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?

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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.

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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.”

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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…

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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

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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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How Is Social Media Impacting Childhood?

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ThinkingThis week in EC&I830 we had another great ed tech debate which has led me to ask a lot of questions and reflect on my childhood.  My mind has been going in different directions!

How is social media impacting children?

Is social media actually ruining childhood?

Amy, Logan, and Carter (the agree side) shared with our class how social media is affecting children in a negative way and is ruining childhood. While Ellen and Elizabeth (the disagree side) presented to our class how social media is not ruining childhood and how it can have a positive impact on children’s lives.  Both sides presented very strong arguments and did an excellent job!

The agree side presented to us an article from The Huffington Post- Social Media Affects Child Mental Health Through Increased Stress, Sleep Deprivation, Cyberbulling, Experts Say.  In the article it started off talking about a girl who was unable to get away from bullying due to the online world of social media.  She talked about her struggle getting verbally bullied face-to-face and how the bullying continued to happen on Facebook.  Later in the article it stated “A potent mix of cyberbullying, increased anxiety, stress and sleep deprivation are increasingly linked to mental illness in children, campaigners, doctors and psychologists have told The Huffington Post UK.”  This article reminded me of my The Good, The Bad, and The…What Side Are You On? blog post that explored if technology is making our kids unhealthy.  During this blog post I looked at both sides of the debate to see how technology was negatively and positively affecting physical, mental, emotional, intellectual, and the social health and the well-being of children.  Throughout that post I tried to make a point that there are two sides to the debate which have valid pros and cons to social media as well as the positive and negative affects that social media can have on kids.  In The Huffington Post article there were a few points that stood out the most to me:

  • “With adolescents we know there is a link between social interactions and self-esteem, that they spend lots of time online and that a lot of that time is spent on social networks,” she tells HuffPost UK.”
  • “Young people often act first and think of the consequences afterwards; they do not consider how an act now can affect them in future years,” Dr Hayley van Zwanenberg, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist at Birmingham’s Woodbourne Priory Hospital, told HuffPost UK. This can have a profound effect on the self-esteem, mood and anxiety levels.  By posting pictures or comments on social media they open themselves to scrutiny from many more peers than they are used to when doing this in a classroom – and their comments and pictures are now permanent.”

Photo Credit: Arthur.Sa. via Compfight cc

putting on make up

In Amy Martin’s blog post, Amanda Todd and The Myth of Digital Dualism, she raised many great points about society and the sexualization of women.  In her post she wrote, “According to Media Smarts, “three-year-olds already prefer game pieces that depict thin people over those representing heavier ones, while by age seven girls are able to identify something they would like to change about their appearance.”” I agree Amy, this is terrifying!  Our children and youth are exposed to so much media through television, music, movies, magazines, advertisements, Youtube, Internet, and all the different forms of social media.  There are so many pressures for people to look and act a certain way. I can remember watching a documentary called Sext Up KIDS when I took EC&I832.  During the documentary it discusses and “reveals how our hyper-sexualized culture has hijacked childhood and what parents and educators are doing to fight back.”  (I encourage you to watch it, but without young children because it is geared for a mature audience as it has profanity and highly sexualized images throughout the documentary).  What messages are we sending our children and youth?? The documentary gave a powerful message how youth are not just consuming images online, but producing images now as well I discussed this in a previous blog The Good, The Bad, and Just Plain Scary Side of the Technology and Media

Jessica Henrion wrote a thoughtful post called “#nofilterlifestyle.”  Jessica talked about how we need to teach children to love and care for themselves.  She quoted CBC (2013) “You can get a different version of yourself…. You can edit yourself.” Now with technology we can retake photos until they are “perfect”, edit photographs according to our style, and we can even add a filter over the photo!  I thought Jessica made an excellent point when she stated:

… we need to help our students become confident individuals that love themselves.  We need to help tear down the expectations social media has to be beautiful and perfect.  We need to help our students lead a #nofilter lifestyle!!  By doing this we can hopefully begin to prevent our students from reaching out to the online world in unhealthy ways.

Can you guess which photograph has no filter?

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On Snapchat there are now different filters that you can use to change up your photographs.  Some of the filters are meant to be silly while others you can use to “enhance” your appearance.  One of the filters that I used evened out my completion (also looks like I have eyeliner on now) while the other filter gives more of the smokey eye effect and thinned my face.  I was raised that I am beautiful with or without make up on and that I do not need to change who I am!  What message do these types of filters send to children and teens?

I do have to admit that sometimes the filters that you can add to a photo are a lot of fun! Do students feel comfortable enough to share silly pictures of themselves?

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Children and teens are feeling the pressure to look a certain way!  In an article called Does social media impact on body image? it discussed how “Magazines and television are often blamed for portraying an ideal body image that causes people to question their looks and lose confidence in themselves. But what about the role social media plays in moulding attitudes to the way we look?”  Later in the article “The MPs’ report said pressure to look good had pushed up cosmetic surgery rates by nearly 20% since 2008. ”  That is very scary statistic to me! 

 On April 7th, 1995 my life and my family’s world was shaken!  SCRYL-COPIE16061322041_0002When I was just seven years old I was diagnosed with Necrotizing Fasciitis also known as flesh eating disease.  Doctors had to remove the diseased tissue and once I was in the clear then they performed skin graphs.  I was left with visible scarring across my chest, on my right shoulder, and down the right side of my back.  I  discussed my experience in a previous blog post called Will You Be The One To Speak Out??  I  talked about not wanting to hide my scars because why would I ever want to hide who I am!  My scars tell my story of survival and I am proud of who I am today.  I do often wonder if my journey would have drastically changed if social media was around when I was sick.  I can recall many newspapers telling my story when I was sick and I still have all of the articles from different newspapers in a special box.  The picture above is one of the many newspaper clippings I have from when I was young and in the hospital.  I can even remember being on CTV Regina news when I came out of the hospital!  I was sitting in my living room when I saw the clip and saw my photograph on the television.  I asked my parents why they were talking about me because at the time I did not understand how serious my illness was and how worried everyone in the community was.  Facetime would have been amazing when I was in the hospital so I could have talked my family more often especially my older sister and younger brother.  I missed them so much while I was in the hospital as I only got to see them on the weekends.  I also wonder what people would have wrote about me in all of the different forms of social media if it existed over twenty years ago. Maybe social media would have made me more self conscious about my body?  Maybe if I was older I would have wished to use a filter to try to hid my scar?? There could have been a lot of positives too! Maybe I would have found groups of people who had similar surgeries before?  Maybe people would have created a group to write me notes to send positive encouragement and prayers to my family?  With social media there are some negatives sides, but there are so many positive aspects of social media! 

I believe we are always very hard on ourselves and sometimes tend to see our faults first instead of our strengths. 

Check out this video below!

In this Dove video it showcases how we truly are our own worst critic and we see all of our flaws that do not stand out to other people.  We need to start to embrace who we are and focus on the positives instead of the negatives!

There are other videos to view that were created by Dove that showcases how media “enhances” images before the photographs go on billboards or adds.  The video was called  Dove Evolution | With some images, all is not what it seems. Near the end of the video these words appear on the screen, “No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted.”  I could not agree more! I was excited to see that dove and the campaign were looking at the male version of real beauty as well.  That video is called Dove campaign for real beauty (male version).  I think that sometimes we forget that boys need to talk about self esteem too.  Boys have pressures to look a specific way just like girls do.  There is another video called Dove Legacy | A girl’s beauty confidence that explores the importance being role models to children by loving ourselves and not cutting our self down with negative thoughts.  Finally there is another great video called Dove Real Beauty Sketches | Mothers & Daughters.  I think these Dove videos are great to view because they open to the doors to have great conversations in the classroom.  It also gives students time to understand the importance of loving yourself! 

Here are some other resources for teaching self-esteem:

In the CNN article “Is social media ruining our kids?” a comment that stood out to me in the video was when they talked about how what kids are posting is not matching what they are feeling.  It reminded me of the video that Amy, Logan, and Carter shared with us to watch to have more understanding on how social media can effect us.

I encourage you to also read an article called Split Image by Kate Fagan and watch the video that is linked in the article.  The message from the video above connects to Madison Holleran’s personal story.  “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.”  Parents, teachers, and community members need to make sure they are reach out to students and build positive relationships with them.

In the CNN article “Is social media ruining our kids?” it started off by stating “It is 10 o’clock. Do you know where your children are? A decade ago, if your answer to that question was, “Yes, at home,” you felt comfortable that your children were in a safe and secure place. That’s no longer true. Now that kids have smartphones and tablets, they can hang out on a dangerous street corner without ever leaving their room.”  I encourage you to watch another documentary about a young girl named Amanda Todd.  The Fifth Estate’s documentary was entitled The Sextortion of Amanda Todd and during the documentary it talks about Amanda’s life.  Amanda had a beautiful voice and often posted videos of her singing on YouTube using her webcam from her bedroom.  One day she made one mistake in front of her webcam that led to her being bullied at the schools she attended, online, and also being blackmailed online.  Students need to be educated not only about positive self esteem and , but they need also need to understand digital citizenship.  I do not want my students to have to go through online shaming.  I am hoping that I can teach powerful life lessons to my students when they are young so they do not have to go through the online shaming that Justine Sacco has inquired from one Tweet she posted on Twitter. I have explored online shaming before in two previous posts called Do You Think Before You Post or Share Online? and my Do You Have A Digital Tattoo? What Story Does It Tell?.

Photo Credit: Brian 104 via Compfight cc

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It is important not to just look at one side of the debate!  Ellen and Elizabeth shared with us some great articles on how social media can be very positive to children and teens.  One of the articles discusses 5 Reasons You Don’t Need to Worry About Kids and Social Media.

  1. It strengthens friendships- Social media can allow children and teens to feel more outgoing and can help build their friendships stronger.
  2. It offers a sense of belonging– Social media can help students feel less lonely and are becoming “more socially adept.”
  3. It provides genuine support-  Children and teens have the opportunity to find acceptance through groups who share similar hobbies or have the same values in life.  It also gives children and teens “immediate access to quality support online.”
  4. It helps them express themselves– Children and teens get a chance to be creative through self-expression on social media.
  5. It lets them do good– Social media expose children and teens to important topics and events from all over the world.  “Kids realize they have a voice they didn’t have before and are doing everything from crowdfunding for people in need to anonymously Tweeting positive thoughts.”

In Angela Barnes and Christine Laird’s article The Effects of Social Media on Children discusses that social media “…is not just an avenue for socializing; kids and adolescents can be creative, interact, and learn.”  It also allows for peers to stay connected in and outside of school hours with others from similar interests and hobbies.  Social media can lead people to accept others and their differences.  It can even help students complete their homework and other class projects! Michael Sheehan also shares his opinions on 5 Reasons Why Social Media Might Actually be Good for Your Child.

  1. Keep up with friends
  2. Collaborate with schoolmates
  3. Discover new interests
  4. Get prepared for the future
  5. Get creative

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thumbs upThis week everyone in our class had very thoughtful and well planned blog posts.  In Lisa’s post This is Not a Box she had many great insights throughout her post.  Lisa discussed that “We need to encourage children to have a balanced childhood where they can enjoy playing outdoors with friends and improve their social skills, but also learn about and enjoy technology.”  Also thank you for sharing the article “Childhood Isn’t What it Used to Be” by Randi Zuckerberg! I thought it was very interesting!  Stephanie brought up a great point when she discussed a workshop that she attended by Rick Lavoie.  In her post she commented “that we need to recognize the childhood our students and children are experiencing is nothing like the childhood we experienced. He cautioned us to think about how we respond to students.” I agree that our environment has changed significantly and when I was in my teens social media was just beginning.  We can not compare our childhood because it is like comparing apples and steak.  Ashley’s post Does social media need a time out? was well written!  Ashley addressed many key points and I enjoyed reading her thoughts about how social media is “hurting the development of face to face communication skills in our youth and even adults.”  She talked about the importance of body language and how our tone of voice both play a vital role in the way we communicate.  However, when we use technology and type our responses body language and tone of voice becomes removed which can lead to some misunderstandings between people.  Ashely shared an interesting video called Text Tone Deaf and it showcases the misunderstandings that can occur.  I encourage you to check it out!

At the end of is technology making our kids unhealthy debate I was teetering between agree and disagree because both side brought forward valid points.  I came to the conclusion that by educating our children and youth I think we can help them find a balance.  Balance has been a word used often in people’s reflections during our EC&I830 debates and in their blog posts.  Where do I stand on this debate?  Is social media ruining childhood?  In the The Huffington Post article that I shared earlier in this post had a quote by Lucie Russell who is a Director of Media and Campaigns at YoungMinds.  I thought the quote sums up my thoughts nicely on this topic.  The quote stated:

“We need to realize young people are on social media and that’s here to stay, now it’s about giving them skills to manage their online lives.” 

I believe if children are not taught the skills, if they are not given the knowledge or are not having open conversations about self esteem, digital citizenship, cyberbullying/bullying, and the importance of living a healthy life style then social media could have the potential to ruin a child’s life if they do not have a support system.  I believe children need to know they can count on a trusted adult to turn to for advice and for support in their lives.  Sometimes students may even contact someone through using social media or use one of the many support groups that exist in the different online spaces.  I think if children and youth are educated about social media, know how to maintain a positive digital footprint, and have a support system that social media will not ruin their life.  In the CNN article and video that I mentioned earlier in my post discussed, “Kids whose parents were involved were less likely to get up set about social media.”  Parents, educators, and the entire community need to work and come together…

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Photo Credit: Small World Learning Village

The Time Is Now…We need to educate our students about sharing

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This week in my EC&I830 class we explored a new debate topic- Openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our kids.  Going into this debate I was already leaning towards disagree because of my previous experiences with having my students sharing online through blogging.  When I took EC&I831  I was able to choose my own project.  For my major digital project I chose to create a classroom blog and I created individual blogs for each of my students under their secret agent number.  I saw so many educators using classroom blogs and thought it was a great opportunity to begin a new journey.  It also allowed me to teach my students about digital citizenship.  This project was a huge learning curve for me because I had no previous experience blogging before personally until I started taking classes from Alec and Katia.   Then when I took EC&I832 I was able to continue my journey by being able to expand on my previous project and I choose a new focus for my major digital project.  I  documented my journey on my blog discussing resources that I used such as, the Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools, Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship Scope and Sequence, the Government of Saskatchewan Digital Citizenship Continuum from Kindergarten to Grade Twelve, and other resources that I found.  I also created three grade two integrated units using the Common Sense Media lesson scope and sequence as a major resource:

I appreciated Shannon, Kelsie, and Danielle (the agree side) sharing the Peel Region School Board Staff Guidelines for Social Media.  The school division I work for also has administrative procedures for responsible use of technology and internet, confidentiality, media relations, and that the use of social media will comply with administrative procedures.  Before we can engage in any social media with our students we need to fill out a social media approval form.  It is critical for all teachers and staff to know their schools divisions administrative procedures! After I had approval from the division office then I was able to send home a Permission Letter to Parents About Using A Blog 2015-2016.  I encouraged  each family to talk about the blog with their child.  My students are  the ones participating in the blog so I think they should have a choice.  I have always had 100% of my students participate and I really appreciated one family that talked to me.  When the family talked to their child he was nervous about videos and audio being posted on the blog, but was excited about writing posts and having pictures posted.  I would never want a child to do something that he or she is uncomfortable with.  I was very proud of him!  His parents did sign off that part of the parent permission form incase he changed his mind and they knew that I would respect their son’s wishes.

digital footprintPhoto Credit: Source

Lisa, Haiming, and Stephanie (disagree side) shared with us an article that explored how teachers need to be positive role models and need to make sure they are taking care of their digital footprint.   As Andrew mentioned in the chat on Tuesday teachers need to “walk the walk.”  I agree with the article and Andrew!  If we are going to “talk the talk” with our students about the importance of having a positive digital footprint then it is imperative for teachers to be role models on what a positive digital footprint looks like.  I have Googled my name to show my students that anything you create or write online stays online.  My students thought it was very neat to see their teacher’s work online.  I learned on Tuesday night from Amy that I can use not only use Google to see what digital footprints I have left online, but I can also use Duck Duck Go-it is a search engine that doesn’t track you.  When I was reading Erin’s blog post this week I could relate to her when she talked about “how tiny [her] digital presence is” since she changed her name after she was married during the summer.  During the summer I also changed my name after I married my husband Damon.  Now I go by Justine Kyle, but for university I chose to hyphenate my name since I completed more than half of my Masters Degree as a Stephanson.  I have been slowly changing my name for my social media accounts while other accounts that I use professionally I chose to hyphenate since I am Justine Stephanson-Kyle at the university. Currently right now I do not have a big digital footprint under my married name, but I can show my students my footprint under my maiden and hyphenated name.

It is important to “walk the walk” when you “talk the talk” but I started to think about the educators who are not online and do not have a digital footprint or that has a digital footprint that is tiny.  Some people are “digital visitors” online while other people maybe “digital residents.”  In my post, “Which One Am I?” I reflected about how I know that I am a digital resident as I choose to be visible online through all the spaces I engage in.

Here is a short video that gives a quick snap shot showing the difference between digital visitors and digital residents:

I encourage you to also watch David White’s video about digital visitors and digital residents that I added in below.

I prefer White’s continuum over “digital natives” and “digital immigrants.” You can watch Do “Digital Natives” Exist? to find out more about digital natives and digital immigrants.  I like using the wording digital visitors and residents because it doesn’t assign people to groups based on age and population as the other video did that explores digital natives and immigrants.

People who are digital visitors may go online to  book a holiday or pay bills.  Once the person is finished their task then he or she goes back offline again.  Visitors are invisible as they do not leave any social traces online when interacting on the web in those spaces.  While a resident leaves their mark and identity through blogging, commenting, posting videos, posting pictures, and/or posting in variety of ways in a series of different places or spaces online.  Residents live a portion of their lives out online. They choose to go online to be present with others and will leave a social trace and footprint.

Photo Credit: thomasanthonyzampetti via Compfight cc

digital fingerprint

I believe every teacher needs to start understanding and learning about digital citizenship whether they are a digital visitor or resident.  So many of our students are becoming digital residents at a young age and they do not understand that they are leaving a social trace and their digital prints online for the world to see.  I know I do not want my students to leave negative prints online that could affect them as they get older.  I liked the quote that Kayla included in her blog post this week from teachershub.com -“If you aren’t controlling who you are online, some else is or will.”  I think it is critical to make sure we are personally shaping our own digital identity and giving the students the opportunity to learn how to do so in a positive way.  I believe we not only need to educate our students, but parents as well.  With many parents participating in different forms of social media their children are no longer anonymous at birth.  Some children are digitally born before their actual birthday as many parents post ultra sound pictures or make a pregnancy announcement.  Parents and other family members are the first people to start adding to their child’s digital identity so they need to make sure they are creating a positive digital tattoo for their child.  If parents are made aware of what digital footprint is maybe they will want to be proactive to protect their child’s future identity as the couple did in the article that the agree side provided us with.

I have been very proud of my students this year!  They have learned a lot about online safety when visiting websites, exploring how to keep their identity private, and they know what a digital footprint is.  My students really understood the permanency of a digital footprint when I described how it is like a digital tattoo.  Check out secret agent #5’s post about “No Sharing Your Stuff” and secret agent #15’s post “stay safe“.

lesson one #2 photo lesson one photo

Here are two pictures from one of the lessons I taught my students when they talked about safety.  My students were able to make the connection that the rules are similar when they are visiting places online and in real life.  I think so many times people view online and offline as separate places, but they are not because people are able to interact with other people in both spaces.

When I was looking through a website called Visual Library while I was exploring digital citizenship resources I saw this image:

all good citizensI believe Citizenship and Digital Citizenship are the same thing…

I want my students to be good citizens no matter where they are or what online spaces they are using!

Both of these digital citizenship posters “All Good Digital Citizens” and “Think” can be used to remind students how to be good citizens when they are offline too!

new think image

  Photo Credit: ToGa Wanderings via Compfight cc

This reminds me when I learned about digital dualism and augmented reality in EC&I832.   Alec mentions both of terms in his Ted Talk –Identity in a digital world. (Thanks for sharing Angela! I never saw his video until I read your blog!).

So…. do I think that openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our kids?

No I do not think that openness and sharing at school is unfair because there are many benefits to sharing student’s work in online spaces. I think that there is The Good, The Bad, and Just Plain Scary Side of the Technology and Media as I talked about in this post, but when policies are in place and teachers are educated about digital citizenship I think sharing can be positive for students.   I am very excited to continue blogging with my students again next year especially since I will have some lap tops that we can keep in our classroom. That will provide students more of an opportunity to blog daily!  This year we started off very strong using our blogs especially when we had learning buddies, but when we worked on some other projects during that time we did our blogs as much as I wanted.  I also want to branch out more to other schools and connect with them especially other grade two classrooms.  This semester I have been able to reflect so much about my learning through reading over my own posts and using pingbacks in my writing when a debate topic reminds me what I learned about in EC&I831 and EC&I832.  If students are able to blog daily or every other day then they could reflect on their learning, make connections to other subject areas, and continue to expand their thinking as they learn more about different topics. I really enjoyed reading Angela’s blog post this week.  I appreciated her honesty and sharing her journey with us.  I recommend to take baby steps and turn to fellow colleagues for advice and help along the way.  I was lucky that a colleague shared the information about a digital citizenship webinar that Kathy Cassidy presented on.  She is so knowledgable and gave us great tips to help us get started on our journey.  One of my struggles is sharing videos on my classroom blog because I will admit I have fear of Youtube and I am not comfortable having videos of my students on that space.  Are there other ways to post videos onto a blog?  Has anyone posted videos onto Youtube of their students?  There is always so much to learn!

I am looking forward to continuing my journey next year with my new group of grade two students and continuing to learn how to teach them to become positive citizens!

its-a-journey-no-one-is-ahead-of-you-life-quotes-sayings-pictures

Photo Credit: Source

‘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

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Elgrunch via Compfight cc

 

 

Wishing you a merry christmas

 

 

 Photo Credit: Asif A. Ali via Compfight cc

 

 

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!

Hip Hip Hooray!

hip hip horray

Photo Credit: SewSweetViolet via Compfight cc

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!

Will You Be The One To Speak Out??

On November 18th our #eci831 class had the pleasure of listening to Audrey Watters @audreywaters speak to our class.  I encourage you to check out Audrey’s blog.  She has many thought provoking posts! On the night that she spoke to our class I logged onto the class late because I had Student Led Conferences, but that weekend I was able to rewatch the class!  I am able to rewatch the class because Alec and Katia record each session on Black Board Collaborate.  Then send the link to everyone on our class EC&I831 Google Plus Community.  It is so wonderful to have that option!  That was the only class that I arrived late for and missed a bit, but often I would rewatch some of the classes because I forgot what someone said, needed a link, or needed a review of the material.  I am a visual learner so being able to play back to classes is amazing! I hope I have to opportunity again down the road to use Black Board Collaborate in other classes or webinars.  It was so nice not having to travel two hours to Regina, have class, and then travel another two hours back home.

gender

Photo Credit: International Livestock Research Institute via Compfight cc

Now getting back to what Audrey shared to our class…she talked about Gender Equity and Edtech.  During her presentation she discussed #gamergate…I had no idea what that was.  I agreed with some fellow that I am oblivious to that kind of stuff.  Have you heard of gamergate before?  My class talked a little bit in class about it in the session, but still did not have a clear picture.  So read about gamergate on Wipedia.  I could not imagine facing harassment online. Very heavy stuff!  Audrey told us that “the Internet can be a destructive place.”   She went on to say, “That’s an issue that has to be addressed in ed tech” and explained that it is an technology, education, social, and political issue. “We can’t ignore it!” I agree with Audrey hundred percent that the Internet can be destructive.  Like so many things there is the good about it, the bad about it, and then the just plain ugly.  I am very much (try to be) a positive person and try to see the glass half full.  Sure we all have our moments, but I try to surround myself with people who are also positive, supportive, and want to help me reach my goals.  In my social media accounts I try to add and keep people who are positive and weed out the negative people who are pulling my energy down.  I agree that we cannot ignore it, but it can be hard sometimes to speak up online depending on the space.  I try to avoid confrontation online because I also do not want it to affect my career or my digital identity.  When I see my friends post something on Facebook/Twitter that I do not agree with I do not write a comment under his/her post, but I have send a private message or a text to some people before.  Or even better you could have a conversation in person or over the phone!  I find when I read texts, e-mails, or words online it can be hard to tell the tone the writer is trying to portray.  I have many times misinterpreted the message that the writer was trying to get across, but it can be fixed if you have a conversation with the writer.

lens

Photo Credit: Daveography.ca via Compfight cc

Audrey discussed gender and ed tech.  It made me think of my first master’s class when we discussed lens.  Everyone has their own lens based on their gender, ethnicity, where they live, family, etc.  She mentioned that there are more males then females working in ed. tech jobs.  On the chat is was brought up that many positions higher up in the company or job are male.  I have very proud to be a part of the Southeast Cornerstone School Division.  Our Director of Education, Superintendent of Education, and Superintendent of East Schools are all female teachers.  All of them fantastic role models to have in the upper level of our division.  We also have many female consultants and principals in our division.

I think teaching digital citizenship lessons and discuss student’s digital footprint is important to do in school.  Is that the answer? No, but at least it is a start!  We need to create and develop safe places!  If I can get my student’s to “THINK” before they post that would be an amazing start.  I think our blog is wonderful because it allows us to explore the Internet and share our thoughts in a positive way.  I also control the comments section of our blog.  I did change the settings to allow comments to go automatically for this blog. I do not feel comfortable having the same setting for my class blog.  I like being able to control if a comment gets added onto our classroom blog or not.

speak up

Photo Credit: HowardLake via Compfight cc

Common Sense Media has some excellent resources on Digital Citizenship. In the chat on Black Board Collaborate Carmen Holota (@queeniecarmen) mentions that Media Smarts is a good resource.  (I encourage you to check out Carmen’s blog!)  I explored the website and I thought there was some useful resources and tools to help teach a variety of topics.   One of the links was called Gender Representation which made me remember of advertisement about girl image.  A lady asks different people show her “what does it looks like to ____ like a girl?”  It was very interesting to see how the different people represented the statement.  I really liked seeing how they changed how they represented the actions later on in the video.  I found an article discussing this advertisement and it also allows people to video the video.  What did you think after you watched the video? Do you know of other powerful videos that share an important message?

Another section in the Media Smarts website that caught my eye was Body Image under Media Issues.  I think a lot of media does not send a positive message about body image to our youth.  Body image does not affect females, but males as well.  Thinking about body image makes me think of an episode off Glee. (I enjoy watching Glee!)  The episode was called “Born This Way.”  In the episode Rachel hurts her nose and is deciding if she wants to get a nose job or not.  Leading their teacher to create an assignment about singing about their “flaws” and celebrating those differences.  In the episode they sing a song that still gives me goose bumps.  I encourage you to check it out and let me know what you think of the song!

I am very lucky to have such a supportive and amazing parents, siblings, extended family, and friends.  I owe it to them that I have my positive body image that I do!  On April 7th, 1995 changed my life and my family’s life.  I was admitted into Weyburn hospital after going to the doctor because I was not feeling well and had a strange rash on my shoulder.  My doctor did some investigating and sent me to Regina to confirm her diagnosis.  Only being in Regina for maybe two hours I was then rushed to the University Hospital in Saskatoon to be seen my the infectious disease team.  My doctor was correct in her diagnosis and it was confirmed that I have Necrotizing Fasciitis (Flesh Eating Disease).  I went into surgery immediately to stop the infection from spreading.  After they were able to stop the disease from spreading. I then went through several skin graft surgeries.  I was very lucky that my doctor diagnosed me so fast and that I only was in the hospital for a month.  Now I have visible scarring on my chest, right shoulder, and down the right side of my back.  I think because I was only seven it helped me to have a positive body image compared to it was to have happened when I was a teenager or in my early twenties.  Now I am twenty-seven years old and have had my scar for twenty years of my life.  It is a part of my “body footprint” and it shares my story.  I will not hide who I am…I am lucky that I was able to beat the disease and live a healthy and happy life afterwards.  I think it is important to teach students about self-esteem and having a positive body image.  We need to fill everyone’s buckets and show them that they are beautiful just the way they are!  It makes me think of another great song!  Can you tell I like music!  Do you know of any other songs with a powerful message?

So what does this mean?

I agree with Kelly that he mentioned on the chat that we need to keep encouraging and supporting science and technology options and opportunities to our female students.  Hour of Code was also mentioned in the chat.  I am hoping to have my students do the Hour of Code with their learning buddies!  I think it is an excellent idea to do with your students!  As I mentioned earlier we need to continue to teach our students about Digital Citizenship and promoting healthy living.  Not just exercising, eating healthy, and our physical health.  But, we need to also take care of our emotional and mental health as well.

What do you think we should be teaching our students in the topic of gender and EdTech?

What Is Your Role Online?

On October 21st our class had the pleasure of hearing Bonnie Stewart @bonstewart present to our class about Networked Identities. This topic had me thinking and reflecting for the past week and a half. As Mark Zuckerberg discussed “back, you know, a few generations ago, people didn’t have a way to share information and express their opinions efficiently to a lot of people. But now they do. Right now, with social networks and other tools on the Internet, all of these 500 million people have a way to say what they’re thinking and have their voice be heard.” New technology and social media has changed how we communicate and express ourselves to the world. It has opened the doors to connect with so many people. I think it can be very exciting, but it also can lead to some misinterpretations. I believe now more than ever it is imperative to educate our students about digital citizenship and how they leave a footprint in the digital world. Students need to also learn how to keep themselves safe as well. Tammy Lee @tempeylee shared a video called Consequences: Assembly for 11 16 year olds with us on our Google Discussion page online. It is a very good video for middle year’s students and older students to view. We need to remember to keep personal information private to help protect ourselves. Many times we think that we are evincible and nothing would ever happen to us, but you cannot always guarantee that.

During Bonnie’s presentation she had many interactive slides that allowed for us to provide our feedback and reflect on different topics.  It is amazing that even though we are not in a face to face classroom setting that I was able to interact with my fellow classmates and learn from them as well.  While we were adding our opinions to a question on our chat Katia @kbhildebrandt said, “Lots of digital dualism coming out in this slide.”  That was the first time that I have ever heard of the term digital dualism.  Alec @courosa provided us with a link to a website about digital dualism.  I could see the point that the author Nathan Jurgenson was trying to get across. Jurgenson points out that, “Digital dualists believe that the digital world is “virtual” and the physical world “real.””  Technology is so ingrained in our daily lives that the virtual and physical worlds now overlap and Jurgenson argues that “the digital and physical are becoming increasingly meshed.”  I learned that many people see the physical world and the digital world being separate from one another, however, with social media now it connects people in both worlds.  The line of the separate worlds have now become smudged and they merge together with one another.  Do you think the virtual work and the physical world are separate or linked together?

The exciting part of our class is getting the opportunity to read fellow classmates blogs.  In one of Jennifer’s  blog posts @jstewiestewie she commented that, “As teachers we look at encouraging our students to be readers who are able to effectively interpret, summarize, analyze and synthesize what they read. But do we?” I think so many times adults skim the material and share without thinking the quality of the source and what is purpose behind sharing the post or story. Will sharing this it hurt others? Is the message true? Is it important to share this post? Many times the whole story is not told or maybe the story is only one sided, therefore, it is important to be critical thinkers while we are reading and what we are sharing.

In another blog by Jennifer she made the connections to the movie “The Breakfast Club” and social identity. I have never seen the movie before, but after reading her blog I want to watch it to see how social identity is portrayed. She mentions, “In today’s terms how have the roles changed? In the on-line world, what are the new roles? Could they be the: “Citizens”, “Trolls”, “Victims”, “Hackers”, “Users”, “Creators”, “Tweeters”,  and “Curators” …” Her comments and connections really had me thinking. What are the different roles that I have seen while participating in Social Media? Most importantly, what is my role online? I never heard some of the terms before like trolls until our class. I believe everyone cares about their identity and want to feel included. I’m glad that I did not have the pressure of an online identity when I was young. When I was young I know I made a lot of mistakes and I am glad the evidence of my mistakes are not living on the Internet. When I was in high school msn online chat was very popular and social networks were just getting started like MySpace and Hi5 where you create a profile. When I started my undergrad degree at the University of Regina I joined Facebook. I am glad I was older when I joined Facebook because being older allowed me to understand a bit more about the Internet and how information can be spread and shared with others. Even with being older I still needed some friendly reminders from my parents in how to keep safe. Facebook was one of the only Social Media accounts that I really used. Around last year I joined Pinterest and now this September I joined Twitter. You can followed me on Twitter @JNSteph 87.  I find I am usually the person who does not join things right away.  It even took me a while to join Facebook because I like to sit back and check them up first before I join.  While reading other classmates blogs I could relate to Andrew’s post because I am on Facebook everyday as well, but I do not post comments or update my status often. I like the opportunity to see how my family and friends are doing through looking at pictures and reading their statuses. I agree with Andrew that I think if it was not for this class I do not know if I would ever joined Twitter or the other different communities online either. Now that I have joined these online communities I am beginning to wonder what role I fit into when I am online. What does my online identity portray?  We all have a lot to offer to the world and we can learn so much through one another. What role to do see yourself in when you participate in online communities?  As Bonnie asked us, “What DO you want to contribute?” I think that is a very important question! Our professional identity is very important, but we can also contribute to the world in so many different ways.  What will you contribute to your family, friends, students, and communities that you belong to?

bonnie's presentation

(Photo Credit: I took this picture with my iPhone of Bonnie Stewart’s @bonstewart slide during her presentation that our ECI831 participated in.)