About Mr. D. Dickson

I currently live in Wakaw, Saskatchewan with my wife (Sara Jane), and my two children (Piper & Barclay). I have been the Principal of Wakaw School for the past 8 years. This current school year is my 24th year in education and also the 24th year as an in-school administrator. I am super excited to teach grade 2 PE this year for the first time.

EC&I 820 Multicultural & Anti-Racist Issues in Curriculum Final Project – Unessay

For my final project in EC&I 820 Multicultural & Anti-Racist Issues in Curriculum, I decided to choose option #2: to engage in a radical re-imagining education and to think about what race conscious, culturally sustaining, anti-racist and or decolonial teaching could look like in the province of Saskatchewan. When I began to unpack and generate ideas for this topic. I quickly came to realize that you can not address anti-racist education at the teacher level without involvement from the provincial, the school division, and the school level. As a result, this project expanded from classroom practice into a “Framework Overview for Decolonial & Anti-Racist Education” that could be implemented in Saskatchewan to support anti-racist education in the province.

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EC&I Digital Citizenship & Media Literacies (Major Assignment)

I started this major assignment looking at connecting digital citizenship education to curriculum to establish a resource package for teaching. I started out with grade 6 Health curriculum from 2009, and began the process of making the connections. I realized very quickly that my role as an in-school administrator and limited role in the classroom setting made it difficult to continue working on this project. Continue reading

What Does it Mean to be Literate Today? – Week #8

What does it mean to be literate today? That question just might be the most difficult question out there to answer. You see the word literate defined as a noun (Merriam-Webster) is defined as: an educated person, or a person who can read and write. The word literate defined as an adjective (Merriam-Webster) is defined as: educated or cultured, able to read and write, versed in literature or creative writing, lucid or polished, or having knowledge or competence. Now apply all of the possible ways to define the word literate and then apply that to the world of information and media that we currently live and you end up with an almost open ended question and likely even more of an open ended answer.

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A Reflection on Digital Identity – Week 6

Over the course of my career in education, I have witnessed many things come and go. Sometimes what left us seemed to be better than what replaced it, but as they say time marches on. One example of this can be seen in the process of hiring staff for schools. At one point in time, the most important part of an interview was the reference check. Sure we still do them, almost as a token of days gone by. What has replaced this all important step in the hiring process is a quick Google search to see what kind of digital footprint the candidate has left behind.  Continue reading

Reading Week is Also Thinking Week

The 2022-2023 school year up until this weekend has been a absolute blur. Prior to the school year, I had full intentions to take the summer to relax and rejuvenate. That plan quickly turned into an unexpected house sale and a three week move followed by the last two months of unpacking. What does all of this have to do with the school year? The answer to that question is a lot. Plain and simple, our mental and physical well-being as educators is the most integral part of ability to perform everyday in the classroom. With that being said, the Thanksgiving weekend has allowed me to rest and try to get both mentally and physically ready for the next few weeks of school. More importantly, the break has allowed my to catch up on some reading. That reading has also turned to thinking which will hopefully turn to action. Continue reading

The Future of Digital Citizenship in Education – The “Ribble” Effect (Week #4)

A quick google search of the ripple effect led me to Wikipedia for the following definition: A ripple effect occurs when an initial disturbance to a system propagates outward to disturb an increasingly larger portion of the system. Ironically, what made me think of the ripple effect and the “Ribble” effect as a play on words for this week’s blog is knowing the impact that one press of button on a keyboard can have on on a school community and the understanding that we as educators have a responsibility to counteract the “Ripple Effect” of technology and social media with the Mike “Ribble Effect” of education for our students.  Continue reading

The Future of Education – Week #3 Required Blog

What will the future of education look like in the days, months, or years to come with regards to the ever changing world and constantly evolving technological advancements? For some, there is a fear or sense of urgency to change the way we educate our students to keep pace with the changing times and technology. For others who believe in the “Digital Native” concept coined by Marc Prensky, there is no need to worry. Continue reading

I Share Therefore I Am? – Week 2 Required Blog

After reading, watching, or browsing the required articles from this week as well as those from the last, I find myself thinking that there is an overall lack of responsibility/ownership when it comes to understanding technology, understanding how it is to be used, and understanding who is in control of it. To blame technology for the decay of society would be the same type of thinking as blaming the gun in a shooting or the car in a hit and run. In this post, I will discuss some of the specific pieces that we have studied this week and point out what I perceive to be flaws in their thinking.

The first piece that I would like to discuss is Sherry Turkle’s Ted Talk – “Connected, but Alone?” found here. The presenter and author of “Alone Together,” refers to technology as a tool that does not bring us together, but one that tears us apart. Turkle uses statements like: ” we design tech that will give us the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship,” and “we don’t have the time to talk about things that matter.” Throughout Turkle’s article, there is no reference to the role that the individual plays in the utilization of technology and or the role that we the user must play to ensure that they are connected deeply with those around them. We live in a world where we can connect in seconds to anyone, anywhere in the world yet we feel alone and not connected? Perhaps instead of blaming the technology or the platform, we need to blame the user(s).

Turkle is not the only one to speak with a doom and gloom perspective of technology on society. Neil Postman penned an article in 1998 article called “Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change.” In Postman’s article, he speaks of a technological +/- trade off, indicates the +/- is never even, and also go so far as to claim that technological change is “ecological, unpredictable, and often irreversible.” Like Turkle’s Ted Talk, Postman’s article makes no mention of the user to use the technology for good instead of evil.

With regards to using technology for good over evil, I would like to draw attention to the world of AI in education. AI in education has created quite a stir with many educators and the majority speak of AI from the side of evil without taking time to examine the role of the user, and in this case, the role of the educator. On the surface, the articles “Teaching with AI,” and “UNESCO’s AI in Education,” both provide some positive ways in which AI tools can be used in schools. However, the heart of this matter lies with the people: the user for using the technology appropriately, and the educator for ensuring that they focus their instruction on the process instead of the product or the outcomes instead of the assignment. (Example: Essay assigned with a due date of two weeks with no focus on the process will equal an AI generated product.)

In closing, I would like to return to the title of “I Share Therefore I Am,” and offer a different thought. When it comes to technology and the modern world, it is not the technology or the platform that is to blame, it is the user or the users in the case of AI in education. Perhaps the title “I Think Therefore I Am” or “I Think Before I Share” may have been more fitting of a title for this week’s blog post.