Give and Take

Over the course of ECMP 355, I have gotten lots of support from my classmates. It was very reassuring to know that if I ever encountered a technical issue or simply had a curiosity, I could turn to a community of people who had my back and were willing to contribute to my learning. However, as we learned throughout the course, part of being a good digital citizen is not just taking but also giving/offering something up in return. Good digital citizens are not simply voyeurs, but those who actively participate. Keeping this in the forefront of my mind, I also, in turn, contributed in various ways to the learning of my classmates whenever possible. This took many forms.

  1. Twitter. Over the past 2 months, I could be seen:
  • connecting with classmates and others online as a means of helping fellow educators build their PLN.
  • tweeting over 245 times!
  • sharing classroom photos, videos, and student work to help give practical lessons/ideas to others that they themselves can use or adapt.
  • liking posts/tweets as a means of supporting others thoughts and acknowledging that I find links/resources helpful.
  • commenting on others’ posts by offering up my own insights/points of view from a French Immersion classroom.
  • retweeting useful links, resources, and blog posts so that others could have access to them. It was also a means of promoting my classmates and giving their blogs exposure.
  • using the ecmp355 hashtag as a means of contributing to our online resources and categorizing our posts.
  • engaging in various chats on my own time as a means of engaging with PD and collaborating with others (SaskEd chat as well as a DigCiz chat hosted by our professor, Katia Hildebrandt).

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2. Google+. Over the past 2 months, I could be seen:

  • responding to classmates’ questions about blogging, tweeting, etc. and offering up answers. If I did not know an answer off hand, I worked to find it online.
  • offering up questions that I had, and that I had a feeling others had as well. This saved others from asking and created an archive of Q&A.

3. Blogging. Over the past 2 months, I could be seen:

  • inviting others to comment on my blog posts and attempting to create discussion/dialogue in the comments sections.
  • posting feedback, opinions, and questions on others’ blog posts on a regular basis.
  • using pingbacks to various classmates, including Kim Thue.
  • creating screencasts that guide others through various online processes (coding).
  • responding to others’ comments on my blog posts to spark and develop deeper discussions.

4. Online Sessions. Over the pas 2 months, I could be seen:

  • offering up thoughts, opinions, and commentary in the chat section of our online courses (Tuesday and Thursday nights).
  • sharing insights after breakout sessions.
  • attempting to answer other students’ questions in the chat so as to lighten Professor Hildebrandt’s load.
  • engaging/participating in others’ initiatives (uploading to Padlet).

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My hope is that this give and take between classmates will continue after the course is done. Many of them will be in my PLN for a very long time, as the ideas, opinions, resources, etc. we have shared over the past 2 months has been invaluable. Technology really does lend itself well to collaboration and PD. Great experience!

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“Digital Slacktivist” = The online version of a person with bumper stickers on his/her car

We’ve all seen someone change their profile picture to a filter or frame that supports a certain cause. And with that, we’ve all seen someone complain about how changing your profile picture or sharing a post “does not actually make a difference.” Both sides of the argument are incredibly valid and both sides are, in a sense, right.

On one hand, it’s great to raise awareness and to support a cause. On the other hand, is this where your support should stop? Or should you be contributing to causes financially? Do you need to commit time, money and effort to make a noticeable change?

Perhaps when you last changed your profile picture, one of your friends saw the cause that you were supporting and decided to make a monetary donation. Does that redeem you and categorize you as someone who is part of the change? Or do you simply fall under the category of a “slacktivist” (an activist who does the bare minimum)? So many questions. So little answers.

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Photo Credit: timp37 Flickr via Compfight cc

In terms of moving this topic into the classroom, should teachers silently support causes they care about? Or should they be posting their beliefs on social media? In a 2015 article (In online spaces, silence speaks as loudly as words), Katia Hildebrandt touches on the idea that teachers have an obligation to post about, for example, “the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report in Canada, or about the burning of Black churches in the southern United States.” These examples are meant to refer to important issues. Important social justice issues wherein there is a very clear and correct opinion. Racism is wrong. Abuse is wrong. The article states that as an educator, not speaking out (virtually) about these injustices demonstrates to students that they are okay and acceptable. As educators, it is our job to lead by example and to show students that we must take a stand for what is right.

Evidently, there are conditions and exceptions to everything. In this case, your school, your admin, your town, etc. all play important factors. Hildebrandt’s thoughts are very much dependent, in my opinion, on educators using their proper judgment to judge for themselves what, when, how, and where to post.

In an earlier article (What Kind of (Digital) Citizen?), Hildebrandt outlines that to be a good digital citizen, we must move past just personal responsibility (don’t say anything rude, don’t post something incriminating, don’t cyberbully, etc.) to more of a participatory attitude. We must not be hesitant, but rather, we must engage/promote justice online to be truly considered a good digital citizen.

Please comment below. Are you an online “Slacktivist” or do you believe that supporting causes means that you need to devote your time and your money? Do educators have a duty to engage with activism online? Or is that took risky given the backlash that could come from the school community? I want to hear what you have to say!

Cracking the Code of Coding

“Often, computers and technology are the reason students miss out on certain “life skills” (like making eye contact), however, with coding, technology gives them the ‘life skill’ of problem solving and critical thinking. What could be better than that?”

I really enjoyed playing around with Hour of Code. The tutorial-feel and step-by-step process made it easy to follow and scaffolded the coding experience nicely. At first, the idea seemed simple: You make the bird flap when you click the mouse. To do this, you literally just have to drag the “Flap” icon over to the “Click Mouse” icon. Simple.

However, I quickly learned on Scratch.mit.edu that the tools learned on Hour of Code are actually essential in creating your own code. No matter how simple it seems, stick with it because you are moreso developing the logic that comes along with coding. It really boils down to figuring out how to manipulate the different effects/actions to make the icon or game do what you want it to do. And that is not always easy.

I got my students to log on to Hour of Code on Friday afternoon as a fun little activity after our field trip. They really enjoyed the experience and didn’t require much of a lesson. I knew they would take to it quickly, so I took the approach of “explore on your own and if you have a question, I am here to help.” There were virtually no questions.

I had them start off with Hour of Code, as it seems to be the place to learn and acquire the skills before creating your own project. The students who passed at least one tutorial were then given the green light to go to Scrath.mit.edu. Again, they took to it very quickly, however, I think this was largely due to Hour of Code. In my short experience, the two go hand-in-hand, with one acting as a stepping stone for the other.

Coding is important because it encourages students to engage fully with the behind-the-scenes aspects of what they see on the computer. It forces them to think critically and to question why the computer reacts the way it does when we click certain keys, etc. When something doesn’t work the way it should in their coding creation (game, etc.), they have to use problem solving skills. This is hard to teach and coding lends itself well to developing a lot of these basic life skills that we hope our students pick up. Often, computers and technology are the reason students miss out on certain “life skills” (like making eye contact), however, with coding, technology gives them the “life skill” of problem solving and critical thinking. What could be better than that? In addition, students often view coding as just “gaming,” which works in your favour in terms of student engagement. True learning occurs when students are having fun.

Personally, I’d like to start exploring coding with actual text. For the moment, however, I’d like to start developing a coding unit for in the classroom, which includes Makey Makey. This test-run yesterday went so well, that I can’t see what happens when I have a well-developed unit to work with. Updates to come.

“SIGH”berbullying

As I read up on cyberbullying this week for ECMP 355, I can’t help but sigh. The more I read, the more I ask, “Why?”

  • Why do people cyberbully?
  • Why do we allow it to happen/think it is okay/ignore it?
  • Why is cyberbullying such a big part of our online culture now?
  • Why do children, teens, and adolescents keep cyber-bullying from their parents?

I will not attempt to necessarily answer any of these questions this week, but rather, I will raise them and begin to explore them. I encourage conversation/for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below in response to these questions. My goal is to start an important conversation.

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Photo Credit: Mugunghwa Dream Blog Flickr via Compfight cc

Understandably, cyberbullying is much more present among adolescents, teens, and children (compared to adults). This article is absolutely filled with statistics on cyberbullying. It states, “Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.” To add to my ongoing list of questions, I wonder if cyberbullying is replacing face-to-face bullying. Has bullying in schools gone down as a result of cyberbullying? Or is the amount of bullying (in any form) simply gone up with the creation of the Internet?

In the CBC documentary series, The Fifth Estate, there is an episode that features around Amanda Todd, a teen who committed suicide after falling victim to a cyberbully. One woman states that young girls in particular are “naïve and trusting” while online. This is partly because when teens are online, they feel disarmed. They feel removed from the people they are interacting with/do not actually view them as human. They do not sense a threat and are therefore more open. Young people are generally naïve and trusting, however, this is amplified while online. This causes them to say and do things, such as cyberbully, which they might not normally do. It also allows them to be more accepting of cyberbullying, as they do not view the bullies as real people either. They tolerate a different level of communication while online. When was the last time you read comments on a YouTube video and didn’t see a hateful comment? Did you report it? The online language is much more critical and vulgar than verbal, face-to-face language. And we tolerate it.

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Photo Credit: Ares Project Flickr via Compfight cc

The reporter from the same documentary says “[Amanda’s] impulsive gesture was immortalized,” which raises another important question: Why are we so easily disarmed while online when everything we do can be held against us? Everything we do is documented. At least in person-to-person conversations, we do not leave a trail behind us. We need to educate youth in classrooms about being more vigilant while online and to not be so trusting. We need to teach them to think and judge for themselves and to react accordingly. No one deserves to be cyberbullied, and no one deserves to feel like it is acceptable if they are. Students need to be educated to develop the mindset that cyberbullying holds the same consequences as real bullying, affects people the same way as real bullying, and can be documented. Potential victims of cyberbullying need to be aware that what they post and say online can be held against them/manipulated to paint them in a negative light (remix culture). My main point here is that there is a lot of education that needs to take place!

This education starts in the classroom. We cannot avoid it or assume that youth know how to navigate this online world. Look at where that has gotten us? Students don’t simply need a long list of consequences or things they shouldn’t do. They need to understand. We need to equip students with the knowledge to think and react and interact for themselves.

In the TED Talk “One Tweet Can Ruin Your Life” by Jon Ronson, he states (talking about Twitter) that “People would admit shameful secrets about themselves and other people would say ‘Oh my god’ I’m exactly the same.” He talks about people finding their voice online. A powerful voice. This could answer some of the questions from above. People are seeking out a community online. They are seeking to be heard and listened to. This makes them vulnerable. This allows them to tolerate negative words or actions that target them.

Ronson also refers to “That sad feeling when the Internet doesn’t congratulate us for being funny.” His example is when a tweet does not get any likes or replies. This forces us to up our game. To raise our ante. We want to be noticed. We want to find a community of people online who give us affirmation. In the case of Justine Sacco, this lead her to tweeting out something incredibly inappropriate that, as the title of the TED Talk states, “ruined her life.” Obviously no one deserves to be cyberbullied or cyberharrassed, however, this particular tweet set her up for an overwhelming amount of hate directed at her online. Her vulnerability and trustworthiness caused her to post something that was A) documented for all of the world to see and B) incredibly offensive and sparked the responses of thousands of people.

My hope is that this post opens up some discussion. Please comment below to join the conversation. For anyone wishing to read more about cyberbullying and its permanent nature, check out this article that reinforces the idea that “The Internet has no delete button.”

For anyone who is currently the victim of cyberbullying, please read this article that outlines a number of options that you have and reinforces the fact that it is not your fault.

All Aboard the Digital Citizenship!

Every year, my class participates in Student Vote. We learn about the electoral system, research candidates, and go through the motions of voting. I try to create an authentic experience for them, highlighting what it means to be a Canadian citizen.

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Photo Credit: hi fi parasol Flickr via Compfight cc

Digital citizenship, however, isn’t quite so easy. Many teachers assume that the younger generation knows more about technology than they do. This is true in a lot of respects, however, many teachers overlook that students require knowledge in 9 different fields, according to Mike Ribbel. Denying a student an education in any one of these areas means not giving them a complete picture of what it means to be a digital citizen.

The nine elements of digital citizenship:

  1. Digital Access
  2. Digital Commerce
  3. Digital Communication
  4. Digital Literacy
  5. Digital Etiquette
  6. Digital Law
  7. Digital Rights and Responsibilities
  8. Digital Health and Wellness
  9. Digital Security (Self-Protection)

Often, we impose rules on students. Don’t go on Facebook. Don’t take videos during class, don’t buy stuff on eBay while I’m lecturing. However, teachers lack the training to truly educate the essence of being a digital citizen. It is not simply adhering to rules. We must teach our students to think for themselves and use their judgment. We do a good job of this in all subject areas, however, this is one area where many teachers feel inadequate. Students need to feel comfortable enough to engage online, not just observe and consume. This is what it means to be a citizen.

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Photo Credit: technovore Flickr via Compfight cc

Don’t get me wrong, this feeling of inadequacy, and having the students be experts/teachers themselves is fantastic. However, the teacher needs to have and ultimate goal in mind and a working knowledge of digital citizenship to get there.

It is never too early to begin teaching digital citizenship. Just like treaty education, it is important to start early and to “dive in” despite thinking you are not informed enough. Learning alongside students goes a long way and models the learning process for them. If students start early, discovering and laying the groundwork, they will subconsciously be equipped with a working knowledge of what it means, in general and to them, to be a digital citizen.

They will also be well on their way to forming their digital identity. The knowledge of digital citizenship will allow them to create an identity that will not come back to haunt them later on in life, like this example. Students will be able to paint a picture of themselves, from the beginning, that will present themselves to the world in a positive, confident, intelligent, and mindful way. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, this is becoming increasingly more crucial (specifically in the job market) because your digital identity is the new “first impression”.

Slow your roll, we need more control.

As a member of Instagram, Facebook, and now Twitter, I often reflect on my own digital identity. What you send out electronically has replaced what used to be called “first impression”. Now, people can judge you/form their opinion of you before they even meet you. Their first impression of you now comes from the Internet instead of the standard face-to-face encounter. Handshakes and eye contact have become rarities.

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Photo Credit: Visual Content Flickr via Compfight cc

Since my Facebook is mostly private, I use this social media platform for personal posts (my weekend plans, vacations, my engagement, things I find funny etc.). It is rare that I will post professional posts on my Facebook account, however, I do occasionally share resources that I find from teacher-based groups (Ontario French Teachers). On Facebook, I share details of my personal life with colleagues, friends, and family. However, in case something does get out of my private Facebook sphere (never underestimate a student’s ability to snoop), I am careful to never post anything that would get me in trouble. I filter everything through a “common sense” filter. It is important to take time to reflect on how others will view your post/if your post detracts from your professional image.

My Instagram account is run in the exact same way. I used to use it for professional posts as well (sharing what we’re up to in the classroom), however, Twitter seemed to become the frontrunner in terms of professional content. This is simply, in my view, because it lends itself well to professional networking (retweeting, hashtags, chats).

 

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Are you aware of the digital fingerprints you’re leaving behind?   Photo Credit: diedintragedy Flickr via Compfight cc

When I Google myself, the first result is my profile on RateMyTeacher. That’s right – the first result that appears is one that I did not create/put out there myself. In fact, I don’t know who created a profile for me or who wrote my reviews. Luckily for me, the reviews are positive and I have a good rating, however, it’s scary to think that my first virtual impression to someone when they Google me could be in the hands of someone else. This lack of control over my impression to others fuels me to contribute more to my digital identity. This book mirrors a lot of my thoughts, for anyone looking to read up on controlling our digital environment.

Following this, my Twitter account appears. My general profile page is displayed, but so are specific posts. Again, I feel a lack of control, as it appears that random posts appear in the search results – not necessarily the most recent or most popular ones.

Newspaper articles from when I used to write for a local newspaper also appear, as do a few of my short stories that I got published in University. Google images displays several photos from my Facebook and Google + accounts – all of which I’m happy with but have had no control over. Because of how random these results can be (which pictures appear in search results and which ones don’t), I again, am thankful for my “common sense” filter. I know that whatever Google (or other search engines) chooses to display, will not come back to haunt me.

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Photo Credit: Visual Content Flickr via Compfight cc

I look forward to continuing to contribute to my digital identity, mostly through the form of this blog (which also appeared in my Google search for myself). As Katia Hildebrandt said in our session last night, the more you put out there, the more control you have. I want more control.

UPDATE: Feel free to check out my classroom website as well, which is also a part of my digital identity.

Pick Me, Pick Me!

This week, I have reflected a lot on the culture of participation, as outlined by both Michael Wesch and Alec Couros.

In Wesch’s An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube, he shows a number of videos of people dancing and singing to the same song, Numa Numa. From all around the world, people belt it out into their webcams, “expressing joy” for others to see. He seems to suggest that these people are all connected and that they feel the need to participate and be a part of something bigger than themselves. He describes the uploaded videos as “a celebration of new and unimaginable possibility” and “a celebration of new forms of community.” I, on the other hand, feel that the exact opposite is occurring. These people are not wanting to be a part of a community, but on the contrary, want to stand out as a singular and unique individual. These people participate out of a need and a desire to be noticed. They perform for the Internet and expect something in return: their 10 minutes of fame. They do not want to fit in with a community, but instead want to stand out. This causes them to engage with the most ridiculous (sometimes dangerous) behaviour. However, their reasoning and motives aside, they are nonetheless participating.

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Photo Credit: benpal4 Flickr via Compfight cc

Alec Couros also talks about a different form of Internet participation, also known as “Catfishing.” This is simply when an individual or group of individuals poses as someone else online, therefore misleading others for either, money, sympathy, attention, information, etc. Couros shares an example of how he himself was part of a “catfish”. His public photos were used by someone else to create a phony Facebook profile. These “catfishers” participate online as a means of exploiting. They use others’ identities, or made up identities, to engage with others and get them to participate online in a way that will benefit their own personal motives. As I highlight the negative forms of participation culture online, it is clear that weather one is looking to make their identity known/be recognized, or hide their identity altogether, this participation can be done with deceitful or selfish intentions. However, the classroom seems to be a place where the participation culture can be used for something positive.

Through technological participation, students are able to demonstrate their knowledge. Much like the Numa Numa singers, they seek to be noticed – but for they acquired knowledge. They are “showing off” what they have learned as a means of being assessed. This could be through the form of videos, songs, commercials, Kahoot quizzes, etc. Students engage and participate using technology as a means of demonstrating knowledge. This enhances the evidence of learning and makes assessment easier. This is where the participation culture positively affects an entire field: education. If we’re looking at the SAMR model, this culture easily lends itself to the “Redefinition” category.

In closing for this week, I’d like to research other positive and negative effects of the participation culture and will be watching the rest of Wesch’s An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube. Until next week, web surfers.

Flipgrid flips the engagement switch to “ON” in French Immersion

One fifth of the French Immersion curriculum is comprised of “Production orale.” This is the ability to produce oral language. Many students harbor feelings of anxiety toward this portion of the curriculum, however, it’s one of the most important components of learning a new language. Oral production of language is how you will primarily use what you’ve learned as a means of interacting with others. Flipgrid takes the intimidation out of oral communication of a second language and allows students to speak to their webcams/Chromebooks, rather than be intimidated by a classroom full of eyes hanging onto their every word.

Flipgrid is a discussion community wherein students interact verbally through brief videos. It gives students a voice and engages them with a number of topics, set up ahead of time by the teacher. Their video responses are laid out in a grid format, which is great for visual learners and very user friendly. It also allows students to respond to one another and build on one another’s points. The catch, as mentioned earlier, is that it’s all done through video/through verbal interactions. Students cannot write to one another, but instead must communicate vocally and use the language they are studying.

One of the reasons Flipgrid works in engaging students is that the videos are limited to 90 seconds. Anything seems less intimidating when you chunk it into 90 second installments. Speaking for a minute and a half is do-able. Also, Flipgrid is stimulating. There are a number of different discussions happening and conversations to engage with. Students have choice without feeling overwhelmed.

I created a locked grid for my classroom, meaning only my students (and their teacher) could access the grid. We had our own access code that allowed them access to the grid. This allowed students who do not have media release permissions to still participate.

One drawback to Flipgrid is that creating an account will give you a “Flipgrid One” account, which means exactly that. You have access to only one grid. Unlimited grids falls under the “Flipgrid Classroom” package, which will cost you $65. In a regular classroom, this may not be worth the money, but in Immersion classrooms, it is worth every cent.

Flipgrid’s value also comes from the fact that it lends itself well to evaluation and assessment. Having a conversation with a student or having a student raise his/her hand in class is good… but there’s no record of it. Flipgrid records and allows you to play back all of your students’ interactions with each other, giving you the chance to evaluate their level of French proficiency, fluidity, pronunciation, etc. I used Flipgrid for my class’ inquiry project, the Potato Olympics. Students worked collaboratively in groups to plan out the opening ceremonies, the events, etc. while still keeping a record for me to see who contributed the most and the least to their group.

Students learned from one another’s ideas, and I’ll admit… I enjoyed being able to make my own video prompts to them as well. My next steps with this tool involve using it with another classroom or school and having the students interact with others who are outside of their comfort zone. I’d like for them to practice their French in authentic situations outside of the school, and Flipgrid allows this without ever having to leave the school.

Final notes:

  • Great for French Immersion 
  • Easy to use/ user friendly
  • Limited account if you don’t pay $65
  • Encourages vocal abilities/verbal communication

  • Flipgrid was recommended to me by my Vice Principal, Ian

                Final grade: A-

Let the Hunger Games Begin. This year’s arena: Twitter.

I just recently joined Twitter and am in the process of building my online PLN (Professional Learning Network). Twitter had never really appealed to me before teaching. The 140 character count limit seemed to suggest that nothing important was being said. Now that I am a working professional, I see that the character limit simply makes important discussions more direct and to-the-point. There is no “extra” – just what needs to be said. As someone with a lot on his plate professionally, and an ongoing/constant list of 100 things I should be doing, this brief and succinct form of PD is actually really appreciated.

I was lucky enough to join the discussions in Saskedchat on Thursday night. In one of my tweets from Thursday, I compared myself to Katniss Everdeen as she is about to be launched into the Hunger Games. I went into it knowing that the chat would be a bit overwhelming and that lots of people would be contributing, however, I quickly realized that you just pick and choose what you wish to engage with. It’s a personalized form of PD that reminds me of our school PLCs (Professional Learning Community) where teachers get together once a week to talk about practice, student engagement, literacy, numeracy and basically anything that helps us as individuals become better educators. It’s about engaging in important dialogue that helps you reflect on your practice. The difference is that you can engage with anyone in the world. Just because the character count is limited does not mean that your scope of people to engage with is. Quite the opposite, actually.

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Photo Credit: webtrakya Flickr via Compfight cc

For me, Twitter is currently my professional social media platform. This might be because of how public my profile is. Facebook is great for posting pictures of what I did over the weekend or catching up with my grandmother through the chat features. Instagram is great for looking at hundreds of cute dog pictures or sunsets. These accounts are both set to private for me. However, Twitter seems different. It’s more focused and allows you to use it in very specific ways, partly because of the hashtags. I look at it as a professional platform and do not want to remove myself from people who aren’t currently in my inner circle. I want to bring them in and see what they have to offer. The amount of resources and articles that are shared under educational hashtags is perfect for teachers and keeps me from deviating from educational material. I don’t feel distracted or the need to explore other topics just yet, as I’m still consuming the plethora of educational resources.

For your Twitter experience to be successful, however, you must contribute as well as consume. It is a give and take relationship and you must also offer something to others. I think that Twitter is a useful tool for modern classrooms (sharing pictures, posting homework). I am not yet a fan of the chat feature, simply because Facebook and Instagram offer the exact same thing, however, I could see myself using it for professional dialogue only.

As I continue to navigate through ECMP 355 with the University of Regina, I will continue to build my PLN and will hopefully have built something that I can return to when the course is over. For now, my primary reason for engaging with Twitter is simply to explore an online professional world that I previously did not know existed. I look forward to seeing how that evolves as I spend more time on the social media platform. The Hunger Games continue.

For more information about Twitter, check out this page by David Truss.

Hungry for more Feedly

When I read the Weekly Plans for ECMP 355 this week, I stopped my students during their work period and asked them if any of them knew what an RSS reader was. They (almost all in unison) shook their heads “no” and waited for me to give them the answer. I laughed and said, “Well neither do I. I was actually asking”.

I had come across the acronym before but admittedly had no idea what it stood for or was. My lack of knowledge reminded me of why I was taking this course and that I should probably know this by now. All I can say is… Thank you Google! I started exploring feedly probably 30 seconds after I typed “RSS reader” into the Google search bar. Rather than reading about what an RSS reader was, I started exploring myself.

To choose the content/blogs that I wanted to follow, I simply looked at everything through the lens of “Will this benefit me or overwhelm me?”. Seeing the word “free” caught my eye, and I followed “Free Technology for Teachers”. I am a teacher. I am looking to incorporate more technology into my classroom. I like free things. Done deal.

Free Technology for Teachers ended up being a great resource with lots of information that applies to me. My school uses Google Calendar daily, whether it be for booking the computer carts or letting others know of events going on in the school. For this reason, I was drawn to the article “5 Google Calendar Tips for New Users”. It even included a video that I later followed to a great YouTube channel. This source is perfect for me because I often find ideas for classroom lessons, etc. on social media, but this one is geared more toward teachers and what they can use behind the scenes, like Google Calendar.

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Here is a screenshot of my Feedly page. Also note that I Googled how to take a screenshot.

Another blog that caught my eye was “TED Education”. It seemed to marry two of my interests: TED Talks and Education. It led me to a YouTube animated video that answers the question, “Why are sloths so slow?”. I ended up showing it to my class during our science period. It’s good to know that I can always find something interesting to start or finish a period. Videos such as the ones offered on TED Education are a fun little reward for students to work toward, but yet they still centre around learning and education. The fact that they are geared toward children but still super informative is a win-win.

I enjoy the amount of information that is at my fingertips, and it does seem to be a really easy-to-use way of finding information. The drawback for me, however, is that it is a bit overwhelming as the options are limitless. I don’t think I would want to follow too many blogs, as it could get to be too much too fast. It’s kind of like my Netflix subscription. The longer I look through my movie options, and the more options I find, the less likely I am to settle on a movie and be happy. I work best with 2 or 3 options to choose from, rather than dozens.

I look forward to exploring and becoming more familiar with RSS in the coming weeks. For anyone looking for more information regarding RSS readers, or if you are still unsure of what they are, check out this site.