Author Archives: haubdain

The new normal

March 4, 2020
“I just want March to be over! I’ll finally be able to breathe.”

Well, the abrupt halt to all activities and normal work routine mid-March helped end my misery of busyness and complaining. However, I now had new things that have added a different type of stress and worry to my life…the unknown.

My new normal includes a lot more technology time, which has hindered my daily reliance on exercise of walking to and from each class that I supported as an LRT. Sitting for long periods at a time at my kitchen table hasn’t been the best for my personal well-being, but I have made some adjustments to ensure that I am still getting the activity that I desire as well as teaching my own two kids (9 and 11 years old) and now my niece and nephew (12 and 15 years old) in addition to my own work responsibilities. Hello Netflix and tred….my positive spin-off which includes crushing some popular Netflix series as I use my treadmill to walk/run each morning. Such an invaluable and rewarding routine. I’ll elaborate more on how my personal life has been impacted by this later on in this post. For now, let’s focus on the professional side of things.

Great running shirts from Sarah Marie Design Studios

Technology with Work

I work with Regina Public so we use Google Classroom, which includes Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Forms, and Gmail among others. We also use Google Meet daily, which is a platform similar to Zoom, but with fewer options and more lag. However, it works with the small number of students that login to connect with our teachers each day.

Because I have been added to each of the Google Classrooms, I get to see first hand how each teacher is using these tools and provide suggestions/guidance to make their lives easier and to get more engagement from students. This engagement is on video chats or academic work that is assigned. For this, I have taken to Twitter to help get some ideas, perspectives on how others are doing things, and tools that have yet to be explored. This is how I am proving to myself to be useful as my regular LRT duties are difficult to replicate in this new type of learning environment, and I am still looking for suggestions on how I can be of more use to my teachers and families. Please, let me know how you’re fulfilling this role if you are a support teacher.

I also join in with the daily Google Meet sessions that most of my teachers offer each day in order to connect with them and their students. I take more of the role of one of the students and play along in the games and activities, such as bingo (with online bingo cards), scavenger hunts, Scattegories, and spell your name workout. However, I do use Google Meet often to have face-to-face conversations or “meetings” with my staff as well. What’s App is another tool I use to group chat with my cohort as I have an Android and they have iPhones.

Technology as a Parent

Much like technology for work, I also use Google Classroom for helping my children and nieces/nephew acquire, complete, and hand in their academic tasks. For some of the things they’ve done on this platform, I’ve asked permission from their teachers to share with the teachers I support and vice versa. Again, I’m trying to feel like I’m earning my keep. By using this technology with my kids, I’ve also been able to show them some tricks of the trade when navigating Google Suite tools or any others for that matter. This has helped them be more independent and efficient at getting their work done. I think they’re seeing the value that I have to offer when mom knows “cool” new tricks to make life easier. In addition, they are in grades 4 and 6 which I have taught for over 10 years, so they are starting to trust that I know what I’m talking about. My nephew said to me today, “Why aren’t you a science teacher?” when I was explaining what arteries were to him. I walked with my head a little higher after that!

pat morita nod GIF

Technology for Me

Here is where I start to realize how many apps/tools I use in a day, much like what Amanda tweeted recently, but most I won’t mention as they aren’t significant and I feel less guilty when it’s not documented.

First off, I use Zoom and Skype on a weekly basis to connect with friends and family to play games or just visit. Although it’s not the same, I can have a glass of chardonnay and not worry about how I’m getting home, so there’s a bit of a silver lining. My husband was even able to connect the JackBox games we have from our Xbox to our friends’ and play with them at the same time.

I have also upped my VarageSale and Facebook Marketplace presence due to my schedule opening up. Now that my focus and attention isn’t set on what rink or ball diamond we are going to next, I am able to see the clutter we have accumulated, for which I have turned into some extra cash. So, I check this daily and help family members to get rid of stuff as well. This is a bit of a side gig that I enjoy participating in as I treat it like a game.

Another app I use to find connect with friends, family as well as to get new ideas is Instagram. Most recently I’ve been following a Calgary based house cleaning company to get motivation and inspiration to clean my house. Tide is the way to go!


I’ve also taken up reading, but not in your conventional way. I crush audiobooks using the Regina Public Library and Overdrive apps as it allows me to multitask at the same time. The most recent books I’ve tackled are Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, and a classic Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. Hint…you can increase the reading rate so you can get through even more books in a shorter amount of time!

My last guilty pleasure is your typical game app called Homescapes. Much like Candy Crush, this is mindless but addicting and a fun way to do something while I listen to my audiobooks and prepare for the Sandman to come each night. Thankfully there is a restriction on how long you can play for or else I would need an intervention.

Now that class has started, I will often check on the ECI830 hub to learn from my classmates and to get inspiration for writing my blog. Thanks to Nancy for not knowingly help me organize my ideas for this post!


Well, that’s a wrap!

dorothy day spoilers GIF
Thanks for following!


To write a summary for my major project, I started to read through all of my posts. I found it interesting that within the first couple of paragraphs into my first entry, I had stated in my initial proposal, “I could learn more about digital identity and citizenship alongside my girls and come up with some fun ways for them to share their knowledge and creatively teach their own peers.  This may also allow us to teach their peers’ parents as well, either directly or indirectly.”

What is interesting about this, you say? I want to point out that I had indicated “fun ways” and “creatively teach” as part of my plan. Well, if you ask my girls, I’m pretty sure they didn’t think it was fun from their point of view. Their interest in completing each questionnaire declined each time. However, I do believe that they learned and are still learning about this aspect of their world.

Prior to knowing this, I polished my proposal to be:

Through the eyes of a child (my daughters), I will use inquiry research to learn about digital citizenship and share this new knowledge with their peers.

I decided to gather my data through Google Forms. There were pros and cons to using a single data gathering tool like this.


  1. After my first usage, I was familiar with the overall formatting options, options to share questionnaires with participants, as well as read/interpret gathered data (charts and/or excel document).
  2. Familiar format and expectations with consistent participants.
  3. Easy to copy and edit kid questionnaire to create a parent version.
  4. Created and stored within Google Drive, which I navigate weekly for work related tasks.
  5. Ability to create a variety of types of questions to suit my project purpose.
  6. Ability to keep participants anonymous.


  1. Found it hard to be very clear and concise with written directions/explanations so they would be interpreted the same by all participants (kids and parents)
  2. Unable to explain, elaborate, or reword questions for participants if they were unclear.
  3. Participants may have become overwhelmed or tired of the same types of questionnaires.
  4. Not overly fun and engaging for some participants (as was my initial intention) due to such a wide variety of ages involved.
  5. Participants were not able to see how their answers compared to the rest of the participants unless they followed up with my blog, which is an additional thing to do (time consuming).

However, as I reflect on what I have accomplished with this project, I feel I touched upon a some of the verbs used to describe digital citizenship according to this graphic, such as research, create, limit, engage, respect, use, participate, identify, explore, and most importantly, talk. To keep the bias out of my own kids’ participation in this project, I decided to let my husband be the one to do the questionnaires with our girls as well to participate from the parents’ point of view. Throughout the semester, I have seen him share and highlight several topics brought up through my questionnaires with many of our friends. This was the exact intentions that I was hoping for with regards to what parents get out of this! I consider this a success. Before I reflect more on the overall project, let me debrief you on each step.


My first topic of focus was about understanding kids’ knowledge of internet safety, specifically sharing information (public or private) online. I used the exact questions used on the  Be Internet Awesome (by Google) website that was brought up in class. I geared my questionnaire to focus on 7-12 years old and decided to include parents in this as well by having them reflect with their child(ren) to create a dialogue on this topic. At this point, I only sent it to family friends as I felt it better to keep my sample size relatively small and familiar to a certain demographic. It took me some time to draft the survey and I enlisted the help from a friend to look over my email as well as the questionnaire to ensure that it was understandable for both kids and parents.

Before I received data from this survey, I got my husband to do it with my daughters and was disappointed that they were very vague about their take aways and I was not satisfied with this. I had no other option but to intervene and go through it with one of them to dig deeper. However, I learned that sometimes things are better left alone and my bias would impact my results. I wanted them to be raw and untainted, so this was the last time I got personally involved.


The results of this initial survey identified that most kids are aware that they should involve their parents in the information they are sharing online. This was pleasantly surprising and reassuring that kids are more digitally aware than I had given them credit for. Parents were equally as proud and some shared that they discuss these topics at home and some schools have as well.

Based on our class discussion on Mike Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship and my exploration of the Web Tools for Kids book that I had been reading with my kids, next I decided to focus my project on digital etiquette.


To address the concept of digital etiquette, I found a set of questions taken from BrainPop‘s video and quiz on Digital Etiquette, found in their Digital Citizenship video series. Again, I, focused on ages 7-12 to keep things consistent. I then developed a pre-video quiz to assess their prior knowledge of the concept and then a post-video quiz, which was the exact same however the questions were in a different order. Lastly, I sent a parent reflection survey to discuss their kids’ takeaways. Unfortunately, I had a disappointing number of participants and was only able to reflect mainly on my daughters’ responses. Most of this video brought to their attention some terminology that was unfamiliar, such as flamewars, anonymous, and trolls. My husband led this debrief and was able to show a relevant example of a flamewar on Twitter. Again, my intentions for this project was happening within my own household. Winning!

As for my next step, I was influenced by Manoush Zamorodi‘s “How Many People Can’t Walk Without Their Smartphones? video, her Bored and Brilliant Challenge, and once again the Web Tools for Kids book. From these sources, I wanted to explore the purpose of being online. Are you a consumer, participant, or producer? I used the outline of the Ruder Fin Intent Index (2009), which is mostly used to target marketing, to organize my next questionnaire. Due to the lack of participants in my last survey, I decided to open this one up to a larger group of people rather than just kids. Therefore, I shared the link to my questionnaire on my limited social media platforms and the participation was promising.


This was by far my most successful survey due to the number of participants (almost 100). However, the results were not surprising, which I guess is a good thing. The main takeaways were:

  1. People primarily go online to learn, have fun, socialize, and shop.
  2. Personal expression, doing business and advocacy are not common reasons for going online.
  3. Joining a cause was only selected by four out of 95 people surveyed.
  4. Consumer and participant heavily outweighed producer

In addition to the questionnaire, I had a reflection question which asked participants to identify how they might change their online behaviours going forward based on their results. Surprisingly, most were aware of their behaviours and are therefore not going change anything going forward. For those that were interested in changing, they were going to focus more on being a producer, rather than a consumer or participant.

This led me to ponder several things:

  • How much time online is too much time?
  • When is it acceptable to be a consumer? a participant? a producer?
  • How can advocacy (as a participant or producer) be more of an online purpose?


For my last topic, I went back and forth between having families identify the amount of device time each family member participates in each day and differentiate it from purposeful to non-purposeful or having parents help their kids start to demonstrate appropriate digital citizenship through their social media apps using ideas from the March Media Mentor Month resource or I decided to choose the latter as I felt the digital dialogue between parents and their kids and even between families was beneficial and productive as evidence in my own family discussions.

Taken from Keri-Lee Beasley’s blog Tip of the Iceberg

Of course, this is when our current world situation started to impact my project development and it took me a while to gather data on this topic. To collect data, I created two separate surveys, one geared towards kids aged 7 to 18 and another one for adults. Although they were very similar, I added a few questions in both surveys that were relevant to each particular group of participants. Half of the questions were based on the frequency of occurrence and the other half based on yes/no answers. These surveys were influenced primarily by the March Media Mentor Month created by Keri-Lee Beasley

Unfortunately, due to the events out of our control, participation in this survey was once again low, even though I posted to social media. My focus on this survey was not necessarily the individual answers but more so on the reflection from both groups. A brief summary of the kids’ reflection is that they will start to use video conferencing to talk with people instead of texting, continue to be cautious and safe by including parents in online activities, and to try to be on their phone less. As for a summary of parent reflections, they will start/continue to discuss what could happen online and the dangers of online activities, ask permission from their children to post things about them online, will start to do more WITH their children online together, and reflect more often.


Overall, I am happy with the results of my major project, especially with how it has impacted my family’s frequency of digital dialogue. I did find it difficult to gather information with inconsistent participation and through a qualitative approach, but this was easier for me to prepare on my own time and send out rather than interviewing participants and setting up meetings to do so.

Going back to my initial proposal of “through the eyes of a child (my daughters), I will use inquiry research to learn about digital citizenship and share this new knowledge with their peers“, I feel that I have accomplished several aspects:

  1. I used inquiry-based research, more so my own than my daughters’, to develop surveys.
  2. I learned along with my kids and husband about some aspects digital citizenship, including mindful sharing, digital etiquette, online purpose, and most importantly, digital dialogue with family and friends.
  3. I used topics discussed in class to help guide my project.
  4. I reflected on my own online behaviours and have realized the importance of positive involvement with my own kids, not through a fear-mongering lens.

Some things that I wish I could have addressed include:

  1. Making this project with kids and parents more engaging rather than completing surveys.
  2. Using my daughters’ inquiries guide more of my work rather than my own.
  3. Use a mixed methods approach to gather data than relying solely on a qualitative approach in order to have participants give me a better look at their online behaviours and understanding.

As a cherry on top of this major project, I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of Nancy Smith‘s book “Social Citizens: A Positive Approach to Social Media & Parenting in a Digital World”. I look forward to reading this as it will give me more ideas and insight as to how I can continue to navigate and support my daughters and their experience with digital citizenship. Wish me luck!

Digital Dialogue

It has been a while (almost a month) since I last posted about my major project. There are a couple of reasons for this (in order):

#1 – unsure of what direction to go next with my project
#2 – lack of interest/participants for my new direction (I’ll explain more below), so I left the window to engage open longer than usual

It’s nearing the end of the semester, so I thought I’d better reflect on the limited amount of data that I did collect and share my musings with you.

My new direction focused on the digital dialogue that parents/kids have together. I took the suggested activities found on March Media Mentor Month as well as other questions I had and formed a plethora of questions. Some questions included:

  1. How often do you play a video game with your child(ren)?
  2. How often do you ask your child permission to post a picture of them online?
  3. How often do you share things with your parents/guardians that you’ve created online?
  4. Have you shown your child(ren) how to determine if something is true or “fake news” on social media?

I once again created a survey separately for both parents and kids and sent it out to the world to inspire me like my last survey of almost 100 participants took part in it. I was sadly disappointed, even though I had wonderful classmates helping to spread the word (thanks, Dean and Shelby). I had less than 20 for both surveys. Regardless, I have some data to reflect on.

Kids Survey Reflection

  • I received at least one response for each age from 7-16 years old.
  • About half of the kids share things they’ve created online or video conference with friends/family (prior to the pandemic) at least once a week or more
  • More than half of kids play a video game with their parents at least once a month
  • Almost all kids listen to music on a speaker for the whole family to enjoy each week
  • Most kids have conversations with their parents about their online activities at least once a month
  • Not many kids ask permission before posting a picture of someone else or get asked for permission themselves
  • Devices usage interferes weekly with in-person communication between parents/kids
  • Not one kid has posted a video to YouTube; must be consumers only
  • Most kids have device guidelines set by their parents. I’d be interested to know what these are.
  • Most kids have not discussed “Do Not Disturb” mode or how to safe search on YouTube with their parents
  • Half of the kids have been shown by their parents how to determine “fake news”. This is a positive!
  • Majority of kids have their device/online activity checked by their parents
napoleon dynamite technology GIF
Kids these days!

At the end of the survey, I asked kids to share what they’ve learned and will start to do after answering the questions. Here is a summary of what they said:

  • Start to use video conferencing to talk with people instead of texting
  • Continue to be cautious and safe by including my parents in my activity
  • Try to be on my phone less

Overall, there wasn’t anything that shocked me about their survey answers. I am relieved to see that from the kids perspective that parents are somewhat involved with their digital activity. I have personally learned some things about social media apps from my own kids. I still don’t know how to use SnapChat effectively as I find it to be pointless, but mostly because I don’t understand it. As for some positives, I’m glad to see that kids realize that involving and being open with their parents is beneficial. However, I am interested to know how open they truly are!

Parent Survey Reflections

  • More than half of parents, with their kids, video conference with friends/family at least once a week.
  • Most parents will listen to music with their family through a speaker for everyone to enjoy
  • More than half of parents discuss their kids’ online activities with them several times a week, however, they don’t discuss their own online activities with their kids as often. Interesting!
  • Only 3 parents out of 18 ask for permission from their kids to post pictures of them
  • Most parents admit to ignoring their kids once a month due to device usage, but they say that their kids ignore than at least once a week due to the same reason
  • Most parents talk to other parents about the digital guidelines in their households at least once a month
  • Much like the kids have said, most parents have not discussed “Do Not Disturb” mode or how to safe search on YouTube
  • Just over half of parents have shown their children how to properly search online and how to spot “fake news”. Bravo!
  • Only 3 parents have had a discussion with your partner/spouse about how to talk to your child(ren) about online pornography in an age-appropriate way
confused the simpsons GIF
Have you ever felt this way about technology?

At the end of the survey, I also asked parents to share what they’ve learned and will start to do after answering the questions. Here is a summary of what they said:

  • Discuss about what could happen online and the dangers of online activities
  • Ask permission from their children
  • Do more WITH them online together
  • Reflect more often

Overall, I feel the kids and parents answers lined up for the most part. The sense that I got from kids is that they share what they are comfortable sharing with their parents so they don’t get themselves in trouble and parents are involved with their kids’ online activities to protect them.

Parent involvement has normally revolved around the idea of internet safety. Our engagement with our kids needs to start to focus on other things, as mentioned in this article by the Family Online Safety Institute, such as netiquette (as previously focused on in my major project) and kindness. As Nancy Smith mentions in her book “Social Citizens: A Positive Approach to Social Media & Parenting in a Digital World” (thanks again for sending me a copy to read), “social media can have positive effects on your teens” (pg. 35). She goes on to explain how connection, communication, creativity, confidence, learning, and compassion can all be obtained through interactions on social media. The question is how can parents help to bring out the positive aspects rather than focusing on the dangers? Digital dialogue!

How do you regularly engage in digital dialogue with your kids or students?

Being literate? What does it mean to you?


The concept of “being literate” today has a bit of a different definition as time goes on. During my exploration of a definition of literacy, much to the same findings as Catherine, I also came across a few different definitions that focus on a socially constructed viewpoint on literacy.

“Literacy is a social construction, and being literate means having the ability to produce, interpret, and understand language (information to be seen or experienced) appropriately for these different social contexts.”
Nicholas Accardo (2017)

“Digital literacy is a social construct that has gained some momentum by its explanatory power in the face of technological change that has left some bewildered by the abilities of one generation with respect to another. That the term ‘literacy’ is attached to the concept shows the historical legacy, applicability and origin of the term. It is a concept mostly applied by an older generation about a younger generation (and especially the attitude towards technology of the latter).”
Doug Belshaw (2008), Open Educational Thinker

“Literacy, the ability to read, write, listen, speak, think critically and perform in different ways and for different purposes, begins to develop early and becomes increasingly important as students pursue specialized fields of study in high school and beyond.”
Wisconsin Common Core State Standards for Literacy in All Subjects (2014)

I agree that the concept of literacy is changing and is more than just reading and writing, especially when using Bloom’s Taxonomy approach.  However, we still have reading and writing segregated from other subject areas that require these same skills applied to the different content areas of study.

While trying to address the idea of being “fully” literate mentioned in our blog prompt, I came across the model of Disciplinary Literacy.  From the book “This is Disciplinary Literacy – Reading, Writing, Thinking, and Doing….Content Area by Content Area” by ReLeah Cossett Lent (2015).  This type of approach identifies that:

“…reading, writing, thinking, reasoning, and doing within each discipline is unique—and leads to the understanding that every field of study creates, communicates, and evaluates knowledge differently.  As such, each content-area teacher is responsible for showing students how to use discipline-specific literacy skills as tools for accessing content and, with a sigh of relief, incorporating reading strategies only when they make sense within the context of the discipline”

Therefore, we need to teach literacy concepts in all subject/discipline areas.  This could include, but is not restricted to:

Types of Literacy

To further explore these literacies, you can visit 20 Types of Illiteracies by Kate Mulcahy (2014).

Now, to be able to teach literacy to each type of discipline, there are different types of media for which to use.  There seems to be more types of media as time moves on, but the image below identifies the different types of traditional and new media that we need to expose our students to when teaching literacy based concepts.

Tradional Media and New Media
Traditional vs. New Media

In addition, the graphic below identifies the rate of delivery and the reliability of each type of media.  It is evident which types of media our students are using (websites, blogs, social networking) due to accessibility,  free cost, and immediacy.  However, the concern is the reliability of this type of media because they may be inaccurate, biased, and/or opinionated.  Therefore, we need to teach students other media to use as well as teach them how to use CRAAP to be critical of the ones they already use.

Delivery and reliability of different types of media

The following chart identifies essential skills needed specifically for media/digital literacy.  What commonalities or specific differences do you see between all three?

Elements of the Framework for Literacy in a Digital Age – NTCE (2019) 21st Century Media Literacy Skills – Renee Hobbs News and Media Literacy Skills – Common Sense Media
Participate effectively and critically in a networked world

Explore and engage critically, thoughtfully, and across a wide variety of inclusive texts and tools/modalities

Consume, curate, and create actively across contexts

Advocate for equitable access to and accessibility of texts, tools, and information

Build intentional global and cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought

Promote culturally sustaining communication and recognize the bias and privilege present in the interactions

Examine the rights, responsibilities, and ethical implications of the use and creation of information

Determine how and to what extent texts and tools amplify one’s own and others’ narratives as well as counter unproductive narratives

Recognize and honor the multilingual literacy identities and culture experiences individuals bring to learning environments and provide opportunities to promote, amplify, and encourage these differing variations of language (dialect, jargon, register)

Access skills, including listening skills, eading comprehension, keyboard, mouse, interface skills, understanding hyperlinking and digital space, and using effective search and find strategies.

Analysis skills, including being able to identify author, purpose, and point of view of a message, evaluate credibility and quality, recognize and resist stereotypes, understand how power relationships shape how information and ideas circulate in culture, and consider the economic, political and social context.

Create and collaborate, including being able to brainstorm and generate ideas, work collaboratively to create messages using language, image, and sound, understand digital forms to curate and remix using feedback to edit/revise, write a press release, compose a tweet, upload a video to YouTube, use rhetorical strategies to inform, persuade and entertain in both online and offline real-world composition contexts

Reflect and take action, including being able to understand the power of communication to maintain status quo or change the world, consider risks and harms of media messages, understand how differences in values and life experience shape people’s media use and their message interpretation, apply ethical judgment and social responsibility to online communication situations, understand how concepts of “private” and “public” are reshaped by digital media, appreciate and respect legal rights and responsibilities (copyright, fair use, attribution, etc), and advocate and self-govern at the local, regional, national, and international levels to make a difference in the world

Learn to think critically.   Decide whether the messages make sense, why certain information was included, what wasn’t included, and what the key ideas are, use examples to support opinions

Become a smart consumer of products and information.  Determine whether something is credible,  determine the “persuasive intent” of advertising and resist the techniques marketers use to sell products

Recognize point of view.
Identifying an author’s point of view, appreciate different perspectives, puts information in the context of what they already know — or think they know

Create media responsibly.
Recognizing your own point of view, saying what you want to say how you want to say it, and understanding that your messages have an impact

Identify the role of media in our culture.
Media is shaping our understanding of the world, and even compelling us to act or think in certain ways.

Understand the author’s goal. 
Understand what type of influence something has to make informed choices.

Renee Hobbs says we should keep in mind that “media literacy is going to look different in urban public schools than a media literate affluent, well-resourced school, which looks different than a media literate afterschool or library program.  There is no one right way to teach it to students.  There are many challenges, such as trying to keep up with the research because it’s published across so many disciplines.  It’s important to  create a robust learning environment where students can self-direct and ‘own’ their own learning in the context of a collaborative knowledge community.”

In our schools, like Hobbs identifies, “most educators are driven by a mix of protectionist and empowerment motives, wanting to limit the negative potential impact of life in a media-saturated society.”  However, there are many teachers, lots of whom are in our course, that are “also wanting to enable children and young people to take full advantage of the many benefits that come from being an active, engaged producer and consumer in a dynamic, media-centric culture.”  This relates to my last post of #digcitstateofmind, and outlines the difference between stages 3, 4, and 5 of a digital mindset.

To end my post, I wanted to share a video I found that was posted (way back) in 2009 that has educators explain “What does it mean to be literate in the 21st century?”  Do you feel these are accurate to what we are experiencing in 2020?  Is there anything that can be added to fit our current culture/society?

DigCit State of Mind

Are you guilty of saying some of these things or have heard colleagues mutter these?

“I’m not a computer person.”
“It’s easier to just not use technology at all.”
“These kids don’t know how to act when they go online.  They are always off task.”
“I’ll show that #digcit video on Friday if I have time.”
“Don’t be a cyberbully.”
“I’m pretty sure the teacher-librarian can teach that.  I don’t have time.”
(Nancy Watson)

Unfortunately, these show a fixed or limited mindset when it comes to incorporating digital literacies into our teaching practice.  How do we go about changing these attitudes so that our students can improve their online activities?

What practices are currently in place in your school or context?

I feel like having students use technology to complete curricular outcomes is how most teachers would view themselves teaching technology or something close enough to it.  It’s more of an instructional approach to teaching content than it is to teaching students to become a digitally literate citizen.  Showing a video or using an isolated teachable moment is a far cry from teaching appropriate online behaviours.  However, Laurie made a great point when she said “I would rather see it being taught in isolation than not at all. I hope that as teachers become more familiar and comfortable, the isolated units begin to become integrated in all that they teach.”  There has to be a starting point and although isolated lessons and ideas are not the objective, this is a way to start the conversation with students.

Catherine mentioned, “stand-alone “digital citizenship” units may have been useful in the past, but at this point in our digital world it is necessary to follow digital citizenship guidelines in all teaching and interactions.”  A couple of ways to do this was identified by Matt and Trevor who made mention of some good ways to weave digital literacy into:

SCIENCE: Explore how scientific misconceptions can spread online (ex. anti-vaccination)

SOCIAL STUDIES: Examining propaganda campaigns and how media can shape the outcomes of elections

MATH: Understanding how statistics are used to shape opinions or spread lies

How might you envision addressing the concept of digital citizenship in the future?

To incorporate and weave digital citizenship in our daily teaching practice and instruction, it has to start with the right mindset.  Nancy Watson, a Digital Learning Consultant and ISTE author/trainer, has developed a Stages of Growth into a #DigCitStateofMind reference.   To summary, there are five stages of a digital citizenship mindset:

Stage 1: Digital Aversion (“I’m not a computer/technology person”)
Stage 2: Digital Anxiety (“I don’t have time for that so I’m not doing it”)
Stage 3: Digital Awareness (“I guess I can teach them how unsafe it can be online”)
Stage 4: Digital Action (“I should do something about student activity online”)
Stage 5: Digital Advocacy (“I can teach my students to make a difference online”)

From my experience and observations, many teachers are in Stage 2 and 3.  Before this class, I know I was also in Stage 3.  However, through my major project, I’m starting to move more into Stage 4 with my own children, not yet with students.  I find it hard to do this in a support role when I don’t have consistent time with the same students.  However, that doesn’t mean I can’t help teachers reach Stage 4.  Stage 5 is a very active role that I feel some of our classmates are definitely a part of and I’m eager to continue learning more from them.

Where do you see yourself in this #DigCitStateofMind?
How do you see yourself advancing in stages?

Here are some statements that you can use with students, taken from Nancy Watson (Stage 4 and 5), to help get you to the next stage of the #DigCit Stages of Growth:

“I can help you get more out of your smartphone!”
“I’ll use this teachable moment to talk #digcit.”
“My expectations for your online and offline behavior are the same.”
“Here’s how we navigate this digital space – and why.”
“Everybody means EVERYBODY.”

If your #digcit lessons narrowly focus on digital missteps & cyber-bullying, it’s time to expand your definition. We need thoughtful, empathetic digital citizens who can wrestle with the important ethical questions at the intersection of technology and humanity.
Kristen Mattson, 2018

Aside from the well-known resources such as and, I came across another website dedicated to digital citizenship called  This resource also gives ideas on how to incorporate digital literacies in subject areas such as Language Arts, Science, Math, Social Studies, and Libary/Media Studies for grades 4-8.

How do you regularly incorporate and weave digital literacies into your teaching practice?

threes company chrissy snow GIFSource



Enjoyment vs. Business

Conclusions drawn from this survey are mostly my personal opinion, and are not all derived from specific research-driven facts.

As mentioned at the end of my last post, the next step in my project was to get participants (any age) to analyze their purpose for going online. I was inspired, once again, by the Web Tools for Kids resource that I’ve been using with my kids along with a study called the Ruder Fin Intent Index (2009), which identifies the capacities for which people go online:

  1. Learn
  2. Have fun
  3. Socialize
  4. Express yourself
  5. Advocate
  6. Do business
  7. Shop

Each of these categories are separated into more specific aspects of each which include:

The number of participants was pleasantly surprising (almost 100 people) and this gave me a burst of excitement as my data allows me to draw decent conclusions. The results weren’t overly surprising but did give me some things to think about.

  1. People primarily go online to learn, have fun, socialize, and shop.
    1. access to information is very quick and easy
    2. easy to pass time while waiting by playing games, watching videos, scrolling through feeds, etc.
    3. easy way to get a hold of people (messaging/calling) due to many people having a mobile device
    4. easy way to shop (access to more options) anywhere, anytime, without leaving your location
  2. Personal expression, doing business and advocacy are not common reasons for going online.
    1. from the age groups that participated, personal expression is likely demonstrated more so offline than online; could be due to the risk of being judged (on identity) unless it’s your job or passion
    2. I was surprised that doing business wasn’t higher as online banking is common practice (again, depending on age) or using the internet for your day job
    3. advocacy and activism are becoming more popular, but it can be personally risky
    4. perhaps how these three categories were interpreted may have contributed to their low rating
  3. Joining a cause was only selected by four out of 95 people surveyed.
    1. one word – slacktivism
  4. Consumer and participant heavily outweighed producer
    1. producing/participation requires time and creativity; consumerism is mechanical

Here are the main themes that came out of the reflection question, which was:

Reflecting on your answers, is there anything that SURPRISED about your purpose for being online? If so, is this going to change your online behaviours going forward?

  • most were not surprised by their answers because they are aware of their online purpose
  • most not likely to change their behaviour because it’s normalized to be online and everything is easily accessible this way
  • some were surprised by how many apps they use to go online
  • it made some them more aware of how much they are online and will look to decrease their mindless browsing
  • very few mentioned changing their behaviour to be more of a producer (create/collaborate) instead of a consumer (solely to get information) or participant (communicate/contribute)

After going through the results of this survey, I have some questions:

  • How much time online is too much time?
  • When is it acceptable to be a consumer? a participant? a producer?
  • How can advocacy (as a participant or producer) be more of an online purpose?

As for my next steps, I am drawing a blank. I may go the route of having families identify the amount of device time each family member participates in each day and differentiate it from purposeful to non-purposeful. I may also go back to having parents help their kids start to demonstrate appropriate digital citizenship through their social media apps using ideas from the March Media Mentor Month resource or I’d appreciate any help with my direction going forward!

Digitized Identification

Much like most of us did after sleuthing on strangers last week, I did some searching on my own name and came across very little except some news articles and profile pictures regarding some sporting accomplishments I had when I was in my prime (mostly under my maiden name). As much as I was glad to see that my sporting career was the main content, I began to realize that perhaps I’m being too cautious and too much of a recluse online. I started to question myself as to why I don’t more of a digital presence? Why am I afraid to post and share? Have I bitten into the fear-mongering apple of technology?

Based on the 5 Different Types of Online Identities, I would definitely label myself as having the avoidance identity. I tend to be very cautious in real life about my true self until I feel I can trust others. If I don’t trust, I tend to still be cordial but very surface level in my interactions. Trust is very important to me when it comes to relationships, both in my personal and professional lives.

I think this explains why I have a limited online presence. I avoid and feel it unnecessary to share information online with complete strangers. Why do they need to know that I like Slipknot? Why do they need to know that I dyed my hair? Why do they need to know how I feel about global warming? Why do they need to know that I went to a concert last night? They don’t. The people that know this are the people that I feel comfortable sharing this with in real life, people that have meaning in my life, people that interact with me because we connect professionally and/or personally. Now for those that share this type of information monthly, weekly, daily, or hourly, I have no judgment. You do you and do it proudly. That’s just not me and I’m ok with that.

Having said that, I do have a personal Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat account. Rarely do I post. It’s mostly my daughters who do on my behalf. I use these accounts to follows others. I rarely “like”, retweet, or even comment on others’ posts. I do most of my responses to their posts in person, when possible, so I can converse more about the content and dig deeper to show my genuine interest. I feel it’s harder to do this online.

As I reread through what I’ve already written in this post, I feel somewhat ashamed on my attitude towards digital identity. However, I am becoming more aware of the impact that it has on present-day and future portrayals of my character and image in society. So, rather than avoidance, why don’t I start to create a digital identity that is positive, influential, and beneficial? What is holding me back? I’m still trying to figure this out…..

Hard to Tell

This week,  I addressed the idea of digital etiquette.  I did this by searching and eventually finding a resource on BrainPop, a common online resource used in both primary and middle years.  They have a great section dedicated to Digital Citizenship, accessible without a subscription.  I encourage you to take a look and see if the videos and resources match what you may be teaching or interested in teaching your students.  Topics range from social media, media literacy, and plagiarism.

Once I found this resource, I decided to create a survey to send out to both kids (ages 7-12) and parents like I did last week.  I took the quiz questions right from the website itself and create a pre-video quiz to see what kids knew prior to watching.  I also create a post-video quiz using the exact same questions to assess what they learned from watching the video.  Lastly, I provided parents with some discussion questions before they filled out a reflection survey based on their child’s understanding of the topic.  These questions were:

  1. What are some ways that you can share your opinions and ideas with others online?
  2. Describe a time when you’ve demonstrated poor digital etiquette (if applicable). This could be via text, email, social media, gaming chats.  What was the result of this? What would you do differently next time?
  3. Describe a time when you’ve demonstrated good digital etiquette (if applicable).
  4. What is something new that you’ve learned from the video that will change the way you will communicate with others online?

Unfortunately, participation in this part of my project was next to nil, which I was disappointed in.  However, sending this out over the break wasn’t likely the best timing for most families.  Overall, I had four participants, two of whom were my own kids.  Therefore, I cannot draw any conclusions like I did last week, but I will speak more about my own kids’ understanding of digital etiquette.

The major difficulty with this topic was the terminology used in the video.

digital netiquette
formal communication

The pre-video quiz used a lot of these terms and therefore posed a lot of questions for my daughters when taking the quiz.  It was hard not to explain them, but I wanted to get them to make sense of what they could mean based on the answers provided.  Clearly, a skill that needs to be taught; context clues.  

Once the video was viewed, there didn’t seem to be any questions asked about the post-video quiz questions as they were familiar with them from the pre-video quiz and the video explained most of them in detail with relevant examples.

Where I find the most valuable information is within the discussion questions after the video between parents and the kids.  I have found value in this as it brings awareness to what parents think their kids know and what they actually know.  It allows them to fill the gaps of unknown information and to be able to provide examples based on their own experiences.

I always get my husband to have these discussions with our kids because I want him to be involved with these conversations instead of just me and for him to add another perspective on digital participation, as he is far greater than mine. I am very much a consumer, not a participant. After their discussion, he went on to Twitter to show our eldest a flamewar (this was a new term to him as well). It was a great teachable moment!

As for the other participants of my survey, I was intrigued by the response shared in the parent reflection.

I believe having access to the technology they utilize and being open about the access is important as they (and parents) navigate those digital world. I also believe that having more communication, sharing positive stories and maybe ones that ignite more discussion of the repercussions of negative interactions online is also important. I think anytime we can increase awareness and communicate in an honest (age appropriate way) is beneficial not only for the child but for me as the parent. They are growing up with technology where as I was already an adult when the web and other technologies were created. It’s great to learn from each other.

I appreciate how open they are about their lack of understanding and the importance of learning alongside them through positive and negative examples. We must learn from our own mistakes as well as others.

This led me to discuss with my daughters the article Nancy posted regarding the 9-year-old boy being bullied about his disability and the actions that his parents took to remedy this. Although their intentions were good, the impact that their actions will have on their son isn’t all positive.

The next step in my project is to get participants (any age) to analyze their purpose for going online. I was inspired, once again, by the Web Tools for Kids resource that I’ve been using with my kids along with a study called the Ruder Fin Intent Index (2009), which identifies the capacities for which people go online:

  1. Learn
  2. Have fun
  3. Socialize
  4. Express yourself
  5. Advocate
  6. Do business
  7. Shop

Although there isn’t a study more recent than 2012, and it is mostly used to target marketing, I’m interested to see why people go online in 2020, especially with more people and younger people having more access to it.

How can we use this information to address digital citizenship, media literacy, and increase social activism?

Stay tuned for my link to my survey via my Twitter account @CmorTeach.

And the results are in!

So, it seems as though the kids that took part in my survey are more aware of what information they should share with particular audiences than I gave them credit for. That’s a positive!

Let me backtrack a bit.

Last week, I sent out a survey to both kids (ages 7 to 12) and parents related to information sharing (online or offline). I received 18 completed surveys from kids (two 7-year-olds, two 8-year-olds, two 9-year-olds, four 10-year olds, five 11-year olds, and three 12-year-olds) and 15 completed surveys from parents (assuming there were families that had more than one kid complete the survey). The questions I used came from Google’s Be Internet Awesome website, which were:

Who would you share the following information with?
Your parents, friends, everyone, or trash it (you can choose more than one)

  • Best friend’s phone number
  • Your location
  • A rumor about someone in your class
  • A selfie of you and your best friend with their new hairdo
  • A silly video of your friend that they don’t know that you took
  • An article about a band that you like
  • A funny lip sync video of you and your friends
  • An embarrassing picture of your sibling
  • A live video from your class field trip
  • Meet up details for a school dance

The results showed a resounding awareness that most, if not all, information being shared should be shared with parents. This pleased me as it shows that some kids at this age understand the importance of parental involvement.

**I’ve kept in mind that my survey sample was small and completed by families that fit a particular demographic.**

The parent survey consisted of the following three questions:

  • After I asked my child “Which type of audience do you think you selected most when answering the questions?”, I felt….(why?)
  • After I asked my child “What did you learn about the types of information that can be shared with others? Why?” I felt….(why?)
  • After I asked my child “When you share information with others, what are you going to be more aware of now?”, I felt….(why?)

Most parent comments were positive and reassuring that their child understands to ask or involve parents when sharing information. The word TRUST was used often. There was a SATISFIED and PROUD feeling noted by most parents, including myself. Some parents felt that their kids were able to know the difference between public and private information and that permission should be asked before any information is shared with others. One parent has stated that their kid’s answers weren’t surprising because they “talk about and/or share those things already” at home. It was also noted that they “learned these things in school and they know that being private is important”. I was impressed to hear that schools were addressing topics like this. Overall, there was more of an awareness piece by both parents and kids about information sharing, whether it was already known or now recently learned through this survey.

After exploring more of Mike Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship with the help of ISTE, I’ve come to realize that my major project is primarily focused on the elements of Digital Communication and Digital Etiquette. These two elements have a focus on student responsibilities in our digital world.

In each of the elements listed within this resource, Ribble identifies essential questions to help focus and reflect on with students.

Digital Ettiquette Essential Questions
Are students aware of others when they use technology?
Do students realize how their use of technology affects others?

My survey of information sharing directly relates to the second question. Students need to be aware of how their actions of sharing can affect others, directly or indirectly. “Very often, parents and students alike are learning these technologies from their peers or by watching others use the technology” (pg. 29). It’s important for parents to help their child understand proper digital etiquette so good digital citizens are born.  “A good digital citizen seeks out feedback from others to evaluate their use of technology, and then makes personal adjustments based on this feedback (pg. 29). This will lead to more appropriate technology behaviour and an attempt at breaking the cycle of poor netiquette with peers alike.

Digital Communication Essential Questions
Do I use email, cell phone, texting, and social networking technologies appropriately when communicating with others?
What rules, options, and etiquette do students need to be aware of when using digital communication technologies?

Within my major project, I have dove into etiquette as well with getting students to identify which types of information are sharable with specific audiences.  Knowing your audience is important as it dictates the level of etiquette needed to communicate and interact with them.  Something you send to your best friend isn’t something that should be sent to everyone to see and comment on.  

I plan to continue to dive deeper into Digital Communication and Etiquette to bring to light how kids can use technology more appropriately.  “Too often, people send emails, texts, or posts without considering who might see them or how they might be interpreted” (pg. 23).   It’s easy to respond quickly to someone and send it without thinking of the long term consequences, for which your message cannot be retracted even if you delete it.  “In some situations speaking to someone face-to face can solve a situation faster than multiple emails or other communication methods” (pg. 23).  I want kids to understand when this would be the case.

After watching a video created by Manoush Zamorodi this week with my daughters titled “How Many People Can’t Walk Without Their Smartphones?“, we had a discussion about what this meant to them and to others.  Zamorodi observed how many people walked by her with or without interacting in some capacity with their phones.  Out of the 1000 people that walked by, 315 of them were using or holding their phones.  That’s 1 out of every 3 people. 

Me:  Is that number high or low?
11-year-old: low
9-year-old: high
Me: When we are engaged or on our phones, we don’t experience boredom.
11-year-old:  I HATE being bored.
Me: I also struggle with boredom but I’ve been using puzzles to help deal with boredom and to stay off my phone when I don’t need to be.
11-year-old:  That doesn’t help me with boredom because I get mad when I can’t find a certain piece.
Me: (to the 9-year-old), what do you do when you’re bored?
9-year-old: Gymnastics, like flips around the house. At school, I play with my markers or swing my arms and legs around.
Me: So it seems that you always have to be moving than when you are bored.  Can you ever just sit still?
9-year-old:  Ya, when my teacher is reading to the class.
11-year-old:  I can’t!  My mind is always thinking about other things and what I could be doing instead.

This discussion brought my attention back to the  Bored and Brilliant Challenge by Manoush Zomorodi.  I want to ensure that my daughters’ have a purpose for being on their devices or online, not just to curb boredom, as this seems to be the number one reason. 

I’ve gone back to the book Web Tools for Kids, as mentioned in one of my previous posts, to help my daughters, their friends and parents reflect on how they use the internet or identifying the purpose of going online.  

For my next survey going out to kids and parents, I am going to address this topic in addition to other related topics using BrainPop’s video series on Digital Citizenship, in particular Digital Etiquette.  Much of the focus will be on terms such as flaming, flame wars, trolls, anonymous, and of course, netiquette.  

Stay tuned!

Digital Generations- Controlling the Gap

Is it better
Is it better now?
Are we better
Are we better now?
Is it better
Is it better now?
Are we better
Are we better now?

All we needed was a lifeline (is it better, is it better now?)
We swore we’d be better than the last time (are we better, are we better now?)
Tell me, tell me that you’re all right (is it better, is it better now?)
I’m not the generational divide (are we better, are we better now?)

Do these lyrics from Blink 182’s song “Generational Divide” song sound somewhat like a reflection we do as generations reflecting on our own society?  Is it better now?  It depends on which generation you ask. 

Silver Fit

“I used to walk to school every day in 6 feet of snow, uphill both ways.”

I recall and still hear my parents and their friends engaging in the “when I was your age” rant, but guess what?  I now find myself saying it to my kids.  As explains, the purpose for these rants it to express how “advantages have made the young people of today soft, lazy, spoiled, or worse; the hardships gave people moral fiber.” Each generation is guilty of falling into this trap, but with the advancement of technologies and societal norms/expectations, younger generations aren’t doing things the way we have done them.  Does this make them worse off or are they navigating the world in their own way, much like we did before our generational predecessors?  There may be mistakes that they make along the way, but that’s part of the journey, isn’t it? 

How can we bridge the gap?

I came across a blog on written by Brian Cain titled “How Boomers and Gen Y Can Bridge the Tech Gap“.  It addressed how people in different generations need to put aside their disgruntled attitude towards the older and younger generations and work together to bridge the gap.  “Boomers need to stop bellyaching about the ADHD tendencies of millennials, and millennials have to stop discounting the treasure chest of knowledge stored in the minds of the boomers. If we just face the fact that we must work together to make the organization more successful, we can have a symbiotic relationship that takes the department to new heights” (Cain, 2013).  Ideally, yes this is great.  However, it takes a lot for people to change their attitudes.  One approach mentioned in this article “sort of follows the “I Do, We Do, You Do” (pg. 28) gradual release of responsibilities model that most teachers use for literacy:

  • I do, you watch.
  • I do, you help.
  • You do, I help.
  • You do, I watch.
  • You do, someone else watches.

For those that are tech savvy, this approach can work to help older generations become more comfortable with the changes, especially in technology.  They may be more willing to “buy in” and have an understanding of how younger generations are using technology to benefit them daily.  This is my approach to my major project.  I’m trying to learn about digital awareness, navigation, and interactions through my daughters’ experiences and understanding.  This is what Dallia Wilson-Scott, who wrote the article “The Digital Generation Gap and the Management of Information“, advises as well to bridge the gap.  We have to “start thinking more like our kids. Ask them for advice about technology and stay up to date on the latest apps.”  Rather than deny them access, try to understand the role technology plays in their lives.

However, not all millennials are tech-savvy like we may think.  Just because they are born into it doesn’t mean they can effectively and efficiently use it.  “We don’t innately know how to use these emerging forms of technology. We are forced to learn it because of our dependence on it” (Cain, 2013).  As Alec pointed out in our discussion, “no one is born a native speaker of digital in the same way that no one is born a native speaker of any language.  Through context, immersion, and practice they learn.” 

Much like Catherine noted, we need to move away from the fear-mongering approach to technology use to a more responsible citizen approach. The fearful approach is perpetuating the gap because it creates a reluctance to learn how to navigate appropriately. The responsibility for this type of education is starting to fall on schools as we are seeing more and more students, even in primary grades, start to have devices at school. Although this puts more on our plates as teachers, I feel it’s important to address as technology is now how students socially interact with friends and strangers as well.

How do you incorporate digital citizenship in your classroom and with your families to help bridge the gap of digital generations?

say what weird al yankovic GIF

“Lemme tell you somethin’, you whiny little snot
There’s somethin’ wrong with all you kids today
You just don’t appreciate all the things you got
We were hungry, broke, and miserable
And we liked it fine that way!”
— “Weird Al” Yankovic, “When I Was Your Age”