Category Archives: #socialmedia

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.

 

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

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!