Open Education. Open Doors.

Open access.
Open resources.
Open textbooks.
Open Education…. Opens Doors
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The concept of open education is powerful one. It allows for everyone to access a wealth of information anywhere, at any time, for free. Education and knowledge is at the tip of our fingers should we chose to utilize it. As I consider how “Open” open education is, the opportunities are endless for those who are literate, and can access readings, or videos online through technology. This however is not everyone but it certainly opens the doors of opportunity for many people all around the globe.

My brother, like many people, take advantage of the many free courses offered by universities online. It’s so great to be able to develop our interests and passions so easily using technology.  I have never explored the endless topics delivered by Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) available until this week’s class readings and it left me nearly speechless. WOW! “MOOCs provide an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills, advance your career and deliver quality educational experiences at scale” (  There is literally a course for any interest or passion from architecture to earth sciences, including everything in between – electronics, medicine, law – you name it!


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“The MOOC is an indicator of how important it is for people to connect with each other as part of their learning experience. And what I hope it’s doing also is validating informal learning and changing what we think life long learning is about.” -Amy Collier (Directory of Digital Learning Initiatives at Stanford University).
The idea of remixing content has become to intertwined within today’s culture. You can literally find a remix of anything! Growing up I constantly searched for “mash-ups” of my favorite songs – taking two or more different things and turning them into something new. Imagine your favorite song mashed with your other favorite song – genius! But what are the repercussions of this remix culture. Is a remix considered copying.  Dean Shareski’s opening keynote for the 2010 K-12 online conference is built around the fact that education is built on sharing. Prior to the internet sharing outside the walls of your own school was difficult to do unless you presented at a conference or staff meeting or shared a resource you made with a friend. Today is a different world in terms of sharing information. I agree with Dean that some teachers are very protective of their work, but the more one is open to collaboration the more we learn and grow and the stronger the outcome.  Dean says “We all seek recognition for our contributions but the moment we focus on protecting our work, we are in some ways the antithesis of a teacher.”

As teachers, when considering whether or not to share in these open spaces, Dean challenges us to embrace a culture of sharing and consider the following questions:

  • Is this an obligation?
  • Does my institution see value in sharing?
  • How will it help my students?

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In the video Everything is a Remix Remastered Kirby Ferguson claims…

We can make our novel ideas more accessible, more understandable and perhaps more impactful by copying familiar elements. We can make familiar ideas more fresh, exciting and surprising by extensively remixing from diverse sources. If you can create that perfect hybrid of the new and the old the results and be explosive.


Open education has transformed the way we seek information, collaborate with others and learn. The days of purchasing textbooks of out of date information is thankfully behind us. The amount of free information, resources and collective learning, sharing and collaboration is endless and has completely changed formal and informal learning.

Open Ed – It’s a thumbs up!

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Until next time!
Ms. C

Digital Citizen Or Just Citizens?

Vicki Davis’ blog titled What Your Students Really Need to Know About Digital Citizenship introduced me to Anne Collier and her perspective on dropping the word “digital” from digital citizenship. Don’t you love technology – with each article I read, I’m instantly connected to other recommended readings and arguments. Anne really got me thinking this week about what it means to be a digital citizen. Anne argues that we should drop the word digital because what we are really teaching is citizenship – “The skills and knowledge that students need to navigate the world today”. 

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Reflecting on my learning project, implementing Twitter in the classroom and attempting to “do digital citizenship teaching justice” by really focusing into this year. In past years we have discussed digital citizenship and as we use technology I address different things such as passwords, privacy, personal information on a need to know basis as things came up. This year, I want to teach this consistently on a weekly basis, being proactive about it and dig deeper. It seems silly that I waited until I had a lesson that applied to the topic of digital citizenship when the information is likely just as, if not more valuable to students  “right now” as they are going home from school and using technology in a variety of ways anyway. It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but sometimes the pressure of the amount of content I’m required to teach becomes overwhelming and content like digital citizenship has been taught in inconsistent bits and pieces.
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My Top Resource Findings of the Week!
1. Need Help Now

2. Media Smarts: How Cyber-Savy Are You Quiz?

3.13 Apps/Games for Internet Safety Awareness




#Change the Story
This week I found a great recourse called Need Help Now which offers support to teens who have been negatively impacted by self-peer exploitation. This was a very insightful site that offers tons of resources, support, and information. The #ChangeTheStory campaign is about empowering teens to take control of their own narrative and how their story is being told.

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Since my learning project has sparked so many conversation about social media use in our classroom it was only fitting to run with it for Halloween! I teamed up with my intern Jessica and our EA Andrea to be Social Butterflies.

For the upcoming week I will continue to teach digital citizenship lessons – wrapping up “The Key to Key Words” and begin to share about how to show respect other people’s work.

The school days fly by and I haven’t always been consistent with my classroom Tweets but I continue to make progress each week in my teaching, having deeper conversations, finding new resources or interesting articles about digital citizenship and taking notice of how other teachers are using Twitter in the classroom.

Over and Out!


Photo Source: IndyRef2

In a simple answer to this week’s blog prompt: yes.

YES social activism can be meaningful and worthwhile.

YES we can have meaningful discussions about social justice online.

It is our duty as educators to make our students see the world beyond the classroom. In order to teach this effectively, we must first participate. As educators, we need to experience the online world so that we can show our students how it works. It’s just like any other discipline: to become an English teacher I had to take classes on literature, on reading and writing, and I had to write essays (so. many. essays.)

Since I was educated on this subject, I feel confident in teaching it to my students.

It is the same thing with social justice. We must apply ourselves to it, as if it were any other discipline: experience it. Live it. Teach it.

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Katia’s comment in her blog post In Online Spaces, Silence Speaks Louder than Words, her final comment:

We have a responsibility to risk our privilege to give voice to social inequities and injustices. We have a responsibility to risk our privilege to give voice to those who have no privilege to risk.

made me think about “risking” my privilege, in regards to social activism. Christina’s post about slacktivism and band wagon jumping made me think about privilege and social cache in being “seen” to support causes.

The Atlantic piece on social activism as a meme reveals a more selfish part of the concept of supporting something. The piece discusses the Paris attacks in November 2015. Facebook created a way to have a temporary filter over a Facebook profile picture so that people could express solidarity at their convenience. If your Facebook photo wasn’t changed to reflect support for Paris, there was a question of whether or not you really supported Paris in their time of need or not.

The pray for campaigns that come up on social media relentlessly is experiencing blow back as people start to think about how clicks or likes don’t equal actual help as the below video from UNICEF points out.

This graphic from Popular Science shows just how (in)effective liking something on social media is when translating back to real action.


So how does this translate to the classroom?

As teachers we must be aware of the disconnect between liking something on social media and taking action. Social media can spur people into taking ownership of something, but there has to be a connection, somehow, to their immediate life. Some tangible way to take part. As the bar graph above shows, if someone is connected to personally, privately, they’re more likely to volunteer their time to assisting a charity etc than if they just like something on social media.