Category Archives: Social media

Instagram: Everything You Need To Know

insta

We bring you closer to the people and things you love

 

What is the purpose of the app/intended audience?

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

How to use the app

Signing up/Getting Started

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

Sharing Photos and Videos

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

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

Exploring Photos and Video

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

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

Direct Messages (DMs)

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

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

Stories

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

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

Feed

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

IGTV

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

Terms of Use, Privacy, Safety and Data Collection

All content must follow Instagram’s Community Guidelines:

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

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

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

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

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

Information collected:

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

Device Information

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

Instagram Cookies Policy

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

How is the information used?

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

How is the information shared?

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

Managing or deleting data

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

Potential Educational Value

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

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

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

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

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

Overall

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

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

Until next time,

@Catherine_Ready

Weeks 5, 6 & 7 – Changing my approach

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

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

flipgridcard-student

Flipgrid: Everything You Need To Know

Flipgrid

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

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

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

Instagram: @callie.the.golden.pup

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

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

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

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

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

TikTok @callie.the.golden.pup

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

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

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

Plans for next week:

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

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

Until next time,

@Catherine_Ready

Flipgrid: Everything You Need To Know

Using Flipgrid isn’t about recording videos…it’s about learning. Learning that is social, personal, can happen anywhere and anytime, about making connections.  It’s deep exploration, and promotes that everyone is a teacher and everyone is a learner. – Flipgrid Educator’s Guide

flipgridcard-student

 

“Flipgrid is the leading video discussion platform for millions of PreK to PhD educators, students, and families around the world. Flipgrid promotes fun and social learning by giving every student an equal and amplified voice on the Topics you define!” – Flipgrid.com

Flipgrid is owned by Microsoft and is a FREE app available to use on all platforms: iOS, Android and web.

What is the purpose of the app? Intended audience?

Flipgrid is simple – the leader (usually a teacher) shares a topic question or idea and students reply to the topic through a short video response. Then the teacher and students can watch each other’s video responses and reply with a video.  The main idea is that all students have an equal platform to share their voice and interact with their peers. A social and emotional learning experience for all!

How to use the app

Instead of providing a step-by-step guide of how to use the app, I will provide you with links to all the resources you will need.  The first place to stop is the ‘Getting Started‘ page, which will give you simple steps to sign up and start creating. A simple description:

  • Step 1: Create a Grid (for your class or learning community)
  • Step 2: Add Topics (to the grid)
  • Step 3: Share your Grid (with your students) and collect videos (Responses) from your students. Students can view and Reply to each other’s Responses

Throughout the process there are many prompts and suggested links if you need assistance.  Flipgrid does an excellent job of anticipating trouble areas and will lead you in the right direction. A great by-product of Flipgrid is the engaged and supportive educator community on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.  The Flipgrid team has created a culture of educators that are excited to share their experiences and classroom use and are encouraged by three Flipgrid Educator Innovation Leads.  If you have any questions or are looking for suggestions for using the app, Twitter is a great place to get immediate feedback.

Information to support app use is available on an easy-to-use resource page with links to the Flipgrid Help Centre, a Flipgrid Educator Guide E-Book, the Flipgrid Help Centre, Live Flipgrid PD, Resource Centre, and #StudentVoiceAmbassadors.

Flipgrid is a family of passionate educators sharing ideas and inspiration and having a whole lot of fun along the way. Take a moment and meet some of the educators in this vibrant community! – Flipgrid.com

Some cool features:

  • Spark – if a student provides a really great response to a topic, Grid Owners (teachers) can ‘spark’ the response to create a new topic for students to pivot.
  • Vibes – teachers can provide custom feedback that will be visible for all to see.
  • Feedback – teachers can provide private written or video feedback.
  • Feature responses – teacher can click a ‘star’ icon to bring a student response to the top of the list.
  • Disco Library – nearly 10,000 Flipgrid topic ideas to add to your Grids (including the #FlipgridWeekly30 as the currently trending topics). Teachers can also add their own topics to the Disco Library.
  • Sharing  – share Grids using a specific flip code or QR code.
  • Immersive Reader – Flipgrid uses Microsoft’s Immersive Reader tool (reading text aloud, change text size, font, colour, visual focus tool, break down words into syllables, picture dictionary).
  • GridPals – connect with classrooms around the world.
  • Mixtapes – compile student responses into one compilation video
  • Guest Mode – share certain topics with families, experts and others.  The topic responses can be view-only or allow recorded responses

Terms of Use, Privacy, Safety and Data Collection

In my research, I came across a very comprehensive review of Flipgrid.  Please head over to the the Flipgrid Common Sense Education Review for everything need to know about the app. Additionally, Common Sense provides a Flipgrid Privacy Report.

Through my own research, I will highlight a few areas of importance and concern with the app.

Safety – The privacy policy explains that “Grid Owners” control content, not Flipgrid. Grid Owners have the option of password-protecting and moderating their Grid. The Grid Owner controls what is public and moderates content and interactions. Potential red flag – users (or parents of users) put their trust in the Grid Owner to use the content appropriately and maintain privacy.

Privacy – Grid Owner (usually a teacher) information is collected when an account is created (first name, last name, email address, password, instruction type and country). Cookies are used on Flipgrid as well as any third parties sites that are visited by users.  Flipgrid does not sell user personal information to third parties or use personal information for advertising purposes.  Additionally, Flipgrid does not use personal information to track and target advertising for users on third party websites. Potential red flag – if students post personal information in their video responses, the information could be visible and stored on Flipgrid.  

Security – No discussion of encryption in the privacy policy. In the event of a security breach, Flipgrid will notify affected individuals as required by law.

Compliance – Grid Owners are responsible for monitoring content for other users (students). By enrolling students enrolled under 13 (in the USA) and 16 (everywhere else), the privacy policy explains that teachers must collect consent forms from parents (which is required by COPPA in the USA). Potential red flag – there is no collection of consent forms by Flipgrid, so teachers can easily use the app without parental consent.

Additional Red Flags

  • Changes to policies are effective immediately and continued use of the app means you have provided consent
  • Personally identifiable information is collected and personal information of children under 13 is collected online 13. It is unclear what type of date is excluded from the collection
  • Data is shared with third parties for analytics and product improvement
  • Links to third-party websites may not be school appropriate
  • Unclear is owners retain ownership of their data and videos
  • Two-factor authentication is not provided
  • Students could potentially interact with untrusted users
  • Personal information (like names) could be shared publicly
  • No ‘report’ feature in case of cyber bullying or abuse
  • Students can still use the app even if parental consent is not collected – there is no way to track the consent collection.

Potential Educational Value

Flipgrid is a very interactive and engaging app that gives students a chance to participate in networked learning opportunities.  The relatively simple interface allows students to provide quick responses to simple questions or more detailed and edited videos in reflection to a chosen topic.  The platform provides a space for all students to share their ideas and facilitates discussions through video responses.  With a committed teacher willing to learn how to use all the features of the app, a school division that supports use of the app and parents that provide consent, Flipgrid has the potential to be a fun learning experiences for students.

Overall

Pros

  • A very engaged educator community allows this app to thrive with networking opportunities.  It truly brings the “social” aspect to “social media”.
  • Extremely thorough help centre, resource guides and assistance available through a variety of tools (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
  • Students can be creative with videos by adding text, special effects, filters, stickers, and more.
  • The goal is to ‘amplify the student voice’  and there are many ways for students to be creative and empowered to share a message.  The ‘grid’ provides an even playing field for all students.
  • Grid Owners (usually a teacher) have control of the content (including hiding responses, downloading videos, compiling student responses into a ‘mix tape’, and deleting responses).
  • Grid Owners can provide student feedback (using a rubric with custom or basic feedback or a private video response).

Cons

  • Safety-wise, there is no way to make a grid completely private. This means that anyone who gets hold of the grid link can view student videos. (Example – if you enable Guest Mode, you will be provided with a link. Anyone with the link can view the videos in that topic without a password or other security feature).
  • There are so many features and possibilities with the app, it is overwhelming. It takes a lot of digging and learning to use the app to it’s full capacity. It would be most beneficial after consistent app use with students
  • Grid Pals allow student videos to be shared with potentially untrusted users.
  • The ‘fun’ aspects of the app can sometimes distract students away from the topic or purpose of a particular grid.
  • Students can use the app even without parental consent (which is a requirement in the terms of use).

If you are curious about using Flipgrid with your students, I have a few suggestions. First, check with your school division to see if it is an approved app, join the educator communities , participate in Live Flipgrid PD and read the Flipgrid Educator Guide E-Book.  I think Flipgrid can be a really fun and engaging tool with students, but it is best used if educators know how to take full advantage of the app.  The Flipgrid team is continuously improving the app, open to feedback and always available for questions through the three Flipgrid Educator Innovation Leads.  Even if you do not end up using the app with your students, take advantage of the vibrant educator community.  The positivity and excitement is contagious!

A Teacher’s Digital Identity

This week, we discussed the ideas of digital identity and what a conversation we had!  After some digital sleuthing of some volunteers courtesy of Twitter, I think it was safe to say we all felt a little creepy and some of us might have enjoyed the process more than 2619we expected!  In the current digital world, it is almost normalized to “creep” on other people, especially when we do not know the person well. And we all know we are guilty of it, whether we want to admit it or not.

Another thing we probably don’t want to admit is that we all ran to google immediately after class to double check our own digital identity and make sure it was as clear as it was last time we “googled” ourselves.  I definitely wanted to make sure my digital footprint was similar to what it was in the past and I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that in fact it was pretty crystal clear!giphy (12)

It’s safe to say that since I was a teenager, adults have scared the life out of me lecturing about how my digital footprint needs to be clean and how one mistake can affect the rest of your life online as well as in the real world, particularly related to your career choice. Growing up, knowing I wanted to be a teacher, I made sure I was smart online.  When I was a teenager, we also had to take pictures with a camera, and almost all of them ended up on Facebook but at least we would edit out certain ones first. Nowadays, kids have a lot more to worry about because it takes less than 3 seconds to upload a photo to the internet or social media, instead of hours or days! I didn’t really have to worry about inappropriate photos ending up online, and honestly I was a pretty good kid, and I was mature enough to understand I didn’t want certain things to end up online.  2d3g3w

When I applied for education, and went through the program at the University of Regina, the professors often warned to clean up our online profiles because school divisions will check and will not hire anyone who has provocative photos, posts, or anything illegal like underage drinking on their profile. In the year of 2010, the only real social media platform I had was Facebook and so the purging of friends and photos commenced taking care to ensure my profile was clean for hiring – almost too clean. Looking back, I was pretty freaked out about the whole idea and although it was an important aspect, I don’t think it should be everything. People make mistakes but I also have some pretty awesome memories but feel uncomfortable sharing because there may be something in the background.  Is this what we want for our future? Hide everything unless it’s perfect and proper? I was confident that I was “google-able” and nothing undesirable would pop up if anyone looked for me online. However, the only things that really did pop up was sports articles and results, and the odd random photo from Facebook. All in all, not really a digital footprint at all! I was so conscious of my footprint that I had basically erased it entirely.

identity

As I made it through university, and into the teaching profession, one thing that is continually on my mind is about what I post online and what others post about me.  As we all know, we can control what we post, but we often can’t control what others post about us online. Currently, I live a compartmentalized life online. One as a professional, and one as an individual.  Platforms like Twitter and Pinterest, I leave public, showcasing a more professional life in the online world. Obviously, I use twitter for networking with other teachers, and especially in these types of courses.  My private online life consists of the other realms with platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and audience05-300x200Facebook. I post and comment for my friends and family, often leaving the professional facade behind, however I am still incredibly cognisant of my online footprint, making sure nothing would be deemed inappropriate if my online worlds ever blended together.  As I tell my students, we live in an incredibly negative world, where we overlook the good often, and focus on the blemishes a lot more frequently.  This is an unfortunate reality, but for teachers, I find it can be a lot more harsh as we are placed on a pedestal of society, always role models whether we are on duty or off. And this calls into question, is this what we really want as a society? Do teachers need to be ‘perfect’ online OR should we be real, showcasing that we are indeed human too, making mistakes and also having lots of different opinions, talents, and interests beyond just being teachers?

audience01-300x200Over the years, I’ve become less strict about who I allow to follow me on platforms, and my world of compartalization is slowly blending as I believe it should.  I’m not ashamed of anything I have online, but as we learned in class this week, there is a lot more about us online than we think, which can be a very eerie thought for most of us.  Moving forward, I want to continue to create a positive digital identity online and encourage my students to do the same. And I think the best way to teach students this is through modelling.  We can lecture all we want about the do’s and don’ts of the online world, but the real way students learn is through practice and example. 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. Fear-mongering does not work and if teachers also become students in the online world, creating a digital identity their students can see, I think it would do a lot for everyone moving forward.giphy (13)

I had a student this week tell me he appreciates the way I teach because he doesn’t feel like he’s just a student but that I genuinely care for him, his growth, and his success.  This was one of those moments I thought, this is it. This is why I became a teacher. With teaching comes great responsibility, and maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to blend my worlds a little more, allowing my students to see how I live my live online and also encourage them to improve their digital footprint and individual media literacy.  If I have to be a role model, then why not use that power for good, and really attempt to teach my students through example how to leave a healthy digital identity behind.

Until next time,

Shelby

Weeks 3 & 4 – Short Attention Span

The last two weeks have been a little slow in my social media world, and I tried to understand why.  I feel like I have lost my initial excitement with the TikTok and Instagram accounts for my dog, Callie.  Upon reflection, I think it is because my post engagement has slowed down a lot and I am having trouble coming up with new content.  Creating relevant content requires time to go through both Instagram and TikTok to see what is trending, and it is a massive time suck!  I feel like there are not enough hours in the day to create the kind of content needed to “go viral” on TikTok.  But more importantly, I think it is a reflection of the short attention span of the social media generation.  Something that was cool a week ago is old news.

Example – I learned how to do the TikTok Renegade dance with my nieces over the February break and excitedly told my students about it this week. Meh. Cool. “TikTok is kind of boring” – a grade 7 student. WHAT?! “Yeah, now old people are using it”.  Okay, then. I wonder how long it will take for Charli D’Amelio to fall from TikTok fame (she currently has 30 million followers and over 1.6 billion likes – as of February 25, 2020) with this kind of attitude. Is this why apps like Vine failed? The short attention span of the Gen Y, Z and Alpha generations?

With that preamble, here is my TikTok and Instagram recap:

Instagram: @callie.the.golden.pup

image1The biggest change I made this week is I have started to tag different accounts in my photos. For example, I had a photo of Callie with a Kong dog toy, and I tagged the Kong company. They liked my photo back! I was hoping they might repost the photo to get more attention, but no such luck.  I also received a few more “brand ambassador” requests, but I am still unsure about giving out my home address.  One company, Akioka Pets, has an entire process to becoming part of their social media team.

Questions/Plans for next week:

  • Look into brand ambassador opportunities with Akioka Pets
  • Research the best accounts to tag in your photos for high engagement
  • Post daily!

 

TikTok @callie.the.golden.pup

I was a bit of a fail on TikTok this week – mostly because I was out of town and had to rely on videos on my phone to create videos. This sort of worked, but it was a challenge to come up with something original. Last week I had the plan of posting three times a day (not even possible – I would have to quit my job and spend all day making TikToks) and replying to comments (also did not do, but definitely possible).

Questions/Plans for next week:

  • Post! I am having some serious creator block when it comes to TikTok lately. I think this is related to not watching enough videos for inspiration.
  • Watch videos for inspiration

Flipgrid and Snapchat

I am currently working on my overhauls of these apps. Yes, still working on them. I am almost done the Flipgrid review (even though I said I would post it this week! Oops), but I really want to create a quality resource for fellow educators.

One interesting thought – in all the research I have done so far with privacy and sharing social media posts, I am very careful about the photos I post online lately. I recently went on a holiday with my sister and her family, and I made sure to always get permission from both my nieces and nephews as well as my sister before posting online. I am starting to see a change in my own social media habits – practice what you preach!

Until next time,

@Catherine_Ready

Week 2 – Quality Content

This week we were tasked at looking at the concept of digital citizenship, including Mike Ribble’s nine elements through our major project update.  Since the main goal for my major project is to guide students through the safe use of Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and Flipgrid, I will focus on Ribble’s S3 Framework (Safe, Savvy and Social).

First, a quick update with my Instagram and TikTok highlights this week:

With each post I make on Instagram or TikTok, I try to imagine that I am a young user of the apps.  When I receive comments or direct messages, would these be appropriate considering the content I am posting?  Everything is fairly “lighthearted” with @callie.the.golden.pup, but I can’t help but think about the audience I am attracting. What if I flipped it and I was actually someone with inappropriate or dangerous intentions? I am attracting a young audience with my Instagram and TikTok accounts, so what if I used this as a way to lure my followers down a dangerous path?

This reminds me of some ‘Social Media Rules’ from MediaSmarts.ca :

  • I will only follow people I know personally.
  • I will always show an adult any message or post that makes me feel uncomfortable or threatened.
  • I will never share any personal information about myself, such as my age, where I live, and where I go to school.
  • I will keep my whereabouts to myself: I will turn off any location settings that tell people exactly where I am or where a photograph was taken.
  • I will never publish anything I wouldn’t want my parents, teachers, and grandparents to see, because photos can be shared widely, with anyone, in a matter of seconds.
  • When creating a password, I will make one up that is hard for someone else to guess but easy for me to remember. I will never reveal it to anyone (except my parents or a trusted adult) – not even my best friend.
  • I will always check my privacy settings and go over them with my parents.
  • I will practice the golden rule and always treat others as I would like to be treated. I will T.H.I.N.K. before I leave a comment or send a message: is it True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, Kind?
  • I will not upload or tag photos of other people without their permission.

By using these guidelines and thinking about digital citizenship from a responsible use policy compared to an acceptable use policy (Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools), we can encourage our students and children to protect themselves and others. This is considered the base of digital citizenship as ‘Safety’ in Ribble’s S3 Framework.

acceptable

Instagram: @callie.the.golden.pup

We had a slower week on Instagram in terms of new followers, comments and likes. I continue to post at least daily, but I am struggling with coming up with some original content. I read an article, Everything You Need to Know About Doggo Lingo to try an incorporate the terminology in my captions and comments.

This week I received three direct messages from the same follower. Each message contained a picture that I was able to view once before disappearing.  This made me feel very uncomfortable, because I was a little afraid of what kind of picture I would be opening, especially since I do not know this follower personally.  What if it was something gross? Luckily it was just a picture of the dog, but it made me stop and think about my own social media rules. With Instagram, there are direct message photo options: View Once, Allow Replay, Keep in Chat. Additionally, you can “unsend” an image or message if the receiver has not opened the message. What are the implications of these kind of functions?

Questions/Plans for next week:

  • Should I comment on other posts to increase engagement?
  • Experiment with different hashtags and take advantage of common trends (like throwback thursday #tbt)
  • How engaged do I want to be with other followers? I might experiment with my follower engagement (replying to comments, liking more posts) this week to see how this affects the number of followers and likes.

TikTok @callie.the.golden.pup

TikTok was blowing up with new likes, comments and followers this week.  Each time I check the app, I have at least 5 new followers. Overall my content was a hit or miss though- I haven’t quite figured out what my followers “want”.  One thing I have noticed is that if I spend a lot of time on a post with captions and choosing a trending audio clip, I generally receive more views.  But that is the hard part – trying to find the time to watch enough TikTok videos to find something interesting to do with my dog, Callie.  I also find the video editing function on the app to be very challenging to use – it is hard to sync up the video and audio.

Questions/Plans for next week:

  • Look at my followers to see a trend (so far, it appears to be very young girls) – what kinds of videos receive the most likes?
  • Look at some pet accounts that have thousands (or millions) of views and likes.  What makes these accounts different or special?
  • Research some tips and tricks for video editing on TikTok
  • Using this article as a guide to increase engagement, I will:
    • participate in the daily TikTok “challenges”
    • reply to comments
    • post 3 times a day (I have a feeling this will be impossible, but maybe I can try!)

Flipgrid

My “everything you need to know” guide is a work in progress and should be complete in the next week! Stay tuned. As a teaser – there are some significant privacy and data sharing concerns with this app. As a result (and due to my school division policy), I am rethinking about how/if I will continue to use the app with my students.

Snapchat

Nothing new to report, but Snapchat is up next on my list to complete an ‘everything you need to know’ guide.  Last week I explained that I would not be adding Snapchat to my experiential list, but that I would still complete and app overhaul.  Through conversations with my students, it seems like it is one of the most used communication and messaging app.

Plans for next week:

  • Post Flipgrid “everything you need to know” guide
  • Instagram
    • try to increase engagement with followers
  • TikTok
    • Participate in daily challenges, post more frequently, engage with followers
    • Learn more about video editing within the app
  • Snapchat
    • Begin research for my app overhaul

Thank you for reading!  If there is anything you would love to have in my app “everything you need to know” guides, please let me know in the comments.

Until next time,

@Catherine_Ready

Week 1 – Building My Empire

I have two sisters (and two brothers) and we share funny memes and accounts through a group chat on Instagram on a daily basis.  We sometimes talk about how we spend too much time on our phones and this week we chatted about how we should unfollow accounts that make us feel anxious or unhappy.  At that moment, I realized I had hardly looked through my personal social media accounts because I was so focused on building my ‘Callie, the sweet and friendly Golden Retriever” empire.  Why is this relevant? Through my major project experiential journey of Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and Flipgrid, I am quickly learning how time consuming these apps can be when you have specific goals in mind. Here is a little mini compilation of my top TikTok videos/Instagram experience this week (complete with a muted section at 1:00-1:21, due to a copyright claim):

And the nitty-gritty details of my progress this week:

Instagram: @callie.the.golden.pup

In my first major project post, I discussed my hesitation with using my personal life in a public account on both Instagram and TikTok.  So, I decided to use my dog, Callie as a prop and subject of my account. I followed these steps:

    1. Choose a username and make an account.
      • Apparently there are a lot of Golden Retrievers named Callie on Instagram, so I had to use some creative punctuation with the name
    2. Choose a profile picture and create a short bio
      • I briefly looked at different pet accounts, and lots of accounts included the date of birth of their animal and sometimes a flag for the country. I decided to against giving away my location and only added the D.O.B.
      • I chose a nice close up photo of Callie for the profile picture
    3. Make your first post
      • I made the first post before following any accounts – that way potential accounts would see my content if they decide to follow back. This is not based on any research, just my own idea
    4. Use relevant hashtags and format post in a particular style IMG_2344
      • I Googled: “top golden retriever hashtags instagram” and copied the list to my Notes app on my iPhone. **You can only use 30 hashtags per post
      • To create a post with multiple lines, I remember learning from my niece that if you write the caption in the Notes app and format it with dots and lines, the formatting will stay when you copy the caption to Instagram. Why? I have no idea. Maybe something to look into!
    5. Start following accounts and liking photos (I looked at a few of the different hashtags for inspiration).
    6. Continuing posting more content (at least daily), like a variety of posts and follow relevant (dog related) accounts.

Within the first week, I have 145 followers (and counting) and lots of weird interactions with other dog accounts. (Did you know there is a certain “dog” way to write on the Internet? ‘DoggoLingo‘- using words like ‘hooman’ instead of human and ‘doggo’ instead of dog. And some accounts ask if I want to be their ‘fwend’. Weird). With my early success of gaining followers, I read an article “How to make your dog Instagram famous” and learned about some of the ins and outs of the pet Instagram world.

Here are some interesting revelations and interactions on the Instagram with @callie.the.golden.pup.

  • Direct messages to be “fwends”
  • Requests to be brand ambassadors from pet companies
  • Direct messages to join “follow loops” to help other pet accounts gain more followers
  • ‘Suggested accounts’ to follow – as a result, some people from my personal life are following my pet account – which is a little awkward (especially when my siblings start making fun of me for having too much time on my hands).

As I continue my experiential assignment, I am starting to make a list of questions for my research overhaul of Instagram in a few weeks:

  • Privacy – what are the implications of becoming a ‘brand ambassador’? Do I really want to give my home address to a random company in exchange for free merchandise?
  • Direct messages – why? Do you need to be concerned about catfishing or luring?
  • What is the correlation between liking posts, following accounts and receiving more likes and follows?
  • How many posts per day for maximum engagement?
  • Best hashtags?

TikTok @callie.the.golden.pup

TikTok is a bit of uncharted territory for me, as I only started to use the app at the end of November 2019 as part of EC&I 831. Since then I have watched a lot of videos, and continued to follow trends through my nieces’ accounts.

    1. Choose a username and create an account
      • I used the same name as Instagram for continuity and to help with cross-promotion (if that is even a thing with Instagram and TikTok – something to explore)
    2. Profile picture and short bio
      • Again, same as Instagram to keep it simple
    3. Upload your first video
      • I have lots of dog videos on my phone from the last two years of Callie’s life, so I chose a funny audio clip that my nieces used a few times. I figured it must be current and trending.
      • Use hashtags, but most importantly the #foryou or #fyp – more on that later when I do my overhaul of TikTok.
    4. Watch the views, likes and follows come in
      • 500 views in the first two days! 35 likes and a few new follows
      • Different than Instagram, but it appears that views are more important than likes. I think.
    5. Watch lots and lots of videos
      • Part of your success on TikTok depends on staying on top of trends, which you can accomplish by watching hours of videos and adding certain audio clips to a “favourites” tab

Pretty easy! Until I uploaded my next few videos and received less than 100 views per video, sometimes less than 10 views! How is this even possible? I read a lot of articles trying to understand the TikTok algorithm , but it doesn’t make any sense to me or the Internet world. Then I uploaded a video that received almost 1300 views and over 230 likes! What made this video special? Is the content better? I am also noticing a lot of my new followers appear to be young girls (definitely under the recommended age to use the app).

A few questions to consider when I complete my TikTok overhaul:

  • Likes, follows, views – how does this affect engagement? Do I need to follow/like other accounts to receive more attention?
  • Safety/privacy concerns with a young follower base (it looks like a lot of young girls  are following my dog account on TikTok – but what if I was actually an online predator? These are the kind of questions running through my head on a daily basis).
  • How often do you need to post to maintain engagement? Do captions matter (I get a bigger response when I ask a question in my caption)?

Flipgrid

I decided to use Flipgrid with two Grade 7/8 classes at my school. Part of the reason I chose these classes is that one class used Flipgrid two years ago, so I thought they would be able to give me a few tips and tricks.

    1. Read the “Getting Started” post and Educator’s Guide to Flipgrid
    2. Create an educator profile (using my school division Google account)
    3. Create a “grid” – one for each Grade 7/8 class.
    4. Give students some time to explore the functions of Flipgrid before creating a topic.
      • I wanted students to be creative with filters, stickers, text, etc when creating their videos. This also gave me a chance to learn about possible issues with the app.

A few things I learned/questions about Flipgrid this week:

  • Some students showed me how to “add a sticky”, so that you can write out what you want to say when recording. This way you aren’t looking away from the camera while recording. The sticky disappears when you post the video.
  • How do you delete a video that you posted? It is not as intuitive as you think and requires a few steps.
  • Each video shows the number of views – does this make students feel uncomfortable? Is there a way to remove this setting?
  • Privacy/safety – the grid is only available to someone with the link, but how do you guarantee privacy? We talked about use stickers or emojis to cover student faces if they feel uncomfortable.
  • My division policy using Flipgrid – something I will discuss in more detail this week during my app overhaul.

Snapchat

After the first week of daily TikTok, Instagram and Flipgrid use, I realize that I need to adjust my goals for the major project. I don’t feel that Snapchat fits into an ‘experiential’ piece, as I have already used the app daily for over four years. That being said, I am still very curious about the safety, privacy and terms of service guidelines of Snapchat and will complete a research overhaul as planned. I will continue to use the app daily, although will not report on my use in the same way as TikTok, Instagram and Flipgrid. I also feel like there are not enough hours in the day to use all this social media effectively!

Plan for next week:

  • Complete the Flipgrid overhaul
  • Instagram
    • Do some research on how to receive more engagement on Instagram – better hashtags? Posting at certain times of day?
  • TikTok
    • Participate in trending challenges/hashtags – does this increase views/likes?
    • Try some of the tips from this article to get on the ‘For You Page’
  • Flipgrid
  • Snapchat
    • Continue my typical daily use (sending baby snaps and maintaining snapstreaks)

If you read this far, thank you! I have a lot of work I would like to complete with this project, especially when it comes to data privacy and safety.  My ultimate goal:

Guide students and children through the safe use of

Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and Flipgrid

Until next time,

@Catherine_Ready

Social Media and Mental Health

Last week, we had the pleasure of having Mary Beth Hertz discuss digital citizenship and media literacy with our class.  What a wealth of knowledge she has!!  I was left feeling awed and also completely incompetent as someone who thinks of themself as i-dont-know-2e2ed5“tech literate.”  Boy, do I have a lot to learn!! Mary Beth brought up so many ideas I never really thought about as an online user and as a teacher.

I have always encouraged my students to be smart on social media, and we always discuss the media world but after listening to Mary Beth, I know I can do a better job.  One of the ideas that really stood out to me and made me think more critically was the ideas of online and offline identities and the blurred line in between – they are the same thing now.  I think the online world is a great place for people to explore their identity and find other people with the same interests and ideologies as themselves, especially in this giant world.  For some small town kids in Moose Jaw, SK, the world can feel pretty small.  Having an online identity can allow teens to explore beyond the confines of our small city and make connections with real people across the globe.  I love the idea that some of my students can be completely different people in the online world, whether it be a persona or finding a group of people they really connect with when they lack those connections elsewhere.  The thing that stands in the way is that they need to be smart and educated about how to interact with people online, and how to protect themselves. I know when I was a teen, I was on MSN Messenger 24/7 and often ended up online playing games or on platforms like Whyville.  I was so vulnerable and my parents had no idea what I was doing, and realistically, neither did I.  We lied about our age all the time to get on chat rooms, or access different parts of a website that were 13+.  Looking back, I was probably dumb more than a couple of times, but the consequences were quite less than they are today.  Teens think they know everything about the online world, and in most cases, they definitely know a lot, but the difficult part is making them listen.

raise your hand

Raise your hand if you’ve felt personally victimized by a teen eye roll?

If looks could kill, am I right?  We discussed a lot about cookies and tracking as well in our class and I couldn’t help but think of ways to make my students listen to this!  I care for these kids so much, and all I want is the best for them.  I don’t want them to fall for some crazy scheme, be catfished, stalked, or tracked by any hooligan online.  Nor do I want my students to feel bullied, or worthless just because some model on instagram can pay for high quality photoshop or hire someone to follow her around snapping pictures.  Mental health is a huge issue for teens, and I agree with Mary Beth when she said social media is a huge influencer of this.  In fact, there is an actual list of the top 5 worst social media apps for mental health — instagram being at the top of this list.  I feel for children growing up in this era, as it must be difficult to see so many people online “living the dream” when the reality is so much different.  As we discussed in class, things aren’t always what they seem, and FOMO although feels real, is not all there is to life.  It is so important to teach students about these ideas and concepts, and also allow them to know it’s okay to feel a certain way, but compartmentalize it, and go back to the real world.  You live there, not online.

Most of my students feel like they get preached at for being safe online.  They “already know” or “learned this already.”  In my grade 12 ELA classes, we discuss media and the messages out there.  This semester, I asked them to pay attention to the advertisements they saw online for one day and find one to bring to class.  We then analyzed it using Aristotle’s Appeals.

aritstotle
Aristotle’s Appeals

I made them dissect these advertisements and we talked about why they are great ads, or why they are fake, why they call to the person, and what they really want.  Of course, lots of people have done this in classes, but I think the trick to getting students to buy in is to get them involved.  I cannot lecture them about how to be safe online (let’s face it, I’m young — but not THAT young), instead I have to involve them in the practices and let them discover WHY they need to be safer online.  We need to talk about the dangers and the facts together, and hopefully through these experiences, they learn why it’s important to fact check, why it’s important not to send that picture, and think about why it’s important they protect their digital identity.

Until next time,

Shelby

An evening with Mary Beth Hertz

This week during our EC&I 832 Zoom session, we had an excellent presentation and conversation with Mary Beth Hertz, author of “Digital and Media Literacy in the Age of the Internet” and current high school art/technology teacher.

We shouldn’t be teaching kids to be afraid of social media, or that technology is bad for them. We should treat these tools like any influence in their life and help them manage the responsibilities connected to these tools effectively and ethically.Mary Beth Hertz

There were many takeaways from our conversation, but for the purpose of this post I will focus on my top three:

  1. Learning how the Internet works
  2. Validating what our children/students are doing online
  3. Understanding bias

1. Learning how the Internet works

Hertz explained that part of her high school technology course begins with teaching and learning about how the Internet works – from IP addresses, Wi-Fi, and cookies.  This discussion made me realize I vaguely know what is going on, but not enough to explain it to my students.  Hertz believes it is important for students to understand how their devices connect to the outside world, as well as privacy and safety with the devices. For example, what are the concerns with using the free Wi-Fi in a coffee shop vs your password protected Wi-Fi in your home? What are the safety concerns with being connected to an Alexa or Google Home? Hertz explains that part of being literate in a digital world is understanding the implications of technology, even if you don’t understand the functionality. 

giphy

via GIPHY

Takeaway? We (as educators) need a basic understanding of the Internet to guide our students in a digital world!

2. Validating what are children/students are doing online

In a discussion of some popular apps like Snapchat and TikTok, we highlighted the obsessions or unhealthy communities young people find online.  Hertz focused on the idea that kids are not necessarily addicted to social media, but instead addicted to each other.  We also talked about Manoush Zomoradi, who dedicates an entire episode of her podcast, ‘Note to Self’ about the pressures of maintaining Snapstreaks. I encourage you to listen to the relatively short episode to understand the phenomenon (especially if you are obsessed with streaks, like myself! Going on Day 1038 with my niece…)

That being said, Hertz believes it is possible to teach young people self-regulation and reflection when it comes to technology use.  Another comment she made was that preparing our students to use their time wisely used to be a technology teacher’s job – but now everyone needs to be involved. How to use technology responsibly (and further discussions of digital citizenship) need to be included every time we use technology in the classroom or with our children.  Hertz explains that we should understand that there is value in what they are doing online, and we can validate this by acknowledging the digital divide among our students. Amanda and Daina provide excellent descriptions of Digital Equity and that young people fall into three categories when it comes to technology use.  They are described in an article shared by Hertz as Digital Orphans, Digital Exiles and Digital Heirs.

Takeaway? We need to build relationships with our students so we can understand and appreciate what they are doing online.

3. Understanding bias

maxresdefault

Hertz described bias in a way that was very easy to understand and I immediately started using it with my students this week.  If you are reading something (like “news”), and it makes you feel a certain way (an emotion), then you likely have bias as the author is trying to influence how you feel.  She also explained that bias is very difficult to teach because nothing is just news anymore and articles often lack context.  There is so much media bias and fake news online, how do we teach it as educators?  One suggestion from Hertz was to use AllSides.com, a website dedicated to providing balanced news.  We also need to look at where these biases originate, like from parents as inherited preferences (especially related to politics) or in our own cognitive biases that influence decisions.  This discussion lead towards the importance of fact checking and how ‘Reading Laterally’  helps our students fall out of the trap of not trusting anything.  We need to be a little be skeptical when we read online, but we can help our students by giving them the tools to understand how to avoid being fooled online  and how to make sense of bias.

Takeaway? We need to help our students understand bias and how it influences what we read online. 

As an arts education teacher, I have started talking about digital citizenship and how we use technology with students, even if it feels unrelated to arts ed.  Mary Beth Hertz helped me realize that if you are using technology with students, these conversations about technology need to take place.  It is not only the classroom teacher or the parents’ job – we all have a part in shaping mindful technology users and responsible digital citizens.

Until next time,

@Catherine_Ready

Major Project: A Personal Journey into Media

My major project for EC&I 832 will follow my personal journey into media and an exploration of four apps: Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok and Flipgrid. I am a daily user of Snapchat and Instagram, recently discovered TikTok for “research” last semester in EC&I 831 and started using Flipgrid this week with students as an educational tool. Last semester in EC&I 831, I wrote a post that explains my love-hate relationship with social media and my final summary of learning also explores some of the pros and cons of social media in short interlude videos (fast-forward through the face-to-camera speaking parts- see time codes below).

SNAPCHAT: 0:10 | TIKTOK: 1:34 | INSTAGRAM: 3:03

As an arts education specialist, some of the themes we focus on in Grades 5-8 include Pop Culture, Identity, Place and Social Issues. These themes have relevant connections to social media and I have had a lot of conversations with students about apps and how they are used in their personal and (sometimes) educational lives. My biggest concern is the lack of information students have regarding privacy and safe use of the apps as well as misinformation about how data is stored and shared.

For example, a student explained to me that the FBI receives and analyzes every single Snap you send, so nothing is private. And the cops read all your DMs on Instagram. Hmmm.

Although I am a fairly certain these statements are incorrect, it made me realize that I do not really know anything about the privacy and safety of our data with these apps. If I want to help my students safely navigate a digital world, I think it is my responsibility as an educator to have a basic understanding of these social media app Terms of Service and privacy implications. But as a personal, everyday user of the apps, it is imperative that I understand what is happening to the photos and information I share on a daily basis.

My major project plan will include a detailed overhaul of everything and anything about the apps: exploring and understanding the app platform, Terms of Service, privacy agreements, access to information from a legal standpoint, data storage and sharing, types of users and usage and the potential educational value. I will also embark on a personal experiential journey of the apps in a way that is typical of common users (and also different from how I already use Instagram and Snapchat). Although Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok do not appear to be educational tools, I want to see if there is a way to use these apps in an educational setting. I plan to use Flipgrid with my students over the next couple of months and learn alongside them, as sometimes I find they are the best teachers when it comes to new technology! I plan to use 8-10 weeks for the project, beginning during Week 3 (January 21) and completing my research before Week 12 (March 31) to allow adequate time to summarize my findings. I will take 2-3 weeks per app for the detailed overhaul and continue ongoing experimental use throughout the project. My draft plan:

DatesAppExperiential Plan
Week 3 (Jan. 21)
Week 4 (Jan. 28)
Week 5 (Feb. 4)
Flipgrid-Use with students for a current unit plan (“Social media activism” and “activist art”)
-Engage in some PD through the app developers and explore some of the feedback possibilities
-Connect with other teachers who have used the app
Week 6 (Feb. 11)
Week 7 (Feb. 25)
Snapchat?? Any ideas? I already use this daily with my family (mostly for Snaps of my baby)
-I rarely use the ‘story’ option, so maybe I could start using it? And make it interesting and worth watching?
Week 8 (Mar. 3)
Week 9 (Mar. 10)
Instagram-Move away from my current use (sharing photos of my daily life with a private account, mostly baby photos)
-Create an open account specifically for my dog, Callie (yes, I will be one of “those” people)
-Connect with users using specific hashtags
Week 10 (Mar. 17)
Week 11 (Mar. 24)
Week 12 (Mar. 31)
TikTok-To get the full “experience”, I think I need an open account
-I feel weird posting videos of myself or family, so I am also going to create an account specifically for my dog, Callie (pet accounts/videos are also a thing on TikTok- also, sorry in advance, Callie)
-Follow trends and create videos. How many likes can I receive? How can I increase engagement?

My plan will likely evolve over the semester, but I would really appreciate any feedback about how I should try ‘experiencing’ these apps, especially ones that I already use on a daily basis. I am excited to have a better understanding of how these apps gather and use our data and to help guide our students through our evolving digital world.

Thanks for reading!

@Catherine_Ready