Summary of Learning

Here it is folks, my Summary of Learning!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1K_MJJOmMtBUW4Iwm_rexChNfI8vg0grV/view

I decided to create a Seesaw journal as the vehicle for my summary of learning.  It’s a bit of a nod towards my major project which had my students using Seesaw to foster digital citizenship skills, and was another way for me to explore the program’s many capabilities.  After I added all of the information I wanted to share, and formatted it using Seesaw’s many tools, I did a screencast of my entire journal so you wouldn’t need a parent access code to view it.

The process of reflecting, creating, and broadcasting was a lot easier this time around.  A few short months ago I would never have thought that I’d be able to create something like this, or have the knowledge to fill up a presentation that went past the prescribed time limit (who knew I had so much to say!).  I’m proud of my learning this semester and will carry it with me into the weeks, months, and years to come.

Thank you for coming along with me on this adventure.  I have enjoyed the journey and I hope you did too.

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That’s a Wrap (on my major project)!

When I first saw the outline for the major project, I felt a little panicked and as though it would be impossible for me to plan and carry out something that would fit the requirements.  Now, as I look back on the semester and what I have accomplished, not only was it possible, but it was enjoyable at the same time!

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My project is entitled, “Fostering Digital Citizenship Through the Use of Seesaw: Creating Digital Citizens through Digital Opportunity”, and it was more effective and successful than I could have imagined.  I didn’t think a few words on this page could accurately describe the process I went through to organize and teach this unit to my students, or express my thoughts on it moving forward.  So…I created a screencast to summarize my journey (something else I didn’t ever think I’d be able to do) that can be accessed below.

I created a few resources to go along with my project as well.  There was a unit overview, a commenting outline to introduce my Grade 2/3 students to commenting appropriately, and a commenting bookmark that my students use when they are using Seesaw to comment on their peers’ work.  If any of these resources would be helpful to you and your teaching, feel free to use them or alter them in any way that you see fit.

This project was enlightening for me.  It reinforced the importance of teaching digital citizenship to students, no matter how young they may be, and opened my eyes to the level of interaction that our students have with the digital world on a daily basis.  If we are able to give our students the tools necessary to navigate their digital community, teach them the qualities that are necessary to be a positive digital citizen, and the digital etiquette skills in order to create a digital footprint that they will proud to acknowledge, we will be setting them up for a future of success; one that will extend even further than we could ever imagine.

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Entering the Final Stages of My Major Project

The last update on my major project had my students following a “3 C’s and a Q” model for commenting on their classmates’ posts on Seesaw.  They were really excited to explore what their peers had posted and to compliment, comment, connect, and question them on their thinking.  This past week, students then returned to their own Seesaw journals to view the comments on their profiles and to respond back; to thank them for their words and to answer their questions.  A couple of examples of their work can be seen below.

Something that I wasn’t expecting to happen, was to have parents engage in dialogue with their children and their work.  I’ve had a few parents write comments on their children’s posts, and now, after having the students explore these comments, we’ve started a conversation.  What a great way to provide additional opportunities for students to share their knowledge and for parents to engage with their learning.

In addition to exploring commenting on Seesaw and practicing digital etiquette, we have also been discussing aspects of digital literacy and digital citizenship.  We explored what a digital footprint was, how it is created, and how it doesn’t wash away with ocean waves or melting snow.  I showed my class the Common Sense Media video “Your Digital Footprint” found on YouTube .

After viewing this video, we discussed how the things that we put online don’t disappear, the things we search on google are tracked, and videos that we watch on YouTube are catalogued so similar videos can be recommended for us.  I demonstrated these concepts by googling my name and explaining what came up, showing my google search history, and the recommended videos that come up when logging into YouTube.  My class was quick to notice that the YouTube videos that came up were Arthur cartoons and Religion videos like the ones we had previously watched in class.  They were able to connect this to Netflix and the shows that it recommends for you based on what you have already watched.

We discussed why it is important to think about the places you go on the internet, who you interact with on the internet, and what you put on the internet.  We watched a video to remind us of some internet safety tips, and talked about our online habits.

I was surprised by how many different ways that my Grade 2/3 students used the internet, and how many of them interact with others online.  They use YouTube, Musical.ly, MineCraft, Roblox, and even Facebook.  Many of them said they need to have their parents’ permission to use the computer, aren’t allowed to put pictures or videos online, and that even though they are on sites where you can interact with others, they aren’t allowed to talk with other people.  Some of them however, are posting videos and talking to strangers.  A few have even had negative interactions with others.  This just reinforced in me the importance of teaching digital literacy and digital etiquette skills to students regardless of their age.  In fact, the earlier we can teach them these skills, the better.  Then, when they are faced with issues online, they will have the tools that they need to understand what is happening and deal with it appropriately.

I taught them the ‘STOP’ approach from the Common Sense Media video “Power of Words”  and we discussed what you should do if someone is talking with you online and saying things that are inappropriate or make you feel uncomfortable.

I was really impressed with the level of engagement that my students had with our conversation and with the questions that they asked.  They wanted to know if the ways they were using the internet were safe and if their responses to their interactions with others were appropriate.  They were looking for validation of their choices and their habits.  They were being very responsible and looking to ensure they were acting as positive digital citizens.  Hopefully these qualities will stay with them as they grow, and help to shape their digital habits as they explore the digital world in greater detail and with greater freedom.

A Day In The (Media) Life

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6:30 – Alarm goes off and the tv goes on.  Top stories of the news are taken in groggily.  I consider this an accurate account of what has happened in the world since I last checked in, but question the attitudes and stances of some stories.

6:40 – Time to check my email – nothing new from work this morning and only a couple of sale announcements from mailing lists I subscribed to at some point in the past.  I quickly delete them and then move onto Twitter to see if anything important has been posted since I last checked.  There’s a tweet from the Pope, classroom updates, and some motivational messages to get the day started.  Nothing to filter out or stop and question.  Next stop, the weather app.  -8 with the windchill and warming up this afternoon.  Perfect!  But I’ll check out the window anyway, just to make sure…

7:40 – The radio is on as I drive to work.  Some music mixed in with all the chatter.  I hear the weather update (which corresponds to what the app said earlier), zone out to the update on world events, and half listen to the entertainment report.  Not too concerned with which celebrity is having a birthday today or what’s happening with country music stars in Nashville.  Could be accurate, or completely made up, but either way it doesn’t impact my reality.

8:00 – Arrive at work and check my text messages.  The group chat has been active this morning.  Pretty entertaining and a great way to start the day, but no real news there.  Nothing to interpret or deconstruct for deeper meaning anyway.

10:40 – Recess break and time to check in to see if I’ve missed anything since I’ve last connected.  No new emails, text messages, or  breaking news stories to read up on.  It’s a slow day today.

12:00 – Lunch time and another check in.  Mom’s texted a message with a picture attachment – didn’t know she knew how to do that 🙂  I send a quick response and check out what’s happening in the news.  Another story about Trump and someone close to him resigning.  I approach that article with a healthy dose of skepticism, as I do with most stories in this category.  There’s elements of truth to be sure, but could be buried within the details.  There’s also a story about the feelings related to possible changes to firearm regulations.  I scan to find the actual details about the changes that could be made, but filter out the personal opinions.  Mostly speculation on what could happen in the future.  I make a note to watch for other stories on this topic.

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3:35 – Quick check of the phone to see what I’ve missed since I last checked in.  A few texts to respond to but nothing urgent.   No time to check anything else though, conferences start in 20 minutes and there are things to prepare!

5:30 – Supper break time and a chance for a quick check in on Snapchat (nothing newsworthy on there, but a few entertaining photos/videos), and a scan of the day’s top stories.  No time to delve deeper, but I make a note to come back and check in later.

8:40 – Time to head home. The radio is on during the drive, and lucky for me it’s mostly music with a few commercials mixed in.  No news breaks or entertainment stories like my drive in 12+ hours earlier.

9:00 – Finally made it home for the day.  Time to decompress and catch up on a few things I’ve missed today.  I engage in a group chat, watch a few more Snapchat stories, read a few tweets and zero in on this one:

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This is great news for our division!  And as my school is benefiting directly from the increased funding, I know the basic details are correct.  Next, it’s on to checking out other news stories from the day.  I do my usual scan of the CBC, Global, and LeaderPost apps; compare the top stories on each, note the different perspectives each affiliate takes on similar stories, and hold onto the facts that are presented by more than one source.  Then I move on to BuzzFeed.  No real news to be found here, but a mindless, entertaining way to wrap things up and relax after a long, tiring, and mentally exhausting day.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to take a quiz and find out, “Which ’90’s Actress Matches Your Personality?” (FYI – Sandra Bullock matches mine!).

10:30 – Time to log off and call it a night.  The news, twitterverse, and group chats can wait until tomorrow.

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What Does It Mean To Be Literate In Today’s World?

When I think of the word ‘literacy’, the first thing that comes to mind is the ability to read and write in order to communicate with others and interpret the world around you.  Upon further thought, the idea of literacy moves farther, encompassing a wide array of other aspects.  If literacy is the ability to understand and interpret our world, it needs to extend beyond simple text and include a variety of tools and competencies.  To be fully literate, one would need to take basic reading and writing skills and apply them in different situations and for different purposes.

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 As educators, we address many types of literacies with the students in our classes.  Through curriculum, we teach reading and writing (the traditional definition of literacy), but also mathematical literacy, visual literacy, and emotional literacy, just to name a few.  Through my time in EC&I 832, I have come to the realization, that if we aren’t teaching our students to be digitally literate and media literate as well, we are doing them a disservice.

In the article ‘Defining digital literacy – What do young people need to know about digital media?’ David Buckingham states that, “digital literacy is much more than a functional matter of learning how to use a computer and a keyboard, or how to do online searches . . . they also need to be able to evaluate and use information critically if they are to transform it into knowledge”  This leads into the notion of media literacy which Common Sense Media defines as “the ability to identify different types of media and understand the messages they’re sending.”

How do we teach these skills?  By teaching our students to be critical about what they are reading online and to ask questions about what they are viewing.  By having them first recognize the amount of information they are being presented with and then working with them to deconstruct the messages that they are receiving: to ask questions about their purpose, credibility, and authenticity.

More information about media literacy can be found on the Google Slide show that I created for my content catalyst assignment which can be found here, as well as by watching the following YouTube video about Media Literacy.

By working together to teach our students a variety of literacy skills, we can give them the tools that they need to be successful citizens of both the real and the digital world.

 

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A Reflection on Digital Citizenship Practice

Throughout this class, I have been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting on the idea of digital citizenship.   What it is, how to demonstrate it, when to teach it, and where it fits in with curriculum.  While none of these questions come with an easy answer, one thing has stood out to me – the importance of making our students aware of what digital citizenship is and the need to be a positive digital citizen.

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Digital Citizenship encompasses a myriad of ideas and I feel that it is our duty as educators to introduce our students to some of these concepts, and to go beyond only teaching basic rules for internet safety.  The first steps towards actualization of this content is to make teachers aware of the importance of teaching digital citizenship and to provide them with resources that will make that possible.  Resources like the Government of Saskatchewan’s Digital Citizenship Continuum, Ribble’s nine elements, and the “Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools” policy guide; none of which I was aware of before starting this semester in EC&I 832.

Now that I have discovered these documents and have been made aware of the importance of digital citizenship, I have looked for ways to incorporate this teaching into the lessons that I deliver to my students.   Common Sense Media has a lot of great resources that I have used with my students, and even though they are only in grade 2 and 3, they have been very responsive and have had a lot to share on the topic.  I have also found that they are excited to jump into any activities that I present to them and are eager to practice good digital citizenship and to demonstrate what they have learning.  I feel that this early exposure can only help lead to positive behaviours in the future, or at least cause them to stop and think about their habits and how what they are posting will affect others or contribute to their own digital footprint.

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Right now, teachers are on their own to explore and create lessons and units on these themes, and until there is a specific curricular expectation given on what needs to be taught and when, rather than just a continuum that “is intended to support professionals as they infuse these concepts and skills into their teaching.“, the education on this topic is going to vary from grade to grade, classroom to classroom, and teacher to teacher.

March Snowstorm Packs a Punch and Changes Plans

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All of the snow that we got this week has put a wrench into my plan to continue to teach my digital citizenship unit to my Grade 2/3 class.  Without the buses running, attendance was low with 7-12 students making their way to class every day.  Regular lessons were put on hold and time was spent completing review activities, playing in the snow, and taking part in a few activities that wouldn’t typically make their way into our day.  We had a lot of fun doing puzzles, making crafts, and building with red plastic cups!

Although I was missing a large portion of my class, I felt that it was still important to cover curriculum and organize meaningful activities for my students to participate in.  I took advantage of this time to work with small groups to delve into Seesaw.  We posted a few pictures and videos onto their profiles, and the students continued to amaze me with how quickly they figured out the program and how easily they were able to complete their tasks.

We then jumped forward in my digital citizenship unit and discussed what commenting was and how to comment appropriately.  I shared the following document with my class that I had adapted from the Regina Catholic Schools resource “Follow the 3 C’s and a Q Commenting Framework.” 

 

We went through each section to make sure that everyone understood what complimenting, commenting, connecting and questioning meant, as well as the types of statements that they could make within each section.  I then shared a few posts that the students had made with the class, and together, we generated a list of comments that we could make on that post that fit within each category.  Once the students could demonstrate their understanding of how to make an appropriate comment, I gave each of them a reminder bookmark to help them with the process.

 

Then it was time for the fun to begin!  Students were given a chance to explore the work of their classroom peers and choose a post to comment on.  They could write or record their comment, and were to follow the 3 C’s and a Q framework as they did this.  I was really impressed with the efforts that my students put into this activity.  There were a few who stuck to the ‘you did a good job’, or an ‘I like your picture’ comment, but most went past the surface level and added a well thought-out comment.

A few of my favourites were comments that were made when students had posted a picture of a ninja that they had crafted and wrote about in response to the stories “Dojo Daycare” and “Dojo Surprise” by Chris Tougas.

 

One post, which said their ninja’s favourite food was cake, led to a comment of “what kind of cake dose he like?” and another about a ninja named Funny resulted in, “I really like the way your ninja has the surprise pose like you discribed and what kind of cookies does funny like? This reminds me of myself and my brother because we also love cookies. You Saïd that Funnys favorite move is thé surprise move and I totally agréé by thé colour and thé information about your ninja! Your friend, A”

In the coming days and weeks we will continue to explore commenting on Seesaw following the 3 C’s and a Q format, and we will extend this into replying to the comments that people have made on our posts.  It has been wonderful to see the excitement on my students’ faces as they explore Seesaw, and I can’t wait to see where this adventure takes us next!