Major Project Wrap Up

I learned so much throughout this project, infact, a heck of a lot more than I anticipated! I look at my first Major Project proposal post and wow, I knew nothing about what I was getting myself into. I blindly picked a few topics and BAM I was done – but hopeful for the best! I did eventually (thankfully) go back and re-evaluate the apps I picked. I wrote another blog and decided upon three apps: SnapChat, Kahoot!, and TikTok. I have learned so much about each of these apps and am grateful I had this opportunity (AKA push in the right direction) to learn the different ways I can incorporate them into the classroom, as well as different terms of use for each one.

My original plan was to make a Vlog with a screen casted tutorial of everything I learned, mixed in with videos from the apps that I created, but with the Covid Pandemic things got a little hectic. Plus, WeVideo proved to be quite difficult without the paid version so I did not want to put myself through that grief again!! I was planning on using iMovie at the school but I no longer have access to that!

I started by blogging about Snapchat. To be completely truthful, I did not think I would learn a thing about Snapchat. I use it quite often in my personal life and never even once considered using it in the classroom. Yet, I found out about Geofilters, Cameos, and how to share locations. I learned a lot about their privacy policies and that they do keep records of your information and are entitled to keeping your photos (although they do say they nearly always delete them ha!). Yet, the pros/cons and educational uses blog I wrote was the most eye opening for me. From book talks to activist projects, Snapchat can create an engaging and innovative projects for students of nearly any age! Very cool. Here is a cute short SnapChat of my son..because he is cute 🙂

Next, I looked at an educational tool, and blogged about the basics of Kahoot!. Kahoot! is one I have used in the classroom, but just very basic use and sporadically, so I was excited to learn more. I really like that there are so many different quiz and poll options, however most of the extra options are in the paid version sadly! Yet, Kahoot is super easy to use and a great little time filler/review tool. The trickiest part is making sure all students can participate (as they need an electronic device), but I found many like to just play with a partner as well. My Kahoot! educational uses opened up my eyes to using Kahoot! as a homework assignment (get them to complete a quiz at home or even make one up themselves!) or an exit slip. I was super impressed. I decided to make a Kahoot! on Digital Citizenship too: Play my Digital Citizenship Kahoot

Lastly, I started to look and blog about TikTok. Now this was the MOST new to me out of the 3. I literally have never watched a TikTok video in my life before this project! I know how addicting it can be and I just have too much going on in my life right now to have another form of social media that I need (want?) to check daily! But, I downloaded the app and played around with it early on in this course. I watched a few videos here and there and had some pretty good laughs! I looked up #math and other subject area videos and there actually was some quite useful ones to find! I went through the terms of use and it seems pretty standard for a social media site (quite similar to Snapchat where they take your privacy seriously to an extent..they keep most information private but it is ONLINE and they cannot guarantee that what you post will ever go away). Lastly, I looked at and blogged about education uses for TikTok. It turns out, kids LOVE TikTok and quite enjoy making videos for class on the app. The possibilities for assignments are literally endless, but I really liked the ideas to do compare and contrasts, debates, and reenactments. I really want to assign something with TikTok in my Social 10 class during this Distance Learning journey we are all on! Finally, I decided I should try to make my own TikTok to see just how easy it is (and it was quite simple). If you have ever seen the videos where dog owners hide behind a blanket and disappear, well that was what I was trying to do. But, apparently, the only people who cared that I was gone were my very needs kids haha!

Overall, I learned a lot in this project and have found great resources and ideas to use in my classroom! I have had fun experimenting and discovering new things with all 3 of these apps and I would try them all to see how it goes. The one I am most likely to use is Kahoot! and the one I am most excited about is TikTok. Snapchat is the one I worry the most about, just because I think kids will vary from the chosen topic (which is also an issue with TikTok but for some unknown reason I am not as weary with that one!). I also have decided I would create a separate account for any professional uses of social media, just to keep that barrier and make sure my personal and professional life are separate. I really hope those of you who read this learned as much as I did and are considering incorporating these into your classrooms, too!

To finish off, I wanted to include some resources for Digital Citizenship. With online learning, kids need to still learn this information and hopefully it is being done at home or the teachers are supplying the learning online. So, here are some resources that were collected by Doug Klassen (look at his Facebook!!)

“Wide Open School – https://wideopenschool.org/

Today we’re launching a brand-new, free online resource to support families and educators who are transitioning to remote learning as a result of the coronavirus: Wide Open School. Why? There are so many online resources to support kids’ educational, emotional, and physical development that Common Sense editors are noticing yet another challenge for parents and educators: How can you find high-quality resources quickly, easily, and in one place?

Curated and coordinated by the experts at Common Sense, Wide Open School is the result of a collaboration among leading publishers, nonprofits, and education and technology companies. Wide Open School features a free collection of the best learning experiences and activities for kids, organized by grade band and subject.

Get Cyber Safe – information from the government of Canada – https://www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/…/prtct-yrslf/prtctn-fml/chl…

23 lesson plans for teaching internet safety- https://www.commonsense.org/…/23-great-lesson-plans-for-int…

Media Smarts Canada’s Centre for Digital and Media Literacy educational games – https://mediasmarts.ca/digital-media-lite…/educational-games

NeedHelpNow.ca helps teens stop the spread of sexual pictures or videos and provides support along the way. If you or someone you know has been negatively impacted by a self/peer exploitation incident, we are here to help offer guidance on the steps you can take to get through it. – https://needhelpnow.ca/app/en/

Zoe and Molly Online

The Zoe and Molly Online website provides resources and activities designed to help parents and educators teach young children (Grade 3 and 4) about online safety. The website is operated by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. – http://www.zoeandmolly.ca/app/en/

The Door That’s Not Locked

The internet is the door that’s not locked. There are lots of fun and interesting places to go, but there are scary things out there too. This website has age specific information about how to have lots of fun and stay clear of the risks. – https://protectkidsonline.ca/app/en/

As a parent who had his online daughter pick up a stalker when she was 16 please take this topic seriously. To make it worse the stalker was using my facebook posts to keep an eye on my daughter. Once I discovered that I took my family to the gun range and shared pictures of us shooting targets. After I could see he accessed those pictures I blocked him.

Cyber bullying, sexting, boys asking for naked pictures of girls at a staggeringly young age. These are all topics that need to be discussed. I do presentations about online safety in many schools. Before I was to speak to a group of grade 9’s I was told I might not want to talk about sending bad pictures via text as they just dealt with an issue a week or so ago. If the stats are correct the majority of grade 9 classes will have girls who have been asked for inappropriate pictures online.

Common Sense Media is a resource for parents and teachers. They rate apps and have guides to keeping your kids safe online and how to secure your accounts. – https://www.commonsensemedia.org/

TeachersFirst internet Safety Resource – https://www.teachersfirst.com/spectopics/safety.cfmCira – add a level of protection to your network at home and reduce the online threats. https://www.cira.ca/earlyaccess

Social Media in the Classroom

Well, in the current situation, it is impossible to reject using educational technology. On top of that, many teachers are frantically trying to figure out ways to keep students engaged and WANTING to learn (because they can sign in and out any time they want – right?? right!). Well, the elephant in the room is to use different social media platforms to assign activities that they may actually want to do. But with that, comes some big responsibility from the moral, ethical, and legal standpoint. If you haven’t already seen it, here is my video I made regarding these issues:

My major project is completely surrounded by the idea of incorporating different apps into the classroom, as well as the pros, cons, and terms of use of each of the 3 apps I picked (Kahoot!, TikTok, and Snapchat), so clearly I am pro social media, but this class has convinced me that we must first teach the students to be good digital citizens FIRST. We cannot assume they know this information. Furthermore, I have only used Kahoot! in the classroom as I have just returned to work (April 1) and I clearly did not return to the classroom itself! I am really hoping to use this vital time to figure out engaging ways to use different social media platforms for assignments 🙂

For me, I think the biggest issue I worry about is boundaries. #1, that a student will post/say/do something inappropriate and I see it and am in an awkward position about what to do about it and #2 that others will find it inappropriate to use social media in the classroom. For the first issue, I have seen this a lot with my nieces. They have had a pretty rough life and now as teenagers, they have their mother (my sister) blocked, but did not block me on different social media platforms. So, I am constantly seeing things that they post that are NOT ok, and since they are teenagers, I always “tell” on them..I don’t know if they realize I am the snitch but if they ever did, they would likely not talk to me EVER (or as long as EVER lasts for a teenager?). The second issue is more something doesn’t REALLY matter..it is all about image and I want to be seen as a professional. Being a younger teacher (well I am older now..but still consider myself young..er), I already sometimes get jokes about being a student myself so I do not want to compromise coming off as a professional. Don’t get me wrong, I am fine with looking younger than my age, but 3 years ago when I was on maternity with my daughter, a parent asked me if I was in the teen parent program..so…ya.

All in all, I think we do what we can. Teaching is a delicate balance and it sometimes can be hard to manage. We want to look young but not like a student. We want to seem cool but still have classroom management. We need to be relatable but not show that we like social gatherings involving alcohol. We need to have a good relationship with students but not be their friends on social media. We have to have engaging and innovative assignments but not come off as unprofessional. It all can get very blurry and confusing and hard to keep separate. So in the end, we need to make sure we keep ourselves and our careers safe. Do what makes you feel comfortable. Do what you think is right. And all we can hope for is that our students learn and grow from the experiences we provide them with, all while keeping their identities safe (sounds easy, right?).

TikTok Educational Review

So we have already previously established that TikTok is a platform to share short videos – mainly to get a laugh. With over 1 billion users and 800 million active monthly users, TikTok has become among the top five download in 2019 in Google Play and App Store. The majority of people using TikTok are ages 14-30 and spend an average of 52 minutes per day on the app (col.org). There are numerous terms of use and not a lot to protect the user’s privacy (since these videos go on the internet for anyone to see!). Digital Citizenship is of the utmost importance here! But, what about educational uses? I am first going to discuss the pros and cons, and then move into different ways it can be used in the classroom.

Kinzoo Blog has very extensive pros and cons list that I partially used to make this list! Family Orbit also confirmed these pros and cons (I like to cross reference my information!)

Pro: Easy to use – easy to search content, use hashtags to find popular trends, is sorted according to trends/popular/algorithms to see what you may like

Pro: Kids can be creative and have endless possibilities

Pro: Basic uses are free

Pro: There is a Digital Wellbeing setting to help restrict time spent on the app and limit content that may not be appropriate

Pro: There are some features to protect safety – create a private account, mark individual videos as private, block users, turning off messages from any unknown users, etc.

Pro: Build student-teacher and/or student-student relationships

Pro: Engaging, interesting way to portray information/express oneself

Pro: According to col.org TikTok “campaigns related to environmental pollution, climate change, violence against women, substance abuse, child labour, early and forced marriage, gender equality, etc. can help raise awareness and change mindsets”…This blog also goes on to state: “Video provides several pedagogical affordances, which include: provision of realistic experiences, motivational influence, ability to control and review, and engage students as creators. Creating a good educational video requires not only knowledge and skills of camera operation and editing/ video production, it also requires understanding of multimedia learning, especially the Cognitive Load theory, which says for a quality video learning experience, the designer should consider intrinsic load of the topic, reduce the extraneous load, and optimize germane load to help mentally organise the information presented.  Richard Mayer’s Multimedia Principles say that an effective video should focus on: (i) Coherence principle – learning is better when extraneous materials are excluded, and only strictly necessary content is covered; (ii) Segmenting principle – learning is better when content is presented in small chunks. Recent research on the engagements of video shows that learners mostly use videos of six minutes or less with one concept; (iii) Contiguity principle – learning is better when corresponding words and pictures are presented close by; and (iv) Signaling principle – learning is better when cues are used to direct learners’ attention to key concepts. These principles and guidelines are useful for longer videos.”

Con: Safety for younger audience – One of the biggest things that popped up when I performed a Google search on TikTok was is it safe for kids?? Videos continuously play meaning that kids may stumble across a video they didn’t mean to. Sometimes there is explicit, sexual, or inappropriate content.

Con: Viral “challenges” have spread through TikTok – such as “eye bleach challenge

Con: Easy to lead to popularity contests and feed into insecurities – similar to any social media platform

Con: If used in a classroom, students could become easily distracted

McAfee gives some pointers for parents to ensure their child’s safety while on TikTok:

  1. Download TikTok yourself so that you know what it is about!
  2. Understand what your child is using TikTok for
  3. Have an honest discussion about the risks
  4. Read reviews
  5. Require your child’s account to be on “private” settings
  6. Monitor direct messages and comments
  7. Discuss what to do when encountering cyberbullying, inappropriate content/comments
  8. Adhere to age restrictions
  9. Use the Family Safety mode that allows parents to link to the kid’s account

Finally, educational uses! Here are a few ideas:

  • Compare and contrast something
  • Share inventions
  • Create your own instructional TikTok
  • Create a summary of learning
  • Practice different languages
  • Debates
  • Discuss hot topics
  • Reenact historical events
  • Documenting Homework

Educational Uses Ideas partly came from the following websites: EdWeek..CareerTeachers..Sutori

Overall, there are endless possibilities of incorporating TikTok into the classroom. In fact, you can do it all without even using the phone inside the classroom walls and assigning students a short homework/assessment tool. Especially now with all the distance learning happening, I think that more and more teachers will be open to using TikTok, in fact, I am already thinking of ways to incorporate it into my Science class. With a simple #math or #anysubjectyouwant, you can find numerous videos in that subject area! There are cons, as with any social media, but I think that the pros out weigh them and that if you teach good Digital Citizenship, TikTok can be a very engaging tool to bring into the classroom setting.

TikTok App

I am completely lost when it comes to TikTok, however, over the past month I have been watching videos and trying to learn new things on my own. Well, I don’t want to say I was a complete failure, but I learned very minimal and for the most part would just get mad at the app when I swiped the wrong way or couldn’t find ‘Part 2’ of a video that I liked. Soo, today I decided to get help from the experts! I watched a tutorial video on Youtube and in 12 minutes, everything made so much more sense and was 10x easier than before! If you’d rather read all of the info, here is another great print source. According to Webwise, “Tik Tok (formerly known as musical.ly) is a social media platform for creating, sharing and discovering short music videos, think Karaoke for the digital age. The app musical.ly was used by young people as an outlet to express themselves through singing, dancing, comedy, and lip-syncing. The app is now called Tik Tok, complete with a new logo, has all of the same features as musical.ly and allows users to create videos recorded in 15 seconds or less and share them across a community.”

Furthermore, The Tik Tok newsroom states:

“TikTok incorporates the most popular elements of both apps with a feed that highlights the users’ community, in addition to a “For You” feed that uniquely serves a curation of personalized video recommendations based on viewing preferences. The app will also introduce new upcoming features including:

  • A ‘reaction’ feature that allows user to react friends’ videos directly from the phone
  • Enhanced creative tools like interactive gesture filters unlock features such as funhouse mirror camera effects;
  • VR-type filters that can be activated just by blinking;
  • Green screen-like background effects”

Besides using the app to make and watch videos (hashtags, @someone, and captions are all allowed as well PS), TikTok has an entire “legal” section. This section has the following menu options:

I will attempt to summarize each section below!

Cookies: TikTok acknnowledges tha tthey use both first and third party cookies. They also state that the cookies they use can be broken down into five categories: “‘essential Platform cookies’, ‘functionality cookies’, ‘analytics and performance cookies’, ‘advertising cookies’, and ‘ social media cookies’.” The site goes into further detail on each cookie and how they are used, as well as how to delete the cookies off your browser.

Open Source: This tab just gives the name of each open source software used, its licensure, and a website to obtain said license.

Virtual Items: This tab outlines the TikTok Live Stream Program or the “Program” or the “Platform”. It informs us that it is open to users aged 16 years or older, and anyone between the ages of 16 and 18 need parental consent. It also discusses virtual coins and gifts that may be purchased and used on the app.

Intellectual Property Policy: Copyrights are discussed here, as well as what to do if someone uses content that does not legally belong to them, or if they infringe on any other organization or person’s trademark

Law Enforcement: This area lets users know that TikTok protects the privacy and rights of their users, however, with proper legal document, your information may be given to the police to help with any investigations

Privacy Policy: This section holds all the meaty information, so this will be a long one. First off, the “Platform” is for users 13 and older. However, TikTok does have a “Children’ Platform” for younger users. One of the most encompassing statements is right at the top of this page, and says: “We collect information when you create an account and use the Platform. We also collect information you share with us from third-party social network providers, and technical and behavioral information about your use of the Platform. We also collect information contained in the messages you send through our Platform and information from your phone book, if you grant us access to your phone book on your mobile device.” One big thing is that they collect information off your phone, including your IP address, other social media accounts, and location (based off SIM card). You do have the right to request this information be deleted.

Terms of Service: By joining TikTok, you agree to these terms which may change at any time without notice. ALL information posted on the app belongs to TikTok and is their intellectual property with no royalties. TikTok may gain revenue or increase their value through advertisements, gifts, and coins. User content is considered non-confidential and non-proprietary. TikTok is not liable for any losses related to posted videos.

After reading all of these policies and conditions, I have determined that there is a reason that no one reads all this stuff! They were very long and hard to comprehend in some cases. However, some of the information are crucial policies that a user should know before agreeing to use a social media platform. It is important to know what we are getting ourselves into, as well as teaching our students that they shouldn’t agree to any terms of use without knowing and reading the guidelines. Probably, most of us are guilty of simply clicking “Agree” and continuing with the app, but we need to teach our students to be better than we have in the past!

Kahoot in the Classroom

I read a few different articles and watched a video about Kahoot to compile the following pros and cons list. If you are interested on reading more for yourself, Beverly Highlights, Youtube, For Art and Education, a review off Weebly, LearnSafe, and WeAreTeachers all have some great info to go by (and info that helped me compile this post)!

Pros:

  • Removes learning pressures, test anxieties, and delayed feedbacks
  • Students may learn without even realizing they are taking a quiz
  • Students are more engaged and motivated to participate
  • Allows teachers to observe students in real time while also offering timely feedback
  • Can add some good-natured competition OR work in teams
  • Visual
  • Fast-paced
  • Different way to learn
  • Involves technology (that cool factor)
  • Used as a formative assessment tool
  • Can create your own or use a pre-made quiz
  • Website, application, and game-play are all very simple
  • Can be used for all subject areas

Cons:

  • Writing things down is a way of remembering, so a Kahoot does not necessarily tie into this type of remembering, thus could be seen as a waste of time
  • The game stresses importance of speed over correct knowledge (the faster you are at getting the correct answer, the more points you get)
  • The speed of the game causes students to not absorb any information
  • Time constraints only allow teachers to ask basic question, you cannot get in-depth to ask more challenging questions
  • There are limitations: students need an electronic devices, need internet (decent wifi)
  • Some students may just pick random answers or not join in at all
  • Students create their own usernames, which become inappropriate quite often (although Kahoot now kicks them out if it sees an inappropriate name)
  • Hard to track student progress

All in all, I think that the pros out weight the cons, and I also believe the cons have many holes in them. For example, I doubt any teacher is using Kahoot as their main form of assessment or review, so the fact that writing things down is the best to remember does not really matter. We all know that we need to appeal to all types of learners, and this is one way to get some kids more involved in the learning process. Furthermore, in response to students not playing or not playing with serious answers, well, that happens in every single thing we do! I don’t know if I have ever done a project or activity and had every single student participate properly..Also, to the inappropriate names, Kahoot kicks them out if it recognizes them, or the teacher can also do so! In fact, to eliminate this, you could just require they put their real names otherwise you kick them out. Overall, I would say the biggest issue with Kahoot (and one that I have experienced with my classes) is some kids not having an electronic device or good internet. I have only had 1 or 2 kids per class have this issue. Normally, they just borrow my phone, help a friend, or they can come click the computer to advance to the next question in order to still participate. I’ve never had a student feel left out during a Kahoot (that I know of).

Educational Uses:

I have already sort of touched on this in my previous post, but I am going to give you some MORE useful ways to use Kahoot in the classroom.

  • Assess learning
  • Review for tests
  • Give homework (students can do a quiz at home and the teacher will see who did their homework)
  • Student made assignments (students create their own Kahoot for example)
  • Have online based discussions (some students are more likely to give input this way rather than having to speak in front of the class)
  • Ice breaker activities
  • Formative assessment
  • Pre-assessment tool
  • Zero in on the needs of both the group and individual students (maybe you need to re-teach a lesson)
  • Time filler (yup, we all do it)

Well, there ya have it folks! Kahoot in a nutshell. Personally, I love Kahoot and use it all the time. I normally have a stash of chocolate bars for the winners and I would say 90% of the kids are involved in the game. I have had a class or two who would get way too rowdy, so I eventually had to cut Kahoot out, but I think it depends completely on the nature of your students.

Stay tuned for my next piece of my major project involving TikTok (I just started watching videos last night and needless to say, I am already hooked and stayed up giggling at videos WAAAAAYY later than I should have)!

Kahoot it!

Alright, it is time to start looking at this Educational tool called Kahoot! I have used some of the very basic settings for this app in the past. The extent to my knowledge so far has gone to using preset games (made by other teachers) and even making a couple of my own trivia games in order to review before tests or sum up a lesson.

So WHAT IS KAHOOT? Kahoot explains its website as: “Kahoot! is a game-based learning platform that makes it easy to create, share and play learning games or trivia quizzes in minutes. Unleash the fun in classrooms, offices and living rooms!” Ok, so how does it work? Watch the short video below to find out!

On the Kahoot website, you can create, play, and share games! It is a more fun way to discuss information, plus a great way to wrap up a class if you end a lesson early and have 10 min to spare at the end of the class. Many of the kids love the added competition and even learn quite a bit (which I can tell because we normally repeat the same game a couple times during a unit and see the growth from one to the next!). You can play individually or in teams, use a pre-made game or make your own (options are true/false, multiple choice, poll, slide, and puzzle). Educational options listed on the Kahoot! website include: introduce new topics, review content, teach a lesson, break the ice and reward, reinforce knowledge, run formative assessments, collect student opinions, focus on accuracy, turn learners into leaders, foster creativity and teamwork, connect with classrooms globally, and teach colleagues in PD sessions. Here is a video showing you how to make your own Kahoot!

Alright, now we know the jist of the app (which, by the way, you can use either the website or download the app to play), so let’s discuss the policies to make sure that we know what we are getting ourselves into. Below is a chart in which I highlighted the most applicable information to teachers. If you need more info, feel free to click the heading and go to the site yourself! (Sorry the spacing is messed up! The more I type in the 3rd column, the further the first 2 go down, and there is no spacing there for me to backspace?!)

Privacy PolicyInclusion and Accessibility PolicyTerms and Conditions
*Only requires certain personal information in order to create an account (email, username, password). Any additional information is your choice to provide, and if done so, you give permission for Kahoot! to use that information if you are an adult (age 13 or older in the U.S. and age 16 or older outside of the U.S.)
* No personal information is required to participate in a game
* Player Identifier is a game option that allows a host to track progress and scores of participants. Turning this paid feature on means that the host can see player emails and nicknames
* How Kahoot! tracks your information: through account services, offline (contacting customer service), other sources (if you register a microsoft or other account)
* How they use your information: providing services and fulfilling requests, providing you with pertinent marketing material, analyzing personal information for business reporting and providing catered services, participation in sweepstakes, contests, and promotions, and anonymizing/aggregating personal info.
* Who your information may be shared with: a third party in the case of a contest, or that supplies a service to Kahoot! such as information technology, website hosting, data analysis, etc.
* Kahoot! also uses and discloses personal information in accordance with the law
* Kahoot! may also use your cookies, browser information, the app, or other sources to track information such as: browser and device information, app usage, demographic information, and aggregated information
Kahoot! believes:
* Learning should include everyone
* Learning shouldn’t have any barriers
* Diversity is an asset and strongly encouraged
* They do not discriminate or exclude based on any circumstance
* They are compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), making their website perceivable, operable, and understandable
This section is broken down into 17 categories:
1) Welcome
2) Responsible Use and Conduct – You agree to use these resources only for the purposes attended and outlined (see Acceptable Use)
3) Changes to agreements – they reserve the right to change the terms without notice
4) Service Plans – Please see school or business payment plans. There is a free basic plan that cannot be used for commercial purposes.
5) Payments, upgrades, and cancellations
6) Licensed rights – users have a limited, non-exclusive, revocable right to use the website or app
7) Third Party Applications
8) User Generated Content – you grant Kahoot! full access to whatever you produce on their website or app
9) DMCA and User Content reporting
10) Organizations
11) Account security
12) Term and termination
13) Warranty and Disclaimer – service is provided as available without warranty
14) Limitation – if you are dissatisfied, uninstall and quit using!
15) Third Party Rights
16) Misc
17) Governing Law / Jurisdiction

Literate today, everyday

Prior to this class, I would’ve went HUH? However, I am at least a bit more educated now when it comes to digital literacy. According to Daniel’s video, UNESCO defines literacy as: “the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate, and compute, using printed and written materials associate with carrying contexts.” Daniel also points out that Renee Hobbs, EdD, identifies four main skills for media literacy: access, create and collaborate, analysis, and reflect and take action.

Brad and Shelby, in their Shelby and Brad Show Video, discuss that with the current ability to access multitudes of information online, one must become a critical reader in order to be able to decipher what is true and important before passing on information or commenting on it. Using the IMVAIN acronym can also really help one out when trying to decide whether a source is legit or not.

After doing my research and reflecting on the last few days, I can honestly say that this topic is more important than ever! Amid the Coronavirus-19 pandemic, there is so much phony information and false rumors floating around. I hear so many things, that I honestly do not know what to believe anymore. Currently, if something worries me, I look it up on the CDC website directly, or another reputable area (I am looking for sources, references, .gov or med websites, etc). For example, I previously heard that this is scariest for the elderly and for children. Of course, being a mother of 2 youngsters, my youngest who has had some serious medical issues (spending nearly 2 months in the NICU and still waiting to see a cardiologist for likely heart surgery), I started to worry. Yet, when I looked into it myself, this virus rarely affects kids ages 0-9 and there have been no reported fatalities. That being said, children with a weakened immune system or heart disease are at higher risk as well.

Another example came after the confirmed case in Saskatoon the other day. Immediately after that, people started sharing how these were all presumptive and there were no confirmed cases in Saskatchewan! The site was legit and numerous people had shared this information. I sent the link to a friend of mine who is a nurse practitioner, and the second I clicked send, I looked at the date and saw “March 5, 2020”. So, the article was legit and true, but outdated, and numerous people were unknowingly sharing this information causing more confusion and more rumors.

One last example, and this one I actually haven’t found an reputable sites to confirm its accuracy so hopefully I am not spreading false information, has to do with the toilet paper crisis. Everyone and their mother is asking, “WHY hoard toilet paper!?” Apparently, it all started when the virus hit Australia and people thought that they needed to stock up on toilet paper because they believed it was mass produced and shipped out from China, where the virus is thought to have originally started. This led people to believe that toilet paper may be hard to come by, and they stocked up. This fad hit social media, and soon people all over the world could no longer buy toilet paper because of the lack of supply to demand. I myself, have gone to Costco recently and the toiletry shelves were bare. I have heard stories about stores restocking and it only lasting on the shelves for a few hours at a time. All of this comes from personal friends and family in Moose Jaw and Regina. Yesterday I went to the Cornwall Centre and we were the ONLY people walking down Hamilton St on a Saturday afternoon. There was maybe a handful of people in the mall – it was ridiculous! Mass chaos and paranoia can create some real sketchy times in the world we currently live in.

All in all, I suppose this is telling me to make sure I am checking my sources before making a decision on anything I read. So then, what does that mean in an educational context? If my own adult family and friends don’t even know how to check for credible sources, how am I expecting young teenages to know without ever being taught? I need to make sure I am outlining how to determine a site’s worth. Before our first research project in each class, I think it is important for me to outline this information and have a class discussion about what they already know and what I need to elaborate on. As a school, I don’t think we have any specific practices in place – it goes teacher to teacher, and I can almost guarantee that the majority of teachers are not teaching this information either. As a group, we need to realize these gaps and start to fill them, which is why I am happy I am learning such important skills in this class!

Pros and Cons in the World of Snaps

I read quite a few blogs to find out different pros and cons of Snapchat. I also tried to filter through them to find things that are more pertinent to education, so keep in mind that there is a lot more information than what I am giving you (especially on the business side of things!).

Quickview:

ProsCons
• Timing
• Geofilters
• Easy
• Safe
• Minimal commercial content
• One-on-one communication
• Source of news
Repitition
• Timing
• Lack of analytics
• Addictive
• Video time constraint
• Can portray yourself in a bad light
• Sexts or cruel messages
• Most of content is kind of useless

Explanations:

Timing: Can be both good and bad. Since the snaps are deleted instantly (or after 24 hours if you have your settings configured that way), it doesn’t clog up your account with numerous pictures and message. But, if you wish to recall a conversation, it is likely lost! This also opens up the possibility of bullying without any proof, since the conversation or picture is deleted if not screenshotted.

Geofilters: these can show where you are and have a photo to match. My school used them for school tours and school plays before!

Easy: the basics are pretty simple – make an account, add some friends, take a picture and send. You never have to do anything more complicated if you don’t wish to! Even my mother has Snapchat

Safe: When used properly, Snapchat can be very safe. No one outside of your friends can view your snaps, and you know who is looking at them when you click on your story info. You determine who you add as a friend. Snaps are generally deleted after 24 hours (although if you read my last Major Project blog, this is not guaranteed by SnapChat). Thelifevirtue.com states that their server is also very hard to hack, so your information is safe. Also, although screenshots are allowed, the app lets you know if someone takes one.

Minimal commercial content: You rarely see sponsored ads and when you do, it’s because you searched something similar on your phone.

One-on-one communication: You can now message people one-on-one or in groups

Source of news: “Good Luck America” updates with news stories constantly. Also, just sending and receiving news from other friends via social media

Repetition: using the story and loop features, teachers can spread out content and take advantage of repetition—two effective ways to learn new material

Lack of analytics: there is no way to like or share content. You can forward a story from a friend’s account, and the owner can see how many people and who specifically has looked at their story, but that is it.

Addictive: like all social media, Snapchat can be fairly addictive if one does not practice a bit of restraint.

Video time constraint: 60 seconds max

Can portray yourself in a bad light: it is so easy to just snap a photo and send it to someone, and once it is sent, there is no taking it back!

Sexts or cruel messages: people may see this platform as a way to send inappropriate pictures, thinking that it is harmless and will be deleted. However, screenshots are allowed and Snapchat does NOT delete everything from their database. It also allows a platform for bullying, as there could potentially be no proof once the picture or message is gone.

Most of content is kind of useless: Snapchat is mainly for fun, there are a few different educational options, but the majority of users are using it as a way to network socially, not educationally.

Speaking of educational options…these are some of the ways I found Snapchat can be incorporated into the classroom:

Post pictures and short videos to help summarize the material learned in class that day

Post a discussion question

Send an annoucement

Offer students real examples of content being used in everyday life

Give shoutouts or highlight accomplishments

Mentor/Coach students in virtual space

Learn lessons on social media and digital citizenship

Annotate a teacher-selected picture as part of a lesson (#booksnaps)

Book Talks (10 second video on your favorite character, 30 seconds on the plot, etc )

Record a skill (such as throwing a football in PE)

Raise awareness on a subject (activist project)

Vocab (take a picture that represents the meaning of a vocab word)

Virtual study session (each student posts 2 important things to study)

Document field trips

Follow content-related Snapchat accounts

Speech bubble (add an engaging discussion question)

Ask a question (especially for those too shy to do it in class time)

Pros and Cons according to Snapchat:

Cyberwise.org suggests the following information for parents:

References:

E School News

https://brogan.com/blog/snap-or-not-snap-pros-and-cons-snapchat/

https://thelifevirtue.com/pros-and-cons-of-snapchat/

Brandon Gaille

https://www.prosancons.com/internet/pros-and-cons-of-snapchat/

https://www.cyberwise.org/post/2017/07/11/what-a-parent-needs-to-know-about-snapchat

Medium.com

Mudandinkteaching.org

https://ditchthattextbook.com/15-ways-to-use-snapchat-in-classes-and-schools/

The Teacher’s Role in Digital Citizenship

Before this class, I always assumed students are learning Digital Citizenship before they come to high school (whether it be at school or at home), and that I didn’t need to address it. However, after my first year teaching Social 90, I quickly learned that students were not aware of plagiarism. I literally went through report after report and highlighted all of the words that directly matched an internet search. Yet, students still argued with me that it was not plagiarism because of this or that- they had NO idea what constituted as plagiarism. So, I altered my lesson plans and added in a lesson on plagiarism before the first big research project. I learned from my mistake; however, I didn’t learn enough because that was where my Digital Citizenship lessons ended. Since starting this class, I am sure you all agree that I was NOT doing enough! I am currently on maternity so have not gotten a chance to rectify my horrible behavior, but luckily I am back in 3 weeks (or unluckily…I have mixed feelings!) and hope to start incorporating more into my classroom.

One thing that can easily be incorporated into my Social classrooms it the ability to differentiate between real and fake news, as Shelby and Brad’s article this week suggests. Asking probing questions that can help you get to the truth is key! I normally just assume that people do their due diligence in making sure information they are sharing is accurate, but if you look at many people’s social media accounts, that is clearly not the case. You see so many posts that have no credible sources, no references, and clearly an agenda, and yet, 1.3 million shares. It overwhelms me the amount of people willing to share something on social media without fact checking the information or at the very least CLICKING on the article itself and actually READING it! Clearly, I also run into this issue in the classroom when I ask students to use credible sources – well what the heck does that mean? I assume they know that it requires looking for certain elements such as an author, date of publication, a well-known website or one ending in ‘org’ or ‘edu’, checking for spelling errors, etc. I definitely need to do a better job letting them know what a credible source is and how to determine its worth.

In general, I think a teacher’s job around Digital Citizenship is making sure the students can successfully complete the task at hand. Clearly, I should not be assigning a research assignment without giving guidelines on reputable websites, plagiarism, copyright, and internet expectations. I really do think that students SHOULD know this information by Grade 9, but the fact of the matter is that they will not all have learned it in the past, nor will all of the remember that information (if they can forget the planets names over the span of christmas break, then how can I expect them to learn information from a previous grade?). At bare minimum, I need to be doing a review on the matter. My main motive for teaching this information is because my students’ lack of knowledge in these areas is a) making it difficult for them to be successful and b) taking a lot of my time to grade and search for plagiarism! As suggested in Daniel’s reading, every teacher will have a different reason for wanting to inform students on Media Literacy, and we should respect that! No matter the reasoning, I respect and rejoice in any teacher willing to add this to their already cram-packed-full curriculum.

Upon reflection of my school’s current policy on Digital Citizenship, I honestly do not know if we have one! I know that we leave it up to the individual teacher whether they allow phones in the classroom, and many of my colleagues do NOT. Personally, I use them quite a bit for classroom activities, and I do not mind if a student wants to listen to music while they work – you do what you need to in order to be successful! My school has social media accounts, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and in the past we have had a Snapchat filter and a hashtag as well (I don’t even know if I am saying these in the proper context haha). But, I am unaware if we have anything that tells students how to properly interact with these platforms…I am very curious to ask my principal.

Digital Identity: My World

It’s kind of ironic that this is the topic to write on this week because I recently watched a video where a tech company had an adult woman pretend to be a 15 year-old girl to see if child predators would attack her. In the first hour, 7 predators had messaged her and by the end of the week, 92 men had messaged this young girl. She even went so far as to meeting up with one at a hotel (she wore a lot of makeup and a hat to try and hide her age) and he was very persistent in her coming up to his room. I strongly suggest clicking the link and watching the video, it is an eye-opening video! Anyways, after watching this video I decided I really do need to figure out what I can do personally with my 3 year-old daughter to start conversations and understanding on how to safely use the internet. I started Googling different things, but most things just had to do with putting parental locks on an iPad, which is a completely great idea as well, but not quite what I was looking for. After reading through a few articles that shared common sense ideas, I finally found one that could be of use to me. This particular website had a list that explained some important things to teach your pre-schooler:

Other things to teach

You mustn’t forget to teach your child how to protect themselves. Tell them to:

  • Seek help whenever they see a pop-up in the middle of a game or video
  • Be near an adult whenever they are using a device
  • Only click on the tabs or apps your parent or babysitter has set up for you
  • Don’t share personal information (like photos or videos) with anyone

Do doubt the internet is a large part of the daily lives of many young ones. They don’t just watch their favorite YouTube clips and play games online but also talk to long-distance relatives over video conferencing. It makes sense to set boundaries for them and teach the how to stay safe online from a young age.”

I think that for a child my daughter’s age, this is about as much information as she needs/can handle. I could elaborate on a few things as they come up, but this is a good starting point considering she only plays Unicorn games and watches a few YouTube or Netflix videos. I am always nearby and she is only allowed an hour or two max of screen time a day (and there are many days she gets 0 hours of course).

I believe I have already posted about my own need to improve digital citizenship lessons in my classroom, so next I will touch on my own personal use. I am currently pretty diligent that nothing unprofessional gets posted online. I don’t want photos or words that are inappropriate to be associated with my name; there are many dos and dont’s for social media! I have settings on facebook where things cannot be posted on my wall without my approval, just to weed out posts that someone may not think about throwing up on a teacher’s wall. However, I hate to admit that in my College years, I was not quite so diligent. I actually had to go through my wall and delete a ton of stuff that was not necessarily “bad”, but just that I did not feel portrayed me as a professional. I already found it quite challenging to be a young teacher because of numerous stereotypes and perceptions others had of younger teachers, so I wanted to be as professional as possible. I still sometimes find a memory on Facebook that I cringe from because I am unsure why I would post what I did (well, because I was 22 is the reason ha!), but there is nothing too upsetting on there. I am glad that I was a little bit careful at that age at least!

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