Final Blog Post

This class became my adventure in learning about social media, how to implement it in my pedagogy, the importance of social media in my classrooms and the importance of social media in my own life.   My journey is outlined in a series of steps below:

  1. In order to begin exploring the idea of social media, I knew that I would be taking on a new adventure!
  2. I then began exploring if there were a right way and a wrong way to enjoy social a moment.
  3. I then realized that with great power comes great responsibility.
  4. I began to explore and question the idea of sharing too much via social media – the risks and benefits.  Is there too much that one can share?  Or is this sharing cathartic?  In good grief, I explored the idea of sharing and connecting with others during difficult times.
  5. With a greater sense of what was okay to share via social media, I began to explore the concepts of social profiling and transparency.
  6. FINALLY!!!!  IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW!   I have a clear path on my journey, the course really began to click with me and I gained a new trust in myself to use and engage  in social media with a new found purpose.  I realized that social media can be a friend and not foe.
  7. Now that it all makes sense, I began evaluating myself and my pedagogy to see how I can supports students learning at their own instructional levels and create a collaborative space which allows for problem based learning in reinvention of education.
  8. Summary of Learning with Brittany Bandur  

This journey did not happen over night, in fact, it seemed that I was taking quite a bit of time to get to my destination, and although I am comfortable with where I am right now, I do not want to remain stagnant – I want to keep pursuing this journey, dive deeper into the real of social media, therefore I must push myself yet again beyond my current comfort zone, for I feel that there is much, much more to explore.

Reflections of a Teacher Exploring Digital Footprints

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 Photo Credit: giulia.forsythe via Compfight cc

How we, as educators, infuse digital citizenship and literacy within our classrooms while maintaining integrity of the courses we teach is as important as teaching the curriculum’s themselves.  I agree with Andrew in his post.  As educators, the responsibility of teaching our students to leave a positive digital footprint does not solely lie on us.  Teaching digital literacy and positive use of technology within the curricula we teach must be used as a tool to help guide our students through their learning pathways.  How we do this is up to us as individuals, and as Branelle posted in her blog this week.  I really was drawn to the simplicity of how Branelle feels that she will support digital citizenship within her classes:  initiate, inform and inspire.  I think she has hit the nail on the head – it’s simple, straightforward and to the point.  Initiate conversations, inform our students towards leaving positive footprints, and finally inspire them to do so in a responsible manner.  

The world of digital literacy, technology, and citizenship opens up so many doors to our students learning capabilities in a non-restrictive format which allows our students to develop strong inquiry based skills within their learning abilities.  I find this to be incredibly important, not only as an administrator, but as an educator whom is also a curriculum writer.  For me, within the new sciences that have been/are being developed, I feel that digital literacy has been written right into the curriculum itself.  When you read the front end of the curriculum, it is noted that  students must understand the four learning contexts within the scientific framework represent student engagement within the particular science curricula they are currently studying.  The four learning contexts includ:

  1. Scientific Literacy
  2. Technological Problem Solving
  3. Cultural Perspectives
  4. STSE Decision Making (science, technology, society, environment)

When you dissect the above four learning contexts, it becomes obvious that technology plays a large role within the students learning outcomes.  I realize that the word “technology” can be interpreted in many ways.  According to Merriam-Websters online dictionary, the definition of technology is : a machine, piece of equipment, method, etc., that is created by technology.  For some, it may simply mean using equipment – but isn’t the internet considered a search tool, and thus equipment?  For me, it is.  In fact I view the use of technology/digital media as  a type of Rhizomatic Learning, one with no beginning, middle nor end.

When we look deeper into the new science curricula, we note that one of the units that is required at the 20 and 30 level is titled Student Directed Study.  The intent of this unit is to allow students to study a topic that is of personal interest to them within the realm of the course they are currently taking.  Research!  Inquiry!  Problem-Based learning!  All of these at some point will require the use of some form of digital technology.  Again, going back to Branelle’s post:  we must model the positive use of digital technology to our students in order for them to have the abilities to research properly – to inspire them to do so in a positive manner, leaving behind a positive digital footprint.  I certainly want to do everything in my power as an educator, whom promotes the use of digital media, to teach my students to be responsible citizens and treat the technology they hold within their hands (smartphones) or use withing schools, homes or the workplace with respect.  I would hate for one of my students to have an incident similar to Ron Johnson’s Ted Talk “How One Tweet Could Ruin Your Life“, or a situation similar to Tom Scott’s talk on Social Media Dystopia.

 

Let’s face it, we are teaching digital natives while we are digital natives where we ourselves may be considered digital immigrants, as we were not born into the world of technology as we know it today (well, for me at least).  George Siemens principles of Connectivism (2004) include (but not limited to) the following points:

  • Learning may reside in non-human appliances.
  • Ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill.
  • Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.
  • Decision-making is itself a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision

I have highlighted words in the above points which resonate to me as an educator and what I feel is important in regards to teaching our students how to successfully navigate in ever changing world of digital citizenship.

The responsibility of teaching positive digital citizenship must not lie solely on us as educators, parent must take a part in this, but if we get the wheels moving in the forward (positive) direction at school, this must be consistent with how students are being supported by their parents at home.  Deconstructing media and interpreting what is read or viewed via media helps to create critical thinkers within our classrooms and society, allowing for a deeper level of understanding and strong communication skills with all individuals our students are in contact with, whether that be family, friends, or colleagues.

Who knows, we may be teaching the next Einstein or Darwin.

Privacy, Please? A reflection of digital personal settings and personal safety.

This week I chose to watch the Doc Zone episode titled Sext Up  Kids.  I chose this particular video to watch for a few different reasons:  First – I teach high school, Second – I have teenage boys (17 and 19 – one living at home and one away at school).  While I was watching the video I began reflecting on why I have my social media privacy settings set as I do.  More importantly, why I have set them and why I am so choosy as to I accept as a “friend” on social media.

As a teacher, I make it a rule that I will not accept any Facebook friend requests from my students until they have graduated.  I do this for three reasons:

1.  I do not want to see what my students are doing privately (either inside or outside of school) while I am in an educator role with them.

2.  I do not want to have preconceived ideas of what my students are like as an individual before they come into my classroom as I believe that all students have the right to an unbiased education.

3.  I need to protect myself as an individual – I really do not want my student to know about what I am doing on the weekend (unless I choose to verbally share this with my students), nor do I want them to be able to see what I post as my posts are just that – mine.  And, just like point 2 above, I don’t want my students to have a preconceived idea about me as a person – having a preconceived idea about me as a teacher (she’s tough, or she does wacky things to get our attention, etc… are ok) before they enter my classroom. I also do not want them having my personal information as I have been stalked before by a former students which required police involvement for the safety of me and my family – it (the stalking)  still continues to this day even though I have blocked this student and changed my privacy settings on all social media accounts.

In my room at school, my students must “rest and recharge” their phones during class.  This is done for a variety of reasons – students live in a rural town and many drive – I want them to have a fully charged phone before they leave my class and are on the highways or grids.  Also, when I am instructing, I want their attention.  Quite often I will ask my students to be on their phones researching topics, but when they are not to be on their phones, they must be on the lab benches.  Also, I have never wanted to be accused of allowing a student to send a text, message, etc… that may be harmful to another.

Before I began this class I was very leery of Twitter and Facebook as tools in the classroom – but as of two weeks ago, I now have a school Twitter account and now use Hootsuite.  Originally I did not use Hootsuite – for about one day – until I was seeing what my students were posting that was not related to school, I really do not want to see what they post.  Personally, using Hootsuite has been a way of protecting myself!  What if one of my students posted a sext and I saw it – would I be charged if I did not report that?  No, I did not even want to venture into those waters!  Especially after watching Sext Up Kids.

I researched how many wireless subscribers there are in Canada currently – 29,062,796!  Along with the 29 million wireless subscribers, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunication Association reports that  one in five households only have wireless phone services in their homes – we happen to be one of those households – no land line!  I was a bit surprised that Canadians sent an extraordinary amount of texts per day – 270 Million! But it isn’t just texting that draws us in to communicate wireless with one another.  92% of teenagers go online daily due to the ease of access they have to smartphones.  With Facebook being the most popular form of social media platform being used by teens, 71% of teens use more than one social media platform to communicate with one another.

Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat Top Social Media Platforms for Teens

 

Analyzing the above statistics, I began to research the number of teenagers that sext.  I found the following information from PCs N Dreams:


 

“Here are Some of the Shocking Sexting Statistics:

The percent of teenagers who have sent or posted nude or semi-nude pictures or video of themselves:

  • 20% of teenagers overall
  • 22% of teen girls
  • 18% of teen boys
  • 11% of young teen girls ages 13-16

The percent of teenagers sending or posting sexually suggestive messages:

  • 39% of all teenagers
  • 37% of teen girls
  • 40% of teen boys”


 

Venture Academy‘s research found the same as the Doc Zone episode, teens find that sexting is simply  fun and flirtatious,  but our students do not really realize that once they have hit the “send” button, they can not undo the sext – it can follow them around forever and may even impact them for future careers.  

I invite you to watch the following video about parents whom went to the authorities when they found out that their child was sexting – would you do the same and do you agree with the panel?

Now, with everything that I have researched, I must go and look over my privacy settings again to ensure I have the tightest security possible!

Reinvention of Education

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Photo Credit: Cheers Paralegal via Compfight cc


Last week everything began to click for me in this course, woohoo!  This week, I am having continued clicking taking place, but now am really beginning to re-evaluate where I sit in the continuum of educators and how we teach our students according to our own pedagogy.  During my reflection of the required reading this week, I began to wonder if I am really a “traditional” style teacher or not?  As the above paragraph stated – I really do not think of myself as a traditional teacher. I like to include my students in the learning process, not only within the learning of new content, or the scaffolding of content, but the assessment and extensions of the content itself.

The reading this week confirmed the style of teaching that I have naturally evolved towards – more socially responsible, rhizomatic teachings.  Although I am not completely at the rhizomatic teaching style, I feel that I am well on my way.  As a science teacher whom implements student inquiry as a way of learning subject matter quite heavily – rhizomatic learning appeals greatly to me.  I see that I have evolved along the Philosophy and Education Continuum chart from a realism philosophy to a pragmatism philosophy.  My students are not required to learn for mastery, but rather become masters of the learning through problem solving – connecting and networking with others either in person or finding and understanding information via technology.

Ashley’s blog, especially the idea of unschooling by Callie Vandeweil, led me towards reflecting on the way that students learn.  Students can learn in a multitude of ways – and I agree with Ashley – we should not get rid of the traditional school but as facilitators we can do just that – facilitate the way that students learn.  By allowing our students to become responsible digital citizens, and to learn effectively, we are only opening up the doors to the students own learning experiences.  Especially in the classrooms of today, where we may have 4 different curriculum’s to teach (modified, adapted, regular, alternative) – teaching our students to learn digitally and to be good digital citizens with the teacher being the vessel facilitating the learning will/may allow for a deeper understanding and supportive learning of the content material if we allow the students to take the lead of their learning and assessments.  Jennifer posted a great site to our google plus community, Digital Citizenship, which explains the importance of allowing our students to become literate digital citizens within our classrooms. Cultural Anthropologist, Mimi Ito – hit the nail on the head when she stated that our current educational practices are missing the piece of supporting engagement in learning via “geeking out” through social media and digital citizenship and proactively engage students.  We must break through the idea that the internet is a hostile place to learn, and teach our students that there are many opportunities to engage and learn effectively, and as educators we must give students equal access to on-line learning communities in a safe place (classroom) and teach them the responsibilities of on-line learning.

Students are digital outside of the school, so why not inside of the school – allowing students to create a knowledge cloud using media such as remixing, YouTube, creating websites and blogging, networking through Twitter and Facebook.  Katie Salen, executive director of Quest 2 Learn school in New York, explains that game design allows student to think deeper and more abstractly than they do in traditional schools.  Game design is how kids socialize, they also drive students to want to be better. The student must proceed from one quest to another, each quest getting harder and harder, to become better at problem solving through design thinking. All a video game is, is a set of problems that must be solved in order to win.  Students are encouraged to be in charge of their own learning, to become adaptive, problem based thinkers. Even watching the video – we see that some of the classrooms are designed in a way which allows for student to be a collaborative group – all of the desks are grouped together as one large conference table (I do this in my classroom), encouraging class discussions.

As this course continues to click for me, I will continue to re-evaluate, find and create a digital citizen ship based approach to learning.  Apropos blended education continuum just may be my major topic for EC&I 831 next semester, but it is alongside a growing list of technologies that I would like to implement into my teaching pedagogy.

Friend NOT Foe

 

Rethink Teaching to Remix Learning is a TEDx talk by Jared Stein in which he speaks about his journey to build a blended course for the benefits of his students.  He created a course in which students would participate both face-to-face and online.  The advantages of an online portion of the course is to allow for flexibility and full participation of all students within an asynchronous setting either with text or video.  Our lives are becoming increasingly blended every day; we use digital technologies to plan our day via a calendar to help us keep our physical appointments to collaboration with colleagues in the same room using an online document such as google doc.  He touches on the topic of adaptation towards the tools and technologies that are being created today as we are not going to go back to tools that were used in classrooms in the past.  This talk really spoke to me in regards to what I observe happening within my class each day:  more and more students are choosing to use their digital devises for communication purposes.  I am beginning to ponder how I can adapt my teaching practice towards enveloping this idea.  How can my science teaching evolve towards students learning via digital devices?13908545259

Linguist David Crystal’s talk: Texts and Tweets really struck a cord with me and I began to develop a sense of curiosity around this topic, especially with my students whom are adapted or modified within my classes.  Crystal stated that “texting gives students the motivation to read and write and that kids today read more than in the past simply due to texting”.  In fact, in order to text, one must be literate!  He also stated that “not too many people use abbreviations, texting or not”.  I went back to the exams that I have given this year, not one of the exams has an abbreviation on it!  In fact, there are less spelling mistakes on these exams than those that I recall in the past (with the exception of Health Science – some of the terms are misspelled, but phonetically correct).

Larry Lessig spoke of re-mixing to make something different – to take a topic and use media to help kids make sense of that topic – have the students do this to engage them in their learning experiences is not piracy, in fact, its empowering!  Students today are different than they were generations ago, we must do better for our students today and allow them to use the tools that they have been given, grown up with, and use on a daily basis already.  As teachers, we have the responsibility to help our students learn to the best of their ability; regardless of their programming  desc regular, adapted, modified, alternative.

The reading this week have really challenged and excited me all at the same time.  The readings/videos have lit a fire within my teaching pedagogy to create lessons which allow each student to use their digital technology to show me what they have learned, in their own way and at each students own learning capability, of the content within my courses.  I feel that I am on the cusp of turning science education at the high school level into a different, real word, more relevant experience for my students.  I already teach very differently than some of my colleagues – we role play scenarios for an entire semester – and I have found this to be an amazing experience for both the students and myself.  But now, I want to change the way students show me what they have learned, I want to assess my students on their understanding of the content materials differently.  I want them to re-mix their learned knowledge within the course into an elegant composition.  How I will do that, I do not  yet know… but it all about the journey and not about the finale. 

Does This Hat Make Me Look Transparent?

How many identities does one have?   This week I wanted to focus my research on my social identity, namely how vulnerable am I on-line, who has access to my personal data, am I being careful enough in regards to what I post on Facebook and what I like on Instagram or Twitter?  I watched Pernielle Tranberg’s TEDxOxford talk titled Fake It, which proved to me that although I feel I am very careful in regards to my digital footprint, there is room for improvement.

In her talk, Pernielle Tranberg indicated that she has three identities:

  1. Pernielle Tranberg (Twitter, Linked in – professional posts)
  2. Pia Thomassen (facebook. pintrest – personal posts)
  3.  Nanna Bach (pages and apps asking for personal identity)

All three are one within the same, and she has chosen to do this so that she can manage what information about herself is out for the public to view, what personal data she is giving out. It is easy to create a fake identity.  I went on to Fake Name Generator and instantly had a new identity, please don’t call me Carla anymore, I now prefer Georgia Clarke.  You can view my  “new” data here:

Georgia Clarke

See, we share so much information inadvertently via social media with one photograph:  who took the photo, where the photo was taken and who has been tagged in the photo. There are risks to sharing including:

  • social profiling – almost every employer will socially profile you – they are looking at social posts, friends, over sharing (confidentiality), constantly complaining or gossiping. 9/10 companies are socially profiling.  7/10 are rejected due to social profiling.
  • Insurers – robbers are following your online profiles – you post pictures of yourself on holidays and have advertised that you are not home – insurance companies do not want to insure you if your asking to be robbed.  May even come down to health insurance being affected as well.
  • social profiling does not only happen on the web, but with any apps that we download onto our devices – they ask our personal info.  Location monitoring, access to our contacts
  • identity risks – use fake email addresses – Jennifer’s post Felicia Day had this happen to her by internet trolls.  Her message, similar to Pernielle’s, PROTECT YOURSELF, censor your world in a way as to not be vulnerable.
  • tracking devices, cookies – pricing will depend on our form of social behaviour in the future (will buy more when depressed – consciously and unconsciously advertise this on Facebook).

Everything  that is being posted on social media is being stored in personal identity banks.  Pernielle Tanberg introduces the topic of Data Sex, and that there are two main types of individuals:

1. 100% private person, never share anything.

2. Datasexual – Shares everything!  Even when they run, how many steps taken, etc. Completly transparent and “authentic” self.    Some people actually get something intimate out of this.  23 and Me is an example of this.

Tanberg explores the idea of Radical Transparency being where we, as a society,  are heading, but really this type of transparency would  only be preferred  if you were on your last job, or position where personal opinions, posts, etc would not inhibit further employment opportunities.

We have a right to control our transparency, Facebook wants us to be very transparent, very thin!  Some people are giving in to Facebook,  giving everything including their cell phone numbers.  I don’t, in fact I feel that I sit somewhere in the middle of the Data Sex population, I am not Datasexual, but I am not 100% private.  I do share happy occasions, but not occasions in which I feel that I could be so transparent as to cost me my job or hurt my loved ones.  One easy trick, wear a hat to protect your facial recognition – apps and websites have a harder time with facial recognition when we have a hat on in our on-line pictures.

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image credit: Young Woman With A Fancy Hat via free images (license)

Other than changing your identity to protect yourself, there are apps and websites that allow you to see what others see of your information Kristina posted , I Shared What.  But I have to be honest, I didn’t try it, simply because after researching this week, I have found that I am more cautious than ever about entering personal information into sites or apps or posting thoughts onto social media that may be read wrong as Ron Johnson discussed.

I now wonder, if Justine Sacco has more than one social identity, would she have been dismissed from her job?

Good Grief?

“Hello Cats and Kittens”

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image credit: Angel Of Grief via free images (license)

 

I struggled with our readings for class this week.  The content seemed very hard to deal with, maybe it is because I am having an “off” week as education week was very busy at our school; but I don’t think that is why.  I am sure that I am having a hard time because we lost a staff member at our school this year, on the second day of classes.  Needless to say, the year did not start off the way we planned.  Maybe I am having a hard time too because the staff member who passed away was our vice-principal, a good friend of mine, and now a position in which I am currently occupying at school, acting vice-principal.  This is the most personal post that I have written, and I am surprised that I am okay with writing it, but I am.  One required reading for this week, Split Screen, really struck a cord with me as did She’s Still Dying on Facebook, both of these posts ignited in me a wonderment of grief and if there was a good way to grieve via social media? Is social media a healthy avenue for allowing the bereavement process to take place?  In the video below, one statement made by Amrah Braha 5:32 resonated: “Grief is done in isolation often”, she explains that social media creates a community of those grieving for the same person, a connection.

Although both Split Screen and the above video, In Memory,  have to do with someone whom has chosen to end their life due to suicide, it was the social media aspects that resonated, each in their own way.  In Split Screen we saw that nothing as it seems, most times we only post the happy / perfect moments on social media (I know that I do and I really feel that that is the norm), In Memory shows us how real connections over grief can be comforting.

I went digging on-line to see how many articles/videos there were on death and social media.  I often wondered what happened to social media accounts such as Facebook when one dies.  As educators, we will unfortunately bury at least one student over the course of our career.  I am one of those whom already has, and her social media accounts are still open and active.  This student died 5 years ago, there are current posts from her friends on her site today. She has become somewhat of a celebrity, just because she died.  The article Facebook and Death explains how we can all die like celebrities thanks to social media.  When someone died pre-Facebook, we would receive a phone call, now we are often finding out  via social media when someone has passed away.  I knew that our vice principal passed away before I received the “phone tree phone call”, in fact I had a staff member call me to ask if this was true and I was shocked.  But since his death many have been posting to his page, and if not posting to his page, they are looking at it to see who has been posting and what has been placed there.  I agree with Mrs. Braha, social media really has brought together a sense of community for those grieving the same person, it has shortened the distance between everyone and created a common area to share our memories with his family as explained in the article Positive Technology.  In my case, social media was good for dealing with my grief of my friend and co-worker, as I am sure it is for my former students dealing with the loss of their friend.