Week to week blog

Just Say Uncle

In this week’s post, please reflect on the school’s/teacher’s role in educating students about digital citizenship? What practices are currently in place in your school/context? How might you envision addressing the concept of digital citizenship in the future? 



The Curriculum Guides that have been  developed by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education, all include the idea of developing our students into life long learners, but what does that mean?  It all ties in to being a digital citizen.

At one point in time being a lifelong learner was focused on enjoying reading and maybe even writing.  Let’s face it, times a changing, and being a lifelong learner doesn’t mean what it did 20 years ago.  What does a lifelong learner mean in the 21st C. and how are we as educators going to facilitate that?
13882131_1063053627112847_4963372775197829917_nMY UNCLE DICK

This is my 97 year old Great Uncle Dick.  Yup, that’s a picture of him last week, when he and his band “THE HAPPY GANG” were ‘doin a gig’ in Chinook.

I use my Uncle Dick as an example today because he exemplifies what it means to be, not only a lifelong learner, but a digital citizen of the 21st C.

He has a social media profile, he knows how to use it, and he’s usually appropriate (although lets get real, he’s 97, he can post whatever the heck he wants!)


The title sounds a little risque, but seriously!  How do we get our kids to want to continue learning?  WE NEED TO MAKE THEIR LEARNING RELEVANT FOR TODAY!  And guess what, in the 21st C.  that means throwing out the textbook (Well not ALL of them), getting rid of the rote testing, and teaching our kids to be critical thinkers, and good DIGITAL CITIZENS.



In today’s media focused world we need to teach our students what is good information on the internet and what is “Fake News”.  But not just that, we need to teach them when they should share news, whether personal or found news.  What’s appropriate and what’s not.

Elizabeth Thoman and Tessa Jolls, wrote in their article “Media Literacy: A National Priority for  a Changing World”

Business need individuals who possess a wide range of high-level skills and abilities, such as critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and decision making.


Who am I?


When it comes to social media who am I?

When I first began my social media profile, I thought very little about who I was.  I posted things I thought were funny, or moving, really just the day to day activities.  As I have evolved, and my social media profile has evolved, I have started to think more about who I want people to see me as, and I decided it was important for me to feel like, through social media, I could make an impact on peoples lives and hopefully be seen as an advocate for the things I love.

Mental Health

semicolon (1)A few years ago I decided to share my story, via social media, of my ongoing struggle with severe anxiety.   Since sharing this information with the outside world I have had many people come to me and share with me their stories, and struggles with mental health.   By opening up this platform I have found that many people, who would otherwise struggled silently, now know that they can talk to me when they are struggling.  Ending the silence behind mental health issues is something I believe strongly in, and I hope my online profile reflects that.

I don’t want to seem like a broken record


One thing that drives me crazy is when people post about the same thing over and over again.  Whether it is cute puppy pictures, pictures of the amazing suppers they made, or pictures of their kids, I like variety.  So, with that in mind I do try to vary what I am posting on social media so I don’t have that broken record feel.  I think in the future I would like to put a bit more of a mental health component to my online profile, but without crossing the broken record line.


Week to week blog

When the Vault became Vaulty

Remember when Seinfeld introduced the world to ‘THE VAULT”.  Ah… the good old days when the vault could easily be cracked.   Now, as a mom of a 17 year old, I am wishing for days gone by.  Why?  Because now we don’t just have ‘the vault’ to keep our secrets, we have crazy social media apps like Vaulty, just looking to help teenagers (and some adults) in their covert lives.

The Secrets

high_school_memeAna Homayoun, wrote the article The Secret Social Media Lives of Teenagers, which introduced me to the underground world of hidden social media.  Apps that can be opened to different pages depending on the password used, ‘rinsta’ gram and ‘finsta’ gram accounts on instagram to help hide your identity, and even my unassuming friend Facebook, using hidden group chats, and false accounts.  As a mom, where do I begin?  Is there any hope of keeping my kids Digital Identity modest.

Faith in the kids

I guess I am just going to have faith in my kids, hoping that they have taken all of the values I’ve tried to instill in them and transferred them to, not only being good citizens of the world, but also good digital citizens OR perhaps more realistically, I hope that they have at least enough sense to create some online identities that their grandma and future employers could look at.  Like Nicole Lee suggests in her article, having multiple online identities is more normal than you think.

I Am A Realist

i-consider-myself-a-realist-but-in-philosophical-terms-im-12839269So, I am the mom of a teenager and I spend 5 days a week with teenagers.  I am a realist.  I know that the teenagers I teach, and my own, will all make stupid mistakes.  That’s what being a teenager is about, making mistakes and learning from them.  I just hope that, knowing the world is a digital place where our digital identity says a lot about who we are, my kids realize the importance of at least having a digital presence that they are proud of.





Week to week blog

The Future at our Findertips

There will be more creativity in education.
“Because that’s what careers will require. Education will be not just taking in information and sharing it back, but also figuring out what to do with that information in the real world.” —Josefino Rivera, Jr., educator in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Do schools really need to change? If so, in what ways?

deweysFor the past hundred years education has changed very little.  However, the ever changing technology that has now inundated our world, will undoubtedly, drastically change the future of education.

In staff rooms everywhere teachers  can be heard complaining about students copying the answers off the internet; but why are we continually teaching students information that they can look up in 30 seconds?   We need to be switching our mentality as teachers, and start teaching our students how to be critical thinkers, rather than just having the ability to regurgitate information.  Creativity will be the way of the future

What sort of world are we preparing students for?

false-washingtonWe need to be preparing our students for a world where they can adapt to change quickly, where they can be critical about the information they receive, and can disseminate right from wrong.  In the past the focus of education has always been on knowing information, now students can find the answers to many questions through the internet, so we need to shift our teaching, and teach our students how to not only find the correct answer, but also, how to start making changes to better the world.

What does citizenship look like in this future reality?


With the changes that will need to transpire in education to meet the changing world of technology; hopefully, a focus will be to teach students how to be, not only good digital citizens, but also good citizens of the world.  With the increase in technology the world is now much smaller than it use to be.  Hopefully students will begin to recognize the important role they can play in making the world a better place.

Week to week blog

Fetishes and Voyeurism

warholNathan Jurenson’s article, The IRL Fetish, discusses how social media has burrowed far into our consciousness.  What does that mean?  We are living in a world where we are choosing to exhibit specific parts of our lives to the world.  Mass exhibitionism and voyeurism.  How has this changed us?


peeking in windows

Throughout the 19th century artists and writers focused on voyeurism as a part of the human condition.  Knowing that, although we may deny it,  secretly we all love walking late at night and getting a glimpse into the lives of our neighbours through an open window.  Social media has created a world where the windows are always open, windows that we continuously have the ability to peek in.  The voyeuristic dream.


Directors and Voyeurs

With the inundation of social media, we are all the directors of our own lives choosing what to show the world, and what to edit out.  We also have the ability to be constant voyeurs of the masses.    So where has this led us?


In Sheryle Turkle’s article, The Flight From Connection, which Jurgenson references in his article, Turkle states “In our rush to connect, we flee from solitude…”

Jurgenson, argues “We have never appreciated a solitary stroll, a camping trip, a face-to-face chat with friends, or even our boredom better than we do now.”  Although I don’t dispute some of Jurgenson’s points, I am more inclined to side with Turkle.

that-moment-you-realize-you-forgot-your-phoneI often feel bound by my device.  Those moments of panic when technology isn’t working properly, or god forbid, you forget your phone.  I hate that this has become something that I am so dependent on, and I hate that I now have to make a conscious decision to not look at my phone.

Maybe this is just the accent of a digital immigrant, living in a new world.


Week to week blog

Setting the project in motion


I Feel Old

I’m turning 40 this year, THE BIG 4-0, and although I don’t think  40 is particularly old, when it comes to technology, at times, I feel absolutely ancient.  I remember the very first time I tried the internet.  I remember the year we got a Commodor 64


for Christmas, and the excitement of buying our families first microwave.  I remember my dad and uncle fighting over which technology was better, VHS or Beta, and my uncle saying “Beta was the way of the future.”

The Times they are Changing

download (1)

So here I am teaching in a classroom where every student has a laptop to use during class, and 99% have cellphones at their fingertips.  They are on Twitter, and tumblr, snapchat, facebook… in all honesty, I really don’t have a clue what forms of social media my students are using.  Technology is changing so quickly it feels impossible just to keep up.


EC&I 832


The last class I took with Dr. Couros I was able to take so much away from the course, in regard to technology, that I could implement into my classroom.  The knowledge that I gained helped me grow as an educator.  Now that I am implementing so much more technology into my classroom I am hoping that this course helps me to gain a better understanding of digital citizenship.

My Project plan

Considering my earlier admittance, to at times feeling ‘digitally old’, I decided the project for this course would be a great chance for me to expand my digital media literacy.


So for the big project I am going to focus on looking at some of the different forms of social media that my students are using.  I am going to focus on Snapchat and Facebook for the more social media aspects of the project, and I am going to focus on Seesaw and Flipgrid for the more accademic aspects of the project.

Teaching high school and having a 17 year old son, I see teenagers on Snapchat constantly, but I know very little about the actual app.  Although Facebook is something I am fairly comfortable with I am interested in looking at it from a more critical lens.


Both  academic apps, Flipgrid and Seesaw, flipgridI have had the opportunity to use a few times, but in reality I know very little about them, how they work, and how I can incorporate them into the classroom.  I’ve used Flipgrid for university classes and some inservices, and Seesaw as a parent.

The Puppies, because who doesn’t love a good puppy pic??

Just to increase the awesome factor of this blog I thought I would share some puppy pictures of the puppies that were born during class on Tuesday.


Final Project Blog

The Decision

Monday, January 15, 2018

So, I’ve been humming and hawing now for a week, and I think I’ve come to a decision.  I am going to focus my final project on “A Personal Journey into Media”.  Considering I am a mom of three and teaching in a high school, I think the more I can understand the media my children and students are using, the better off I will be.  I’ve decided to focus my media literacy on a few different forms of social media, I’ve decided Snapchat and Facebook will be the two “social” forms of media I will delve into, and the two academic apps I will explore will be Flipgrid and SeeSaw.