Collaboration Room Conversation

This week we continued on discussing Open Education and the idea of sharing resources. This week I turned to my colleagues and had many discussions about sharing as teachers and what our responsibility is. We had great discussions on many different issues and concerns teachers may have around sharing. Some of the hot topics were: copyright issues, the time that goes into sharing, not having a platform to share on, others reciprocating the sharing, teachers feeling undervalued and overworked as it is so why do any more than we need to, recognition for their work and competitiveness between employees.

Photo Credit

Many of my colleagues did not have any understanding of OER. Like myself, they were unaware of the many online resources that teachers could use to share their resources as well as get lesson plans and ideas from. Many of my colleagues shared how willing and open they are to sharing with others in their immediate building but were unsure about sharing when it came to sharing with teachers outside of our building. They had many more concerns about sharing outside of their building and they were very unsure of what platform they would use if they were to try and share outside of their building. During my discussion with colleagues I shared many of the valuable points that Dean Shareski  shares about the importance of teachers sharing in his video “Sharing the Moral Imperative”.  His ideas allowed me to help them understand why sharing within our profession is so important.

I asked some of my colleagues the following questions about sharing in the teaching profession:

  1. Do you feel that sharing resources and lesson ideas is important in our profession?
  2. What are the benefits of sharing in our profession?
  3. Do you think it is important to share outside of our building?
  4. Do you think that all teachers value sharing the same?
  5. What are some of the fears/barriers teachers may have for sharing?
  6. What is needed to create a culture of sharing among teachers?

 

I feel that this week encouraged me to have many great conversations with my colleagues about the importance of sharing within our profession. I feel that I can relate to many of their fears and barriers to sharing but I feel that it is so important to look at how we can work through those. We all do agree that sharing is important in our profession but many still question what would be the best way to share. I feel that these conversations were powerful and I feel that I was able to spread some awareness around this issue. I look forward to having more conversations with them about this topic. Any conversation I feel like is moving forward in our profession. #winning!

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My challenge to you this week is to reach out to the teachers within your building and open up the conversation about the culture of sharing within the teaching profession!

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Creating an Interactive Community

My journey using Seesaw has been going great so far. My students enjoy using it and I have had tons of positive feedback from parents about the program. The past few weeks I did have a few issues with my classroom Ipads and was waiting for an app update but that seems to be resolved on most of the devices now thankfully.

As of now, the majority of my families have connected online to their child’s’ Seesaw journal. I currently have 21 out of 24 families connected. I am going to reach out to each family who has not connected to hopefully help guide them towards signing up. All in all, I think 21 of 24 families so far is very successful!

Photo Credit: Seesaw

Students continue to work on adding work to their journals to share with their parents.  Some parents are interactive with their children on Seesaw and others have been just viewing their child’s work with little or no feedback. My next goal is to help students and parents make our classroom Seesaw more interactive. I am going to do this by encouraging them to create a dialog between students and parents on their Seesaw journals about their work.

Photo Credit: Seesaw

 

The next step in my Seesaw journey is introducing commenting to my students and the benefits to our learning that commenting can have. Students have been able to view their classmate’s work but they haven’t had the opportunity to comment on one another’s work. I am also going to begin to encourage parents and to add more comments to their child’s work. I want to work towards making Seesaw more interactive where parents and students are conversing and sharing ideas about their work.

Edublogs provides teachers with some great tips on teaching quality commenting skills. This will help both the students and parents understand the purpose of commenting as well as the benefits to learning that commenting can have. By parents commenting on their child’s work, it encourages the child to investigate their learning deeper and give further explanation for their thinking. The following information shares why commenting is important on blogs, but I feel that these tips also share how commenting on one another’s work on Seesaw will also see the same benefits.

Photo Credit: Edublog

This week we will begin to look at commenting and how we can comment on our classmate’s blogs. I will then write home to parents and invite them to become more active on Seesaw. I have great parental support this school year so I am very excited to see our online community become more interactive.

Thanks for stopping in!

 

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Free Hugs….Free Resources…Same difference!

This week we were encouraged to explore different Open Education Resources. As an educator, I was very excited to explore these resources to see what benefits I could use from these resources. The resources I was drawn to were ones that I could use currently in my classroom for planning. As discussed in my last blog post Sharing is caring…an ethical responsibility I shared Dean Shareski’s idea that it is an ethical responsibility for teachers to share their work. With this in mind, I was looking for resources that allowed teachers to share their work with others. What better resources to get your hands on than ideas and lessons that other teachers have already test drove in their classrooms.

The OER resource that I am going to focus on for this post is OER Commons. When entering this site you are immediately greeted with this welcoming message:

OER Commons is a public digital library of open educational resources. It allows educators to explore, create and collaborate with educators around the world to improve curriculum. 

I began to look around to see if I could find their views and values around OER and that led me to their page About OER CommonsThis page clearly outlines their views on OER. It also provides a PDF link to a PDF of frequently asked questions by k-12 educators.

Photo Credit: OER Commons

They also shared their views on OEP. Which is Open Education Practice.  They share how this allows teachers to immerse themselves in collaboration. This provides teachers the opportunity to share resources to help improve education for students. They share how open practice allows educators to adjust the content based on their learners without limitations of “all rights reserved”. I appreciate how they addressed the benefits for teachers and addressed how teachers are able to adjust the content based on meeting their student’s needs and not having to worry about all rights reserved for the content.

Photo Credit: OER Commons

Let’s assess it!

Is it user-friendly?

When entering the OER site I found it to be very user-friendly. On the home page, there is a search engine that allows you to look for whatever it is you are looking for. You can narrow your search by changing the subject area and the grade level. I found this to be great because then it narrows the search down specifically to your grade level. There is also an option for an advanced search that allows you to choose many other options. In the advanced search, it gives you the option to choose what type of conditions of use you would like the resource to have. I think this is a great option as it allows you to then only see resources that fit the needs of your sharing.

Photo Source: OER Commons

Lets Explore: 

Currently, my students are working on a sound unit in Science. I decided that I would search to see what resources I could currently use for this unit. After searching sound for upper elementary students, many lessons and resources popped up. One feature I appreciate is the ratings that each resource has. When other teachers use the resource they can then go back on and rate the lesson or resource. This is helpful as a teacher because it allows you to see others opinions on the lessons as well as any feedback they may have. While searching you can also choose what type of material you are looking for. Are you looking for an activity, a lab, an assessment, a lesson or something interactive? You can choose what you are looking for specifically to narrow down your results.

When you open up a resource that interests you, you are immediately shown the education standards the lesson aims to meet. It also shows the author of the lesson, what grades it is appropriate for, what type of lesson it is, and gives an abstract to what the lesson is about. I find this to be very organized and user-friendly as everything you need to see about the lesson is right there. On this page, it also shares the conditions of use. It shares who the copyright holder is as well as the use guidelines. For the specific lesson on investigating sound,  the conditions of use were: remix and share. It then provides a link to a description of that type of copyright that says “You are free to” and describes what a teacher can do with that resource under that copyright. I found this to be very helpful, clear and conciese how it provides you with the exact definition of the terms.

Photo Source: OER Commons

I explored many of the lessons on the science topics sound and habitats and I found lots of useful lessons that I could implement and use in my classroom. Many of the lessons link to full lesson plans when you click view resource and this provides you with a summary of the lesson, learning goals, description and teaching materials, assessments and the standards. I find these lessons to be very well laid out and easy to follow. Some of the lessons lead you to websites and other online games and activities that aren’t as user-friendly and some of them require you to further sign up to use their sites which can be time-consuming for teachers and difficult for students to use. I found the quality of content from lesson to lesson varies and it took a lot of time to sift through all of the lessons. The rating of the lessons should be helpful to guide you towards the quality lessons but I didn’t necessarily find that while looking through the lessons. Some lessons were rated 5 stars but I did not find them to be 5-star quality.

Photo Source: OER Commons

While looking through the lessons one thing I noticed was that the majority of the lessons did not have visuals or activity sheets for the students that would go with the lessons. Many of the lessons were good but as a teacher, I would then have to create the science experiment prediction pages or data collection sheets. I feel that this is something that the lessons could improve on as I feel that creating these or finding these online takes a lot of time. I was hoping and anticipating that some of the resources would be similar to Teachers Pay Teachers where aside from the lessons there would also be an area of high quality printable that teachers could use during their lessons.

Another area of the website I found was the Common Core OER Collection. This allows teachers to look specifically at all of the English Language Arts and Math resources that are collected into one spot.  This allows teachers to quickly locate any lessons that meet the core objectives. The objectives listed on this site are American state standards which of course is unfortunate that they are not Canadian but since they are listed you can easily compare them to our Provincial outcomes to see how the objectives compare and crossover. The great thing about using lessons off of this site is that you are able to remix and reuse them, however, fits your needs so you can remake them to fit the objectives you are teaching. The following pictures compare the Grade 4 State Standards listed on one of the common core OER lessons to the Saskatchewan Grade 4 math outcome. It was easy to find outcomes that closely linked to their outcomes.

Photo Credit: OER Commons

Photo Credit: Saskatchewan Curriculum

Final Thoughts

After reviewing this site in depth I do feel like this is a great resource for teachers. I feel that it offers a variety of lessons meeting a variety of grade levels. I feel that websites like this could and should be utilized more by teachers. Prior to this class, I did not understand what OER was and I feel that I have been missing out on a lot of resources as a teacher. I asked a few of my co-workers what their understanding of OER was and many of them also had no idea. I feel that in order to improve OER and make this a bigger movement more teachers need to understand and get on board. If many teachers do not even know what it is they are not able to share resources and this is leaving a lot of resources off the table.

Team Strengthen Increase Teamwork

Photo Source: Sandler Training

Moving forward, my goal is to continue to explore OER and educate other teachers about what OER is and how they can use and also contribute to it. I feel like in order to make this a bigger movement we need to embrace Dean’s idea of sharing and all be on board with sharing. This will, in turn, make all of our jobs easier by having access to high-quality teacher made resources. My goal this term is to get involved and start sharing!

My question to other educators is: Have you shared resources on OER sites? If not, why not? Do you plan on starting to contribute? Let’s work together to make our jobs and lives easier!

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Show what you know!

Just a quick little update on what we have been up to the last week with Seesaw! We just wrapped up another math unit and the students have been working on adding using carrying. Each student had the opportunity to show their parents what they have been working on during this unit. I asked students to use any of the tools on Seesaw that they would like to in order to complete the tasks and demonstrate their learning. I proposed three adding equations and I asked students to show how they figured the Image result for thats a wrapquestion out as well as record their thinking to explain how they solved each question. Below are three examples of students using Seesaw to demonstrate their understanding of adding with carrying.

I really enjoy how Seesaw allows students to demonstrate their learning in different ways. I love how user-friendly this program is for the students. These student videos were made with zero teacher guidance. The students independently figured out how to illustrate their equations and also figured out how to use the drawing feature to explain their thinking while doing their recordings.

I really enjoyed hearing them share their thinking. As a teacher, it is not often we get to hear the thought process going on inside of our students’ mind. I recently read about a question prompt that I have been using with my students.It is, “Explain to me how this answer makes sense to you”. I have found this prompt to be a great conversation starter as it encourages students to share their thinking. I feel that the recording option on Seesaw is a great way to have students verbalize their thought process and how they came to an answer. I really enjoyed listening to their responses and I feel that it gave me a lot of valuable information in accessing their understanding of this math outcome!

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I am still working on launching the new activities feature that I wrote about in my blog post last week. I shared two activities with my students but unfortunately, the Ipads in my classroom needed the app update and that hasn’t yet been completed. I have contacted our tech department and they should be updated this week. I am excited to work with that new feature once my Ipads are updated. I want to continue to work towards being able to use this app to its fullest potential.

Moving forward, I plan to have the students looking at each other’s work and commenting feedback on one another’s work. I look forward to helping them learn how to communicate online. I also look forward to encouraging the parents to participate more in the app and giving them suggestions on how they can prompt further thinking and questioning by commenting on their child’s Seesaw journals. I am looking forward to building a bigger classroom community by welcoming and encouraging daily parent participation!

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Gif Credit: Giphy

Thanks for stopping in!!

 

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Sharing is caring…an ethical responsibility

Open education is a term that prior to this week I had not given much thought about. So the first thing I did was start reading to see what I could find about the topic of open education. I started by reading the article “What do we mean by ‘open’ in education?” and this gave me lots of great background knowledge behind the ideas and benefits of open education.

In the article, Tony Bates shared how open education can take on many forms. Some of the forms listed where as follows:

  • Free education for all
  • Open access to recognized, qualified programs
  • Open access to courses and programs without formal credit
  • Open educational resources for teachers and learners
  • Open textbooks- online and free
  • Open research- research papers posted online to be downloaded
  • Open data- data open to anyone to use, reuse and redistribute

I look at the list above and I can’t help but think of the endless possibilities that open education could provide. One thing that keeps coming to my mind this week while I read and watch videos on open education is  the idea of ‘privilege’. Where on a spectrum does ‘privilege’ and education fall? And where on a spectrum does ‘right’ and education fall? Education should be a right, and everyone should in fact have fair access to top-notch education. Unfortunately, in the world we live in education is not a right it is still very much a privilege. Yes, children are given access to free public education but that education is not always the best education. As mentioned in the video “Why open education matters”  many schools do not have access to quality education and resources so students, in turn, are not getting the best education that they could be. Thinking beyond public school who attends post secondary education. Is that a right or a privilege?

Open education pushes the boundaries of education and moves education from being a privilege and opens doors to allow education to be a right that everyone can access fairly. We all know that Post Secondary education is very costly and requires students to meet specific prerequisite qualifications. This would allow for more individuals to obtain a higher level of education which would, in turn, benefit our society. Like the words of Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. We can use education to change our world and open education is one way that we can work towards change. I feel that this is powerful and creates many opportunities for people who may not otherwise have these opportunities. I feel that the move towards more open education will benefit many and as a parent with children who will be growing up in this era I am very excited about the possibilities and the doors that this could open for them and the opportunities that this could provide to them.                                                                                                                                                             Photo Credit: Get Motivated 

As an educator I genuinely appreciate the idea of open resources for teaching and learning. I live by the motto “Why work harder when you can work smarter”. As a teacher we all know that it can become a very overwhelming profession. The expectations are high and the amount of work and planning that goes into teaching can be plain tiring. In Kirby Ferguson’s videos “Everything is a Remix” he shares how creativity isn’t magic, it happens by applying ordinary tools of thought to existing materials”.  I feel that as a teacher this is how we become great. We build on his idea that “nobody starts out original.”  As teachers we are constantly ‘remixing’ things. We find an idea and we take that idea and re-work it and remix it to fit the needs of our students, classrooms and curriculum objectives.

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Gif Credit: Giphy 

I like how Roxanne shares in her blog post Sharing ideas that aren’t mine…Ok or not ok? that as teachers we often refer to this as collaboration. This is true. I feel that I do Image result for no copyinga great job of collaborating within my school and the teachers within my building. That being said I haven’t felt the push or need to share outside of my building. Maybe it is that I feel safe sharing within my building and I don’t worry about the repercussions of ‘copying’ or someone thinking I am taking ownership of an original idea of theirs and remixing it to make it my own. I feel that when we share within our building we feel secure, and once we post something online for everyone around the globe to access the stakes are a bit higher and you fear that you may get in trouble for ‘copying’.                     Photo Credit

The video Sharing: The Moral Imperative by Dean Shareski was a powerful video to challenge any of my concerns about online sharing and teaching. He shares how sharing is an obligation of teachers and that it is very important that teachers are sharing. He challenges teachers to think deeply about your obligation to share online and that teachers need to be sharing regularly. He states that as teachers we owe it to others to share our lessons and resources. This sharing will help others save time and energy so we all aren’t re inventing the wheel. This will in fact help with burnout rates which unfortunately we know are so very high in the teaching profession. I find the idea of sharing to be so simple yet I haven’t in my career felt the push to share beyond my building. I am going to take his words to heart and begin to think about what he calls an ‘ethical responsibility’ to share and ensure that I try and share something daily about our teaching and learning in my classroom.  I will sign off with this quote by Dean that has left me thinking “Why should we hoard good teaching and learning? There is something very unethical about that!”

Sharing and sharing online specifically, of being an educator. is not in addition to the work IS theWork It . Ewan ...

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So what is our moral imperative to share? Why aren’t you sharing? I know this has me questioning why I haven’t been sharing!

 

 

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Seesaw Activities Feature

In the month of October Seesaw launched a new feature: activities. This feature allows teachers to send students activities to do on their Seesaw accounts that the students can complete and post to their journals. I really like this feature as it allows teachers to prompt their students to demonstrate and explain their learning to share with their families. This week my grade 3/4s wrapped up another math unit so I felt like this was perfect timing to create an activity to send home a “Show what you know” example!

I had in mind two specific activities that I wanted my students to complete. I wasn’t really sure where to start with creating the activities so I thought I would check out the app first. I went on the Seesaw app and had a look at the pre-made activities Seesaw has for teachers to share. This helped me get some ideas on how to set my activities up. One thing I found helpful was it gave me ideas on to how to simplify the instructions and keywords my instructions should include for students to best understand how to demonstrate their work. This picture is an example of an activity on Seesaw for my grade level that with one click be shared with students. I used this as a guide to see how they broke down the instructions to clearly explain to students what steps they will need to complete to demonstrate their learning and share their work on their journal.

Photo Credit: Seesaw  

Once I had a look at the examples that Seesaw had already created, I decided what I wanted to create and share with my students. Even though Seesaw is really user-friendly I wanted to be sure that I fully understood how to create and share the activities properly so I first checked out the Seesaw help center and found a helpful article called “How Do I Use Activities?” This page gave me easy to follow step by step instructions on how to create an activity to share with my students. This is why I love Seesaw so much–  for every question it provides step by step tutorials, videos and images on what seems like everything!

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Gif Credit: Giphy 

Once I felt like I had the basics I was ready to create a few math activities for my students to complete. The one problem I came across was I wasn’t sure how to add the images for the directions that Seesaw had added in their instructions. I then remembered a friend had tagged me on twitter a few days ago with a link to an explanation to this! I love that my friends who are not in this class are also looking out for me in my Seesaw journey! I also love how I can easily look back on my twitter account to that tweet and find the information she tagged me in! Thanks to my girl Nicole Reeve for always looking out for me!

 

This tweet leads me to the exact information I was looking for which was to find the shortcuts I can use to add pictures in my instructions while creating new activities. Once again this led me back to the Seesaw help center and to an article titled “Seesaw Icon Shortcut” which was exactly what I was looking for! These shortcuts allow teachers to insert the icons into the instructions which help the students easily identify what steps they are expected to complete for the task. This helps provide the students with a visual of which tools they need to use while reading the instructions. This is great for elementary students who are learning to read! You can find the full complete list of shortcuts here.

Photo Credit: Seesaw twitter 

The following are the two math activities that I shared with my students to complete. Both of these tasks are familiar tasks from their weekly assignment that I took a picture of for them to show their work on and share with their families. I wanted to provide them with work that they were familiar with so they could practice the process of doing work on Seesaw and using the record button to explain their thinking. I am very excited to see  their work and most excited to listen to their explanation of thought process to these questions.

  

I can’t wait to see how my students work through these activities this week! I am so excited that I finally added some activities for them to complete. I have said it before and I will say it again how impressed I am with how user friendly this is. I really appreciate how much support Seesaw provides teachers to help them quickly learn how to implement something new. As teachers, we all know we don’t have an extra minute in the day so I really appreciate this! My new found love this week was the Seesaw help center and how you can type anything in the search engine and step by step instructions as well as illustrations and videos pop up to help provide you with a tutorial.

Seesaw, my friends, check it out! What are you waiting for?!

 

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@seesaw, I love you!

So let’s just take a second here to talk about twitter.  I did use twitter a little bit in my undergrad for one of Alec’s class and then immediately after that, I ditched it. I don’t really have a good Twitter love cute emoji twitter GIFreason why–I just did and never ever went back. Well, now I am feeling as if– TWITTER WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE? Ok, ok I know this is my own fault. Everyone talks about how great twitter is and how as a teacher it is an amazing resource to learn from and to connect with other educators. Well how I didn’t listen earlier really is beyond me!

Gif Credit: Giphy

I have found twitter to be so helpful in building knowledge around using seesaw in the classroom. One of the first people I started following was @seesaw when I set up my twitter account. Throughout the day they are using their twitter account to inform educators of PD opportunities as well as any new features that they are launching on their site. In the short period of time that I have been using seesaw in my classroom they have already updated and added new features to the site. Twitter was how I became informed of the changes and where I learned how the new features can be implemented.This past month @seesaw has launched an activities feature on the seesaw app. On October 19th @seesaw shared this new feature via their twitter feed inviting teachers to join them for PD to learn more about the new feature the activities tab!

Teachers quickly learned about this feature and the excitement spread! @seesaw re-tweets teachers ideas and comments about seesaw all day long to help spread the excitement among educators.

I really appreciate how @seesaw takes the time to re-tweet many of the posts that they are tagged in. If you check their feed the majority of their feed is re-tweets sharing how teachers are using seesaw in their classroom. I find this so beneficial to see how teachers are using it firsthand in their classrooms. I have have gained so many valuable ideas from this. You can tell @seesaw is so supportive of teachers and appreciative of how they are using this in their classrooms! What better way to celebrate learning than by sharing it with others!!

I got the idea for students to read and share their published writing on seesaw from @seesaw sharing @mrsmichelclass tweet on their news feed.  This was a great example of students using seesaw to record their published pieces of work and share them with their families. This week our class completed their first polished piece of writing using the entire writing process. I had students record themselves reading their stories to add to their journals. This was a great task for my students to share their stories as well as being able to listen to their recording of their stories. During the editing process I ask students to read their stories out loud to themselves. I always find this to be helpful in editing as it allows them to hear their story and ensure that it makes sense. I feel that students learned so much more about their stories by listening to them being played back as opposed to just reading them out loud to themselves. I now plan on adding this step in my editing process for our next writing assignment! This has helped me realize that seesaw shouldn’t just be for reporting the final project but should also be for documenting the process!

This week I have 16 parents connected which in my classroom is only 66% of parents connected. I have a goal to have 100% participation so I have some work to do. I have now sent two separate notes home reminding parents to sign up. I am trying to figure out what my next step should be. Does anyone have suggestions about what works to get parents on board with something? I would love suggestions on this!

Photo Credit: Seesaw

One thing I am going to look into is the feature that seesaw has which translates the welcome letter into students first languages. I have two families who may understand better if the letter is translated. I am going to look into what language they would need their letters translated into and see if seesaw provides those language options. I feel like this is a very helpful tool for teachers as getting letters translated can be difficult. I am sure my EAL families will greatly appreciate this. This is on my to do list this week!

All in all it has been another good week using seesaw in our classroom. The students are getting in the groove and parents are liking and commenting on their child’s work! I can’t wait to hear from parents what they think about seeing their students work on seesaw. This tweet warmed my heart and I am sure we will get similar feedback!

Just wanted to give everyone a quick update to what we have been up to and how twitter has been amazing in helping keep me informed about what the new features are and how others are using seesaw in their classroom to its fullest potential.

Go give @seesaw a follow! You won’t be disappointed!!

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Social Media Activism: slacker or responsible?

This past week’s topic of social media activism has really got me thinking. What is my position on social media activism and what is my role as an educator to model active citizenship online? My position to date on social media activism is similar to what Chris shared in his blog post as playing it safe and participating occasionally making sure to ‘not rock the boat’. My participation thus far has been donating money on Go Fund Me pages, donating clothing and household items to local families who reached out on community Facebook pages and donating to the bigger social media campaigns such as #movember, #icebucketchallenge, and #takeyourshot . This past week has got me thinking about how can I do more? And what message is my online active citizenship or lack there of sending?

Can online social activism be meaningful and worthwhile?

Social media activism to many is also known as what Katia shared with us “Slacktivism“. Slacktivism is a new term to me so I wanted to do a little more research into what does Slacktivism really mean.

Image result for slacktivism

Photo Credit: Urban Dictionary

In the article Social Justice: Political Activism On Social Media Has Grown Some Teeth they discuss how social media has the ability to raise awareness but fail to mobilize people into public spaces. They refer to Slacktivism as people showing their support by changing a profile picture or re-tweeting a tweet but not doing much else.  It has become very common online to see people changing their pictures on Facebook and tweeting trending hashtags without actually contributing directly to the cause other than raising awareness.Image result for movember This immediately makes me think of Movember.  How many men do you know that grow out their mustaches in November to join in the fun but don’t actually raise any money for the Movember Foundation.

Photo Credit: Movember Foundation

I enjoyed reading Colleen’s blog post A Hashtag is Not a Movement and her view on the idea of going local. Colleen shares:

“I think that instead of or in addition to hashtagging we need to make an effort to see how we can actively make a difference. This may be in the form of making a donation, but I also think we need to GO LOCAL and reach out to others in our community who are are working to make a difference to make positive changes in our community.” 

I agree with Colleen that social media is a good way to bring attention to a cause but we still need to ensure that we are going local and reaching out in our community to make a difference.Image result for what can you do to change your community I feel that social media is a great way to stay informed, and connect with others and share your support for a cause but aside from just being informed we need to also need to keep the ‘active’ in ‘activism’. Get active, find a cause within your community and support it in any way you can.

Photo Credit: Ketchum Blog

 

Although many criticize online movements one cannot deny the benefits that social media activism does have. Although many people do fall under the “slacktivism” definition there are many others out there that have done amazing work online to bring awareness, raise money and create change. It is undeniable that the digital world is a platform in which activists can use to reach people all over the world within minutes and unite with like minded individuals working towards the same cause and common goal. In Katia’s blog post “What Kind of (Digital) Citizen?” she shares how:

“Just as we would argue that we need participatory and justice-oriented citizens in face-to-face contexts, we need these citizens in online spaces as well.” 

It is true that we do need people to be digital social activists. Social media is the quickest way to reach millions of people all over the world. The number of people on social media is outstanding. What other platform could you use reach and inform millions of people all over the world to raise awareness for your cause?

myth! it’s a SLACKTIVISM:MONSTER OR MYTH? #SXSW What is Slacktivism? “The #WakeUpCall selfie: just another egotistical cele...

Photo Credit: Slacktivism: Monster or Myth

The online fundraising platforms Slactivism: Monster or Myth share

“people who share fundraising pages on their social media are four times more likely to donate than those who don’t, and those that share using a mobile device are seven times more likely to give” 

One cannot deny the benefits of social media activism and the wide span awareness they are able to spread, as well as money they are able to raise in short periods of time. The question to myself is now: Where do I fall into digital activism?

Like I mentioned above my digital presence is one that is always playing on the safe side the one where I consciously work to not rock the boat. I am, I would say what Tayler referred to as the opposite side of the spectrum in her post Social Justice in the Online World:

“And then there is opposite side of the spectrum – people who demonstrate fear of judgement for sharing their opinion on hot topic issues and social justice causes. This is something many teachers can relate to in the fear of judgement from parents and most often their employer.”

Similar to my blog post Identity: what is your digital one? I try and remainImage result for quiet zone sign neutral and professional with any social media presence. Like Tayler mentioned this is likely out of fear of judgement and playing it safe due to the high standards of professionalism that I am held to as a teacher. I truly felt like not saying anything was better than risking saying the wrong thing. I now know I am silenced by fear and Katia’s blog In online spaces, silence speaks as loudly as words has showed me that I have a duty as an educator to do more than just play it safe online. She shared how many pre-service teachers also hold this fear of saying the wrong thing and it jeopardizing their position in being hired. Katia shared how at the core “Ed tech is about privilege” and that by not saying anything we are in fact sending “a clear message: these issues are not important.” She is so right! By sitting back and playing it safe because I am afraid to take a stance and afraid to speak out about social justice issues I am in turn sending a message that I agree with everything that is happening and don’t have a differing opinion or stance. Katia has reminded me that as a person of privilege I have a responsibility to speak out. She shares:

” I have a responsibility to use my privilege to speak out and use my network for more than just my own benefit or self-promotion; not doing so is a selfish act. Being a good digital citizen is about so much more than being safe and responsible online. It’s about participating in meaningful ways to promote equity in networked spaces.”

Image result for a teacher affects eternity he can never tell where his influence stops

I as a teacher have a platform that I can and need to use for change. I have a responsibility to teach my students and provide them with a good digital activist role model. Instead of seeing it as something to stay away from out of fear I need to remember that no matter what I do or do not say I am a role model and I must take the responsibility in that and use it for the greater good.

Photo Credit: Lemon Lime Adventures

My Role In The Classroom

This week has really allowed me to reflect on my social media activism presence as well as my role as an educator to model online social media activism. My students are the future activists of this world and I need to as an educator ensure that I am providing them with ways they can get active at their age as well as prepare them for the future. As an educator I need to find ways for students to put the active in activism and help them to get involved. CNN’s Kelly Wallace shares in the article Putting the ‘active’ in activism: How to get kids to step up and get involved ways parents are helping and encouraging their children to get involved.

A place to start: a little pep talk for your students by the one and only Kid President

I feel that this week was a powerful week. It has got me thinking, contemplating and pondering change in me. I appreciate Katia’s posts and how she is bold to call us to action in making us acknowledge our privileges and the responsibility we have with that privilege. Where do you stand with your privilege and social media activism? Heavy right?

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Ready, Set, Launch!

Seesaw has officially launched in our classroom! I am so excited that I have now started the process of handing the power over to the students. The lead up work of learning the basics of what Seesaw is all about and how to launch it  is over and now the fun begins with implementing it into our classroom.

 elephants seesaw GIF

GIF Credit: Giphy

The first step to getting going was ensuring that all of my students had permission to participate. Seesaw is luckily one of the social media platforms listed on our schools media release and consent forms so if students already had permission on that form I did not need to get extra permission. Not all of my students had blanket permission so I decided that I would send another note home for permission just for their child to use Seesaw in our classroom. I explained to these families the following:

Seesaw is a secure online learning journal that is private and only accessible by the teacher, students and parents. You will only have access to your own child’s work and all of the content is stored securely.

I feel that Seesaw is a great way to introduce children and families to social media as it is secure so I feel that it is a great platform for students to learn about digital citizenship. I feel that it is important to express to parents who are unsure about giving permission for social media that their child’s work will not be posted publicly and that it can only be accessed by the student, the parents and the teachers. In the introductory letter I included information about Seesaw as a program and the benefits to our learning that this program will provide. I  attached a separate permission form for students who still required permission. See the attached letter for the information that I provided to my parents!

Seesaw letter

Once permission was taken care of we started to explore the app in class. In small groups students were given the opportunity to explore the features on the app. I was amazed at how quickly the students were able to navigate the different features. During the students first time on Seesaw I asked them to add a picture of themselves and to voice record anything they would like to about their introduction to Seesaw. I had the students add this to their journals so that when their parents logged on for the first time they would get to see some entertaining photos of their child to welcome them to Seesaw.

Shortly after the notes about Seesaw went home parents started connecting to their child’s journals. It was so exciting to see how quickly many of them jumped on board. Many of the parents were commenting and liking their child’s first post to Seesaw. Some parents commented how excited they are to follow along with their child’s learning. I got the exact reaction from parents that I was looking for.  One of my professional goals this school year was to connect more with parents and I feel that this is a great start and Seesaw helps me connect with parents all in one location.  Within a few days I have half of my class connected online! I plan to follow up with parents who have not yet connected, to help get them connected and make sure that they are not having any issues figuring the app out!

As the week moved on I added to the students journals throughout the week. I wanted to demonstrate to the students what types of work they could add to their journals to share with their parents. This gave me the opportunity to model and demonstrate how we can use the app during class time to communicate to our families what we are currently working on.  I wanted to ensure that we added work to their journals this week so families can get on the app and learn what it is all about!

I also made sure to suggest to the students when I felt like they were working on something that would be great to share. I set up a Seesaw station in the classroom and told students that when they were finished their work they were more than welcome to go and share their work with their families. My goal is that the students will become independent in wanting to share their work and choosing what they would like to send home. I see the benefits of using Seesaw in an upper elementary as the students are at the age where they can decide what they want to share with their families.

I feel that the first week using Seesaw in our classroom has been awesome! I can already see how this program will fit and work within my classroom.

Moving forward I have a few learning goals that I want to accomplish:

  1. Students become independent in sharing
  2. Students learn how to use tools on Seesaw to document and reflect on their learning
  3. Seesaw becomes interactive as the students comment on each others work
  4. Encourage families to become social on Seesaw with their children
  5. Continue to learn about the features of Seesaw and more ways to incorporate it into the classroom 
  6. Continue to use Twitter to follow @Seesaw as professional development

 

 

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Identity: what is your digital one?

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.

Professionalism

 

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.

 tv no scared awkward the office GIF

Credit: Giphy

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:

  1. What are some things teachers can do to manage their digital identities effectively?
  2. Can you think of any tools teachers could use to help maintain privacy?
  3. How can teachers control what is made public, and what is not, when they are online?
  4. 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.

5 P's for a positive Digital Footprint .jpg

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.

Thanks for stopping in!

 

 

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