The Good, The Bad, and The…What Side Are You On?

Is technology making our kids unhealthy???

Do you Agree or Disagree? What side do you sit on for this topic?

what side are you on

Photo Credit: Close to Home via Compfight cc

Wow! What a class on Tuesday! Congratulations to Aubrey, Jayme, and Jennifer, Heather, Andres, and Roxanne for an excellent debate! I thought both sides presented very well and gave everyone a lot to think about.  Going into this debate I was not sure if I agreed or disagreed with the statement-Technology is making our kids unhealthy.  As I began to look closer into the question and complete the readings I felt I was on a teeter totter…as my mind was conflicted. One moment I was agreeing and then all of a sudden I was leaning towards disagree.  Both sides presented the information in a very organized way which helped me begin to lay out my thoughts and compare physical health, mental/emotional/intellectual health, and the social health and well-being of children.

Photo Credit: mommymundo123 via Compfight cc

playing soccer

Aubrey, Jayme, and Jennifer shared with us in their Prezi that “On average children spend at least 7 hours a day on the internet, watching television or playing video games.” They explained how spending so much time in front of technology can lead to many physical health problems such as: “increased snacking, injuries to neck and back, detrimental to eyes (vision), skin blemishes, sore fingers/hands/forearms, and decreased physical activity” (Taken from their Prezi presentation).  Over use of technology has also lead to obesity in children.  The three ladies pointed out how there are many germs on the surfaces of the technology as those devices usually get used daily.  I have never really thought about how many germs could possibly be on my cell phone and other devices that I use.  Children are also not playing outside as often and are losing their connection to nature.  While researching I found an article that looked how technology effects children’s sensory skills and development.  It was very alarming to me!  After looking at the facts and research I was leaning towards agreeing that technology is making our kids unhealthy…BUT…

Heather, Andres, and Roxanne presented a valid argument on their video in how people can use technology to help improve their physical health. They talked about some get apps, devices, and websites that can help people learn about nutrition, locate health services, tell you when are being inactive, can track your workouts, explore fitness boards to learn from others or be inspired, they share their fitness journey, and get support through online communities/groups through social media.  Some of the apps, devices, and websites they presented to us were: My FitnessPal, MindBody app, FitBit, NikeRun,,, Pinterest, Instagram, and using different forms of social media.  They talked about how those are just a few examples and that there are so many apps, devices, and websites that people can access and use to help them in their health and fitness journey.  Fellow classmates Kyle D. and Kayla in the chat mentioned how they enjoy using a specific app/device and Kayla discussed how her FitBit was motivating for her.  I think that is awesome that people can use technology to help them reach their fitness goals.  When people are physically healthy it helps their health as a whole.  I was beginning to feel the teeter totter move again….BUT THEN…

During our discussion time and in the Zoom chat a few classmates Janelle and Steve questioned if charting our health through numbers and data on the devices/apps and not paying attention to how we feel. Steve discussed how our bodies give us signs or tell us about how health based on how we feel.  Is it good to push ourselves a little bit through using technology or are people hurting their bodies by ignoring the signs their body is sending to them?  During class we talked about how some people lie when entering information into the app so it’s not giving an accurate picture of the person’s health.  In the chat Dean talked about a cycling app called Strava and how the app has been linked to deaths because people that were using the app were trying to push themselves to beat other people’s records. I began to wonder how many other apps have led people to push themselves past their limits and putting themselves or others at risk?  Is technology truly negatively effecting kid’s health?  …..….

Andrew raised a good opinion in the chat -“when we say technology makes us unhealthy I feel like we’re kind of limiting it to cell phones, t.v.’s, and game consoles.” I agree with him because technology has opened doors for the medical field.  Andrew also talked about life expectancies and technology has increased people’s life expectancies with the help of MRI’s, X-rays, defibrillators, CT scans, IV machines and so much more.  Doctors are able to “better diagnose and treat their patients” through using the new equipment that has been designed.

After looking and considering physical health I was still undecided what side of the debate I was on so I continued to exploring mental, emotional, and intellectual health…

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question mark dude

Aubrey, Jayme, and Jennifer presented with us the negative impacts technology has on mental and emotional health. Technology has caused people to have lack of sleep.  I have students who have devices in their rooms where they stay up late watching videos or playing games instead of getting the rest that they need to have. In my career I have had student’s journal about playing games such as Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, and Halo.  I could understand when they presented how technology has increased people’s aggression, depression, anxiety, and hyperactivity as those games are very violent.  There are so many apps, TV shows, and movies that are not appropriate for young children to be watching and I can see how watching and interacting with technology that negatively affected their health.  The three ladies also presented how technology can lead to addictive behaviours and even suicidal thoughts.  So scary!  What messages are being given to our children through the different forms of media? Technology can affect children’s emotional and mental health by the cyberbullying that can occur online and children feeling alone.  Some people are exploring how technology is also effecting children’s intellectual health and is affecting their writing skills.  Lots of teachers discuss how children use abbreviations in their everyday work at school and their writing is declining.  Is technology effecting kids health?  I had to consider the other side of the debate…

Heather, Andres, and Roxanne discussed how they are so many great support networks and online groups for children and teens to be a part of through using technology. More children are learning how to be upstanders online and taking care of their friends and family.  The group presented how through using different methods and technology it has been used to bring awareness to mental health.  There are also apps for children to use their phones or devices that they can wear to help parents keep track of where their children are. There are also baby monitors where parents can watch their baby in the screen to provide them with a peace of mind.  Children’s intellectual health can grow by collaborating online and learning from others.  There are many open education opportunities and they can build their communication and writing skills through the different websites such as blogging and apps on their devices.  I encourage you to check out David Crystal’s video entitled Texts and Tweets: myths and realties.  We watched it in EC&I832 and I wrote a post that explored my thoughts on the video.

Before I could reach my final decision I had to explore social health!

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kids talking on the phone                                                      kids taking outside

                                                                   Photo Credit: pepe blond via Compfight cc

Aubrey, Jayme, and Jennifer talked to us how technology is hindering children’s social skills. Now families are not spending quality of time together and are not carrying meaningful conversations as they use to because people are becoming addicted to gadgets.  They discussed the decrease in face to face communication and increase in online communication.  The group of ladies presented to us about the effects of cyberbullying and how people are filtering what they share with everyone on social media.  Some people desire “likes” on their social media posts to get confirmation from others and can affect their self-esteem.  Are people truly posting and sharing their true self on social media?  Have you heard of Madison Hollernan’s story? In an article called Split Image, it talks about how “On Instagram, Madison Holleran’s life looked ideal: Star athlete, bright student, beloved friend.  But the photos hid the reality of someone struggling to go on.”   So… how can technology help people’s social health??

In Heather, Andres, and Roxanne’s video shared with us how more and more people are on social media now. People can network with others and technology can provide a new way for people to communicate with others through sharing, grieving, and celebrating with people online.  Facetime and Skype allows us to stay connected with family and friends.  This form of technology is very helpful for people who live far away and it gives them a chance to have a face to face conversation even if they are miles apart.

What side of the debate do I sit on? I came across this video called Looking Up….

I thought this video brought up some very valid points in why people need to look up from their phones. I think people do need to make sure they are truly spending time with loved ones and friends and get away from their devices.  Last night at our school dance technology was very useful and led to a very special night!  I was able to play music from my iPad so students and their families could dance (get some physical activity) and have fun while raising money for a staff member and a dear friend who is right now kicking cancer’s butt.  I was able to take pictures, capture a video and text it to her and her husband!  Technology can lead to some many wonderful things, but I believe there needs to be BALANCE and MODERATION! Those words have been explored and used in Amy’s and Angela’s posts.

On Tuesday during our class discussion and in the chat we discussed educating our students and children.  Kayla brought up a valid point when she mentioned “I think it is all based on whether or not kids are taught to be healthy.”  I am sure that many children would watch television, play games, or use their devices all day long if their families allowed it.  Damon and I do not have any children yet, but we have already discussed the importance of making sure that our children will play, enjoy nature, and will be physically active.  We need to be aware of how much screen time our children are getting.  It will also be our job as parents to teach them about healthy eating, treating others the way they want to be treated, and all of the other many important lessons in life.  In the chat Jeremy made a great point when he said that “parents, peer support, and teachers need to teach and model appropriate screen time.”  Check out the next video…it shows the importance of putting our phones down and being present in the moments with other people.  Do you model appropriate screen time to children?

This next video captures special moments between people with their friends and families. In these moments it is powerful to use technology because it is bringing people together.  It is allowing people to be a part of a special occasion, chance to catch up, and someone to laugh, cry, and smile along with.  In my opinion moments like this showcase…pick your devices up and talk!

As an educator I believe it is my responsibility to help educate my students about living a happy and healthy life.  I also need to be a good role model and provide opportunities to teach my students about physical, social, and mental health.  Ian discussed in the chat that students can bring to school events that happened outside of school hours such as cyberbullying; therefore, it is our responsibility to educate our students.  When I teach my outcomes in grade two about safety, fitness, respect, and their feelings I need to talk to them about technology when we are having our discussions. Heather, Andres, and Roxanne told us all about the wonderful things that has to offer technology and how it can help our health is so many areas, but our students will never know about these options if we do not educate them. It takes a whole village to raise a child!  We cannot just expect parents to talk to their children about technology and how to use it properly.  This week  I took a quick look through the curriculum documents and here are a few of the outcomes that provide me with the opportunity to educate my grade two students about how to live a healthy life while they interact and use technology.  I can even give my students the chance to be creative and express their feelings and knowledge on the topics through arts education and language arts.  Here are some of the outcomes I found that matched to living a healthy life:


As of right now I am located in the middle of the teeter tooter like the girl depicted in the picture below. I can see how the teeter totter can move towards either side when looking at this topic, but by educating our children and youth I think we can help them begin to find the balance!

The girl looking like me sitting in the middle of a teeter totter

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Does Technology Enhance or Hinder Learning?

teens smiling at the computer Photo Credit: chandlerle025 via Compfight cc

Tuesday was a very exciting class as we had our very first debate and the topic was:  Technology in the classroom enhances learning.  Congratulations to Jeremy, Erin, Kyle, Kayla, Chalyn, and Steve for leading an excellent first debate.  Before the two teams (agree and disagree) presented their side of the debate I already had my own opinion based on my experiences of being a student and a teacher as well as the knowledge I have gained through previous classes and readings that I have been exposed to.  Does technology in the classroom enhance learning?  I believe that technology does enhance learning for students in the classroom, but there are certain aspects of technology that does need to be considered.

Benefits of Technology and How It Enhances Learning:

1.  Technology allows for differentiation.

Students can use assistive technology to help them reach their personal goals in the classroom, especially the students who are struggling or may have a learning disability.  Students can use the different tools to help them communicate with fellow peers in the classroom or display their learning to others.  For example, in my classroom I have some students who struggle with writing and with the use of talk to text apps and devices they are able to independently complete assignments instead of having to rely on myself or another adult to scribe for them.  I have also had students use iPads and other forms of technology in my classroom to help with verbal  communication.  In an article that the agree side shared with our class it explores differentiation and it lists the variety of types of assisted technology that can be used to help children learn in the classroom: written language assistive technology, reading assistive technology, mathematics assistive technology, listening assistive technology, and memory/organization assistive technology.  I have seen technology open the doors for so many students and can provide them with opportunities to be successful in the classroom.   All of the different technology can lead to equity for students in the classroom.  I agreed with the article that “the choice of the appropriate use of AT [assistive technology], whether available or improvised, the right selection depends on the individual child, the skills problems, the setting and the particular tasks the child wants to achieve” (p. 18).   “This implies that one tool used for a child may not be useful for another child in different setting” (p. 18).  Every child is unique and has different learning needs to compared to other children in the classroom and when planning to use the different types of technology it is important to keep that in mind.


Photo Credit: Source

2. Technology allows for new learning opportunities to occur in the classroom.

When teachers use technology in the classroom students are able to learn valuable digital skills and digital tools are helping transform education.  Now students are living in a digital world and I believe it is critical to provide them with learning opportunities to learn new digital skills and improve their skills that they already know .  Those skills that they can learn are “essential for work and life in a 21st century global society” (p. 6).  I was reading through a report that focused on integrating technology with student-centered learning.  In the report I thought  Babette Moeller and Tim Reitzes  brought up some valid points:

  • “Technology can equip students to independently organize their learning process” and this leads students who use technology to “become active users” (p. 6).
  • Technology provides students to opportunity to take some responsibility for their learning (p. 6).
  • Technology can lead teachers “to deliver more personalized learning” (p. 7).
  • Technology can help provide feedback that can “guide the learning process” (p. 7).

During the debate Andrew introduced to us a website that he uses in his classroom called Zooniverse.  On the website it states that it “provides opportunities for people around the world to contribute to real discoveries in fields ranging from astronomy to zoology”.  Andrew talked very highly of the learning opportunities that this website has provided to his students.  There are so many more great websites that provide great learning experiences for students that they would never have access to if it was not for technology.  This week Tyler shared and posted a video his blog post that showcased how technology improves student learning for students who attend Minnetonka schools.  It would be amazing to have the opportunity  to teach using the technology that was showcased in the video and to know how to implement the technology used effectively.  While I was reading Andrew’s blog post “Learning With and Without Tech” he reminded me about a teaching experience when he talked about Chris Hadfield singing with students from across Canada during Music Monday.  My students in my grade two classroom were able to watch Hadfield sing and they sung along with him through the use of technology.  It was a very fun learning experience for my students and for the other students across Canada.  We were able to take part in a fantastic learning experience without having to live in an urban center.  Technology helps open the door for rural students!  For example students are able to take classes online that might not be able to be offered due to many factors that occurs when attending schools in a rural area.  They also can have access to many resources through using technology in the classroom.

3. Technology allows for students to make connections and learn from other people.

I think it is amazing how technology has evolved over the years and Rick Schwier’s presentation on the History of Educational Technology from EC&I831 came to mind.  I wrote a blog post after his presentation and reflected on how education and the tools we used has evolved when I was going to school as a young girl.  Not only did he talk about how technology has evolved, but Schwier discussed how social media can allow people to make connections with others.  He talked to us that humans are social people and communication skills is very important to have.  Another educator who believes in the importance of making connections is Rita Pierson.  In her Ted Talk “Every Kid Needs a Champion”  she discussed how we need to start talking about “The value and importance of human connection…relationship.”  Students can interact with others through apps, Twitter, blogging platforms, and many of the Google tools just to name a few.  My students enjoy exploring other classroom blogs and sharing what they have been learning about on our classroom blog.  I have not used Twitter before in my classroom, but it has been something that I have considered.  I have seen blogging has not only improved my students writing, but their engagement in learning as well.  It has also provided me the opportunity to teach my students how to be good digital citizens and teach them lessons about digital citizenship.

Connected Learning

Photo Credit: Connected Learning Research Network and Digital Media & Learning Research Hub

Some things that need to be considered:

1. Teachers need to be trained in how to use technology effectively in the classroom and what new digital tools are available to use to enhance individual learning.

For learning experiences using technology to be successful teachers need to have training in how to use the different tools and how to implement technology effectively in the classroom.  If a teacher is not prepared and does not understand the digital tools then it could lead to classroom management problems and teachers not using instructional time effectively.  The school division needs to provide professional development opportunities  and train their teachers in how to effectively to use the different tools, especially if they are expecting them to use technology in the classroom.  During the debate on Tuesday teacher training was discussed.  I also think that many teachers do not know about all of the amazing tools that are available for them to use to help students individually in the classroom.  Teachers need time to explore the different opinions available in order to choose the best fit for their students and provide time for the student to understand how the learning tool works through modeling and coaching while they are using the tool.  Someone in our EC&I830 class also made a great point on how teachers need to also take initiative in their own personal development. (I’m sorry my computer lost connection near the end of class and I was not able to save the chat to give credit to this person).  I agree that as an educator there are many ways to gain professional development in a variety of areas through accessing professional development online.  I could relate to Kyle DuMont’s blog post when he discussed how many people on staff go to him when they have questions about technology.  For example, I have also have many people come to me when they have questions about their Smartboard.  Over the past few years we have had a huge turnover of staff and they did not have the professional development that we had when the Smartboards were put in our classrooms. I have also experienced a problem when I plan for a substitute teacher because many of our substitute teachers do not know how to use some of the tools we use in our classroom.

2.  The use of technology can be distractive to some students.

I have heard many educators talk about how their students become distracted when they use technology in the classroom.  Tami Strang talks in post how many students are tempted to “take a moment and “peek” at sports scores, the latest headlines, or the number of “likes” [they have] accumulated on [their] latest Facebook or Instragram posts.”  She even posted a graph showcasing the “top means of distraction and technology misuse in the classroom.”


Photo Credit: Source

Amy Scuka discussed about students being distracted in her blog post “Nothings Fine, I’m Torn.”  I have not had too many experiences of students being distracted using technology because my students are only in grade two. I can see how many teachers who teach upper elementary, middle year, and high school students can get distracted through using other tools or social media instead of completing an assignment.

3. Students are very connected to technology.

During our class Sherry Turkle’s Ted Talk “Connected, but Alone?” was mentioned.  She studies technology and people’s plugged in lives.  In the video she talked about how the devices people use are so powerful “that they don’t only change what we do, they change who we are.”  She explores how people are plugged in and how people “are losing the true connectedness with each other.”  I was introduced to Turtle’s Ted Talk when I took EC&I832 and I discussed her ideas she explored in a blog post that I wrote on September 21st.  Are we depending too much on technology?  Are we teaching students to be too plugged into the world instead of living in the moment and interacting with others face to face instead of behind technology?

There are many factors to consider when thinking about using technology in the classroom.  I have only talked about some of the benefits and negative side to using technology.  What are your thoughts on technology in the classroom? Does technology enhance or hinder learning in the classroom?

Even through their are many factors to consider when using technology I still believe that technology enhances learning in the classroom!


Bittersweet- My Final Graduate Class

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Hi everyone!  My name is Justine Stephanson-Kyle and I teach grade two at Carlyle Elementary School in Carlyle, Saskatchewan for the Southeast Cornerstone School Division.  I have been teaching in Carlyle for seven years since I received my Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Regina in 2009.   I cannot believe that this is my tenth and final graduate class at the University of Regina.  I am still in shock that I am thirty-nine days away from reaching my goal and finishing my LAST CLASS for my Masters of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction.  When looking through the Google Plus EC&I830 community I was so excited to see so many familiar faces in this class and having the opportunity to continue to learn along side classmates that I have met through the nine previous classes that I have taken.  I am also looking forward to continue to build my professional learning network (PLN) and to meet everyone through our weekly class on Zoom and reading everyone’s blog posts on the EC&I830 blog hub.

I know that Twitter is not mandatory, but I encourage you to check it out!  When I took EC&I831 in the fall of 2014 I was introduced to Twitter and was very overwhelmed.  From taking the class and all of the people I have met in that class inspired me to give Twitter a try and begin to explore what Twitter had to offer.  Over time I have become more confident in using Twitter and I use it mostly for professional development.  Kelly Christopherson @kwhobbes  was a part of the class and introduced me to #saskedchat on Twitter.  On Thursday’s at 8:00pm the educators that organize the chat ask questions focusing on a variety educational topics each week.  There are usually around six questions each Thursday evening and the chat runs from about 8:00-9:00pm.  On the Thursdays I am able to take part in the chat allows me to learn from fellow educators from around the province, from Canada, and even other educators from outside of Canada.  Today the #saskedchat the topic is Inclusive Education!

saskedchat inclusive ed

I encourage you to follow that hashtag because it is a great beginning place to begin to build your PLN.  On the nights I am not able to attend the chat  during the hour time frame I am still able to read the tweets to learn and grow professionally.  Twitter also provides the opportunity to still comment and ask questions even if the chat is over.  Some other hashtags that I learned about from taking other classes that I follow now are: #digcit, #edtech, #digitalcitizenship, #playmatters, and #edchat just to name a few.  If you want to learn more about hashtags for education check out this link!  On the link it lists hashtags that are popular/trending, hashtags for all the different subject areas, and hashtags topics that involve education.  You can follow me on Twitter at @JNSteph87.

Reading Kyle Ottenbreit’s very first blog post today reminded me of my very first graduate class when I took ED800 in January of 2014.  The last few years have gone by so fast and I am so happy that I decided to go on this journey.  For people who are just beginning their graduate journey or new to online learning this is a great class to be a part of!  This will be the third class that I have taken from Alec and Katia and their classes have provided me a great opportunity to learn and grow as educator.   While I was reading Haiming Li’s blog post, I loved the photo that she used in her blog.  The photo had a quote that stated “do not compare yourself to others.”  I can remember when I took EC&I831 and I was very overwhelmed reading everyone’s blogs because I was brand new to blogging. Everyone’s blogs looked amazing!   My best advice is to remember that everyone is at different stages in their journey.  Some colleagues are beginning their degree while others finishing.  There are also many people who are experienced in educational technology and blogging while others have taken this class to begin to explore and learn more about educational technology.  I like looking back to my very first blog post “Life Is A Journey…” because I easily see my growth since my original post (that contains no links, pictures, or videos since I was new to blogging).   I think it would be amazing for students to have a blog that they can write in each school year so they can see their personal growth from year to year!  Through taking EC&I831 I was able to learn more about blogging and even did my major digital project involving blogging with my grade two students.

While continuing to read everyone’s posts on the bloghub I saw that Heather posted some great tips and tricks on her blog if you are new to online learning.  I could make a lot of connections to what she talked about in her post as I have also had moments of when I thought I lost everything on my blog post on wordpress blog.  I did learn and found the magical button beside revisions that allowed me to get back parts of my post that I thought I lost.   While exploring more blogs I noticed on Aubrey’s blog post that she talked about teaching her students how to be safe and happy digital citizens.  I also share the same passion and belief it is vital to educate students to be good digital citizens.  Digital citizenship was such an important topic and when I took EC&I832 during that semester we learned about some fantastic resources!   Here are just a few that I used for my major digital project in that class and they are resources that I use today to help me teach digital citizenship :

  •  Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools- This document is “a policy planning guide for school divisions and schools to implement digital citizenship education from Kindergarten to Grade 12.”  The planning guide was written by Alec and Katia in consultation with other educators from Saskatchewan.  I encourage you to check it out!  There is fantastic information and tools to help educators implement digital citizenship in their classrooms.  Further as you read into the document you can learn about Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship and the digital citizenship continuum.
  • Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship Scope and Sequence– This is an AMAZING website that has units, lesson plans, student interactive activities, and assessments that teachers can use to teach digital citizenship for students in Kindergarten to Grade 12.  There are also great information for families and professional development opportunities.
  • The Government of Saskatchewan Digital Citizenship Continuum from Kindergarten to Grade Twelve–  The digital continuum “is intended to support professionals as they infuse these concepts and skills into their teaching.”  This document is formatted using the nine elements.  For each element there are essential questions, what students need to know, what students need to understand, and what they need to do from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

It is bittersweet that this is my last class.  During the drive home from class  on Tuesday Tyler and I were talking about what is next after we are finished our degrees.  I know personally I want to start a family and professionally that I can continue learning through my PLN on Twitter and there is always the option to take MOOCs (Massive open online courses).  I do not want to think about the end quite yet!  I am so excited for Tuesday’s first debate and continue to learn more about educational technology from everyone!  It is going to be a great six classes!

Let the great debates begin!

hand shake

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‘Twas The End of The Semester…

thank you

Photo Credit: lauren.kiedaisch via Compfight cc


Wow!  Where did this semester go??  This moment is bitter sweet as I am looking forward to a short little break to recharge my brain, but sad that this class is now finished.  I have learned so much once again from Alec and Katia!  I want to thank both of them as am so grateful for all the learning experiences they provided for myself and my classmates.  My brain has once again been filled with so much knowledge from the readings and viewings they have shared.  I also want to thank my #eci832 classmates as I have learned a great wealth of knowledge from reading your blog posts on the blog hub and the resources everyone shared each week.  As I began to create my Summary of Learning I realized just how much we accomplished and learned in just a couple of months!

For my Summary of Learning project I went on quite the little journey at first…My initial idea was to use Prezi again for my assignment as I enjoyed learning and using that tool last year when I created my EC&I831 Summary of Learning. I was at first leaning towards using that tool because I already had an understanding of what I needed to do and I also know that I would not have as much of time since I have been busy with my Major Digital Project, coaching curling, and directing drama.  But, I like a challenge so I decided to try first Video Scribe.  I really liked this tool and I can see myself using it in the future; however, since I was very new to using it I was getting worried about the time.  I have been really excited about Christmas this year so  decided to use it as inspiration!  I created my own version of the book A Visit from St. Nicholas or better known as ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas.  I created ‘Twas The End of The Semester!  It was a lot of fun to use the rhyme and rhythm of many of the lines from the story.  Recreating this story forced me not to babble on and on as I am known to be very long winded.  I chose to do a hard copy instead of creating the book online so I could explore using different mediums.  (I am hoping in the future to do a project using video scribe.)  In the New Year I am going to have my students create their own story to showcase their learning so I thought this would be a good model for them.  Today I read ‘Twas The End of The Semester to my grade two students and they were very excited to see work that I created for class.  My grade two students think it is pretty cool that their teacher is going to school. To stick with the Christmas theme I also recreated a song using the music from Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer!  For the music I used music from a karaoke version so I did not have to sing by myself as that would have been scary.  Then I used Screencast so I could tie my pictures and lyrics together to create the video.  I had a lot of fun putting this assignment together minus a few technical sound glitches that I ran into along the way.  I also can not believe that this is my 50th post that I have created on my Word Press blog! 🙂

Here Are My Summary of Learning Project Credits:

Rudolph the red nosed reindeer karaoke – modern Christmas karaoke videos   Music Credit: Parenting Extra

A Visit from St. Nicholas (`Twas the Night Before Christmas) Story Credit: Clement Clark Moore

Light Bulb Picture Photo Credit: Kapitall Screenshots via Compfight cc

Sand foot print Photo Credit: Marisjuh via Compfight cc

Lady Wearing Sun Glasses Photo Credit: Pia_C via Compfight cc

Dog Wearing Glasses Photo Credit: NatiLady via Compfight cc ;

Three Students Photo Credit: YWAM Orlando via Compfight cc

Online Games  Photo Credit: vickyjohn via Compfight cc

Numeral 9 Photo Credit: chrisinplymouth via Compfight cc

Thought Bubble  Photo Credit: polphin764 via Compfight cc

Important Picture Photo Credit: Enokson via Compfight cc

Class on Computers Photo Credit: Stanley High School Online via Compfight cc

Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship Photo Credit: Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools

I am a digital citizen Photo Credit: Venspired

Ready to Learn Photo Credit: Memegenerator

21st Century Photo Credit: Frau Susi

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of my story and song!

Thanks for another great semester everyone!  I look forward to continuing to learn and connect with everyone online!

Feliz Navead




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Wishing you a merry christmas



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One Last Thought:

*Late last night I realized that my `Twas The End of the Semester video was not full screen when you view it on YouTube.  When I watched it back on my iPad before I posted onto YouTube it was full screen, but I did not realize that it would not be when I posted it.  Since I am a perfectionist I created another video so my story would appear full screen on YouTube.  Here it is!

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year…I’m Done My Major Project!

 “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” -Lau Tzu

Jump For Joy

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 I am so excited to announce that I have completed my EC&I832 Major Digital Project!  I am so happy with how my project came together and what I was able to accomplish in just one semester.  I decided to create a screencast for my final post about my project and to take everyone on a tour of my personal blog and my classroom blog to highlight some key posts.  In the screencast I will also explain my project and discuss the integrated unit plans that I created for my grade two classroom.

Throughout this project I have referred back to the Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship Scope and Sequence and all the lesson plans numerous times.  This website has been a huge resource for me as I have been teaching digital citizenship in my classroom as it filled with great resources.  I have accounts for many great educational websites and I was very excited that I did not have to pay to access all of the lesson plans and resources that Common Sense Media have on their website.  Educators just need to make sure they register for the website so they can access to all of the documents and downloads offered on the website!  By registering it also allows Common Sense to show the groups that fund their website how many educators have been accessing the resources and lessons. Near the end of November I also completed the Elementary School Curriculum Training that took one hour.  The video walks you through the resources and a few of the lessons.  It has training for middle years and for high school as well.   I wish I would have completed the training earlier in the semester, but it was good to listen to what they had to say.  During this semester I have also been referring to the  Digital Citizenship Education in Schools and the Government of Saskatchewan Digital Citizenship Continuum from Kindergarten to Grade Twelve documents constantly!

Often people know the importance of teaching students about safety when teaching  digital citizenship in the classroom, but there are so many other areas that students need to know.  Students need to be taught lessons that cover all Ribble’s Nine Elements to support students learning digital citizenship.  I think the Common Sense does a good job covering most of the elements, but it does not touch on the eighth element- Digital Health and Wellness.  As an educator I would make sure I teach my students about this element while students are taking part in lessons that have students use technology.  For example, I have had my students complete body breaks and discuss the importance of take a break and moving our bodies around and stretching.  I have also talked to my students about keeping their eyes healthy and that their eyes need a break from looking at screens too.  I would spend a bit more time on teaching Digital Law and Digital Rights and Responsibilities.   There were not as many lessons in the Common Sense units that connect to those elements.  I know I will be able to connect those elements to social studies outcomes when my students learn and explore  explore rights and responsibilities and decision making in the new year! 

Here are the three integrate units that I created using Common Sense Media lesson scope and sequence: 

EC&I832 Major Project Unit One

EC&I832 Major Project Unit Two

EC&I832 Major Project Unit Three


I am looking forward to continuing my journey and educating my students on how to be good citizens!

In the new year I am excited to teach my students all the lessons from unit two and three so we can continue to have good discussions about digital citizenship.  My students have learned so many skills from blogging over the last three months and often my class tells me their favourite part of the week is when we blog.  My students amaze me every day and I know I will continue to see tremendous growth in the second half of our school year.  Please continue to explore our classroom blog!!  Last week I started talking to Ms. Ryan a grade three teacher from northern California! In the new year our classrooms our going to begin to explore each other’s classroom blogs and respond back to each other’s blog posts!  I know it will be a fabulous learning experience for my students as they will get to ask questions to students who live in a different country.  Thanks Jeannine for introducing me to  Student-to-students Blog Connect #S2SBC on Twitter!  It is a tool that allows teachers to connect and find other teachers to allow for students to have peer audiences comment on their blogs.  All you have to do is fill in this form that allows for teachers to contact you and you are also able to can see the list of classrooms so you can contact teachers as well!

I would appreciate any kind of feedback because even though my project it complete I believe lessons are always a work in progress.  There is always room for growth and I love learning about new resources I can use to help me become a better teacher for my students.  I hope my unit plans are helpful and that educators can adapt my lessons to fit their grade levels.  If any one wants a copy of the template that I used to create my lessons please leave me a comment on my blog or send me a message on Twitter @JNSteph87.  Also check out my EC&I832 classmate’s projects!  Everyone has done a great job so make sure you take the time to read their blog posts reflecting on their learning, discussing their projectd, and explore the resources that they have created!

journey quote picture

  Photo Credit: Justine Stephanson-Kyle

(I painted this picture when I was in the Early Learning Summer Institute and I just added in the quote using a photo app.)

Unit One….Complete!

“Shoot for the moon, because even if you miss you miss, you’ll land in the stars.”  Les Brown


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These last two weeks my class has been busy learning more about digital citizenship through completing more lessons created by Common Sense Media.  My class have worked on the two remaining lessons from unit one.  The first lesson we completed was called Keep It Private.  The big ideas and concepts for the students to learn about were privacy, safety, knowing what personal information is, and how to create a username.  The essential question for the lesson was, “What kinds of information should I keep to myself when I use the Internet?”  As a class we  had a conversation and we brainstormed ideas about personal information and what they thought personal information was.  Later on we discussed why it was important not to share our personal information with people we do not know when we are talking to someone online and in person.

I also showed my students two videos that talks about Internet safety and personal information.  For the second video called “What is Personal Information?” I found a Kindergarten to Grade Three version and a Grade Four to Grade Six version.

Here are the videos that my students watched:

*Internet Safety for Kids K-3 Video- This video talks about the Internet safety and about keeping personal information private.

*NetSafe Episode 2: What is Personal Information? (Grades K-3)-This video discusses how a person has personal information and tells the viewers what personal information is.

*NetSafe Episode 6: What is Personal Information? (Grades 4-6)-This video explains what personal information is your private property and why it is important to keep personal information to yourself.

From watching the two short videos my students were able to compare their answers and see if the ideas they wrote down were similar to what the video said about personal information.  After my students understood what personal information was and why they need to keep their personal information private we talked about what to do if a game asked you to create a username.  We discussed that they needed to create a username that did not include their personal information such as their name, age, phone number, or where they live.   We became detectives and read different usernames!  Together we decided if the usernames told personal information or not!  After my students created and brainstormed three usernames that we could use that did not include personal information along with their learning buddies.

You can see my student’s work on our classroom blog, Keeping Your Identity Private.  On the blog post I explained what my students learned about in the lesson and at the end of the post you can see pictures of all of my students username ideas.  After they were done creating their usernames my students wrote a blog post explaining what they know about personal information and how to stay safe.  I encourage you read my student’s reflections!   Secret Agent #5’s wrote a post called No Sharing Your StuffSecret Agent #15 wrote about staying safe and Secret Agent #15 talked about safety as well.  All of my students did a fantastic job!  Teaching this lesson I was able to cover quite a few outcomes from the curriculum while teaching my students about digital citizenship.

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 courteously during discussions and while working in pairs and small groups to share ideas, obtain information, solve problems, and ask and respond to relevant questions.

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 a response with supporting details.

ELA Outcome: AR2.1

Reflect on and assess their viewing, listening, reading, speaking, writing, and other representing experiences and strategies by participating in discussions and relating work to a set of criteria (e.g., “What did I learn?”).

  • Explain strategies used and why they were used.

Health Outcome: USC2.5

Recognize potential safety risks in community “play areas” and determine safe practices/behaviours to identify, assess, and reduce the risks.

  • Examine expected behaviours and general safety rules in community “play areas”
  • Discuss how safety rules/guidelines are established to reduce risks.

Health Outcome: DM2.1

Demonstrate how, why, and when to ask for help and/or advice when discovering healthy connections related to thoughts-feelings-actions, healthy snacking, affects of illness/disease, respect, safety, and diversity.

  • Determine safety supports (e.g., teachers, peers, elder, bus driver, significant and trusted adults) in the community.
  • Practice asking for help in appropriate situations and recognize possible consequences of not asking for help.

Social Studies Outcome: PA2.3

Analyze rights and responsibilities of citizens in the school and local community.

  • Differentiate between the nature of the rights of children and of adult citizens in the community.
email pic

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I also taught my students another Common Sense Media lesson called Sending Email.  I was very happy with how the lesson went so I made sure we talked about the lesson on our classroom blog.  My class and I had a really good discussion after I asked m the essential question “how do you connect with others through email?”  My students talked about sending family and friends emails.  They also told me about their parents sending emails for work.  We had a good conversation about how people are able to send emails on the computer, on a tablet, and on a phone.  As a class we discussed why people send messages and talked about mailing letters.  We also watched a video that gives students tips on how to show etiquette when emailing others.

In ELA my students have been learning how to write letters so this lesson was perfect for my students.  We reviewed all of the important parts of a letter that need to be included and then the whole class wrote a letter together.  After each student was assigned to write a letter to their classmate.  As a class we brainstormed some ideas on what they could write about in their letter and questions they could ask their classmates.  Finally my students were able to start writing their own letter!  They are beginning to improve in their writing skills and are starting to understand how a letter is formatted.  I know we will be continuing to work on this form of writing.  During recess I scanned all of my student’s letters and posted their work onto their individual blogs since I have not taught my students on how to insert photos and other media into their post.  This week we have been working on replying back to our classmate’s letters and setting criteria on what a good response should look like.  We have also been working on the “3C + Q Model” for commenting on blog posts that Jennifer Stewart-Mitchell @jstewiestewie shared with me!  We decided to follow the same type of format for writing a personal letter.  I am very grateful for all of the resources and tips that Jennifer has shared with me this semester and for helping me last year when I took EC&I831.  For this particular lesson I was also able to link grade two Saskatchewan curriculum outcomes from different subject areas to this lesson:

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.

  • Understand and apply the appropriate cues and conventions (pragmatic, textual, syntactical, semantic/lexical/morphological, graphophonic, and other) to construct and confirm meaning when reading.
  • Follow written instructions.

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 a friendly letter complete with date, salutation, body, closing, and signature.

Health Outcome: USC2.4

Examine social and personal meanings of “respect” and establish ways to show respect for self, persons, living things, possessions, and the environment.

  • Illustrate what respect looks like, sounds like, and feels like.

Arts Education Outcome: CP2.4

Contribute ideas when engaged in a variety of drama strategies (e.g., role, parallel play, journeys, meetings) and during periods of reflection.

  • Contribute to drama discussions with stories of own experience

I am very happy that I have worked through the first unit developed by Common Sense Media!  My students are beginning to learn important concepts about emails, online safety, protecting their personal information, how to search using the alphabet, and understanding their digital footprint.  I look forward to continue on this journey and teaching the other two units that Common Sense Media has created.  It is rewarding knowing that I am helping my students become good citizens by teaching them valuable lessons!

I Teach

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I’m Almost Finished My Major Project!

thumbs up

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I am so excited that I am getting very close to completing my EC&I832 Major Digital Project.  I have been working very hard at putting this assignment together.  I have the introduction and the first unit completely finished!  I wanted to share the first unit with everyone and get feedback on what everyone thinks of formatting before I post the rest of my assignment.  I was originally thinking about all the different possibilities of spaces that I could have used to create my assignment, but collecting all the of information took me longer than I have anticipated so I decided to create the document using publisher.  To upload the assignment into my blog I converted the file into a PDF.  Click the link below to view my assignment:

Major Project For EC&I832 Unit One