Schools should not focus on teaching things that can be easily googled

It was interesting to see how both teams AGREED with today’s statement and how the follow up group discussion brought back a number of memories from my previous learning experience. I personally agree with Curtis and Lisa that the 4Cs, such as critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity cannot be learnt through googling.

My past schooling experience in Romania was mostly focusing on memorization and regurgitating the information taught. There is proof that it can happen without having access to google, too. As my classmate, Dean mentioned, the whole idea is behind the approach the teacher is taking. Daina and Jocelyn pointed out that google, by itself is not bad, it can enhance learning. We just have to learn how to make the most out of it by helping our students to learn how to apply-, synthesize-, and be creative with knowledge and remember key parts of what they learn (LoTi framework).

Being an English language learner and an EAL teacher, the article “Why Kids can’t write” made me very curious. The article focuses on the importance of classroom instruction that supports and promotes purposeful learning. As the article points out, asking the students to write about their weekend or what they did can make the writing process dreadful, since some kids don’t have anything exciting happening they could write about. I think any type of prompt: a picture, a story starter, a story itself, a short video, etc. are all great ways that help our students with writing. Or, in this case, what great purpose would a land-based or hands-on pedagogy provide for writing?

When it comes to purposeful learning, it is also important to know our students. As an EAL teacher, the first thing I look at when a new student arrives is their initial assessment report that gives me a clear picture of the language fluency level of the student. This helps me decide what to focus on. As part of my Master’s Certificate in TESOL we had quite a few debates if non native speakers should be taught grammatical forms or not. Me being in the process of acquiring English language for over 30 years, I would say there is no way a non-native speaker can learn proper English without knowing grammatical rules. I might sound harsh, but I think it is crucial to know the mechanics of a language to be able to speak and write correctly. I often experience that my students who have a strong first language, acquire the English language a lot easier and faster. But does this mean that memorizing the grammatical rules will make the learner fluent in a language?

Certain subjects require more memorization than others. I often hear people being against it. I think memorization to a certain level is necessary to be able to take it to the next level. For example, if one does not memorize words, they will never be able to speak a language. The English language is full of expressions, phrasal verbs and idioms, that I could never use if I do not memorize them. You can only become creative and innovative, if you have tools at your finger tips.

I also think that google cannot help a learner truly understand these words and expressions, since they act so differently in context. During my elementary and middle years I was expected to regurgitate English forms and grammar and when a young, vibrant English teacher from the U.S. showed up in our school, I could not form a sentence, let alone have a conversation with her. I could not apply, synthesize, nor be creative and use what we had learnt. This is why I think that schools should not focus on teaching things that can be googled but implement a holistic approach to teaching with a focus on meaningful learning moments.

Thank you for listening to my thoughts! 🙂

Great Ed Tech Debate: Technology is a force for equity in schools

This week’s topic was very close to my heart since I work in a community school and with the pandemic, sadly I had to experience that technology is not a force for equity but it makes the ‘opportunity gap’ even bigger. Having said that, I do agree with my peers, Kalyn and Nataly regarding the many benefits of technology.

Technology, especially Open Educational Resources (OERs) provide greater access to information with no cost to people who have access to devices, broadband as well as the ability to make the most of what technology has to offer. There is no doubt that technology can help when it comes to reaching all students with different abilities through personalized learning plans. Assistive technology tools, such as Google Read and Write, Microsoft’s Immersive Reader, as well as the wide variety of levelled readers (Newsela, Scholantis, etc.), help not only English language learners, but our students with both learning-, and physical disabilities. As my professor Dr. Alec Couros pointed out though, educators do have to be careful how to implement the assistive technology tools, since it “can create equity and also inequity”. My classmate, Curtis shared a wonderful way to avoid students feeling singled out by teaching how to use these tools to the whole class, since they can be beneficial for all students.

Another idea I agree with presented by Kalyn and Nataly is that technology can help with individualized content, instruction and assessment. Having said that, I would have to agree with Victoria and Jasmin who do not see technology as a force for digital equity due to the digital divide.

Limited access to technology can be a major set back. I have experienced teachers learning great ways to implement technology, such as having blended- or flipped lessons, or giving students projects to work on at home, but they end in failure due to lack of devices or broadband. Lack of technical skills or knowledge of Mike Ribble‘s nine elements of the digital citizenship can become obstacles as well. Not being aware of how to read laterally, the abundance of information can cause high level of anxiety and stress.

The more I think about technology being a force for equity in schools, the stronger I feel that unless we address the issues of affordability, accessibility and varying ability, our students will be limited in their mobility when it comes to navigating technology. Societal inequalities need to be addressed in order to close the ‘opportunity gap’ our most vulnerable people are experiencing.

Great EdTech Debate: Technology in the classroom enhances learning

https://i.o0.nz/F3j1.gif

First of all I would like to say THANK YOU to my peers for the great debate. Amanda, Nancy, Trevor and Matt certainly set the bar extremely high which makes me feel very nervous.

The more I think about technology in the classroom, the more I become uncertain about how positive the use of technology is in our classrooms. I grew up with absolutely zero technology and life seemed to be a lot safer. I feel that technology brought so much with itself, both good and bad.

I do see that the life of an educator who is not familiar with using technology became a lot more stressful. Even if teachers are tech savvy, incorporating technology in an effective way takes a lot of time and effort. I absolutely agree with Trevor and Matt that technology will not make a teacher into a good educator. As Lisa mentioned, we engage our students through building relationships and knowing our students. I certainly see all the negatives the existence of technology brings into our classrooms: such as feeling frustrated when struggling with technology, and I am thinking of our newcomer families, and refugee families who do not have experience using devices. Technology often causes distraction as well as adds to the already fairly high daily screen time. And we haven’t even touched on the negative effects technology can cause as a result of being used by our ‘digital natives’ who are lacking the knowledge of how to be responsible digital citizens. I do not believe that phones and technology in all should be banned from our schools, but we need to take the time and teach our students how to use them safely and appropriately.

I would say, in general, I am pro technology, that is why I applied for the Master’s Certificate Program in Educational Technology. Whenever I had to sit down in front of a laptop, I felt overwhelmed and stressed out. I had no idea how to do anything on a laptop beside searching on Google or Youtube. I certainly would not want my students to feel the same way. It is a horrible feeling. I feel it is my job to help my students become familiar with using technology. I also think technology can make learning fun and engaging. As Dean pointed out during the class discussion, Kahoot and Mentimeter are great tools for engaging the students who never put up their hands. Most of the EAL students are shy and they have fear of being judged. By the time they form their answers, the class has moved on to a different topic. Kahoot and Mentimeter are fun ways to practice all the tricky grammatical forms of the English language that take years to sink in. They also give an immediate picture of student understanding of certain concepts that the teacher can address right away.

Our current move to supplemental online learning is another proof that technology does help us reach our students. Especially during these hard times, technology serves as a great vehicle for learning. Although I would be a lot happier to have the opportunity to listen to my students read out loud in person, Seesaw made it possible the other day and it literally brought tears to my eyes. I have to say that I am loving Seesaw more and more every day. I can actually see this as a great tool to reach my students while travelling back to their home countries for very long periods of time, providing an opportunity to communicate, that Amanda and Nancy referred to as the 5th C. The record feature is a wonderful tool where students can practice reading aloud and hearing their own pronunciation with endless retakes if necessary. I feel excited, even though I am just at the beginning of becoming familiar with great tools and ways to use technology in a purposeful way.

My take away from the debate is to focus on a balanced approach when it comes to technology use and always have a purpose behind it. As George Couros says ” If I get into a plane and all it does is drive me from point A to point B, not only is this not a transformational use, we know there are better tools for doing that specific job. Only when we choose to fly in the plane does that technology become transformational.  It is on people to use technology to it’s fullest potential.”

Thanks for stopping by,

Melinda 🙂

Staying connected during Covid19

Having a conversation with my EC&I 830 classmates about how our next school year would look like made me quite worried. Seeing that the nearby universities are planning on moving higher education courses to online courses, makes it feel real that this situation might not end this June or July. But how Covid19 will affect our education system in the Fall, we do not know yet.

https://www.thedailystar.net/opinion/project-syndicate/news/the-digital-divide-impeding-development-1652299

Just like my classmate, Jocelyn mentioned in her blog post, in my community school, even after a month into supplemental learning, we are still addressing the difficulties caused by the digital divide. Another major problem is the supplemental learning being optional. But how could we make it mandatory if our families are lacking the technology needed to participate in supplemental learning? Many parents do not have time or are not able to help the students with their assignments. And let’s not forget that many of our families have bigger problems to deal with than being engaged in supplemental learning. At the same time many educators do not know how to use technology to be able to deliver content in an effective and engaging way.

Being an English as an Additional Language Teacher, up till now I was providing support to the classroom teachers and helped with connecting with our families. A week ago, the EAL families had the opportunity to request my support and currently I have close to 20 students whom I am teaching. Thanks to my Prof. Dr. Alec Couros and my peers, I have gained an enormous amount of information during my last three courses and today, when I hear the terms remote learning, online learning, supplemental learning, at least I don’t panic.

https://www.erintegration.com/technology-memes-for-teachers/

Being in the process of finding the right way to connect with my students my main focus is to keep things simple. I am taking small steps and trying to learn one thing at a time. I am thankful that my school board is offering PD sessions. Right now I am focusing on the Microsoft Teams and Seesaw since the first one is crucial to be able to meet with my students and I think Seesaw will be an easy way to connect for both my students and myself. I feel comfortable using quite a few online resources, since I had a chance to work with them as part of my previous Edtech classes. Last semester, I looked at Kahoot as part of my educational app and I started using it in class before the school closure. Since I learnt how to assign students different activities online, it remained part of my classes during the supplemental learning as well. I highly recommend Kahoot since it is an easy and fun to use app, that offers a huge number of already prepared activities that can often save the life of a busy teacher.

Another favourite tool that I am using is the Reading A-Z program. This program not only offers levelled books, but in RazPlus it has vocabulary and grammar packages that I can assign to my students online. I can follow my students’ progress and I can also message them.

I also like Flip grid, Khan Academy, Wakelet as well as Screencastify. My main focus is to introduce these tools to my students one at a time, so they can take advantage of them later on. I did a review on Khan Academy for one of my previous assignments for my Edtech classes and it certainly has a lot to offer. Wakelet is an amazing tool for keeping things organized. I just prepared a Wakelet collection called Digital Citizenship for my 11-year-old daughter focusing on Mike Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship to teach her how to navigate the online world safely. I would certainly like to dive into Wakelet a little bit more, since I believe it offers a lot more than I am aware of. As part of my Summary of Learning for my previous classes, I used Screencastify, and it is a neat tool for explaining new concepts to students.

My goal is to focus more on incorporating the nine elements of digital citizenship into my lessons. I think teaching language skills while educating students about how to be good digital citizens is crucial especially at this time when our students are spending a significant amount of time online.

Thank you for stopping by! 🙂

Major Project Overview

It feels unreal that we actually made it to the end … And for the first time, that great feeling of accomplishment and happiness when you finish something is missing. This has been an emotionally draining semester. I actually think being busy with this class helped me stay focused and get my mind off of everything that is going on in our world. What really surprised me in a positive way was that for the first time in my life I did not panic by the thought of using technology. This is my third educational technology class I have taken and I learnt so much. But the most important thing is that I do not feel alone any more. I know that technology is changing and evolving daily, but there is an amazing group of people I feel comfortable reaching out to to exchange ideas or seek support. I would like to say THANK YOU for sharing your knowledge and expertise and for all your support throughout the semester.

As part of my Major Project, I decided to go on my own personal journey and look at four different apps. The two social media apps I chose are very popular in my home, especially TikTok. I was curious to see what my kids and students spend hours on daily. And needless to say, I fell in the same trap spending endless hours on TikTok and Instagram since they are very addictive. Not knowing how to analyze apps through media lens, I needed something to lean on. So, I decided to use Mike Ribble’s 9 elements of digital citizenship as my guide.

My journey through social media opened up my eyes and taught me a lot about the complexity of these apps, as well as the positives and negatives. It certainly brought valuable conversations into our home. I understand that some of these apps are for teens and maybe they do not appreciate us being on them, but as a parent and teacher, I wish schools brought them into the classroom and use them as tools to teach students how to be responsible digital citizens. Many parents are not familiar with these apps and never heard of Common Sense Media nor Media Smarts to learn more about them. So, the schools should take the role of educating children how to navigate these apps safely.

Although the pandemic put a halt on using the educational apps I picked, I did have a chance to introduce them to my students and I am hoping they will take advantage of them while I cannot connect with them. I have heard of Kahoot before but never used it. I really wanted to learn more about it as well as implement it in my teaching. Luckily, I experienced what it feels like to have a classroom with a projector in it for a couple of weeks and I have to tell you it was an amazing feeling. I was able to create activities as well as use the amazing collection Kahoot offers. While using Kahoot, the students were engaged and we were all having fun while learning. It is a great tool that can be used in a variety of ways, in class, online or as part of blended lessons.

The other app I decided to learn about was BBC Learning English. I did not write a blog about this educational app, but I included the evaluation in my final project. For both Kahoot and BBC Learning English app evaluations I was following the elements of CRAPPIES. Unfortunately the unexpected school closure made it impossible for me to dive deep into using the BBC Learning English app with my students. This learning app offers a collection of high quality resources to various English language proficiency levels with appropriate and up to date topics for different age groups in all four strands: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Although I only had a chance to print off a few articles, since all recordings have transcripts added, and read with my students, both students and I found them very interesting.

What makes me happy is that both Kahoot and BBC Learning English are great resources that my students know of and can access from home for free as an addition to the supplemental learning their classroom teachers are providing.

As part of my final project, I organized all my findings in a website I created using wix. I am glad I pushed myself into creating this site where I can add materials and resources in the future. This was the first time I made a website, so it is far from being perfect. I hope you’ll find some useful information and please help me grow by sharing your comments and feedback.

I am very thankful for your support on this tough journey. Stay safe and healthy!

Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/90155358@N02/29290738768/”>Sustainable Economies Law Center</a> Flickr via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

Until next time,

Melinda

Plagiarism

When I think of the moral, ethical and legal issues we are facing the 8th, combined with the 4th and 7th, commandment of the Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics written by Arlene Rinaldi are the ones that I reinforce almost daily. 

  1. Thou shalt not use a computer to harm other people.
  2. Thou shalt not interfere with other people’s computer work.
  3. Thou shalt not snoop around in other people’s files.
  4. Thou shalt not use a computer to steal.
  5. Thou shalt not use a computer to bear false witness.
  6. Thou shalt not use or copy software for which you have not paid.
  7. Thou shalt not use other people’s computer resources without authorization.
  8. Thou shalt not appropriate other people’s intellectual output.
  9. Thou shalt think about the social consequences of the program you write.
  10. Thou shalt use a computer in ways that show consideration and respect.

Being an English as an Additional Language (EAL) teacher and being a non-native English speaker, I can see how easy it is to fall into the trap of plagiarism. Texas A&M defines plagiarism as “the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit”. Other people’s words often appear in our students’ work. Being a non-native English speaker, I know that many times plagiarism is not caused by bad intention. Not being a fluent speaker, forces students to “borrow” other people’s words since they feel they cannot say the same idea any better. According to Bruce Dancik and Donald Samulack, the “unintentional plagiarism is a necessity” that helps non-native English speakers express themselves. 

As my classmate, Laurie Ellis mentioned in her content catalyst, educators play a vital role in teaching students to be ethical and responsible learners. Christopher McGilvery in the article called Promoting Responsible and Ethical Digital Citizens highlights the importance of always giving credit to the original source in order to avoid plagiarism. But in order for our students to know the severity of plagiarism we need to provide them with tools to be able to acquire “writing with integrity” (Candace Schaefer – University of Texas). Candace Schaefer describes three forms of responses, such as citing, paraphrasing, summarizing with paraphrasing being viewed as the most dangerous form of writing.

I do agree with McGilvery and Shaefer regarding the importance of teaching our students the various steps of becoming a responsible and ethical learner and writer. I tried to summarize the major steps:

  • Start early and come up with a detailed plan
  • Take accurate notes when researching a topic and cite correctly
  • Understand your topic and add value to it by sharing own ideas
  • Practice retelling the content by using your own words
  • Proofread
  • Use quotations to give credit
  • Give credit when paraphrasing as well
  • Use a plagiarism checker to avoid making this ethical, moral and legal mistake
  • Include reference page
  • Ask your teacher/professor for advice and guidance

As an EAL teacher, I also think we often misjudge our students’ level of language proficiency and just because someone “sounds” fluent we assume their academic language is at a high level as well. Sometimes the very high expectations do force students to fall into the trap of plagiarizing to prove themselves to our society.

Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/146269537@N07/46671000735/”>Paris Malone</a> Flickr via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

Thanks for stopping by!

The new and emerging challenges of literacy in a “fake news” world

“If we define literacy as the ability to read (or interpret) the world around us, then digital literacy should not be thought of as requiring a separate set of skills. Rather, digital literacy ads a layer to traditional literacy, enabling us to read or interpret the connected reality we live in.” (Couros and Hildebrandt, 2017)

But how should we read in our digital world and what should we believe? After I tested myself using the experiment my classmate, Rob Gareau included in his content catalyst, I realized that I was having a hard time differentiating between fake and true information.

One might ask: What is fake news? As Claire Wardle in First Draft describes, fake news can be several things, such as: click bait, authentic content moved to a misleading context, imposter sources designed to look like reliable sources we already know, false information meant to stir outrage, satire or parody, and news that you personally disagree with. Fake news can be created for two different reasons: misinformation, that can be intentional or non-intentional, and disinformation providing inaccurate information intentionally.

https://firstdraftnews.org/latest/fake-news-complicated/

As Nancy Smith in her content catalyst points out, the social media platforms play a role in distributing fake news as well. Although social media does not produce any content, it is still responsible for distributing information based on algorithmic and AI dicisions. An algorithm is a set of rules used to rank, filter and organize the content for users based on their actions and preferences. Through feeds, social media influences the information that we see, and they aim to personalize the content for us.

In order for us to be better informed, we need to learn skills to read critically and decipher information. Without fact checking, as Claire Wardle says “we are adding to the pollution of our information ecosystem”. It is crucial to support quality information by being critical of the information we consume.

How can we sort truth from fiction though, when lies and facts are side by side? According to Mike Caulfield a set of skills are needed, such as reading laterally in order to be able to judge websites. Lateral reading is an important piece of digital literacy. In order to acquire this valuable skill, students need to see examples and practice identifying them to be able to find better information and be better informed. My classmate, Christina Patterson, points out in her content catalyst, that just as in teaching literacy where teachers focus on the difference between fiction and non-fiction, students need to be taught the difference between fake news and true information. Canada’s National Observer Guide identifies 5 steps when it comes to spotting fake news:

  1. confirm the source 
  2. check the facts
  3. quality counts 
  4. read before you share
  5. speak up 

Just to name a few, factscan.ca and snopes.com can also be used for fact checking. Erin Wilkey Oh in The Future of Fake News is encouraging us to teach our students essential questioning as well: Who created this message? Why is this message being sent? Why was it made? Where is the message being distributed? Which techniques are used to attract my attention? Which lifestyles, values and points of view are represented or missing? (Oh, Dec 12, 2017)

Eli Pariser is teaching us to be sceptical and approach everything by questioning its truth. Because of the data literacy and algorithmic literacy curating the world for us, what we see online is “only one slice of the pie and one that’s been cut specifically for you.” Eli Pariser calls this the “filter bubble”, the media world we create where we only see and interact with things and people we already like, causing us to fall into traps all the time because we like when things are comfortable, certain and easy. In order to avoid being “isolated in a web of one” what we need is to see things that are relevant, important, uncomfortable, challenging and other points of view.

Thank you for stopping by!

Melinda

What does it mean to be (media) literate in today’s world?

According to Alberta Education, literacy has traditionally been thought of as reading and writing. Beside the essential components of literacy, our understanding of literacy in today’s world holds within a lot more. Alberta Education defines literacy as the ability, confidence and willingness to engage with language to acquire, construct and communicate meaning in all aspects of daily living.

Renee Hobbs describes media literacy “more parallel to literacy: reading and writing in a digital age”.

(Media) Literacy is critical in helping us make sense of the world. As my classmate, Krysta pointed out, in our present days’ information abundance it is very difficult to tell what is reliable information and what is inaccurate, biased and/or opinionated. In order to avoid misinformation, it is important to help our students become media literate.

But what is media literacy? From Daniel Dion’s content catalyst, I learnt that according to Sylvia Duckworth, Digital Literacy is when students know how to use various digital technologies and how to assess legitimacy of web resources. Being media literate means being able to ask important questions. Srividya Kumar refers to it as content curation and crap detection based on four criteria: currency, reliability, authority and purpose/point of view. The ten questions she believes a media literate person should ask are:

  1. How recent is the information?
  2. Is it current enough for the topic?
  3. What kind of information is included in the content?
  4. Is the information meaningful?
  5. Who is the creator or author? What is their expertise on the topic?
  6. Who is the publisher or sponsor? Are they reputable?
  7. What is the publisher’s interest (if any) in this information?
  8. Is it primarily data or opinion? If it’s the latter, is it balanced?
  9. Does the author provide references or sources for the data or quotations?
  10. Is the creator or author trying to sell you something?
https://medium.com/qatar-foundation/fake-news-and-my-father-media-literacy-tools-for-senior-citizens-8388c5e33b40

Renee Hobbs in the Media Literacy for the 21st Century: Interview with Renee Hobbs, EdD suggests 5 important competencies: Access (Listening & reading comprehension, hyperlinking, search strategies), Analysis (evaluation), Create and collaborate, Reflect and take action. As my classmates, Brad Raes & Shelby Mackey shared, according to the National Association of Media Literacy, Media literacy is “the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create and act using all forms of communication”. “It empowers people to be critical thinkers and makers, communicators and active citizens”. According to Commonsense Media, Media literacy helps kids think critically, become smarter consumers of products and information, recognize perspectives, create media responsibly, identify the role media plays in our culture, and understanding the author’s intent of the content. Alina Tugend in the article These Students Are Learning About Fake News and How to Spot It points out the two equally unfortunate outcomes of the inability to judge content: “having people believe everything that suits their preconceived notions, or they cynically disbelieve everything. “Either way leading to a polarized and disengaged citizenry.”

In order to teach student how to critically understand, analyze and evaluate online content, images and stories, research shows that there are two major skills we should direct our attention towards: the first is lateral reading to help determine the authenticity or reliability of the respective site and the second skill is click restraint, focusing on resisting the impulse to click on the first result that appears, until looking at the full list of credibility and then clicking selectively. In my belief, in order to help students get a good understanding and truly develop their crap detection skills, digital literacy and media literacy should be taught throughout all content areas.

Until next time,

Melinda

Kahoot!

For my major project, one of the educational apps I decided to look at is Kahoot! I heard of it during one of the educational technology classes I had taken and I created an account at that time, but never had a chance to use it. I felt that my hands were tied. Teachers working as support staff not always have a classroom which means no access to a projector. Access to devices is quite limited as well, and my time with the students is often very short.

This school year though, I have been offering in-class support as well and I mentioned Kahoot! to one of our grade 7/8 classroom teachers. Him being a connected educator, the access to devices was not an issue any more. So, we were both very excited to give Kahoot! a try.

But what is Kahoot! some might ask? According to Commonsense Media, Kahoot! is an educational app for playing and creating quizzes recommended for ages 8 and up. This 4 star app is definitely worth checking out.

Kahoot! is a safe, fun and engaging formative assessment tool that gives immediate feedback of what areas the participants are struggling with. It is a popular tool used worldwide by teachers, students, employees and life long learners. It can be used in any subject, any language, on any device. Kahoot! can be played as a group or individually anywhere and any time. It can be used to create fun learning games and trivia quizzes. There are also a high number of free, ready to use existing games. For paid members there are more tools to chose from when it comes to creating and organizing these collections of games.

I decided to look into more ways Kahoot! could be used in a classroom. Besides using it for reviewing and reinforcing certain concepts in a classroom setting, it can also be implemented as a class work station, as part of study group or peer-to-peer challenge, as well as for homework. Although it has an option to time the participants’ performance, especially for homework use, it is recommended to have it switched off to prioritize accuracy.

I think Kahoot! is an excellent assessment tool for teachers. After playing a game, I was able to see a detailed analysis of my students’ performance helping me to define if the topic has been acquired by the students or not.

Trying to learn as much as possible about this app, I came across a number of tutorials, one named “learners to leaders”. The focus of “learners to leaders” is to teach students digital communication and collaboration by giving them the role of a teacher when creating their own kahoots. Such an activity empowers students to take ownership of what they are learning through creativity, critical thinking, as well as teamwork leading to digital fluency. An ESL teacher shared an interesting idea where students created “holiday selfie kahoots” about the holidays they celebrate, which could be a great way to teach students about digital etiquette as well.

I am definitely considering upgrading to have access to a wider variety of activities, adding content in between the slides, editing already existing documents, as well as organizing them into folders for the various grammatical content I am teaching to my English as an Additional Language students. This is a valuable tool that I see being useful not only in the classroom but for both blended-, and flipped lessons.

Have you used Kahoot! and how do you feel about this educational app? Please share your experiences. I would love to hear from you!

Thanks,

Melinda

The role of schools/teachers in educating digital citizenship

Whenever I think of the role of teachers and schools teaching digital citizenship, Dan Haeslar’s analogy comes to my mind.

Instead of avoiding, blocking or filtering, I feel very strongly about the importance of taking an active role teaching digital citizenship and media literacy to our students. As Mike Ribble describes “Just as you teach your students the rules of society, it is imperative that you teach them the rules of the digital world, and how to be safe and responsible with technology.”

Throughout my reflection, I was focusing on the three major questions my classmate, Leigh highlighted in her last week’s content catalyst.

  1. Why teach digital citizenship?
  2. When to teach digital citizenship?
  3. What needs to be taught?
  • Why teach digital citizenship? According to the Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools, “students are generally proficient at basic use of technology, but are not necessary critical users and lack skills to be safe and responsible online.” As my classmates, Matt Bresciani and Trevor Kerr mentioned, digital citizenship requires participation in a meaningful and responsible way, helping students to move from being a consumer to using it as a communication and collaboration tool (John K. Waters in the article Turning students into good digital citizens).
  • When to teach digital citizenship? If I look at my own children and my students, I don’t think we can start teaching digital citizenship early enough. Children start using technology at a very early age, parents assuming that they are tech savvy just because they are good at “swiping”, which make the adult world overlook the fact that children are actually at risk.
  • What needs to be taught? As a parent and educator, I would love to be able to guide my children and students to become responsible digital citizens who are capable of building and maintaining a positive digital footprint. Teaching Mike Ribble’s 9 elements of digital citizenship in context, through real life examples and experiences would help students learn how to communicate and collaborate in a respectful, meaningful manner. I really like the idea of classrooms having Skype discussions with other classrooms, where students have the opportunity to share ideas as well as comment on each other’s work using the 3C and 1Q method. With the abundance of information, it is also crucial to raise critical thinkers by teaching our children to read laterally. I read with great interest the article Digital Citizenship: reflecting on the role of technology in relation to ourselves, our communities, and the world around us shared by my classmate, Christina Patterson, giving a great example for an authentic learning opportunity where students take something said online, or an issue that they know of or care about, and explore it, taking it to the next level where they discuss the topic in a podcast. The article How Finland starts its fight against fake news in primary schools, shared by Matt and Trevor, brings to our attention how crucial teaching people to think critically and to evaluate all information is.

There are certainly a great amount of valuable information and resources teachers can access to teach digital citizenship. The question is, do we have the time to look for these materials and do we know what to look for? As we see, some schools take educating digital citizenship very seriously. As my classmate, Catherine discussed in her blog post, it all comes down to prioritizing and committing to learning how to use digital tools. I absolutely love her idea, of making digital citizenship into a focus area, just like we do with math and literacy. I also believe that the optional PD sessions might need to become mandatory. Attending PD sessions and having tech savvy co-workers to discuss, offer support and peer tutor would help educators learn what digital citizenship and media literacy are and how to teach them in a meaningful way to help our students develop a complex portrait of a graduate.

Thanks for stopping by,

Melinda