Digital citizenship has never been more inspiring!

Hey, everyone!

My major project has been going well, and I have enjoyed creating a curriculum-based resource for supporting digital citizenship and literacy in the classroom. So far, I have created six detailed lesson plans surrounding the elements of Digital Communication, Digital Access, Digital Law, Digital Literacy, Digital Rights & Responsibilities and Digital Safety & Security. Each lesson plan includes essential questions, learning outcomes, lesson overview, detailed teaching instructions as well as additional resources you may include to support digital citizenship in the classroom. The contents of my major project are organized and posted within the Google classroom I created, specifically for this course.

Shortly after the Easter Break, I returned to work from my maternity leave. Although I did not feel fully prepared for this transition (as I imagine most mothers are not), I was excited to meet my students and prepared to incorporate my curriculum-based resource that I have been working so hard to develop! In fact, it did not take more than a day of teaching before I began to speak about this resource with some of my colleagues! When I mentioned I was creating a curriculum-based resource to support digital citizenship education within schools, you would not believe the reactions I received! Not only were teachers asking if I could share my resource with them, but some of them even offered to help me create the remaining lessons I have not yet completed, as they were very interested and wanted to get involved! I was completely blown away by my colleagues positive comments and their desire to contribute to my project! After all, isn’t that what this project and course are about? Creating awareness and encouraging other professionals to support digital citizenship along with media literacies?

Therefore, after much contemplation, I decided to sit down and collaborate with several of my colleagues during our common preparation times and during the noon hour to plan out the three remaining elements needed in order to complete my curriculum-based resource for the elementary level. The remaining elements are: Digital Commerce, Digital Etiquette and Digital Health & Wellness. Together, we will thoroughly examine these three elements and design interactive activities that will demonstrate each concept.

Now, I understand how this change of plan may appear in regards to the overall completion of my major project. However, after receiving such positive feedback and eagerness to become involved, I felt compelled to accept my colleagues support! As educators, it is extremely important for our students to learn about appropriate and responsible behaviour with regard to technology use, just as we are encouraged to incorporate a variety of digital tools to be used in our teaching practices. Moreover, as life-long leaners, we understand the value of technology and its contribution to our learning.

With that being said, my final blog post for my major project will include the class code you will require in order to access this resource. During that time, you may only see six detailed lesson plans posted by me, but soon will have access to all nine lessons as soon as my colleagues and I finish collaborating and post the remaining lesson plans. I hope you enjoy this resource and find it useful!

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Summary of Learning

Well, we did it folks! We have officially completed EC&I 832! I have learned so much about the importance of digital citizenship and media literacies! As an educator, this course’s content has been extremely valuable to me, as I intend to utilize a variety of digital media sources in my teaching practices. I would like to express my appreciation for everything I have learned by saying thank you to Alec and everyone in the Zoom room, Google+ community, and Twitter community for contributing to my learning this semester!

For my summary of learning project, I decided to create an animated presentation that includes dialogue, using a program called Goanimate. Goanimate has proven to be very user-friendly, engaging and fun! I enjoyed using this online tool to represent my learning and highly recommend you give this program a try, whether it be for personal or professional use! I look forward to collaborating with you all in the future! Thank you to everyone who shared in my learning experience this semester! So, without further ado, I present to you my summary of learning project. I really hope you enjoy it!

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Media and Me

With all of the advancements in technology, it is no surprise that our personal life has become highly dependent upon it. Technology has changed the way we communicate, the way we learn, and the way we receive and make sense of information. As people’s demands and life style change, so does the technology. From smart phones to tablets, there is always a way to stay connected and conveniently access current information/media.

Nowadays, a fresh off the press newspaper has become somewhat obsolete. If we wish to listen or read about current events happening in our world, all we need to do is turn on our television, laptop computer, or simply take out our smart phones and instantly we are connected through an abundance of different media sources.

On an average day, I check social media several times (more so during the evening after my son has gone to bed). But, if I’m being completely honest, I would say I am always “connected”. Specifically, I am checking my Facebook feed, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter accounts. Monitoring my email (work and personal) is easy as I get instant notifications sent directly to my cell phone. Once I receive an email, I am usually quick to respond. Although, this promptness may change once I return to work from my maternity leave.

During the evening, my husband and I usually have the television on and are watching the news (CBC and Global mostly). This is usually when we catch up on our daily news fix. Like Kyle, during the day we are mainly connected to cell phones, scrolling through Twitter for information and news. As for analyzing the credibility of information/media, my strategies are similar to Krista’s. When I read a piece of information and question its authenticity, usually the  questions I will ask myself are: Who is the author? Why is this information being shared? Who is the targeted audience? What source is this information coming from? After asking myself these questions, I am usually inspired to investigate the source from which I have read the information from, before assuming the information is authentic.

After watching Luke’s recent vlog on media literacy, I feel more confident in my ability to investigate media sources. Within his video, he reminds both teachers and learners to be cautious of fake news surrounding technology and social media today. Moreover, he explains the many ways we can guide/coach our students to think critically while examining different forms of media and to be reflective.

Overall, the effects of technological advancement are both positive and negative. It is positive because technology has simplified the way we do things, increases productivity, simplifies communication and provides instant access to up to date information. But, some would say it is negative due to being too dependent upon technology and lack of innovation. Despite these pros and cons, technology is here to stay and we will continue to receive information through its use. Therefore, educating students about digital media/literacy is crucial in the development of producing informed citizens that possess the ability to think critically about media messages and be able to respond appropriately.

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Digital citizenship and assessment

Since the beginning of this course, I have been working towards developing a curriculum-based resource to support digital citizenship, for the elementary level. So, I thought it would be a good idea to talk a little bit about how I plan to incorporate assessments and the use of digital tools to support it.

As educators, we understand the value of assessment as it provides us with a clear description of what our students have learned. Furthermore, it helps to improve students’ learning and indicates areas where improvement is needed. Both students and teachers can use the information gained from assessments to determine their next teaching and learning steps. It is important to note that assessment for learning is an ongoing process, therefore what makes assessment for learning effective is based upon how well the information is delivered and used.

Seeing as I am developing a curriculum-based resource that pertains to teaching about digital citizenship and all of its elements, I thought it be more effective to include the use of online tools to document student learning throughout this unit, as opposed to using the traditional printed forms of assessment. The majority of the assessment throughout this unit will be received in the form of formative assessment, specifically by students responding to questions related to each element of digital citizenship and sharing their learning using an online journal, student portfolio, or by blogging. As for the type of online tool, this is open to interpretation and is not specified within this resource. Purposefully, I have left the decision up to the teacher to select an online tool that is effective for them as well as their students. However, if I can make a suggestion, I recommend classroom teachers use Seesaw, Google Classroom/Google Documents or WordPress. Each of these online tools are user-friendly, easy to access, and provides students with the opportunity to showcase their work. Moreover, student portfolios and blogging “empowers students to independently document their learning with built-in creative tools, and provides an authentic for their work”.

At this point in time, I do not see myself developing a final summative assessment piece for my curriculum-based resource. Why? Well, because there are non-traditional ways to use summative assessments to enhance the learning process. Effective digital citizenship education shouldn’t be taught primarily in lecture form. It involves hands-on practice within a safe and monitored environment, guided by the classroom teacher. Therefore, my goal for assessment with this resource is to offer different options beyond summative assessments by allowing students the opportunity to explain material in a way they feel comfortable with and to examine their knowledge in real-world applications as opposed to paper, pencils and multiple choice questions. With that being said, my decision for not creating a final assessment piece for this curriculum-based unit is not based on the fact that I do not agree with summative assessments, as summative assessments have a lot of advantages. But, when educating students about digital citizenship, the evidence to support their understanding should be based more so through active participation while using a variety of digital tools.

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I can read and write, but does this mean I’m “fully literate”?

For this week’s blog, we were asked to consider the question: What does it mean to be fully literate? Well, if you are literate, this means you are able to read and right. But is that it? The answer is…Absolutely not! It is so much more than just the ability to read and write! In today’s digital world, being literate has a new meaning. It means you are able to evaluate the quality and credibility of websites, think critically about the intentions of commercial websites and advertising, and apply different search strategies to increase the accuracy and relevance of online search results.

With all of the technological advances today, both young and adult learners have access to an abundance of online resources and tools to support their learning. Traditional textbooks seem to be obsolete as the majority of individuals turn to the world-wide web to access information. Although retrieving information online may appear to be quick and convenient, its content still needs to be examined critically. According to Common Sense Education, “Too often, students who are looking for information online (particularly for their school work) conduct an oversimplified search that leads to millions of results’. ‘With a sea of information at their fingertips, it is crucial for young people to think about how they search and what they find online’”. This is the same for adult learners or digital immigrants who lack the skills to critically analyze digital content.

Developing digital media/literacy is crucial for today’s modern students. But, this process needs to be encouraged by schools, teachers and parents. Krisanne states in her blog, “The earlier children are introduced to digital literacy, even if it starts at a ‘learn to use’ stage, the better’. ‘It is unrealistic for the education system not to prepare children for the world that they live it’”. I couldn’t agree with you more, Krisanne! Establishing digital media/literacy skills is not embedded into our brains overnight. Students should be taught how to critically analyze the different forms of digital literacy in a safe and monitored environment, guided by the teacher. As educators, the worst thing we can do for our students is to assume they already obtain the information literacy skills/fundamentals to thrive in a digital space!

I don’t know about you, but I think it is safe to say that the digital world is here to stay. So why not prepare our students for what lies ahead? Yes, literacy is the ability to read and write, but it is also the ability to understand. Therefore, it is important to remember that developing digital media/literacy is entirely separate from computer literacy. Although it is essential to expose students to a variety of digital tools that may be beneficial, learning how to critically analyze information they find online should be the targeted focus.

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Shaping digital citizens, online and offline!

Last week, we were fortunate to have Patrick Maze, the President of the STF, join our online class in a discussion about digital citizenship. He spoke to us about the role both schools and teachers play in educating students about digital citizenship. Patrick states, “As teachers, we need to uphold our own professionalism and monitor our digital footprint by practicing responsible online behaviour”. Within our profession, it can be difficult to live our lives to the fullest online, meaning we need to exercise caution when sharing content, such as personal/private information and photos. The truth is, educators are held to a higher standard within the eyes of the public and are expected to be “quite neutral”.

As human beings, this reality can sometimes feel unfair as educators are not only judged by their peers, but also by the public. Therefore, it is crucial that we are careful and use our best judgment before posting something online that could result in the destruction of our personal/professional reputation or possibly the loss of employment. Patrick also spoke to us about the dangers of being too involved online with students and their parents. He states, “When teachers allow students or their parent’s permission to communicate with them online through social media (such as Facebook or Twitter), it creates the perception that they are always available because they can see your online activity”. As a wife and busy mother, I know I have the right to a personal life, so I do not allow instant communication to my students or their parents. Therefore, I have made a personal choice not to “friend” or accept any add/follow requests from my students or their parent’s. If they have a question or need to speak with me, they can send me an email, call the school, or arrange to meet with me during school hours.

As Krista states in her blog, “Schools hold a huge responsibility to support the development of digital citizenship in education because its learners have constant access to technology”. As educators, we are aware of our student’s involvement online because we see and hear about their online activity of a daily basis. But the important question is, “Do they practice responsible and appropriate behaviour with regard to technology use”? It is the responsibility of school boards, educators, and parents to educate today’s modern students about digital citizenship and all of its elements. Specifically, this responsibility includes: introducing students to the proper use of a variety of digital tools and guided practice online in a monitored environment. Parents that may be considered digital immigrants within today’s digital world may not obtain the confidence, knowledge and critical thinking skills required for operating technology. Therefore, a lot of parents appreciate or perhaps hope that their children are learning about these concepts in school. Moreover, the policy planning guide from the Ministry of Saskatchewan encourages schools and teachers to be educating students about appropriate online behaviour in the development of becoming positive digital citizens.

Overall, if we expect our children and students to be successful, well-rounded digital citizens within a digital society, then we need to understand that this process needs to be taught and supported. It is simply not embedded into our brains. The combined role between schools boards, teachers and parents play in teaching about digital citizenship is crucial. We cannot expect our youth to achieve this goal on their own.

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Major project update!

Hey everyone,

I thought I would provide you all with an update regarding the progress of my major digital project. Recently, I completed another detailed lesson plan for the Digital Law element and added it to my Google classroom. For this lesson, its primary focus involves teaching students how to properly cite information they find online and intend to use. The lesson begins with questioning the student’s previous knowledge about citations and the explains why citing information is not only respectful but a necessary skill to learn. Furthermore, it encourages students to think critically by examining the term plagiarism and some of the possible consequences for not sourcing information properly.


Within schools, teachers should make every effort to include the use of digital tools within their teaching practices in part of teaching about digital citizenship. Now a days, the majority of research is performed online, rather than by the use of traditional textbooks. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that both teachers and students turn to the internet in order to collect data. In today’s digital world, almost anything can be learned online. Although retrieving information online is quick and convenient, it is important for teachers to educate their students about electronic responsibility. Digital law deals with the ethics of technology within a society and these laws apply to anyone who works or plays online. It is crucial for students to understand this. While it may be easy to claim someone else’s work to be your own, plagiarism is unethical and is considered to be an online crime. As a teacher and an adult learner, I cannot stress this enough!

For me, developing this lesson plan was rather meaningful because within my ten years of teaching experience, I have witnessed plagiarism from students (mainly from students in the middle-years level) on several different occasions. Although I would try my best to explain why it is disrespectful and dishonest, I really felt like I did not have the tools or proper knowledge needed in order to teach my students about digital citizenship and all of its elements. But now, this course has granted me a second chance. By creating a curriculum-based resource for teaching about digital citizenship, it will provide me with the opportunity to teach my future students about the norms of appropriate, responsible behaviour with regard to technology use. Moreover, it will encourage the use of digital tools within my day to day teaching practices.

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