Back to the Future

Is Social Media ruining childhood?

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When we look at the past generations we can see that the generation before it always believes that the next “big thing” is ruining their childhood? Weren’t we taught that different isn’t always bad? Can’t this generation have different interests without believing that their childhood is ruined? We can’t use a time machine and travel to the future, so why do we judge the current lifestyle based on the past?

Kids today have been born into a fast-paced ever-changing world where being innovative and adaptable are must have skills. We are connected and accessible ALL of the time and instead of only knowing what is happening in your own neighbourhood, we can now view the lives of the famous and unfamous through Social Media apps like Snapchat, YouTube etc. One could argue that this generation is more connected with the happenings in the world than the generations of the past.

Now on the flip side of this is the argument that if the youth of today are using too much Social Media then what are they missing? I feel like this is where the comparison of what “used to be” comes into play….when I grew up we played outside more….we used to play board games as a family…..etc. The Agree side of the debate would say that Social Media is directly related to Cyberbullying on the rise.  Cyberbullying: Identification, Prevention &  Response has some good ideas on how parents can monitor their child’s Social Media better. I also questioned during the discussion about where students are developing their self-worth. Are they comparing themselves to unrealistic “role models” online who are affecting their self-esteem?

This article about the hot topics in Edtech reveals that Digital Citizenship is changing and instead of the focus being on warning students about risks online the idea is how to help students to use the “power of digital media to work toward creation, social justice and equity”: Shelly describes in her post Uncharted Territory about how her students are finding their voice on Social Media to seek advocacy with issues that are important to them. I loved hearing about how today’s youth are not only embracing Social Media but using it to evoke change.

What do you think, is Social Media ruining childhood or has childhood changed with the times?

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To share or not to share?

Didn’t we all learn at a young age to share?

When is it NOT the right thing to do?

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Well in this week’s debate the teams presented their arguments For or Against “Openness and sharing in our schools is unfair to our kids”. I have thought about this topic before as I have had a “Class Blog” for the past few years where I would post photos of students during various activities at school in order for parents to see what was happening in our class. This article shared from the “Agree” side brings up some ideas about the ownership of the photos that teachers or even parents are taking at school events. My school division requires us to get a “Media Release” signed by the parents of our students but does that document cover ALL of the possible ways that “Media” is being used on a daily basis? Who has the right to share images or the work without the actual owners’ permission? When do we ask students if they want us to post it?

This also made me think about if we have the right to build a students’ digital footprint without getting their permission? This article shared from the “Disagree” side had some great tips on how to create a positive digital identity online. From knowing your rights to modelling appropriate online behaviour with your students. This sounds easy enough, right? I think what educators really need to consider is the purpose of posting the picture. What is it they want parents(or the rest of the world) to know about their classroom or their teaching philosophy? Are they posting this for educational purposes? Are we using “Social Media” to increase our own notoriety? Next time you are about to post something, ask yourself why?

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As the increase of sharing apps like Remind or Seesaw have become more popular, this has changed my philosophy on the sharing of photos and information. I feel that apps like Remind or Seesaw have improved the privacy with it being a closed group and parents signing in making it a more secure way of sharing photos(if that’s possible).

The bottom line is that I see many benefits to sharing photos, information etc. in some manner with parents and I also feel that things like having a class Twitter account, which doesn’t need to include photos necessarily can help build global connections which is important in the world that we live in today.

What are your thoughts on sharing and openness in schools?

 

Do we worry about teaching more than learning?

How can we switch educators mindsets from “What am I teaching today?” to “What are my students going to learn today?” And “How can students SHOW what they have learned in their own individual way?” According to this article shared with us after the debate last night, “traditional education focuses on teaching not learning.” The article suggests instead of “teaching” we could use the phrase “explainers of something to someone who wants to find out more about it” which at the core of learning is “how to make links between my mind and another’s”. This was a cool way of thinking about teaching which is exactly what I try to do every day in math-explain it to my students in a way that they can relate to and would make sense to them. I have never thought about teaching that way before. We are not just passing on the knowledge we are the conductors of the “meeting of the minds”.

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What should students really be learning in schools anyway? If we can “Google” it then why do we need to learn it? Well, I think it is the concept of “learning” itself that we should be encouraging our students on “how to think” not “what to think”. I mean the actual process of Inquiry. How many educators actually teach the skills students to need to encourage curiosity, creativity and problem-solving? The question is not “What do you know” but rather “How will you discover that?” or “Why does that work that way?” If the answers to our questions are always at our fingertips,(literally) then how can we, as educators, encourage and nurture the idea of being curious about the world and how to create and solve their own questions? Learning should not be imposed on students but should be “largely the responsibility of the students themselves”, according to Ackoff and Greenberg. Are classrooms reflecting self-directed learning today or are we confined to teaching the content we need to cover in the curriculum?

I agree with Kyla’s Blog Post that students need to learn more about the “real world” and I like her idea of adding “Financial Literacy” to the curriculum. I think if students were problem solving with scenarios this would give math a more real-life context. It would be a great addition to learning math skills and career education at a much younger age.

What are your thoughts on what and how we teach our students in the world today?

 

 

Tech Impacts Learning

Does technology impact learning? Are there advantages and disadvantages of using tech? YES!! I LOVE using technology in Math, Science, Health, any subject but are my students learning the skills they will need for the future?

It was pretty hard for me to DISAGREE with the fact that technology has an impact on learning when it really goes against what I value in education but I found some very interesting information that supported this side of the debate. This article Tablets Out, Imagination In about how the people who work for the tech companies send their own children to schools without tech was pretty eye-opening. Why would they not want their children to learn in an environment that utilizes the latest apps and devices? The article states that they believe in experiential learning that promotes creativity, problem-solving and innovative thinking skills. I do believe that all of the screen time that students are getting between home and school has an impact on the social skills that students need to practice and develop. The article also stated that the education systems that heavily invested in computers saw “no noticeable improvement” in their results for a reading, writing and math assessment. Now I am not a fan of assessments but I wonder what tool is out there that measures student’s growth in preparing them for the future?

Then my research happened upon this video by technology author Nicholas Carr, who wrote a book on this topic entitled “The Shallows”. I learned some interesting facts about the brain like the fact that we are overloading our short-term memory with all the multi-tasking we are doing and we are not transferring knowledge into our long-term memory where deep, reflective thinking happens. I can relate to this myself because I feel like I am constantly doing 3, 4, 5 things all at once but is all of this multitasking making me smarter? A Stanford Study mentioned in the video reported that heavy multitaskers did poorly on six cognitive function tests. It also stated that the more we are attracted to the latest “bits” of information the less we worry about how trivial it is. Are we teaching our students how to filter what they are reading on their devices?

I do agree with this article provided by the AGREE side of the debate that technology does encourage all students to participate and it is useful to differentiate and personalize the needs of students. I use Google Classroom with my own students which has been a great organization tool and gives me the opportunity to provide instant feedback on their assignments. I also use the app Remind to communicate with parents, which I LOVE!! I have always been passionate about technology and I will continue to look for new innovative ways to use tech to enhance the learning in my own classroom. What are your thoughts on this topic?

Concluding Contemplation

Final thoughts on Final Project:

You Video, I Video, WeVideo!!

What is WeVideo you ask??

Well, it is an interactive tool where you can record and edit your own videos. OH ok, how can I use this in the classroom?

Kids these days look up to “YouTubers” as role models and I wondered how I could tap into this kind of learning to engage my students in a safe, online way? Well, let’s just say I am not ready for my own YouTube channel BUT I am having fun making my own videos which Regina Public Schools has a license for. The videos are saved in my Google Drive and can be shared with my students via Google Classroom-love that feature!!

Here is a quick video that explains how to use WeVideo.

I made a series of videos for math with each one on a particular multiplication strategy. I love how easy it was to edit, add music and transitions to the video. My students LOVED watching me on video and this was something I will definitely try to use in other subject areas.

Check it out:

I also discussed how I used the app EDpuzzle in this post “Exploration of EDPuzzle” to assess student understanding while watching videos. This blog EdTech Awesomeness (love the name) highlights how you can use this tool to:

  • flip your classroom
  • differentiate your instruction
  • encourage creativity and mastery of content
  • engage learners instead of being passive consumers of information

I would recommend trying this to any teacher in elementary or high school as you can control how difficult you make the content.

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I chose both of these apps based on the ability to integrate them with the Learning Management System that I already use-Google Classroom. I am mindful of how much we are asking students to access with all the different tech tools available and I LOVED that both of these apps were easily accessible to my students through their “home base” that they were already familiar with.

The final piece of my project was starting a classroom Twitter account which I discuss the beginnings of in this earlier post. I expected all my parents to be excited about this new communication tool but was met with some resistance and concerns. This mostly stemmed from students pictures online and the fear of online bullying which after we discussed what my intentions were, their initial concerns were eliminated. I can see the potential for connecting with other classrooms and experts around the world and agree with Jana’s post “Going Global!” that in today’s world we must show our students how to connect globally. I can see the great potential of using this tool to connect to others and wanted to empower my students to find their own voice to create their own tweets. This is definitely an ongoing project that needs modelling by the teacher and encouragement(and reminders) for the students that their thoughts or questions are worth sending out to the world. I plan on continuing this project for the rest of this year and hope we make some new connections with other classrooms and individuals from around the world.

This old gal did learn some new tricks and going forward I will continue to add to my “tech toolbox.”

EC & I 832 that’s a wrap!!

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Learning new tech skills, was it Mission Impossible?

I have really appreciated the support that this group of classmates has given each other both through your comments on the blogs or on Google +. This course has not only educated me about the topics of Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy but has also pushed me to be a creator online, not just a consumer.

My Summary of Learning includes some highlights from this course in a “Mission Impossible” style that I hope you will enjoy!! It is really hard to sum up in only 5 minutes the many topics that we have covered and the relentless hours exploring new technology. SO here I have included some of the highlights for me. I used Google Slides to create the visuals and Screencastify to record. Check it out:

 

 

Exploration of EDpuzzle

I love to use videos to engage my students and have used KidsHealth videos when learning about “Body Systems” in Science class before but was searching for a way that I can make them more interactive.

Enter EDpuzzle 

This app makes “videos into lessons” by enabling you to crop videos and insert questions to check for understanding. Our next body system in Science was the Nervous System so I found the video that I usually use via YouTube and created 5 questions for students to respond to which included a True/False question, a multiple choice question, and an open-ended question.

Here is a short video explaining EDPuzzle:


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The students were not only engaged in this task but actually said they preferred this assignment independently rather than watching it as a whole class. The feedback from students included: “I liked that it was easier to watch it on my own and having questions during the video instead of after so that you don’t forget at the end”. and “It was better to use my headphones on my own so I could listen to the information better”.

The results are even scored for you if you select a correct answer but you can score the open-ended answers yourself. Here’s an example of how I could see my students answers:

Oh and if you are a Google Classroom user than you will LOVE that assignments can be posted to your account for students to easily access. This is a great feature and one of the reasons I chose this app for my final project.

When reviewing the Privacy Policy I found this information interesting:

How does Edpuzzle use the information it collects?

First and foremost, you should know that Edpuzzle does not sell or rent any of your, or your student’s, personal information to any third party for any purpose – including for advertising or marketing purposes. We use the information we collect from you to provide you with the best Edpuzzle experience. More specifically, this information is used to:

  • Provide and improve the Service, for example by developing new products and features
  • Respond to your requests for information or customer support
  • Customize the Service for you, and improve your experience with it
  • Send you information about new features and Edpuzzle products we believe you may be interested in
  • Most crucially, to protect our community by making sure the Service remains safe and secure

We use automatically collected information (described in the “Information collected automatically” section above) to provide and support our Service, and for the additional uses described in this section of our Privacy Policy.

Can I opt-out of providing information

You can always decline to share personal information with us, or even block all cookies. However, it’s important to remember that many of Edpuzzle’s features may not be accessible, or may not function properly.

Although I don’t like the idea of an app collecting information about the user or your use of the app, I do see the value of companies using the information to improve their product.

How do you use videos in your classroom? Will you try EDpuzzle to improve your lessons?

What’s your Superpower?

Hey you………yeah you!! If you are reading this then you are using your media literacy skills!! Right now you are probably thinking should I read the rest of this, is this going to be worth my time, will the information be valuable or even reliable, who wrote this, is this based on opinion or fact? These are all very good questions to ask yourself while you are “deconstructing” the information you are reading. According to Andrea Quijada in this TEDx Talk, “once students know how to deconstruct media, they have gained a superpower”. As educators, we need to encourage our students to think critically about the media they are experiencing in their everyday lives.

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What IS media literacy you ask? Well, this article suggested by Erin, not only explains WHAT it is but also WHY it is important. We all are users and consumers of different kinds of media that are all around us but you can’t believe everything you read, watch, or hear so asking questions while your brain is receiving information is a skill that needs to be taught and practiced.

How do we explore this topic with our students? Dani suggested this video would be a great place to start:

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What are other ways that we can be “literate” in this world? Well, beyond being media literate, physically literate or even mathematically literate, I think we also learn to be “socially literate” by learning some social cues like taking turns and giving people personal space. Anyone remember this guy?

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As educators, we know that increasing our students’ skills in media literacy is important to navigate through their journey in life. What are you doing to build media literacy superpowers?

Twitter Time

Part of my Project for this course was to implement a classroom Twitter account. We have had the last few weeks on Twitter and have added a few more followers and a couple tweets(1 from a student and 1 from me) but my students need reminders that they can be writing “tweets” on the forms I have provided them in our class. Give us a follow here.

Our latest tweet:

We have had some feedback from a parent that did not want their child learning about social media at a young age so I have been cognizant of their wishes. Unfortunately, that means that I haven’t been promoting student involvement as much as I would like to. I would like students to utilize this as a resource to “ask an expert” on a topic they may be studying about either in curriculum or genius hour topics. I would also like to connect more with other classrooms both in Regina and around the world. Should we host some sort of classroom “tweet up”?? What sort of planning and organization would that include? I know there are not many classrooms at my current school with an account and wonder how we can encourage teachers to try something new? How do you share your enthusiasm with your colleagues without them feeling like it is one more thing added to their already full plates?

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Do you have any ideas how to use Twitter in the classroom to empower and engage my students in learning Media Literacy through this kind of communication tool?

Know Your Role

When reflecting on the role of schools in teaching Digital Citizenship, I wonder IF it is even being taught? How many educators are not aware of the policy planning guide from Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Education that Krista discusses in her blog post called “It takes a Village to Raise Digital Citizens!” I could not agree more with the idea of educators playing a major role in teaching students how to be more equipped with the skills to be safe online but what resources are being utilized and is there consistency from grade to grade?

Where can educators look for resources?

Common Sense Education is a great place to start!!

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It is time for Digital Citizenship to be weaved throughout curriculums so lessons aren’t just a “one-off” and will have a greater impact on student online behaviour. This article includes ideas for educators to incorporate on a daily basis. We need to be role models and lead by example so students can not only relate to what is online but also to respect it.

In addition, Google has made resources on how to be safe online with their “Be Internet Awesome” site which includes an online interactive Interland game. My students recently played the game and were very engaged and at the same time, learning how to be smarter online. Check out how to play:

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Teaching Media Literacy is also important for our 21st Century Learners. I agree with Dr Rob Williams in this TedTalk that “we can define Media Literacy Education with 4 action verbs: access, analyze, evaluate and produce”. How can we incorporate these into learning about online behaviour?  Finding good resources(like those mentioned above) and using them for our students to become critical thinkers is the role that teachers need to fulfil.

What resources do you use to teach Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy?