Is Unplugging From Technology The Answer?

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This week our eighth and final blog topic of the year was a quite fitting way to end our class.  The debate statement for this week was:

We have become too dependent on technology and what we really need it to unplug.

Agree or Disagree?

 

Janelle, Kyle, and Dean were debating on the agree side and debating against them on the disagree side was Tayler, Nicole and Angela.  Both sides did a fantastic job presenting their ideas to the class.  Tayler discussed in her blog post that she was hoping to argue the agree side on this debate because she felt more comfortable with the topic.  She made many great points throughout her blog and the one statement that stood out to me was, “I think I learned more than I ever could by arguing the opposite side of my initial beliefs.”  I think this shows that we need to take the time to look at topics through a new lens to allow us to gain new perspectives.  Personally going into the topic I was leaning towards the disagree side, but I wanted to be fair and listen to both sides to help me make my decision easier.

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national-day-of-unpluggingWhen talking to friends about this topic many of them believed that we need to unplug especially our youth.  The agree side presented many articles that explained why society needs to begin to unplug.   There has been a huge movement that tells everyone how they need to unplug.  When I was reading Kelsie’s blog she mentioned her discovery about National Day of Unplugging and that was a huge surprise to me.   I agree with Kelsie that “It’s an interesting concept: connectiveness has become such a ubiquitous thing that we need a day specifically set aside to justify unplugging.”   In the chat on Tuesday she asked, “What includes “unplugging”? Just devices? Laptops included?”  When I think of this “National Day of Unplugging” I also ask myself the same questions.  What does unplugging look like?  I am allowed to use my stove or microwave to make supper?  Are these types of technology included in unplugging?

tunes

Photo Credit: Meme Generator

What does this mean for our children? 

I took EC&I814 Critical Perspectives on Preschool Education in the winter and was lucky to get into the summer early learning institute where I took EC&I811 Current Issues & Research in Early Childhood Education and EC&I813 Play & Learning.  In a Ted Talk Mary Beth Minton talked about the importance of unstructured play for kids and the need to make sure children unplug. From taking those classes from Patrick Lewis and Karen Wallace taught me about how children need to experience play in all of the different forms.  I know when Damon and I start our family we want to make sure our children go outside to play and have the opportunity to experience different types of play.  During the class we were able to explore and experience play and art while we were learning about the topics in our syllabus.  I felt so calm after each class was over!  I was able to connect and have great conversations with others while we were playing and creating art.  I am not going to say that when Damon and I have children that they will not watch movies or television, but we will not let our children interact with technology for seven hours each day as discussed in the Ted Talk.

Photo Credit: BBcamerata via Compfight cc

Man yanking electrical cord

Kyle Ottenbreit discussed in the chat that it “may be easier for us to unplug rather than our children, who have grown up totally plugged in.” I think he raises a very good point because I can remember the days of no cellphones and high speed internet. The children of today and tomorrow have and will have very different childhood experiences than compared to the past generations.  I discussed in my blog, How Is Social Media Impacting Childhood?”,  that we can not compare our childhoods.  In Andres blog post he discussed his experience with talking about our debate topics with his grade 5/6 class.  I was interested in reading the students answers to Andres’ question “What is something you wish you could experience that your grandparents or older generations have told you about when they were your age.” 

Some of the students wished for:

  • “not having technology”
  • “being free to do anything you want, and not being connected to everything and everyone all the time”

The students explained they believe “that that their parents and grandparents had more interesting upbringings than them, and that they wish they could do some of the things their family members did when they were young.”  I would be interested to here the responses from grandparents if you changed the question to: What is something you wish you could experience that your grandchildren and younger generations have told you about growing up in today’s world?  Would grandparents mention that they wished they had technology? I encourage you to check out Andres’ blog to see the pros and cons to technology list that his class made.  His class came up with lots of great ideas!  Thank you Andres for demonstrating the importance to have conversations with our students about the topics they we explored in EC&I830.  I do not know if we need to encourage our students to be apart of long tech free challenge’s, but I so believe that we need to educate our students about the Ribbles 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship.  The two elements that link to this topic very well are:

Photo Credit: Taken from Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools

digtal etiquette

 

*Digital etiquette: electronic standards of conduct or procedure.

Technology users often see this area as one of the most pressing problems when dealing with Digital Citizenship. We recognize inappropriate behavior when we see it, but before people use technology they do not learn digital etiquette (i.e., appropriate conduct).   Many people feel uncomfortable talking to others about their digital etiquette.  Often rules and regulations are created or the technology is simply banned to stop inappropriate use. It is not enough to create rules and policy, we must teach everyone to become responsible digital citizens in this new society.”

digtal health

Photo Credit: Taken from Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools

*Digital Health & Wellness:  physical and psychological well-being in a digital technology world.

Eye safety, repetitive stress syndrome, and sound ergonomic practices are issues that need to be addressed in a new technological world.  Beyond the physical issues are those of the psychological issues that are becoming more prevalent such as Internet addiction.  Users need to be taught that there are inherent dangers of technology. Digital Citizenship includes a culture where technology users are taught how to protect themselves through education and training.

 

In this video the gentleman discussed how there are so many iMacs, iPads, and iPhones and our world is filled with many “I’s” and “selfies” and there needs to more of a focus on “us” and “we.”  He stated that Facebook should be an “Anti Social Network.”  Throughout his video he explores technology and social media.  Here are some of the main thoughts from his video:

  • broken friendships
  • big friend lists, but many are friendless
  • measure self worth from likes and followers
  • media causing over simulation
  • wanting to meet with friends talk to talk instead of talking through Skype
  • wanting conversations without abbreviation

The end of the video he talked about how he does not want to ruin special moments with a phone by taking videos, photos, or selfies.  Is technology ruining special moments? This reminded me of a video that I discussed in my “Selfie Sticks! Get Your Selfie Stick” post from EC&I832.  The idea of technology ruining special moments also connects to another video called I Forgot My Phone.

 

Have we become to dependent on technology, especially our cell phones? 

The agree side shared an article with us written by Margie Warrell called Text or Talk: Is Technology Making You Lonely? In the article it discussed how “Social media allows us to control what we share” and “We can pick and choose which photos we share and craftily edit our words to ensure we convey the image we want others to see.”  Are we representing ourselves in a way that truly reflects who we are?  In the article it lists different ways to build a social network away from using technology.

Strategies For Building A Real Social Network:

  1. Unplug
  2. Become a better listener
  3. Engage in your community
  4. Practice Conversation
  5. Find like minds
  6. Reconnect with long lost friends
  7. Invite people over

So does this mean…

Disconnect-from-technology-reconnect-with-each-other

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I am not 100% sold on the idea that if I disconnect from technology that I will reconnect with others.  If I was to follow the words on the image above I WOULD NOT reconnect with my family!  I use technology ALL THE TIME TO CONNECT WITH MY FAMILY I call my family on a regular biases and often we use Facetime so we are able to see each other.  I absolutely love this advertisement because it showcases how Facetime has truly helped me feel better about living away from my family.

As I discussed in a previous post:

I am the only person in my family who does not live where I was raised so it is nice to be able to Facetime with my family when I am not able to make it to special events that happen during the week.  My nephew and I have so much fun when we Facetime each other.  He tells me about play school, what they did during the day, and shows me all the new things that he has learned.  I love watching my ten month old niece and her reactions when my sister turns the phone to her so I can say hi.  Her expressions on her face is priceless!

Casey N. Cep wrote an article called “The Pointlessness of Unplugging.”  The parts that stood out to me were when it discussed people’s unplugging announcements:

  • “#digitaldetoxing”
  • “leaving Facebook for a while to be in the world”

She explores how “the Day of Unplugging is such a strange thing” and that “Those who unplug have every intention of plugging back in.” I found the comment about “leaving Facebook for a while to be in the world” very interesting because so many people do not realize that the “online world” and “offline world” are connected to each other.  This relates to what I learned about digital dualism and augmented reality in EC&I832.  I would never go online and state that I am leaving the online world and going on a digital detox. I am grateful for technology especially on a day like today!  My husband works with Saskpower and this weekend with all of the storms he has been very busy trouble shooting different outages so he can get the power turned back on.  I appreciate technology because he can update me if he is going to be home late through a quick text message and let me know he is safe in between jobs.   I can even download different apps onto my phone to help relieve stress and anxiety.  These types of apps can help me reconnect to myself! There are so many positive to technology!

 Photo Credit: Source

Unplug-4

I am very excited to reenergize this summer as my brain feels like I have been running a marathon! Shannon and so many fellow classmates have discussed the importance of balance and moderation.  I believe life is about balance and moderation, but  I also believe that it just takes time find the correct balance for yourself.  My balance and moderation for technology might look different than yours, but that is okay.  Everyone has different needs and personalities so we need to stop judging each other.  I thought Luke included an excellent quote in his post that connects to my thoughts on this topic of unplugging. The quote written by Anne Lamott states “Almost everything will work again if you unplug for a few minutes…Including you!” I believe this quote also connects very well to my philosophy!  I thought Angela stated it best in her post that  “…being connected in a balanced way enhances our realities and gives us opportunities to become our “best selves.”  I could relate to Nicole’s post because I am also ready to take a step back from technology for the summer.  I have enjoyed every class so much as each class has helped shape my teaching practices and philosophy.  I have not taken a break from classes since summer of 2014 so I need to unplug for a few minutes to recharge and get ready to work again for my new grade two class in the fall.  Does that mean that I will not turn on my computer to do planning over the summer?  Or that I will not log into Facebook or Twitter all summer long?  Absolutely not!  One of the ways that I recharge and reenergize is by being connected to my family and friends! 

 

IMG_1367I am looking forward to have more time to spend with my husband and not having to be so connected to technology to get my assignments complete and marking entered.  I want to thank my husband Damon for being so supportive while I was taken classes towards getting my Masters Curriculum and Instruction.  I am so grateful to have him in my life and that he was able to pick up the slack in the areas that I was not able to do as much at home, especially the semesters that I had to drive to Regina!

Also thank you to everyone who I have attended classes with.  I have learned so much from each and every person!  A big thank you to all the amazing professors I have had throughout these last two and a half years.  I am also grateful that I had the opportunity to learn from Alec and Katia for three semesters.  Thank you for designing courses that have given me a deeper understanding of educational technology.  I know my students have and will continue to benefit from everything I learned from those classes.  Finally thank you to everyone who took EC&I830.  I hope everyone has an amazing summer with family and friends!  Good luck to those who are continuing to pursue their degree and congratulations to everyone who has finished their Masters now!!  I look forward to seeing you at convocation in October. I have met so many fantastic educators through out my ten classes and students are so lucky to have those amazing and smart people as there teachers!  I thought this was a fitting by to end my 60th and final post:

 

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Photo Credit: Source

 

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Have you examined equity lately?

Photo Credit: From Business Korea Article

equity in magnifying glassWow!  Tuesday evening  was filled with lots of learning! Bob, Katherine, Ian, and Ainsley did an amazing job presenting their sides on the debate topic- Technology is a force for equity in society? I have been struggling to begin this blog post because my mind has been bouncing back and forth not knowing where to start.  I decided to first to examine the word equity and I turned to the online Merriam-Webster’s dictionary to help me wrap my head around what equity was defined as.  The simple definition in the online dictionary states equity is “fairness or justice in the way people are treated” and the simple definition for equality is “the quality or state of being equal: the quality or state of having the same rights, social status, etc.”  Then I began to explore equity in education and began to reflect about my experiences as a educator and a student.

What does fair look like in education ? 

fair quote

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Photo Credit: Source

soccer pic of equityI agree that “Fair doesn’t mean giving every child the same thing, it means giving every child what they need.”  As depicted in the picture as a teacher I could give each student the same the guide reading lesson or tool to use in the classroom, but is that equality helping each of my students?  No it is not…Every student is unique in their own way and deserve to have the opportunity to learn and grow through differentiated instruction.  In order for each student to be successful I need to provide my class with different supports to help make sure everyone can reach their full potential.

Does technology help bridge the gaps and make education more equitable?

With the use of technology students and adults are able to go online to help receive some education in a variety of courses.  Daphne Koller discusses Coursera in a Ted Talk-What we’re learning from online education.  Coursera gives students the capability to log onto the website to sign up for free online courses that were designed by prestigious universities. She talked about how Coursera:

  • breaks away from one size fits all model of education-personalized curriculum
  • helps people receive higher education
  • there are enrichment topics
  • education is a fundamental human right
  • allows for life long learning

In the video Koller explains that the course has even helped out a parent whose child was very sick since was not able to attend classes because he would be exposed to germs that would harm his sick child.  This child’s parent was able to log onto Coursera from the comfort of home while keeping his child safe.  Koller even talked about how people can present a certificate after they have taken a class or classes and some are actually able to get credit if they approach and talk to a university.  It was also discussed that these courses are free.  That is amazing because then it helps so many people from a lower socio-economic status to have the opportunity to take courses if they can not afford them, but are all the courses actually free?  When I looked into free courses there were 1093 matches on the Coursera website.  At the top of the website it stated, “Looking for free courses? For all courses on Coursera:

  • You can explore lectures and non-graded material for free
  • Prices shown reflect the cost for the complete course experience, including graded assignments and certificates
  • Financial aid is available for learners who qualify”

I thought the courses were free?  If I did not have a lot of money I would be disappointed that maybe a course that I wanted to take was not free and that I would not be able to take it because I could not financially afford it.  On the website does state “financial aid is available for learners who qualify”, but how do people qualify?  How many courses/classes can someone qualify for?  How much does the financial aid cover?

In the article Ed Tech’s Inequalities there was an excerpt written from edX CEO Anant Agarwal that stated,

One way MOOCs have changed education is by increasing access. MOOCs make education borderless, gender-blind, race-blind, class-blind and bank account-blind. Up to now, quality education – and in some cases, any higher education at all – has been the privilege of the few. MOOCs have changed that. Anyone with an internet connection can have access. We hear from thousands of students, many in under-served, developing countries, about how grateful they are for this education.

What about the students who do not have the access to the internet?  Are students still able to learn if they do not have access to the internet or devices?  As discussed in the article flipped classrooms are also a big trend in education.  Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry wrote an article called “What Is The Flipped Classroom Model and Why Is It Amazing?”  In the article there is an infographic that explains what a flipped classroom is, what the supports say about the flipped classroom learning, and what the critics say.  In the article, the Ed Tech’s Inequalities, and another article provided by the disagree side-Scaling The Digital Divide: Home Computer Technology and Student Achieve, all talk about the digital divide.  On the infographic is states “Not all students have meaningful access to model devices and the Internet.  The flipped classroom can further alienate students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.”  The infographic goes on further outlining how students who are privileged have access to:

  • “personal computer with high speed internet access in bedroom”
  • “owns latest smartphone and tablet”
  • “attends schools with large tax base and private funding”

While students who are underprivileged have:

  • “access to limited number of public computers for limited amount of time”
  • “family cannot afford fancy mobile device (or breakfast)”
  • “school is underfunded”

There are a lot of really benefits for using the flipped classroom model.  Students actually have time to be engaged in the learning in the classroom,have the chance to have meaningful conversations and more work time instead of just listening to a teacher lecture.  They can listen to their teacher from home and have the opportunity to play the lesson back as many times as needed to understand the material that is being presented.  If teachers use the flipped classroom model are they creating more of a divide in their classroom?  Are they adding more stress on the students who do not have the same access as other students in the class?

Does Technology Create Equity in Society?

 

yes no

Photo Credit: atayepley via Compfight cc

 

standardizedanimalsIn Stephanie Pipke-Painchaud’s blog post she reflected about her experience as a Differentiated Instruction Facilitator (DIF) and added this cartoon (Photo Credit: Image from Rockin Teacher Materials) onto her blog post as it her minded her of conversations she has had about differentiated learning.  I can remember seeing this cartoon in one of my undergraduate classes and discussing the importance of differentiation.  When I was looking into more about differentiation and the cartoon that Stephanie used on her post I came across an post written by Dave Mulder called The Teachers’ Lounge: Getting Real about Differentiation. In the post Mulder discusses a conference that he attended where Rick Wormeli was presenting on  formative assessment, summative judgment, and descriptive feedback.  Wormeli shared the same cartoon that Stephanie had used and often the argument is “that we should have different standards of assessment for different students, because the students are clearly unique individuals with different strengths and weaknesses and it isn’t fair to hold them all to the same standards.”  However, Wormeli put a twist on the cartoon and suggests that “we actually should hold students to the same standard.”  He explains that “If climbing the tree is a necessary part of the curriculum, then we simply must have every student get up that tree. Even the fish!” 

When I was first reading this I did not know what to think!

Wormeli stated that “it’s incumbent upon us as educators to do everything we can to help our students meet the high standard.”  I think it is important for all students to be given the opportunity to succeed and reach for a personal best.   How does a teacher help a student meet these standards?  In the post it was discussed it would “likely mean allowing different paths to reaching the standard, and providing ongoing, descriptive feedback to students as they are working to meet the standard that has been set: what is working, what is not working, what else they might try.”  To illustrate his ideas during the presentation he shared cartoons to show case how the other animals could climb the tree.  This picture of the fish (Photo Credit:  Mulder’s Photo from Wormeli Presentation) is just one of the examples of the cartoons that he shared to demonstrate the importance of providing students will multiple pathways. The pictures also made me think of our debate and how many of those animals used assisted technology to help them climb the tree.

The article “Assistive Technology Tools-Supporting Literacy Learning for All Learners in the Inclusive Classroom” that Bob and Katherine provided for us to read connects to differentiating for students.  It discusses how differentiation can be challenging, but “One way that teachers can support the learning needs of a range of students is through assistive technology, which enhances students’ ability to perform and complete tasks with efficiency and independence.”  As Erin talked about in her blog post I have seen first hand that assistive technology has opened up the doors for students in the school that I teach at.  I have also heard stories from friends who teach in different divisions and how technology is enhancing learning and providing students with opportunities in their schools too.  In Tyler’s post, Is There Equity in Education, he has included two videos that showcase how technology has not only helped two people at school, but has made their lives better.  Those two videos demonstrate truly how technology can make a difference in a person’s life.   Amanada Morin lists 8 examples of assistive technology and adaptive tools that can be used in the classroom.  In the examples listed some of the tools are low-tech while others are more costly.  I agree with Kyle Dumont when his discussed in his blog post:

While I am in this class because I believe using technology is the way of the future of education, I also know that you can not replace good teaching. Yes these tools are amazing and they can help your student develop a deeper understanding of what concept you are attempting to cover, but if you are not using them appropriately they are as useful as a dried up ball point pen on a Scantron sheet. 

I think Kyle made a valid point that these tools are amazing, but teachers need to know how to effectively implement them in the classroom.  He raises another great point in his blog post about the cost in time and money invested in teaching educators how to use the tools in their classroom with the examples he provided.  I also think it is vital that students need time to understand how to use the tools being provided to them.  If students are not trained in how to use it to benefit his or her learning then it just becomes another gadget that the child may not take good care of.   I believe if a student knows how to use it and they are benefiting from the technology then the child will take care of the device.  Student’s would not want to damage something that is helping them in a positive way.

 

money and roads

Photo Credit: Source

Technology can open the doors and provide so many opportunities and paths for people…But at what cost?

Bob and Katherine introduced me to a new technology that I did not know existed.  Technology can not only help in education, but in health care system as now there are robots delivering health care in Saskatchewan!  It is amazing how this technology gives people opportunity to see specialists without having to spend so much money on travel, but how much does this technology cost?  I am guessing that this technology is not cheap as there would be more robots made available and how much does it cost to train the doctors and staff to know and understand how to use this technology effectively?  Just like in education technology is helping to open the doors for equity within society, but it will not reach everyone as money is always a huge factor.  It costs money to train everyone and purchase the technology!  When students  and patients are able to access the technology/tools and everyone knows how to implement it effectively then I think technology is very beneficial. 

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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Hip Hip Hooray!

hip hip horray

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We had another fantastic week in my classroom!  At the end of the week the last blog permission form came back to school.  Now all sixteen of my grade two students have permission to take part in our classroom blog and create posts on their own blog.  Everyone is allowed to have their picture posted onto our blog and can have videos or audio clips posted onto the blog as well.  (Insert happy dance!!)  I was able to finishing creating the remaining individual student blogs for those two students who handed in their permission forms.  I was beginning to think about what those two students would have done if they did not return their forms back while the other fourteen students were blogging.  I was thinking about students creating a notebook blog and if they handed in their form then I could scan their work and upload it onto their blog. Has anyone else experienced students not handing in a permission form?  If you had students that could not participate on the blog what did you have those students do while other students were blogging?

My students are almost finished their community project!  Please take a look at my students working on building their community projects!  They all have been working very hard at finishing up their project and adding in their own creativity.  It has been a lot of fun watching their designs come to life.  Next week we are going to put the final touches on the project by creating roads and placing their buildings on the roads around the community.  I was hoping to record an audio clip or video of my students finishing up this project and talk about their community.  I was wondering if anyone knows if you are able to post audio clips or videos without using Youtube? Or is Youtube one of the only ways you can post videos easily onto a blog?  If Youtube is the main way to post videos onto a blog then do teachers need to get parents to fill out another permission form if you are uploading videos onto Youtube?  If you have any tips or advice on the best way to post videos or audio clips onto a blog please leave me a comment on my blog.  I would really appreciate it!

I was able to accomplish almost everything from my to do list that I wrote about in my previous post.  My students each drew a self portrait of themselves.   A few students were away so they will need to finish their self portrait next week.  I was able to help add their self portrait onto their individual blog pages and create their blog avatar.  We talked about why they were using a drawing for their avatar on their blog instead of using a photograph. It led to a good discussion about posting pictures onto the Internet.  For the header of their blog my students decided that they wanted to use their Dot Day art work that they created.  During Dot Day  my students rotated around to different stations and were able to create a variety of artwork pieces using different mediums.  Each student choose their favourite piece from Dot Day to become the header artwork for their blog page and I helped them post their art onto their blog as well.  My students were really excited to see their work posted onto their blogs.  Please explore our classroom blog and check out my students art work!  A lot as been added onto our blogs this week!  I know my students would be excited to see that more people have visited our blog and their own blog.  If you have time please leave a comment on my students individual blogs as well.  My students would be thrilled to read your thoughts!

oct 23 blog

Photo Credit: Picture Taken By Mrs. Kyle

On Thursday my students brainstormed ideas of what they wanted to write for their about me page as a class.  During our class discussion I wrote down their ideas of what they wanted to share on their about me.  After the brainstorming was over students recorded their ideas in their journals.  On Friday I taught my students how to log onto their blog so they could create and type their about me page.  I am very thankful that I have a Smartboard in my classroom because it made it easier for my students to follow along and for me to model what to do.  I was also lucky that I had another adult in the room during blogging time.  She was able to help my students as well if they had any problems.  I had a few students away Friday and some had to leave class a bit early for Missoula Children’s Theatre practice since they performed Friday evening.  Check out Secret Agent #15s about me page and all my other fabulous Secret Agents in my class! This coming week students will be given the opportunity to finish or create their about me page on their own blog!

I was away from school for a few days so we did not have time to co-create criteria together on what they think a good blog post looks like.  I plan on co-creating criteria for a blog post on Tuesday. Then later in the week when students create a blog post about their community project they will have a guideline of expectations to follow.  Since I was away we did not have a lot of time to blog during the week.  I did have a few students who typed out their about me pages fast and wanted to continue blogging so they created their first blog post discussing what they have been learning about in school.  Last year I found so many of the students who struggled with writing and did not want to write, but loved blogging using Edublogs.  I am not sure if it was the novelty of being able to type on the computer or having an larger audience of people reading their ideas and seeing pictures of their work, but I enjoyed last year seeing their faces light up while they were blogging.  I looking forward to seeing my students reactions while they are blogging and hearing their opinions about blogging as they begin to understand more what a blog is and what they can post.

This past week my students did a great job remembering safety online when reviewing the going places safely lesson.  On Wednesday I will introduce my class to the common sense education lesson about ABC Searching.  As a class we will talk about the proper way to search online and I will introduce to them to a picture dictionary.  I will have students go onto the websites that was suggested on lesson plan and have students work together to create an ABC book.  I am looking forward to continuing to reflect on the safety topic as students work on their searching skills.

Please check back later in the week to read about how my major digital project is progressing with my students!

Check It Out!! A Video Tour Of My Classroom Blog…

microphone

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Hello Hello!! I have completed screencasts before and I think it is a fantastic way to showcase your learning!  I am very passionate about teaching reading and I wanted to learn more about Literacy Development.  So for my EC&I804 Curriculum and Development class I created a script of what I was going to say and a presentation to showcase my findings for my research question “What should early year’s teachers focus on to promote literacy development?”

I was very happy with how my project turned out.  The only thing I would want to change is to slow down how fast I was talking in that video.  We had a time limit of eight minutes so I needed to talk fast to make sure I had time to fit everything into my video to show all of my findings.  To create the video I used Screencast-O-Matic to record my audio and images of my slides for my project.  Then I posted my project onto Youtube!  That was the first time that I have ever posted anything onto Youtube before.  Now I have two other videos on Youtube.  One video is my summary of learning introduction and the other video is me explaining my Prezi presentation.  It can be a little scary at first putting your work on the Internet to the world to see, but this class has allowed me to feel more confident in sharing my learning through using different social media tools.

This weekend I did my very first screencast without having a script of what I was going to say.  That is a huge change for me as I am someone that likes everything all laid out and planned.  Here is a video of me giving a tour of our classroom blog using Screencast-OMatic.  Please forgive me for some of my pauses and stumbles during this video!  I am hoping to keep practicing Screencasting without writing a script because I know I will not always have time to write a script for every thing video that I record.

I would love to hear your feedback!

What did you think when looking at our classroom blog? Is it easy to navigate and find your way around our classroom blog?  Is there any more widgets that I should add onto our blog?  Do you have any suggestions for me about student blogging?

Thanks so much everyone! 🙂

So….What’s Next?

grade 2

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It has been a very busy few weeks in my Grade Two Classroom! My Secret Agents have been learning so much!  I am so proud of their growth and I am excited to continue to watch them expand their thinking and explore the world.

In my last post “Who’s Excited For This Week??? This Teacher Is!!!” I spent time reflecting what I have done so far in my classroom blog.  Since my previous post we have added some posts onto our Classroom Blog and my student’s individual blogs.

class blog

My Classroom Blog:

On our classroom blog we have posted a few more posts as a class.  One post we discussed learning about what good commenters do on a blog.  I got the idea from my EC&I831 classmate Danielle Degelman.  On our discussion page for the Google Plus Community for our #eci831 class she posted a picture and commented that she gave the students sentence starters to help them when they are giving a compliment, creating a comment, making a connection, and asking a question on other people’s blogs.

In another post we talked about even and odd numbers.  My students learned a song called “Odd Todd and Even Steven.”  They enjoyed singing that song so much that we decided to video them singing and posted the video of them singing on the blog.  I was very happy with how easy it was to upload the video onto the blog.  I will continue to add videos onto our classroom blog!

We also posted a blog that discussed my student’s learning projects.  My students and I are looking forward to begin creating their animal projects starting on Tuesday! They have been busy bringing materials from home after I sent a note home explaining the project to my student’s families.  I have not seen so much positive energy from my students this year.  I am hoping to try #GeniusHour sometime later on in the year with my class during learning buddy time.  I think Genius Hour ignites student’s imagination, creativity, and curiosity to explore topic that they want to learn about.

Finally on our classroom blog we posted a brief post showcasing what we have been learning about numbers.  My students have been busy exploring place value, describing numbers, and representing numbers in many different ways.  On Twitter I saw that Sue Waters @suewaters tweeted about being able to add in a picture gallery onto a blog post.  I wanted to try to insert a picture gallery onto one of our classroom blog posts.  One day I went around with my camera and I took some pictures of my students representing numbers using number tiles and base ten blocks on form two part mats.  I followed the steps that were listed on the link and inserted the picture gallery rather easily.  Sue also tweeted about being able to add in tiled galleries onto a blog post.  I am going to follow the instructions on that link and try out the different examples of tiled galleries another time on our classroom blog.

Here is a tour of our classroom blog:

 

My Student’s Individual Blogs:

Most of my students only had an about me page and only a few had art work for the header at the top of their blog.

about me blog page 1

Now my student’s individual blogs are starting to show growth that allows visitors to get to know each of my secret agents a little better.

 

I created a to do list in my previous blog post about my major digital project.  I am very proud that I was able to check everything off of the list and also did a few more things as well!

1. I did upload my student’s self portraits onto their individual blogs.  Their self portrait also became their avatar for their blog as well.  My students are very excited to have their very own avatar on their blog.  They have an avatar on their Mathletics account so they were thrilled to have one for this account too!

self portait
2.  I uploaded pictures of my student’s math increasing pattern work onto their blog. Then student’s added a comment of a description of their pattern explaining the pattern rule.

linking cubes
3.  My secret agents had the opportunity to create a blog post on the topic of their choice.  So many students choose different topics so I encourage you to check it out!  I also had my students blog about what they like about blogging so I was aware of what my students liked about this project.  Then I could get some ideas of what I should do again with my class.

kids posts
4.  This past week my students have been busy beginning their animal project.  They were able to choose an animal or two animals to create their project.  My students will get three afternoons to create their animal.  If my students chose two animals they had to be from the same animal family.  Once they choose their topic my students created a plan for their project.  They drew a picture of what they wanted their animal to look like and then labeled what they were going to use for each part of their project.  Along the side of the plan my students listed what materials they were going to use to create their project.

animal plan
5. Once my students were finished creating their plan they were given time to blog about their project.  Later on I added their plan onto their page.  I was able to copy my students work on the photocopier and email my students work to myself through the photocopier.  When I sent the work to myself I turned the files into PDFs which allowed it to be easier to add the work onto my student’s individual blogs.

animal blog post

6. Some of my students completed some artwork during center time.  After they were finished I help them choose what part of the artwork they wanted to go onto their header of the blog and then we posted it.

art work for blog

7.  Last week after going through what good bloggers do when commenting I modeled to my students what to do.  We went on some different teacher’s classroom blogs and left a comment on their page.  After lots of practice I gave my students time to write their first comment on a friend’s blog.  To make it fair I handed out secret agent number popsicle  sticks from a jar to my students.  Then they went on that friends blog and chose what post to comment on.  It helped out a lot when I gave my student’s sentence starters for the 3 C’s and Q.  (Thanks Danielle for the fabulous idea!!!).  Also one day I gave my students the opportunity to read the comment I left on a post that they wrote.  I wanted each student to have at least one comment on their blog page!  Before the Christmas break I am going to get students commented back to each other and the chance to reply back to me too.   We are still taking baby steps in this area, but we are starting to make progress! Slow and steady wins the race!

Here is a tour highlighting a few of my student’s individual blogs and some of the things that I just talked about in this post:

Blogging is one time of the day that I never hear complaints from my students about having to write.  My students ask about when they get to blog next if it is not on our schedule for the day.  My student’s favourite part is looking at our clusters map on our blog to see who as looked at our classroom blog.  Then we go on a journey on Google Maps to explore what city/town/country that person is from.  I am thrilled to have my students blogging about their animal projects this month.  I think it will allow my students to truly showcase what they know about animals!

My digital project maybe ending for this class, but this is a life long project for me with my students.  I am excited to continue this journey!! I am glad that I took this class so I actually started something that I always wanted to do, but did not have the support or the know how in what to do to get this process started. Through blogging now I am able to see my student’s growth in just a short period of time! Please continue to explore and read our classroom blog! My class would love to hear from you!

But before I go please tell me….How’s Our Blogging??

colourful blog

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Oh Me…Oh My…

oh happy day

Photo Credit: Javcon117* via Compfight cc

Last weekend I put together my EC&I831 Summary of Learning Project.  It was a lot of fun trying some new tools that my fellow classmates talked about in Google Plus and in their blogs.  I am going to use Toontastic and Garage Band forsure in my classroom during center time.  I think they would come up with some great projects and have a lot of fun while doing it.  In my blog called “I’m Digital Learning…..and Now I Show It” I had to do a screencast showing everyone how to watch the first video in my presentation because only four seconds of the video would play and would go to the next path in Prezi.  I was so frustrated and disappointed that it was not working properly.  I was very grateful that I had many people try to help me solve this problem.  On Tuesday night at the end of class Katia @kbhildebrandt help me troubleshoot what the problem could be.  She gave the suggestion to add my video onto Youtube and link my video from Youtube onto my Prezi presentation.  I was so happy and relieved that solved the problem.   When I would play back the presentation in edit mode it works with out having without having to pause it, watch the video, and continue on watching the presentation. I was going to call this blog post Oh Happy Day…but then I put my blog post into preview mode and check out my link one last time.  It still skips the video after four seconds.  But, now you can hit the back arrow button and it will play the whole video.

prezi pic

Here is my  EC&I831 Summary of Learning Project! I hope you enjoy! I have learned so much from this class and I am excited to continue to learn more through MOOCs, Webinars, reading blogs, reading Tweets, and other forms of Social Media! I apologize that I am still not able to solve the problem  🙂

http://prezi.com/embed/ow2kixggggtm/?bgcolor=ffffff&lock_to_path=0&autoplay=0&autohide_ctrls=0&features=undefined&token=undefined&disabled_features=undefined