Information About My EC&I832 Major Digital Project

I am excited to continue to use my classroom blog for my Major Digital Project for my EC&I832 Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy Class.  For this project I am going to document my journey using resources such as, the Digital Citizenship Education in Schools, Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship Scope and Sequence, the Government of Saskatchewan Digital Citizenship Continuum from Kindergarten to Grade Twelve and other resources that I find.  My students will blog about their experiences and what they are learning about in regards to digital citizenship.  As a class along with our grade six learning buddies we are hoping to create a final project to promote other students in our school to have a positive digital footprint, how to stay safe while online, and teach everyone how to be digital citizens.

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Information About My Major EC&I831 Digital Project!

For my Major Digital Project for my EC&I831 Social Media class I created a classroom blog using Edublog. It was exciting to see the growth of this project while teaching my students about blogging and digital citizenship.­­ Click on the My EC&I831 Major Digital Project page to read all my blog posts about how blogging went last year with my grade two students!

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So Many Questions….

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I have been working on this post for a while because my mind has been jumping in many different directions so it was hard to stay focused.  The readings and viewings gave me a lot to think about over these last few weeks. In the 1960’s, Albert Bandura developed the theory of social learning (Social Learning Theory).  Bandura, says that “behavior is learned from the environment through the process of observational learning” (McLeod, 2011).  I agree that children learn a lot through observing others and how they act.  Adults need to be mindful of their actions and what they say around children and youth because they are their role models and often many will look up to them.  Very young children will often imitate sounds, words, or phrases that they have heard and copy actions that they have seen.  As the article states, “Children will have a number of models with whom they identify” (McLeod, 2011).  Children and youth are not just influenced by their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or trusted adults.  But, children and youth can be influenced by older siblings, older peers, friends, television or movie characters, video games, actors, music artists, and athletes just to name a few.  Children and youth need to have guidance as they are growing up.  When thinking about a child’s behavior Bandura also makes a good point about how, “the people around the child will respond to the behavior it imitates with either reinforcement or punishment” (McLeod, 2011).  Starting at a very young age babies are praised for the sounds or words they say or for their actions that they have imitated.  When babies get older they get told no for pulling hair, putting something in their mouths that they are not suppose to, or touching something that could harm them.

In the article it also links to a famous experiment called the “Bobo Doll Experiment”.  In this video explores if, “social behaviors (i.e. aggression) can be acquired by observation and imitation” (McLeod, 2014).  I agree one hundred percent that “This study has important implications for the effects of media violence on children” (McLeod, 2014).  While I watched the video I thought about my colleague who teaches grade three and her experience with teaching a particular outcome in health.  That outcome that she was teaching was:

USC3.6- Distinguish between examples of real violence (e.g., schoolyard fights, shaking a baby, bullying) and fictional violence (e.g., cartoons, world wrestling entertainment, video games) and determine the influence of both on health and well-being.

The particular indicators for that outcome are:

a) Develop common and respectful language often used to talk about violence and abuse.

b) Reflect on what is known/believed about violence in communities.

c)Determine that violence can by physical, emotional, and/or sexual.

d) Describe types of violence and abuse including physical (e.g., punching, kicking), sexual (e.g., inappropriate touching), and emotional (e.g., name-calling, exclusion, cyber-bullying).

e) Recognize that physical, sexual, and emotional violence are behaviours that hurt or destroy people, places, or things.

f) Discuss examples of fictional violence (e.g., movies, video games, cartoons, world wrestling entertainment).

g) Investigate the influence of mass media on perceptions of violence (e.g., difficult to distinguish fiction from non-fiction, what is ‘normal’).

h) Distinguish the effects of violence on the mind, body, and spirit (e.g., fear, bruises, self-doubt, hopelessness).

i) Recognize violent and non-violent and/or harmful and non-harmful behaviours and the impact on self and others.

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I can recall my colleague telling me about a parent who was concerned because her child was learning about the differences between real violence and fictional violence at such a young age.  My colleague discussed with the parent that she was covering a topic right from the grade three Saskatchewan Health Curriculum that teachers are required to follow when planning units and lessons.  She explained to the parent the importance of teaching students in grade three about the differences between real and fictional violence.  After the discussion that parent felt much better about the unit that was planned and listening to my colleagues thoughts.  I do understand why that parent would be concerned, but with all the media that young children are exposed to they need to learn skills in understanding the differences between what is real and what is fictional or fantasy.  I have had grade two students write in their journals about playing grand theft auto and other games that are full of violence and adult material.  Do students in early elementary years understand that people do not have multiple lives like they do in video games and in the other games they can play online?  Do they understand the consequences of violence or how harmful violence is? I am happy that children are discussing and learning about those differences in grade three. Those types of lessons are very important because children are exposed to violence from television, movies, games, and other forms of media now at a early age compared to many years ago.

What do you think?  Should the outcome USC3.6 be taught in grade three or do you feel it is too mature of content for children to learn about at that age?  Do you think violence in media effecting our children and youth?

 

Changing gears I was also introduced to readings and viewings that had me reflect on the way children are taught in school!  What do you think 21st century classrooms should look like today?  I think technology has opened the doors for teachers to be more inventive and can begin to think more outside of the box in terms of teaching strategies and how they set up their classroom for learning.  Take a look at this following video!  In the video a grade seven student is giving a tour of how she has been learning in her science class.  This video showcases a student participating in networked learning and creating her own learning environment using different tools and media.

From listening to the student I can see that a lot of learning has taken place.  She has not only learned science concepts, but has learned how to use tools such as: Google Docs, blogging, bookmarking, and Evernote to help with her researching skills and documenting her learning journey. While I was watching the video I was curious how the teacher set up his/her classroom? Many other questions began to race through my head…What does the teacher’s day plans/lesson plans look like?  Would teachers be able to teach using this style with students who are younger than grade seven?  Did the student in the video need to do complete some of her work outside of the classroom or was she provided time to complete all the tasks during class time?  If she was required to complete work outside of class time did she and her peers in her class have access to a computer, device, or the Internet?  I would want to make sure all of my students learning opportunities are the same.  I would love to talk to a teacher using network learning in their classroom.  I began to reflect about…What could network learning look like for my grade two classroom or in the early learning years?

For my class I also read an article by Dave Cormier called Understanding the Basics of Rhizomatic Learning.  I was fortunate to learn about Rhizomatic Learning from Dave Cormier when I took EC&I831 Social Media and Open Education Class from Alec Couros and Katia Hildebrandt.  Rhizomatic Learning allows for students to decide on the goal instead of the instructor or teacher giving students the learning goals or outcomes.  Students begin to take responsibility for their own learning!  I see this style of teaching more focused on the process instead of the product.  It is refreshing because learning should not just be knowing the answers to given questions.  When students get the opportunity to make their own learning goals I believe learning opportunities are endless.  Instead of the teacher being the person “who knows all of the answers” the students are given the opportunity to research and learn skills to find the answers to questions they are curious about.  If you want to learn more about Rhizomatic Learning and Cormier’s thoughts I encourage you to watch to a video of Cormier – Embracing Uncertainty of Rhizomatic Learning.  In this video he even briefly discusses MOOCs (Masssive Open Online Course).   For class we were to watch Corimer give short presentation in how to have Success in a MOOC.  I have never participated in a MOOC before, but many classmates in EC&I831 took part in one of their choice for their major project.  I enjoyed reading their posts about the courses that they took.  Right now I am too busy with teaching, coaching, and taking graduate classes; however, I think once I am finished with my degree I am going to miss learning and taking classes so I can see myself finding a MOOC that interests me.  I agree with Ashley Murray that I do not feel that our students should be left learning through MOOCs, especially students younger than high school.  I think students do need to still be learning along side their peers and the teacher needs to help facilitate learning and help guide students. I could see students participating in a MOOCs to get more knowledge and to network with other people if they were provided to opportunity to participate in Genius Hour.   Have you ever participated in a MOOC before? What are your thoughts about students participating in MOOCs?

In another article I read Cormier “suggests that Rhizomatic Learning is a means by which learners develop problem-solving skills for complex domains” and that “the community is the curriculum.”  What could Rhizomatic Learning look like in the early year classrooms?  When I took EC&I831 I wrote a blog post (you can see how my blog posts have evolved over the last year) reflecting on my thoughts about Rhizomatic Learning.  It reminds me a lot of the Reggio Emilia Approach which “values the child as strong, capable and resilient; rich with wonder and knowledge. This approach believes a “child brings with them deep curiosity and potential and this innate curiosity drives their interest to understand their world and their place within it.”  Some of the fundamental principles for the Reggio Emilia Approach are:

  • “Children are capable of constructing their own learning.”
  • “Children form an understanding of themselves and their place in the world through their interactions with others.”
  • “Children are communicators.”
  • “The environment is the third teacher.”
  • “The adult is a mentor and guide.”
  • “An emphasis on documenting children’s thoughts.”
  • “The Hundred Languages of Children.”

I see a lot of connections and similarities between the Reggio Emilia Approach compared to Rhizomatic Learning and Network Learning.  Students are the center of the learning and not the teacher or educator.  Students can learn through the environments and through communicating with peers or from other people outside of the classroom.  Students document their thoughts about the learning journey and begin to form their own understandings about the world.  I could also relate to Ashley’s post when she discussed the teacher’s role and later on explained, “that there is a lot of information that students MUST learn such as reading, writing and math skills.”  I agree that there are skills that students must learn, but I am finding more ways to teach my grade two students those skills through play based learning.  However, I still have guided reading, writing, and math lessons that are at my students individual levels.  I have found students have continued to develop their reading, writing, representing and math skills through centers, play based learning and projects that they participate in.  These last few weeks of articles and viewing have had me reflect on education and what classrooms look like today more than ever before.  While I was doing some exploring I came across a video that was “adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson.”

I encourage you to watch his lecture entire called Changing Paradigms.  It is fifty-five minutes long, but he raises many great points about education, how people learn, and how they think.  His lecture connects with some of the viewings and readings that I have been learning in my EC&I832 class.  Near the end of his lecture and near the end of the video above he talks about divergent thinking and gave an example of a study.  The question was “how many uses can you think of for a paper clip?”  This study showed that children in Kindergarten scored higher than older students and adults.  Why were the children in Kindergarten able to think of more uses for a paper clip compared to older students and adults?  What does this study show about our education system?  I find that I am left with more questions…what do you think?

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What should education look like today in the 21st century?  Do we need to change the way we approach and view education? 

Making Progress…Road Blocks Have Been Lifted!

Oh Wow! I can not believe that we are seven days away from December!! Where did the last few weeks go?? In my last post I was talking about all of the different road blocks that I had or was about to be facing.  Even though the last few weeks had been busy with finishing assessments for report cards, getting portfolios together, and getting prepared for student led conferences my students and I still had time to create posts for our classroom blog and complete some digital citizenship lessons created by common sense media I do apologize that there has been a bit of a gap since my last post, but that does not mean I have not been busy working on my major project.  During this last three weeks I felt that the road blocks were slowly beginning to disappear one by one.  I was happy that we were able to accomplish more than what I originally thought we would ever be able to complete.   Now the road is clear, but it is a bit curvy and it has a few hills that we will need to continue to climb.  I know the journey will continue to be exciting and I am looking forward to see my student`s progress.

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Major Project Update:

Over the last few weeks we were able to complete some of the lessons created by common sense media.   I did a lot of modeling for The A-B-C Searching lesson plan.  As a class we talked about the alphabet and why it might be easier to find things online using the alphabet.  In Daily 5 my students have been learning a lot about alphabetical order and how it is easier to find the word you are looking for when it is in order.  I also introduced students to dictionaries as so many of my students never heard of a dictionary before.  They were surprised to see how thick a dictionary is!  I thought back to my childhood and remembered using dictionaries and thesauruses in the classroom.  Now you do not need to have a hard copy of those documents, but people can access them online.  I also showed my students that dictionaries can be found online.  Then we looked at the Enchanting Learning website and the NASA picture dictionary that were suggested in the lesson plan.  I like that there are good websites that students can explore on safely!  We had a good conversation about searching online and staying safe!  All of the my students were very excited when I showed them the two websites because they are very fascinated about science.  We explored the two websites as a class on the Smartboard so we could have group discussions and the reading level on the websites is at a frustration level for some of the students in my classroom.  After we were finished searching my students enjoyed making a class picture dictionary.  This lesson not only taught my students searching skills, but the lesson covered ELA outcomes as well.  Down below I posted all of the English Language Arts outcomes that I able to cover while  we worked on this less.  I was excited that I was able to cover ELA outcomes while teaching my students important skills that they need to have growing up in a digital world.  It is vital that teachers teach students concepts and lessons that are geared to towards student learning in the 21st century.

ELA Outcome: CR2.2

View and explain (with support from the text) the key literal and inferential ideas (messages), important details, and how elements (such as colour, layout, medium, and special fonts) enhance meaning in grade-appropriate visual and multimedia texts.

  • Obtain information from different media (e.g., multimedia clips, websites, video clips, magazine photographs).

ELA Outcome: CR2.3

Listen and retell (with support from the text) the key literal and inferential ideas (messages) and important details heard in small- and large-group activities, and follow oral directions and demonstrations.

  • Listen to and follow independently a series of related directions or instructions related to class activities.

ELA Outcome: CR2.4

Read and demonstrate comprehension of grade-appropriate literary and informational texts read silently and orally by relating and retelling key events and ideas in sequence with specific details and discussing how, why, and what if questions.

  • Read and retell the key ideas and elements (including main idea, supporting details, diagrams, headings, table of contents, glossary) of informational texts including First Nations and Métis resources.

ELA Outcome: CC2.2

Use a variety of ways to represent understanding and to communicate ideas, procedures, stories, and feelings in a clear manner with essential details.

  • Combine illustrations and written text (e.g., captions, labels) to express ideas, feelings, and information.

boy drawing

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Another lesson I worked on with my students from the commons sense website was called My Creative Work.  During this lesson I showed my students some different paintings that had no names on the pieces and then some of art work that had artists names signed on the corners of the piece.  I asked my students- why do you think artists sign their name on their work?  We also discussed why many artists give their art work a title and a name.  I worked through the warm-up part of the commons sense lesson, but I did not have my students complete the self-portrait of themselves since they already completed a self-portrait in October.  (You can check out my student`s self portraits on our classroom blog!) Sometime I would like to try using picassohead with my students as it is a free online tool that students can use to draw.  I think my students would have a lot of fun.  Later in the year they could create a new avatar for their individual blog.  Since my students were learning about Remembrance Day I had my students complete a Remembrance Day poster instead.  My students brainstormed ideas for their poster and then we reviewed our criteria for when we create representations in the classroom.  We call it the ABCDE`s of representing!

Area (use the whole area of the paper)

Big (make your drawing big enough so it can be easily seen)

Colourful (make the poster colourful)

Details (add lots of exciting details to your work)

Extreme Neatness (make sure you take your time so your drawing is extremely neat)

 

Before my students started to work on their poster I discussed adding in a title for their piece, writing their name in the corner of their piece, and adding in the date as well. (Part of the `teach 2` portion of the commons sense lessons).  As a class we brainstormed possible ideas for a title for their Remembrance Day poster as well.  My students were eager to get started on their poster.  I encourage you to check out all of my students Remembrance Day posters that are posted on their individual blogs.  Check out our classroom blog to find the links for all my seventeen secret agent students.  They would love it if you were able to leave a comment on their work!  After my students were finished they shared their posters with everyone in the classroom.  Finally we completed some of the wrap-up questions that were suggested in the lesson.  The only problem that we ran into for this lesson was I forgot to have my students write their secret agent numbers on their poster instead of their name so it could be posted on their blog page.  It did open up again the conversation on why I like keeping my students names off of the blog and use their secret agent numbers instead.  To save time I wrote their secret agent numbers on a small piece of index card to cover of their name so we could upload a picture of their work on their blog.  I was very proud of all of my students and how much pride they took in creating their poster.  Many students also created a blog post about Remembrance Day on their blog as well! Once again this lesson covered many grade two outcomes from the Saskatchewan Curriculum.

ELA Outcome: CC2.2

Use a variety of ways to represent understanding and to communicate ideas, procedures, stories, and feelings in a clear manner with essential details.

  • Combine illustrations and written text (e.g., captions, labels) to express ideas, feelings, and information.
  • Design a visual representation (e.g., a picture, puppetry, a chart, a model, physical movement, a concrete graph, a pictographic, a demonstration, an advertisement for a toy) to demonstrate understanding.

ELA Outcome: CC2.4

Write stories, poems, friendly letters, reports, and observations using appropriate and relevant details in clear and complete sentences and paragraphs of at least six sentences.

  • Write groups of clear sentences that develop a central idea.

Arts Education Outcome: CP2.7

Create visual art works that draw on observations and express ideas about own communities.

  • Identify sources of inspiration and describe decisions made in creating own art works.

Arts Education Outcome: CP2.8

Create art works using a variety of visual art concepts (e.g., secondary colours), forms (e.g., collage, drawing, painting, sculpture, mobile, traditional art), and media (e.g., paper, found objects, paint, crayons).

  • Demonstrate co-ordination and skills in using simple visual art tools and materials.

Arts Education Outcome: CH2.1

Identify key features of arts and cultural traditions in own community.

  • View and listen to the work of artists.

Common sense media has been a life saver for me so far this semester!!  So many teachers I have talked to commented on not knowing where to begin to teach digital citizenship and other important 21st Century skills that students need to know.  Now that I have used many lessons from this resource I will be highly recommending it to colleagues and other educators.  I like that the lessons have a very good flow, filled with good questions, includes assessment pages that you could use, and provides resources to go along with each lesson.  I think this website would help teachers feel more comfortable teaching 21st Century skills and is a good starting point to begin teaching students how to be good digital citizens. 

Check back later this week!  I am going to step out of my comfort zone and do a screen cast about my major digital project!

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The Good, The Bad, and Just Plain Scary Side of the Technology and Media

 What messages are we sending our children and youth??

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This past week for class for my EC&I832 Media Literacy class we had the choice of a few videos to view for this weeks assignment.  A few weeks ago on television I watched a documentary along with my husband called Sext Up KIDS.  This documentary happened to be one of the choices for this weeks assignment.  During the documentary it discusses and “reveals how our hyper-sexualized culture has hijacked childhood and what parents and educators are doing to fight back.”  (*Warning: I encourage you to watch it alone without young children as this documentary is geared for a mature audience as it has profanity and highly sexualized images.) My husband Damon and I do not have children yet, but we hope to soon start a family.  This video led to a lot of good conversations about social media and rules that we would want to see in our family in terms of cell phones, computers, tablets, etc. My heart dropped as I watched this video and I started to think about my nieces, nephews, younger cousins, and my students.  This documentary introduced me to a new acronym that I have never seen or heard before called KAGOY:

Kids

Are

Getting

Older

Younger

Our children and youth are exposed to so much media through television, music, movies, magazines, advertisements, Youtube, Internet, and all the different forms of social media.  In  this video it discussed sexualization and how outfits for young girls designed for the tween age group look more like outfits designed for older females.  Children are only young once and should not have to pressures to grow up faster because childhood seems to go by too fast already.  Toys have also become more sexualized as it discussed Barbie dolls, the Bratz dolls, and the Monster High Dolls.  The toy market is growing and more children are viewing advisements of the different products while they watching television or YouTube videos, playing games, or searching the Internet.  Later on in the documentary it went on to discuss young girls playing princess and how many girls grow up wanting to be one of the Disney Princesses.  I can remember playing princess with my friends and how I loved Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  I never really thought and reflected on that form of play before.  A lady in the documentary commented how for many children that this is their one form of play that children take part in for a long time and how as they got older it went from wanting “to be the prettiest girl to being the sexiest girl.” During the documentary it talked about a workshop in British Columbia called iGirl empowerment.  It is great to hear that there are fabulous workshops and programs for students.  At our elementary school we have a program called girls circle that grade five and six students get to join.  They talk about a lot of important topics and some high school girls also attend as well.  The high school girls are positive mentors and role models for our students for the elementary students.  Our school is hoping to start a boys circle soon to allow for male students in our school to have a place for positive conversations and  to be able to interact with male high school mentors as well. 

Does your school or community have any programs or workshops that your students can take part in?

This documentary gave a powerful message how youth are not just consuming images online, but producing images now as well.  Taking photographs and videos is so easy now through using all the new technologies that have been invented.  When I was young pictures had to be first developed before we could even view them.  Now with a touch of a button photos and videos can be shared for the whole world to see if a person wanted to share them.  It is scary to hear that some youth are sending sexual pictures of themselves and how those pictures are being shared with others without their consent.  In the documentary the girls discussed how that one mistake of sharing their photo has led them to face peers and other people calling them names, being humiliated online and in person and being publicly shamed.  Have you lately critically looked at media lately?  There are a lot of music videos that showcases women in a very sexualized way by the clothes they are wearing, the style of dancing, or how they are interacting with others in the video.  Also sit back and listen to the lyrics in many of the popular songs.  A lot of those songs discuss drinking, drugs, sex, name calling, and many songs contain a lot of profanity.  A few weeks ago at our school dance I had many students who requested songs that I could not play in school because one or many of the reasons mentioned above.  During the documentary it discussed Miley Cyrus growing up and wanting to move away from being her Disney Hannah Montana image.  What are the pressures that our children and youth are going through growing up in the 21st century?  We need to make sure we teach our children and youth to be more critical than ever when viewing media and what it means to be in a healthy relationship.  Children and youth are exposed to more offensive websites, video games, videos, and pressures I believe than ever before.  A lot of youth now have mixed messages of what a person should do when trying to pursue a relationship and what a good boyfriend or girlfriend does when they are in a relationship.  Parents need to have conversations with children about what a healthy relationship looks like and begin to discuss pressures that they may in counter like sexting.  These kinds of conversations are never easy, but it will allow you know what message your child has heard.

teen on cellphone

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Ashley Murray also discussed the Sext Up KIDS documentary in her recent blog post.  In her post she shared an article by CBC that discussed and outlined information and issues involving sexting.  It is a newer term that may people probably have heard, but I wonder how much they know about the topic.  Do people know the laws involving sexting and sharing sexual images? I appreciated that Ashley shared her findings involving sexting laws in Canada.  I think it is important for parents to not only be educated about the laws, but youth as well.  I wonder how many youth understand that sharing sexual images of people who are young than eighteen is child pornography? 

I encourage you to watch another documentary about a young girl named Amanda Todd.  The Fifth Estate’s documentary was entitled The Sextortion of Amanda Todd and during the documentary it discusses Amanda’s life.  Amanda had a beautiful voice and often posted videos of her singing on YouTube using her webcam.  One day she made one mistake in front of her webcam that led to her being bullied at the schools she attended, online, and also being blackmailed online.  Now a days so many children and teenagers have access to webcams or other devices that can take photographs or videos just like Amanda and her story could happen to so many teenagers.  Throughout the documentary her parents were interviewed and shared Amanda’s story.  I will never forget Amanda Todd’s mother words when she said, “we are in a decade of technology that doesn’t go away.”  Nothing can be permanently deleted online so more than ever people need to be careful with what they share online using different devices, apps, and what they comment on all the different spaces as well.  Genna’s blog post entitled Amanda Todd: Was There Even MORE to the Story?  I Believe So… allowed me to look at this story through a different lens. I thought she made some excellent points about how the documentary did “lack of attention to her Attention Deficit Disorder and the magnitude of the impact this carries both offline and online.” I appreciated reading Genna’s post from her perceptive as a special education teacher and all of her thoughtful questions she presented at the end of her post.  One of the questions that Genna asked that stood out to me was:

  • “What can we do to support our more vulnerable children (those with disabilities and mental health conditions) to ensure they develop positive digital citizenship skills and feel confident about their online presence?

 A lot of people may remember watching Amanda’s video that she posted on YouTube that was published on September 7th, 2012 entitled My story: Struggling, bullying, suicide, self harm. In the video she shares her story by holding index cards that she wrote on with black marker.  Card by card she unveiled her thoughts, feelings, and what she enquired in her life.  Sadly on October 12th, 2012 Amanda committed suicide.  I had to quit reading the comments left because even after Amanda’s death many people felt it was necessary to post negative comments and public shame her.    After I watched Amanda’s video I noticed along the side another video called Teens React to Bullying (Amanda Todd).  This video filmed teens who are a variety of ages reactions to watching Amanda’s video and then share their thoughts of the video and about online bullying.  Listening to Amanda’s story confirms that parents and educators need to start talking and educating our youth.  Again they will not be easy conversations, but they need to happen!

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I also believe we need to also teach our students and children about self esteem and positive body image! 
Do you remember Dove’s Campaign that explored how women see themselves and how they see others? It was called Real Beauty Sketches You’re more beautiful than you think.

 

This video showcases how we are our own worst critique and how we often find so many flaws about our self that other people do not see.  This video highlights that we do not see our true beauty.  We need to begin to remove all of the labels and start spending time appreciating every part of us.  We need to start to love ourselves for who we are because we all are special and unique.  Media and technology makes is more difficult for youth, men, and women to have a positive body image when so many of the images in magazines, on billboards, and advertisements have been digitally enhanced.  Just take a look at the Dove Evolution With some images, all is not what it seems video.  It is a short yet powerful video showcasing how images can be transformed and edited so the person appears to look flawless.  Near the end of the video these words appear on the screen, “No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted.”  I could not agree more! I was excited to see that dove also did a campaign looking at the male version of real beauty. 

The pressures of having a perfect body is not just a problem for females, but for males as well.  Media portrays men to look a certain way and to have a certain type of build.  So many times people dream of looking like the people that they see in the media, but if take away the professional stylists or all the digital changes those people would not look the same.  How do we teach our students to think critically when viewing media?  How do we teach our children and students to have a positive body image?
Well it needs to begin with adults first.  Adults need to model having a healthy body image and self esteem to our children and youth.  Parents, teachers, coaches, etc. are role models and children are always watching.  They care what you think and will often model your behavior and what you say.  We need to be role models to our children instead of media as it can send negative messages.  We need people to start thinking more critically about what we say and how our words effect others positively and negatively.  As adults, especially parents need to model how to interact with all the different forms of media and model positive digital citizenship to their children.  For example, Always created a powerful video with an excellent message called #LikeAGirl.  The creators asked teenagers, women, and boys to “run like a girl” and “fight like a girl.”   Later the creators asked the young girls the same questions and the movements that the first group of participates looked a lot different compared to the young girls.  Have you heard people or media use “like a girl” statements before?   Parents need to remember A girl`s beauty confidence starts with you.  Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, educators, etc. are influencing children everyday.  This is another Dove video and this one focuses on mothers and their daughters. The creators compare the mothers and the daughters answers about their likes and dislikes in regards to their body.  The daughters shared many of the same likes and dislikes about their body as their mother.  Daughter’s look up to their mothers and the same goes for fathers and their sons.  Boys need to have role models showing self esteem and having a positive body image.  I think if this video was created for fathers and their sons that the results would be similar.

Lets send positive messages to children and begin to be role models for our children and youth!

like symbol

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Last year during EC&I831 I wrote a post called Will You Be The One To Speak Out.  It discussed an episode of Glee that I watched that has the character Rachel contemplating on getting plastic surgery on her nose so it looks like her friend Quinn’s nose.  In that episode they sing I Feel Pretty/Unpretty.  The band TLC wrote the song Unpretty and it is also a very powerful music video.  As an educator I believe we need to be teaching our students starting at a young age to have positive body image and teach them to love themselves for being unique.  It needs to be ongoing and not just a lesson or a unit.  It needs to be a topic and a conversation that is ongoing for the whole year.  How do you as educator promote positive body image and self esteem in classroom and school

What Should Education Look Like Today?

It has been a crazy busy week and a half, but I am excited to report that I am officially done my grade two student’s term one report cards!  It is a great feeling knowing that they are all finished and that they will be in my student’s and their families hands on Friday.  Now my students and I just have to put final touches to the portfolios then my student’s will be able to show them to their parents and guardians on Tuesday and Wednesday during student led conferences.  During the conferences I will be setting up show what you know centers so students can showcase their learning to their parents.   What do you do for student led conferences?? I am so proud of each and every one of my students so I am looking forward to conferences!

meme victory baby about finishing report cards

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These last few weeks I have been busy finishing units and having students complete different assessments so I could decide on a summative mark for the outcomes covered in this term.  While I have been busy when marking, grading, and reflecting on my student’s progress I have also been busy exploring the assigned readings and viewings for my EC&I832 Emerging Media Literacies class exploring new and emerging literacies.  One of the articles was a framework that outlined different literacies and then went on to ask some critical questions that had my mind racing.  The NCTE’s 21st Century Framework outlined that, “active, successful participates in this 21st century global society must be able to:

  • Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology;
  • Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought;
  • Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes;
  • Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information;
  • Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multimedia texts;
  • Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments.”

I think teachers should read this document because it had me reflect on what I believe is important to teach my students.  It does not matter what grade or age level of students you teach, it is vital for educators to think about their student’s future.   All of the questions in the document made me reflect on my own teaching practices and beliefs.  I also began to think about the Future Work Skills 2020 document that explores preparing students for the future.   While reading both of those readings I began to make connections and reflect on my teaching philosophy.  I remembered the inventories that I had completed in my EC&I 804 Curriculum Development class.  I can recall two inventories that we completed for the class that had us reflect on our teaching beliefs.  For the Teaching Perspectives Inventory (TPI) I scored the highest in nurturing followed by apprenticeship and for the Philosophy of Adult Education Inventory (PAEI) I scored the highest in humanistic followed by behaviorist.  I was not surprised by the results because I believe in forming positive relationships with my class so I can get to know each of my students.  By getting to know my students I am able to plan around their interests and build their self-confidence so each child can begin to take responsibility in his or her own learning. I also believe it is important for students to take an active role in their learning, but there also needs to be a balance so I see myself connecting to many of the other philosophies.  It is vital to differentiate and reach all of my student’s needs.  But, what knowledge or skills will students need to have to be successful in life? How will educators help shape and create positive citizens?  How do we teach students to become creative and critical thinkers?  What do educators need to do to help students become successful when they get older? 

I encourage you to read Ashley Dew’s blog post, The Future of Education.  She brings up many valid points about using technology in the classroom, 21st Century learners, curriculum, and preparing students.  Ashley asks many good questions at the end of her post that I have started to wonder about myself.  All of the graduate classes that I have taken over the past few semesters has been challenging me to think more critically about our curriculum documents.  What skills and concepts are imperative to teach our students to help better prepare them for tomorrow?  It is so hard for people to answer that because we all have our own teaching philosophy and philosophies about education.

Does education need to start focusing on the skills and framework that was discussed in the two documents?  What should education look like in the 21st Century?  Do our curriculum documents need to be formatted differently?  Are the curriculum documents missing key components that would help prepare students for the future?

During this weeks readings I also watched a video entitled Texts and Tweets: myths and realties’.  During this video David Crystal discusses the myths and realties of texting, tweeting, and literacy.  Crystal points out five myths that many people have about texting and other forms of media such as Twitter and how it has effected the English language. The five myths that he discussed are:

  • Texting is full of abbreviations.
  • Abbreviations is something newly developed.
  • That people do not know how to spell because they leave out letters.
  • That young people are putting these abbreviations into their homework and exams.
  • That texting shows the decline of the English language.

Throughout the entire video he made valid points in showcasing that technology is not causing a decline in the English language.  People need to be literate to text people and to create Tweets  or create posts on other forms of social media.  Many people are fast to criticize how youth are constantly texting or posting on different forms of social media.  Crystal points out that they are improving their reading and writing skills by interacting with other people using the different tools.  Using these tools is more motivational for students as they want to interact with others.  It can also lead people to be creative.  Have you have heard of people creating 140 character novels on Twitter?  I never thought of an author being able to create a story using only 140 characters.  Technology can open the doors for so many people! 

girl sending an sms

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In the video David explores how texting is also improving literacy scores.  Though texting students are learning how to spell while practicing their reading skills.  For people to be able to text someone they need to be able to understand the message that the person is sending them in order to reply back to the person.  I could relate to Branelle’s blog post English Language: Ever-Evolving as I have also experienced my students spelling similar phrases that she mentioned in her post. My grade two students are young and learn from their environment.  I find that many people speak using those similar phrases and my students do not understand yet the difference between informal and formal language, but as they get older they will begin to understand those differences.  Crystal discuses that students know not to use abbreviations on their homework or exams despite the myths.  As  Branelle points out in her post that we all use a different forms of language when communicating to others.  People shift from formal to informal language depending on the audience, what they are writing about, and what tool they are using to write their message.  My favourite part of her post is how proves that she is a capable speller even when using abbreviations!

 

There is a lot to think about when exploring the topic of media literacy.  I  appreciated the video that Gloria shared on her blog post “Greater Appreciation for Integrating Technology.” The short video she posted was called “What is Media Literacy?” and it pointed out the changes in media literacy, what it means to be media literate, and that we are living in a participatory culture. During the video it asks: “What new media skills does a “participatory culture” require?”  Later it was discussed some skills that needs to be taught.  They are not technical skills, but are social and behavioral skills that are learned best through collaboration.  At the end it suggested that digital citizenship needs to be the new approach and those skills needs to be taught as soon as students have a device in their hands.  The Government of Saskatchewan has created a Digital Citizenship Continuum document that helps support teachers from Kindergarten to Grade 12 integrating digital citizenship concepts and skills into their classrooms. I think it is important to teach the concepts and skills outlined in the document because we need to teach students how to be safe, understand the digital laws, and how to interact positively in all the different digital spaces. But, I know this would overwhelm many other educators for many reasons.  I know many teachers  who already feel the pressure and are becoming more stressed because they feel they have so much on their plate.  There are also many other teachers that would not be comfortable teaching digital citizenship lessons because they do not interact in the different social media spaces and do not understand digital literacy. 

So what do you think education look like today?  How do educators help prepare their students for the 21st Century?  What skills and concepts do you think students need to learn in order to be successful?

Do You Have A Digital Tattoo? What Story Does It Tell?

“Tattoos tell you a lot of stories.” ~Juan Enriquez

This week I have been busy reading and viewing different articles and videos that have explored the topics digital identity and digital citizenship. During my search I came across Juan Enriquez‘s TED Talk.  This video had me reflect on many of the assigned readings, viewings, and my classmates blog posts that I have read for my ECI 832 class over the last few weeks.

At the beginning of the TED Talk Juan caught my attention when he started off by saying “lets take four subjects that go together big data, tattoos, immortality, and the Greeks.”  I was curious how he was going to link those four subjects together and how those subjects all were going to relate to his TED Talk called Your Online Life, Permanent As A Tattoo.  He went on to say that tattoos can shout and tell stories.  Juan asked the audience if they had any tattoos.  I began to think of my friends and family members that have a tattoo or have many tattoos.  Almost all of them have a tattoo that has a story or a reason behind why they got their tattoo.  Some people I know have birthdates or footprints/handprints of their children and grandchildren while others have a tattoo to symbolize the memory of a loved one that past away or it tells a story of a passion or a interest they have.  Over the past few years I have been contemplating on getting a tattoo on my left shoulder or somewhere of my back.  I picture my tattoo looking like a young girl with angel wings praying.  When or if I ever get the tattoo it will symbolize and tell my story of a memory or image that I had in my head when I was seven years old and sick in the hospital battling Necrotizing Fasciitis (Flesh Eating Disease).  When I was in the University Hospital in Saskatoon I remember seeing a little brunette girl with beautiful angel wings .  I felt that I had a guardian angel watching over me.  Even though it was twenty-one years ago I still have that vivid picture in my mind.

Do you have a tattoo? Does your tattoo tell a story?  Would people be able to tell your version of your story just by viewing your tattoo without you getting the opportunity to share with them and explain what your tattoo represents?

bar code tattoo

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Later on Juan  mentioned all the things that many people interact with such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Linkedln, cell phones, GPS, Travel Advisor, etc. and how they turn out to be electronic tattoos.  He went onto state, “what if they provide as much information as who and what you are as any tattoo ever would?”  So what does this mean for you?  Now people can follow you and view your profiles through the use of technology and all of the different social media, apps, and cameras.  More than ever people need to be mindful of what they post and share online using the different forms of social media.  Every app downloaded, post, tweet, or picture shared begins to build and form your digital tattoo.  Everything that you share online becomes apart of your digital identity or your digital footprint.  When people view your posts, tweets, or pictures what story does it tell the viewers?  Everyone needs to be mindful of what they share or post because one decision can change their life.  I encourage you to watch Jon Ronson’s TED Talk How One Tweet Can Ruin Your Life.  In that video the viewers learn about Justine Sacco and her how a tweet has not changed just her digital identity, but the way people view Justine due to the online shaming.  In the end that one tweet led to Justine losing her job.  I know if I could not be a teacher anymore that it would change my identity completely and I would feel very lost.  Justine Sacco’s digital tattoo and footprint changed in an instant from just that one tweet.  I encourage you to read Kristina Boutilier’s post called Has your identity changed over the years?  I thought Jeffrey Rosen’s article on “The Web Means the End of Forgetting” that she discussed was very interesting.  I have had the same struggles as Kristina.  I also find is hard at times creating blog posts and putting your thoughts and feelings out there for the world to not only read, but critique as well.

 

 

“What if Andy Warhol had it wrong, and instead of being famous for 15 minutes, we’re only anonymous for that long?” ~Juan Enriquez

 

question mark picture

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During a exhibition Andy Warhol stated that “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”  Over the years Andy’s phrase has been tweaked and altered.  Through doing some reading I found an article that discussed how an artist named Banksy created a piece of art and on the piece it stated “In the future, everybody will be anonymous for 15 minutes.”  I agree with that quote more than ever as technology and social media has given people a format to post on and share to not only their friends and family, but to the entire world.  You do not have to be a celebrity or a professional athlete to have an audience or followers online now.  Just on Thursday night on Twitter I participated on the Fountas & Pinnell chat that explored Text Levels and if they are a tool or trouble.  During that chat Fountas & Pinnell @fountaspinnell quoted one of my tweets that I shared with the other people that were participating in the chat.  Fountas & Pinnell currently have 21.9K followers on Twitter.  That same evening on Twitter The 2 Sisters @gailandjoan retweeted three of my tweets from that very same chat.  They have 14.2K followers on Twitter.  One of those three tweets now has had 30 engagements so far and 1139 people have seen my Tweet.  Someone does not need to be famous to have a voice and to have their voice heard my hundreds and even thousands of people.  Since I engage online and social media I am no longer anonymous anymore.  As Juan mentions in his TED Talk it is not just your electronic tattoo, but facial recognition now.  I learned about a company called Face.com and how “the company had “discovered” 18 billion faces across its API and Facebook applications” and in 2012 this company sold to Facebook.

I wonder how many of the faces that Face.com have discovered are children’s faces?  What does facial recognition mean for child who are growing up in the digital age?

Last week I read two articles called Welcome to the online world and Digital diaries.  Both of the articles discussed children growing up in the digital world.  With many parents participating in different forms of social media their children are no longer anonymous at birth and some children are not even anonymous before they were born as many parents post ultra sound pictures.  Parents and other family members are the first people to start adding to their child’s digital identity as their posts start creating a digital tattoo or digital footprint for their child.  I am curious to see these children’s reactions when they get older and what their options will be on what pictures, posts, or tweets were shared about them.  So many children get embarrassed from that one picture that their parent points out in a family album, but now many family albums are digital and shared online so those embarrassing pictures maybe already shared with all their friends, family, and maybe even the world.  I enjoyed reading Jeannine Whitehouse’s blog post called What will you leave behind?  She brought forward many valid points about digital footprints and people’s digital identity.  I could relate to when Jeannine discussed how she has friends who share a lot online about their family and their children while others friends are more private.  I have friends that share daily about their family while I have some who do not feel comfortable sharing pictures of their children on social media.  I believe it is a personal choice for each family!

What are your beliefs about sharing pictures and information about children online?

 

At the end of Juan’s TED Talk he leaves the audience to ponder when he stated “because of electronic tattoos maybe all of you and all of us are very close to immortality as these tattoos will live far longer than our bodies will.”   Near the end of the TED Talk be begins discussing the different Greek lessons.  He  discusses with the audience about imagining being threatened by immortality as we are all threatened by immortality today because of digital tattoos.    After listening to the end of his presentation I began to make the connection with Maeve Duggan’s article called Proposed law would clarify who gets access to a deceased person’s digital accounts that I read for class.  When adults get older they often have a written document that outlines a beneficiary or have a written will that allows that person to chose who gets their money, valuables, and most importantly who will raise their child if both parents pass away.  Will people need to add in a component discussing their digital accounts in their wills as well?

As I was just finishing this blog post I came across a post called Two ways of thinking about social media: digital tattoos and virtual shadows from the TED Talk blog.  In the beginning of the post the person discussed being at a concert  and how many people were recording the show so they could view it later.  In the post it was questioned if people truly experienced the show in the first place because they were so busy recording it.  This reminded me of the conversations about being present in the moment and when Amy Scuka @AmyScuka shared a few weeks ago a great article that had a  photo of a crowd of people taking pictures while one lady had a smile on her the face enjoying the moment instead of seeing witnessing it through a phone or lens.  The article that Amy shared led to a great conversation! The TED Talk posts also took a closer look at two concepts: digital tattoos from Enriquez`s TED Talk and virtual shadow from Damon Brown`s TED Book, Our Virtual Shadow: Why We Are Obsessed with Documenting Our Lives Online.

Have you heard of the concept virtual shadow before???

There is always so much to explore and learn!  I am looking forward to creating a new blog post after I discover and learn more about virtual shadows. Please leave me a comment if you know of any good articles or videos that can provide me with more information about virtual shadows. 🙂