The Essential Elements!
We examined Ribble's Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship this week in #eci832. I've been reflecting how this relates to my social media journey project. I'll be looking at TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter, and maybe Wakelet as I journey into the wilderness of social media and education. TikTok is the first one I am tackling. Progress has been slow. This is a bit related to being a content-catalyst for next week's ECI832 Lesson! It's hard, yet inspiring, to try to keep up with the Hollywood videos created by the amazing group last week: shout out to Catherine, Nataly, Amanda, and Melinda.
I'm especially interested in TikTok... so while I believe all these points apply to the other social media platforms I'm examining, I'm especially turning my attention to TikTok. Here they are....
Element 3. Digital Communication and Collaboration: "the electronic exchange of information".
Well, TikTok allows people to exchange videos, which could have any sort of content or purpose. The most popular "purpose" I've seen in my "studies" on TikTok is that of entertainment, meme generation/spreading, and self-promotion.
Element 4. Digital Etiquette: "standards of conduct or procedures and has to do with the process of thinking about others when using digital devices".
There is great potential to discuss the appropriate use of Etiquette when utilizing TikTok, as you are presenting yourself to the world when you post a video.
Element 5. Digital Fluency: "the process of understanding technology and its use. Includes the ability to discern good information from poor, such as “fake news” from real news."
Lots of information is shared on TikTok, from memes, to reactions to current events, and news. Discerning what is valuable from what is not is certainly a part of this platform. Choosing it for entertainment or information is another.
Element 6. Digital Health and Welfare: "physical and psychological well-being in a digital world. Educators need to ask the question of how much screen time is appropriate for students."
My biggest downfall is opening the TikTok app. I've started setting a timer for 10 minutes, because time flows differently when you open the TikTok app. It's easy to drain an hour watching video after video. This is not OK. Definitely a discussion for students around appropriate use and screen time limits.
Progress on TikTok
I've recently identified from some discussions with students ways that they think TikTok might be useful in education. We all agreed that perhaps for Drama/theater, TikTok might actually be useful for motivating students, and giving them a global audience for their performances. See the video below that I filmed today while I was having some candid conversations with some of my grade 11/12 computer science class about TikTok and how they use it.
Well, you heard it here first! Some kiddos use it as their news source (which scares me frankly). It was in another unrecorded conversation where one student suggested it'd be great for Drama/Theater. So I went to the drama teacher, and low and behold, she said that coincidentally, her grade 12 class was just talking about TikTok today! Imagine that! The butterfly effect? Who knows!
So, my colleague and I, we decided that she would try to use some TikTok in her classroom, and let me know how it goes. I'll do a quick interview with her, and post it as part of my examination of TikTok, whenever it is complete! I am excited to share the results with you!
Do any of you foresee any useful educational uses of TikTok? I really can't find much on the web that actually seems reasonable/useful, at least at the high school level. Drama/theater was a new idea for me!
Till next time,
Dopamine is the same chemical that makes us feel good when we smoke, when we drink, and when we gamble. Dopamine is highly, highly, addictive. We have age restrictions on smoking, gambling, and alcohol and we have no age restrictions on social media and cell phones.
Our Future ... an Age of Distraction!
Well, as part of my blog post this week, I went ahead and asked my 73 year old colleague what he thought of Millennials. He immediately replied: "entitled, lazy, and not nearly as reliable as people who are older than them."
So there you have it. See you all next week!
Haha, just kidding. Since I am making my post very late this week (just you wait until it's your week to prepare your material for being the content catalyst the next week, you'll die!), I looked to my amazing peers for some inspiration. Dean had an amazing interview with a student, that is playing right now as I type. I think you should definitely check out that interview, it's 30 minutes long, but well worth it. Catherine was posting about her social media project, making her doggie (Instagram: @callie.the.golden.pup) Instagram famous in her exploration.
Wow. I'm actually starting to develop some serious concerns about my social media usage just from this course. It is GREAT keeping up to date with everyone, but I don't know if moving forward I'll be able to keep a healthy balance between work, my family, and my studies. Am I just being inefficient? I have no idea. Maybe I'm a millennial? BINGO!
What do Schools Need to do to stay relevant?
Millennials have been hit hard, from more debt, to worse job prospects than their parents, to getting participation trophies too often, the list goes on and on.
We also have access to addictive technologies like social media and cell phones. We live in an age of distraction. I don't know the answer to the above question. But I know what I believe:
I believe that schools should be doing everything possible to help their teachers integrate appropriate use of social media in all their classes. Participatory learning, powered by social media outside of the classroom should be a feature of all classes. This will allow teachers to model how to effectively use social media, and allow students to develop their digital identities in safe and constructive ways.
To this end, I'm sharing this resource here, which I chose to use as my basis for being a content catalyst next week (Feb 11) on digital identity. It's a conference paper written by two professors who created a course that was totally based on social media and digital identities.
The article is a case study that really highlights the possibilities around teaching and integrating social media as a catalyst for participatory learning. All throughout, it gives teachers and students opportunities to model effective use of social media, and to develop positive digital identities.
I feel that given all the bad press social media gets, I think this is one of the things that students need urgently moving forward. It's not quite banning cell phones as Simon Sinek mentioned in his YouTube video, but it might be better.
We are getting into trouble in how we relate to ourselves, and our capacity for self reflection ... we are getting used to a new way of being alone together ...
Last class, we had the wonderful and informative Mary Beth Hertz speak to our class. She was definitely a good choice as a presenter in our class, as the author of Digital and Media Literacy in the Age of the Internet. While I haven't had time to read her book, (would be nice to get around to it... I've actually done a good job so far of hitting my goal of listening to 2 books a month on Audible, I recommend it for anyone who is taking a masters or education and is busy!). It's obvious from my peers, like Melinda, who is, like me, doing a review of apps for education, that Mary Beth would have a lot to share with us. Or like Trevor, who is also in a 1-1 classroom, or Leigh, who wondered about how kids connect and are "addicted" to each other and how social media plays into that connection.
I really enjoyed her talk. I found her to be very focused on how to ensure that students understand the complexities of social media, and how to verify and fact check information, which is totally a thing educators need to do more of!
In fact, I went on her blog and found it to be good additional reading.
Can I Be Alone, Please?
However, as the quote above from my favorite recent TED talk by Sherry Turkle suggests, I think there is more to social media in schools that just teaching students the risks, benefits, and how to utilize it properly. As a bit of a social media/news/technology junkie myself, I think we need a sincere talk about how technology both connects us and yet isolates us at the same time. No matter how much we connect online, no matter how useful this technology becomes, after listening twice now (thanks Audible! I swear I don't work for them!) to Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday, I think more and more we are losing the capacity to self reflect and truly be alone with our thoughts... which is part of being a healthy human. There are just too many distractions, made by people who understand how the brain and dopamine works. We get more and more wrapped up with "me" and things we are interested in only. I appreciated Mary's informative talk, which focused largely on educational moments and fact checking social media, which is admittedly a problem. However, I was largely interested in how to balance social media and technology in our increasingly busy and connected lives.
I believe that teachers and society at large have a vested in making sure our students understand how to balance their phones and social media as part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
... you only want to pay attention to the bits that interest you. And some people think that's a good thing ...
SOMEONE IS LISTENING
The part of Mary's presentation that interested me most (and there are LOTS of things she said that interested me!) was when she spoke to how technology makes it very easy for us to be tracked. We don't know what is done with our information, but often, all we need to sign up to "free" services is to give up all our data, and we do it without a second thought (I certainly have, as a user of the internet and apps).
What struck me was how she got rid of her Dot Mini, an amazon device that can certainly make your life a lot easier and cool. I am glad she shared this story with us, and her students.
Why did she get rid of it? Well, the devices by default record all audio in your home. It gets sent to Amazon, or Google, depending on the device you buy, for "processing". "Smart" and "connected" products are spying on you.
Does Anyone Care?
Anyone who says they like companies knowing what products they might be interested in so they can buy stuff easier needs to get checked up. It goes far beyond that. Giving away vast amounts of information about ourselves to strangers and companies who reap maximum rewards from it cannot be a "good thing" for you. What do you gain? Would you tell a complete stranger named Amazon on the bus where you live, what you like to buy, what you had for dinner yesterday, details about your personal life, the lives of others in your life? Does this seem healthy?
I think we ought to make this clear to students, while at the same time we also teach them how to "safely" use these technologies, and leverage them to improve our teaching. There are a lot of applications of technology and social media. I mean, check out this AI that can tell if students are paying attention. Does this or does this not make instruction better?
PAY ATTENTION OR BE SAD
Certainly, there is more false/misleading information out there on social media (where most people get their news) than completely factual and unbiased (is that a thing?) information.
Mary Beth has this recent example (and how she taught her class to combat it and recognize it)
Recently, a study found that pro-vaping posts on Instagram outweighed e-cigarette safety campaign 10,000 to one, as another example.
Social media and the internet is not a magical playground, that is for sure. People make money on social media, and the intentions are not always geared towards education, although social media certainly has lots to offer clever teachers and their lucky students.
I would say that social media is like anything... do it in moderation... but I think social media holds a lot more power than your average "thing you should do in moderation". That's because people crave connections, and social media offers this mirage aplenty. But really, does it?
I'm going to leave off with one last quote from Sherry Turkle, who whose TED talk I've referenced all throughout this post.
So what do you think? Should we be warning students about the pitfalls of social media? Believe me, I'm all FOR the educational opportunities, but I do think that we need to be VERY careful with our students and social media... we should err on the side of caution.
We're lonely but we're afraid of intimacy ... We are designing technologies that give us the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.
“It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.”
And so, before I've even finished my Wakelet project from #eci831, (and yes, thanks for asking, this is actually the week where it all comes together--my class is working so hard--so I hope to have it complete by next weekend!) I'm embarking on another journey, YAY! I hope there is good candy and snacks along the way.
I started with a review of what my more prepared peers have already posted. Brad, for example, is doing a social media awareness campaign, which already puts his project on way higher ground than mine! Or Melinda, who is also doing an app I plan to cover, and others that I have never even heard of! Nancy is actually looking at seniors and their use of social media, and is going to develop a resource around that and digital citizenship. Others, like Daniel, are just looking forward to another great adventure learning from everyone in the class, and from our great professor, Alec Couros. I do feel blessed to be amongst so many great and talented educators.
THE DRAINING POWERS OF SOCIAL MEDIA
I began my personal journey with a quick reflection of my own interactions with social media. Just a few days ago, I opened the TikTok app, and marveled at how I literally drained 35 minutes of my life. Granted, this behavior is one I struggle with--I was procrastinating this post, among other things. I could have gone for a nice run in 35 minutes, I could have cleared my mind, found some peace--but TikTok is addicting. There are Memes about it.
I did a lot of reading. I even bloody Googled about it, and found that there is a movement of Silicon tech people--from Bill Gates to Steve Jobs--who limit their own kids use of social media and technology. Head scratching, but enlightening?
“Those devices in our pockets, are so psychologically powerful, that they don't only change what we do, they change who we are.”
Potter's book on Media Literacy talks about "automatic processing, information problems, media exposure, programming, automatic routines, gluts of information that aggressively pursue us" and other things. What is this social media beast?
And if we discover that the new medium brings along effects that might be detrimental to our society or culture, we have the opportunity to influence the development and evolution of the new innovation before the effects becomes pervasive.
SO WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE ME?
The hardest hitting quote from Mark Federman for me was the above. It is up to us to decide the value of something, and whether or not we are going to interact with it. Students can't help but be affected by their teachers, they spend so much time with us. That is why we have such a sacred job. So if something is detrimental, perhaps we can get ahead of it before much damage is done.
Many social media platforms favor brevity over many other things. TikTok is a short 60 second or less video, with the default video being 15 seconds. Twitter is 280 characters. Do we lose anything when this is the case? Does it matter? I don't know, I just teach math and computer science.
But I can think about it. And that's what I hope to do on my personal journey.
So, in light all all this, my plan is to review a few social media platforms/apps, and see what their utility might be in the classroom, but I also plan to look at their utility for us in general in our lives. If I am going to use them with students, I would hope that they have the potential to be good for their development and growth long term.
I plan to examine the educational uses, life uses, drawbacks, and controversies around....
-Wakelet (well, I'm already doing a bunch of stuff with this already, so probably time for a nice review of it? I also happen to think it's the best thing since sliced bread!)
-TikTok (can it be useful in the classroom? Or is it just something everyone looks at? I've just recently started using this app)
-Twitter (this one seems obvious to review, both for educational purposes and just general life purposes)
-YouTube (and it's potential both in and out of the class)
-Something else (yes, mystery! This is a maybe, as time permits ... it will all become clear!)
Alrighty. I'd like to leave off with one last article... I found it interesting, and I do believe the picture actually got shared in our last class...
I found a good thought piece about it, so I'll leave you with a quote for thought. Thanks for sticking with it...
But the most important difference is what happens after the newspaper was done: people talked to each other about what they’d just read. They could engage in a civic discourse about the news of the day, because they were all reading the same basic material.
Cheers to everyone in this class!
I have been teaching high school pre-calculus math and computer science since 2011 in Brandon, MB!
I first started teaching guitar when I was about 14 years old, and continued all throughout my university degrees. I think this is part of what made me fall in love with teaching, besides the fact that many people in my family are educators and had a big influence on me.
I'm currently guiding my first Robotics Club at my school through the FIRST Robotics Competition. The nonprofit that gave us funding to do this has a mission to spread awareness of STEM, so we plan to do a lot of networking using social media, etc. in order to document our process as we build our robot. I'm excited to get my students out in elementary schools doing STEM activities with kids as part of this initiative. We plan to share this all on social media, so I figured this course would be a nice complement towards being successful in this endeavor.
My interests outside of school include exercise (running especially!), cooking, baking, and hanging out with friends, and sleeping.
I look forward to learning with all of you, and from everyone in this course!
Just a quick update--I've graded all the tutorials that cover 3 different units, we have 3 tutorials per unit. Some of them are absolutely stellar and the others provide a good alternative if you need more!
We hope to wrap up classes, methods, and arrays so that in January we can work on remixing the class notes, exercises, and solutions, and provide some quizlet quizzes as well! We'll post the entire course with tutorials and everything to Wakelet for anyone's use!
ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS! Stay tuned for a link to Wakelet!
To play the game, you just need to go to the following LINK HERE and download the .exe file. Then you should be able to double click it and play. The link is also in the description of my YouTube video. Some elements are randomized (such as the word guesser game) so if you play multiple times you should get different words.
I hope you enjoy the game, and the video. Again, it was a real pleasure working with and learning from each and every one of you! You are all amazing teachers, and I have added greatly to my PLN, thanks to you guys!
Well, after a long and perilous journey, I've reached the end of #Eci831.
The learning project continues however.
My class did actually set out and do something that I didn't expect them to do: create video tutorials to summarize their learning for each unit. This involved doing some things that not everyone was comfortable with, namely:
-Creating a Script and a plan for the video tutorial
-Recording Audio & Video
-Editing audio and video
-Sharing on YouTube
Along the way, we collaboratively planned the rubric, did a "dry run" of that rubric, and updated it 3 more times along the way.
The entire process meant I spent a LOT of lunch hours in my computer lab, helping students edit video and audio, finding quiet places for them in the school to record audio if they weren't able to do it at home, and iron out other issues that came up as they created their tutorials.
It's amazing how many videos 9 kids can crank out in 2 months. We have 39 videos on the channel currently, and I have at the time of writing, 4 more to grade and upload.
I don't think this is going away. I had just one student who opted to do the ALTERNATIVE ASSIGNMENT of writing tests and creating an in class only program for each unit. He did attempt to create videos, but found it just wasn't for him. I am glad there was an alternative way for him to display his learning that he was comfortable with.
Besides seeing my students' progress, and how they helped each other complete their tutorials, was the back and forth between me and my peers in #eci831.
Special thanks to the group session between Dean, Kayla, and Melinda and I, my project took on a new aspect. It was suggested that perhaps I could make a Wakelet of the entire Grade 11 Comp Sci course, and have my students' videos showcased there.
My class didn't get there quite yet, as we have to cover some course material together for the next 2 or 3 weeks. But in January, I anticipate that we will be remixing my class notes (each student will take a section), and we will create exercises and solutions for each unit. We will showcase the "best" tutorial video for each section on Wakelet. I went ahead and made the Wakelet page, seen below, although it'll be empty until January. I do intend to continue blogging about my adventures, so if anyone wants, come check it out in January (I'll post to Twitter when I update).
So, what have I learned from this project? So much! The thing that really stuck out to me was that my students NEVER COMPLAINED about the amount of work this was. I think it exceeded the amount of time an average student would have spent studying for a test. Never once did I hear a complaint. I think the students value creating content, and see the utility in it. I asked a few why they didn't complain. Some said they'd rather do this than a test. Others said they liked the idea of upload to YouTube. I was floored either way. I **think** that high school Matteo would have just wanted to take the test because it would have taken me less time (I would have said more time to hang out with friends or do things I actually liked). But, who knows what I might have said. I did also really enjoy learning. I can recall a few projects in computer science I spent waaaaay too much time on because I enjoyed the class.
I have to say that sharing online is never going to be something that I hesitate to do again after this project, and after this course. For that, I have to thank not only Alec, but also especially the passion I observed in all my peers in #eci831. You guys really inspired me to take the extra step of posting online. THANK YOU.
If you wish to view the progress of this project, I have conveniently kept each post under it's own tag, which you can find on the right hand side of the page.
So, signing off, but not for the last time (not ever!)... stay curious...
So our professor Alec Couros has encouraged us to look more closely at social movements on social media. 1 hour later, and with 15+ browsing tabs open, I'm at a loss. I suppose I can start with Katia Hildebrandt's post that Alec linked us to, of which the main message was that we must risk our privilege to speak out for those who have no privilege to risk. This is certainly a sentiment that is hard to argue against.
I read with great interest the comments on that particular blog post, which had over 40 comments, far beyond the average amount, so it was clearly a post that touched some nerves and had some reach.
One problem I see is the concept of #slacktivism, where one can feel like they've supported a cause by merely clicking a like button or doing some other task that requires minimal effort. At the same time, there are infinite travesties in the world that many aren't even aware of happening every day (check out natural disasters, or even the world news for each month), an infinite parade of social inequalities out there, perpetrated by other people, unfortunate circumstances, nature, and a whole host of other issues.
No issue is simple, and my main issue with Twitter is that it is not exactly the type of platform that is built for deep debates and understanding. I'd say that perhaps Twitter is not necessarily the place to tackle complex social issues, or any complex issue. It is a great place to share fun news, network, or find great ideas (that you can go read about more in other places).
As evidenced below, it's also great if you are looking for a year of free nuggets, #NuggsForCarter, which was only recently dethroned as the most viral (retweeted) tweet of all time:
Of course, as outlined by Catherine Read in her excellent post, there are a whole host of issues that gained traction on social media, from #BlackLivesMatter, The Arab Spring, etc. Just look at NASA's #YearInSpace, a wildly popular campaign that shows just how powerful social media campaigns can be. Twitter and Facebook are forces to be reckoned with. So in an age of infinite participation, what part are we as teachers supposed to play in all this? For example, do we care that only 66% of Canadians who were eligible to vote in the last election voted?
So where does that leave us?
So much disinformation and hate can be spread on social media... it has often been likened to an echo chamber. I tend to agree with Jordan Peterson on this one, though, who likens social media more to an Amplifier. Clearly, social media can be used to amplify anything, whether or not we'd simply classify these things as merely "good" or "bad" things.
I've always also been mindful of the evidence that continues to come out of publications around mental health and social media. For something that can create so much good change in the world (something that bothers me: how do we measure this anyways? A post for another time?), it sure seems to make our teens and especially adults sad:
-How Social Media Increases Depression and Loneliness
-Does Social Media Cause Depression?
-You Asked: Is Social Media Making Me Miserable?
As Daniel noted.... being an educator in the world of social media activism #difficult (great post, go read it!)... well yeah, it certainly is. The race is on to connect EVERYONE in the world to the internet, which has basically slowly turned into something that everyone needs to have, similar to water and food.
Joel Westheimer and Joseph Kahne push us to consider the next evolution of the personally responsible citizen in their article that Alec suggested we read, to that of the Justice Oriented Citizen.
...if participatory citizens are organizing the food drive and personally responsible citizens are donating food, justice oriented citizens are asking why people are hungry and acting on what they discover (Westheimer & Kahne, 2004, p. 4)
So, my answer to the question, what is our responsibility as educators to model active citizenship online? is....
Educators should strive to create students who can think analyse and think critically about complex problems, and teach them how to use all the tools available to create social change, including online tools.
Till next time,
Well, we crawl along!
This Friday was the due date for the next round of tutorial videos! The exciting thing for me was that we covered three different chapters, since I broke up the students into smaller groups two weeks ago. The production process took much less time than last time as well! These are some big pluses.
In typical fashion, I have about one third of the videos actually in hand... with a lot of promises from other students that they just need until Monday. I'm lenient as usual, well... because most of the videos will come in, and if they are of higher quality because of the delay, that's only a good thing.
It's fine, as most students began working the next set of notes, Arrays... this means that I hope to be complete the majority of the course material by December, which would leave us the entire month of January to remix the notes, create exercises, solutions, and Quizlet practice for our Grade 11 Computer Science Wakelet Course!
In order to get a better sense of how things are going, I interviewed a student today about what he thought about the new upcoming Wakelet project, and the new rubric and process for making the tutorials. See the quick four minute video below of the interview:
It was funny that my dear student forgot about the Wakelet part of the project... in his defense I do believe he was away for Major Production last week when I introduced the idea to the class.
And, as usual, if you hate watching videos, the summary:
-The student discussed how he thought it was neat that we'll make our own exercises and solutions, and quizzes on Quizlet.
-We discussed how nobody really complained about how much "extra" work this is in class, say, compared to a 1 hour test.
-He thought is that tests are too stressful anyways, require a lot of prep time at home (while we do all our stuff in class for these video tutorials, which he thought was a big plus, leaving his home life free to do what he likes.... currently he is building a "smart" mirror in his spare time) and aren't overly useful in terms of retained knowledge.
-He really thinks making the tutorials actually makes him learn the material better.
-We also discuss the futility of "homework" when you go home and are stuck anyways... doing everything in class means you'll have more resources like your peers and the teacher in order to get help.
Well... that's about it! I'm excited to see how this project evolves over time... I'm sad that it won't be complete until the end of January... but I intend to continue updating my blog, so it's possible some of you may see the finished product!
I don't think we'll do this every year... but I will definitely do it over again in Semester 2. I like to do something new every year or two as my own interests evolve, so I actually wonder with starry eyes what I'll be doing with my grade 11 class in two years.... and of course, I'm always getting input from students, prior and present!
We'll be having a few guest speakers coming into class, mostly former students of mine who now work in the industry, so that'll be a nice break for my students, and a great opportunity to really hear from people who are "doing" this stuff out there.
Until next time, stay curious!
My name is Matteo Di Muro, the original Prairie Boy, and I've been teaching since I was 14. I currently teach mathematics and computer science in Brandon. I try to keep on learning things, and I'm getting onboard with sharing with others, hence this site!