My Teaching Journey

Category: Weekly Blog Posts

Building a Personal Learning Network

Before #edtc300 I had no clue what a “PLN” even was. However, I quickly learned because a major part of the #edtc300 course is about networked professional learning to establish a personal learning network. The interactions for this took place on three different platforms: course blogs, Twitter, and Slack. The sense of community created in this course made it super easy and enjoyable to interact with peers and try to contribute to their learning in any way that I could.

Course Blog

Throughout the semester I would comment on a minimum of three peer postings a week. Everyone’s learning project’s made it very exciting to check up on everyone’s progress and offer suggestions or advice that might help them out. Below I have compiled some specific examples of these contributions.

Sharing Resources & Ideas:

Reactions, Connections & Encouragement:

Referencing peers in my posts:


I am going to be honest, I was taken by surprise by Twitter. I was especially mind-blown by the concept of #saskedchat but I quickly found myself getting the hang of it! Now Twitter is my quite possibly my favorite way to engage with my PLN! Here are some examples of how I contributed to the learning of other on Twitter:

Suggestions & Answering Questions:

Replies & Interactions:




Slack was a new one for me! I had used both course blogs and twitter a little bit before #edtc300 but I had never used Slack! I actually really enjoyed it and it allowed for great peer connection in an online course. Normally, I find myself emailing students and creating group chats anyways so having something like Slack was really nice and created a great space for us to ask and answer questions!

Answering Questions:


#edtc300 will forever be #PLNgoalz

I hope I managed to help everyone in the class as much as they helped me! I learned so much from all my peers and all of the resources they shared with me throughout the semester. It felt like we were all on a wild #edtc ride together and we figured things out as a group along the way. I am is sad that I won’t be able to see everyone’s lovely faces every Wednesday night. However, I am excited about everything I learned from everyone (and also everything I was able to share) this semester. Plus, I am excited that we will be able to stay in touch through twitter, so the #edtc300 PLN can live on!!!!

miss your face
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Family Game Night? No, Family Code Night!

This week in #edtc300 we were tasked with doing an hour of code so of course I made my mom and younger sister do it along with me!

Step One: Pick an Hour of Code Activity

After heading over to we started searching for which activity we wanted to do. My sister quickly picked the “Make a Flappy Bird Game” activity and my mom had quickly selected the “Play, Design & Code Retro Arcade Games” activity. However, I had trouble deciding which one I wanted to do – there were just SO MANY options.

By the time I had finally decided to do the “The Grinch: Saving Christmas with Code” activity, my sister was already done making her flappy bird game (she called it “the 15 minutes of code”) and decided to move on to the “Minecraft Hour of Code” activity. Also in that time my mom had switched from the retro games activity to the flappy bird activity.

Step Two: Actually Do The Selected Activity

The beginning of this coding activity was smooth sailing (as one would hope considering it is for elementary students)! However, once I got to step eight, things got a little bit complicated – I had the coding right BUT I couldn’t pass the level! You can watch this screen recording of me struggling for proof.

I eventually realized what I was doing wrong in the level, I thought after I picked up Max that the sleigh was stopped (because the nothing on the screen looked like the was motion) so then I would speed up to get going again which left me no time to slow to a stop. Thankfully, I got it figured out and could pass the level to move onto the next steps.

Thankfully, the rest of the steps continued to go smoothly! Here are some screen shots of a little bit of the process:

The very last step was to create your own level of the game. You can watch the screen recording below to see the coding and watch me play my level!

After I was done coding my game my mom, sister, and I all played each other’s games. Here is a screen recording or me playing my mom’s game. I liked that the flappy bird game was easy to share with people.

Step 3: Reflection

I really liked doing the hour of code! I personally enjoyed how it was broken up into easily achievable steps rather than me just having to fend for myself. My mom also enjoyed this aspect of the hour of code. However, my sister on the other hand would have liked experimenting on a software like Scratch better (which I told her she could try instead). My sister had just recently done some coding in school so she was also a couple steps ahead of my mom and I.

Coding in the Classroom

I had never really given much thought about the student benefits of coding before this year. One of the biggest game changers for me was a PD event I attended with SaskCode. It was at that event where I realized all the different curricular connections and possibilities with coding. SaskCode has different robots for many different age groups including:

On the links to each of the different robots, SaskCode provides examples of possible activities as well as the curricular connections. Just looking through a few of these examples really makes you see just how many ways coding can connect to the curriculum, which really isn’t something I previously realized. It always seems like just a computer science thing.

I thought it was so cool thinking about the possibility of a hands-on experiential learning way for students to learn coding. I always thought it would have to be students sitting at a computer and doing something similar to the hour of code activity I did this week. Overall, I think that coding has importance in the lives of students, especially in the digital age we are in. There are so many different uses for coding and it offers a possible new avenue for students to demonstrate learning because they could code instead of draw or write. So, to simply wrap up my thoughts, I would give coding two thumbs up!

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The New Age of Fake News

The world of news today is far more complex and accessible than it use to be and with that, the world of fake news has also become more complex and accessible. When I was in school I don’t remember learning much about how navigate through news and fake news. I do remember in grade 8 there was some sort of module about internet safety and that was about it. The few things I remember from that module was to look to see if a website says http or https and also to see if there are any major typos or grammatical errors on the site. I am not going to lie, I thought this had me well equipped to figure out which things online are real and fake. I realized how wrong I was during my last EDTC class where we took a quiz to “Spot The Troll” on various social media accounts and it was WAY harder than I thought it was going to be. This is when I realized that myself and students today need to learn more effective skills to spot not only fake news but also these fake social media accounts.

The Complexity of Fake News

news flash

I always thought fake news was sort of just one intentional thing that was fairly easy to spot and point out. However, I learned that I am very wrong and there are many different kinds of fake news or misinformation and disinformation. In the article, “Fake News. It’s Complicated,” Wardle breaks down the complexities of fake news. Wardle describes seven types of misinformation and disinformation present that can be present in fake news:

  1. Satire/Parody (no intended harm)
  2. False Connection
  3. Misleading Content
  4. False Context
  5. Imposter Content
  6. Manipulated Content
  7. Fabricated Content (designed to deceive and harm)

No matter the type of fake news, it usually manages to go undetected and be shared around the internet without people realizing it is fake news. In many cases, fake news is designed to evoke and emotional response because as Wardle described, “When humans are angry and fearful, their critical thinking skills diminish.” This concept was well explained in the educational comic “You’re not Going To Believe What I’m About To Tell You.” The comic describes the psychological “backfire effect” which describes how our brains are “biologically wired to threatening information the same way we’d react to getting attacked by a predator” especially when our core beliefs are being challenged. Being aware of this effect can help limit the spread of fake news. However, as the comic explained, “I don’t have a way to change the behavior of 7.5 billion people.” Another factor comes into play as well, because to my surprise, it isn’t just everyday folk that are spreading this fake news around.

“Some of it is being shared unwittingly by people on social media, clicking retweet without checking. Some of it is being amplified by journalists who are now under more pressure than ever to try and make sense and accurately report information emerging on the social web in real time. Some of it is being pushed out by loosely connected groups who are deliberately attempting to influence public opinion, and some of it is being disseminated as part of sophisticated disinformation campaigns, through bot networks and troll factories.

Claire Wardle, 2017

This once again supports the need for students to have a multifaceted approach to decipher news from fake news.

So, how do we teach students the skills to understand and identify fake news?

hand pointer

First off, Couros and Hildebrandt put together a fact sheet called “How do we teach students to identify fake news?” that suggests how help students with this new wave of fake news. I personally think one of the biggest strategies is “Prioritize helping students develop investigative techniques.” Especially since photoshop and editing for both picture and videos are so advanced today it is easy to turn important people or events into something that looks real but is fake. I agree with Couros and Hildebrandt that teaching students to make a habit of using reverse image search on google will be very beneficial.

Another strategy I think deserves an honorable mention is “Teach students to identify bias.” Almost every news source is writing to a specific audience which is something I was always aware of but never knew how to actually figure out which one leans which way. In class, Katia showed us a chart that I agree would be very beneficial for students to know and understand.

Home of the Media Bias Chart – Ad Fontes Media Version 7.0

Thinking more about the future

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I feel like the pandemic has just allowed fake news to reach an all time high. So, many of my older family member are always sharing fake news on Facebook because they never learned any skills to even know which articles are fake and which aren’t. I am lucky enough to have gotten a little bit of education on fake news so I am able to tell (at least the majority of the time). When, I think back to my own education about fake news and history of fake news in general and I am very shocked at how quickly things changed and how difficult it is to avoid fake news now. I can’t help but wonder how much more it will change before I even graduate and then again throughout my teacher career. Part of me wants to believe that the school system is educating students to become adults that are capable to identifying fake news which will probably decrease the fake new problem. But I also can’t help but question how much worse it is going to get in the meantime. Will it ever get to a point where it is nearly impossible to identify fake news?

Integrating Digital Literacy into Elementary Classrooms

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) released a framework of 21st Century Literacies that are necessary for 21st century teaching and learning. The goals of this framework include:

  1. Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology;
  2. Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought;
  3. Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes;
  4. Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information;
  5. Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multimedia texts;
  6. Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments.

When it comes to goals #1, #3, and #6 the first thoughts that come to mind are teaching students about how to be digital citizens. You can read my thoughts on this in one of my previous blog posts here. However, I think goals #2, #4, and #5 align really well with the topic of fake news and how to address digital literacy in the classroom. I personally think that the topic of digital literacy aligns very well with the English, health, and social studies curriculum. So, searched through the grade 3 curriculum and pulled some outcomes and indicators that could connect with the NCTE framework and digital literacy/fake news.

Grade 3 Health:

USC3.1 Determine the role of a variety of healthy foods and physical activity on the health and development of the mind, body, and immune system.

  • d. Describe what makes and keeps the body, mind, and immune system healthy.
  • e. Begin to distinguish between fact, opinions, misconceptions, and preferences regarding healthy foods and physical activity.

USC3.3 Determine how the misuse of helpful and the
use of harmful substances (including tobacco) affect the health of self and others.

  • b. Reflect on what is believed/known to be healthy and/or unhealthy regarding substances.
  • c. Examine common misconceptions (e.g., alcohol is not a drug) regarding substance use and abuse.

DM3.1 Demonstrate the importance of investigating information for making
informed decisions related to healthy foods and physical activity, one’s “inner self”, helpful and harmful substances, healthy family and home, safety at home, and
impact of violence.

  • a. Critique decisions made by someone (e.g., community situation, character in a story) who did not investigate the information/facts before making a decision, and compare it to those made by people who did.
  • b. Determine the kinds of information to gather and investigate for making healthy decisions.
  • c. Examine sources of information/misinformation in the community

Grade 3 Social Studies:

PA 3.2 Demonstrate awareness that divergent viewpoints may lead to conflict as part of group interactions, and assess various means of conflict resolution.

  • a. Inventory situations in which divergent viewpoints exist within the classroom and school.
  • b. Solicit the opinion of several persons about a current issue of concern in the school.
  • c. Categorize viewpoints as likely or unlikely to create conflict and explain why.
  • d. Construct a list of reasons why groups and communities may experience conflict, and identify ways in which conflict is resolved and harmony is restored.

A Little Saturday Night Cyber Sleuthing

Photo by Lisa Fotios on

This week our #edtc300 class was tasked with finding a partner and then we had to cyber sleuth each other so we can see what our digital identities look like. I feel like “cyber sleuthing” is a regular activity for most people these days. I have a couple friends that are my go-to people for finding information online about anyone. So, it will be interesting to be on the other end of things this time! My partner for this activity is Caelyn Hembroff and I will take you through my process from my cyber sleuth on Caelyn!

Started off with a little Google search…

After googling Caelyn’s name, the first thing to come up was her two Instagram accounts, one was a personal one and the other a business account. Both of the are public accounts but they both feature very appropriate pictures that you’d expect to see on someone’s Instagram. The next thing to come up was Caelyn’s twitter account, which also had all good things and was mainly focused on education related materials. After that in the search results is her e-portfolio, which again is full of all positive things.

Next up in the search results was two Pinterest accounts, one that I am guessing is an old one because of all the saved “lifehacks” (which is what my old Pinterest also looked like). And the other account I would say is a newer one because it gives off much more adult vibes with boards for tattoo, home decor, and meal ideas. Again, both are contain very appropriate and preview typical pins. The next thing to come up was Caelyn’s VSCO account. VSCO is a public social media platform where people tend to share very trendy pictures but it also does have a reputation for people sharing more scandalous pictures. However, Caelyn’s VSCO is very appropriate and it honestly made me miss travelling.

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On the second page of google, the first result is a link to @localbarrefitness on Instagram because Caelyn follows them. Next up, was a link to Caelyn’s YouTube channel but there weren’t any public videos on the channel. Then, the rest of the second page and the third page of results are just more Pinterest links.

Lastly, I went to google images. Here, I found an old twitter account of Caelyn’s from 2013. There was only a couple pictures on it (that were very representative of the trends at the time) and they were all very appropriate. I also found some old “Caelyn Hembroff Photography” pictures that were all of nature.

What else can I find…

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I noticed that one major social media was missing from the google search results and that is Facebook! So, of course I got out my phone and search her name on Facebook. Sure enough she has a Facebook account, but it is very private, the only post I could see was a post from when she updated her cover photo. For her info on Facebook, I could see where she lived, her gender, and also the 99 business pages and one TV show that she has liked.

BUT when you search Caelyn’s name on Facebook, public posts from who I am guessing is her dad come up and you can see pictures from when she got her license, went to the hospital on Christmas, got accepting into university, graduated, and went fishing. From her dad’s profile I found the names of Caelyn’s siblings including her sister’s facebook. Then, from her sister’s facebook, I found her mom and Grandma’s name and also Caelyn’s birthday and age.

Overall impressions of Caelyn’s Digital Footprint

Based off Caelyn’s digital footprint I would say she is a very creative, kind, and caring person. I would say that her interests are boating, camping, plants, travelling, inclusive education, and spending time with friends and family. Based off her digital footprint, I would 100% trust, hire, and want to be her friend! I wouldn’t say that Caelyn is necessarily an oversharer or an undersharer. I feel like she is somewhere in the middle but a little closer to the undersharer side (especially on twitter). So, that being said my advice to Caelyn would be to work on maybe posting a little more on twitter. I think it would be nice if your twitter got to see a little more of you personal side like some of your likes and interests!

Digital Identities on Social Media Today

female taking video of traveler during hike in countryside in daylight
Photo by Vanessa Garcia on

“Different sites, different audiences, different purposes.” she says. “Very simple.”


Lee’s article Having Multiple Online Identities Is More Normal Than You Think, makes the fact that each social media platform serves a different purpose seem like a ground breaking discovery. However, to me this seems like common knowledge. After all, this idea was created on purpose by each different social media companies to attract new audiences and convince users that they need to be on their app. So, I wouldn’t say this idea is really that strange at all because social media is intentionally marketed to be like this, if it wasn’t like this there wouldn’t be multiple social media platforms.

“Instagram is where everything appears to be perfect and highly filtered, whereas my Snapchat is raw and more visceral”

Nicole Lee, 2016

This quote reminded me of the “how social media looks to me” TikTok trend from a while ago. For this trend, people found videos that they thought matched the aesthetic or vibe that each social media gave off.

“I also think having multiple social accounts takes the pressure off having a perfect feed of social moments.”

Nicole Lee, 2016

I would agree with Lee that the use of multiple accounts on each social media platform is a relatively recent phenomenon. I also feel like it is becoming increasingly more common. In fact, it is so common today that in my friend group all of us that have multiple Instagram accounts or multiple private stories on snapchat. It also seems like it is more uncommon to not have this. I also know that kids around 13 and 14 years old have even taken this idea to TikTok and now they have multiple TikTok accounts.

Photo by cottonbro on

I feel like need/want of multiple accounts stems from the fact that my generation was raised very aware of the potential consequences social media can have. So, we’ve tried to figure out a way to have certain social media accounts attached to our name that put out the picture perfect life in a professional way for the world to see. Then, we have other accounts that offer a more candid look into our lives that is only for our close friends to see. So, I can totally see how the Split Image article comes into play, but it honestly feels like we were almost taught to create this split image life. It is like the unwritten rule of social media is that you post the highlights of your life. That is another bonus of having multiple accounts on each social media platform is that it takes the pressure off of posting because you don’t have to post only picture perfect things.

I am curious to see how many #edtc300 classmates have multiple social media accounts for the same platform? If you are comfortable sharing more, let me know why in the comments.

Thoughts About The Future of Digital Citizenship in Schools

mother helping her daughter use a laptop
Photo by August de Richelieu on

“Should we teach our children as though they have two lives, or one?”

Jason Ohler

In the article Character Education for the Digital Age, Ohler brings up this debate of forcing children to either live two lives by creating a divide between school and personal life by keeping schools “digitally unplugged” OR live one life by integrating the digital world into schools and informing students how to be digital citizens. As educators, we need to move away from the “two lives” approach and embrace the idea of teaching students to live one life. I think one of the biggest reasons why this needs to happen is because you can never really be “offline.” Jurgenson addresses this “digital dualism” in The IRL Fetish.

“It fails to capture the plain fact that our lived reality is the result of the constant interpenetration of the online and offline. That is, we live in an augmented reality that exists at the intersection of materiality and information, physicality and digitality, bodies and technology, atoms and bits, the off and the online.”

Nathan Jurgenson

Another reason I think the “one life” approach is necessary for the future is that technology just keeps getting more and more advanced and more and more children and adults are using technology more frequently. Furthermore, if teachers are going to be incorporating educational technologies into the classroom, children need to know how to properly use and interact with these technologies. You can’t just start throwing technology at them and hope for the best. Ohler addresses this in the article Character Education for the Digital Age.

“School is an excellent place to help kids become capable digital citizens who use technology not only effectively and creatively, but also responsibly and wisely. But we can only do that if we help them live one life, not two.”


Ribble has acknowledged nine elements of digital citizenship that I think will help make the “one life” approach become a reality. Furthermore, each of these nine elements contains three guiding principles of safety, savvy, and social. The nine elements are:

  1. Digital Access
  2. Digital Commerce
  3. Digital Communication and Collaboration
  4. Digital Etiquette
  5. Digital Fluency
  6. Digital Health and Welfare
  7. Digital Law
  8. Digital Rights and Responsibility
  9. Digital Security and Privacy

How do I see myself integrating digital citizenship in my future classroom?

knowledge is power
Shoutout to Caelyn Hembroff the Bitmoji idea 🙂

As previously discusses I think that I will include the “one life” way of thinking about digital citizenship into my future classroom.

One method I think we need to move away from as educators is the “scare tactic” method. It is far outdated and generally highly ineffective. I really liked what our EDTC 300 TA Amana Brace said during one of our lectures.

“I am a big believer that edtech, digital citizenship, digital footprints and all those things shouldn’t be scary things. So, when we’re teaching this to kids. We should not be using the fear tactics, we should be encouraging them to use it out of leadership and to use it as citizenship.”

Amanda Brace

I really want to bring this mindset into my future classroom because when I was in school, teachers used the fear tactics and looking back now it really isn’t the best option out there. The shift towards this new outlook of digital citizenship and empowerment is reflected in those nine elements I discussed earlier and even in Saskatchewan specific documents such as the Digital Citizenship in Saskatchewan Schools – Policy Planning Guide and the Be Kind Online Digital Citizenship Continuum.

Another aspect of digital citizenship I want to make a conscious effort to make room for in my future classroom is integrating student’s voices and ideas to make sure we cover what matters most to that particular group of students. Ohler talked about this in his article Character Education for the Digital Age.

“Schools should explicitly invite students to participate in such efforts for three reasons: students know far more about opportunities and perils in cyberspace than most adults do; their involvement gives adults and youth a chance to talk about a world in which the two groups rarely intersect; and, like adults, students will be more committed to living up to values they develop themselves than to values imposed on them by others.”

Jason Ohler

Where do I see myself integrating digital citizenship in my future classroom?

welcome classroom

In terms of grade levels, I think the nine principles have a place in every grade level (this idea is broken out very nicely in the Be Kind Online Digital Citizenship Continuum). More and more children have access to technology and the internet at younger and younger ages. So, it is becoming increasingly important that students are learning how to be safe and educated digital citizens at a young age and then we can continue to develop those skills and introduce new ones as they get older. Also, as educators continue to integrate technology in the classroom it is important that we are helping students understand how to properly engage with the technology.

As for subjects that connect with Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship, the first subject to come to my mind was health. While reading and looking through the various articles and resources assigned this week I noticed every document touched on the connection between children’s health and technology. So, I decided to go through the health curriculum and pull out various outcomes and indicators that I think could/should include some of the nine elements of digital citizenship.

Grade Two Health:

USC2.1 Demonstrate a basic understanding of how thoughts, feelings, and actions influence health and well-being. [Digital Health & Wellbeing]

  • b. Examine daily habits/routines that are healthy/unhealthy (e.g., eating breakfast/skipping breakfast, recycling/littering).
  • f. Discuss the basic “cause-effect” relationship among thoughts, feelings, and actions (e.g., If I think I am smart, I will feel “content/confident” and I will try to learn. If I think I am “dumb”, I will feel sad/frustrated and I may not participate in class.).

USC2.4 Examine social and personal meanings of “respect” and establish ways to show respect for self, persons, living things, possessions, and the environment. [Digital Etiquette, Digital Communication]

  • a. Develop a common understanding and use of respectful language to talk about “respect” (e.g., tone of voice, manners, behaviours).
  • c. Determine how to show respect for own and other’s material possessions (e.g., ask before borrowing, put away when done using)

USC2.5 Recognize potential safety risks in community “play areas” and determine
safe practices/behaviours to identify, assess, and reduce the risks. [Digital Safety & Security]

  • b. Examine expected behaviours and general safety rules in community “play areas” (e.g., parks, playground, schoolyard).
  • c. Inventory personal habits with respect to safety in community play areas
  • f. Discuss how safety rules/guidelines are established to reduce risks.
  • g. Investigate ways to identify, assess, and reduce the risk of potentially dangerous and/or possible unsupervised situations in community “play areas”.
  • i. Share the importance of practising safe behaviours in community “play areas” (i.e., one’s safety depends on the safety behaviours of others) and the possible consequences of using/not using safety knowledge and skills.

Grade Five Health:

USC5.4 Analyze the connections between personal identity and personal well-being, and establish strategies to develop and support a positive self-image. [Digital Health & Wellness]

  • a. Investigate knowledge and information about self-image.
  • b. Discuss criteria that can be used to determine if a health source is reliable.
  • c. Describe the qualities that are important in a person, regardless of their gender, culture, appearance, sexual orientation, abilities, and/ or language.
  • g. Reflect on self-image as “the way you see yourself as a result of what you believe about your appearance, abilities, and character”.
  • h. Discuss the influence of self and others (e.g., family expectations, family values and beliefs, culture, religion) on one’s self-image.
  • i. Explore and describe what one can think, say, and do to develop and/or support a positive self-image in both self and others (e.g., recognize and refrain from derogatory comments related to any aspect of one’s self-image, challenge stereotypes, bias, and discrimination that are based on appearance and/or self-image).

USC5.6 Assess peer influence and demonstrate a readiness to prevent and/or avoid potentially dangerous situations involving peer pressure (including lying, substance use, and bullying). [Digitial Safety & Security, Digital Health & Wellness]

  • a. Discuss why peers pressure each other.
  • b. Ask questions and seek answers for deeper understanding (Why is peer pressure often more prevalent during adolescence than during any other time in one’s life? How and why does peer pressure change as one gets older? Why can peer pressure be so powerful? How do my thoughts, feelings, and actions influence my peers?)
  • c. Examine the different levels of pressure (i.e., internal, indirect, direct).

USC5.7 Assess the importance of self-regulation and taking responsibility for one’s actions. [Digital Health & Wellness, Digital Rights & Responsibilities]

  • g. Compare scenarios where individuals do/do not self-regulate and the impact on self and others.
  • h. Examine the influences on self-regulation, including that which comes from adults in the environment.
  • i. Determine that all choices/decisions have consequences.
  • j. Analyze the rights that go along with personal responsibilities

#saskedchat advice on the matter

Questions for my readers:

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What resources have you found the most helpful for integrating digital citizenship into the classroom?

Do you have any experience integrating digital citizenship into the classroom? If so do you have anything tips or things that went well that you are willing to share?

Secondly, did you have any specific training for this? In the article Character Education for the Digital Age, Ohler says “The board provides teachers with training they need to effectively address issues of digital citizenship. It empowers teachers, librarians, and school counselors to become ethical coaches to help students navigate the many ethically charged issues associated with a digital lifestyle” and I am curious to know if any training like this actually ever happens?

Participatory Culture and The World of Education

mokup smartphone technology phone
Photo by on

Prior to last class and before watching the An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube video, when I thought about participatory culture my mind instantly went to newer forms of media such as TikTok or memes on Instagram. I didn’t think of YouTube at all but I was never big into the YouTube world and I guess I just didn’t see if as a place where people would recreate trends – or so I thought I thought.

However, as I was watching the video I got a whole wave of YouTube flashbacks from my childhood after the Charlie bit my finger video was brought up. Wesch brought up how “the Charlie bit my finger video was redone and remixed over 2,000 times” (14:12). My siblings and I found that video hilarious and we would watch all the remixes and recreations and quote it all the time. Then, I remembered how my siblings and I were also obsessed with thecomputernerd01 parody videos. I went back and listed to the “coke and sprite” Dynamite – Taio Cruz Parody for nostalgia sake and I somehow still know an embarrassing amount of lyrics. I feel like making parodies must have been a trend at one point because you could find so many. However, I think the fact that my siblings and I we were too young to actually join in on the participatory aspect of YouTube is why I kind of forgot about it and didn’t think of it as a big contributor to participatory culture – because it seems like YouTube now is just full of influencers.

I feel like participatory culture is really everywhere in the lives of youth now-a-days. I don’t know if I’m just getting old but it seems like the trends come and go way too fast for anyone to stay on top of them. When a sound becomes popular on TikTok I swear it will only be used for a week before there is a new major sound or trend.

I also have gotten myself onto fashion TikTok a couple times this year and even fashion trends move so quickly because everyone wants to different. So, once too many people catch onto the trend and everyone’s doing it, then it isn’t cool anymore so they find something else.

person using a smartphone
Photo by cottonbro on

I think as educators it is very important to try and know what trends are happening in the lives of our students so that we can guide and support them and make sure students are participating in trends safely. Although Wesch stated that teens make up 25% of featured YouTube users and children make up 12% (13:17) these stats are from 2008. I think it is safe to say that these numbers would be drastically different today. Especially since we know that on average children today are 10.3 years old when they get their first smart phone and 11.4 when they sign up for their first social media account (Hildebrandt, 2021).

“Media is not content. Media are not just tools of communication. Media is mediating human relations

Wesch (12:04)

In the video, Wesch describes how thinks of media as mediating human relationships because when media changes so do human relationships. This means that media has the ability to impact and change the education system. I think this has to potential to be a really positive thing. I always think about my first ever education class in university when the professors started by us “What is one thing that a time traveler from 100 years ago would be able to recognize in society” and the answer was classrooms.

  • children sitting on brown chairs inside the classroom

So, if the education system let’s media in I do think that it would create positive change. For example, I think it would make more space for educational technologies. I think the educational technologies that teachers use also sort of follow a participatory culture of some sort. Teachers are more inclined to use the educational tools that are the most popular at a given time. The when a new and better tool comes along then all the teachers jump to that one. It also allows for teachers to use the various forms of media students use in classrooms to enhance learning. I think about a very simple but extremely creative example Sarah Stroeder found and shared on twitter.

Another thing I thought about was how the education system has been viewed throughout history and how it changes (or more likely how people want it to change) to better meet social values. So, already I feel like media sort of plays a role especially since it offers a way for views to become widespread very quickly. You can have a PLN of people you have never met in real life because as Wesch describes media brings “new forms of community…global connections transcending space and time” (4:58). Teachers are using this to their advantage sharing and getting ideas with educators from all over. An example of this is the #saskedchat that connects educators from all over the province and beyond.

Setting Sail on my Podcast Journey and “Anchor[ing]” Down

sailboat sailing on water near island
Photo by Szelei Robert on

I was very excited for this weeks assignment because we have been learning about so many cool tools that I kept saying I would check out or try but then I never did but this project gives me a no-excuse-reason to try one out! In class, when Amanda was going over this assignment description and going over different tools I wasn’t too sure what tool I wanted to use. I was already making videos each week to document my workouts and I have used a couple screen casting tools before for projects.

Then, I found an article from The Cult of Pedagogy that discussed classroom jobs and how they can be beneficial in high school classrooms as well.

One of the classroom jobs high school students could “apply” for was podcaster. The job description went as follows:

“Produces a regular brief podcast on a topic of interest to students, using tools like Soundtrap or GarageBand to make it happen. To keep it manageable, Gibson recommends only having students do one podcast per month, and keeping each episode under 3 minutes”

Cult of Pedagogy

I thought this was such a cool classroom application of podcasts that it inspired me to learn a podcast tool for my blog this week. So, I started looking at the recommended podcast tools to see which one I should try. I quickly realized that I couldn’t use GarageBand that was recommended in the above article because on Katia’s list is says that it is a Mac only editing tool and I don’t have a Mac. So, based off the other tools Katia and Amanda recommended my other options were Zencastr or Anchor.

Thankfully, a few of my fellow classmates, Ian Mansfield and Janelle Boutin were on the ball and posted their blogs before I really got started with the tools (reading week has just been flying by) and they both recommended Anchor. So, I am glad that they did the hard work because it let me just jump straight to trying out Anchor!

How to use Anchor:

When I first started playing around with Anchor I was using my laptop. So, the first step was making an account and verifying my email, then I was ready to get started with creating an episode!

The first thing I did was hit the “Let’s do this” button and just checked out what all the categories were for and did I recorded a little test audio to see how it sounded.

After doing that I decided that I wanted to switch to the app because I felt like the audio would be better from my phone than my laptop. The app was just as easy, if not easier, to use than the desktop version. I recorded my audio and then added in some interludes, one at the beginning and one at the end, and then I even played with adding some sound effects into the podcast episode too! Once you add audio, sounds affects, or interludes it is very easy to rearrange their sequence. You just have to press and hold the segment you want and then drag it to it’s new spot and then don’t forget to hit save otherwise it will just go back to the original order (I only made this mistake a couple of times before I realized there was a save button).

After I finished making the episode, I hit a minor roadblock when it came to actually posting it. I  was trying to hit the publish button and it wasn’t working which I didn’t understand why. Then I realized I hadn’t actually set up the actual podcast to post the episode to. Setting up the podcast was very simple and straight forward as you will see in the pictures below.

Once I had the podcast set up I could finally post the episode that was saved in my drafts. That was as simple as hitting the publish button and giving the episode a name (and later realized you also are required to have a description for it to work).

I honestly felt so cool seeing my published podcast and I was very excited to go see it on Spotify because that’s when you know it’s the real deal. However, I guess I was too impatient because it originally did not work and I got an error message (please don’t judge the song I was last listening to).

However, a couple minutes later I got an email saying that it had officially been approved to be on Spotify!

Now, it might seems like I am leaving you hanging here but…… you can listen to my actual podcast episode here. I know I know, I could have just included it here but I personally felt more organized giving the weekly blog part and learning project parts their own posts!

Teachers on Twitter?

white smartphone
Photo by Cristian Dina on

Throughout high school, twitter was the one social media platform I never really got into. Everyone I knew my age that used twitter was on it for the memes because apparently memes got popular on twitter and then after they were dying out on twitter they would become popular on Instagram, which is generally where I would see them. So, I would also get mad fun of for being “late to the game” on the meme trends. But from what people talked about around twitter it seemed like there was no community guidelines at all and people really just posted whatever they pleased which steered me away from getting twitter. So, I was very shocked in my first year education classes when they suggested everyone make a teacher twitter account. I thought to myself “really?!? Twitter?!” but now here I am learning about all the beneficial uses for teachers to be on twitter – who would have thought.

The twitter I am currently using I did actually get in my senior year of high school specifically for when my school hosted the region 10 drama festival. At previous festivals, they had started a hashtag for everyone to post on throughout the festival and I wanted to incorporate that aspect into our festival. Of course, our festival was vine and meme themed so the whole hashtag is just drama memes we made. Then the hashtag didn’t even catch on with the other schools at the festival. However, if you scroll far enough back you’ll see some random posts about that!

Then, once I started university, I started to morph my account into a teacher account and I pretty much just used it to post about different university events that I attended, mostly professional development events and then a little bit about my ECS 100 field placement.

Although I have had my twitter for a couple years, I am really just starting to figure out how to actually work it and use it consistently. I am also really starting to understand why it is so beneficial for teacher, there is literally a whole community of teachers on twitter supporting one another and sharing their ideas – which is honestly so cool. I am actually shocked that I have never heard of the #saskedchat before! You think that in my first year when they were mentioning that we should all have twitters that they would explain why we should, which could maybe include talking about the #saskedchat. I think the ability to have an online support system has really increased in importance over the past year, so I can see my use of twitter growing for this reason.

I really enjoyed the #saskedchat week! I was excited, overwhelmed, in awe, and stressed all at the same time! I made a TikTok that describes how I felt during the chat to a T (also yes I realize that I made a TikTok and then upload it to YouTube to embed onto my blog, I forgot that you could just embed TikToks). I feel like some of my classmates may relate as well!

It probably just felt like this because it was my first ever chat and first time using Tweetdeck so there was a lot going on! I think it was helpful that we did the #saskedchat as a class because a lot of us were in the same boat when it came to being newbies and also with some of our answers to the prompts. So, it didn’t feel like I was the odd one out in a chat filled with very experienced teachers that had such good answers to every single question.

Figuring out Feedly

This week we were tasked with getting an RSS reader. This should have been a fairly simple task since Katia showed us exactly how to maneuver around the site and set up different feeds. However, I waited a couple days after class before I tried to set mine up and I somehow managed to forget everything Katia showed us and the zoom recording of our last class hadn’t been posted on UR courses yet. So, it took some playing around but it did eventually come back to me and I think I have it all figured out now.

To start following new sources, I searched a variety of things including: edtc, distance education, online-learning, early childhood education, elementary education, e-learning, education, and I also clicked on some of the suggestions that randomly popped up as well. With each of these searches I went through and pretty much just followed the ones that had the most amount of followers. Another thing that I was kind of looking for when following accounts was posts related to covid and the effect it has had on the education system. Then, I either added them to my #EDTC300 feed or my Elementary Education feed. I also added a Board so then I can scroll through my feeds and and add articles that I might want to post to twitter to that board.

Screenshot of my #EDTC300 Feed

One source that I found on Feedly was the Cult of Pedagogy . The account originally caught my eye because of the a podcast episode titled 6 Ed Tech Tools to Try in 2021 | Cult of Pedagogy which I saw when quickly glancing at the profile. I also noticed that the account had a lot of followers so I decided that I would also follow. Then, when I was on twitter, I saw that a fellow classmate, Laura Fiddler, had posted something about the Cult of Pedagogy’s Twitter account and there is plenty of good stuff posted on twitter as well!

Another Account that caught my interest is Mindshift KQED because their articles seem to be all about the impact the pandemic has had on the education system and how it has affected students. This is seen in articles such as:

I want to end off by asking if anyone has found any good Canadian sources to follow on Feedly? Also, if any of my fellow elementary educators out there found any good sources to follow, I would love to add them to my Elementary Ed feed (as you can see in the screenshot it is lacking)!

Howdy EDTC 300

Picture taken at my grandparents farm

Hello everyone and welcome to the beginning of my EDTC journey! First thing first I would love for everyone to get to know a little bit about me. I do have an About Me page you can read as well but I will provide a brief rundown here as well! I grew up in a small town and attended the same school (of about 300 kids) all the way from kindergarten to grade 12. Throughout school I had A LOT of great teachers who actually inspired me to become a teacher myself. In high school, I was in so many clubs and sports that my teacher actually became more like friends than teacher and my entire class was very close and we were like our own little family.

Part of this ties into the small town community mentality. This mentality has also kept me very involved in the community as throughout high school I worked at a local hair salon and I am still very involved with the rink volunteering in the booth (or canteen whatever you want to call it) and I coach the towns Learn to Skate/Power Skating program. My involvement with the rink began from when I first started hockey in pre-novice and if it wasn’t for covid, I would currently  be playing Adult Safe (A rec hockey league). I know I talked a lot about high school (maybe I peaked in high school who knows) but I am currently in denial that I am an adult now (internally I feel like I am 16) and seeing I just turned twenty this month I should really come to terms with this sooner or later.

As, you can tell community is very important to me and to go along with that my family is also very important to me. I am very fortunate to live very close to both sets of grandparents and also my great grandma. In normal times, when I would go back to my hometown of weekends we would go to each grandparents house for supper – and of course they would always send me food and goodies to take back to my apartment (I am so spoiled). I am also very close with my older brother, younger brother, and my younger sister because growing up with that many siblings you always had someone to hang out with. Even though I am close with them, that doesn’t mean we don’t fight! I moved into my older brothers apartment this year which has been an experience to say the least. I really didn’t pick a good time for us to attempt living together when we are both always home doing university online.

I would say that my experiences with educational technologies are very limited. The only piece of educational technology I can really think of right now is Kahoot because that is the only technology my past teachers used. I suppose twitter would be another one – which I am also not very experienced using. Of course I use and are very familiar with most other forms of social media like, Instagram, Tik Tok (I am going to apologize in advance because I will probably talk a lot about thing I’ve seen on tik tok), Snapchat, Pinterest, but not Twitter. However, I am excited to become a twitter pro (enjoy my shamless plug to my twitter) by the end of this class. To go along with the current theme, my blogging experiences have been limited to just a couple classes and I’ve never really embraced to blogging lifestyle if you will. I really just wrote regular paragraph responses and posted them to the blog. I’ve always thought about how much fun it would be to be a vlogger so I have a feeling I have to potential to really get into blogging over this semester.

I look forward to getting to know everyone better over the semester and seeing everyone grow into educational technology pro’s!

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