Edtc300 is an Online Learning Community

EDTC300 really flew by! It was packed with online contributions and interactions that improved my digital identity. Some apps and programs that we used throughout the course included Zoom, Slack, Feedly, Twitter, WordPress, and a variety of other resources and online supports. These tools supported our classroom community and allowed us to interact, share and collaborate with one another through our computers.

This course provided tons of opportunity for learning and building on my digital citizenship. However, even with the apps and programs that supported my learning, this course still remained a challenge. I struggled with maintaining a fluent online identity throughout this course as I did fall behind with my online contributions. However, with saying that, I still shared many resources on slack and twitter and commented on my classmate’s blog posts, supporting their learning journey. I documented these contributions on a public google slide, make sure to check it out!

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I one hundred percent recommend taking this course. Even though it was a challenge, it pushed me outside my online comfort zone and taught me more skills than most of my required courses. I have not only gained many Resources, but I also know how to use technology to continue my learning journey as an educator. I now know where I can find resources that will not just support my learning, but also the learning of my future students. And most importantly, EDTC300 supported me in created a professional online presence that will enhance my resume when applying for teaching in the future.

Lastly, thank you to Katia Hildebrandt for teaching this course and thank you to my classmates for supporting my learning.

 

The Language Behind Technology: Coding

Without coding, we would not be able to use our apps, websites, and software’s that have become so significant in day-to-day learning and interactions through technology. According to Computer Science Degree Hub, coding is the computer language that is used to develop these forms of assistive technology. It is not only necessary for our students to understand the importance of coding, but it is also essential to teach them how to code. Understanding the basics of coding allows our students to appreciate the technology they use by knowing how it operates. In addition, teaching students how to code introduces them to the career opportunity of computer science. At the end of the day, it is important that our students learn the skills behind the technology that they use.

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Code.org is a great website to use in your classroom when teaching your students how to code. It is free, user friendly, and provides a range of coding challenges ranging from beginner levels to expert ones. This way all of your students will remain engaged and challenged when learning how to code.

I know that some educators do not teach their students how to code because they are unaware of the process. If this is the case for you, check out this video I created below of myself using code.org. In this video I am using the Hour of Code option. As you can tell it is quite simple and can easily be integrated into one of your lessons.

Do you think that coding is important to teach in schools? Why or why not?

Is Your Digital Literacy Robust Enough for Fake News?

As you may be able to tell from my last post, digital literacy is a main focus of my educational technology course. It is important that as an educator you teach your students about their own digital identity and literacy so that they know how to establish whether information online is fake or not. Digital literacy and fake news go hand-in-hand and your students will need to know what to look for on any website in order to indicate whether the content on that website is in fact true or not.

If you want to teach your students about how to recognize fake news but don’t know where to start, check out this article on How do we teach students to identify fake news?.This post talks about how our emotions and beliefs will influence us in deciding whether information is factual or not, I believe this is especially true with younger audiences. This is why it is important to teach your students to be critical and to provide them with the skills necessary to break down the information that is online. Take a look at this website if you are interested in some strategies and ideas that can help your students become critical readers so that they can identify fake news.

Students also need to realize that the term “fake news” is a part of a larger spectrum than it may seem. Alec Couros and Katia Hildebrandt mention in their Developing Critical Literacies post that “the line between real and fake seems increasingly blurred and uncertain” (2018). This is something that we need to acknowledge and be mindful of when teaching our students about fake news. In her article Fake news: It’s complicated Claire Wardle (2017) explains how fake news is a part of this information ecosystem. In order to understandthis ecosystem, we need to be thinking about the different types of content that is being shared and created, what motivates individuals to create this content, and the ways in which this content is being disseminated. As educators we need to ensure that our students are not negatively contributing to this ecosystem where they are sharing misinformation, instead our students should be advocating for the content online that is in fact true.

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Now that I have outline the purpose of teaching your students about their digital literacy, I bet that some of you are still wondering how this connects to curriculum. The Saskatchewan curriculum has a pdf document that connects many aspects of technology to learning outcomes; including fostering digital fluency, technology-supported learning, administrative operations, and technological infrastructure. The Province of Saskatchewan also has a document that outlines the importance of digital fluency and digital citizenship and includes other resources that are helpful for educators. Finally, digital literacy also connects to the NCTE Framework for Curriculum and Assessment that outlines the purposes for technology and skills needed to not only learn about technology but also learn through technology.

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I know that after all of this some of you may be thinking about whether there is enough time for teaching about digital literacy in your classroom with all the other curricular outcomes that need to be met. There are many cross-curricular opportunities out there that incorporate technology and can be used to teach skills that support digital literacy. It is important to remember that this does not happen in one class period, one subject or even one school year. Digital literacy is a lifelong process and you as an educator need to engage your students in this journey.

A Digital Identity for Cyber-Sleuther’s

Throughout the past few days, I have been reflecting a lot on my own digital identity as this has been a key concept in my educational psychology course. As a part of our class we split up into groups and cyber-sleuthed one another. Cyber-sleuthing is when a person does any kind of detective work using the internet. I partnered up with Miss Larea Johnson and Miss Reagan Fedak so we could cyber-sleuth one another; Reagan focused on Larea, Larea focused on myself, and I focused on Reagan.

My experience cyber-sleuthing Reagan was interesting as I was able to find out quite a bit of information on her. I started by googling her name and realized that she was on the Regina Cougars Athletics Site, has her own athlete profile with the IAAF, has two blogs (WordPress & Weebly), and is on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Reagan has a pretty robust digital identity that reflects her athletic accomplishments in Track & Field at the University of Regina as well as her desire to be a middle-years educator. Reagan is an impressive individual, even with such a large digital identity, she remains professional online.

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I was also able to read Larea’s post: “Did You Mean for Me to Find That?” regarding cyber-sleuthing myself. It was interesting to read someone else’s perspective on my individual digital identity and allowed myself to reflect on how I can adapt it in the future. Larea mentions that my Facebook and Instagram have privacy settings whereas my Twitter and WordPress accounts were public which she appreciated as she could get a feel for who I am professionally. Even though this is great, after looking at Reagan’s digital identity I know that I can create a larger digital presence online, as an example I can start by creating a LinkedIn account.

At the end of the day, digital Identities are difficult to maintain as many people have multiple online identities that are created on different social media accounts with a variety of audiences. Nicole Lee writes about this in her blog post on Having Multiple Online Identities is More Normal than You Think. She states that “the idea of just using Facebook as your primary online identity is actually the exception, she says, not the norm” (Nicole Lee, 2016). She also comments on how roughly half of people have more than one Twitter account.
Screen Shot 2019-06-07 at 12.15.26 PM.png This is even more interesting if you take a look at Jon Ronson’s Ted Talk on How one tweet can ruin your life. This leads me to the question:

What are some other ways that you can ensure that you have a professional and robust digital identity?

Advocating for Digital Citizenship

For this week, my friend Reagan Fedak and myself collaborated to create a post on advocating for your students’ digital citizenship. We had a discussion about parents having concerns about us as teachers integrating technology into the classroom. In the future, we both want to implement Twitter in our classroom, but were wondering if parents would have an issue with this not knowing much about Twitter and just thinking that it is another social media app. Therefore, we decided to engage in a conversation where she played the role of a teacher and I played the role of a concerned parent. Reagan addressed my concerns with providing information about how the class is using twitter appropriately and provided resources about the benefits of twitter in the classroom.

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Before engaging in this conversation, we took a look at a variety of resources. Feel free to take a look at the list below.
13 Reasons to use Twitter in the Classroom 
Social Media and the Classroom
20 Ways High Schools Are Using Twitter In The Classroom 
15 Ways To Use Twitter in Education (For Students And Teachers Alike)

As a parent, teacher, or both, how do you feel about integrating Twitter into the classroom?

Read&Write: Enhancing Literacy for your Student’s

As a pre-service teacher, implementing technology into my classroom is all about finding different tools and resources that I can share with my students. Read&Write is a specific resource that is great for supporting your learners who struggle with literacy, especially those exceptional learners where these tools can make a world of a difference for them.

Read&Write offers specific supportive tools that can help our learners gain confidence with their literary skills. It offers text-to-speech for those with visual impairments, text and picture dictionaries, speech to text for those who are hard of hearing, word predictions for suggestions, and other tools that can be supportive for anyone. Watch the video below if you interested in a tutorial of how Read&Write operates.

 

Read&Write is also free for educators and is quite user-friendly. It even has a toolmatcher page so that educators can effectively accommodate for their students. On this page, the educator checks the boxes that best match the needs of their learner, afterwards they click “see how read&write can help” and it offers techniques for the students.

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The SAMR model (substitution, augmentation, modification and redefinition), describes how to integrate technology into teaching and lesson planning. Substitution and Augmentation focus on enhancing the learning for the student whereas Modification and Redefinition focus on transforming the learning for the specific student. In my opinion, Read&Write would fall into the Augmentation category of the SAMR model because it is a tool that enhances the learning for students by providing functional improvements such as text-to-speech.

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As an educator integrating technology into your classroom, do you think it is important to think about whether the resource, tool, or application would enhance or transform the learning for any of your students?

The Culture & Community of Technology

Two important aspects of my educational philosophy are building strong relationships with my students as well as integrating technology into my classroom. As a pre-service teacher taking a course about educational technology, the idea of using technology in the classroom continues to be reinforced. However, not until recently have I thought about using it as a way to build, form and strengthen relationships. This realization came from watching Michael Wesch’s lecture on An Anthropological Introduction to Youtube and taking a few steps back looking at how technology has developed.

In my future classroom, I know that I want technology to be an important aspect of our classroom environment, however to what extent? Technology is an amazing tool, but it is not always a safe one. Wesch’s lecture made me think about not just managing my own online footprint, but also managing my classroom one. In my EDTC300 course, we had a discussion about how the majority of our students will have been born into technology and began their digital footprint while they were still in the womb. This is controversial as our students do not necessarily have an option about their digital footprint, however as a teacher I want to provide them with that right.

In his lecture, Wesch talks about how technology as cultural inversion is more like cultural tension as we as a society express individualism, independence, and commercialization while valuing community, relationships and authenticity. This makes me think about middle years students who are starting to take over their online presence and interacting with their peers online. At this time, technology is a major factor in their identity as they are building their online identity and showing how they want to appear to their peers. This revolves around Cooley’s concept of the Looking-Glass Self and building that self-awareness.

Technology is building these connections and creating interactions for our society. As Wesch mentions, the web is now liking people rather than just linking information. I feel as though it is important that our students are aware of this in order to appropriately participate in our networked, participatory, and digital world. Technology can be extremely controversial, however is a great tool if it is used properly.

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And so, I leave you with a question, do we as teachers use technology in our classrooms to build, form and strengthen relationships? Or is it too risky to make these relationships public?