As a teacher we are role models to many little people and families who are constantly looking up to us and watching what we do. Teachers are often held to very high levels of professionalism due to the profession that we are in. I thankfully realized very early in my career just how important it is to always present myself in a professional manner in public as well as on any social media platforms.
As a teacher I have come to realize that there is a very thin line between my personal life and my professional life. I have always tried to be very mindful of what I am posting on my social media sites as I know that these sites can be accessed by my employer, my students families and also my students. I realize that because of my profession my personal social media identity is also my professional social media identity.
Photo Credit: Davis School District
I have always taken my social media identity seriously and been mindful of how I am represented online. That being said Lindy made a great point in her blog post To be or not to be… Digital Identity about the impact others can have on your social media identity. She makes reference to how we as teachers generally work so hard to create a positive social identity but what happens when someone tags you in a photo that you prefer not to be on your page? As a professional I think that it is very important to be aware of the settings on your social media sites and ensure that the privacy settings are set to protect you. I have had my Facebook account set so that others cannot tag me in photos and posts to ensure that the only footprint I am creating online is one controlled by myself. This will prevent one from being put in an awkward position by someone else and can potentially save you from any professional misconduct.
The article Privacy and Digital Identity is a great resource I found online that discusses different aspects of a teachers social media identity. The article shares the following questions for one to consider and discuss with other teachers about your professional social media identity:
- What are some things teachers can do to manage their digital identities effectively?
- Can you think of any tools teachers could use to help maintain privacy?
- How can teachers control what is made public, and what is not, when they are online?
- And how can teachers be active online and connect with others in their profession, while maintaining their professional reputations?
I think these are all great questions for teachers to consider about their online identity. I feel that these would be great questions to discuss during professional development time at your school to have a conversation with others around the topic of professional social media identity. Similar to what Ashley shared on her blog post as ideas to develop your professional identity this article shares tips that teachers can follow to manage their Professional Digital Identity.
Photo Credit: Managing Digital Identity
As a teacher I am also responsible for helping my students build a positive social media identity. Within my classroom we have been discussing our social media footprint and how that footprint is permanent and follows you around forever. I think that it is crucial for teachers to take the time to teach about media identity within their classrooms before students have already started to create their own media identity. This way we can help our students be aware of the implications of posting on social media sites. This is a short video that I shared with my class to introduce what the term Digital Footprint means.
I am currently teaching in a grade 4 classroom and many of my students already are talking about different forms of social media. I know that it is important that we address both cyber safety (USC4.4) and identity (USC4.5) which both can be found within the Health curriculum found at Saskatchewan Curriculum Grade 4 Outcomes and indicators. This year we will explore ways to be safe online as well as what does the word identity mean within social media. Miss Kyritis provides the 5 P’s for helping students create a positive digital footprint.
Moving forward I plan to visit all of my social media sites and do a purge of any information that I feel needs to be removed from my sites. I also plan to review all of my privacy settings to ensure that nothing has changed and that they are set to protect my social media identity. I plan to keep my twitter account strictly professional and for professional development and sharing only. As Colleen stated in her post Taking Control of my Digital Identity twitter is a great resource as a teacher to help stay abreast the changes on social media to help stay current.
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In a world where knowledge is changing and progressing faster than one can imagine it is crucial as educators of the future generations to step back and begin to look at and question the teaching methods we are using in education today. The students that I am teaching are growing up in a very different time than even I was raised what seems like not that long ago. When I begin to think back at my short teaching career much has changed already in the seven years I have been an educator. I already am finding that my practice is changing from the way I was educated in University a short time ago. The readings and videos shared this week have me looking at my approach to teaching these next generations and questioning how I can do better in my classroom to teach in this digital age. It made me begin to think about what Alec called our “moral imperative” and how I need to shift my teaching even if its outside of my comfort zone to ensure that I am serving my students and giving them the skills that they will need in order to be successful in our ever changing world.
In the Ted X video Knowledge is Obsolete Pavan Arora shares the statistic “65% grade school children will have jobs that don’t exist today”. This statistic is proof that we must continue to change and adapt our teaching practices to give these students the skills they need to be successful in the future. He shares how we are becoming a world where knowledge is obsolete and the value of knowledge is rapidly dropping because of the rate that knowledge is changing, how quickly human knowledge is growing and because of the immediate access we now have to knowledge at our finger tips at any given moment. He continues to talk about how education has changed from when we were students. When we were students we were expected to memorize facts so we could regurgitate them on exams to share what knowledge we had successfully memorized. Now students have access to finding out these facts at any given moment. Now students can search for the answer of any question and find the most recent updated facts about that question at any given moment. Why in the world are we having children listen to lectures and memorize facts if they can access any information at any given time?
Photo Credit: Rebel Circus
As teachers it is important that instead of teaching students the facts we are teaching them the skills in order to find out their curiosities and wonders instead of forcing them to learn information they are not interested in. Michael Wesh in his Ted X video From Knowledgeable to Knowledge- Able refers to this as moving from students being ‘Knowledgeable’ towards students being ‘Knowledge-able’. He shares how teachers need to move away from students being knowledgeable which he refers to teachers “dumping information on students” and move towards being knowledge- able which he refers to “students having the skills to find, sort, analyze and create their own knowledge”. He also talks about the next step which is teaching students ‘Knowledge- ability’. He refers to this as “students being able to embrace real world problems that they don’t have the answers to by using relevant tools to solve them”. He shares how students need to be involved in their own learning and that the teachers are not the authority in their learning that they are in the drivers seat of their own learning.
Photo Credit: Uwoshkosh
As educators of future generations we need to understand our role in preparing these students for the rapid changing world they will work and live in. We need to ensure that we push ourselves outside of our comfort zones in education and allow students to take initiative in their learning. As a teacher I am committed to working in my classroom to create an environment that will help my students become ‘knowledge-able’ and provide them with experiences where they can find and create their own knowledge. This is an opportunity as a teacher to learn from my students and allow then to bring their prior knowledge to my classroom and allow them to take me on their learning journey as they learn to navigate building knowledge with the help of technology to help find the answers to their wonders and desires in learning.
I think back to my childhood and the bookshelf of encyclopedias that my family had in our living room. My sister and I would often flip through these reading and looking for information about any given topic. Not once would my parents have ever stopped us from looking and learning using these books. I think about that comparison to my students using google to search and find information about any given topic. Why would we ever limit them from searching for or looking up information to further their knowledge. As educators we need t allow them the freedom to look, explore and create their own knowledge. To think that our students can find and teach themselves about anything at any given moment is truly amazing. As a teacher I want to give my students as much opportunity to engage with technology so they can become the makers of their own knowledge.
Photo Credit: Katie Welsh
One thing I have learned this past week is that as an educator there is an army of people and resources out there to help you. This past week I have been focusing on getting my Seesaw classroom ready to launch in my classroom. After spending some time watching videos on youtube about the uses of Seesaw in my classroom I knew that I wanted to jump in and get started as soon as I could!
The first step that I took was this past week was getting my Seesaw account and online classroom set up on Seesaw. I first watched this step by step video to get an idea about how to set up my class account.
Once I was on the program I realized how user friendly it is. It breaks every step down for you as you work through setting up your class. It provides you with a getting started guide with different options to help you get started. It provides you with a link to watch a getting started video, printable getting started guide that includes information for teachers, students and families, links to ideas to launch Seesaw in your specific grade level, videos to help students join your class, and printable invites to send home to invite your students families to join. Before I even got started they answered questions that I didn’t even know I had yet! I found their site to be very user friendly which was very helpful as we know how busy the day of a teacher can be! Here is a look at the getting started link on the Seesaw website!
On Friday I had the opportunity to attend a Community of Practice that allowed me to connect with many teachers from around Regina Public Schools. This COP gave us the opportunity to get together to specifically talk about the Seesaw program and share ideas on how everyone is using it in their classrooms. We got to spend the entire morning for Professional Development Collaboration. There were teachers from all grade levels with all levels of experience using Seesaw. Over the past few years I have heard of many teachers using this program but mostly in the Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten grade levels as it has been a division initiative for teachers in these grades to use Seesaw in their classrooms. I was so excited to see many other teachers from all grade levels there to share and learn how others are using it in older elementary grades as well. It was exciting to collaborate with many other teachers to learn about how others are using Seesaw in their classrooms.
This PD was very helpful in many ways. The facilitator created a ‘classroom’ and allowed us all to log in as ‘students’. This was a great experience as it allowed each of us to practice signing in using the class QR code and it gave us the opportunity to see what Seesaw looks like from a students perspective. I thought this was very helpful as it allowed me to understand what the program looks like from their perspective and gave me ideas about how I am going to launch it in my classroom with the students. We each were asked to explore the tools and share a photo, voice note, drawing or anything we could with Seesaw to introduce ourselves. I took advantage of being able to play around with all of the tools that students will have access to. I learned a lot from listening to discussions around ideas that others were using in their classroom. It was a great to hear how others around the division are also using this program. It was a fun morning spent with colleagues sharing and collaborating !
Moving forward with my project this week I plan to get my students ready to launch their online journals. I am going to start with a mini unit on Digital Citizenship to ensure that they understand the expectations of what appropriate online behavior looks like. I have prepared the family packages with each students individual codes printed off Seasaw website! I encourage everyone to check out their website as it really does all of the work for you! I will keep you all posted on how the launch of Seesaw goes in my classroom this week! I am very excited for my students as I know they are going to be so excited about this!
For the past two years I have been very fortunate to work part-time in a job share partnership, which allowed me to spend more time at home with my young children. During this time I shared all of the classroom duties with another teacher. This experience was very rewarding, but with sharing a classroom it also was challenging to work together to effectively communicate with parents in a way that worked best for the both of us.
I am finally back on my own and I am excited to launch this school year as the solo teacher, giving me the opportunity to explore new tools to connect what we are doing at school with families at home. I started thinking about this home school connection more when my children started at a new daycare this year and we were asked to sign up for the program remind. This program allows the teachers at my children’s daycare to send us pictures and updates to show what our children are up to that day at daycare. I love receiving these updates as it keeps us informed about what they are up to during the day and also gives us a conversation starter to talk about what they are learning about. I have first hand as a parent got to see the benefits of being a part of my child’s learning even if it is only at daycare.
This made me start thinking about the new school year and what I want to do in my classroom to allow my students’ parents to be a part of their child’s school day. When sitting in a writing PD one day I was briefly introduced to the program Seesaw. In the brief introduction the administrator shared how students could take a snapshot of their work and send it directly to their parents to view. I immediately was intrigued and knew that I wanted to learn more!
I am going into this major project very new to how Seesaw works and what it can offer to my classroom. I immediately used my unlimited lifeline ‘call a friend’ and called one of my ‘techy’ teacher friends to pick her brain into how this could be used in my classroom. It sounded to good to be true! It sounded like everything I was looking for in one single program. Still, really having no idea how it worked other than some of the features that I could use I decided to start browsing youtube to see if I could find any online PD to help answer some of my questions. I found the perfect video called “PD in your PJs- brand new to seesaw (part 1).
This video was a great place to start for teachers who are looking to launch Seesaw in their classrooms. I learned a lot about what Seesaw is and the benefits of using it in the classroom. The first PD video focused on what tools can be found on Seesaw and how students can use the tools to document and share their learning. It was a hands on video that allowed teachers to log into a classroom on Seesaw as a students and add pictures, videos, notes, drawings and voice recordings. I learned a lot from the leader Angela Gadtke of this online PD. I look forward to watching part 2 of her PD this week to learn how to set up my classroom on Seesaw.
I also am very excited about other PD opportunities that I have found within my school division Regina Public Schools for using Seesaw in the classroom. I plan to attend a PD opportunity next week at the board office as well as I have joined the Seesaw Community of Practice for this school year. This is a professional development community that gathers a few times this school year to share and discuss how we are using Seesaw in our classrooms. I am excited to collaborate with other teachers in our division to find out what they are doing in their classrooms with Seesaw as well as share what we will be doing in my classroom.
I am very excited about my major project this term as building this home school connection within my classroom has always been something I have wanted to do. I feel that this program is going to be a great way to document, share and connect my students learning with their families. I would love to hear from anyone who is already using this program in their classrooms!