that we learn the art of positivity in our day to day lives- and that includes the internet too. Using our words to uplift and encourage others online can make a positive ripple effect for the people around us. Teaching students how to bring positivity to the internet can outweigh the negativity. When we model this type of citizenship and leadership online, people start to see the good that the internet can bring.

Think Critically, Act Confidently

Critical thinking is an important skill for us to have when we face new experiences and challenges in our lives. It’s especially important now as we navigate this world of “fake news” and fake profiles. It’s valuable and crucial to think before you share, that you analyze new information, to always check the source, stay aware of your security, and the list goes on. However, instead of instilling fear in ourselves and our students, let’s give them the confidence they need to address these topics with problem solving skills so that they are aware instead of scared.

Show You Care & Don’t Forget to Share

In order to build a thriving digital identity, it’s important that you do something instead of erasing your digital footprint completely. This goes much further than scrolling through social media and making a few comments here and there. A thriving digital identity means contributing to the online world around you by using social media and the internet for good. Let’s remember to model a thriving digital identity in our own lives so that our students are then inspired to become active, contributing members of the online world who leave a positive digital footprint that also points towards a better future.

Thriving (Digital) Identities

As you can see, there are a lot of different elements that make up a digital identity. However, it’s valuable to note that our digital identity is also just a part of our identity. What we do online is still a part of our real world and is still in our everyday lives. So as we keep moving forward from our MSN Messenger days, let’s use the means of community, positivity, and contribution to model and create identities that are thriving both online and offline.


My Digital Identity… Or Lack Of?

In this week’s class of #eci832, we focused on the idea of digital identity. We participated in a cyber sleuthing activity, which I found to be very rewarding and a good reminder about how much information one can find about you online. In a very short period (20 minutes) and sporadic method to our search, our group was able to find out a significant amount of information about someone we had never met. Some of the things we discovered in this activity were:

  • Professional information (Ex: Where she currently teaches)
  • Biographical information (Ex: Where she is originally from)
  • Information about her family and interests (Ex: She likes curling)

As I was working through this activity, it reminded me of a assignment that I completed during my undergraduate studies in ECMP355. I haven’t Googled myself in a few years so I took some time to complete this activity. Here’s a few things you would find out if you Googled Trevor Kerr:

Twitter: When you scroll through my Twitter page, it won’t take you long to figure out that I’m a teacher and a master’s student. I’d say over 95% of my content is professional. Whether it be for a summer book chat or this master’s class, most of the content is geared around education. You will find very little personal information about me on my Twitter page, outside of a few retweets and a couple posts about books that I enjoy.

If you dug a little deeper, you would find an old Twitter page I used in my classroom. On this page, you will find the general reminders and a few examples of stuff that was happening in the classroom

School Division Page: You will also come across my my school division teacher page. On this page, you will find out that I teach grade 5/6 at St. Kateri. You will also find a copy of my classroom procedures, laptop procedures, introduction letter, and a student timetable.

A couple years ago, this public page would have given viewers a greater glimpse as to what was happening in my classroom. You would find homework, pictures, updates, and other information. The problem, there weren’t that many parents actually looking at the page. As you can see the message, “Seesaw will be used for all communication this year.” When I realized that parents, the most important stakeholder in their child’s education, weren’t using this page, I shifted over to Seesaw and had great success with this tool.

Some other things I discovered:

  • Flag football and ball hockey statistics
  • 2008 Leader Post article about high school football

Overall, I didn’t find anything exciting or negative when cyber sleuthing myself. The reason for this… I don’t contribute anything to the digital space unless required to for a class or a school project. My last post on Instagram was July 2018 and Facebook goes back even further than this. I’m 100% a lurker, as I spend many hours reading or consuming media online.

Implications for the Future

It would be unwise to not consider my current practice in regards to shaping my digital identity. Through this learning and deeper reflection about my digital identity, I have come up with a few questions that I need to consider carefully. These questions include:

  • If applying for a higher position or a new job, will I be a less desirable candidate due to my limited digital presence?
  • Should I spend more time crafting a positive image of myself in the digital space?
  • How does one find a healthy balance between lurking and sharing in the digital space?
  • What assumptions would an employer make if they were to look me up online?

I know that maintaining and developing my digital identity is a very important aspect of living in the 21st century. For me, it’s about taking a leap and having the confidence to contribute in the digital space.

Students’ Digital Identities

As a teacher, I have often used the idea of the digital footprint when teaching my students about their digital identity.

For me, this concept has given students the ability to critically look at their content and behaviour online. Through this teaching, students are able to recognize the ways in which they are positively and negatively contributing to their digital footprint. Students are also able to see how every single thing they do in the digital space will contribute to their digital footprint. I think that students often fail to see how their actions online will follow them for the rest of their lives.

I truly believe that teaching about digital identity has a very important role in our current educational system. School is a very social place, and many of these social interactions and relationships develop outside of the school on various types of media. Through my experience as a teacher, I have witnessed many students not understanding the implications of their actions in the digital space. Students need to continue developing the skills and understanding about their actions online and how this can have a drastic impact on their future.

I also believe that student’s need to be taught ways in which they can contribute to a positive digital identity. As technology continues to develop and have a greater role in everyone’s life, students need to be aware that this digital identity could and will have a major role in their futures. Going forward, students must know that their employers are likely going to look them up prior to hiring them. Will their digital footprint increase or decrease their odds of landing a job?

Where do I go from here?

In conclusion, I don’t have a clear answer as to where I will go from here. I can honestly say that I’ve been here before and told myself, “You need to contribute more on Twitter!” A few days will pass, a few Tweets will be sent out, and then I’m back at the place of simply being a lurker online. I’m very hopeful that this class will be the push I need to continue developing a positive digital identity. I think it’s about gaining the confidence to share in such a vast space. As I continue to make connections and build that confidence, I hope to take a small step towards becoming a regular contributor in the digital space.

The Podcast Playback: The “9 Elements of Digital Citizenship” Edition

In my journey to finding my own voice through podcasting, I have been fortunate enough to gain knowledge and inspiration from the voices of many others. I have stumbled upon so many rich and engaging podcasts that highlight important topics, issues, and themes in education. As I have listened to other podcasts and speakers talk about Digital Citizenship, I am gaining valuable tools and information for my own Major Project Podcast quest.

My original goal in this project was to “build my knowledge of Digital CitizenshipDigital Literacy, and Educational Technology by researching, connecting with experts, podcasting, and reflecting through blog posts.”… and I am doing just that!

Photo by Brett Sayles on

This week, I did a lot of listening to gain knowledge and research for my project… and by a lot, I mean, I had my headphones in at every possible moment. I thought I would share some of my findings with you, especially because Catherine said she would like some EdTech podcast recommendations. I wanted to provide you with a resource that you can refer to for learning more about Digital Citizenship in the most convenient way possible- by listening!

I decided to round up my favourite episodes that follow the theme of Mike Ribble’s 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship– an all encompassing way to look at technology and digital use. Keep in mind, there are SO many great episodes out there, I could have picked many more under each category! If you enjoy this “Podcast Playback”, I might have to come out with a Part 2 of this series. You can access each podcast by clicking on the title link or by clicking the Social Links under each category. Enjoy!

1. Digital Access: “the equitable distribution of technology and online resources”

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The 10 Minute Teacher Podcast

2. Digital Commerce: “the electronic buying and selling of goods and focuses on the tools and safeguards in place to assist those buying, selling, banking, or using money in any way of the digital space.”

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IRL with Manoush Zomorodi

This podcast episode is all about online shopping and privacy. It made me more aware of why my favourite online stores know just exactly what I am interested in buying. Is Amazon tracking you? Are online companies taking your data? Listen to find out more about the “hidden costs of shopping, online and off.”

3. Digital Communication and Collaboration “the electronic exchange of information. All users need to define how they will share their thoughts so that others understand the message.”

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The EdTech Take Out

This podcast episode is all about communication in regards to students, parents, and teachers. The early part of the episode is more about #EdTech resources, but if you start at 12:50, you will hear more about the first theme in the 4 C’s– Communication. The second episode is all about setting students up for success when encouraging collaboration in the classroom. Don’t miss the other episodes about the 4’Cs: Critical Thinking, and Cultivating Creativity. The hosts of this podcast are engaging and knowledgeable, which makes for an easy and likeable listen.

4. Digital Etiquette “electronic standards of conduct or procedures and has to do with the process of thinking about others when using digital devices.”

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Convos with vendi55

This podcast is not only informative, but also enjoyable to listen to with it’s interview-style format. Dean, the host, and Jennifer-Casa-Todd, author of Social Leadia, talk about how Digital Citizenship and Etiquette goes beyond doing good and bad things on the internet. Listen and find out more about how Jennifer Casa-Todd uses social media in the classroom to model Digital Leadership and Social Leadia. You can also check out her podcast, Social Leadia, on Apple Podcasts and!

5. Digital Fluency– “the discussion of media literacy and the ability to discern good information from poor, such as “fake news” from real news.”

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Teaching Tolerance: The Mind Online

I was very impressed with this well done podcast! In this episode, Katy Byron, from MediaWise, not only talks about the importance of teaching students how to identify what is real and fake on the internet, but she also gives us some ideas on how we go about doing this. They also shared an initiative that they are doing to help students decipher if something is real or fake. They are encouraging students to use the hashtag #IsThisLegit, which informs MediaWise so that they can help them search for the source. This episode ends with behavioural scientist, Gordon Pennycook, who is from Regina, SK, explaining why people have a tendency to believe things that aren’t always true.

6. Digital Health and Welfare “the physical and psychological well-being in a digital world.”

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NPR Life Kit: Parenting

I was excited to listen to this podcast because it comes from a different perspective than what I am used to- parenting. Instead of telling us all the things not to do with technology, it actually talks about the advantages of using screen time in a positive way. They even have a blog post about it that you can easily refer to. There is also a second episode in this series called, “The Darker Side of Screen Time”, which I was apprehensive to listen to because I thought it would portray technology in only negative ways. However, this episode is very beneficial to listen to, especially if you’re a parent! They talk about the importance of modelling behaviour instead of policing behaviour. They give multiple “take-aways” that you can apply to your own life. These high quality podcast episodes have thoughtful content and thought-provoking research-backed information.

7. Digital Law “the electronic responsibility for actions and deeds and has to do with the creation of rules and policy that address issues related to the online world.”

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The Cult of Pedagogy Podcast

There are many aspects to Digital Law, but something that stands out is plagiarism and copyright laws. In this episode, Jennifer Gonzalez describes 5 exercises that teach students about plagiarism in a non-threatening, preventative way. She reminds us that we need to “explicitly teach these skills and we need to do it more than once if we want good results.” Along with this episode, there are countless other Cult of Pedagogy Podcast episodes that are full of valuable information and exciting ideas to use in your classroom.

8. Digital Rights and Responsibility “helping students understand that when they are provided opportunities, such as the access to the Internet and use of online products, they need to be diligent in helping others as well, such as informing adults of potential problems.”

EdTech Endeavours

This podcast is all about recognizing what the rights and responsibilities of Digital Citizenship are, but moving much further than that. In this episode, Graham Brace and I discuss practical tools and teachable lessons for instilling Digital Leadership in your students so that they are motivated to do more. As digital leaders, we have online rights that come with not only responsibility, but with amazing opportunity.

9. Digital Security and Privacy “the electronic precautions to guarantee safety.”

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IRL with Manoush Zomorodi

This podcast, suggested to me by Nancy, is a great way to learn all about security, privacy, and policies of the internet. This episode talks about “how companies collect, use, and share your personal data.” Are you interested in learning more about online privacy? Are you concerned about how your information and data are being used online? If you want to learn more about Digital Security and Privacy, this episode is for you!

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The 10 Minute Teacher Podcast

Podcast: The 10 Minute Teacher Podcast: 5 Things About Effective Digital Citizenship You Need to Know

One more you can add to your list is a podcast interview with Mike Ribble, the digital citizenship expert himself. In this short, yet informative podcast, Ribble talks about “five important things every educator should know about Digital Citizenship.”

As you can see, there are many different podcasts to choose from online! The important thing is that you find one that interests, inspires, and engages you. It’s also important to share what you learn with others. I hope that you find these podcast recommendations helpful in your digital journey. Feel free to comment any of your “take-aways” from each of these episodes.

In Conversation with Stephen Hurley

…and if you are curious how my podcasting journey began, you can listen to my full interview on with Stephen Hurley, where I talk about my teaching career, my Master’s journey, and my podcast adventure.

Happy listening!


What is normal? part 2


My project for EC&I 832 is going to be social awareness piece based on Normative Center and the unconscious biases that form it. The first time I was introduced to the idea of Normative Center (NC), was through this article by Graham and Slee. It was in a curriculum class and how NC relates to First Nations (FN) culture and FN education. I have discussed this article and its ideas with a lot of friends and colleagues since then as I find the idea thought provoking and believe that it needs talked about more openly.

Normative Center is an interesting concept that can be applied to many different areas of our lives. NC is based on individual and cultural biases, so it can be a sensitive subject and a conversation that you cannot force someone into. A person must understand their own biases to reflect on how they may have influenced past decisions, or the way you talk to and treat other people.

To better understand my own biases and hopefully open the floor to some discussion about it I am going to talk to some people that can offer unique perspectives on aspects of Normative Centers in Canadian culture. These talks will look at but not be limited to: physical/mental disabilities, First Nations culture, race and gender.

I am excited about the response to this idea and have been able to line up several experts willing to be interviewed. These interviews will discuss the Normative Center and how it relates to them personally, professionally, culturally, and what this means in an increasingly digitally world.

I hope these conversations will further my understanding of bias and NC. I also hope that this will help others to identify the need to discuss this and become more aware of the deep reaching impacts of unconscious bias.

Scratch, Micro:bit, and Dig Cit: A Closer Look at Terms of Service & Privacy Policies

“I agree to the Terms and Conditions” – Yeah yeah…

“I agree to the Privacy Policy” – Ahh, they are watching us anyway…

As a major user of the internet for the past 20 years, I can’t imagine how many times I’ve agreed to terms and conditions and privacy policies for a variety of websites, apps, or tools. In terms of using technology for my personal life, whether it be for Facebook, Snapchat, or WordPress, I’ll admit that I’ve never read more than a single line of these long-winded pages. I honestly don’t have a good reason as to why I skip the reading and simply click the box. After a quick reflection, I came up with these very simple reasons as to why I don’t these policies. Here are a few reasons:

  • They are way too long. Who has the time or patience to read all of this information?
  • The legal language is confusing. To the average consumer, this legal jargon is confusing and takes some serious concentration to actually comprehend. You might want to consider hiring a lawyer to explain this to you in lame man’s terms.
  • To be honest, I don’t even think about clicking the box. I’ve been so accustomed to these policy messages, I just bypass them so I can quickly create my account.

I’m aware that those are simply lazy and bad habits when using the internet. It took a major project in #eci832 to finally get me exploring and thinking about the implications of these policies. Going forward, I think my slightly increased awareness about terms of service and privacy might cause me to stop and think for a second before clicking the box.

When using programs and resources for educational purposes, I can honestly say that I only look for one thing. “How old do they have to be to use this program?” If they are old enough, I continue on my way and use this program in the classroom. When they are not old enough, I log on to my school division website and look to see if there is a permission form for that particular program. This is problematic, as I truly don’t know what these companies are doing with student data and information. As an educator, it is my responsibility to ensure that I am keeping my student’s information and privacy safe in the digital world. When thinking about Mike Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship, there is great opportunity to teach students a few of the elements as they are signing up for programs. These include:

  • Digital Law: Are there any legal implications when using this website? What laws exist in our country when using the internet? Are my actions online exempt from the law?
  • Digital Security and Privacy: What happens to my information when I sign up using my full name, age, address, and gender? Who owns this information? Why is my information valuable to companies or corporations? What can I do to protect my privacy and security?

Now getting on to my major project… It was quite the experience trying to understand the terms of service and privacy policies of two programs commonly used in education. I’ve highlighted some key points and personal thoughts when analyzing the policies on Scratch and Micro:bit.


Terms of Service:

  • Scratch is open to children and adults of all ages. This is beneficial for teachers as they don’t need to worry about additional permissions. Also, I find that many programs or applications require students to be 13 years of age, which can make finding valuable educational technology challenging at times.
  • The Scratch team may change the terms of service from time to time. I believe this is quite common in most terms of service agreements, as they control all aspects of the program. This is important to understand as things can change without you even knowing it.
  • “All user-generated content you submit to Scratch is licensed to and through Scratch under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license. This allows the Scratch team to display, distribute, and reproduce your content through their channels.” Once you create on Scratch, it essentially becomes available for anyone in the world to share or use. If students create personal content, such as uploading a picture of themselves to the Scratch software, this is freely available to anyone in the world with access to Scratch.
  • In order to save or publish your content on Scratch, you need to create an account. As most projects will take an extended period of time, students will need to create an account to save their work. At this point, students need to be aware of the information they are sharing when creating an account.

Privacy Policy:

  • During account creation, Scratch will ask for a username, country, birth month, year, gender, and email address. If you are under 16, they ask for your parent or guardians’ email address. Through this process, Scratch will be able to gather quite a bit information about students. I can see students using their personal email, even if it states it must be their parents.
  • When you use Scratch, third party service providers collect information about you and your device, through cookies and web server logs. By using Scratch, you consent to the placement of cookies and similar technologies. They information collected includes IP address, network location, what browser you are using, device IDs, and other information. Using specific technologies, Scratch will have the ability to locate where you are in the world. How does a third party service provider use this information to their advantage?
  • Scratch shares personal information to third-party service providers. As age, gender, and other personal information is being gathered, Scratch shares this information with these companies. How do these companies benefit from this information?
  • Data retention: They take measures to delete your personal information or keep it in a form that doesn’t allow you to be identified when this information is no longer necessary for the purposes for which they process it, unless they are required by law to keep it. This area isn’t that clear to me as I’m unsure if they actually ever delete your information. How long does it take Scratch to process it?


Terms of Service:

  • Your creations on Micro:bit are stored locally. When published on the website, you agree that all of your contributions are available for others to: freely use with attribution on a non-commercial basis, share, copy, and redistribute in any medium. Once your work is published, it’s essentially free for anyone to use. Another reminder for students to understand how their creations can be shared worldwide.
  • You must understand and inform children that posting personal data, sharing contributions that infringes other’s intellectual property rights is a breach of terms of use.
  • Micro:bit can modify, suspend, or discontinue all or part of the service without giving you any notice. Be aware! Make sure you abide by the terms of service.

Privacy Policy:

  • Although anyone can use this resource, it’s been designed for users between 8 and 14 and the educators who use them. This is quite valuable for middle school students, as software can be quite complex for them to understand at times.
  • On Micro:bit’s main site, they enhance the privacy in the following ways:
    • They don’t associate your IP address with any information that can identify you personally. They don’t store personal information such as your name, age, or email address in cookies.
    • They do not use geo-location data from your device but may be able to determine your approximate location from your IP address.

Overall, I learned many things when reading the terms of service and privacy policies on Scratch and Micro:bit. There were definitely times where I had to reread some items 5-10 times, as the legal language made it quite confusing to understand.When I was rereading for the tenth time, I started to think of all the ways this benefits these companies. I think many companies do not want their consumers to read the terms of service and privacy policies, as this could potential hurt their ability to generate profit for their company. If people and students fully understood the privacy implications of signing up for a service, I’m sure there are some users that would choose to not use a service. This leaves me with one final question that can be applied to our personal lives or the lives of our students…

  • What’s the value of your personal data?