What it Might Look Like in the Classroom

As we know, technology is becoming a very popular tool in classrooms and at home. In my previous blog post, I mentioned it was important for us as teachers to engage students in becoming aware of what it means to be a good digital citizen and teaching them about the etiquettes of being digital citizens. It is important for students and teachers to understand and become aware of the security aspect of using technology along with the laws and responsibilities. It is also important for us to educate our students so they know how to respond to and be able to handle certain issues that may come up on the internet – such as cyberbullying.

To teach our children this new citizenship, we need to fold their digital tools into the general flow of school. As a guide, we can use Ribble’s Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship to teach the norms of appropriate, responsible behaviours in regards to technology use. These nine elements; digital access, digital commerce, digital communication, digital literacy, digital etiquette, digital law, digital rights and responsibilities, digital health and wellness, and digital security, can all be taught through our classrooms with connection to the Saskatchewan curriculum.

Teachers can engage students in learning and thinking about online safety, cyberbullying, appropriate behaviours, digital literacy and rights and responsibilities through many of the subject areas. I found many of the themes can easily be incorporated into the subjects of Health Education and English. But there can also be possibilities within other subjects like social studies, math, science, and arts education. Many of these outcomes/ indicators can be connected to one or more of the themes. Here are a few examples as to how the nine elements can be connected to the SK curriculum:

Grade Kindergarten: (Digital Security)

Health Education
Outcome: USCK.2

Establish behaviours that support safety of self and others (including safety at school and at home).

  1. Develop the language with which to wonder and talk about safety.
  2. Recognize “safe” and “unsafe” behaviours and situations (e.g., taking turns, wearing weather-appropriate clothing, playing in designated areas, walking alone).
  3. Investigate safety guidelines and rules to keep one safe at school and at home.
  4. Learn and practise safety procedures in a variety of school and home contexts.
  5. Identify challenges that may exist to being safe at school and at home (e.g., limited supervision).
  6. Describe what children can do to support the safety of self and others.
  7. Examine what to do if the safety of self or others may be/is jeopardized (e.g., tell a trusted adult, leave, plan ahead).


Grade one: (Digital Health and Wellbeing)

Health Education
Outcome: USC1.5

Explore the association between a healthy sense of “self” and one’s positive connection with others and the environment.

  1. Use common and respectful language to talk about self and others (e.g., appearance, abilities, gender, behaviours, culture).
  2. Recognize “self” as an individual who has particular physical and inherited attributes (e.g., height, freckles) and particular experiences that may or may not be similar to those of others (e.g., traditions).
  3. Identify factors that influence one’s sense of self (e.g., gender, culture).
  4. Examine similarities and differences in people (i.e., gender, age, appearance, abilities, culture, language) and understand that differences do not make one person or group superior to another.
  5. Begin to understand that every person has value that is not dependent upon her/his appearance, physical characteristics, or behaviours.

Grade Two: (Rights and Responsibilities) 

Social Studies
Outcome: PA2.3

Analyze rights and responsibilities of citizens in the school and local community.

  1. Differentiate between the nature of the rights of children and of adult citizens in the community.
  2. Identify Treaty rights of members of the community.
  3. Relate the rights of citizens in the community to their responsibilities to the community.
  4. Identify opportunities for sharing responsibility in the school and community.

Grade Three: (Digital Literacy)

English Language Arts
Outcome: CC3.1

Compose and create a range of visual, multimedia, oral, and written texts that explore: identity (e.g., Spreading My Wings) community (e.g., Helping Others) social responsibility (e.g., Communities Around the World) and make connections across areas of study.

  1. Use words, symbols, and other forms, including appropriate technology, to express understanding of topics, themes, and issues and make connections to learning in other areas of study.
  2. Communicate thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly and, when appropriate, artistically.

Grade Four: (Digital Communication)

English Language Arts
Outcome: CC4.2

Create a variety of clear representations that communicate straightforward ideas and information relevant to the topic and purpose, including short, illustrated reports, dramatizations, posters, and other visuals such as displays and drawings.

  1. Use a variety of visuals (e.g., chart, diagram) to communicate essential information when making an oral presentation.
  2. Select and use pertinent before, during, and after strategies to communicate meaning when using other forms of representing
  3. Understand and apply cues and conventions including pragmatic, textual, syntactical, semantic/lexical/morphological, graphophonic, and others to communicate meaning when using other forms of representing.
  4. Organize information and ideas in visual and multimedia texts that are clear, meaningful, logical, and illustrative of the topic and are properly labelled and captioned.
  5. Express relevant opinions about experiences (e.g., an incident) through a variety of representations (e.g., multimedia presentation, role play).

Grade Five: (Digital Safety and Digital Health and Wellbeing) 

Health Education
Outcome: 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).

  1. Discuss why peers pressure each other.
  2. 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?
  3. Examine the different levels of pressure (i.e., internal, indirect, direct).
  4. Describe indicators of positive and negative peer pressure (e.g., positive – encourage healthy behaviours, negative – encourage unhealthy behaviours).
  5. Discuss examples of positive and negative peer influence on personal decision making.
  6. Generate and practise possible strategies to avoid/reduce the risk of potentially dangerous/unhealthy/unsafe situations involving peer pressure (e.g., prepare a mental script, listen to your “gut”, plan for possible pressure situations, use possible parental controls as an excuse).

Becoming Digital Citizens

It is becoming more and more popular among the younger generation to be using digital technology. Students have access to and are using digital devices to interact with others online, to gather information, or to just have fun. They are actively engaging with the digital world around them and it is our job as teachers to educate and help students to become capable digital citizens, which Jason Ohler describes in an article as those “who use technology not only effectively and creatively, but also responsibly and wisely”.

Since technology is becoming a substantial part of student’s everyday lives, teachers have to take into consideration and find ways to help students build a positive interaction with the digital world. It is becoming more important for teachers to teach students to become good digital citizens. Many may question how we might do this in the classroom or what exactly we should be teaching them about the digital world. In the article Character Education for the Digital Age by Jason Ohler, he describes that:
“To teach our children this new citizenship, we need to fold their digital tools into the general flow of school. We need to not only help students learn to use these tools in smart, productive ways, but also help them place these tools in the larger context of building community, behaving responsibly, and imagining a healthy and productive future, both locally and globally.”

To start, we must engage students in thinking about what it means to be a digital citizen and what that might entitle. Then we can teach them about the etiquettes of being a digital citizen by teaching them about the norms of acceptable, responsible behaviour, with regard to technology use. In the article The Definition of Digital Citizenship, Terry Heick describes digital citizenship as “The quality of habits, actions, and consumption patterns that impact the ecology of digital content and communities.” This encompasses the way we use, engage, participate, access, explore, and talk in the digital world.

The infographic below takes a more student-friendly approach by defining digital citizenship in terms of its actions and habits: using, sifting, mastering, creating–the literal actions that ultimately define the tone of a student’s interactions with their digital environments. This makes it useful not just as a visual for teacher understanding, but for students to discuss, internalize, and apply themselves.


Source: http://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/digital-citizenship-the-future-of-learning/the-definition-of-digital-citzenship/


It wasn’t so bad

I participated in my first #Saskedchat on Twitter a few days ago and it wasn’t as horrifying as I thought it would be. I have to admit I was feeling really nervous and worried about being able to keep up with answering the questions along with reading and responding to other people’s tweets. Although I was nervous, the online chat community on Twitter made we feel very welcomed and safe to voice my thoughts and opinions.

The topic of discussion was “Supporting New Teachers” which was a very relevant topic for us to engage in since most of us will be starting our teaching careers in the next couple of years. I was looking forward to be able to discuss this topic with fellow colleagues in the teaching profession to gain a better understanding and new insight for supporting new teachers. The conversation was quick and a little hard to catch up on as everyone was sending in their tweets. Although it was quick, I did manage to keep up with answering the questions as I had prepared them ahead of time. I was also able to read and reply to a few tweets which helped me further engage in the conversation.

It was definitely a good experience to be able to participate in such events online as it can help teachers connect with each other and express their thoughts and concerns on certain matters. We are also able to expand our knowledge and take on new ways of viewing things as we engage in reading other people’s thoughts and suggestions. Along with being able converse with others and gain a better understanding on the topic, we had the opportunity to expand our Personal Learning Network and reach out to other teachers in our community.

Screenshot 2016-06-14 at 1.16.16 AM

Participating in the #Saskedchat was overwhelming at first but I think I will definitely try to participate in another one!

First time was a success!

Here we go!

As you know from my previous post, I am learning to fold origami for my learning project. I don’t know much about origami so I decided to search online to see what I can find in terms of learning the basics for the art of paper folding. It was easy to access different websites and videos on learning to fold origami. I browsed through a few of the websites looking to see if it was easy to read, organized, had clear instructions, and most importantly, had visuals like step by step pictures or videos.

Here are a few websites I came across:

Stephen O’Halon’s Origami Page

Origami Instructions

Origami Fun

Origami Resource Center

Origami Club 

I noticed as I was browsing through the different websites that some of them contained a section where they taught you the basic foundations of folding which are usually the starting points or base of many origami model. With knowing these essential foundations, I think it will be a lot easier and less frustrating when trying to fold a new model. But before thinking too ahead, I have to learn and master these basic folding techniques.

I started off reading the Origami Basics of the Stephen O’Halon’s Origami Page which introduces all of the major folds in origami and shows how they are done. There were clear step-by-step instructions and diagrams with explanation which were easy to follow and understand. It also provides a large number of simple models that aim to allow one to practice these folds.

The instructions on this page were divided into parts which I thought was really well organized. The parts consisted of learning about choosing the right paper and deciphering the meaning of the arrows we see on diagrams, different folding techniques, and lastly a few bases which are foundations for most models. The first part of the basic instructions taught beginner origami enthusiasts how to read and differentiate the meaning of the arrows that are often illustrated on diagrams. On origami diagrams, arrows show you which direction the paper is to be folded in. It is important to understand which direction the arrow is telling you to fold.

Source: http://www.fishgoth.com/origami/pictures/basics_arrows.gif

Just with looking at this picture, I am feeling a little overwhelmed. Although there are only a few arrows, each one of them illustrates a different way folding. These all look very similar and I will have to memorize the meanings of these arrows so I don’t fold the paper in the wrong direction.

After familiarizing myself with the arrows above, I made an attempt to try to practice the Mountain and Valley folds by making my first origami Samurai Helmet. The model didn’t consist of many steps and the illustrations were easy to follow which made the process very easy.

With my first origami model being a success, I am optimistic to trying new and more difficult folds and models.

It can’t be too difficult, right?!

This is the chance for me to learn a new skill!

It may not be too useful but it has been something I’ve been wanting to learn for awhile now. For my learning project, I have decided to learn to fold origami. I know it might sound a little childish but I’ve always admired my older sister who can fold a bouquet of roses out of paper. And me, I can’t even fold a boat (which many people have tried to teach me). The only thing I am somewhat good at folding are paper planes (which my preschool students tell me I am extremely good at!).

With this learning project, I am determined to learn how to fold at least a few things like different animals, flowers, or boxes/containers. As I am a very visual learner, I am hoping to find some instructional videos on Youtube and easy to follow websites with step by step pictures for this project.

Although I can choose what I want to learn to fold and start with an easy origami design, I am a little worried that I am going to make the wrong folds and end up creating something weird. Oh well! Making mistakes is all part of the learning process.

I will keep you updated with my learning project as it goes.

My Online Identity

Let’s see what I can find about myself in the online world…

Before I searched myself on the internet, I somewhat had an idea as to what I might find.
As I Google searched my name, the results were not surprising to me. What I was surprised about is how easy it was to search myself (although not too surprised because I do have a pretty unique name). In the list of results were my social media accounts like Picasa Photos, Instagram, Twitter, blogs from my education program and online presentations/videos I’ve made. Along with a few mentions of my name on other sites like Facebook and groups that I volunteered with.

These accounts have some information about me but nothing too personal as I am cautious about what information I put online. As a future teacher, I am aware that my online identity can potentially play an important role in how others (employers, parents, students, etc.) view who I am. With having an e-portfolio, it helps us to brand ourselves based on the skills that we want to showcase to potential employers or school administrators. In the article Five reasons why your online presence will replace your resume in 10 years, they explained that if you don’t have an online presence you won’t appear to be relevant and will be passed over for more savvy applicants that have visibility. So it is important for us as future teachers to make ourselves visible online as it is a great way to show ourselves to potential employers.

New Online Culture

We now live in an age where the internet and social media are big parts of our lives. I think I can safely say that most people spend more time online than they do with engaging themselves in other activities. We are constantly on our phones checking emails, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc. All of these online services helps connects us with people through virtual means and creates an online community. People are being connected through sharing their stories, thoughts, opinions, emotions and personality through this online space. Michael Wesch describes in his video,  An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube, that this is a celebration of new forms of empowerment with having a stronger voice and presence, new forms of communities, global connections, and new and imaginable possibilities.

With the rise of this new culture, I think it will play an important role in the classroom. As Alec Couros mentioned in the online presentation, many schools are incorporating technology into their classrooms as a tool for teaching. There are even some schools who are encouraging students to bring their own device (BYOD). Although it is a great idea, it can also cause some problems as not all students can afford to have their own device. With this potential problem, many schools have devices like tablets and laptops for students to use (borrow).

Some may argue that technology can be a distraction to students rather than an educational tool. This is why teachers and maybe even parents, need to learn ways to support and teach students how to use technology and engage them in meaningful learning. In an article, they suggested that even texting can deepen learning: One study found that when teachers engage students in course-related discussions, offer feedback and open themselves up to questions via text messages, students’ assignment and exam grades benefit.

The emerging culture of online participation is our future.