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?

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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?

No WiFi?!?! No Hay Probelma

Have you ever taken a digital break from all social media apps, emails etc?? How did it make you feel…..anxious, less connected to your friends or even the world?? Well I just spent the last week in Mexico and WiFi was not included so instead of paying $55 USD per device my husband and I decided to take this time to be disconnected on our devices.

I totally understand that this is much easier to do while on vacation surrounded by your new surroundings and occupying your time with eating, swimming and beach activities. The only use I had for my phone was for music, as a camera and as a clock(which I rarely cared what time it was). So I  reflect on how I felt being disconnected and if it had an impact on my routines after returning home.

Travelling with another family meant we spent a lot of time together and I didn’t even have time to watch TV!! That’s right…..no news, no Survivor, no “This is Us” episode(although I knew this would be recorded at home). While I felt that I really wasn’t informed with the current happenings in the world, I also felt like “ignorance was bliss” and considered what do I really need to to know that would impact my life right now?

Our friends did pay for WiFi and when we asked what they were using it for, they replied with playing an online golf game, Candy Crush and checking/updating Facebook.  I am not on Facebook but I am on Instagram and as I was taking pictures of my family throughout the week I thought about posting them later on Insta(which I still haven’t). I later found out after returning home that our circle of friends knew about some events-like the kids decorating cakes in their chef hats-before I was able to tell them about it. Who has the right to disclose the events in your life? My friend never asked my permission to post any pictures that may have included myself or my children on Facebook so who can control their own “Digital Identity” when others could be? Should moments in your life be kept to yourself and not posted? Does that make them more or less special?

SO has this “Digital Break” had an impact on my daily life after returning home? Will I stop watching TV?? Of course not!! Am I more aware that I am using my phone to “check out” instead of relaxing or being present with my family-YES!! After checking my email and finding almost 100 emails where there was about 4 that were important, do I need to reduce or unsubscribe from a lot of them-YES!! Even looking at who I follow on Instagram and Twitter makes me want to question-what the purpose of following them is, do our needs change over time and do we need to have a “Digital Detox” to refresh our Digital Identity? What do you think?

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Learning to Fly

When I told my class we were starting a classroom Twitter account, they were VERY excited!! I showed them their current school account, as well as my own, and gave them a few pointers about what “followers”, “retweets” and “likes” meant(they seemed to be well versed on what “hashtags” mean). We decided to use a name that identifies us that you are welcome to check us out YQRClassroom @MYVI2018 but SPOILER ALERT we haven’t “tweeted” anything yet. In the following weeks I plan on encouraging their ownership by giving them opportunities to write the tweets. This may be a question they have or comment about what we are learning with the intention of linking to the Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship focusing on communication, literacy and etiquette. I will be leading the tweeting so to speak. If you are new to Twitter this website can give you the basics Twitter 101.

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Next up on my exploration of Social Media apps, I decided to ask my students what apps they currently use. A few mentioned Snapchat but the most common app was YouTube. At first I even questioned if YouTube was even a “Social Media” app but after further investigation, I discovered that it sure is!!

How do I use YouTube as a platform to engage the learners in my classroom? I already use videos in Math and Science but I have never created anything myself. Well, the first thing I did was search for videos that could help me out. This video that I found from Edutopia explains the basics of how to use YouTube but I am left with questions about how I can create videos that will have an impact on learning. Well I now have a direction……find the tools that will help me CREATE my own videos on YouTube. How do I do that?!?! Further investigation and probably some bumps in the road are anticipated. I guess I am “learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings”(Ode to Tom Petty RIP).

To Be or Not to Be? That is the Question for Education Today

The world is changing……A LOT!! How is that going to impact the next 20-30-40 years?? The answer is…..we don’t know!!

SO how do we prepare our students for a world that we are not sure what it is going to look like or even need? Well I feel that my job as an educator is to prepare my students for anything. They need to be able to have the skills and the confidence to diversify.

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This article has some ideas about what will be Shaping the Future of Education in 20 years that I agree with: students will learn at different times and places, more choice, personalized learning and ownership of their own projects and learning, as well as, assessments that reflect ways of applying their knowledge.

I believe that as long as parents need to go to a workplace then students will need to go to a school but what happens in that building will look very different. Teachers responded with more creativity and classrooms looking like a makerspace according to the article What’s the Future of Education?  I do believe that education can happen from anywhere but what will society lose if we decrease the face-to face social interactions that our students currently have on a daily basis?

Which leads me to think about common values, that I believe(and hope), will never change; like showing empathy and compassion. Will we lose the ideals about “waiting your turn” and “treat others the way you want to be treated”? These continue to be important building blocks for interpersonal skills so if most of the interacting students will do in the future will be online, what impact will that have on society?

After all that discussion about what could possibly change or stay the same, I ask the question: Will schools BE the place where students develop their skills for the future or NOT BE because education has a difficult time evolving?

Visitor or Resident??

 

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I must admit something……..I was born in the 70’s, that’s right-I’m THAT old!! Which means according to David White’s video Visitors or Residents, I am a visitor which I actually do agree with. I use technology as a tool to find something or accomplish a task. I do not feel that I have an online identity(although I am building one here).

I still remember when I was around 12 years old, my Dad brought home our first ever computer which was used more like a word processor. The typing was only one color-green and when you printed your writing out the printer had a roll of paper with perforated holes on each side that you had to tear off.  It was only 4 years later that I started my first email account(which I still have) and began searching for information on the “World Wide Web”. So does that make me a “Digital Immigrant” to the current generation of “Digital Natives”?

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That’s right I grew up in the age of the “Cabbage Patch Kids”-the original ones!!

I agree that the description in the PBS Idea Channel video about growing up with more access to technology doesn’t mean they are versed in the facts of how they function. I also think that your attitude and motivation to learn about technology can have an impact on how “intelligent” you are in it, or as Prensky would say Digital Wisdom but the facts are the facts-my generation did not grow up having an online identity.

So how does this affect me as an educator? I used to try to be in touch with the latest trends in technology and I could teach my students something new but in the last few years, I know I am not keeping up(and who can these days) and it’s my students who are now showing me digital trends.  I agree with Logan, when he discusses important points from Prensky that education and teachers in particular need to evolve and listen to their students in order to create 21st century citizens who think more and create products to show their understanding. I am hoping this course will enlighten this “guest” to bridge the gap closer to it’s “citizens”.

Final Project Proposal

I have seriously been thinking about what to do for my final project all week. The hard part is not thinking of an idea, for I have had plenty of those, but rather narrowing it down and deciding what options you are going to put your time and energy into.

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This had me thinking about what I am currently doing and where I can improve. Everything I plan and create usually falls under the window of increasing student engagement which led me to thinking about my use of Google Classroom I have been using it but haven’t added to it to utilize the full capabilities of this Learning Management System

SO for the first part of my “Personal Journey Into Media” project I would like to explore apps that can be integrated with Google Classroom for educational purposes. This article includes quite a few possibilities and I will have to narrow it down after further investigation.

The second part of my project will incorporate how to build “Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy” through a class Twitter account. I plan on creating the account to increase parent communication and to empower my students by using the account to model appropriate online behavior while connecting with other classrooms both locally and globally.

What do you think? Have any advice for me?

Social Media: Are we more connected or less connected?

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For my first Blog post for my EC&I 832 course, I ask the question are social media options helping us to be more or less connected?

I have at times felt more in touch with friends from afar by sharing photos on Instagram about what is happening in our lives, but have also felt lonely while looking at pictures of people I don’t even know who are having a more exciting Saturday night than I was. A study in this article found that social media is making us feel lonelier.

Then there are ways we are building connections like the time I used Twitter to connect with a Meteorologist to ask what kinds of clouds were in the sky while learning about Weather and was answered minutes later. This was unimaginable at the beginning of my teaching career(which gives you an indication of how long I’ve been at it). To be able to access experts from around the world is definitely making our classroom more global.

This article has some good points about how social media has changed the way we communicate and how social media is evolving to try to provide more meaningful human experiences. In this ever-changing digital world that we live in, what will they think of next? How will they tap into our emotions or senses to give us real life connections?

What do you think? Is social media making you feel more or less connected with others?