Contributing to the Learning of Others

The word digital citizenship implies more than one person. This means that in order for me to get the most out of this course I would have had to have interactions with others online. I not only comply with these guidelines but embrace them. I loved conversing with people online, creating new friendships, finding out similar interests, or having debates. This all helped to create my PLN – Professional Learning Network.

It was all very new to me, and I tried my best to just throw myself into the deep end and hope that I didn’t sink. Not only did I stay alive on the internet, but I feel that I contributed in a positive way to the learning of others.

Don’t just take my word for it, check out the links below to see the places in which I contributed positively to my digital community.

If you would like to see some examples of the exact ways I contributed to the learning of others check out the short video I made that includes snapshots of my interactions with others online.

This semester has been full of ups and down, but my digital relationships have been there to cheer me up and offer support. I’d like to thank those who contributed to my learning over the course of the semester, especially my EDTC300 classmates.

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Challenge Accepted

I just partook in an activity called the Hour of Code. This website provides students and teachers with the resources necessary to learn how to code at any grade level. I was challenged to participate in an hour of coding activities and film it on screencastify. This week I did just that.

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I have never coded before and never had an interest in learning how. I learned so much from just an hour of coding that I don’t even know where to begin. There were videos at the beginning and the middle that taught me about coding and how it relates to the real world, that I found super helpful. Although I was playing a game made for second graders, the learning curve was steep and I wish I had more help throughout the game.

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All and all, the challenge was very fun. Coding is super important for people of all ages, but I believe that if coding were to become a regular part of the classroom it would benefit students in the long run whether it be for future employers or just allowing their brain to think in clever ways.

I will definitely, one hundred percent be using this website in my future classroom. Although I have difficulties and a strong aversion to learning it myself, I hope to open new doors for my students. Hopefully, I will be inspired to partake in more coding with them as I see many benefits to learning to code.

Watch my video below about my experience with #HourofCode!

A Simple Extension Can Go Far

This week I was tasked with trying out an app, chrome extension, or website. I was to try it, become familiar with the software, and review it for all of you. Upon looking through the list I was overwhelmed with unfamiliar titles and wildly creative names.

 

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Nevertheless, the words, each connecting to a link, intrigued me and I found myself downloading each chrome extension, app, and visiting each website. Although I have not had time to explore each and everything I now have downloaded on my computer, I will be reviewing the ones that I have had a chance to look at.

TabMania

I’m one of those people that collects a series of tabs on my computer. The look of an empty tab bar is foreign to me and I fill it up quickly throughout my day, only for my stockpile to disappear at night when I shut my computer down.

In order to fix this problem, I added the chrome extension OneTab. With this extension, I am able to keep all the tabs I am not currently using one ‘collection’ tab. They are housed without connection to the internet and without taking up precious battery space but are accessible with the simple click of a button. This could be helpful for teachers because they can collect more and more tabs without threatening the integrity of their computer.

On my phone, I have the app Feedly, which houses articles for me to read whenever I get a spare moment of time. On my computer, I had nothing until I downloaded the chrome extension Evernote. This extension allows for me to save articles and websites to visit later. This could be beneficial to teachers because resources can be saved for days and weeks, making lesson planning easy to be done in advanced. No more saving links to a document for safe keeping.

Your Grammar Sucks

I like to pretend that I know what I’m doing when it comes to grammar, especially since I’m an English major. I know everything! Not.

 

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This is where the chrome extension Grammarly comes in. I have used the extension throughout this entire post, and I have noticed a huge improvement in my writing. Think spell-check with that built-in scary English teacher from middle school who handed back your work covered in red pen. Except, a little less scary. Teachers can use this because… actually, everybody could use this. It would save a lot of embarrassing grammatical mistakes.

This may be where the post ends, but my exploration of apps, extensions, and websites is just beginning. Tell me in the comments what other computer gadgets I should check out.

The Implications of Technology

I was in grade 8 when Amanda Todd left this earth. At this age I thought I knew it all. She was bullied because of the internet, took her own life as an escape, and now teachers took every opportunity they could to scare us off the internet. In grade 8 I had a phone, Ipod, laptop, and had surpassed my parents knowledge of technology. I was not about to give it up because of one incident.

Years went by and teachers kept using the same scare tactics. It wasn’t very effective. As Amanda Todd kept being used as an example of failure, I saw her as a person failed by an outdated system. Now I’ve had the privilege of having Carol Todd speak to my EDTC300 class about the reality of the internet.

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Carol Todd told spoke about her negative encounters on the internet through Amanda’s story and her own, but she does not believe that ignoring the internet will help. Her understanding perspective allows for a healthy conversation to ensue. She speaks about safety, education, and embracing the internet.

The man who sextorted Amanda Todd has since fled the country and is undergoing trials for his actions in the Netherlands. His cruel acts have effected multiple young girls, and men similar to him are repeating his actions to unsuspecting victims all across the world.

Law makers are recognizing this issue, but the law is not being updated fast enough to protect the vulnerable on the internet. This is where Carol Todd’s mission begins. She aims to educate children and youth about protecting themselves on the internet. She does in a multitude of ways:

Carol Todd works hard to make sure that her daughters suffering and death will not be forgotten. Amanda Todd’s story will continue to live on in it’s uniqueness as, “Snowflakes cannot be duplicated because they are one of a kind… just like Amanda”

YouTube in the Classroom

This week Regan and I were tasked with creating a conversation on the positives of technology in the classroom. We took it in the direction of a parent voicing their concerns about the use of YouTube in the classroom. Take a look at our conversation below.

Teacher: You must be Regan’s Mom. I heard you have some concerns about the class?

Parent: Yes, I have some concerns about the use of Youtube and the lack of security that it offers, what if my child is exposed to inappropriate topics?

Teacher: Well, let me start out by saying that digital citizenship is a new component of the curriculum that all students must take part in. As for the use of Youtube I feel that the benefits in the classroom outweigh the risks. Just take a look at the article “Technology in the Classroom: 5 Undeniable Reasons to Embrace it”.

Parent: What benefits could possibly be more important than the safety of my child’s personal identity?

Teacher: First, personal identity in real life is not separate from online identity. Giving students early exposure to YouTube in a classroom setting allows them to learn how to use the resource safely and responsibly. Teaching my students how to be responsible digital citizens is my aim with using YouTube. Creating a positive digital footprint is more important than ever, and using a resource like Youtube makes for lasting memories and a great learning opportunity.

Parent: There are people are there that could watch my child’s video and it will make it easier for them to kidnap, blackmail, and the video will be online for the rest of their life! Also, how can you ensure that your students are on task when using a “resource” that has millions of videos that don’t relate to what they are learning.  

Teacher: Yes the internet is not forgiving in that what happens on the internet can not be reversed, but teaching your daughter that crucial lesson in the classroom and not from unfortunate experience is the reason why digital citizenship is so important. As far as kidnapping and blackmail goes, I’m teaching your daughter that if she wouldn’t feel comfortable having an image or text on a billboard, then it certainly doesn’t belong on the internet. YouTube is a resource full of distractions I’ll give you that, but with my close monitoring I hope to instill positive behaviours that prevent wandering cursors.

Parent: Well, Regan is also telling me that you are expecting her to research and teach herself about planes, isn’t it YOUR job to teach her about these topics or definitely not the internet, how reliable can the videos on youtube really be?

Teacher: Yes, this project is true. I’ve found that when students are given a choice about their education, such as Regan’s choice to research planes, they become much more enthusiastic and excited to learn about the assigned topic. The students can tailor their learning themselves and the individualized topics mean more to them. If I was the only source of information I would not have the time or resources to peak each of their interests. One of the components of digital citizenship is to teach students which sources are reliable and which are not. The internet may seem like it’s only filled with fake news, but in reality there are some amazing sources and great information if you know your way around. Check out this website that convinced me to use YouTube in the classroom.

Parent: Wow, I didn’t know that.  This is all really good information.  But don’t you think this also limits relationship building between classmates?

Teacher: Actually, I believe it expands the potential for relationships to be made. Your daughter has the potential to become friends with someone halfway around the world, or just connect with classmates on a deeper level via the internet. She can create relationships that never would have been possible if it weren’t for YouTube, the students can work together to share videos and to teach each other their research projects via their YouTube videos.  It is time for YouTube to be utilized in the classroom.

Parent: Thank you Miss Hodson for taking the time to meet with me, I really appreciate the information that you provided to myself.  

Teacher: Your welcome. If you’re still not convinced may I suggest checking out this video on the positive effects of YouTube in the classroom. 

 

If we missed anything or you see some holes in our argument let us know in the comments!

How do you use technology in the classroom?

Cyber-Spy

For most millennials one of our favourite pass-times is cyber stalking. It could be a new friend, co-worker, or the latest guy you met on tinder – we all do it. Rarely, do we hear the cyber dirt that someone has found on us, nor do we take the time to google ourselves. I was tasked with cyber-sleuthing (because it sounds better than stalking) my classmate Amy Arnal. The information I found on her did not take days to find or an extensive list of coding to access. It took about ten minutes using the amazing search engine duckduckgo so that my online hisotry did not interfere with the results.

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Here is what I found by just searching her name (I only provided links for what appeared to be professional accounts):

  • Twitter
    • 4th year elementary education student at the Univeristy of Regina
    • Has a passion for the environment and for the priaries
  • Wix Blog
    • Grew up in Southwest Sask. on a mixed farm
    • Previously worked for T.rex.
    • and much more
  • Email
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
    • This let me know that she hopes to own her own home one day, loves cooking and baking, and also hopes to go to Ireland one day
  • WordPress blog
    • Which had significantly less personal information than the wix blog
  • Grade 1 science blog
  • Youtube
    • Where she shares her progress in learning Afrikaans

This was by no means all of the information I found on Miss. Arnal. This was an interesting activity because it allowed me to see how easily information can be shared and connected. I was able to see that you can never really keep your online life and offline life from overlapping.