Posted in EC&I832MajorProject, Uncategorized

My Journey So Far

Here’s an update of my journey into educational apps and websites…




What I love most about Biblionasium is that it is like a kid’s version of Goodreads, allowing students to add books to their virtual bookshelves, rate books, share reviews and recommendations, as well as work towards reading goals. There are lots of how to videos on Biblionasium’s YouTube channel for both educators and students to help them understand how to use all of the tools on the site. Here’s a quick video to show students what they can do.

So far my students have signed in and started logging the books they have read so far.  I love that I can create reading challenges for my students, which work perfectly with the 40 book challenge we started at the beginning of the year.  The 40 book challenge comes from “The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child” by Donalyn Miller.  I love Donalyn’s perspective on how to encourage lifelong readers and providing students with choice while still encouraging them to try new things. If you haven’t read her books I highly encourage you to add them to your to be read list.  The purpose of the 40 book challenge isn’t as much about reading 40 books as it is about reading more books and broadening the genres of books that students have tried.  It is the hope that through the challenge students find even more types of books that they enjoy and share their love of books with others.  My students have been logging their progress of the books they read and the challenge on paper, so they have transferred this into Biblionasium.  Some students are still finishing logging the books into the challenge, but so far it’s working great.  Both students and teacher’s can check out each others’ bookshelves and how their challenge is going.  Below is an example of one way to view student’s progress towards challenges.  This shows that the student has only two more books to complete this part of the challenge.

Screenshot from Biblionasium

I am lucky that my school division decided to get an account for Biblionasium.  What’s great about this is that Biblionasium is now linked to my school’s library.  This means that when students look up books it will tell them if the school library has the book and if it is available (“IN”) or already checked out (“OUT”).  I love this feature.

Here is the search result for one of my favourite children’s author’s Katherine Applegate. The books that say “IN” show that those books are part of my school’s library and are available to be checked out. If I clicked “Books In My Library” it would only show me books that my school’s library owns. —Screenshot from Biblionasium

Since my school division has an account I didn’t have to set up an account for myself or my students.  I did have one glitch along the way, but I don’t think this is a typical issue.  When my students were entered into the classroom rosters, one of my students wouldn’t show up in my class roster, but would show up in the school’s roster.  For some reason it wasn’t just an easy fix of clicking a couple buttons and adding him to my roster.  So my school’s IT had to work with Biblionasium to figure out how to fix it.  Thanks to these wonderful people this glitch has been fixed and now my student is part of our class group.  Now that all my students are set up correctly the plan is for students to start sharing reviews and recommendations with each other about the books that they read.  I hope that through sharing about books with their classmates it helps foster a love of reading and connecting with others through books.


I am very fortunate that my school division has provided me with a paid Flipgrid account.  The school division bought Flipgrid accounts for interested teachers who are part of the connected educator program and any other teacher’s interested could apply for a paid account.  This week my plan is to set up my students accounts and have my students create their first Flipgrid response.  Although I haven’t started my students on it yet, I have started to collect ideas of how to use it through teachers sharing their ideas on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Here’s one from Twitter that I look forward to checking out:


I have been using Seesaw for about two years, but I don’t currently use all of the features.  My students know how to create a variety of posts, so now I would like my students to start using the commenting feature.  So this week we will be learning about what makes a quality comment and will be practicing using sticky notes to comment on paper assignments first.  Once we understand how to comment appropriately, using digital etiquette, on paper form we will move towards the digital form.


I think it is important as a teacher that I model for my students a life long drive to learn.  I have been attending digital PD about Seesaw since I became a user and continue to look for new ways to use it.  If you are a new user or interested in using it check out their “PD in Your PJs” list of past professional development that includes videos and slides.  If you click “Find a Session” you can register for live PD session coming up.  I love that they have some longer PD as well as short 10 minute “Sprint” sessions.



I am loving Formative so far.  My students now all have accounts and have completed a couple exit slips.  They have completed an exit slip reflecting on their reading so far this year.  As this was an open ended short answer type of exit slip there was no right or wrong answer.  In addition, they have answered math questions about mixed numbers and improper fractions or patterns.  For the math exit slip there was only one possible correct answer for each question, but I look forward to trying the variety of response options that Formative has.  I am loving that once students submit I have the option to give them instant feedback showing them which questions they answered correctly and what the correct answer should be.

Here’s the student view example of one of the math exit slips

Screenshot from Formative

Here’s the teacher view of the exit slip. There is a drop down menu to choose the type of response option and a place to write a correct answer if applicable.

Screenshot from Formative


How Does My Project Fit Into Digital Citizenship?

As far as Mike Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship, my major project fits within the elements of digital communication, digital etiquette as well as digital security.   Through these different apps and websites my students will be learning how to communicate in a variety of ways and use digital etiquette when viewing and responding to others posts. I will personally be diving more into digital security to better understand how these apps help keep students and their information safe when online.

Posted in Uncategorized

Education Crystal Ball

Even though I have only taught for seven years, I have seen education change.  Initiatives have come, gone and been replaced by new ones.  Technology use in the classroom increased and continues to become even more prevalent.  My first year of teaching I used overheads or would book out a portable projector on a cart to share large visuals, notes, or videos.  Now every classroom, including just general work spaces like multipurpose rooms, have a mounted projector that laptops can wirelessly connect to.  Using technology in the classroom is not just an added bonus, rather it has become an expectation to integrate technology into teaching and learning.  As technology continues to advance I foresee that technology will continue to play a role in how students learn.


Our discussions in class last week as well as reading “9 Things That Will Shape The Future Of Education: What Learning Will Look Like In 20 Years?” article by Christiaan Henny has helped shape my thoughts about the future of education. When I think of education in our future I think of changing and updating concepts and skills, personalized learning, even more technology integration and a global focus.  As we learn more about the world we live in and our perspectives shift, the concepts and skills we focus on in education will change.  I think of poor Pluto being a regular planet when I was a kid, to be demoted to a dwarf-planet. With math there was definitely more of a drill and practice focus, while now it is more problem solving based. As the types of jobs available changes so will the skills and concepts needed to be successful in those jobs. I feel that learning will become even more personalized, as technology will make this even easier to connect and learn from and with others all around the world. Students will have more options to choose from and will be able to choose learning routes and topics that interest them.


If education doesn’t change with the times students may not be prepared for their future. As educators we are in the business of preparing students to be responsible and productive members of society. So it is vital that education changes to meet the needs of our students and our society. Students will need to be comfortable using technology, not just for personal uses, but for learning and working. As our lives will probably become even more intertwined with technology, students lives online may be under even more scrutiny, so digital citizenship will be key.

How do you feel education will have to change in the future?

Posted in EC&I832

Digital Identity Reflections

PBS Idea Channel’s video questions the idea that some of us are born as digital natives, while others will always be digital immigrants.  It examines the idea that age and growing up with technology creates people who will always have a better and more innate grasp of technology, than those who are older and didn’t grow up using digital technology.

Even though I would fit into the digital native category to an extent, being born after 1980 and growing up with technology, I don’t feel like a digital native.  I typically had very outdated technology.  When my family got a computer it was extremely old and ran Windows 3.1. Think Solitaire, Minesweep and Paint as some of its “best” programs. Who else remembers winning at Solitaire and watching the cards cascade?


When my friends were going on MSN Messenger I finally had an “updated”computer that could play Carmen Sandiego.  It wasn’t until grade twelve when I finally got internet. Up until then I would have to go to my friends or if really desperate go to my grandma’s to use her dial up.


Not growing up with the latest technology I don’t feel like a digital native and tend to agree with the video that digital natives and digital immigrants are a myth. I feel like it comes more down to attitude and motivation than age. No matter what age, you still have to learn how to use the technology. Maybe children pick it up faster since they are at a stage where their brains still have a lot of elasticity to learn new things,but they still have to figure out how technology works. Also, I think that children typically are still very curious and aren’t as jaded as adults when it comes to being motivated and having a positive attitude.  As I was always “behind” in  knowing the latest tech, I feel that my identity as someone who uses digital technology has more to do with my motivation to learn the technology than my age.   

Another digital identity theory can be seen in David White’s video (above) about digital visitors and residents.  He makes an interesting point that understanding how to use different apps and social media platforms doesn’t necessarily mean that one understands all digital literacies. He points out that some ways of using technology still need to be taught.

David’s model of visitors and residents is more based on how engaged someone is in technology.  He explains that we may move around between visitors and residents depending on the context we are using technology.  David points out that visitors just visit and aren’t leaving a “social trace” while residents spend time creating a “social trace”.  The ways we choose to engage in the social aspects of digital technology define us as visitors or residents in that moment or context.  Anyone can be a visitor or a resident depending on how they are using digital spaces.

Growing up I was definitely more of a digital visitor, engaging in digital activities where I was more so just using the technology versus interacting with others or creating content to share with others.  It wasn’t until the past five years or so that I have started to really engage on a regular basis with the more social aspects of the digital technology.  Pinterest was probably one of the first social apps that I really enjoyed.  I loved that I could not only save things I liked, but that I could share them with others.  I did enjoy Facebook to an extent, but it was Instagram when I finally caught the social bug and became more of a digital resident.  I love using Instagram professionally to get, share and converse about teaching ideas.  Over time I have become more of a digital resident professionally on these apps.  I often go from visitor to resident and back to visitor on Facebook, spending more time looking at content versus creating, sharing or interacting with content.

In general our students are often residents when using digital technology in their personal and social lives, but are often visitors when it comes to the academic side of using technology.  It’s important that we teach students the skills to use technology to help them in their learning journey as well as how to navigate digital tools both in and out of school as responsible digital citizens.  I think as teachers we can use educational apps, such as Seesaw and Flipgrid, to help practice digital citizenship in a safe environment.  Students can be taught the skills to be digital residents in learning contexts.

What do you think?  How can we help students safely and responsibly navigate between being digital visitors and residents in differing contexts?



Posted in EC&I832, EC&I832MajorProject

Major Project Plans

When I first read the options for the major project for EC&I832 I knew that I wanted to review apps. However, it’s been more difficult than I anticipated to choose the apps because there are so many I want to try.

How I feel when I want to try out way too many apps:

It was hard for me to decide if I wanted to try out apps more on a personal level, professional level or try some of both.  I thought I would see what apps my students liked in hopes that it might help me to choose. I asked my students to tell me their top ten of favourite apps. Here are the results:

What I learned is that many of their favourite apps are also my favourites. I too enjoy YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, Netflix, Pinterest, PicCollage, and Candy Crush.  We already use PicCollage on a regular basis in my classroom, so I don’t want to explore this app. Also, many of the most popular choices either are not very educational, are not allowed for student use on our school tablets or laptops, or are games or sites that I am not very interested in. Some of the features of their top choices such as creating and sharing content as well as commenting and liking posts can be found in some educational apps like Seesaw, Flipgrid, and Biblionasium.  So I’ve decided to explore apps that promote the social aspect of social media and apps as well as apps that help students to show their learning in a variety of ways.

Here are the apps I will be using and reviewing

1. Flipgrid

2. Seesaw

3. Biblionasium

4. Formative (formerly GoFormative)


My plan is to explore these apps myself and have my students use them in my classroom.  If you have any experience with these apps suggestions on ways to use them in my classroom are always appreciated.

Posted in EC&I832

EC&I 832 Introduction

me2Hi my name is Erin Wiley.  I am a grade 5/6 teacher who loves integrating reading, art and technology into my teaching. I have taught grades 2-6, but have mainly been teaching at the grade 3 level the past five years.  I am excited for the new challenge of teaching grade 5/6.

I look forward to learning more about technology through EC&I 832.