Professional Development

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.

Photo Credit:  Joowwww via Wikimedia Commons


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.

HS 20

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.


Attempting the Move From Curation to Creation

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. dig citizenship wiki

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 toresponsible use policy 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.

I have also been refining my lesson plans for incorporating digital citizenship in Science 10 and Health Science 20. 

science 10health science 20

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.

Digital Citizenship for Health Science 20

These past two weeks I have spent creating a wiki to organize all the information for my final project.

dig citizenship wiki

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.  UntitledBasically 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.

Science 10 Resources

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. Website Credibility 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.

Final Project Difficulties

I’m not going to lie…the final project has been difficult.  I have been so indecisive about which option to do.  I originally thought that I would do an experiment.  I love experimenting with my classes and collecting unofficial data regarding the outcomes of new teaching methods or assessment practices.  I was planning to survey my students to collect data on what information they already know/skills they already have with respect to common technology applications I would use in my classroom:  social media, blogging, creating interactive videos, using google docs, etc.  I would then use the results from my survey to design lessons that would be suitable to the prior knowledge of my students.  However, during the week on digital citizenship, I did so much additional research and found myself very invested in incorporating digital citizenship skills into my classes.  As a result, I decided to go with Option 1 to create an overall plan for incorporating digital citizenship within my Science 10 and Health Science 20 classes.  I decided to go with two courses rather than one.  This is primarily because being in a small town school provides me with the opportunity to teach the same students in grade 10 and grade 11.  I can structure developmental lessons that will build upon one another.  I also teach these same students in grade 12, but I figured that was too ambitious!

So far I have been looking at the Science 10 and Health Science 20 curriculum outcomes to see where I can incorporate Ribble’s 9 elements.  For the career outcome, I would like to focus on digital communication by modeling for students various ways we could communicate with professionals from various scientific disciplines (videoconference, ask questions on twitter/facebook, email, asking questions on blogs etc.).  Each student could select a professional and compile class results on google docs.  Prior to the start of this activity, we would discuss professionalism when using digital technology, appropriate questioning skills and commenting on social media.  In addition, digital footprints and discussions on what this profession might see if they chose to follow the student on twitter, for example, could be included.

For the climate and ecosystems dynamics unit, we would focus on digital literacy, digital law, and digital rights and responsibilities.  I think this would be a good unit to incorporate the use of Twitter.  Prior to signing up for Twitter, we could go through the privacy issues and usage rights.  Many of the environmental issues explored in this unit have resources on twitter.  One activity I had thought of for this unit is to find two articles on twitter related to one of the environmental issues we had discussed in class and to review the article – one article that you think is credible and one that is not.  Research the source, analyze content, and confirm statistics.  Then students could select and research one issue that is important to them and to share the resources, videos, and useful information they have discovered on social media or through the creation of a wiki.  This would require some pre-teaching on usage rights and copyright law.

The chemistry unit in Science 10 would be a great time to explore some of the chemistry related apps that are available.  There are numerous interactive period tables and resource-based apps.  The lessons created around these apps would center on digital literacy.  It would also be neat to look at who created the app and for what purpose.  Does it make the organization money, are they simply looking to provide credible information, or is the information even credible?

The “Motion in Our World” unit would be a great unit for focus on student blogs.  In this unit, we do lots of motion-related experiments and it would be great to be able to publish our observations (descriptions, tables, pictures, graphs), results, and conclusions.  There are many of Ribble’s elements that could be included while setting up and publishing on the blogs.

This is an overview of where I am at thus far.  My next step is to create an overview for Health Science 20 and then to begin planning specific lessons for both units.