PLN’ing

I never believed I could have such a large PLN and online support system. I am grateful for all of the new relationships that have been built during my time in ECMP 355. I know that my relationships will continue to build long after this class ends.

I have had the pleasure of being involved with others’ learning as well as learning from my peers. We have all been blogging and tweeting our hearts out and it makes me so happy knowing that I can log on and see such positive posts!

Twitter Contributions: I largely did a lot of my sharing and contributing on Twitter. I was always very excited to see what people were up to and loved the positive feedback that I received! It kept me motivated and helped me in the right direction with my learning. I had no idea how to use Twitter before this class and had never believed that it would be beneficial to my life. I was WRONG. I have been connecting with people that I don’t even know. I have changed my thinking on Twitter a great deal and it has countless wonderful opportunities for educators to communicate and collaborate with each other

Blog Contributions: I have to admit that I did not go on as many blogs as I should have  because it would always come up on my Twitter feed and I would comment or share through Twitter. I did have the chance to check out a few blogs and I am always so amazed at the creativity that I see! I love having the opportunity to check out an authentic blog that is fulled with great resources, lesson plans and inspiration. I was able to inspire quite a few people with my blog posts and it made my heart so happy! Sparking new interest and ideas in other people is a wonderful feeling!

Google Community Contributions: This community was very helpful! I was able to post questions or concerns and there were so many peers right there wanting to help me out! I was able to share some ideas in our community as well as contribute to some others’ learning.

I have a document outlining my contributions and it is categorised into the above categories: Blog comments, Twitter comments and Google Community comments.

ECMP 355 comments

 

 

Coding Fun!

Well to say that I got frustrated while making my Scratch project would be an understatement. I had to try and play around a lot with this site before  I somewhat knew what I was doing. It challenged my brain and made me think outside the box to figure out how to pair up tools in order to make sounds and movements happen. My creation is a little wild and crazy but I really enjoy the way that it turned out! Here is my production!

 

I am still trying to figure out how effective coding would be in the primary classrooms or how I would go about incorporating it in. However, I think that it is a great skill for students to explore with and to expand their thinking process. I love the idea of children exploring higher level thinking activities and the lifelong learning that will go along with this. Our society is becoming very technologically advanced and technology is appearing more and more in the classroom. So, why wouldn’t we want our students to be familiar with the language of technology, which is programming/coding whatever you want to call it. Coding offers great outcomes such as problem solving skills, digital confidence and citizenship skills as well as different insights for understanding the world. Allowing children time to understand machine language and how to read and write it should be incorporated on a daily basis in the classroom. For more information on the benefits of coding in the classroom check out this article by Doug Belshaw

Newbie Alert!

Alright, so I put in some time (I’m not good with technology! .. yet..) to look at Screencastify and what it’s all about! I have always been intrigued with how Katia does this every week for our classes. I knew that I had to start by looking at a video of how to begin this process, so I found a YouTube video to help me. I was figuring it out pretty fast except that I was having a hard time trying to set up the video camera. Six minutes of trying to figure out to be exact! Here is my very first video using Screencastify.

After some more playing around I got the hang of using this tool and really enjoyed what I could do with it! I decided to give a quick tour of my blog once I figured out how to video myself.

 

I am very excited that I learnt how to successfully learnt how to utilise Screencastify. Some ways that I think this would be very beneficial in the classroom, especially with little ones is that they don’t always know how to navigate the online world. You can video yourself for them to watch in down time or if they are wanting extra work to do at home. When you are able to show your screen and enable them to have access to certain sites, they can engage in the material regardless of if they are able to navigate sites or not. The only downfall that I have experienced so far is that you can only make 10 minute videos unless you become a paying member. Another thing to keep in mind is that not all students have access to the internet at home, so this might not be the best suggestion for students who are wanting extra work to do at home.

YAY for new learning!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Screen Time: Harmful or Helpful?

As an educator soon entering the work field, it is important for me to consider the effects of screen time for the younger generation and the implications that can be seen within the classroom. It is estimated that children spend 7 hours a day in front of electronic media and that children as young as two regularly play on I-pads or have tech-related toys in their room. The realisation has sunk in that screen time is inevitable for children in this modern day. While this is not always a negative experience for children, it can definitely affect aspects of their life that are important to  be aware of.

Long Term Consequences: 

When children engage in too much screen time, they are actually subjecting themselves to permanent damage to their still developing brains. Too much screen time can start to impede a student’s development, we especially see this in a child’s ability to concentrate, focus, to build a large vocabulary and to communicate with others. Between the ages of birth and three years, our brains develop very quickly and are especially sensitive to the environment around us (known as the critical period). The critical period really is critical because it provides children with their permanent foundation which all later brain function is built off of. So, one can see why it is very important to monitor screen time and be aware of it’s effects on little ones. The main issue with smartphone’s or devices like I-pads is that they are shortcut tools. When a child gets a story read to them, they have to turn the voice into words, visualize complete pictures and follow the story line which takes mental effort and increases the brain’s ability to function at higher levels. When an smartphone-told story spoon-feeds the reader images words and pictures all at once, these higher level thinking abilities do not happen and the reader can become lazy when having to decode everything in a book on their own. This amazing article Behind Online Behaviour describes the pro’s and con’s to screen time wonderfully! (Check it out).

I am currently taking SOC 288, which is a class focused around addictions and the effects that they have on society and the individual. Too much online screen time, especially at a young age can be a big factor on whether an individual will experience an internet addiction and the side effects are very similar to that of drug and alcohol addictions. In this article from Nicole Crawford it suggests that effects such as moodiness, restlessness, strange craving, incoherent speech, inability to focus and emotional outbursts are all things that an individual might exhibit when trying to quit smoking or drug use. Nicole has stated that this is also what her daughter is like after engaging with a two hour Disney movie. So, if the effects are this crazy, why do people subject their children to them? Nicole lets us know!

  1. It’s easy and convenient

Many people are so busy in this rush,rush,go environment we live in, so for many parents its a lot easier to just plop a child down in front of a movie or game while they can stay busy at whatever it is they need to do. I work in a restaurant and I see SO MANY TIMES parents pushing their smartphone in front of their child when they are acting up. It may be convenient but it is HARMFUL! Staaap doing this people.

2. Its’s education, right?

Many of the app’s and games are targeted at young children to help them learn things like math, social values or reading/writing. While they might be education, children will only benefit greatly from them if a parent or caregiver is sitting with them, helping them interact.

3. ‘It helps my child focus’

NO! It might seem like the child is improving their ability to focus, but it is actually harming their attention span for the classroom. The ability to focus on a game increases because of the constant stimulation that the individual is receiving and the dopamine releases that go along with it. This actually makes it a lot more difficult to focus in the classroom or other settings where this stimulation isn’t occurring every minute.

Some other great articles to read for the effects of screen time and what an addiction might look at, check out these articles that I received in my addictions class!

Lost Online

Face It, Don’t Facebook it

Video Game Addiction and Social Responsibility

Also chapter 13 in Understanding Addiction Behaviours is a great read!

Although there are negative consequences to screen time for children, there can also be some great benefits to that come with monitored time and site usage. When used effectively, it can enhance learning inside and outcome of the classroom, ignite creativity and spark interest for students. Be mindful and use with caution!

Hide and Seek of Social Media: The Brutal Truth

First of all I would like to show a huge appreciation for Carol Todd for sharing her daughter’s story with us. I can’t even imagine the courage that it would take to speak out about such a personal topic and I have gained a much larger perspective from this that I will be taking into the classroom with me. Education about social media is a HUGE factor for the ways in which children engage with it and this education needs to be taking place more frequently within classrooms. I am extremely proud that I have this ability to change students’ perspectives on what they post on social media and how it will effect them not only later in life but in their adolescents as well.

In preparation for Carol’s visit, I informed myself further on her daughters story. I watched The Sextortion of Amanda Todd and I gained a huge takeaway message that I will definitely be using in my teaching applications.

“It used to be that you made a mistake and it was forgotten in due time.. not anymore”

WOW! How true is this in our modern society? I am hugely grateful that I grew up in a time where social media was not a popular notion and that everything I said or did as a child was not documented into social media history forever, yes, FOREVER. The second that something is put online, it cannot be taken back easily and sometimes not at all. Even app’s like Snapchat save all of the pictures sent back and forth, so keep this is mind when you are sending your ‘ugly selfies’ to friends or ever prevailing ‘scandalous’ pictures that are becoming popular among adolescents now-a-days. All it takes is one picture, video, text etc. to devastate a life and this is something that the young people of our society do not understand.

Not only do I take pride in being one of the many young faces of education but I am making it my mission to take my classroom beyond the walls of curriculum to teach my students on what it means to be a safe and smart tech-user. Carol shared with us that there would have been a lot more conversations she would have had with her daughter had she have had the knowledge that she now holds. It is important to share the notion of digital citizenship with not only students but parents as well! I can only take control of what my students do in the classroom and school setting. Unfortunately I do not have a say in what happens in their home life, all I can do is spread awareness and educate students on why digital citizenship is so important. Something that goes hand-in-hand with digital citizenship and what children engage in on social media is respect and confidence. The chances increase immensely for individuals to engage with dangerous internet behaviour if they are getting positive feedback that they might not be finding elsewhere or if they are getting bullied into making choices that are not their own. I strongly hope that my teaching philosophy of creating a safe, nurturing, open and trusting space will help to strengthen students self-images, relationships with others and their create a more positive digital identity.

*My teaching philosophy can be found on my blog if you would like to check it out!

Carol’s visit was a very emotional one and I took away some very critical understandings that help to both strengthen my own personal views and those that I will be taking into the classroom with me. I am in constant search for new lessons, activities, resources etc. for teaching digital citizenship in the classroom so please share if you have any! It fills my heart a bit knowing that I can have a positive influence on young people’s lives and the ways that they engage with not only social media but others and themselves as well!

The Low Down About Cyber Stalking!

Creating a professional digital identity is not only really important for educators but for everyone! What you put out onto the internet effects how people see you and the initial thoughts they might have about you. It can even affect whether you get a job or not, that is a lot of pressure! The more positive information you have out about yourself, the more positive your digital identity will be. When you are looking into someone and see happy, positive posts you are more inclined to look further and learn more about that person and their life experiences. I found it very insightful to look up ourselves and see what information comes up and in what order! If you have not tried this, I invite you to! DuckDuckGo is a great app to use because it give you a true database search. After all, you never know what will surprise you. Many identities are being stolen on the internet so it is a great thing to do frequently so that you are aware what is out there about you and what might be happening with and to your #digitalidentity. know-youll-love-my-gift-because-you-mentioned-it-online-6147531

Photo Credit

 

I decided to cyber stalk the principal of the school I interned at to see what I could find about her digital identity. I found her on Twitter and she retweets a lot of the things that are happening at the school. This was awesome to see and I really appreciate that she is taking the time to share the wonderful things that the school is engaging in from different teacher and grade perspectives. This showed me that she cares about the school and has a big heart, I wanted to keep looking at what was happening in the school. I actually scrolled down until the end of her Twitter profile. This is what I want other people to do and have feelings of when looking up my digital identity. I was able to find her on Twitter but it was very limited as to what I could see. I also appreciate this because privacy is a big deal when it comes to digital safety and ensuring a safe environment to share things, especially when children are involved. I was able to see a few pictures, in which were professional and I was able to form antaken-li idea that she likes travelling and rock music. I also found her on Pinterest  where I saw some pins related to different apps to try out, so I get an idea that she likes to incorporate technology into the classroom which is awesome!

This experience was enlightening and really opened my eyes to what educators and superintendents might be doing when I apply for jobs. I have gained a greater appreciation for a positive digital identity and how this could bring more educators to follow you and spread positive talk about you as an educator, which is the end goal!

Photo Credit

Welcome the New Culture of Participation

Participatory culture?? Say whaaaat

^ My thoughts exactly before the inspiring and incredible Alec Couros popped his head into our online class and taught us what the new culture of participation is all about.

I am very ‘technologically illiterate’ if that is how you would want to put it. Just the fact that I am participating in an online class where we can all see each other regardless of where we are in the world and that my professor can share her screen with us?? blows my mind. Let alone all of the amazing tools that I have been exposed to learning about so far. After learning about this term, I felt a little silly that I didn’t know what it was all about when in reality I am contributing to it everyday! The culture of participation is when everyday people (like you and even the technically challenged folk like me) are participating in the movement from being simple consumers to acting as more of a contributor or producer. Who better to produce your life than yourself anyways, Am I right? The ever growing use of YouTube as showcased by Mike Wesh and frequently talked about by Alec is taking the world by storm! Over 9232 of YouTube videos are being uploaded per day!! ( Mike Wesh’s introduction to YouTube) That is both insane and incredible. Alec had made the point of ‘if you can google it, why teach it’ which is fair to an extent. As we saw many examples of children successfully teaching themselves from the internet (little girl dancing and boy making a rap), I think that too many people pick and choose what they would like to learn from internet and from what resources, whether they are valuable or not. Education should most definitely include this culture of participation. but the internet should not be doing the teaching, it should only be enhancing or expanding the learning.

 

The huge realm of the internet and social media can be a bit overwhelming at times and even I feel discouraged but the key to my success with technology is being shown how to properly engage with it and having time to explore the endless options. I think that this directly relates to using technology in the classroom with students. There will be some students who know more about this world than I do, but there will also be students who do not have access to the internet outside of school and who may not be up to date on all of the apps that are out there. Interning in a 1/2 classroom, I was not able to incorporate free use of technology a lot and when I did, they needed a lot of instruction and guidance. To benefit everyone, I think that learning about the use of technology as a whole is a great place to start. Students go crazy for technology in the classroom (which I think directly relates to how technology based our society has become) and when used right, it can enhance students’ learning a great deal. However, I think that students also need to be educated on the dangers of technology, especially at a young age because, especially now, once something is put out into the internet, it is almost impossible to take it back. Learning about how Alec got his identity stolen from so many different people actually made me sick! Thinking about how naive children can be in their innocence, it is very important than they are aware of the dangers that can be out there and how to properly use the technology that they are working with. Not only is this important for students to learn, but educators as well.

As we all know, students have VOICES that like to be heard and I think that in a safe, controlled environment, they should absolutely be able to experiment with technology in doing so. YouTube offers so man incredible opportunity to share REAL stories, cultures, new learning for us to connect with. Building a positive digital identity with my students is a goal of mine and I am beyond excited to take my forever improving technology database and share it with my students. The culture of participation is truly inspiring and it brings so much joy to many people.

YAY for technology!