Well I dipped my toes into my first Alec Couros tech. class, and it did not disappoint! It’s no wonder so many of you are repeat offenders! I was very hesitant initially, as I don’t consider myself very technologically savvy. However, the content shared throughout the course provided me with many great tools that will not only help me assist my students in becoming better digital citizens, but will also enhance my development of engaging and relevant lesson for my class (Hello Powtoon!). The weekly discussion was so relevant, that I left each class with ideas for things to incorporate into my own teaching… and learning. The selection of guest speakers was fantastic, and they both brought really interesting perspectives and experiences into our “classroom”. Both the Blog Hub and the Google Community really made me feel supported, as well as enhanced my learning each week. I’ve never before been part of a class that felt so engaged, and invested in contributing to the experience of the entire learning community. So thank you all!
The following is the summary of learning that I completed with my partner in crime, Danielle Istace. We hope you enjoy our spin on things as we dive into the past semester with our “Couros Cruise”. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
Please find the script from our summary of learning posted below the video!
Oh hi there, uhm… where’d you come from Bree? I guess I can’t really get much privacy hanging ‘round the web these days, can I. What’s a girl to do?
You see, we’ve been busy trying to claim our citizenship as Digi Citz this winter, by trying to figure out what Digital Citizenship actual means… I mean… do you know what it is anyways? Well, hey, don’t sweat this. Let us tell you…. After all, it’s what we’ve been trying to figure out. . . and it’s pretty clear that some people out there, really have no idea.
Let’s take a little trip together, like “Magic School Bus Style”. Think of me as Ms. Frizzle, as I’m starting to get comfortable with this media literacy business. Bree, I’m happy you decided to join me for this round of the “Couros Cruise”. Let’s hop on the Digi Citz bus and re-visit what EC&I 832 was all about! Buckle up, this is one fast ride, and you don’t wanna get left behind.
So let’s get to it. First stop. Digital Citizenship. This was a big theme this semester. Basically, this refers to norms of appropriate and responsible technology use. Brittany Frick nailed it in her Content Catalyst, when she mentioned that Sklar called Digital Citizenship, the new citizenship. Unfortunately for us, the digital world is so fast paced, that it is hard to keep up… and that means that many of its users have no idea what is considered appropriate technology use.
Take these guys for example. Yawzahhh that’s a real doozey. There are too many sad cases of media getting a hold of the wrong picture, story or post, and then having these hand delivered on a first class train to the rest of the world. Stop. Ask yo-self…. Would your momma want you posting that? Think about it. Think. About. It. Exactly.
Next up, our instructor Alec took the time to shoot some pretty interesting theory our way. Let’s head over to foundational theories in Media Education next. What does this mean? Well…. As with any great Graduate class, the basis of all good learning, is grounded in theory. This class did not disappoint. Let’s take a look at a few key theories. Take technological determinism for starters. This theory presumes that a society’s technology determines what we use. Like the Walkman for example. Man…. People feared the Walkman. In fact, word on the street was that the Walkman would result in people becoming antisocial. They really had no idea what was coming….
Then there is Techno-utopianism. That’s a mouthful. Basically, this is the idea that technology does really wonderful things for society. Or the opposite, distechnotopianism. . . Which portrays technology as a beast… If you feed the beast, it will destroy you. DON’T FEED THE BEAST!
Okay, let’s haul this bus on over to the Digitally Networked world next. Before we stop this bus, do you know who you are in the digital world? Alec had us dive into some great material that helped us to understand Prensky’s concepts of digital natives and immigrants. David White countered these ideas though, and proposed the ideas of residents and visitors. To us, this idea was a better fit. We simply couldn’t agree with people being referred to as digital natives simply by virtue of being born in a certain decade. Regardless, wherever you lie in the digitally networked world, your interaction online, creates a digital tattoo… and sometimes people don’t realize its permanence until it is too late.
Documents like Mike Ribble’s 9 Elements, Alec and Katia’s Digital Citizenship Document, and blogs like fellow classmate Stacey Bradley’s help us to realize that we have to take responsibility for who we are online. Stacey set out to find out if it was possible to maintain different profiles online, depending on what your personal or professional purpose was… and the reality is, that no matter how hard you try to keep things separate online, the space between different accounts, profiles, and intentions, is a big grey blurred line. It intersects everything and makes it virtually impossible for educators to keep personal and professional lives separate… so there ya have it. What you blog, post, or even like in the past, may catch up to you in your present and impact your future. WHAT WOULD YOUR MOMMA SAY?! If she’d say no…. JUST DON’T POST IT!!!
That takes us to our next stop… Which is a heart breaking one. We’ll call this stop “A Choice Gone Wrong”. Amanda Todd is just one example among many, of young people that were taken too soon, because of the reality that you just can’t choose your audience. And… the sad truth is, that you can try, but you can’t always successfully choose your audience. Many of today’s youth suffer from the anxiety of getting caught up in a moment and making a horrific choice that in some cases, costs them the ultimate price.
So that takes us to here, “The Role of the School”. Let’s take a look at what we are responsible for in preparing our students to be digitally literate. Within the schools, we can start by teaching digital citizenship at a very young age. We can do this by first educating ourselves. We can help students to begin understanding how to weigh the risk versus the reward of posting something online. This is a good lesson for students, and teachers alike. Look at Trump for example. It’s clear to see that he has not been showing up to our Digi Citz class… and if he did, he’d surely learn a thing or two from those of us, north of the border.
Speaking of Trump, we need to mention what we learned in terms of fake news. Students today are having a very difficult time differentiating authentic from fabricated news. In fact, according to Jaimie and Jocelyn’s content catalyst presentation, “80% of students are unable to identify a fake news story from a real news story”. This is alarming! We really loved what Meagan Weisbrod suggested about doing “quick-check-ins” with her students when determining the authenticity of a news story 1. Check the publishing date 2. Check the source 3. Check the information on another website. We look forward to using this strategy in our own classes.
Pat Maze served as a great example of WHAT WE SHOULD DO. We educate. We educate the children by modelling, scaffolding, and immersing them in safe, supported environments where they can learn alongside their peers and an instructor. We invite people like Pat Maze to classes to engage in meaningful discourse with teachers… hopefully giving us some food for thought to help us stand up against things we disagree with, and to educate us on things that we did not know. We use documents like the “Digital World: 10 Tips for teachers” or Couros’ Digital Citizenship Guide, to help lead our practices…. And we carefully craft our digital foot prints to reflect the best sides of us that we have to offer. Jennifer Scheffer is a great example of this. By helping each student leaving high school to create a Linked In profile, she was able to better prepare them for the chance of getting hired for their dream job.
As educators, this is our goal. We want to prepare our children for the real world. But today, the real world and the virtual world are equally as important. We can no longer turn a blind eye to the impact that results from our online activity. By creating digitally literate and responsible students, we have the power to help them forge into the future with opportunities that are as bright and exciting as these children are.
This brings us to the end of the ride folks, and it has been a good one! Hopefully you have gained a little bit of food for thought in reflecting on your journey, and considering where you want to head next. The digital world can be an exciting place to be. Let’s make sure that everyone engaging in this, knows the rules of the road, so that they can make an informed decision about the bus they choose to hop on, and get to their planned destination without too many bumps in the road.
Thanks Alec for helping us spread our virtual wings, and to become part of the change that we want to see in education!