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Summary of Learning

This short spring class of ECI830 has flown by. Despite the fact that it was so quick, I learned so much. The debate style format of the class was very engaging and helped me to take a critical look at my own opinions on technology and consider various view points. Check out Brooke and my summary of learning to see more about what we took from this course.

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Mission Skepticism

What does it mean to be literate? Well to a lot of people, especially older generations, being literate means being able to read and write.  Now being literate means so much more.

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To be literate in today’s world students need to be able to be able to do more than read and write to be literate .  Literate individuals need to be able to understand not only what they read, but also what they see and hear, and add media literacy to their bag of understanding.

In my video on media literacy, I explain that media includes a variety of forms such as books, TV, social media, and text messages.  Common Sense Media explains that “media literacy is the ability to identify different types of media and understand the messages they’re sending.” Just like being able to read and write, students need to be taught how to be media literate.

An important part of this is being skeptical, not believing, everything we read, see or hear.  Sometimes the messages that media is trying to send may be bias or even incorrect.  Students need to be able to be critical and evaluate whether they can trust the message and/or author of the message. An example of this is the “North American House Hippo” video created by Concerned Children’s Advertisers Canada to bring awareness to the importance of being skeptical.  If you haven’t seen this video, or if you want to relive wanting to own a house hippo, check out the video below.

The North American House Hippo

Students need to be able to disifer between truth and fiction, which in today’s society often means deciding if it’s “FAKE NEWS!”

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It’s not just youth that struggle to figure out if something is fake.  In Kyle’s video he shares an example of people spreading fake news about a “beer bandit” in Nova Scotia.  This “news” was posted to Facebook and it quickly spread, so much so a song was even written about it.  It turns out that the story was completely false, confirmed by the original author of the post.  Luckily in this case it just turned into a wild ridiculous rumour, however sometimes the belief in the untrue can lead to darker consequences.  In Jamie and Jocelyn’s video they discuss the importance of fact checking in a fake news world.  They talk about  a man who shot a gun into a pizza parlour after reading a fake new article.   Instead of doing some digging and fact checking the article he read he believed what he read and chose to make a terrible decision.

If adults can’t figure out fake news than how can we expect youth to be able to? Adults did not grow up with such wide spread examples of fake news to have to deal with, so many are needing to learn to be more critical as adults.  This is why it is vital to teach students how to be skeptical and become fact checking detectives. One strategy to help students with evaluating is “The Five C’s of Critical Consuming” shared by John Spencer:

Context – When and where is it written? Have events changed or new info available?

Credibility – Is the site credible? Are the sources cited credible? Is it satirical? Is it an advertisement?

Construction – What’s the bias, facts, opinions, propaganda?

Corroboration – Do other sources claim this too?

Compare – Find other credible sources to compare it to get a larger more rounded picture of the information.

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My Journey So Far

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


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Biblionasium

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.

Flipgrid

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:

Seesaw

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.


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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.

 

Formative

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.

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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.


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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.


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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?