Breaking News! Your Phone Isn’t Just for Cat Pictures: Take Action!

Today I would like to reflect on how technology can be used to promote social action. Ben Rattray discusses how social media can be used to create grassroots movements through sharing digital stories and starting campaigns and petitions that lead to nation-wide movements. Maybe most influential is the idea that our technology is just beginning, therefore, our social action is just beginning. Ben notes that “we face big problems… but the democratization of technology [means] people will be able to start more campaigns than we can possibly imagine… because together with the right tools, we can change the world.” This video gives me hope that “there is no issue that will be left untouched.”

But how do we get students to engage in these issues that matter? I do think great change will happen but the technology is just the tool. In other words, the tools don’t use themselves. We must use the tools properly to make the change. It is the people behind the screen that matter.

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Photo Credit: andres musta via Compfight cc

So how do we promote social action for our students?

1. Knowledge/Exposure – kids cannot fix things if they do not know they are broken. We have the information at our hands. It is very important that we do not let single stories dominate our teaching. It is important that we show the voices of all: strengths, weaknesses, issues, successes, etc. If we expose children to knowledge in the right ways, this creates a culture of empathy in our classrooms/societies.

2. Create a Positive Digital Citizenship – kids need to create a positive online self. They need to actively be creating this positive imagine and we must assist them along the way (ie. get them to create a blog, discuss the risks/provide examples of inappropriate technology use that led to issues for people like this UCLA Student, discuss cyberbullying through examples like Amanda Todd, etc.).

3. Passion – with exposure to the knowledge and the know-how and platform to have a positive voice, students will find things that matter to them. It is up to us to help them pursue these things. Committees like We Day or SRC can help students work towards their goals. I was proud to be part of both of these groups during my internship and amazed at the action the students took; for instance, selling rafikis to empower women/families in Kenya. Here are some more examples of what has been done or what could be done:

Note that with all positives, come negatives, too. For instance, the ASL bucket challenge was a huge waste of water and highlights privilege (many people do not have clean drinking water so dumping good water on ones head would seem a bit insane to some). There is also the socio-economic divide causing a lack of access to technology. And we can’t forget the trolls of the internet.

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Photo Credit: uomoplanetario.org via Compfight cc

But in my opinion the pros outweigh the cons. If we expose students to different causes in an environment that encourages a positive sense of self; if we are proactive about bullying; if we help students find their passions; if we provide additional tools so that everyone has access to learning (even if it isn’t through technology); if we make technology a top budget priority in our schools; there really will be no issue that will go untouched. The internet, like our world, can be a more equitable place for all if we work from within. 

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My Tech. Plans as a Beginning Educator

My last post, Compiling Tech Resources, highlights that the world of technology is vast. There are more options than we can begin to count; my post just scratches the surface. This is the most overwhelming part of technology for me: the overflow of information/choices. Keeping this struggle in mind and also the “less is more” ideology, I wanted to come up with a “baby-steps” or “starting small” technology plan for my first few years of teaching.

What technology will I use for professional development (beyond professional journals/articles/books)?

What technology will I use to plan the Sask. Curriculum outcomes and indicators for my class?

What will I use in high school ELA? Elementary ELA?

What will I use for assessment for and as?

What programs am I considering but not 100% sure of yet?

(I want to use one of the above 4 and will make the decision based on learners/resources/class/subject).

If anyone has a case for or against any of the above, I would welcome it in the comments. I would also welcome more information about any of the above tools. Do you use them in the classroom? What are the positive and negatives of the specific tool?

Compiling Tech. Resources

In ECMP 355 we have learned about many tools to facilitate 21st century education! From Blackboard to Pensieve to My Fitness Pal – it feels like we have covered it all. For my own benefit (and anyone else who is interested), here is an overview of what we have explored and some of my own favorites:

1. MOOCs

2. Blog/Writing/Classroom Places for Resources

  1. RSS Feeds/Bookmarking
  1. Communication/Assessment
  1. Social

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Photo Credit Globovisión via Compfightcc

6. Productivity/Plan

  1. Presentation/Assess
  1. Creative
  1. Media
  1. Coding
  1. Misc.

12. Autism Apps

13. Sign Language Apps/Sites

Today I also want to compile the resources from two articles: Snapshots Of Understanding? 10 Smart Tools For Digital Exit Slips and Apps That Rise to the Top: Tested and Approved By Teachers. Note: some resources repeat.

The first article discusses exit slips (an important element of assessment as… or assessment for if they are entrance slips). The article outlines these following technological options:

The second article outlines teacher-approved apps for:

1. Digital Storytelling/Presenting

2. Video Tools

3. Photo Editing

4. Augmented Reality

5. Reading/ELA/Library

*more ELA resources at kgorhamblog ELA Resources 

6. Commenting Tools

7. Coding

8. Note Taking/Organization

9. Digital Citizenship

10. Social Media

.11. Misc.

What other tools are out there? What is your favorite tool? What is a technology that you and your classroom couldn’t survive without!?

Free #DigCit Resources: No Tricks, No Gimmicks or Your Money Back

Alright, figuratively speaking you are sitting at your desk, coffee cup in hand and grabbing a fist full of your hair. You know you must teach #digcit to your students, but how? Where do you even start? How can you learn about it #digcit yourself? Well, set down the coffee cup, leave your hair in place and look below:

On March 6th, David Andrade posted resources (at the bottom of the blog post) and a free online class for teachers called teaching digital citizenship to students. This is the link to the free Teaching Digital Citizenship App by Netsmartz and Club Penguin. I would also recommend checking out Tech Learning and the Educator Resource Page. Also, 10 Tech Skills Every Student Should Have is worth the read!

The training covers:

  • Digital literacy & Ethics
  • Inappropriate Content
  • Online Sexual Solicitation
  • Online Privacy
  • Sexting
  • Cyberbullying

You can choose to look at whatever areas you want and start and stop if needed. In it’s entirety it is about 1 hour of training. The material covered is best for ages 5-17 and specific resources are recommended for each level. A certificate of achievement is earned after completing the training.

Digital Citizenship: The Need to Know

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Image by Paul Downey

I read a great article about digital citizenship by Vicki Davis (link below). Her approach to teaching digital citizenship is to teach both proactive knowledge and experiential knowledge.

For proactive knowledge she teaches 9 key things using her book, Reinventing Writing, and examples, lessons, assignments, etc. The 9 pieces of proactive knowledge are: passwords (strength and remembering them), privacy, personal information (and who to share it with), photographs (what can be shared and geotagging), property (copyright and licensing), permission (citing), protection (viruses, malware, phishing, ransomware, and identity theft), professionalism (netiquette, conflict resolution, and decision making), and personal brand (voice).

Resources she uses: LastPass; 10 Important Password Tips Everyone Should Know; Common Sense Media Curriculum; Location-Based Safety Guide; Creative Commons

For experiential knowledge she uses lessons, discussions, examples, assignments, etc. to bring the 9 P’s to life:

1. Truth or Fiction (of scams and cons) using Snopes, Truth or Fiction, the Threat Encyclopedia, or the Federal Trade Commission.

2. Turn Students into Teachers by getting them to find the scams and present.

3. Collaborative Learning Communities through Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds, Gamifi-ed, AIC Conflict Simulation, game-based learning, Ning blog, and a classroom wiki. This also allows students to connect with those around the world.

My Reflection:

I LOVE THIS ARTICLE AND THE RESOURCES. I felt a bit lost as to how I would teach digital citizenship in my classroom but this will serve as a great roadmap. Davis notes that she teaches from a digital citizenship curriculum so I may have to get creative as to how this fits in with the curriculum outcomes I am teaching. If I was teaching Grade 9 for instance, these are the outcomes that I believe would fit:

CR9.1a – View, listen to, read, comprehend, and respond to a variety of texts that address identity (e.g., The Search for Self), social responsibility (e.g., Our Shared Narratives), and efficacy (e.g., Doing the Right Thing).

CR9.3a – Use pragmatic (e.g., language suitable for intended audience), textual (e.g., author’s thesis or argument, how author organized text to achieve unity, coherence, and effect), syntactic (e.g., parallel structures), semantic/lexical/morphological (e.g., connotation and denotation), graphophonic (e.g., common spellings and variants for effect or dialect), and other cues (e.g., fonts, colour) to construct and to confirm meaning.

CR9.4a – View and demonstrate comprehension and evaluation of visual and multimedia texts including illustrations, maps, charts, graphs, pamphlets, photography, art works, video clips, and dramatizations to glean ideas suitable for identified audience and purpose.

CC9.1a – Create various visual, multimedia, oral, and written texts that explore identity (e.g., The Search for Self), social responsibility (e.g., Our Shared Narratives), and efficacy (e.g., Doing the Right Thing).

CC9.2a – Create and present an individual researched inquiry project related to a topic, theme, or issue studied in English language arts.

CC9.3a – Select and use appropriate strategies to communicate meaning before (e.g., considering and valuing own observations, experiences, ideas, and opinions as sources for ideas), during (e.g., shaping and reshaping drafts with audience and purpose in mind), and after (e.g., ensuring that all parts support the main idea or thesis) speaking, writing, and other representing activities.

CC9.5a – Create and present a variety of visual and multimedia presentations to best represent message for an intended audience and purpose.

CC9.6a – Use oral language to interact purposefully, confidently, and appropriately in a variety of situations including participating in one-to-one, small group, and large group discussions (e.g., prompting and supporting others, solving problems, resolving conflicts, building consensus, articulating and explaining personal viewpoint, discussing preferences, speaking to extend current understanding, and celebrating special events and accomplishments).

CC9.9a – Experiment with a variety of text forms (e.g., debates, meetings, presentations to unfamiliar audiences, poetry, précis, short script, advice column, video documentary, comic strip) and techniques (e.g., tone, persona, point of view, imagery, dialogue, figurative language).

Obviously, I would have to go beyond teaching digital citizenship to meet these outcomes but these are all places where digital citizenship can be touched upon. Through technology and digital citizenship I could definitely have my students focus on the 6 strands of ELA: reading, writing, speaking, listening, presenting, and viewing.

The best part about this process is that I would be learning alongside my students, as I have lots to learn about digital citizenship. Another resource I would use is lol…OMG! by Matt Ivester.

“Citizenship is what we do to fulfill our role as a citizen. That role starts as soon as we click on the internet.” – Vicki Davis

Read more at: Edutopia’s “What Your Students Really Need to Know About Digital Citizenship” and Anne Collier who believes we should drop the word “digital” in digital citizenship.

 

Discussion:

What resources would you use to teach digital citizenship? What curriculum connections can you make (Saskatchewan Curriculum)? Do you think we are teaching digital citizenship or just citizenship; are the terms one in the same?