This is my summary of learning. I created it using Powtoon which was a pretty interesting experience! I remixed and created some of the images. It allowed me to have graphics specifically for what I wanted, but this was also very time consuming. I know a lot of my summary was based on questions, but I think that question sometimes have more meaning to them than the answers. Most of the questions I asked were explored throughout my blog posts. I wanted to record audio, but later found out that this is a feature that doesn’t work so well with Powtoon. You are supposedly able to record voice overs per slide, but I did not find that the function worked. I did add my voice add the end; however I found that it distracted from the overall flow of the video. As a result, I included the transcript of my final thoughts below.
One of the major things that have changed in this course is my attitude towards online spaces. Sherry Turkle mirrored many of the concerns that I had with the way our society is now connecting with one another. I was definitely one of those people who viewed being online as time spent disconnecting rather than connecting. But what really resonated with me was the idea of an augmented reality. This is the notion that online life is shaped and augmented by what happens in everyday life. The two are so blurred together that they have become impossible to separate.
My favourite part of this course was the readings and blogs. I enjoyed how blogging allows you to express your opinions, link to other perspectives, and include images and videos to supplement your ideas.
I signed up for Twitter and spent a lot of time exploring various hashtags. I appreciated how you could follow professionals and organizations that were of interest to you. I did find myself gravitating more towards google plus, though. It felt like a more private community. I enjoyed being able to read other’s blogs and learning from the different perspectives people would have on our readings.
Overall what I have learned from this course is the importance of staying current with technology, to really look at the way I am using technology in the classroom and to consider the digital citizenship skills that are required for the technology we use. Many readings and videos also made me rethink what education could and perhaps should now look like. Digital technology has enabled students the ability to both consume and create content if provided the opportunity. I really do think it is the role of schools and teachers to provide students this ability to cultivate both skills in a safe and meaningful way.
This will be my final post about my final project! The final project process has been such great professional development for me as a teacher. It has forced me to take the time to learn and update my teaching repertoire as it relates to digital technology. I was starting to feel complacent in my use of technology in the classroom and had subscribed to the notion that I was somehow using technology by putting my lessons on a SmartBoard. I am now excited about the different avenues I have explored for having students create information. Gone are the days of student PowerPoints and posters. There are so many more interactive and engaging ways for students to show what they have learned and to publish their knowledge for anyone to see. For example, I have no idea what an infographic was until I created one. Why would students make a poster when they could create and publish an infographic that also links to their sources. The infographic below is my attempt for one on digital citizenship. It made me think that this would be a great way to summarize lab data at the end of an experiment.
I initially thought publishing information was a little terrifying, but I now think that there exists this opportunity for student projects to have a greater meaning. They can be published in public spaces, with no cost, and be viewed by anyone around the world. I think this is so exciting for students.
At the same time, the whole notion of digital citizenship needs to be at the forefront. My perspective on digital citizenship throughout my final project is that it can be incorporated easily into many existing lessons. It is not about teaching a digital citizenship unit, but more about have the necessary discussions when actively using technology in the classroom. Although my unit plans did specify which of Ribble’s Nine Elements was the focus of that particular lesson, the reality is that I would hope to get to a place where these conversations and ideas are ongoing with my students and myself while we are using digital technology.
I have now completed the scope and sequence for Science 10 and Health Science 20. The lesson outlines I created were based on the idea that I would try to incorporate digital citizenship in a lesson I would actually teach in the course. The lessons developed are all new lessons, but definitely ones that I plan to use in each course.
Overall, I feel this project was a success because it forced me out of my comfort zone and I was able to design lesson plans that I would actually use in my own classroom.
When I first started teaching, I had a course website, posted all my notes, assignments, answer keys, videos, etc. online and utilized a variety of technological applications in my science classroom. We collected data using digital probes and utilized Microsoft Excel for graphing data. My students created videos and various multimedia presentations for class assignments. I would have considered myself to be fairly technologically literate. I have now learned that what I was doing in my classroom was such a small portion of what could have and should have been done with today’s access to technology. We were still consuming information and barely creating. Or what we were creating in the classroom was never shared or published with anyone but myself and my classroom walls. I can now see how much interaction and access my students missed out on by not utilizing these opportunities.
I have to admit, the video, “Do Digital Native Exist?” corrected some of my misconceptions. I am not ancient, but I had started to feel like perhaps students were so good with technology that there was no use teaching them how to use it anymore. I would be surprised if a student did not know how to embed videos in PowerPoint or create a graph using Microsoft Excel, but just assumed that they were so good with technology that they would catch on when they needed to. I would now say that although students use various online spaces for socializing, it is clear that they need direction when it comes to moving from the personal use to professional or educational use. This is where our role as a teacher comes into play. We have the opportunity to model for students how to create meaningful learning within these spaces. How to connect, curate, create, and publish content. However, before we reach this stage, we need to develop a plan for including digital citizenship education.
has been accomplished in our school – by blocking content or access without educating. Rather than having a plan for digital citizenship, we instead block and prevent students from accessing social media. Up until this course, I agreed with the stance our school took. I now think that perhaps it is time to move towards education. Rather than fearing what might happen, we need to develop a plan that addresses concerns and focuses on the benefits.
A few of our readings and videos really solidified for me the importance of teaching digital citizenship in schools. One specific video was “One Tweet Can Ruin Your Life,” the Ted Talk by Jon Ronson. After watching this video, I really just wanted to share the information with my students. In my teacher education program, we were always warned about social media use and professionalism. I started to wonder who was warning my students. One careless pictures, post, or tweet could also ruin their lives. I felt even stronger about this after watching the documentary on Amanda Todd. It is tough to be a teenager and even tougher when your mistakes are forever published online. I think this is an important message and one that requires education by not only teachers but also parents.
Most of my recent blog posts have centered on how education should/may/is changing to meet the needs of the 21th Century learner. These contemplations stemmed mainly from the NCTE article on the Framework for 21st Century Curriculum and Assessment. I looked at many of the outcomes of this framework and started to feel like the education my students were receiving was not setting them up to be successful in the future workforce. There was so much focus on global collaboration, sharing information, and creating knowledge as a team. Additionally, the youtube video I watched, “Welcome to My PLE,” presented an excellent model for what this education can look like in practice. It is fascinating and inspiring. This made me question the direction of our curriculum. The curriculums in the sciences are still so focused on content that teachers hardly have time for the collaboration and inquiry process to unfold in truly meaningful ways.
This video was such a great culmination to my thought processes on how education needs to change and whether or not there will be a place for teachers in the future. In the video, the speaker, Derek Muller, summarizes whether or not teachers will be replaced by stating that “the fundamental role of a teacher is not to deliver information. It is to guide the social process of learning.” He continues on to say that “the job of a teacher is to inspire: to challenge, to excite their students to want to learn.” It is a simple, but profound statement. Rather than lamenting that the use of technology in the classroom can replace our purpose, we should take solace in the idea that it is our purpose to create these experiences where students will feel inspired to learn. We may do this without the use of technology and also with the use of technology. Learning is a social experience and teachers are there to create these experience to inspire learning. We want to excite our students, open opportunities for them, guide their inquiry in meaningful ways, and provide assistance when they encounter challenges. This is what I see as the role of a teacher in both education and in digital citizenship education.
With respect to digital citizenship, I see its inclusion as a vital component of every class. It can build on what we are already doing by providing relevant examples and experiences for students. When we discuss personal relationships in Health class, it is necessary to include discussions on how social media affects personal relationships. This is the reality of how many students are communicating, so our educational experiences need to adapt. In Psychology class, you can discuss what the implications are of online interactions on empathy. Before you ever give students a research or presentation-type assignment, you should think about the digital citizenship skills necessary for them to complete the assignment. Knowing how to locate reliable sources, referencing sources, and discussions of copyright vs. public domain for pictures are three key skills that students need to be aware of. If students continue on to post their projects in online spaces, additional conversations need to be had with students regarding digital footprints.
We need to consider digital citizenship as a vital skill for learners to have when they leave school. Digital citizenship is not about incorporating technology in the classroom, but about thinking about the technology. We have opportunities to provide students with the skills to be able to use technology in meaningful ways. I think that as educators we need to move away from the idea that by simply signing out the laptops or creating a lecture on the smartboard that we are “using” technology to engage our students. The engagement truly come from allowing students to interact, research, create, and share their findings.
The two documentaries I viewed this week, “Sext up Kids” and “The Sextortion of Amanda Todd,” were eye-opening and reaffirming to me how difficult it is to be a tween or teen in today’s society. Both girls and boys of this age range are constantly bombarded with images and messages that present a distorted view of what being a girl or boy should look like.
For girls, it is the objectification and hypersexualization at such an early age. For boys, it is not only the access to pornography, but also the distorted view of sex that is created through access to these sites. I was shocked by the statistic that 70 to 80% of teenage boys are watching online pornography, but it does make sense that they would explore since it is so easily accessible.
So who is to blame for the direction our society has taken? There are restrictions available on T.V. to filter and screen the content your child is exposed to, but the internet creates a new medium where even proper filtering will at some point lead your child with access to images and videos with the potential of creating these distorted perspectives. Since most teenagers also have access to smartphones, they too have the ability to create sexualized content themselves. The consequences of hypersexualization are debatable, but many studies have found effects ranging from decreased cognitive functioning to physical and mental health concerns. I found the Amanda Todd video especially tragic in the respect that, like many teenage girls, she was simply looking for attention and affirmation of her self-worth. In this sense, social media sites can make teens or tween feel good about themselves and popular. On the other hand, one mistake can cause you to question your entire self-concept.
Commercial marketing plays a role in influencing our purchasing decisions which indirectly influence the messages our children experience from early on. If you look at any large department store, toys for children aged 2 and up are divided into aisles. There is a pink isle and a truck isle.
Consumers make the ultimate decision; however you are indirectly guided towards specific aisles based on the sex of the child you are making the purchase for. Even the idea that there are bikinis for toddlers makes me cringe a little. Yes the toddler has no concept of sexualisation, but the parent making that decision for the child does have control. Similarly, the “Sext up Kids” documentary shows a French lingerie line for tweens that truly makes me sad. These little girls are photographed and put on display in ways that makes me question why the company would even want to send this message of objectification. I personally think this is where the power of social media should create active citizens who voice concerns over this type of marketing.
Parents are going to be the ultimate voice for their children. Parents can advocate on behalf of their children and can monitor their children. All the filters in the world will never fully protect children. Instead, we need to help them create a positive self-image and develop coping skills for dealing with adversity. My children are toddlers, so I am unable to predict how I will parent as they become teenagers. At this point it seems easy to claim that I wouldn’t allow a webcam or smartphone until they reach an acceptable age. What I would hope is that I am able to stay current with the technology they are using and to continue communicating with my children as they become teenagers. I do not think that we can always rely on research to tell us how our children will react or respond when bombarded with these types of messages. Research may take a while to catch up to technology. Instead, we must rely on common sense and our parenting instincts to know when our children are struggling.
My final project is coming along, but it is difficult not to get overwhelmed with the amount of options and information on digital citizenship. This past week, I have been adding resources to my wiki and trying to develop some concrete lesson ideas for incorporating Ribble’s 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship.
I have only ever focused on consuming or curating information which is what I had previous done by compiling various resources related to the 9 elements. I have been trying to put myself “out there” and create information which is essentially an epic fail. It is so time consuming to learning a new technology. Although beneficial, I am not sure the pace of my life right now allows me free time to explore and create! With that being said, I am trying. I decided to attempt to create a powtoon video that I would show to students on the first day of classes to introduce and create our own acceptable use policy for technology in the classroom. Currently the video is in rough shape, but I do have a few pictures, a person talking and some dramatic music! I will post it to the wiki once it is complete.
One lesson that I created for Health Science 20 is based on the online purchase of medicine drugs and the potential implications this may have for consumers. I found the following videos discussing the implications of purchasing steroids and weight loss drugs online. I know this is a ridiculous argument, but I do worry a bit about showing students the fact that these types of drugs and steroids can be purchased online. On the other hand, it is very likely something they already are aware of and it seems to be better to educate students on the dangers rather than having them go off and purchase these drugs unknowingly. The same argument could be made that by teaching about illegal drugs, students will be somehow convinced to use them or that by teaching about safe sex students will be convinced to have sex. The Government of Canada and the FDA both have good articles supporting the discussion of the online purchase of medical drugs.
The area I would like to focus on now is how I would personally set up and use various digital applications in the classroom. I would like to create a structure where my classroom is able to connect socially on one platform, blog about course content, connect with other classrooms, and create coursework assignments online. I looked into google classroom, but wasn’t certain that I wasn’t going to be charged. It also indicated that I needed to use it as an app which may not work for my specific school. I think that I would instead have students create a gmail account (if they didn’t already have one) and use google docs as a collaborative tool in the classroom without using google classroom. I have found the google plus community very straight forward and easy to use, so this might be the best way for my students to connect socially. I also signed up for Edmodo and have been trying to figure out how to use it. I like the fact that you can inset assignments, create polls and quizzes to get quick results. It is very similar to Facebook which would be a benefit to many students. I don’t like the organization of it – how posts continue further down the page. Overall I do feel it would be very useful for overall student communication, assignment discussion, parent involvement and quick polling of students.
The last thing I signed up for was Edublogs. After creating a blog on this site for my classroom, I wondered why I wouldn’t just stick with the Wikispaces that I currently use. I find it easy to upload course content and to have student discussions. This is one of the issues I have with using technology in the classroom. I know how I feel overwhelmed personally when there are so many different avenues to connect and explore. Teenagers are busy and may be socially connected, but I do hate to add to the various social media sites that they have to access.
My last attempt at creation this week was a digital citizenship survey on Google Forms. I had not used this site before, but it was very straight forward. I would appreciate any feedback on this survey! I would use it during the first week of classes in Science 10 to gain an idea of where my students are currently at with respect to social media and technology. From there, I could design my classroom and select the social platforms I would use based on student comfort level and digital access.
These past two weeks I have spent creating a wiki to organize all the information for my final project.
Creating a wiki was also a way for me to practice my skills with using one again. When I started teaching, I had a wiki and posted all the course content, videos, assignments, and answer keys. I found it incredibly useful in some aspects (i.e. for students who missed class) and very time consuming in other aspects. I gradually started to use it less when thinking about the cost-benefit. Not all my students at the time had access to high speed internet at home and even the ones who did were not really using the website. Basically if they attended class, they had no reason to ever go on there. With that being said, I think now, with the availability of smartphones, it could be more useful for students to have a class wiki.
I started to refine some of my ideas for the science 10 curriculum into actual lessons which is included as a word document on the wiki. This is still a work in progress, but I think I came up with ideas that are useable for me in my science classroom.
I have also spent the past week looking at the health science 20 curriculum to see where I would take the topic of digital citizenship into the second year (grade eleven). Looking at the curriculum, it seems like the outcome from the Health Care Philosophies and Ethics regarding holistic perspectives on health would be a good place to incorporate a lesson on the physical and psychological issues associated with the use of digital technology. Issues including balance, screen time, physical effects, sleep issues, etc. could all be researched, discussed, and debated.
The second outcome in that unit is on ethical decisions regarding health care. In this outcome, we talk about different perspectives regarding decisions for specific care (i.e. blood transfusions). I think this would be a good time to collaborate or skype with other individuals around the world regarding their views on health care decisions and how alternative approaches to medicine are viewed in different countries. This would be related to Ribble’s digital communication element.
In the human body unit, one of the outcomes relates to the effect of various pathologies on cells. This would be a good lesson to incorporate discussions of digital law and property stealing. Students would view various ailments under the digital microscopes, take pictures, label cells, and unload photos of cell slides onto flickr. The pre-teaching for the lesson would cover the citing of photos, how photos are licensed, how creators get (or don’t get) credit, and various options for sites they could upload their photos to be shared.
For the nutrition unit, we talk about and research various diet and health supplements. This would be a good time to focus on digital commerce or the availability of some goods for purchase that are either not properly regulated or tested for human consumption in the states. For this lesson, each student could find and present on one example of a product that could be purchased that is not registered for use in Canada. Students would research any testing information available, health concerns/side effects, what it claims to do, and what research supports the claims. Each student would essentially be providing a thorough review of each product and the implications for someone using the product.
In the diagnostics and treatment section of the health science 20 curriculum, one of the outcomes is on evaluating the tools and procedures used to diagnosis medical conditions. This outcome could include two of Ribble’s nine elements: digital access and digital technology. First, I would create a lesson around “googling” medical symptoms. How it is helpful/harmful. Included in this lesson would be a discussion of the fact that not everyone has access to this information. What would be the implications of this? Is it a benefit or a disadvantage to not have access to medical information online. The second element we would focus on in this lesson is digital literacy. Understanding how to spot and sort through credible and non-credible medical sites. I would create a checklist for students detailing things to look for to indicate a medical website in credible. They could then find and complete the checklist for 5 different medical sites. A summary of the class’s results could be done using google docs. We would then view the compilation document and discuss whether most sites with medical information would be considered credible or not credible.
This is what I have come up with so far for the Health Science 20 curriculum. My next steps will be to finish planning lessons for using digital citizenship in Science 10 and then to come up with a long range plan and lesson plans for digital citizenship in Health Science 20.
This week’s readings have again caused me to wonder what the current goal of education is and what the future goal should be. We can quote that we are preparing students for the future, yet we have no idea what that future will look like or what skills will be valued. Even our own jobs as teachers threaten to change dramatically in response to technology. Is there even a need for teachers anymore? Or schools for that fact? This has lead me to question what the role of school is in society.
Schools perform a variety of functions including training students to follow the spoken and unspoken norms of society. Much of this “training” is based on the behaviourist learning theory as summarized in the article by Saul McLeod. Essentially much of the ways schools are structured and function is based on the behaviourist perspective. From the beginning, we model proper behavior, provide positive rewards when students comply with expectations and negative feedback when they do not comply. Students who do not sit in their desks are provided with negative feedback. Students who put up their hands to answer questions are provided with positive feedback. Schools create this social environment where students are exposed to a variety of peers and instructors with whom they can chose to model their own behavior after.
Schools also perform functions based on the cognitive perspective. We directly or indirectly teach students content with the primary goal being that they will transfer this content from short term memory into long term memory. Once in long term memory, the information will be available for students to retrieve as needed. This is occurs when we ask students to learn spelling words, times tables, memorize information for a test, and recall facts at later times. Our curriculums are based on the idea that information learned in the previous year is stored in the long term memory of students and can be recalled and built upon in the next year.
Schools additionally perform functions based on the constructivist learning theory. Constructivism is essentially the idea that students come to your class with a wide range of experiences and knowledge. The goal of education is to access the current knowledge the individual student has and to provide opportunities to build upon that knowledge. Information is stored by students making connections in their minds between pre-existing knowledge and new knowledge. We incorporate constructivist perspectives when we assess student’s prior knowledge and try to provide experiences and connections that are relevant to the learner. We also support this by including inquiry, problem-based learning and providing independent learning opportunities.
The article by George Siemens provided an alternative perspective – connectivism. This is the idea that perhaps learning is not (or does not have to be) within the constructs of one persons’ mind, but could occur within a person’s social network. Learning could be the result of diverse perspectives coming together to create a solution. I thought this article raised many interesting points about whether it really is knowledge that is important or simply the rapid evaluation of knowledge that is the current skill.
So what do these perspectives mean for 21st Century education? Today’s learners are different. Students come into my science classroom with a wide range of random knowledge and experience made possible by the learning they have already accessed using technology. In an ideal classroom, I would be able to adapt individual lessons for each student based on their knowledge base, need and interest. This is how I informally educate my four year old. The only difference is that this becomes a daunting task when you try to teach 30 students. This is what makes today’s education so difficult. We have good intentions, but we are still trying to educate mass amounts of students in the most efficient time. The system is still set up to focus on quantity rather than quality.
I do not think the answer is to replace our current education system as society still requires many of the functions it serves, but I do think there exists much opportunity for creating these online experiences for our students where they are sharing, evaluating, participating, and publishing information. The video on the grade 7’s PLE is a model that could be incorporated at many grade levels. There still exists a need for schools to teach students the skills they will need to be successful in these online communities. They cannot share, evaluate, participate, or publish until they possess basic literacy skills. Teachers can also bring real-life experiences into the classroom and expose students to information they never anticipated they would have any interest in.
Perhaps it is not time to move towards unschooling, but we do need to adapt our education system to the unknown future needs of society. We need to start creating curriculums that are flexible and based on the understanding that knowledge is rapidly changing. We also need to trust that teachers will create meaningful learning experiences for student if given the freedom to do so.
These are some of my perspective on the direction of education. What are yours?