Welcome to Kelsie and Krista’s FINAL summary of learning for EC&I 832!

Welcome to Kelsie and Krista’s FINAL summary of learning for EC&I 832! We’re both REALLY excited because this is our last summary of learning EVER.

Check out our summary of learning below:

This semester’s class revolved around the concept of digital citizenship in many permutations. Digital citizenship is a call to action for teachers to take up to ensure students in their care are well-equipped to deal with the online world and how that translates into their real world experiences.

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Digital citizenship can take many forms, as we learned throughout the semester, from Alec, our classmate’s catalyst posts, and our amazing guest speakers of Carol Todd and Pat Maze. These different takes on digital citizenship provided a well-rounded, fully-fleshed out concept for digital citizenship.

It was essential to have these differing ideas around digital citizenship because there are so many ways to interpret and to define what digital citizenship can mean, depending on the situation.

For example, when discussing digital citizenship with a student in grade 1, the conversation will look very different from a conversation about digital citizenship and a grade 12 student.

Elements of digital citizenship that Krista and Kelsie will examine in our summary of learning include who is responsible for teaching and encouraging digital citizenship, the concept of digital identity in regards to the permanence of an online presence, what media literacy means in 2018, and tied in with media literacy, how to combat “fake news” in a constructive manner so that we encourage robust consumption of media. All of these ideas are further complicated through the identification of separate generations of digital citizens, which each have their own comfortability with media and digital tools.

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In addition, DC also assists teachers in developing professionally. Through digital citizenship, teachers have opportunities to grow their Personal Learning Networks, or PLNs, in order to move beyond mandated professional development. Understanding digital citizenship means that teachers can access meaningful resources by connecting through mediums such as Twitter, or our own Google Plus community.

Week One focused on how our identities and citizenship in the digital world become more and more complex as the technology we work within continues to diversify.

There is inter connectivity within our digital identities and media literacy.  We are much more interconnected today than we were years ago. Due to this connectivity, educators, students and our community need to participate responsibly in their global and local networks.

 The media and digital culture has changed dramatically which has brought about great changes in our media and digital culture. We are now not only Canadian citizens but our passports are also as digital citizens where the media that surrounds us shapes our worldviews and relationships. Becoming a digital citizen can start at home, but will also need to continue in the schools and in society. Without the education of DC, we run the risk of creating negative impacts on not only our digital identity but possibly the digital identities of those around us, either through ignorance or willfulness.

There are many issues today within modern technology. For instance, how can we foster Digital citizenship in a world that does not forget?  Families today posting pictures of their own children on social media platforms has been dividing a nation from what author Leo Kilion from BBC. suggests. Cyberbullying has become even more problematic with issues of online sextortion, online bullying, and the sharing of inappropriate images within youth. The development of social media platforms speeds up with every year, it seems. Students migrate from one to another with great dexterity. It is becoming more difficult to keep our students and children aware and safe online. Facebook, Twitter and You Tube are being used more ad more as a location / platform to shares one’s opinions and thoughts.Though sharing one’s thoughts is now facing backlash or even more negative bullying.

In Week Two, our class examined the importance of creating PLN’s, especially as educators. Personal learning networks give all of us an opportunity to connect with one another via our Twitter, Google Plus, and blogging to demonstrate and share about our learning in a cohesive way, while exploring multiple platforms of communication. While we were connecting within social media platforms and blogging throughout this course, we were also learning about our own digital citizenship, and becoming more media literate while connecting with fellow EC&I 832 classmates.

In order to connect in meaningful ways, our class learned about proper hashtag use in order for our posts to be more visible and attract the answers we were looking for. As well, in our blog posts, we learned how to create categories to separate our ideas into “subjects” so that our audience sees only the relevant blog posts.

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With all the technology that is out there, it’s important that we al become media literate. Potter  discusses the importance of media literacy and the strategies to become media aware. There continues to be a complexity of media processing, information problems such as too much media. Potter discusses strategies / building blocks to help build knowledge, skills and the idea of control while becoming media literate.

In order to become better digital citizens, teachers need to practice experimenting in the digital world by publishing and seeking out information.

Even though we are becoming more and more connected we are also becoming more alone. Is technology tearing us apart by the variety and emerging technologies that are out there? Digital dualists believe that the virtual world (digital world) and the real (physical world) are becoming more and more intertwined. We are using more and more of the social media rather than physically socially connecting with one another.

In Week Three, we began to look more intensively at the foundational theories of media education as well as how we have viewed “technology” throughout the ages.

Technology in classrooms has evolved from slates to tablets, from chalkboards to Smart Boards, from encyclopedias to Wikipedia. It continues to change the way we interact and connect with all educational stakeholders.

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In explaining the various technological theories, Alec discussed the importance of an Aristotelian philosophy in examining the nature of technology: truth is discovered through imperialism, that is, through experience and sensory expansion.

The theories in media education continue to be relevant and impactful for our work today as educators. Neil Postman explains that technology is not distributed evenly across classrooms, cities, and countries. Culture pays a price in using massive amounts of technology to expand its reach because while technology facilitates the growing hegemony of a culture, it also takes away by creating isolationism and factions that can often lead to internal and external disputes.

There continues to be many implications on how we view media literacy and/or digital citizenship programs/education for students/teachers/parents.

Prenski in his video from PBS Do “Digital Natives” Exist? (PBS – Watch until 5:34) discusses the idea of  Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants.This video, while informative, also can be criticized because it is not truly clear who truly is and is not a digital native. How does one become a digital native? If one is not a digital native, where does that place in them in terms of being able to exist socially in the 21st century?

A potential answer to these questions is through the concept of a digital immigrant, one who comes “late” to the digital world. However, the connotations of immigrant are possibly negative. This means that the world an immigrant left was potentially untenable and unlivable and that the digital world is by far superior.

So then, if adult learners, who are part of the Generation X, Y or millennials, are supposed to educate Generation Z or the Alpha Generation, but we are digital immigrants, is our education then flawed or not as authentic as one who is a digital native? Or is it more credible because we have seen both the analog “version” of the world and are able to compare it to the new digital “version” of the world?

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This conversation continued through Week Four where we discussed that it is important to understand the generational frameworks which help us all better understand the lives and the world that are students are currently living in.

One of the issues with the generational gap in use of technology is that students have a multitude of ways and means to access learning and education well beyond what previous generations could even dream of accessing. However, this is not always a positive thing as the expectation of this generation is that they know how to sift through the information coming at them and discern what is good versus what is bad information.

A consequence of this is that students multitask more and more and do not know how to do a singular task in isolation. This can cascade into feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed.

One outlet students have in expressing these feelings is through the medium of You tube, as explored by Michael Wesch. They use this digital space as a way to rebel against institutional powers embedded by previous generations. Henry Jenkins argues for the importance of trans-media within mainstream media in order to create cross-curricular competencies in a way to connect multiple platforms, which include storytelling on You tube. Youth use platforms such as You tube to unpack issues of identity and self-awareness.

While creating communities of support online is commendable, students are not always aware of the dangers that lurk when posting highly personal information. Privacy agreements and Terms of Service are highly unnavigable areas of crucial information that are ignored and accepted without understanding the full consequences of who has access to information and what it will be used for.

Consequences of oversharing on social media platforms can include being “doxxed”, which is where personal, identifying information is shared online for the purposes of bullying or intimidation.

Parents, adults would also have to take on the fostering role to help implement the idea of digital hygiene. Reminding youth that technology is a privilege that encourages responsibility and trust within all digital users.

There will be more cultural shifts ahead with the continued use of technology. As technology continues to change at fast speeds it is important to teach our current and upcoming  learners about DC.

Furthermore, we are now seeing more and more social media activism as a response to the broadening of knowledge about world events. This includes movements like #ParklandStrong, #GunReformNow, #MeToo, and #Reconciliation. Students are standing up to entrenched power institutions in grassroots movements that gains momentum through the sharing of these ideals through social media platforms. Not only have these movements been popular, but they have also created real, sustained conversations regarding issues in society.

In order to support students in their burgeoning social media activism, schools need to support a DC policy to prepare our students for a digital world. This means showing students how to effectively create change through example. Teachers need to discuss with students proper DC behaviours, like non-inflammatory language, how to remain somewhat anonymous, and how to engage thoughtfully in online and IRL discussion. How will DC look like in the future? Will it be embedded in our curriculum?

Week Five merged these ideas nicely, as the Joel Westheimer article discusses  three types of citizens: personally responsible citizens, participatory citizens and justice-oriented citizens. It is suggested that digital identities can be created through a person’s online communications and actions. A person’s online digital identity is seen as a direct reflection of the type of citizenship that a person chooses to show online.

Costa & Torres discuss the issues in developing a digital identity in the networked world. They looked at the issues of openness, uniqueness, and honesty while outlining the approaches that educators might take when developing a social presence and professional profile online.They highlighted the themes of presentation and reputation within digital identities. Furthermore these authors aim to help educators navigate their own online identity development so that they are able to model online behaviour which will in end help mentor their students as they build their online identities and become media literate students.

Students and young learners today are not understanding the true meaning of what it is to be a true digital citizen. Shulman defines what a digital citizen is, and identifies eight strategic areas from which digital citizenship can be better understood.  Her article pushes the importance of fostering better digital citizens today, so technology continues to evolve in a positive manner.  

Week Six expanded on the previous ideas to show that, as educators it is important that educators and schools promote digital citizenship. DC must be interwoven in the curriculum, not as a one time lesson but something that is seen as daily routine, such as the digital hygiene routine. Educators, schools and the community need to encourage our students to create online identities where students feel trusted and empowered. We cannot make our students fearful when being online, we must teach them to be aware and that technology can be used in a positive manner.

As more and more students use their devices for more than just information retrieval we must teach them on how to share properly and respectfully.  They are using technology to share images, to self express, and they use technology today to build more personal relationships.

We, as educators within schools and communities, need to help build our future, as it is dependent on our own children and our students’ digital identities.

We can work through this with proper support and support in Saskatchewan comes in the form of the working document, Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools (created by our very own Dr Alec Couros!) This is an important document for all schools to create the vision of positive digital citizenship policy in the educational system.

In answering the question posed in Weeks Seven and Eight, “What role should schools play in DC?”, schools and teachers play a huge role in educating students about digital citizenship. Policy is in place, though more needs to be done to integrate DC into existing curriculum. Buy in needs to be had by educators, because without support from on-the-ground workers, digital citizenship would be doomed to fail. More DC practices need to be put in place in schools through professional development opportunities that allow for experimentation and guided learning. DC needs to be addressed in the schools and in the community to encourage responsible digital citizens in the future.

In the final weeks of the course, we met with Pat Maze, the STF president, where we learned about the professional duties around digital literacy within the professional and personal worlds of teachers. We also met with Carol Todd, Amanda Todd’s mother, where we had insightful and moving conversation regarding the effects and impacts that cyberbullying has on the individual, the community, and on families.

In connecting digital citizenship to teaching students to be vigilant about information they’re consuming, we examined the concept of “fake news”. We must teach our students to use critical thinking skills in learning to identify and spot “fake news”. In doing this, we teach them to examine the credibility of the source, the author, the date, and own personal biases. Students also need to examine multiple sources in order to gain a fully fleshed out picture of what exactly the story is by looking at what is left out or emphasized in different examples.

We re-examined the morality, ethical, and legal issues surrounding the use of technology in the classroom, from how and why we should get permission to diffusing potential privacy issues when teaching students good digital citizenship behavior. Teachers must be hyper-aware of the guidelines set out by the school division so that they feel protected in knowing that, if there are issues, they have the backing of the board.

In closing, our views on  teaching, learning, technology, and our roles as community-builder have evolved throughout the course of the semester. We have grown through our experimentation with various aspects of digital citizenship and media. We have come to understand the themes of the course, which are: the history and contemporary trends in media literacies and digital culture, key theorists and practitioners in the field, the implications of the recent and ongoing shift from a passive to a participatory media environment.

As well, we have gained an appreciation of the concept of digital citizenship and its associated theories and practices. We have understood the complexities of digital identity and the implication it has on our learners, educators, and society. We have been able to answer the questions of what digital culture, citizenship, and activism are in relation to one another, how our society and culture been shaped by mainstream, emerging, and fringe medias, and how we can continue to become critical and knowledgeable consumers of media in a variety of forms, and understanding the implications of digital culture and media for both curriculum and teaching practices.

Thanks so much!!! It’s been a pleasure EC&I 832!

Krista & Kelsie

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