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

Photo Credit: Source

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

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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. 

So Many Questions….

playing football

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

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

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

The particular indicators for that outcome are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

child playing video games

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

What Should Education Look Like Today?

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

meme victory baby about finishing report cards

Picture Created By Using Meme Generator

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

girl sending an sms

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

bar code tattoo

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



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


question mark picture

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Road Block…

road block
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I could relate a lot to this picture these last couples of days! Actually these last few weeks have been a whirl wind and I can not believe that it is almost November! Where did September and October go? I have had a great two months with my grade two students. They are such a creative and inquisitive group of students! I can relate to the picture above because I feel that I am that vehicle at the very back and moving along very slowly.  I can see all of my goals and things that I want to achieve, but sometimes obstacles slowly start adding up…Now I feel the road looks more like this!

several animals on the road

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I am so happy that I am taking graduate classes and perusing my Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction.  Many of the classes that I have taken so far have challenged me in a positive way!  It has introduced me to different resources and ways of teaching that allows my students to be more interactive.  My classroom is becoming even more student centered.  My students get the opportunity to create projects, play, and use technology to enhance their learning of the curricular outcomes that need to be covered in grade two.  Over the summer I took classes and attended the Early Learning Institute. It was the best decision that I have ever made! Those two classes confirmed my beliefs with Saskatchewan Play and Exploration Early Learning Program Guide that outlines the Four Principles of Early Learning:

  1. Children as Competent Learners
  2. Holistic Development and Learning
  3. Strong Positive Relationships
  4. Stimulating and Dynamic Environments

I believe that those four principles should be principles of learning and not just early learning principles.  All students are competent learners!  It is important to remember to focus on the different domains of development and not just the intellectual domain when they are in elementary school, middles years, and in high school.  All students need to gain and have strong positive relationships while learning in an environment that is stimulating and dynamic!  During the summer in the institute I continued to learn about the value of play and that it should be incorporated into early learning classrooms in the higher grades and not just in Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten.

Play nourishes every aspect of children’s development-it forms the foundation of intellectual, social, physical, and emotional skills necessary for success in school and in life. (Canadian Council on Learning).

I also learned about the all the different types of play there are and learned to trust the process even more.  I think sometimes in education the importance of the process gets lost at times because many people want to see the final product and what their students have learned.  People get so worried about the end result or the final grade.  I have found students learn more from the process compared to what the final project or product even can begin to represent.  Having conversations and taking the time to sit back and observe your students is very important.  The learning process needs to be documented in a variety of ways such as observations, conversations, photographs, students journaling or blogging about their journey.  Then you can get a better picture of what students are capable of and what they know about the topic they are exploring or learning about.  During the class we did a lot of process art and our art pieces that we created represented what the topics we were learning about in class.  It was amazing to see everyone’s pieces and their projects throughout the class.  My favourite part was listening to everyone share their pieces with the class.  Then I was able to hear their process, what they learned, and what that piece truly represented.  I liked that everyone was given the same instructions, but we all had creative choice and our imagination was not boxed by very small specific instructions.  We were given very  brief and broad details of what was expected.  I liked that they were broad enough to given us freedom to create the pieces and projects that fit our style so we could share our journey and learning.  Some people painted while others used a variety of different mediums.  Many students wrote poems, songs, or journal entries!  Last fall I also was lucky to get into the ECI831 Social Media class and was introduced to so many great ideas and ways I could incorporate technology into my classroom that allowed my students to learn and represent their learning in a variety of ways.  I learned about student blogging, the maker movement, Google Documents, and digital story telling just to name a few.  I have shaped my classroom pedagogy based around lots of the topics and concepts that I learned from both of those classes and experiences.  I love teaching this way and those classes helped energize me to be creative with my teaching again!

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Road Block Direction Signs

So why do I feel that the obstacles are adding up?  

First off I was very lucky to have the opportunity to go to Toronto to watch the Blue Jays. I work hard coaching and directing extra curricular activities to have those earn days off saved to use them when I need to take a few days off.  I never worry about being out of my classroom because we have the best substitute teachers! All of the substitute teachers that I have had in my classroom work so hard to follow the plans that I leave, make connections with my students, and try to make sure routines continue for my class.  I was lucky again to have another great substitute teacher to teach my class one day this week while I had to go the dentist because I broke my tooth.  So why do I feel that I have to travel lately in so many different directions on the road?  Even though we have fantastic substitute teachers many of them are not familiar with blogging and a lot of the other ways I use technology in my classroom.  My students are independent enough to get the computers ready for Daily 5 math, but it is still early in the year to leave blogging with a substitute teacher.  I also did not want to leave my digital citizenship lessons because being in a rural area many of the fabulous substitutes are retired teachers and many do not have a lot knowledge about digital citizenship, technology, or social media.  Also when my students complete project learning my classroom can get a little messy from my students creating and it gets a little louder because of the excitement and awesome conversations.  When my students are creating their projects I just help them with the hot glue or help them cut something out if the material is thick.  But they have to tell me where to hot glue and draw the line on the material so I know where to cut. It is their project and vision and I am just the fascinator; however, not everyone can handle a bit of an organized mess, a louder classroom, or can let the students design the project even if it is more fantasy than reality.  Lots of people want to lead and not just facilitate.  When I am out of the classroom I feel like these projects have to go on hold because I do not want to make a substitute teacher uncomfortable in my classroom.  I want everyone to have a day full of learning and feels successful including the substitute teacher.  But, what do you do when you are away from the classroom?  I find it hard to plan sometimes because my students do not complete worksheets everyday and it can be hard to explain a project to a substitute teacher over a sub plan and what the hands on learning in my classroom looks like.

Another obstacle is report cards  as they are just around the corner.  So that means more assessments need to be completed during this time of year. It is hard to assess students on their reading while observing hands on learning when the classroom tends to get louder with the excitement and the discussions.  I know this first week in November will be busy with assessments so I might not get as much time to focus on my digital citizenship lessons or begin our new animal project, but soon I will soon be able to continue doing what I love best.  Facilitating lessons and allowing my students to learn about the world and new topics through inquiry, conversations, books, technology, and hands on learning!

I am excited to get back onto that sunny road where students are creative, ask questions, make new discoveries, and carry on meaningful conversations!

beautiful road

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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!

Which One Am I?

My mind has not turned off since I read and viewed all of the articles and videos for my EC&I832 class, especially since I watched the video called Do “Digital Natives” Exist?  This video explores “digital natives” and “digital immigrants.”  In the video they describe digital natives a group of people who were born and grew up along side technology.  They have an familiarity of the technology and can speak the digital language. Where as digital immigrants were not born into the digital world, but later in life became fascinated by and adopted many aspects of technology.  This “doesn’t just define an age range, but an intimate familiar with technology.”  The video explored that digital immigrants may gain an digital accent when they become more exposed to technology.

I could relate to what Jeannine Whitehorse commented on her blog.  I also spent more time exploring David White’s continuum of “Visitor and Residents.”  Like many of my classmates I prefer the wording and the ideas in David White’s video.  I liked White’s ideas better because it doesn’t assign people to groups based on age and population as it did in the first video. I agree with looking at residents and visitors as a continuum. When reading Andrew Foreman’s blog post I discovered that Jennifer Stewart-Mitchell and himself both prefer the continuum as it used the visitor and resident as a classification. White’s video explored that digital visitors may go online and search for a specific topic, book a holiday or pay bills and then 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 other forms of written work in a series of 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.  Their identity and trace will continue to stay there even if the resident is offline.   When mapping out if you are a visitor or resident I like how there is a personal or institutional (professional) side to the map.  People interact with different forms of media and tools differently depending on why and how they want to use it. It can be easier to learn about technology by being immersed in it from a young age, but does not mean a person can not become fluent in a skills if they were not raised with it.  They can learn the digital language.  When looking at visitors and residents age is not the factor, but it is based on engagement.  It is a continuum and not just two solid groups.  I liked how on the video it was explained to be more grey and not just black or white.

Seeing the images on Jeremy Blacks’ and Jeannine’s blog posts inspired me to create my own map representing where I stand as a digital visitor and digital resident personally and institutionally (professionally).

I watched a video called “Are You A Digital Native or a Digital Immigrant?”  It had me reflect on the readings and the different videos that I viewed for our class and posts that fellow students have written.  Here are some of the highlights that I took away and some of the ideas from watching the video:

  • The impact of technology on young brains is as broad of a conversation like climate change. It can be highly controversial.  It made me reflect on many of my classmates posts that critically explore people using devices such as cellphones and if we are not as present in the experience when are using those types of devices.
  • It explored the brain and how if you practice juggling for a week then your brain is going to change.  It had the viewers imagine people sitting at their computer for ten years and using the internet and how that would change the brain.
  • The video explored how there is evidence that visual IQ is going up and spatial visualization skills are going up.
  • It mentioned how people are becoming better at multitasking and experts of dividing their attention. But commented that it may lead to a problem-too much information or overload is turning people into scattered thinkers.  Do you think people are becoming scattered thinkers?
  • Later it explored that people are not digesting the knowledge, but becoming consumers.
  • The video briefly introduced the term digital footprint.  It made me reflect on all the footprints I have left in the places and spaces.  I began to reflect on the places and spaces where I am a resistant and if I am a visitor in any spaces as well.
  • The video also explored research tasks and compared how two different generations gather information when performing the research task. The digital immigrant took around 3 to 3 1/2 minutes to find the answer on the Internet while the digital native took around 30 seconds. The digital native was able to find the answer quickly, but lacked evaluation skills. The digital native choose the first article in Google where the digital immigrant took more time and compared sites.  The digital immigrants answers were more correct than the digital native.  Are we teaching our students to become critical thinkers when researching and evaluating websites?  Do students lack evaluation skills?  If so how can we help our students learn evaluation skills?
  • The video discussed how text covered with links could lead to information being less absorbed than printed material.  What do you think?  I know I prefer text with links because the links usually allow me to get to know the topic better.  The links can help give me a bigger picture and presents me with more information of what I am reading and learning about.
  • During the video is also explored the idea of people being bombarded by e-mail, Twitter, ect. and that people go to responsive mode.  It discussed how we no longer give ourselves the gift of switching off.  That comment made me think of the “The IRL Fetish”  article written by Nathan Jurgenson.  I began to explore and think about how many people may believe if we turn or switch off our devices that we are offline.  Through the readings it has taught me that when people engage in spaces as a resident their identity and footprint will continue stay online.  Many spaces allow other people to interact with you even if you are not presently interacting in that space at the same time.  Do people need to take more time away from being present and interacting online?

I was happy to find this video because in one minute because I was able to show this to my husband to give him some insight into what I have been reading and viewing about over the past week and a half.  The video pointed out that a resident uses the web as a place to gather knowledge and build relationships.  A place where people create an identity online while connecting and contributing to an online community.  Where as a visitor uses the web more as a tool or using it for a specific goal.  At the end of the video it asks, “Which one are you?” This question opened the doors to a huge conversation between my husband and myself.  I feel I am more of a digital resident and my husband feels he is more of a digital visitor.  I have numerous e-mail accounts for work, university, and for personal use. I also have a classroom blog and a personal blog.  I use Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Facebook.  Some of those accounts are for personal use while others I use for professional use.  My husband feels he is more of a visitor because he usually just uses his e-mail daily while he rarely interacts on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.  The last time he was on Facebook was when he changed his status that he was married to me and the last time on Twitter he posted a Tweet back in April.  Damon and I are both the same age so according to the Do “Digital Natives” Exist?  Damon and I should both be “digital natives,” but that is not the case.  Just because we are the same age does not mean we have had similar experiences while growing up and similar experiences with technology now.  I appreciate the continuum more because it is not put people in a specific grouping based on age.  The continuum looks at how much a person engages in technology and in online spaces.  I appreciated reading Cortney’s blog post and reading her thoughts on feeling more like a “digital tourist.”  I think often times people want to tour and visit a new space before they become a resident at that particular place.  It takes time to feel comfortable in a new environment and to put yourself out there so the world can view, read, and listen to your opinions and what you have to offer the world.  All of the articles and viewings have given me a lot to think and reflect about.

So which one are you? 

Are you a digital resident or a digital visitor?  Can people be both? Or as Ashley mentions in her post “what is the point of the classifications?”