Category Archives: EC&I 832 Major Project

Final Project EC&I 832 – Progress Update April 2020


Final Project EC&I 832 - Progress Update


Excuses, excuses...

I have to start by confessing, I made little progress on my final project.  I made some poor choices for the timing of my course work and as a result, my final project did not get much attention.   

In hindsight, I spent too much time researching and preparing for my content catalyst I really enjoyed working on the project and my video New Challenges of Literacy in a Fake News World.


I was ready to shift gears in early March after completing this to focus my attention on my final project, when life as we know it changed dramatically due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

As I adjusted to new realities that included:
- an increased work week for my role at the City of Calgary managing the digital communications for the Emergency Operations Centre,  I was working over 60+ hours
- teaching two courses online for the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University at the same time as taking EC&I 832
- adjusting to having my teen son at home - moving to online courses and trying to maintain some "normalcy" in his life
- worrying about my mom who lives in a seniors facility - she is now confined to her small apartment and was experiencing loneliness and some depression.
- caring for my neice who lives on her own but suffers from extreme anxiety.  My brother lives in Ontario, and has a chronic lung condition.  Although he wanted her to come home from her studies in Calgary, it wouldn't make sense for her, or for him.  To help out, I check in on her a couple of times a week and bring her food, groceries etc.

Ok, so that was very cathartic writing this down.  But enough of the excuses, here is my progress on my final project.

Digital Citizenship and Senior Citizens 

Here is the blog post outlining my ideas for my final project.

I was excited how this project would help evolve the work I have done on helping parents navigate the digital world for their teens, and instead I could help a new generation.

My initial plan was to:
  • research the current use of social media by seniors in Canada.  
    • I will research Stats Canada, and find other resources to help establish this information
  • conduct basic research of my own through a survey, interviews with seniors and a focus group
  • write a report that outlines my findings focusing on how seniors use social media, or don't use and why they don't
  • Prepare a basic resource to help seniors with navigating their participation in social media with a focus on digital citizenship including:
    • media literacy
    • online identity
    • responsible participation online.

Social Media Usage by Age 

I made progress in researching how different generations use social media and what platforms are most commonly used.  I wrote a blog post  that focused on research from 2019 on Western Canadian usage.  Not only did the research highlight the most commonly used platforms, but it provided context of what people hope to gain from their online experiences.  In general, people use social media to:


  • Staying in touch with friends and family
  • Finding a sense of community
  • Searching for solutions to problems or information
  • Looking for ideas or inspiration
  • Entertainment
  • Promoting professional endeavors
  • Expanding professional network
Additional resources for statistics on social media use by seniors include:

My Own Research

My plan was to conduct some basic research to validate the findings from the Insights West survey of western Canadians.

I created a survey using Google Forms and had arranged with Amica Senior Lifestyles - a private seniors residence facility in Calgary to distribute the survey via their resident enewsletter.  I met with the General Manager, Catherine Russell on March 6th and she agreed to allow me to request residents to participate.  We also discussed the potential of hosting a series of free workshops for her senior residents to participate in that would focus on digital citizenship and safety online.  I would develop these workshops free of charge in exchange for the participation of her community.

Plans changed

On March 12th, I received a call from Catherine Russell advising me that the the Amica Aspen Woods had a new policy that no visitors would be allowed in their building due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  To ensure the safety of their residents, and to limit geographic spread she requested that we postpone the project until the pandemic subsides.  

Of course, this is totally understandable AND considering all that was going on in my life, it was a reality of my availability too.

The good news is that I had previously discussed this project with Dr. Couros, and we had discussed the possibility of doing this as a project towards my grad studies.  So, although I did not make much progress on my project for now, I will continue this at a later date.




 



Major Project Overview

It feels unreal that we actually made it to the end … And for the first time, that great feeling of accomplishment and happiness when you finish something is missing. This has been an emotionally draining semester. I actually think being busy with this class helped me stay focused and get my mind off of everything that is going on in our world. What really surprised me in a positive way was that for the first time in my life I did not panic by the thought of using technology. This is my third educational technology class I have taken and I learnt so much. But the most important thing is that I do not feel alone any more. I know that technology is changing and evolving daily, but there is an amazing group of people I feel comfortable reaching out to to exchange ideas or seek support. I would like to say THANK YOU for sharing your knowledge and expertise and for all your support throughout the semester.

As part of my Major Project, I decided to go on my own personal journey and look at four different apps. The two social media apps I chose are very popular in my home, especially TikTok. I was curious to see what my kids and students spend hours on daily. And needless to say, I fell in the same trap spending endless hours on TikTok and Instagram since they are very addictive. Not knowing how to analyze apps through media lens, I needed something to lean on. So, I decided to use Mike Ribble’s 9 elements of digital citizenship as my guide.

My journey through social media opened up my eyes and taught me a lot about the complexity of these apps, as well as the positives and negatives. It certainly brought valuable conversations into our home. I understand that some of these apps are for teens and maybe they do not appreciate us being on them, but as a parent and teacher, I wish schools brought them into the classroom and use them as tools to teach students how to be responsible digital citizens. Many parents are not familiar with these apps and never heard of Common Sense Media nor Media Smarts to learn more about them. So, the schools should take the role of educating children how to navigate these apps safely.

Although the pandemic put a halt on using the educational apps I picked, I did have a chance to introduce them to my students and I am hoping they will take advantage of them while I cannot connect with them. I have heard of Kahoot before but never used it. I really wanted to learn more about it as well as implement it in my teaching. Luckily, I experienced what it feels like to have a classroom with a projector in it for a couple of weeks and I have to tell you it was an amazing feeling. I was able to create activities as well as use the amazing collection Kahoot offers. While using Kahoot, the students were engaged and we were all having fun while learning. It is a great tool that can be used in a variety of ways, in class, online or as part of blended lessons.

The other app I decided to learn about was BBC Learning English. I did not write a blog about this educational app, but I included the evaluation in my final project. For both Kahoot and BBC Learning English app evaluations I was following the elements of CRAPPIES. Unfortunately the unexpected school closure made it impossible for me to dive deep into using the BBC Learning English app with my students. This learning app offers a collection of high quality resources to various English language proficiency levels with appropriate and up to date topics for different age groups in all four strands: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Although I only had a chance to print off a few articles, since all recordings have transcripts added, and read with my students, both students and I found them very interesting.

What makes me happy is that both Kahoot and BBC Learning English are great resources that my students know of and can access from home for free as an addition to the supplemental learning their classroom teachers are providing.

As part of my final project, I organized all my findings in a website I created using wix. I am glad I pushed myself into creating this site where I can add materials and resources in the future. This was the first time I made a website, so it is far from being perfect. I hope you’ll find some useful information and please help me grow by sharing your comments and feedback.

I am very thankful for your support on this tough journey. Stay safe and healthy!

Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/90155358@N02/29290738768/”>Sustainable Economies Law Center</a> Flickr via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

Until next time,

Melinda

Major Project Update #4 – Social Activism in the Age of COVID-19

Ah, start a campaign on twitter they said. It will be fun they said! Teach your students all about Ribble’s element of Digital Communication and selecting a medium for sharing a message they said! (Okay, no one said the last one).

I began this class with the idea that because I was a Connected Educator with my school division, and because I have a genuine interest and belief in the ability to use technology in education as an agent of innovation – that I would not have a hard time choosing a project.

Don’t get me wrong. I am happy with my choice of a project that I could create with my students. As I said in my last post I truly believe that students need the freedom to create and communicate on Social Media as a part of school in order to develop authentic digital citizenship skills. While I had loftier goals that just that – If all my students got out of this project is that Social Media can be used to communicate a sincere and positive message, then that’s okay with me.

It seems that a global pandemic, and 90 percent of the world’s children being “out” of school can take over twitter, and very quickly overtake a message of language learning in an online community setting.

I wont lie, we didn’t really establish that “community” I was hoping for. I didn’t get my own students to participate in the challenges they themselves designed for the last few weeks of the project, so I feel that even our classroom community was a little fractured.

But given the events of the world at the moment, that’s not really anything to mourn.

So – I have AGAIN adapted (apologies to Alec who has to grade me now, and decide what on earth this project now is).

Although I went ahead and posted the tweets every #MichifMonday, and continued to respond to the engagement on twitter, I also have begun uploading everything I used to teach this project to my students to a shared google file that I will link in my final project blog post. If I am unable to create a community on twitter as a social activism project, I can contribute to a professional learning network of teachers – which is also a community, right???

If you are interested check out my “Major Project Final Product” page and there you will find an overview of our project, the (always growing) shared vocabulary slides as well as a mini-unit regarding Metis culture and history with Seesaw linked activities to correspond, and all of the shared resources I used (and have permission to share publicly). If you know (or are) a teacher interested in using twitter to teach effective Digital Communication skills and learn something in a new language along the way share it with them (or keep it for later)!

Maybe we can build a community a little bit at a time.

Major Project Update #3 – We are live people!

I have returned from the deep dark hole in the Twitterverse where I have found myself lost for the last couple days, living in the land of the novel coronavirus and worrying about the complexities of Distance Education for my students.

Yesterday was meant to be my Major Project’s second Monday of our #MichifMonday language learning for my Social Justice themed Social Media project. Early in the morning I logged into Tweetdeck and cancelled all of my scheduled tweets. Before I get to why – here’s a little rundown of how the project has been going thus far.

While I am happy with where this project ended up, in the creating of an Indigenous Language Resource that is shared over social media (and encourages others to participate in a way that promotes social justice), I do not know if I would still call this a social justice project.

Although, it has been turning out to be awareness raising for my students – and that’s not nothing. One thing I have noticed is that students seem to have a food grasp on First Nation’s Culture, and 100 Days of Cree in my classroom is always a hit. I also am usually able to find reliable sources of additional information to accompany the 100 Days of Cree project.

A project on the official language of the Métis however, is another story. It is DIFFICULT to find reliable sources, which I only realize because my entire undergraduate degree was devoted to developing an understanding of Métis culture and history. It seems the sources to accompany the language we are learning are either out-dated, factually incorrect, or non-existent. Another reason I have begun to develop a teacher resource to accompany this project. Also for this reason my students and I have been heavily relying upon Elder ​Marian Desjarlais to help us ensure that the words and pronunciation are correct, as well as which words she believes are important to represent Métis values.

After A LOT and I mean A LOOOT of behind the scenes work using the Gabriel Dumont Institute Virtual Museum of Métis History and Culture website to locate words, then checking them with the Elder Marian, then having the students learn the words, and complete the learning activity – we have compiled two weeks worth of resource!

Last week my students and I launched our first twitter challenge along with the first set of five Michif words.

They excitedly watched all our notifications pop up in my browser while we worked all day – they were content to simply to see other’s liking, sharing, and praising their work across twitter.

We had two classrooms send us private messages (one email) trying out our challenges which the students loved, but because of privacy – sharing these on twitter to a wider audience outside our school wasn’t an option. While this was still exciting – it sort of deflated the purpose of the public challenges – public participation for awareness raising!

Now to this week – since our #MichifMonday fell just one day prior to Saint Patrick’s Day we worked to create words under the theme of “Celebration”.

I know, bad choice.

I realized pretty quickly over the weekend this was not a timely choice in light of current global circumstances. I strive to be culturally responsive in my classroom, therefore my students and I spent Monday (was that seriously just yesterday??) brainstorming a better and more relevant topic.

This is what we came up with:

I worked pretty quickly yesterday evening to reschedule these tweets instead. On the advice of one of my students “You have to explain why we picked these words!” I tried to write some captions to accompany this week’s words that challenged people to learn from home and add a hopeful post to the overwhelming tide of frightening content currently overtaking our timelines.

Since my students have been so involved in the creation of this project thus far – I do not know what the rest of the project will look like moving forward. I truly believe it is from the work of many that special things are created so I am, worried. But I also acknowledge that we are all currently worried over something, and therefore perhaps working on this project during my time away from my students will prove to be special in a different way.

This week’s goal: engage online on my students’ behalf to encourage participation!

Until next time,

Kahoot!

For my major project, one of the educational apps I decided to look at is Kahoot! I heard of it during one of the educational technology classes I had taken and I created an account at that time, but never had a chance to use it. I felt that my hands were tied. Teachers working as support staff not always have a classroom which means no access to a projector. Access to devices is quite limited as well, and my time with the students is often very short.

This school year though, I have been offering in-class support as well and I mentioned Kahoot! to one of our grade 7/8 classroom teachers. Him being a connected educator, the access to devices was not an issue any more. So, we were both very excited to give Kahoot! a try.

But what is Kahoot! some might ask? According to Commonsense Media, Kahoot! is an educational app for playing and creating quizzes recommended for ages 8 and up. This 4 star app is definitely worth checking out.

Kahoot! is a safe, fun and engaging formative assessment tool that gives immediate feedback of what areas the participants are struggling with. It is a popular tool used worldwide by teachers, students, employees and life long learners. It can be used in any subject, any language, on any device. Kahoot! can be played as a group or individually anywhere and any time. It can be used to create fun learning games and trivia quizzes. There are also a high number of free, ready to use existing games. For paid members there are more tools to chose from when it comes to creating and organizing these collections of games.

I decided to look into more ways Kahoot! could be used in a classroom. Besides using it for reviewing and reinforcing certain concepts in a classroom setting, it can also be implemented as a class work station, as part of study group or peer-to-peer challenge, as well as for homework. Although it has an option to time the participants’ performance, especially for homework use, it is recommended to have it switched off to prioritize accuracy.

I think Kahoot! is an excellent assessment tool for teachers. After playing a game, I was able to see a detailed analysis of my students’ performance helping me to define if the topic has been acquired by the students or not.

Trying to learn as much as possible about this app, I came across a number of tutorials, one named “learners to leaders”. The focus of “learners to leaders” is to teach students digital communication and collaboration by giving them the role of a teacher when creating their own kahoots. Such an activity empowers students to take ownership of what they are learning through creativity, critical thinking, as well as teamwork leading to digital fluency. An ESL teacher shared an interesting idea where students created “holiday selfie kahoots” about the holidays they celebrate, which could be a great way to teach students about digital etiquette as well.

I am definitely considering upgrading to have access to a wider variety of activities, adding content in between the slides, editing already existing documents, as well as organizing them into folders for the various grammatical content I am teaching to my English as an Additional Language students. This is a valuable tool that I see being useful not only in the classroom but for both blended-, and flipped lessons.

Have you used Kahoot! and how do you feel about this educational app? Please share your experiences. I would love to hear from you!

Thanks,

Melinda

The ‘perfect life’ of Instagram

As part of my Major Project, I am focusing on two very popular social media apps: TikTok and Instagram. In this blog post I decided to take a look at Instagram, a social media app that has become part of my life just recently. Focusing on Mike Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship helped me look at this app critically and have a better understanding of its behind the scenes.

  1. Digital Access: Instagram is an easy to access app. Anyone can look at someone’s Instagram without having an account of their own. There are certain limitations to Instagram without having an account, such as the ability to like or comment on a post, or like a comment, view stories and story highlights, follow an Instagram account, view a private account and use the mobile app.
  2. Digital commerce: Instagram users will encounter ads and photos promoting commercial brands. They can also make purchases via links embedded in stories. There are also people with several accounts using Instagram for building and promoting their business brands adding the geotag for easy accessibility. Startups can showcase their work to the audience as well. Instagram is an effective marketing strategy.
  3. Digital Communication and Collaboration: Instagram is a social media app giving the users the opportunity to express themselves through taking, editing and sharing photos and videos. The content of Instagram is made up of feeds, stories and IGTV channels, the later used for sharing collection of videos ranging between 15 seconds and 10 minutes. The stories are a series of photos or videos that will last for only 24 hours, then disappear. Instagram also provides the instant share feature across multiple platforms.
  4. Digital Etiquette: Just as TikTok users, Instagram users should also remember to be cautious how they present themselves in front of the world. Since this app has an option to comment on each other’s posts, this is when raising responsible digital citizens is crucial. Teaching people to THINK (Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind?) before they post anything is the key. And the most important question would probably be “Is it true?” with all the special features that can make life look ‘just perfect’.
  5. Digital Fluency: Instagram being the worst social media for mental health, the users need to have the ability to differentiate reliable information from poor content. On the photo-based platform, where users have the ability to add filters and edit pictures in order for them to look ‘perfect’, it is crucial not to believe everything we see in order to avoid psychological distress due to negative body image and anxiety. The article, Instagrammers reveal the difference between a posed body and a relaxed one, shared by Kalyn, brings to our attention not to believe everything we see.
  6. Digital Health and Welfare: Although there is an option to set a time limit, just as TikTok, Instagram can be very addictive. Instagram has been proven to have a lot higher impact on the users’ health and welfare due to the ‘perfect’ body, life or world that is depicted in the photos posted causing a high level of anxiety, depression, bullying, FOMO, or the ‘fear of missing out’. As Kalyn highlighted, the popular trend involving health, fitness and nutritional advice called ‘fitspiration’ also known ‘fitspo’ not only works as inspiration. The unrealistic expectations cause feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, unworthiness leading to lack of self-esteem and mental health problems. Spending more than two hours a day on social networking sites can increase the users’ tendency to fall into the “compare and despair’ attitude. Thankfully, as Nataly mentioned, Instagram is now hiding likes counter, another element that can cause lack of self-esteem being based on the number of likes.
  7. Digital Law: Just as with TikTok, setting a private account is crucial to be able to avoid anybody being able to see the content. Cyberbullying and sexting can still be an issue in within the circle of youth.
  8. Digital Rights and Responsibility: Instagram users need to be aware of the fake accounts of people who are just trying to become famous with a fake life they created. ‘Finsta accounts‘ are also trending where users post their ‘less-edited’ lives. This tends to be the right platform for racy content and bullying. When it comes to raising digital citizens, it is crucial to teach youth to be critical thinkers and be able to identify potential problems as well as be brave to inform adults of problems they come across. This way they can protect themselves and others. 
  9. Digital Security and Privacy: It is important to teach our students to respect their privacy by creating a private account as well as being careful with the information they share through photos, videos and comments, since after posting photos, image theft and screenshots cannot be prevented.

Looking at Instagram through Mike Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship, I am certainly seeing this social media app from a different point of view. The more apps I examine, the stronger I feel about bringing social media into our classrooms and guide our students in becoming critical thinkers.

More on TikTok

I have been spending endless hours on TikTok during the last few weeks since my curiosity keeps telling me to watch just one more video. I am definitely experiencing the feeling of missing out on something very cool or creative. I have mentioned in my previous post that I have restrictions set on my TikTok account since I share one with my daughter and my son likes to watch the videos as well. Sometimes I come across inappropriate songs or content, but I feel that it is not more than what kids are being exposed to on the various radio-, and tv stations.

I did want to know more about TikTok, so I went on their website to find out about the content that I miss out on for different reasons. In the newsroom, there are a number of articles highlighting some of the memorable TikTok moments, such as Charlie Puth seeking help from TikTok in coming up with the lyrics for one of the melodies he created. What I loved about this was, that many people collaborated and came up with creative content. It was quite successful and Charlie Puth did end up finding the right lyrics for his song. This was a great example for Digital Communication and Collaboration as well as Digital Etiquette, two of Mike Ribble’s 9 elements of digital citizenship.

Under TikTok shows heart on Valentine’s Day, I came across some valuable content, such as a recipe and tutorial for molten lava cake, as well as a TikTok showing great Digital Etiquette by addressing not only couples but single people as well, bringing a smile to everyone’s face on Valentin’s Day.

I also like the TikTok videos with the main focus on managing screen time. Obviously TikTok is aware of its addictive quality. What I appreciated about these recordings was that they are addressing one of Mike Ribble’s elements on digital citizenship by teaching Digital Health and Welfare.

There was still a missing piece I needed information on, the Digital Commerce. My main focus was looking into ways TikTok can be used to make money online. According to the article “How to make money from TikTok”, the #1 way is to become an influencer, that can lead to being approached by brands to showcase their products in your videos. I also came across an Instagram Marketer, Elise Darma who presents six ways to make money on TikTok:

  1. Growing a TikTok profile around a ‘niche topic’ then reaching out to brands and selling the account to them. This also means that the purchasing brand would have access to all those followers. I just wonder how this fits into the Digital Etiquette and the Digital Rights and Responsibility category?
  2. Going live and collecting donations from viewers. TikTok has a built in monetization, with the opportunity to buy coins.100 coins cost $1.39. Viewers can send coins to the creators of the videos, that the creators can turn into diamonds, converting them into cash through PayPal.
  3. Being part of influencer campaigns
  4. ADS platform, by signing up for TikTok ads
  5. Offering management services to creators
  6. Offering consulting services to boost their strategy to become TikTok famous

According to Elise Darma, another way business owners can make money from TikTok is to use it for growing an already existing business. She shares five creative ideas for TikTok videos that might be helpful for the world to get to know you and your business.

It seems that there is a lot more behind TikTok, than being a simple entertaining platform. I am looking forward to learning more about it and maybe experimenting with creating my own video. If I will ever be able to figure out how to make one. Lol

TikTok and Mike Ribble’s Nine Elements

My 8 and 11 year old kids are a big fan of TikTok, so I decided to look at a few apps, including TikTok as part of my Major Project. I downloaded the app and made an account, that my daughter and I share. Interestingly many of her friends are on TikTok posting videos, so I am not the only parent who agreed to this. Looking at this app more carefully, I learnt that it is a social network where people have the opportunity to record lip-syncing, share creations, create remixes, etc. It has cool filters, speed adjustment, duet function and music/sound. Watching several videos on TikTok, I certainly came across some very creative pieces, tutorials, funny videos, as well as recordings that I wasn’t sure of what their purpose was. I noticed that breaking news makes its way into TikTok as well. The death of Kobe Bryant was on TikTok for more than a week. I had a hard time watching those videos, since the content was very powerful and heartbreaking. I felt that youth throughout the world was mourning his death. At this point, I cannot say that I am for or against TikTok. What was shocking for me from the very beginning was the swearing and the sexual content. But is TikTok the only app where kids come across this? Luckily it has privacy and safety settings with the option to create a private account.

I looked at the 9 elements of digital citizenship developed by Mike Ribble regarding TikTok

  1. Digital Access: TikTok is an easy to access app, there is no account sign up required to view its content. My 8-year-old son has access to TikTok. Even though he cannot comment or post, he can still view the videos as long he has the app downloaded. My 11 years-old daughter and I share an account, or I could say I supervise her using my account. Since there are mixed reviews, this was the only way I felt comfortable of her being on Tiktok. 
  2. Digital commerce: I did not come across any information regarding this element. I am wondering if it is applicable to TikTok.
  3. Digital Communication and Collaboration: TikTok is being used for electronic exchange of information. People use short descriptions attached to their videos so the audience would understand the message. It is used to share creations, tutorials, bits of news, entertainment as well as for finding own voice and express self. 
  4. Digital Etiquette: When it comes to TikTok, it is important for people to remember to be cautious how they present themselves in front of the world. Since this app has an option to comment on each other’s posts, this is when raising responsible digital citizens is crucial. Teaching people to THINK (Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind?) before they post anything is the key.
  5. Digital Fluency: has a strong connection to digital etiquette. As Ribble described, the better educated or “digitally fluent” students are, the more likely the ones to make good decisions online, supporting others instead of making negative comments. Digital fluency also ties in with media literacy and the ability to differentiate reliable information from poor content. As Matteo mentioned, some of his students use TikTok as a source to learn about news. It certainly provides bits and pieces of breaking news, but do our students have the ability, skills, and knowledge to think critically when it comes to the news or they fall for the ‘fake news’ as well?
  6. Digital Health and Welfare: I just downloaded the TikTok app not long ago, and just as Matteo said, if I don’t set a time limit, I end up spending hours a day watching TikTok videos. It is almost addicting. Most of the videos are short, vibrant, sometimes funny, or creative, sometimes super sad. If I am having such a hard time keeping a balanced approach when it comes to this app, how do we expect our kids and students to do so?
  7. Digital Law: Setting a private account is crucial to be able to avoid anybody being able to text. Cyberbullying and sexting can still be an issue in within the circle of youth.
  8. Digital Rights and Responsibility: this is a crucial element of being a responsible digital citizen. We need to teach our students to be diligent when using Social Media, raising critical thinkers to be able to identify potential problems as well as be brave to inform adults of problems they come across. This way they can protect themselves and others. 
  9. Digital Security and Privacy: It is important to teach our students to respect their privacy by being careful with the information they share through their TikTok videos and comments. 

Looking at the 9 elements of this widely used app made me look at it more critically. I think a similar activity would be useful for students to do as a class, to raise critical thinkers when it comes to Social Media.

Major Project Update #2 – Through the lens of Ribble’s 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship

In this week’s class we took a closer look  at Mike Ribble’s 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship. I have summarized my learning below:

  1. Digital Access – This element refers to who has equitable access to technology, and the possibilities for removing barriers to access to technology.
  2. Digital Commerce – This element involves understanding the benefits and risks to buying and selling online goods.
  3.  Digital Communication and Collaboration – This element includes the digital exchange or sharing of information. Specifically having students understand the messages that are being communicated to them, and evaluating their own communication and collaboration.
  4.  Digital Etiquette – A Set of standards for communication and conduct in online spaces.
  5.  Digital Fluency/ Literacy – It is most often assumed that as so called “Digital Natives” students are digitally literate simply because they can interact with technology easily. Digital Literacy involves Media Literacy and the practiced capacity to discern legitimate sources from false or misleading ones.
  6. Digital Health and Welfare – This element refers to a person’s physical and psychological well being as citizen of a digital world. For example for our students’ ability to balance the media messaging they receive while tending to their own identity formation.
  7. Digital Law – This element refers to both an understanding of sharing and crediting online content correctly, as well as adherence to the rules of online participation in a way that does not put others at risk of harm.
  8. Digital Rights and Responsibility – The rights and freedoms all participants in digital technology are entitled to, as well as a student’s responsibility to flag or report conduct that infringes on other’s rights.
  9. Digital Security and Privacy – Taking the proper precautions to protect oneself online including the protection of private information and data.

From here Ribble’s Elements are often categorized into three themes, Respect, Educate, Protect.

Image via Digital Citizenship Education for Saskatchewan Schools

I feel as though my project would primarily fall under the “Educate” Area. Most specifically the Digital Communication and Digital Literacy Elements.

Digital Communication – Since the main goal of the project is to raise awareness for the Michif Language in general, communicating a clear, and positive message regarding Métis culture and language is essential. If the idea is to reach and educate an audience beyond the classroom, then the communication must also include a participatory component.

Digital Fluency/Literacy – This project aims to raise awareness and educate, therefore all of the information I share via twitter and my final resource will need to be accurate.

Since I have found in my own experience there to be a lack of resources regarding the Métis culture I have struggled to find supplemental resources to use in the creation of this project that were reliable, and most importantly – that I have been able to verify. Thus far, I have relied upon the Gabriel Dumont Institute Michif Dictionary – and a local Métis Elder to then cross reference the words or make changes. This process has taken far longer to verify everything before I post than I had imagined, however it is only underscored the importance of this element for me when it comes to all teaching I do regarding Digital Citizenship.

PS: Check out the Wakelet I am currently building in conjunction with this project!

Which elements have been an important consideration for you in your projects?

Major Project Update #1 -Social Activism, Easier said than Done?

After much preliminary research, and a whole lot of falling down the digital rabbit hole of social media campaigns it has turned out that a social activism project is easier said than it is done.

That is to say, an authentic, and meaningful campaign seems to require more than good intentions, and a strong belief that the work is important.

I would be lying to say I am not at all worried that my project choice was too idealistic.

What I have discovered has led me to make some changes to my plan. Firstly, when talking about Social Media Activism it’s important to note that is a term of course deriving from Social Activism which is:

“Social activism refers to a broad range of activities which are beneficial to society or particular interest groups. Social activists operate in groups to voice, educate and agitate for change, targeting global crises”.

Shahla Ghobadi

In a world that is more connected than ever, it is of course only natural that people of traditionally marginalized groups are turning to social media platforms as a medium of expressing their agency and advocacy. In many places, the approach is working to affect change or at very least, cause a conversation.

“From #Metoo, #TimesUp and #WeStrike to #NeverAgain and #BlackLivesMatter, social activists wield the power of the internet to pressure powerful organizations.”

Shahla Ghobadi

 While it’s true that social media can generate a high level of engagement with a topic, it’s also proven a useful tool in the anonymity it provides. This anonymity can sometimes act as a cover for individuals to voice opinions they might otherwise stay silent about. For instance as the 2019 Protests in Hong Kong demonstrate, even in societies in which a government controls much of the media narrative – social media and networking sites, as well as apps traditionally meant for another purpose can be useful tools in expressing dissent. The Hong Kong protesters most notably using the dating app Tinder or the popular game Pokémon Go to organize, gather and exchange tips on how to evade the police.

On the other side of the research is of course the two largest concerns with Social Media Activism.

-The ability to disengage with issues more easily by creating the illusion of activism

-The unintended consequences of Social Activism

To the first point, I will be the first to admit that when it comes to Social Media I am happy to throw out a like, or even repost something I see that relates to a social justice issue I care about. Occasionally for me this even translates to a donation, like to the Onaman Collective or actual volunteer hours like those that I do with the Cosmopolitan Learning Center here in Regina. But the vast majority of my online presence includes support in the form of a click.

“In the land of social media, the position of “armchair activist” is open to all. You can change your profile picture to raise awareness, share videos and articles and keep in touch with charities by liking their pages. Making a difference seems pretty easy in the digital age. But is your contribution any deeper than a click? It’s easy to click, but just as easy to disengage.”

Rosalie Tostevin

So while the Twitter based portion of my Social Activism Project focused on the TRC would account for the “awareness raising” aspect of Social Activism, there is a relatively good chance it would only mostly likely amplify the voices of those who are already engaged and not do much to tug others out of their metaphorical armchairs.

For this reason I have decided to work on something more unique to my interests and my purpose.

While my students and I have already started our journey into 100 Days of Cree (we are on Day 36), I have noticed that generally my tweets and shares do not usually echo beyond the community already taking part in the project. This could be because such comprehensive resources already exist when it comes to the project, including the book and PowerPoint mentioned in my previous post.

Therefore I have begun work on creating a Month of Michif resource that can accompany the Cree language program, while targeting a different marginalized community (the Métis ) and creating a resource for a language I find more difficult to find accurate teaching materials for. My hope is by specifying my focus on a different culture the initiative will stand apart, as well as I will have (as a Métis person myself) a more authentic approach to the project. You’ll find weekly updates on this each Monday on my Twitter or by following the #MichifMondays hashtag.

To the second issue with Online Activism, research conducted by The Conversation UK states that most of the Social Media Activism based messaging was largely reactive and emotive with the intent of virality to reach and mobilize as many people as possible.

While the information may still well be true and vital, the emotive response of those it reaches does little beyond invoking an outraged share or like. Shahla Ghobadi suggests that those seeking to take part in social media based activism instead spend more time creating and sharing information that helps to educate people on the underlying causes of a problem.

“Instead of focusing on the problem and the need for change, activists can share information that explains why and how the current situation has been created and what can be learned for the future. Online activism in such manner can gradually lead to the development of people who are capable of generating new knowledge and wisdom to respond to changing social environments.”

Shahla Ghobadi

It was this last quote that caused me to feel the first small sense of relief I have had in a while.

I do believe that meaningful social strategies that are reconciliatory in nature are urgent and important for many reasons, I believe that any awareness raising campaign that involves Indigenous Language Learning will eventually lend itself to building the capacity of both marginalized and non-marginalized groups to advocate for change in our current social environments.

Since intentional and explanatory information sharing seem to be the key to Online Activism that is meant to have an effect beyond emotional and reactionary responses, I have arrived at component number 2 to my major project – resource creation and sharing.

To accompany each week with the language sharing component on Social Media I will also share lesson plans with curricular connections here on the website that will eventually form a “Month of Michif” shareable PowerPoint, much like the “100 Days of Cree”.

Please follow along on this journey at #MichifMondays! Until next time,