Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Reflections on my Student Digital Citizenship presentation

On Tuesday May 26th I gave my Student Digital Citizenship presentation to the grade 6-10's (the 11 and 12's were at work experience so they will have the presentation another day). The assembly began with the administration detailing our school's new Student Computer and Internet Use Policy. They did a great job describing it and relating back to our moral intelligences. The students were given each a copy of the policy, which gave them the ability to look through the policy and ask any questions that they may have had - getting their input was a good idea. Then it was over to me and my spiel about everything from Internet safety, cyberbullying to critical thinking, responsibility and ownership.

I began on a fairly light note, stating how many of the tools we see and use online can be useful and productive, and how these technologies are being utilized in some other schools and school divisions in Saskatchewan. I thought that keeping a local focus would help the students relate better to the idea of how technology can be implemented in their classrooms as useful tools. I showed the funny medieval help desk video, then went into how technology is being used in Prairie South School Division from the youtube video that Dean Shareski posted (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZVfsNMH3XI). I know it is not the 2008 video he posted but this one was shorter and focused enough on what was needed for this presentation. It is likely that my students and staff will eventually see the 2008 video because it is obviously more relevant. The students were shown some of the great ideas and innovative lessons that can be done with the help of technology in the classroom.

I then say to the students that along with the use of technology comes the concerns of Internet safety. With safety in real life as an issue we discuss, the concept of Internet safety should not be any different. It should be and will be something that we will talk about more and more as should be done with the ever-changing technology. I talked about how many of the seemingly innocent and fun websites and especially social networking sites can be a breeding ground of indiscretion and issues waiting to happen. Posting pictures, adding new friends, talking about other people in email, posting comments, etc. these are things that students encounter almost every day on the Internet, and they need to be aware of what to do when they get into situations and what to do when it happens to them. I talked about being critical thinkers; if when you are writing an essay that you only use the first 2 hits on Google, copy/paste and only re-word the sentences, that you are not going to learn what your teacher is hoping for. An essay is not only about the writing format, but the content it involves. You are supposed to be an expert on your topic you write about, be a critical thinker and know what you are talking about when all is said and done! Plagiarism is a serious offence and why people choose to plagiarize is important to recognize. Being lazy is one of the main reasons, and students need to take extra time to make sure that their own reputation is kept in tact by not plagiarizing their work. If your name goes on it, it better be your own work, from your own thoughts. (Hopefully my speech will help keep this type of stuff from happening...)

Some students started laughing during a few of the cyberbullying videos and my teacher-mode broke in, wanting to get mad at them for laughing at a serious topic; but then I thought about it for a minute and realized something. Not only was it a certain few, not only was it mostly from one grade level, but I realized something more significant about this situation. After the video was over, I turned to them and said 'Your laughing is inappropriate, but I get it. It makes you uncomfortable. It is a reaction that can happen when you are nervous or when the subject matter hits home, but I want you to think about how your laughing could affect everyone else in this room. If you are uncomfortable, then maybe some time needs to be given to think about why you are uncomfortable watching these videos.' I gave the teacher 'wait time' and they stopped laughing after that. Many of them put their heads down. I finally hit home. It was a moment of truth for them, and I was glad to see that these videos and this type of presentation could make an impact. It took someone bringing it straight to their faces for them to realize a few points. We can blabber to them during class about these things but it is in these moments that we can make a difference. If my presentation, these videos or my speeches that can help shape my students then my purpose is being fulfilled.

I ended with how this policy, as related to our moral intelligences, may seem restrictive but that nothing is ever off limits in a classroom learning experience. With teacher directed learning, students will never be restricted from learning with using these tools.

I say that "The key thing is that we are all in a school together, and we need to understand that certain items are obviously not school appropriate, and therefore, should not be viewed or accessed from school...As you know, it is always your best option to be up-front with your teachers and be honest about what you are doing when you are using computers...Your teacher will be the guide and you the explorer. Keep the lines of communication open with your teachers and remember that safety and responsibility is the first step in becoming a true digital technology citizen."

All in all? A big success. Needed more time, but don't I always say that?? Ha, Ha!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"A Changing World" of Communication

Thanks to James Herrick and his amazing "synapses firing" that happened, because this assignment was based on his ideas and trial run of this assignment. It was the basis of my own creation of this type of assignment. I am telling you not to re-invent the wheel when you do not have to - especially when you surround yourself with people who have such great ideas all the time! :-)

This is an experiment really. I want to see how well this can work. I am aware that many of the items listed is not a finished list - but I fully expect the students to add to it is introduced to them tomorrow in class. Hence the idea of using the wonderful Google docs application to do this! I have started it off - and we can "tweak" it in class - ensuring that the students have a voice, which is crucial in my opinion. No point in blabbering to them about things they already know about and getting them to find out about tools they already use! I will use this Google doc as the beginning of the assignment and I will make sure it is updated once we have figured out a good direction. I am hoping for some wonderful feedback and constructive criticisms -we'll see!

I called it "A Changing World" of Communication. (Thanks James!)

Check it out!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Student Digital Citizenship Presentation

Here is my Student Digital Citizenship presentation page from my wikispace:
Thank you to all those who have helped with information finding and ideas for formatting and placement of items. :-) Much appreciated! Kudos to those who did research and helped me save time by sharing what they did!


"We Think" - and the reply done by a student...

I just saw the video called "we think" on youtube.com, then I happened to have seen this reply of this video made by a student - a 21st century learner! She shares her thoughts on the video and how she was really impressed. We can take a lot from this - if she can post her thoughts in a forum like youtube, and I can view them and take significance from them then it really shows how our world has evolved. What an exciting time! It also leaves the question and issue of responsibility - because what if she hated it and posted rude ideals - then it would be on the web forever! Thinking before posting is extremely important - and I think this all just re-enforces what we have been saying - that these values need to be brought to the attention of our students. Check it out!

Video 1 - We Think

Video 2 - Re:We Think

What do you think about this type of technology - giving the power to students to verbalize and visualize their thoughts in a powerful medium such as youtube.com??

21st Century Pedagogy

21st Century Pedagogy:
Very interesting....

Friday, May 16, 2008

Alec Couros and Rob Wall - Open. Connected. Social. - May 16/08 1:00pm

Alec Couros and Rob Wall - Open. Connected. Social. - May 16/08 1:00pm

Check out my notes - sorry my computer started to die so I stopped taking notes part way through.


Great Presentation Guys!!!!!!

"Shoppers ready to go high-tech" - article - a must read!

Neat article I just saw in my bloglines. It caught my attention with a headline saying:
"Shoppers ready to go high-tech" - which of course peaks my interest when I realized that it may be something that combines what I love - the internet and shopping! :-)

Check it out!!!

Shoppers ready to go high-tech

Sum it up? I can't. Read it. But I will share my favorite paragraph:

"The technologies included biometric fingerprint payment (using your fingerprint to pay by placing it on a sensor that links to your bank account); interactive dressing room help; smart carts (shopping carts with an onboard computer); 3D body scanning that would make recommendations about clothes and brands likely to fit; interactive dressing room mirrors; holographic sales assistants, networked home appliances that do such things as create shopping lists and arrange deliveries; and cellphones that can be used to pay for purchases or receive ads and product information."

WOW! What do you think? Comment!

Kelly Christopherson - School-Wide Integration of Technology

Kelly Christopherson - Integrating Web 2.0 - School-Wide Integration of Technology - May 16/08
Kelly Christopherson is the principal in Eston.

The website he recommends:

Check out my notes from his presentation!

What a passionate speaker!!!! Great presentation!

Stephen Downes - 10 predictions for the future

Here are my google doc notes from Stephen Downes keynote presentation (May 16/08 @ 9am):


I found his presentation a bit "out-there" but nonetheless interesting and thought-provoking. His ideas may not all be "out-there", but I still have a difficult time seeing them happening within the next say 5 years or so. I want you to be aware that a lot of these predictions have a basis of theory and a basis of research. If you do any reading on these subjects, you will see that he has a lot of relevance to today and I can see how he can predict these things for the future. I can tell you that a lot of what he says are not things that are crazy - but more understandable and possible than you may think.

He used an online powerpoint that allowed audience members to contribute the presentation, but it did not seem to help his presentation, but take away from it. Don't get me wrong, it was funny, but maybe not appropriate when we were supposed to be thinking and considering his 10 predictions for the future. :-) It's all good though! Enjoy the notes!

In Conclusion:
Focus on the abstract and the metaphorical - because it will become a reality. It may not replace what we have now, but it will change how we create our values in our society and our concepts of reality.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

the "digiteen" project wikispace

On the Cool Cat Teacher Blog - by Vicki A. Davis, she has been working on a "digiteen" project with students and educators. She has started a wikispace and been adding to it throughout the year (beginning at April of this year). There are videos, statistics, etc. on everything from digital citizenship to internet safety to teaching strategies. It is very informative and has some really great resources. I was impressed how she has included students in this process - which I believe makes it more valid and current.

The beginning of the wikispace starts out by her saying that this wikispace is:
"A web page for a digital citizenship group project between Qatar Academy, Westwood Schools in Camilla, Georgia USA and Vienna International School in Vienna, Austria."

WOW! What a novel idea! Global collaboration! How exciting!!! This is not innovative - despite what you may think - but it IS something that needs to be explored more often. Lots of work? yes. possibly less if you give your students more creative control. but yes. work. (Vicki was great enough to comment - check it out! ! She says it really was not that much work; "The students wrote the wiki themselves -- not the teachers! They did it all! They came up with the action projects to teach the other students. As for it being a lot of work, it really wasn't at all. We started off watching the PBS series "Growing up online" and then moved into this.")

What a build up, huh? I hope that you all take a chance to check this out and really look at the items on the navigation bar on the side - see what other people are doing, and maybe come up with some ideas to help you teach your students internet safety - hopefully in a more exciting way than barking at them at the front of the room!

Check it out:

If you want more information on what Vicki Davis' thoughts are - and more specific information on this project, check out her blog:

PS - Thank you Vicki Davis for leaving your comments/thoughts! I really appreciate your touch on this post - I just read your blog and was "wowed" - I had to tell everyone as soon as I could! And thank you for fixing my much needed corrections on the timeline and who is really doing all that work! Thanks again! :-)

Alan November and Web 2.0 tools for Teachers!!!!

Alan November Presentation Notes made by ME!- a must see!


He is a wonderful presenter that has a lot of forward-thinking ideas. He is a big-picture kind of guy and he focused on having the students really understand how the internet works. Check it out! Lots of really good ideas that are practical and fairly easy to implement!

Oh and here are some more great tools - Allison went to this presentation while I stayed for the Alan November Presentation. - It was about giving great Web 2.0 Tools For Teacher!

-There are many items including communicating tools, organizing tools, etc. WONDERFUL!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Digital Citizenship Presentation Review

I held my digital citizenship presentation on Friday May 2nd and it went really well. I presented the page on my wikispace to my staff and went through as much as I could. I was slotted to have a half hour but ended up taking a full hour, and did not even have sleepy eyes from my audience when I was done! ha ha!

I started off showing the "help desk" video and it was a big hit! We all loved the video and laughed - so the presentation started off big and it kept up that way throughout. We discussed a lot of the different aspects involved in web 2.0 and how these different changes can improve our teaching and enhance students skills for the future. We discussed resources and they were happy to see that there were a lot of them available for both teachers and parents. As many teachers are also parents they were happy to have some ways of checking on their kids and on themselves!

Allison's quote I used was useful - we talked about how the difference between face-to-face interactions and items that are discussed online are a lot of times dangerous for students because they tend to forget (or not realize) the issues of how they speak or share information online. How yes we need to teach/tell the students, but that we cannot always show them because of safety issues - for example - me taking students on a facebook account and showing them all the bad things that they could do - would not be the smartest thing I could do! Rather, just discuss these things and hopefully they can realize why it is unsafe and a lot of times inappropriate. From this I lead into Internet Safety. This issues was one we talked about a lot, although it was not supposed to be my main focus it seemed that many people on staff wanted to discuss this because of the policy we made for Internet use. It was fine with me because as I have been saying, it is best to have everyone on the same page.

They really liked the Ad Council's short videos (Talent Show and Kitchen) and also the Think Before You Post video. They are extremely powerful and I lead into it saying how disturbing you may find these but that it is important to understand the concept behind it and why this is such an issue - although it may be kept hidden by many of our students. I did not get a chance to show them all of the articles on "Be Safe" because I wanted to do a jigsaw with the staff and did not have the chance - but now they know where the articles are if they are interested.

After much discussion of cyberbullying I gave a change of pace - I moved onto policies. Since I have talked and talked and talked about the school's policy; I just put a link in my wikispace. I chose to quickly discuss the fact that our current Computer Use Policy for the division is completely outdated and that this is the new draft policy for the division. I discussed in overview of what it is about and where the division is heading. I also discussed how it is going to affect teaching in all areas, especially if you use technology of any sort in your classroom.

The last part of my presentation really focused on digital citizenship and this is where I wanted to end off because of how important it was, for us to come to an understanding of what it is and what it entails. I showed a few videos, one made by a group of students in Alaska, and another with professionals talking about Web 2.0 and how it is impacting the world and specifically education. The staff were surprised to see how much information there is available on this topic and how current/relevant it is to their teaching.

In not so many words I told them that "Incorporating technology can be scary, but it is important that your classroom teaching is diversified. This will allow your students so many opportunities that they deserve. It will enhance their quality of education they receive from you and build on your growth as an individual life-long learner."

All in all the response was great. They actually want me to present a shortened version to the students - we'll see how much I can slim it down... They were still talking about it days later and I was happy to have had yet another successful workshop on technology. Reflecting back I seem to think that my enthusiasm and knowledge about the subject has a lot to do with my good responses from staff members. I show how exciting it can be, talk about all the possibilities and give them real life examples from people they know that are using technology in their classrooms; this is what gets them believing that it is possible to accomplish these things and how easy it may just be to diversify their learning strategies.

One of our goals as a staff this year was to keep track of different teaching strategies that we use throughout the year and if not for anything else, it is to keep track of our own teaching - to ensure that we are reaching all students by varying our teaching strategies. I wonder how many teachers in my school are using technology based assignments, or varying their teaching methods by using technology in some way? I hope to have an answer to that by the end of the year. I know this year has been a lot of running around and figuring things out (my first year teaching computers and being tech admin. and being on the new committee) but I think hopefully I have pushed some more staff members towards the technology route. Definitely next year I will give a bigger push and be able to offer more in-class supports now that I know more myself. :-)