Week 2: Reflections on AI and Education


“All technological change is a trade-off. For every advantage a new technology offers, there is always a corresponding disadvantage” (Kottke, 2018, para. 2)


Last winter, sitting in a class on theories of teaching literature, we discussed the ways that technology was changing and shaping the educational sphere. With a particular focus on the rapid (or at least it seemed to be that way) development of AI technologies, we hypothesized and considered the ways that these new, advanced technologies were going to impact how people read, write, and understand ourselves in relation to art, literature, stories, and ways of knowing.

Fast forward, a couple months and again I found myself in discussions with my colleagues in the English and Humanities departments– it had been brought to our attention that a number of students had been utilizing AI (specifically ChatGPT) to complete a range of assignments including formalized essays, presentations, and even personal reflections. Though our immediate reaction was to simply ban the use of AI and threaten to go back to only pen and paper style assignments; the reality was that this new technology was requiring us as educators to reevaluate our own philosophies on learning, education, literacy, and our pedagogical practices. We were left to consider the advantages and subsequent disadvantages that were to come with the development and improvement of AI as it related to education and learning. As described by McLuhan (as cited in 2004, Federman), the “medium” changed and developed, but the scope of the “message” has yet to be fully understood.

This linked article from CBC, “The ‘godfather of AI’ says he’s worried about the end of people” provides an interesting (and worst case scenario) perspectives on AI as it develops further. Though, I am uncertain about the assertion that we are moving towards the realities of a science fiction type dystopian world, the question remains how is and will AI influence the ways that we think, learn, and understand ourselves in relation to others and the world around us? If ChatGPT can produce personal reflections that mimic our voices and ways of understanding concepts and themes, then where does the human lie within learning and expression?

Works Cited

Federman, M. (2004). What is the Meaning of the Medium is the Message? Retrieved September 19, 2023 from https://individual.utoronto.ca/markfederman/article_mediumisthemessage.htm.

Kottke, J. (2018). Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change. KOTTKE.org.  https://kottke.org/18/08/five-things-we-need-to-know-about-technological-change.

The Final Project- Storying Digital Spaces

I can’t believe that this final project is complete, it has been a process getting here and definitely a learning experience!

For my final project I ended up creating a website to house an ELA 9 collaborative worldbuilding and digital storytelling unit. The website includes links to a PDF copy of the unit, along with the theory and rationale behind the work that I completed, a fairly comprehensive (though nowhere near complete) list of digital literacy and digital citizenship resources, and documentation of the process I took in developing what has become my final project for EC&I 832.

I hope to integrate the ELA 9 unit into my grade 9 class in semester two, so will have to perhaps update on how it all works out in the end.

Though I am exhausted, it has been quite a semester for me personally, the learning that path that I am currently on and the ways that different elements of theory, practice, and learning from all my masters classes have begun to consolidate and inform my next steps as a professional and student has left me excited for what is to come in the future.

Here is the link to my website and final project:


Final Reflections

Throughout this semester, I have often found myself thinking back to growing up in the 90s and of watching old science-fiction type shows (like StarTrek) on the TV with my dad. As a kid, I often would wonder whether we would become so advanced as to have some of the technologies shown on these shows. Alas, we have AI technologies are widely available and advancing at light-speed, we have hand-held computers that are far more powerful than the computers of the 60s when the original StarTrek was airing, and the list could go on. We are living in a time and space where the boundaries between digital and non-digital spaces and identities are almost non-existent: Science-fiction has become reality.

Follow the link to see my learning reflection: https://youtu.be/W-j4BH8_tNw


Fake News!? Deciphering and Analyzing Information in a Digital World

In a digitally interconnected world, we are constantly forced to “read,” interpret, and make sense of an influx of information and media– we are always connected. In this state of existence we must learn to interpret and analyze information quickly and efficiently in order to protect ourselves from falling into the never ending void of falsehood, fake news, and misinformation. 

Growing up in the 90s, fake news and misinformation was often easily identifiable– this was the “news” being reported on the front pages of The National Enquirer or Weekly World News found on the news stands at our local grocery stores. With headlines like: “ Bat Child Found in Cave!” or “12 U.S Senators Are Space Aliens,” it was easy to spot the fake news amongst legitimate reporting.

Photo Credit: WNYC Studios (2007).

Unfortunately, with the advent of AI technologies, deep fakes, a massive influx of available information and news, and the constant evolution of stories being played out as they happen on all media platforms, the fake is getting harder to spot without a constant critical engagement with media resources– we need an evolving curriculum for media literacy. 

In my heart I will always be first and foremost a student of history and the languages. It is within this role that I have developed the critical literacy skills that I use to decipher, analyze and validate all the information that comes across my (many) screens. The critical literacy skills that I once used to analyze and critique novels for theme, messaging, meaning, and bias are now those that I constantly rely on when engaging with all types of digital media– from an apparently innocuous Facebook post to the latest news broadcast posted by a reputable news source. In day to day applications, I have learned to understand the nuances of certain messages, particularly looking at language for clues, this along with a growing understanding of the ways that digital media is procured and curated based on personal preferences, and the ability to fact check and verify information by searching other sources has generally allowed me to engage in the constant process of verifying and validating resources. 

In the article, “Schoolkids are Falling Victim to Disinformation and Conspiracy Fantasies,” Melinda Wenner Moyer (2022) argues for media literacy education with a specific focus on educating students to read laterally. According to Heick (2023), “lateral reading (as opposed to vertical reading) is the act of verifying what you’re reading as you’re reading it.” Lateral reading forces the reader to conduct simultaneous research to determine the credibility, intent, and biases within a given article or bit of information. While Moyer’s (2022) research suggests that lateral reading is indeed an effective way to analyze and engage with a range of media sources, this process can and sometimes does feel rather daunting when faced with the prospect of wading through more information and media. My willingness to engage in lateral reading strategies is entirely dependent on the reasons behind why I am engaging with certain media and informational sources. For example, when writing an academic paper for a university course I rely on peer reviewed resources and will fully engage in lateral reading, however, if I am simply accessing news sources in order to keep up to date with what is happening around the world I will tend not to engage in as deep of a reading and instead utilize news sources that I feel are more reliable and valid, for example CBC. I am, however, always conscious of the ways that information is shared, portrayed, and that nothing is ever without some level of bias nor above critique.

CBC Kids News has a great video that would be appropriate for a range of grade levels, while also suggesting tips on how to read laterally to check sources.

To Be Literate in the Digital Era

According to the National Literacy Trust (2023), “[l]iteracy is the ability to read, write, speak, and listen in a way that lets us communicate effectively and make sense of the world.”

The skills and competencies identified by the National Literacy Trust (2023) are those that are already well understood as being the qualities needed to be literate– to be able to critically engage with a range of media, content, perspectives, opinions, and stories. While media and methods of communication have dramatically changed in the last few decades, the most basic competencies of reading, writing, speaking, and listening continue to apply (though those competencies might look a little different these days).

In the last couple of years, particularly with the advent of new and more accessible AI technologies, I have often found myself contemplating the direction that education and in turn, literacy development, will have to take in order to adequately prepare students to engage in digital and non-digital spaces. Often, these ponderings (and sometimes, spirals) have concluded with the same idea: that to be literate in the modern world is to be able to adapt, apply, and utilize the same general literacy competencies as have been taught for decades.

This is not to say that the bench mark for being literate is to be able to write an essay, or to be able to read an obscurely outdated written text, or to be able to give an extended formalized speech through memorization; rather, to be literate in today’s technologically driven world means to be able to decipher disinformation, to read and comprehend messaging in all forms of media, to be able to utilize the available digital tools to communicate information clearly.

In outlining the vulnerabilities faced by youth, Moyer (2022) argues that our educational systems need to actively incorporate educational programs and curricula that support students in developing the skills needed to “separate fact from fiction,” to be able to accurately identify disinformation and the biases that are apparent in much of the media that we consume through digital platforms today. There is little doubt that as media continuously evolves, that there will be an ongoing need to actively incorporate critical (media) literacy into educational practices for youths and adults alike.

In this digital age, the definition of “literate” has not changed, nor have the basic literacy competencies transformed dramatically; instead, what has been a constant transformational state has been the media and ways that information and stories are spread and shared.

When considering the ways that technology has and continues to impact our understanding literacy, I often reference the article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” by Nicholas Carr (2008). Though Carr’s article is 15 years out of date, the exploration of the ways that media, in this case Google and other search engines, have changed how we read and access information continues to feel quite relevant today… How are the media that we access changing the ways that we think? How is education going to adapt to the ever evolving ways that our students access information, stories, and content? What literacy competencies will be most important in the future? Which (if any) will be irrelevant?

Works Cited:

Carr, N. (2008). Is Google Making Us Stupid? The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/.

Moyer, M.W. (2022). Schoolkids Are Falling Victim to Disinformation and Conspiracy Fantasies. SCIAM. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/schoolkids-are-falling-victim-to-disinformation-and-conspiracy-fantasies/.

National Literacy Trust. (2023). What is Literacy? National Literacy Trust. https://literacytrust.org.uk/information/what-is-literacy/#:~:text=Literacy%20is%20the%20ability%20to,make%20sense%20of%20the%20world.


Week 5: Curating Lives, Digital Identities

This was the last time I posted a picture of myself to social media… I was 18 at the time.

A quick Google search for my name brings up this image and very little other evidence that I might have any kind of digital presence– the reality is I rarely post anything on social media and still don’t quite understand the allure of TikTok and SnapChat (I snap one person, she sends me cute videos of her kids). The digital sphere is one that I am still learning to be comfortable in. I suppose you might call me a digital introvert– I exist in these spaces quietly.

Although I might call myself a digital introvert, over the last couple of months I have progressively come to realize that my digital and non-digital identities are very much intertwined or reflections of one another, that I am leaving behind digital footprints and artifacts through my work, schooling, and personal life. Gui (2008) poses the question “[w]hat does it mean to be ‘me’ in the contemporary age– where do I begin, and where do I end?” This is an essential question to ponder as the boundaries between physical and digital spaces have rapidly begun to disappear– where we function across these spaces almost seamlessly and frequently, without much conscious thought. As someone who is naturally introverted, it is of little surprise that I would be introverted in digital spaces– preferring to leave a quieter and perhaps less obvious digital footprint in my wake. 

For my students, their realities are very different, they have and will continue into adulthood defining and forming their identities across digital and non-digital spaces with little to no distinction. While I would argue that my students are certainly more comfortable with curating their lives across multiple platforms and spaces, this process still requires an understanding of their own identities and sense of self– of who they are currently and will become as digital and non-digital citizens in this world. Produced by Common Sense Education (2019), this video shows teenagers discussing how they view the curation of their own digital identities and some of the challenges that they view in these spaces. Simply put here, the formation or curation of a digital identity has simply become an extension of the identity formation in the non-digital world– these are processes that are equally as tangible and consequential to one another.

Photo Credit: AGParts Education (2023)

From an educational standpoint, our job then continues to function as it has in the past– to support our students in developing the critical thinking skills and processes that they may need in order to be engaged citizens in all communities they may occupy and to have the space needed to (re)define themselves and their identities as they grow into adulthood. Ribble’s (2023) 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship, provides a framework through which we might begin to develop curriculum and educational practices that build and support the development of digital citizenship skills and competencies. As educators, (just as we have always done) we will need to shift towards pedagogical practices that are informed by emerging technologies and that address the needs of digital and non-digital citizenship development and engagement.

Works Cited:

AGParts Education. (2023). [Infograph 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship]. AGParts Education. https://agpartseducation.com/9-elements-of-digital-citizenship/.

Common Sense Media (2019). Curated Lives. Common Sense Media.https://www.commonsense.org/education/digital-citizenship/lesson/curated-lives.

Gui, A. (2015). Extended Personal Identity in the 21st Century. Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4(11), 8-14.


Week 4: Ribble’s 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship- Colliding Worlds

Image Credit: Castro, A. (2018)

Twenty-years ago, as I sat at my family’s desktop chatting on MSN messenger, I was entirely unaware or conscious of the idea of digital citizenship. Though I spent time online talking with friends, my exposure to the digital world was limited to what I could access sitting in my parent’s living room. Fast-forward 20 years and the digital and non-digital worlds have collided.

Photo Credit: AGParts Education (2023)

As a high school teacher, the concept of digital citizenship has become an integral part of the (in)formal curriculum of the educational spaces in which we (myself, colleagues, and students) occupy. For my students, their digital world is no longer contained to a desktop in their family’s living room, as mine had been when I was in my early teen years, but instead has become an extension of their everyday social interactions, a space that is only limited by their access to personal devices, data/internet, and their knowledge of the latest apps available to them.

Taking the lead from my students, I see Ribbles 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship as critical concepts that ought to be integrated into and addressed in my classes. Some of these elements certainly fit better into the curriculum I teach, while others take more care and attention in order to integrate them successfully into the learning we do within our classroom.

For example, the concepts of Digital Etiquette, Digital Communication, and Digital Fluency fit well when learning about the different types of communication that we might engage in. My students are asked to utilize different media to communicate meaning in range of situations (educational and social situations); these forms of communication might include creating FlipGrid videos and online forums, writing emails to teachers, using social media platforms to communicate specific messages. Each of these scenarios requires specific lessons on etiquette, as well as student fluency with the applicable digital technologies.

Our students are connected, they occupy and move between the digital and non-digital worlds freely and (more and more) naturally. The Saskatchewan curricula clearly identify “Engaged Citizenship” as a broad area of learning for all students in our K-12 classrooms. As educators then, we must help guide our students in navigating these colliding worlds to ensure that they are developing the skills to be critically engaged citizens in all spaces that they might reside.

A resource that I have used to teach around digital citizenship is Civix, the News Literacy lessons are interactive and ask that students to practice the skills needed to critically assess and reflect on the media that they consume.


Works Cited

AGParts Education. (2023). [Infograph 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship]. AGParts Education. https://agpartseducation.com/9-elements-of-digital-citizenship/.

Castro, A. (2018). [Family computer in picture frame]. The Verge. https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/9/17661466/shared-family-computer.




Week 3: Generational Clashes? And Changes to Schooling

The clash of the generations has occurred throughout history– that each generation views the next as being different, of lacking in the values once held to be true, or as being more self-centered than generations before. The current debate, heard often through diverse media, on how increased access to technology and social media has created a generation that is more self-centered and narcissistic than those that came before, reminds me of a similar change that came with the advent of the Printing Press and the notion of authorship– for generations individuals would not claim authorship of their work– that a divine power produced the product; however, with increased access to the written word (through technologies) the ways that individuals understood themselves in relation to the creative process was altered– they began to claim individualistic authorship of creative works– they were becoming more “self-centered” or more “narcissistic” than the generations prior (arguably). Much in the same ways that those early “authors” signed their name to their written works, we are publishing images and information that is meant to portray aspects of our lives in ways that can be read as self-centered and self-serving. Yet, I would argue that this is simply a reframing and reimagining of the ways that we construct our places in the world. 

Certainly, our world has and will continue to dramatically change with the growth and spread of new technologies, we are transforming the ways that humans interact with one another and the world around them. Like other aspects of our lives, education is morphing and adapting to a world were digital citizenship has created new realities for ourselves as educators and for our students and their futures. Schools are adaptive spaces, where in order to effective and responsive learning to occur we will need to see developments and adaptive dimensions integrated into the curriculum, pedagogical approaches, and instructional environments, we will need to ensure that there is equitable access to technologies for all students, and that critical thinking and engagement are central rather than outdated benchmarks for learning and knowledge attainment.