Category Archives: #gradstudies

Learning, Technology & Equity – It Can Work!

Technology is a force for equity in society – yes or no?

This week the two sides of the debate were challenged with the task of debating a question that can easily have a strong argument on either side but has left me feeling like Kari described in her post, dazed and confused! This is a first for me this semester! In all of the other debates, I have strongly sided with one of the arguments and never really wavered. Then this week came along and much like Shelly described in her post, I am sitting on the fence and after reading her post I wanted to post the link here and say ‘ditto’ because she about summed it all up too!

I think it would be fairly easy to relate this weeks debate topic to a variety of different social justice initiatives and conversations. After all, social justice typically deals with tackling an issue that has placed an individual or group of individuals at a disadvantage. I decided to tackle the definition of equity in relation to social justice and searched for a way to help me best understand just exactly what equity might look like and came across this explanation:

Equity has to do with everyone having access to fair and equal treatment under the law, regardless of race, social class or gender. Social Justice extends the concept of equity to include human rights as part of the social contract. – Shoreline Community College

Though I like this explanation I think it is important to understand that there is a difference between fair and equal. What fair and equal looks like in schools, specifically, can be very different dependant on student experiences, teacher reactions and school atmosphere.

If we break down this weeks debate topic and talk specifically about how technology can help to create equity in education we need to remember that it can’t be just about the technology. There is a human element to education that we can not do without. We need compassion, intuition, conversations and relationships established in order to work towards creating environments that provide students with equitable opportunities for learning. Without these pieces in place, I don’t agree that technology can help to create equity in education.

Perhaps I have simplified it too much but I think that the conversation this week is about how we as teachers implement technology into our classrooms, not the technology itself.

https://pixabay.com/photo-2355700/

Both sides of the argument this week brought up the idea of accessibility and affordability and both made great points. In society, we have schools that have parent councils that are able to provide their schools with more access to technology and then we have schools on the opposite end of the spectrum.  Though there may be frustrations and learning curves along the way, I think school divisions working towards creating equitable access across all schools in their division is a move in the right direction. I may ruffle a few feathers with this one but I really don’t think we need to have a classroom of 27 students, with 27 devices in order to be able to use technology in our classrooms. In fact, I think if that is how we are using technology, we are missing the mark.  I believe all it takes is a little bit of creativity, some thought out planning, trial and error and a willingness to adapt and change in order to see how we can create equitable opportunities for our students.

It may be because it is June and I always have a hard time letting go of the students that I have spent the last ten months with but this video really hit home and reminded me of the power we hold as teachers.

I think the key word here is flexibility! If we let go of our need for all students doing things in the same way, we open ourselves up to an endless world of possibilities. If we have a student who has access to technology at home and the support to work on a project at home, great! Have a student that doesn’t? That’s fine too, learning looks different for everyone and it can be shared and communicated in many ways.

 

 

When Social Media Gets a Bad Rap … What Should We Do?

“Because of their limited capacity for self-regulation and susceptibility to peer pressure, children and adolescents are at some risk as they navigate and experiment with social media.” – The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families

For the purpose of this week’s post, we are talking about social media and whether or not it is ruining childhood. The need to make that clear is important because the conversation around social media can often lead into one about technology as a whole and they are most certainly two different things.

I’ll start right off the hop by telling you I do not agree that social media is ruining childhood but I do believe there are things that society, schools and families are doing or not doing with social media that are ruining childhood for today’s youth. I do know that kids will be kids and there are certain things we can’t control but that can be said about anything, not just social media!

“…social media has given us a way not only to speak out, but to educate ourselves and expand our minds in a way that is unprecedented.” – A Generation Zer’s Take on the Social Media Age

We could lump society, schools and parents into one conversation but I think there are things that can be done, separately on all three levels to show kids just how powerful and positive social media can be, as opposed to just the negative.

Society…

Wouldn’t it be great if our society decided to care a little less about things like the tide pod challenge, the lives of celebrities, who is wearing what and spending a little more time encouraging people to share about their real, everyday lives? Also, what if we made the decision to judge others a little less and celebrate a little more? I really think we would start to see the positives side of social media if we decide to stop saying things like, “their food posts are so annoying”, “why do they post about beachbody so often”, “I can’t stand all their baby pictures” or “no one cares about your workout”.

What happens if that one post, shared by that one person, was the one positive thing they were able to find in their day and here we are, tearing them down for it?

Schools…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberpsychology

When I think about my job as a teacher and what I want my students to be able to walk away from my classroom being able to do, I think about preparing them for life outside of school, beyond their time in the K-12 education system. Some might argue that social media should not play a role in schools because it adds no value to a child’s education… I disagree. If we are preparing kids to be critical consumers, people who can work collaboratively with others and individuals who will create opportunities for themselves then I think social media needs to be part of their education. I am not saying it needs to be everything, it shouldn’t, but if we are not teaching students how to navigate social media appropriately, how are they going to manage the pressures one can feel from social media in their everyday lives?

If we bring social media into our classrooms, we allow students to explore this world in an environment that is safe, controlled and monitored. Now, this certainly looks different in different grades and the conversation changes when it comes to students with their own devices. However, when we look at modelling appropriate use through classroom accounts, we have an opportunity to show students the positive side of social media. As my classmate Shelly mentions this week, we are in Uncharted Territory and need to ask a few questions before we decide to accept or negate social media’s impact on childhood today. As always, there will be things that come up that aren’t all about the positive but those are real-world examples and most importantly, teachable moments!

When Eric Meyers, an expert on youth online behaviour weighed in on the recent tide pod challenge he pointed out that social media is in fact just a tool and not the reason for the challenge itself.

“It’s not that social media is compelling young people to do this,” Meyers said. “Social media is simply a tool by which they can do this and gain gratification by other people. So it amplifies some of the effects of young people’s natural tendency towards risk but it’s not the actual cause of risky behaviour.”

While risk is a natural part of adolescence, Meyer said parents and school officials can play a role in talking with teens about balancing risk with acceptance – but the effectiveness of the message is in the delivery.

Instead of telling them “no,” which can often “be like the forbidden fruit” scenario, Meyers said, talking with the kid about why they’re feeling they need to take part can lead to a deeper discussion about decision making and online behaviours.” Taken from B.C. expert weighs in on why kids are eating Tide pods for fun by Ashley Wadhwani

We need to find a way to bring schools and families together to help build an understanding of how youth are using social media. As educators, we have an understanding of brain development and how youth make decisions. We understand this in different ways than families, who tend to know more about how kids are making decisions based on peer influences. Bringing these two realms of understanding together can show our kids that we understand the pressures placed on them by social media and we want to work with them to help them understand and make decisions.

Families…

Every kid is different and their ability to make decisions on their own varies greatly. Honouring the terms of use set out by social media sites, monitoring sites/apps used, having set ‘no tech’ times and open lines of communication are just a few things I would suggest for creating positive experiences for youth on social media. A tweet shared by St. Alphonsus’ RC Primary School in Middlesbrough, England offers  a guide for parents wanting to talk to their kids about social media use: Image result for social media tips for parents

Social media harnesses a lot of power, how we look at it and interact with it, determines the power that it takes.

The Kids Are Confused!

“…there is a time and a place for tech – there are so many wonderful tools out there to stay connected to family members, to learn and grow, and to explore new concepts and ideas. But we need to make sure it doesn’t come at the expense of the blanket fort.” – Kid Complicated: Childhood Isn’t What It Used To Be

Photographer: Markus Spiske

As a kid growing up I feel like my life outside of school was pretty much a mirror for how things went at school. Things were pretty mainstreamed and many people followed a pretty similar pattern in their day-to-day lives. I remember ‘way back’ when you had to go to the store to buy groceries, get your photos printed – then physically go to a family gathering so everyone could see your pictures, the local newspaper took pictures at school/community events and printed them in the next weeks issue, you had to walk in to another room and pick up the phone to call someone, you checked the monthly calendar to see who was having a birthday that day and opened the fridge to see what was inside.

 

Photo Credit
Photo Credit: http://bit.ly/2Ho8jiV

Kids today are living life, outside of school, in a society that is completely consumed by technology and the rate at which that is increasing is exponential. You can order your groceries online and pick them up a few hours later without stepping foot in the store, be at a community event where your picture is snapped and be seen online in a matter of seconds – some call this news, check Facebook to ‘remember’ which family member or friend has a birthday today, pay for your child’s school hot lunch on your phone – never mind take your phone with you everywhere you go, pay all your bills online, print pictures, put them in ‘the cloud’ or AirDrop them to a friend, ask Siri to call someone for you and then get her to help you with your kids math homework!

So, if our society is being consumed by technology, what happens when technology isn’t present in today’s classrooms? Confused kids… that’s what happens!

Now before you go and hit that comment button to tell me that it can’t all be about technology all the time, check out my thoughts on balance from last weeks post – Meet Me In The Middle?.

Since we’ve got that out-of-the-way, let’s dig a little deeper into why I agree with Channing and wholeheartedly disagree with the debate topic from class this week: Openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our kids.

“…as is always the case with digital technologies, the affordances are not necessarily realized and learning is by no means guaranteed. After all, not all uses of social media are educational or of sufficient quality to contribute to knowledge building.” – Professional Online Presence and Learning Networks: Educating for Ethical Use of Social Media by Dianne Forbes

I’ve said it many times before but I believe that as teachers, it is our job to prepare our students for their future, by giving them the skills they will need to be productive members of society. These preparations have to be purposeful and not done on a whim. When I was a kid growing up in a small town Saskatchewan classroom, my teachers didn’t just hand out the papers to us and say figure it out. They gave us the tools for what we needed in order to understand and complete the task at hand. There were projects that we had to be worked on and problems to solve. Sound familiar? If you’re involved in education, I believe it should, as this is what teaching and learning look like.

Teaching and learning really are no different today. However, the options for creating learning opportunities are endless! The tools for learning, that we now have, are greater and more wide-reaching. When we know that social media can, as shared in Exploring the Potential Benefits of Using Social Media in Education, provide our students with opportunities to create, collaborate, communicate and engage in the learning process – why wouldn’t we teach them how to do that?

If we aren’t bringing technology into our classrooms, how are our students supposed to know how to navigate the world outside of school? They need opportunities to explore social media in a safe and guided environment so they can make informed decisions when they walk out of the school doors.

The question this week was whether or not it is unfair to openly share our students work and pictures online. I believe there are a few things we can do that ensure we are being fair to our students when sharing online:

  1. We need to have division-wide procedures in place that teachers can clearly access/understand and be able to follow.
  2. As a teacher  – get informed. Learn about your division’s policies and ask for clarification if you do not understand.
  3. Involve students and their families in the choice to post online and honour their personal preferences.
  4. Educate students and their families on how to appropriately and safely navigate the social media world

When we share without a purpose or specific intent, then we fall into the unfair category. Scott McLeod offers some insight into how school divisions, schools and families can approach the sharing of student photos. I feel it is important to mention that I think if we are sharing things without due process and specific intent, I think it is our teaching practices that we need to question, not whether the sharing is or is not fair.

 

Meet Me In The Middle?

“Long before there were schools as we know them, there was apprenticeship — learning how to do something by trying it under the guidance of one who knows how.” – ‘The Objective of Education Is Learning, Not Teaching’

This week in #eci830 my group was tasked with the challenge of presenting an argument that suggested schools should not be teaching anything that can be googled, our opponents argued the opposite. What was ironic about the debate was that both sides spent a fair amount of time talking about critical thinking skills.

In our opening statement, my group discussed the need for educators to understand that:

  1. Knowledge is changing at a rapid pace
  2. Schools need to prepare students for that change in knowledge
  3. Technology allows for efficiency

Channing explains each of our introductory arguments further in her post, Educating The Google Generation.

Whether someone felt they agreed or disagreed with the idea that schools should not be teaching things that can be googled before the debate, I think you’d have been hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t agree that critical thinking skills are vital to student future success, after the debate! So if critical thinking is so important, just what does that look like and what does it mean?

What I found most interesting about this video was that it really doesn’t matter where in the world you live, what language you speak or your life experiences – critical thinking skills are valuable!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/acidmidget/13910556505
Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/nceeP8

Every day we are bombarded with information all around us. Whether it is in a store, on a billboard, on social media, the radio or pretty much anywhere we go – there is something to be consumed.  As educators we have to ask ourselves, what are we doing to prepare our students for the overwhelming amount of information they are being exposed to? Though both groups in the debate disagreed in some areas, Kristen highlighted in her blog that we did agree on the idea that critical thinking is something students NEED to have an opportunity to practice.

So we then have to ask ourselves how are we providing our students with these opportunities? I believe that we need to change how we look at learning, as a whole, in order to truly prepare our youth for a world that we don’t yet fully understand. The skills students will need to be successful are not things that can be memorized or copied. Rather, they are abilities that these individuals will possess! I believe that when we give students the skills they need, to learn about the things they are passionate about, they will internalize (I like that word better than memorize) the information they need to be able to share their knowledge and passions.

If we truly want to provide opportunities for students to develop critical thinking skills I think there are a few changes we need to make in education. Often times while planning units and lessons I have found myself questioning some of the things in our Saskatchewan Curriculum. Not because I don’t think learning is important but rather because I don’t think we allow for enough autonomy in our students learning.  Now, dependant on the age of your students, this certainly looks different but I think it is possible. As a bit of a side note, I do think we need concrete knowledge in areas like reading, writing and math but I do believe there are ways to provide student choice in these subjects as well.

Some changes I would make in my education dream world…

  1. Change the mindset around the role of the teacher from the knower of knowledge to a guide for students
  2. Provide guiding questions rather than answers/final destinations of learning in curriculum documents
  3. Integrate digital citizenship skills into all areas of the curriculum as a mandatory piece
  4. Eliminate traditional grading practices in the K-5 classroom
  5. Remove the idea that students of a certain age need to meet a certain ‘level’ by a certain time. Keep growth and development as a staple but remove the constraints of time.

In the real world, I believe we must seek to find balance in our classrooms, finding the middle ground for integrating tools like Google and learning skills like how to read!

All week I had this song in my head and I think Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey say it perfectly… meet me in the middle!

Technology & the Classroom – Finding Balance in 2018

“Technology could be seen as the culprit, or it could be harnessed to improve engagement and effectiveness.” 6 Pros and Cons of Technology in the Classroom in 2018 

We’ve all heard a colleague say it…

” I just don’t have the time to learn about all this new technology I’m supposed to be using.”

Does anyone else worry about the state of education when they hear these words? Maybe it’s just me, but I think we have a problem if this is how some are looking at technology in education.

Photo Credit: BECCA PONS [bp] + CREATIVE Flickr via Compfight cc

Now, don’t get me wrong, I get it – we are busy! We have about 101 things on our plates each day that we need to accomplish in order to feel like we are properly supporting the students in our schools. Most days, I feel like I get done about 25% of the things I set out to do. There are also those days where I feel like a super teacher because somehow I have managed to cross EVERYTHING off my list… until I make another but I’ll take the celebration while I can.

This week in #eci830 we were tasked with the creating a response to an in-class debate on whether or not technology in the classroom enhances learning and both sides of the debate presented valid points. Prior to the debate, I would have told you I was 100% on the agree side of this statement and I still am but the disagree side challenged my thinking!  If we aren’t challenging what we think we know, then are we really learning?

While reading the article from the quote below there were two phrases that continued to come to my mind: hidden curriculum and teachable moments.

“Students may be more enthusiastic about studying a subject if they are preparing a PowerPoint presentation or a video clip instead of a written essay. However, they might spend more time and effort on the presentation than researching the subject, and complete the project knowing very little about the subject.“ –  Negative Effects of Using Technology in Today’s Classroom by Timothy Smith

I certainly do not believe that technology is going to be the ‘be all end all’ in education but what I do believe is that it is not going away. If we think back 10 or even 5 years, the changes in technology in our world are enormous. As educators, we are tasked with the job of preparing our students for life outside of the K-12 education system. If we are truly preparing them for that world then we need to realize that how we have taught in the past is not going to work. We can’t expect to continue to use teaching methods from 20-30 years ago and integrate technology all at the same time. There simply are not enough minutes in a day for that and I’m not convinced that makes for best practice! Removing some of “what we’ve always done” and thinking in ways that allow for engagement of all not only benefits students but also allows the teacher to engage in the learning process with students. I think this is why I kept going back to the idea of teachable moments and the hidden curriculum.

When teachers are willing to let go of the idea that they need to be the one who holds all the knowledge and embrace that learning alongside students is also learning, we are in a space that then allows for a change in teaching practice and pedagogical growth. For me, this does not mean that we need to see technology used all day, every day in our classrooms. To me, this means balance. When bringing technology into the classroom, balance combined with informed and intentional teaching practices, in my opinion, is what creates learning environments that will prepare our students for life outside of the classroom.

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Do you see balance in this video?

I this video I see a few things: students who are engaged, collaboration, hands-on learning, technology, pencil paper tasks and excitement for learning.

What would I change about this learning environment? I don’t think we should remove technology from the main classroom, I think we need to integrate it into what we are already doing. There is no doubt these students are learning and developing problem-solving skills. However, are they seeing the connections that can be made with what they are doing in their classroom? Perhaps a better understanding of the school set up here would be helpful.

What do you see or think about how these students are engaging with technology?

 

 

When Learning Happens in Layers

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/nUKGz1

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

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

I had been hoping to try something new and come up with an original idea this semester for my Summary of Learning and google pulled through for me! I came across Brackify one afternoon over the Spring break and decided to go for it. I really like how this turned out and although I am not much of a March Madness girl, I thought it was fitting for the time of year! Thank you to those of you in EC&I 832 who took a few minutes out of your time off to help me out with the results of the bracket! I had reached out on Twitter in hopes of a couple responses and received more than I thought I would! Check out the link to the bracket and results in the tweet below! What I found most interesting and encouraging was that many of the choices were the same ones that I chose and the overall winner was the one that I anticipated to be the winner!

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So without further ado here is my Summary of Learning for EC&I 832!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Made with Padlet

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

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

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

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

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

Team members now know:

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

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

Here are a couple samples of the videos they created:

 

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

Building Digital Literacy with Seesaw & WeVideo – Project Update

In the past couple of weeks, I have been able to see the preliminary work for my major project begin to come together through the work my classroom students and tech team have produced along with the conversations we are having!

A little update on my WeVideo post When Technology Beats the Techy for you:

  1. I’ve now figured out and solved the problem of being able to get everyone access to WeVideo in the correct way.
  2. Everyone is registered and part of our Tech Team group on WeVideo
  3. We have watched the Screencast together
  4. Groups are working on their screencast
  5. I need to work out how I can help the team understand and work with the collaboration feature within WeVideo (stay tuned for a post about that one)

As I’ve mentioned before, my project took on a bit of a twofold approach. I have been focusing on and talking about both media literacy and digital citizenship with my grade 2 class and my tech team but the focus for each has been a little different. With the tech team, we are focusing on media literacy through the use of GAFE and now WeVideo. With my grade 2 class, we are focusing on understanding Digital Citizenship through Seesaw.

This past week my grade 2 students and I had an opportunity to check out the new activities feature with Seesaw. My class had been working on a Social/ELA project where they interviewed an adult in their life about what it was like for them to live as a child. We talked about differences between now and then as a comparison and to build an understanding of community differences. The students created a poster and then presented that poster to the class. I recorded those presentations on Seesaw with the plan of using those presentation videos as an opportunity to integrate a lesson on digital citizenship into social studies. It really can fit anywhere!

To set up the activity I created a video, using Screencastify, describing and modelling the expectations along with actually putting the activity on Seesaw. I really liked that I could create the Seesaw activity on the weekend and wait to post it on the day of the activity. Here is a picture of the activity I posted on each students journal along with the video.

What I realized today while putting this post together was that in part, I misunderstood the activity feature. I did not teach the students to go to the activities tab and add their responses there. However, I did like having the activities tab as a place for them to go and check on what they were expected to do. We also went over it together before they began their commenting. We will try another activity using the student responses portion!

Their responses to classmates presentations really were fantastic and I feel like many of them are beginning to understand their role as digital citizens! I appreciate that their comments are on topic and supportive. Some perhaps missed the mark a little on talking about what they learned (this is a conversation we will have next week) but they stayed true to our conversation around making sure to use the THINK model before posting!

As part of our conversation around digital citizenship in grade 2 we have also been talking about how the way we represent our thoughts is important. When we are posting something to explain what we know it is important to include as much information as you can. This month in science we have been talking about air and how it moves. Throughout the week students created a plan for how they could use our classroom STEM corner to create a tool that would measure wind. Check out a couple of their posts after they had created and tested their tool. These are two completely different creations and two different approaches to using their words to share understanding!

When Technology Beats the ‘Techy’

On Monday after school, I was in my classroom working with a very patient group of grade 5 & 6 students as the technology I was wanting to use was ultimately outsmarting me! Over the weekend I had planned out how to show the team how to add a the Screencastify chrome extension and then how to create a screencast. I was really excited to finally help them take their project from planning to reality. On my prep I went and grabbed a student Chromebook to make sure all would work smoothly and then my plan crumpled!

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/qwWGGS

Students do not have the authority to add chrome extensions to the school laptops. I can see the reasoning as to why but needed a quick new game plan and was feeling a little frazzled! I quickly sent an email off to our division office tech guys and asked for some help. They suggested the new program called WeVideo that the division has recently acquired a license to. I figured, how hard can this be! They sent me the document with the links I would need and I was ready to go. 3:45 rolls along and the Tech Team starts filing into the room. We get the chrome books out and ready to go to get set up with WeVideo and… it doesn’t work! Well turns out, it wasn’t WeVideo’s fault but rather my very own! So lesson learned, even when you think you have enough tech savvy to know what you’re doing, you don’t! Even worse, I had to swallow my bride a little and realize that had I listened a little more carefully to what one of the team members was telling me, we would have avoided the whole thing! I’ll have to admit that to him on Friday when we meet again. The learning never ends people!

 

I had to laugh when one of our grade 5 teachers walked in to see what we were up to, clearly noticing that I was a bit frazzled and laughed and said, “I’m glad this stuff happens to you too” while promptly walking out of the room laughing. All in good fun of course!

Tonight I tackled WeVideo and learned a few things:

  1. Slowing down and asking for help/accepting that you have learning you need to do is essential.
  2. WeVideo has an AMAZING set of FAQ as well as how to videos.
  3. When you embrace the learning it can actually be quite fun!

Here you have it, a screencast ready to go to teach our tech team how to make a screencast! It certainly could have used some refining but I think my tech team will be able to teach me a thing or two before I tackle my Summary of Learning!

WeVideo Screencast for Tech Team

The Brain, Teens & the Internet – Where Should We Start?

For students to be digitally literate, they not only need to learn how to use technology, but to be critical of the information they gather. Students are exposed to information digitally—articles, statistics, videos. They require explicit instruction that information might be old, biased, fake, illegal, or discriminatory. – Digital Literacy: What Does It Mean To You?

Photo Credit: Matthew Dahlitz 

When we think about our role as educators, within the context of helping our students become media literate digital citizens, we need to consider the many factors that apply. Media is everywhere and they are growing up in a digital world. We can’t deny this and if we choose to do so, then we are providing a disservice to our students and not truly preparing them for their futures. Our job as educators is to work towards building an understanding of the individuals who walk through our doors on a daily basis. Understanding who they are as an individual is critical to engagement and building relations. Just as important is our understanding of how their brain develops.  The teenage brain goes through a period of neuromaturation in which the brain essentially pieces together lower level thinking skills to help in the development of higher level thinking skills.  The area of the brain called the prefrontal cortex is what controls the regulation of complex cognitive, emotional, and behavioural functioning. Due to the fact that this area of the brain may not be fully developed until the age of 25, it can be hard for parents and teachers to understand why teens make some of the choices that they do.  Understanding that teenage brains are still developing is critical to how we approach teaching about digital citizenship and media literacy. Many teens are often described as fearless thrill seekers. These videos might help you understand just why that is!

When we understand that our student’s brains are in a constant state of growth we are provided we an opportunity to embrace their inherent desire to learn about and try new things. We have the chance to guide them towards experiences that foster good decision making, critical thinking skills and for them to be knowledge seekers.

This week Staci shared the TedX Talk  Creating critical thinkers through media literacy: Andrea Quijada at TEDxABQED where we are encouraged to create opportunities that allow each student we engage with to connect what happens at school with what happens in their real lives. In order to do this, we must open ourselves to the idea that digital citizenship and media literacy NEED to be part of our daily classroom lives. Not taught in isolation but rather integrated into the lessons we teach and the conversations we are having. This is not something that will happen overnight but I would suggest that it is something every teacher CAN do.

The first thing we need to do is work together, collaborate, seek our professional development opportunities and most importantly: talk to our students about what they already know about the digital world and engage in conversations with them. Perhaps we can take a little bit of insight from Keegan Korf’s TedxTalk on just how to do that!