I can! Sort of.
I do have some experience teaching and learning coding in Internship using code.org. It isn't as daunting as it may seem! There are even unplugged coding activities to start with, and allows coding to be something that is more accessible to students. If I teach coding, unplugged activities will be what I use to introduce the idea to my students.
I've seen Hour of Code is action, but haven't tried it myself. Today that changed.
I chose an option that my Grade 7 students would likely be interested in and Language Arts, as that is what I am interested in. I chose the activity called Responsible Consumption and Production, as this relates to Resources and Wealth in grade 7, our current Social Studies unit. See for yourself what coding is all about. This was my second attempt (the first it wasn't recording properly). This is just a short snippet of the hour of code.
From this short experience, I learned that transitioning from the tutorial to creating the code myself was intimidating! Each little button and step took a lot of thought. I really like that the options are colour coded. Each of the options on the left hand side show colours as the mouse scrolls over and the corresponding buttons match. This made it easier when I tried to copy the practice blocks. Colours and visual cues really help me, and would help any students.
Coding is more important, and useful, than it may appear on the surface. There's even articles written as to why every kid should learn code.
Coding is fun, but it also provides valuable skills. Skills from all over curriculum outcomes relate to coding and the learning process that comes from the experience. For younger students, math skills connect - problem solving, patterns, counting, visualization, spacial awareness, etc. For older students, math skills connect as well - graphing and coordinates, problem solving, 2-D relationships of lines and angles and adding and subtracting integers. Specific outcomes for grade 7, for example, can be found here.
English Language Arts is another strong curriculum connection to coding. Students of all ages can learn comprehension, practice reading and following procedural writing. Creative thinking and design is another skill.
Also, the approach that naturally comes from using code offers new learning to occur.
This approach mimics the reality of adulthood and prepares them.
If that doesn't convince you, the world of technology as our future is inevitable. The logical step would be to set students up for success who will be engulfed in that type of world even more than we have been. Computer programming especially is a 21st century skill that not many people have on their resume.
As well, if not for anything else, trying something new is always beneficial.
How have I contributed to the learning of others in EDTC300? Check out this google doc to see all of my Twitter posts, blog comments and Slack contributions throughout the semester, give or take a few (I'm only human and sometimes I forget to screenshot things).
My most significant Twitter posts are these:
I selected these for a few reasons. The tweet that tagged Debbie Silver (top left) was a Twitter live that I watched. She is an American author that I saw present at the Middle Years Conference in 2018, so when I saw that she was speaking live I needed to watch! This tweet got me a new follower, as you can see in the reply, as well as some activity to spread my digital identity a little more.
My next tweet (top right) was one that I personally was struggling with so I was searching for opinions from fellow educators. Even though this was left unsolved, Iram, a colleague in EDTC300 related to my tweet and left a comment. This expands both of our digital identities a little more.
As well, my response to Paige S's tweet (bottom left) offered reassurance and feedback as to what school divisions actually look for, and the meaning of marks in the long run. This response may have been different from a fellow undergrad, but I think experience helped me to support her with this challenge.
Lastly, my tweet that connected to the SAMR model, as we discussed in class, (bottom right) was another significant blog post because it signified to me that I really understood the SAMR model because I could apply it to something I stumbled upon in my own reading.
My most significant blog comments are these three from Nelly, Iram and Logan's blogs:
I feel that these comment offered enough encouragement as they did to push to dig deeper into what they wrote about. After my comment on Iran's blog (middle), she used the resource that I suggested. You can find out how she liked it in this blog post, which I was so happy to see that my suggestion contributed to her learning process.
My experiences, through university courses and teaching has contributed positively to group discussions with peers, as some were just beginning their undergraduate experiences. Additionally, participating in class discussions also provided my classmates with a new perspective or idea related to the conversation.
Digital literacy requires a lot more skills nowadays to be considered truly digitally literate. Identifying fake news and navigating the added dangers of it is becoming more and more difficult with technology. It's critical to students safety that they are taught how to identify fake news.
I think, to begin teaching this to students, choosing and knowing how news is presented to us online is important. Fake news, and the news and posts that are shown to us online is for a reason, and we consciously decide what news to choose, as this TedEd video suggests. As we discussed in class, our 'likes' and 'reactions' to Facebook content, just as one example, tailors the future content we see.
Using language skills and analyzing sources fits in with the English Language Arts curriculum, especially grade 7, as an example. Of course, this should be introduced much earlier, but grade 7 ELA is within my wheelhouse. The possibilities of ELA curriculum connections include: CR7.2, CR7.3, CR7.4, CR7.5, CR7.7.
Using strategies to confirm and investigate meaning of various types of text summarizes these outcomes very simply, which is the intent of ELA, and developing digital literacy. This opens new opportunities as the NCTE Framework states,
To introduce digital literacy skills , I would use a comic as a hook for students. For example, this comic would be a good example to start with for older students.
To continue to keep students engaged, I would utilize this website. Using this, students can use their experiences with social media to the test to analyze fake social media profiles.
Once students have background on identifying news that is false, I would use this website to spot fake headlines as a large or small group discussion.
Additionally, this interactive chart can allow students to search independently for media bias.
Often, I find that important topics such as this one is taught as a "one off" lesson or unit, and then it's put on the back burner. This is a resource that could be used weekly either individually, in small groups or as a whole class to reiterate the important of digital literacy.
All of these tools fit in with the outcomes linked above as they vary as text and media.
Once these skills are introduced, students can practice it in every subject using all types of texts;
The importance of digital literacy is apparent in today's world.
The expectation nowadays for this generation to have social media is reiterated by peers over and over again. The pressure is unavoidable. But even then, for those that indulge in the digital world, it seems as though that a person cannot have just one, perfect, well-rounded digital identity anymore. And, even if you could, someone would make it their mission to pick you apart. The digital world had given "a voice to the voiceless", as Ronson says, but not everyone on the internet deserves to have that voice. Now, everything appears on the internet. Everything stays. Good or bad. True or false. Proud or not.
[He] was on the floor then, and we were still kicking, and congratulating ourselves for punching up. - Jon Ronson
Jon Ronson discusses how the good or bad, proud or not digital moments can be held under a microscope for the entire world to see, even when you least suspect it. This type of experience impacted a young lady's future.
The hatred that Jon Ronson has heard of from his discussions with others, like the lady in the video, Justine Sacco, highlights the horrors that the strangers on social media can cause.
We're creating a surveillance society where the smartest way to survive to go back to being voiceless.
Ronson's quote also remains true with the use of social media and the image that we chose to portray. There is much more, for everyone, than what is shown on social media. This was especially true Madison Holleran. Read her story by clicking the image below.
As surprising as this story is for readers, it was also surprising toMadison Holleran's friends and family. The life and persona that Madison's digital identity had taken on, was vastly different from her true identity. Here they share their own unfiltered life stories.
The persona that social media portrays is carefully curated by user. To look into this, I cybersleuthed a colleague from EDTC 300 as an example of a professional digital identity and to explore the persona that people chose to put online. The experience of being asked to do this was strange at first.
Nelly Zepeda is a very common name, which I hadn't expected to find when I began my search. There are several Nelly Zepedas online. One of the Nelly Zepedas that I found even works at Walt Disney World! It seemed tough to know which Nelly was the one that I was searching for. However, the detail that assures me when I've found the correct Nelly from this course is the one that loves Math. Not just anyone would say that, but a passionate teacher would! I would say that Nelly undershares personal information and shares an appropriate amount of professional information based on what I found, and didn't find about her in my cybersleuth exploration.
In this day and age, our digital world is everywhere. The impacts are large. In fact, "The IRL Fetish" highlights the changes that technology and digital citizenship has had on students in terms of exchanging face to face communication for online interactions, and even intermingling our real and online worlds. There are no longer two separate spaces.
Due to this reality, the importance of addressing all aspects of digital usage is imperative, in and out of schools.
Already, the Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship play a large role in Saskatchewan's digital citizenship initiatives, but specifics of how to incorporate digital citizenship in with the Saskatchewan curriculum is imperative to plan for.
Here is the suggested Digital Citizenship Continuum for K-12 as it aligns with the Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship.
And, here are my suggestions, specifically for grade 7 in accordance with the Saskatchewan Curriculum.
For ease of use, I've included each of the nine elements, a question that explains the corresponding element and curriculum connections for most of the elements. I’m open to hearing what suggests you have to connect these pieces!
Is this really a good time to use technology?
DM7.8 Examine and demonstrate personal commitment in making health decisions related to blood-borne pathogen information, safety practices, harmonious relationships, food choices, interpersonal skills, and morality.
a. Determine the benefits of using a decision-making process.
Students can weigh the pros and cons of using technology at appropriate vs. inappropriate times and describe each type of situation.
Where is the digital divide regarding access to internet and technology?
IN7.3 Analyze the relationship of technology to globalization.
c. Develop an argument that addresses the impact of technology and globalization on
Students can research areas of Saskatchewan, Canada, and internationally that do not have access to internet or technology. The digital divide can lead into conversations and further research of under developed areas in our world, and the affects this has on globalization.
How do you contribute to a positive digital footprint?
DM7.9 Examine health opportunities and challenges to establish personal commitment goal statements related to... safety practices, harmonious relationships... interpersonal skills, and morality.
a. Propose health opportunities and challenges related to each unit of study.
Encouraging students to use social media and other online platforms to post positive pieces can contribute to a positive digital footprint. Using real examples of students who misused their online platforms and experienced negative after affects may put the importance of this element into perspective.
Misinformation vs. Disinformation - what's what?
CR7.4 View and demonstrate comprehension and interpretation of visual and multimedia texts with specific features (e.g., circle graphs) and complex ideas including the visual components of media such as magazines, newspapers, websites, reference books, graphic novels, broadcast media, videos, and promotional materials.
b. View critically to understand and analyze opinions and messages presented in visual and multimedia texts.
Students can use their learned skills to analyze various texts online to determine what is misinformation vs. disinformation. This will help them to make more informed decisions in their future.
In what ways are students being manipulated online by marketers?
CR7.7 Read independently and demonstrate comprehension of a variety of specialized information texts including non-fiction books, grade-level instructional materials, articles, reports, reference materials, instructions, advertising and promotional materials, and websites.
Digital Rights and Responsibilities
Digital Health and Wellness
What platforms are causing negative effects on students' well-being?
USC7.1 Establish and use strategies to commit to and act upon personal standards (see grade 6) for various aspects of daily living over which an individual has control.
d. Examine factors (both positive and negative) that influence one's commitment to
Digital Safety and Security
What online platforms are safe? How do we ensure students are safe when they are online?
Hackers, student data protected, vulnerability - what not to do to be hacked
Free things online don't exist - marketing tactics - Facebook, Google
DM7.9 Examine health opportunities and challenges to establish personal commitment goal statements related to... safety practices.
c. Determine strategies of commitment necessary to meet individual goals.
Students may choose a goal related to keeping themselves safe online. For example, educating their parents about tips for safe digital use, or setting and protecting strong passwords.
Outside of the curriculum, parent digital citizenship could also be a potential idea for school boards to consider hosting. As we know, students do not only use technology at home or only at school, therefore, our students' experiences online, posting or otherwise, are not forgotten at the classroom door.
How do/would you achieve teaching the Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship in your classroom?
Technology is the face of the future, as many say.
In elementary school, we were lucky enough to have laptop carts that were shared among other classrooms. There were desktops to use in the library, which were not available for every student, and could only be used during scheduled library times. In high school, laptop carts and library desktops were again the norm.
These were my experiences at fairly wealthy schools, so I'd assume that other less-fortunate schools had less technology around the same time.
For high school homework, I didn't need any fancy programs other than Microsoft Word, so I didn't use a laptop/tablet until Grade 12, which was shared with my family. I used it only to type Chemistry lab reports (which were the death of me).. Never again. High school was also when I was given my first cell phone, grade 9 to be exact. This was disappointing for me at the time, to say the least.
My younger sister, who is only 2 years younger than me, had the exact same experiences as I did in school, but doesn't know what a floppy disk is. I have used them for games on our home desktop for years. My sister's lack of knowledge of this technology has been a recent source of laughter in my family.
The increasing technological items that students have access to, way before grade 9, I might add, is astounding. Grade 7 and 8 students that I taught this year have their own phone (and not just for emergencies), and have had a phone for a number of years. Their phones make a daily appearance at school, with few exceptions. In my pre-internship, my first considerable teaching experience, with grade 7/8, I realized that I was entering a world of technology that I wasn't equipped in. From my experiences, to those of the students I teach, there are gaps. And, as I continue to teach, the gaps will only become larger, and even more important to close.
In EDTC, we compared the evolving experiences of consumption of technology over decades.
Michael Wesch, who speaks in "An anthropological introduction to Youtube," highlights this too.
I have never been overly interested in watching Youtube videos for hours and hours, so the stats were extra shocking to me. In 2008, 9232 hours of content uploaded each day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I would guess that it's at least doubled by now. What do we think?
So, students that were born in 2008, some of which I have taught this year, are experiencing that wealth of content on Youtube. Of course, not all of it, but it's available. And that is what has evolved in our technological world. Wesch states that every 6 months there's a new tool that can do new things that weren't previously imagined (6:42).
Wesch summarizes the craze of Youtube, and, subsequently, technology consumption, nicely; "It starts to look less like an infectious than a new cultural order" (4:16). Little did we know at the time, that is what technology would become. Not only part of our culture, but a form of empowerment (4:55).
Students and adults alike can use technology for empowerment. Empowerment to showcase interests, events, passions, hobbies, gatherings, and anything else you can imagine. This is a path that I would take into my classroom. Teaching students to properly use technology to empower them, in appropriate ways, can offer students confidence as well as new ways to learn. Utilizing technology as a safe way to participate with peers, have discussions and show learning. The potential of technology to hinder and grow is very real in today's world.
After humming and hawing, I decided to use Fotobabble. I considered doing stop-motion, but with this blog post falling in the same week as Thanksgiving, I thought it would be best to use a tool that would serve the same purpose, showing visuals, but require a little less labour intensive. I think I found that in this app!
Let's take a look, together. To keep it simple, I recorded the initial tutorial using the built in iPhone screen record feature.
Right away, due to its ease of use (and its clever name), I would give Fotobabble 4 out of 5 stars. Additionally, photos can be edited on the app, captions and audio allow inclusivity of the audience. Really, it reminds me of a private Instagram account. Enough said.
The reason for withholding the fifth star, is because it requires an account. This feature ruins many tech tools for me.
If you're interested in what others are saying about Fotobabble, the reviews are difficult to find. Here is what others are saying about this tool from the App Store. And, more importantly, here is what teachers are saying about this tool at Common Sense Education.
Although this tool seems so simple, how it is used in the classroom is what really matters, in order to get the most out of it. Fotobabble has so many uses in the classroom that align with the SAMR Model, as discussed in class.
As a teacher, I could use Fotobabble as a way to record and present a read aloud. This would be especially useful for teaching expression, fluency and pronunciation while reading a passage. Or, for younger students, teaching these things with a story book. Students could go back and listen, and see the text/pictures as many times as they want.
Students may consider using Fotobabble as a portfolio to showcase their work. This could be photos of written work in ELA or Math, steps of an experiment, art work, etc. A simple way to showcase work and provide commentary.
Students could also use this tool as a way to verbally respond to prompts rather than writing or typing their answers. The prompt(s) could easily be shown as a picture while the student speaks.
I also imagine using this as a way to spark creativity with storytelling. All students may have to use the same photos, but each student's commentary of the way the photos connect, would be different.
I imagine this level of the SAMR model to include using Fotobabble as a way to virtually tour, and interpret, an art gallery. Students can take photos of the art they see and add commentary during or after the tour, or both. Their initial interpretation and, perhaps after having class discussions or doing research on each piece of art, their new interpretation can be added in afterwards. Students could even record an interview with experts outside of school and share with their classmates.
Stay tuned to find out how I use Fotobabble for my learning project, here.
Twitter is definitely something that I had to get used to before I really started to see its purpose and benefits.
For a professional purpose, Twitter is probably the best way (so far, that I'm aware of) to connect with other educators (and students) around the world. This opens up so many possibilities! PD opportunities, new learnings, a new PLN - exciting stuff! #saskedchat is just one of those exciting connections. As you can see, many of the people I'm following are teachers, professors, #saskedchat participants, etc.
In this week's #saskedchat, the best learning opportunity was discussing the taboo around teacher's mental health. The best Twitter chats are those that provoke discussion and further insights.
I use Twitter for professional use only, because otherwise I don't see it having a meaningful purpose. For personal use, I stick to Instagram and Facebook. With Twitter I try to make connections with other educators and post/retweet educational related content. My favourite is stumbling across lessons or activity ideas for in the classroom and learning about new YA novels to put in my classroom library! A favourite account of mine for finding books is a fellow graduate, Trisha. Her knowledge of books is impeccable. Trisha has encouraged me to want to post about YA novels that I've enjoyed. Here are my most recent ones. Both of these novels are in my grade 7 classroom library. When I made the tweet about One of Us is Lying, the author, Karen M. McManus liked my tweet!! So I had a fan girl moment. No shame. Thanks, Twitter, for making that possible.
Although I'm much more comfortable with using Twitter since when I was first introduced to it in the first year of my B.Ed., I have not used Twitter in the classroom. I'm not quite convinced that I could get Middle Years students to buy into it. Kind of like a "too cool for Twitter" attitude. That being said, I do see practical uses for it to enrich student learning. If I do try to use it in my classroom, though, it would be to practice concise writing about various topics and ideas. The character limit and public publishing can encourage students to be aware of their digital citizenship - How do you present yourself online? How do you interact with others on social media? What positives can come from social media? How does your digital presence influence others and vice versa?
The learning that can come with using a public social media account for education has so many benefits, for students and myself. How do you use Twitter? Leave a comment below!
To begin my journey of finding teacher blogs to follow, I started with the blog suggestions from Katia from the lists of the best bloggers, but for some reason they weren't intriguing me. While trying to pinpoint why that was, I noticed all of the bloggers are from the US. Aha! I wanted to follow along with Canadian bloggers - those that are familiar with Canadian curriculum and its variations, those that know about Canadian residential school history, and those that know what Saskatchewan is..
So there I began, googling Canadian ed tech blogs.
This is where I had more success with results that interested me. I found bloggers near and far, from Winnipeg to Nova Scotia, to Quebec. This seemed like a better option.
Since I teach Middle Years, specifically grade 7-8, and that is my interest area, I don't really care about the primary years - playful learning, watching kids pick their noses and teaching how to do up a zipper aren't my jam. I would much prefer invigorating ideas and resources for higher elementary. From there, I looked for blogs with key words, such as, Canadian, Middle Years, education, technology, resources, engaging activities, work-life balance, etc.
I FOUND SO MANY!! Yay.
I wonder how all of these teachers make time to have a side gig like this..
I also thought it would be a good idea to look for blogs about DIYs, since that's what my learning project is all about - duh! Here's a look at some of them. I'm following 6 DIY blogs, which is just enough for me not to feel overwhelmed. This also ensures what Katia highlighted in class - online PLN are always on, but I don't always have to be on.
Stay tuned if I use any of those DIY blogs as inspiration.
Once I knew what blogs I wanted to follow, I made my Feedly account - take a peek! (Dark mode is the best mode.)
From all of the blogs that I scoured for, this is my favourite: eLearning Learning Daily
They post once a day, which I find is sometimes nice to have new items to look at. It bothers me when there's nothing new! It also seems as though eLearning Learning Daily takes related blog posts from other blogs and filters them to one spot; I like the variety. I'm still on the hunt for a good blog that provides free resources and activities. Pretty much I want a more intimate Teachers Pay Teachers.
Hey there! I'm Erin Zinger!
I'm pumped to be a part of EDTC 300. I feel fairly confident with using technology in the classroom and in other educational settings. My favourite app for personal use is Instagram, here's mine. My favourite educational technology, although I would argue that Instagram can be used for educational purposes as well, would be Padlet, Google Apps and Kahoot (sometimes). My blog has been a space for the past 4+ years where I've put my most important learning experiences. It has also helped me to feel confident in using technology for professional use - starting a blog has been intimidating! I think that teachers that blog are super cool (does that make me a cool teacher because I have a blog, lets say yes). And the author of this article agrees that teacher-bloggers are superb for 5 reasons. Check it out! My favourite teacher-blogger is teachmestyle. Maybe I can aspire to be her with my fashion DIYs during my Learning Project - stay tuned!
Thanks for reading!
If you think I'm interesting, feel free to check out my Twitter that is all about teaching. Enjoy!