My Personal journey into media: Snapchat, Instagram and Google Classroom.


Final blog entry

As educators, it is imperative that we have an understanding of apps, the digital world and the programs that our students / teachers are currently using.

For my personal journey into media, I investigated 3 apps. One educational app: Google Classroom and two Social media apps: Snapchat and Instagram.

Young people in the high school area use these social media apps on a regular basis in the school, in the classroom and during their daily social lives. It was very interesting to hear my students voices, their opinions, and thoughts on these educational and social media apps. Some enjoyed social media apps as a way to socialize with their friends and some found social media apps to be time consuming.  What surprised me the most was when it came to looking at educational apps. Student preferred using apps like Google classroom for the  reason that they felt way more comfortable having access to school work at they fingertips via their cell phones. Comments made were that it is really easy, organized and it’s nice to have access to assignments digitally instead of paper based. My students only complaint, they wish that teachers would just stick with one education app, not a whole ton of others at the same time.


More and more educators today have been using education apps like Google Classroom and Remind. Due to this current trend, more and more students have become accustomed and are asked to use these apps during their high school careers.

Review of educational and social media apps


Description, usage and analysis of the app

While reviewing the website of Snapchat, it claims to let its users have easy access to socialize with friends, to share and view Live Stories from around the world, and to explore news in the Discover section. Its basis moto is that life’s more fun when you live in the moment!

Snapchat is an image messaging app that can be accessed through smart phones.  Its main feature is that any message, pictures and videos can be only available a short time before they become inaccessible which encourages natural interaction among its users.

Although Snapchat was originally mainly focused on being private for sharing, it has now changed to varied different sharing tasks. Such as being able to share images, short videos, create caricatures, live video messaging and you can now create Bitmoji avatars. (I love my avatar by the way!)


Something that was total new to me was that how people can create their own filters and it can now show your location on the world map.

Did you know there is Snapchat lingo? When having asked my students about the Snapchat lingo here is what I took from it:

For example:

The Snapcode: This code allows your friends to use a Snapcode. I guess this codes makes adding friends easier.  From what I understand, it’s similar to a QR code.

The Score: That is the number next to a person’s handle in the Snapchat. It’s the number of snaps that a person has sent. The higher your score, the more you likely use Snapchat.

The Snapstreak: This is an emoji next to a Snapchat name….which means they are on a Snapchat streak if you are constantly snapping.

The Trophy case: Did you know you can earn trophies with Snap chat? I didn’t! I guess this encourages the interaction between users.

Terms of service

-Snapchat’s terms of service has been revised for non-American citizens since September 26th of 2017.

-In order to use Snapchat, all users must accepts the Terms and Privacy policy before they are allowed to use the app.

-No one under 13 is allowed to create an account or use Snapchat. (This was a surprise to me….as I have seen younger users use Snapchat!)

-Users cannot copy, distribute, sell, or lease any part of our Snapchat’s Services.

Privacy implications


-Snapchat can use anyone’s image and videos. They do this to improve their services in order to create better ones.

-Snapchat does not take any responsibility. What you share on Snapchat is your responsibility.

-Snapchat encourages you to read their privacy policy. (Nothing is private.)

-They encourage you not to post irresponsibly and to respect others rights. Which means they “discourage” bullying and harassment.

Educational value

It’s hard to believe that Snapchat may have some educational value…but it’s true. (Sigh!)  For instance teachers can use Snapchat for the following purposes:

  • Teachers can use the Snapchat stories for the classroom reminders. Similar to the Remind app, teachers can use this section for reminders of homework, upcoming school events and even show mini lessons.
  • Using Snapchat for classroom discussions. Teachers could example post a topic for a class discussion. The students could ponder this discussion topic and share via Snapchat or later on in the classroom.
  • You can allow students to follow your Snapchat. That does not mean, you have to follow them back. Snapchat allows users to make that decision. (Which is nice because I do not want to see what my students are posting during their personal lives.)
  • Use the 1-20 second Snaps to your story This will keep your Snapchat story all day. You will also be able to see who has viewed your snaps.
  • Using the Snapchat app to make learning fun / engaging: Let your students see your fun side (of course in a professional but fun way.) You can use pictures, speech bubbles etc. to help make the learning process more engaging.

 snapchat teacher

Digital Citizenship concerns and comments

Snapchat “discourages” bad behavior, though they do not take responsibility should it happen.  The DC Education in Saskatchewan Schools would be a beneficial guide in the situation of Snapchat. Teachers could “model” positive Snapchat behavior and have frank discussions about what is acceptable and not acceptable on Snapchat. As well as at the same time, encourage positive DC with students in and outside the classroom.


Description, usage and analysis of the app

Instagram is (for myself) and for some of my students a popular social media app. Comparable to Twitter and Facebook, it is mainly used for sharing videos and pictures on a prolife account and news feed. The users of Instagram can share their pictures / videos privately and or publicly with their pre-approved followers. Instagram allows you to have a private or a public profile account which is quite nice if you want to remain completely private from others.

While reviewing this social media app, students mainly like to use this app for the following:  to take a photograph, to filter the photograph, to add an interesting / funny caption and then share the photo with their followers.

For the past couple of years, Instagram has followed suit similar to Snapchat where it has used the features of video on Instagram stories.  This stories summarize a student’s activities during a day and then the story disappears after 24 hours.

When I made discussions with my students about the possible negatives of Instagram, female students expressed feelings of anxiety when using the app. For instance, my female student users post self-images of themselves on Instagram.  They expressed insecurities and anxiety over their feelings of negative body imaging on Instagram. Either from their followers (friends) or movie stars that they followed. This concerns me as I do not want our students / my daughter having anxiety about self-image. Body image over an app on social media.


Terms of service

-Users of Instagram must be 13 years of age.

-Instagram encourages its users not to use others accounts without others permission.

-The app like Snapchat “discourages” bullying and harassment of others.

-Explains to the users that they own their images and videos, though that Instagram has the right to sell their images (without payment to the user) and videos to others as they wish.

-Your personal information: including your address, friends, pictures, locations you visit, your personal messages on Instagram…pretty much anything that you do and share on Instagram , can be shared from Instagram at any time with companies. (CRAZY!!!)

Privacy implications

Like Snapchat and other social media aps, Instagram users can connect through others via private messages and comments. This can be dangerous if a student is not on a private setting. For instance, if users are on a public setting on Instagram, this leaves them open to potential bullying and harassment for others and strangers.

Because Instagram is mainly focused on the sharing of images, students / children could access inappropriate images and also possibly share inappropriate images of themselves.

Students also have the option to not share their location with others.

Instagram users can change their account to a private setting. Users can also decline or approve their followers which is similar to Snapchat. Students that I had spoken to expressed they they were content that they had control over negative comments by blocking other users from making comments on their Instagram posts.


Educational value

In the past I have played with Instagram in the classroom. It can easily be used (with caution) for the following educational purposes.

1) Show-off Student Work. Take pictures of student novel projects which would be accessible (only) to families and to the community.

2) Capture classroom memories: Take memorable pictures / memories, celebrations of learnings from your classroom on a “classroom” / private Instagram account.

3) Use Instagram for curriculum based / research / classroom projects. Students could research using Instagram / create Instagram boards / posters to display learning and research.

4) Create a lesson via Instagram :Students could follow a lesson, novel study, science experiment, language lesson via images on Instagram.

Digital Citizenship concerns and comments

Similar to Snapchat Instagram “discourages” bad behavior, though they do not take responsibility should it happen.  The DC Education in Saskatchewan Schools would be a beneficial guide in the situation of Snapchat. Teachers could “model” positive Instagram behavior, use this app for celebrations of learning with students. Teachers and students could also continue to have discussions on acceptable usage via Instagram.  This will in end encourage positive DC with students in and outside the classroom with this social media / educational app.

Google Classroom

Description, usage, and analysis of the app

Google Classroom is a free app that was made from the Google name for the school systems. Their apps was to aid teachers and students share educational documents amongst each other. Google lives in our schools either via Google, Google slides and now more and more educators are using Google Classroom.

I began to use Google Classroom last year and this year, it has been a big part of my teaching practices. I truly appreciated the many benefits that this app is having with my students and also within the teaching dynamic between myself and my students.

I find that students can be organized with their assignments while using this application. Students are alaos taking ownership of lost or missied assignments. For instance, a student loses his / her assignment. The student can now simply have direct access to the assignment at any time of the day via the Google Classroom.

I have also noticed that students are quick to hand in assignment submissions because of the reminders on Google Classroom. There are also concerns (from my students) when they see the LATE in red when an assignment has not been submitted on time. Due to this LATE feature, students are taking initiative to hand in their assignments on time. Especially if I give an assignment to be due at midnight instead of at the end of the class period.

I find that the Google Classroom sets a nice tone for the classroom and the way its organized meaning that the students know what to expect and if ever they forgot, they may check the Google classroom to re-find and look at notes and previous assignments.

I truly love Google Classroom as do other teachers in my school. Though do the students truly love it? Is it fair that I have students hand in assignments via Google Classroom? Is it a positive teaching practice to print assignments for student but to also display the assignment on Google classroom in case a student loses them?


The positives of Google Classroom from students:

-The class is organized and sectioned off nicely.

-It can be accessed anywhere with WIFI / internet. For instance a student is away or sick they still have access to what they missed at any time.

-Students expressed that they look for daily announcements…they said they appreciated this routine.

-Students expressed they like the collaboration component of the app. Any student / group can collaborate on a document for a project or assignment.

-Students shared that (after some practice with Google Classroom) it became easy to submit assignments. They also enjoyed receiving feedback on assignments once they were returned via Google classroom.

-Less paper in the classroom means great for the environment.

The negatives of Google classroom from students:

-The set-up of Google Classroom is a long process.

-If the internet is down, students’ are unable to do the work assigned, unless it is on print already.

-Students have confessed to copying / plagiarizing other students past assignments via Google Classrooms and Google documents.

-Students expressed: “Why must every class have a Google Classroom”

Educational value

-Again many educators love this app for the reason that it organizes a classroom.

-Students and parents shared frustrations that their child is always needing to access the internet / their mobile device for school work.

-There are of course positives and negatives effects (seen above) on teaching and learning with Google Classroom.

-What is the reality and perception and the impacts on education when we use Google Classroom in the classroom setting with our students?  Not everything has to be technology based “all the time” in the classroom.

Terms of service and privacy implications

Google does not “clearly” provide a complete breakdown of what is takes / collects from students in terms if service and privacy policy.

Google Classroom states that they do not technically use student profiles when students use GAFE (Google Apps for Education) services. Though if a student logged on to You Tube (a popular site for teens) then Google would observe the data….from what I could find.

Students and teachers are technically being “studied” and observed on what they are going with Google and Google Classroom.


Digital Citizenship concerns and comments

Google Classroom and Google are essentially a money making machine. Google has branded itself in man schools within my division with Google Classroom, Google Chromes books, Google Slides and of course You Tube.

When thinking about Digital Citizenship, educators, schools and the community need to be questioning policies, terms and services from big companies like Google on what information that they are using from students/ teacher to increase their brand and market.

Furthermore, Google Classroom similar to the social media apps like Snapchat and Instagram, if used properly, can encourage positive online behavior.  The DC Education in Saskatchewan Schools would be a beneficial guide for the promotion of Google Classroom. Teachers again could “model” positive online behavior, use this app to organize the classroom and promote more learning with students. Teachers and students could also continue to have discussions on acceptable usage via Google Classroom.  This will in end encourage positive DC with students in and outside the classroom with this educational app.

Final words on my personal journey into media

I really appreciated this course this semester and learned so much from Dr. Alec Couros and my fellow classmates.  Digital Citizenship is not simply a black and white scenario. Technology changes at fast speeds and with it comes challenges. And as technology continues to grow, more and more educators and students continue to use varied educational and social media apps. If used correctly and in a positive manner, technology creates an engaging and authentic learning environment. We cannot fear technology as it is something that is simply not going to disappear. What we can do as educators, is to educate ourselves about the importance of DC, to integrate DC meaningfully in the classroom and to help our students become positive digital citizens.

Thanks for an amazing semester and a send off to my final grad class!



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.


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.


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.


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.


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?


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


Extra! Extra! Fake news…read all about it!


Technology is at our fingertips and it’s everywhere that we go. It’s what we are seeing on TV and it’s on digital media through our phones / tablets. On an average a day, I check my email at east 4-5 times during the day (twice at night). I check my social media/ news media in the morning, at lunch, after work and prior to bed.

My work email is mainly about my students and announcements for the school that I teach at. Once in a while (somehow) I will get an email that I won a cruise or that I have received money from a long lost relative who I have never met / known.  When I receive these odd emails (from weird and long address’) I of course am critical of who the messenger is and why they are making contact with me….and of course offering me free trips & money.


I try to teach my own kids and my students to be critical of what’s out there. To really look and investigate.  Asking critical questions like: who was the author of the information / email I received. Why is this person trying to gather my personal information?

What’s even more scary….is that marketers have become smart at manipulating consumers of all ages. Making us have unconscious guilt, and even a self-conscious about certain products. As educators and parents, it’s important that we teach / deconstruct messages and media that are trying to trick us and others.


The personal strategies that I use when analyzing fake news of media is the following: Who is the author of this information? What are they trying to tell or sell? What techniques is the author using to gain my attention? Are they using images enticing words? How will others (youths and adults) understand this information differently from my point of view? Why is the information being shared? What are the real reasons of why it’s being shared? Use sites to check and see if news is real as suggested in class like

I really like Luke Braun’s post as his video on media literacy as these are great reminders for our students in the classrooms. Furthermore his suggestion from the Web literacy website is another great learning / teaching tool. Fact checking is also super important as there continues to be a lot of problems online and in the media with fake news.

Kids and sometimes even adults cannot critically evaluate what they are seeing and reading. As Alec mentioned in class, sometimes fiction can be more interesting than the truth. This is why it is so important to teach kids / adults on how to be media literate and critical of the information that is out there.



Be literate or be fooled!

As a kid, I was taught by my mother to be critical of everything and everyone. My mom was super strict with my sisters and I. She had to meet all our friends, we had strict curfews and we were never to talk to strangers ever. Needless to say that she was ver protective of my sisters and I.


If I grew up in the times like today, I could see my mother refusing all cell phones and technology. She would teach us to be critical like she did when we were kids. And now that I am a mother of two, I’m teaching my kids about being critical online and to be prudent.


Have any of you seen the article about astronaut Scott Kelly this week? NASA found itself at the center of digital misinformation in regards to a fake story. Last week online headlines stated that the astronaut no longer had the same DNA as his twin and that his DNA had not returned back to normal since his return from space. Here is the article from The Atlantic that discusses the situation and the fake news.

Fake news is everywhere that it becomes imperative that we teach our students and children about being critical learners and thinkers. We have to teach about questioning where the source comes from. After having read the article Fake news fools millions, I appreciated the lesson plan attached. The only way we can teach are students to become critical is to practice being critical, to look for questionable material that can be found online. We need to be able to teach our students about investigating what is fiction or factual.

I also enjoyed the article Media Literacy: A National Priority for a Changing World. The term screen-agers. is crazy but true as we raising learners who are constantly online and using screen time as their daily routine. My students are constantly teaching me new things daily may it be terms, programs and apps. They will always know more than me when it comes technology. Though at the same time, most of my students are not fully aware of what is fake and what is real online. I feel as though it starts at home and at the schools. Teachers need to be able to also teach our students about being aware of what is truly real and to be informed not misinformed. Teaching students to really question who is sharing the information? Who is the author of this information? What techniques is the author using to gain my attention? How will others understand this information differently from my point of view? Why is the information being shared?


As long as this information is being discussed and taught at the home and in the classroom, our learners will become more literate and hopefully not fooled by fake news.



More research on my journey with media

HI EC&I 832,

I have been learning a lot about social media and education apps! The journey has been an interesting process especially when I have been surprised about privacy policies within all three apps……nothing is really private and all owners of these apps can give and sell what you post to other companies! CRAZY!


I have been having many great discussions with my students on the positives and the negatives of these apps. Next week I plan on interviewing students individually on their thoughts. I have come up with a variety of questions, tough I am wondering what questions you may have fellow EC & I 832?

Please post a comment after you read my interview questions.

Thanks so much! I’m looking forward to hear what questions you may have.


Snapchat (Social Media App)

  1. Why do you like Snapchat? (Social media App)
  2. What don’t you like about Snapchat?
  3. What do you post on Snapchat?
  4. How many times a day do you use Snapchat?
  5. What do you post on Snapchat (in stories or messages) and why?
  6. What are your privacy concerns  about Snapchat? (Privacy / cyberbullying)
  7. Do you trust your friends on snapchat?
  8. Are you aware about Snapchat’s privacy policy and user services?
  9. Do you build and maintain friendships on Snapchat?
  10. When looking to see who has viewed your Snapchat Story, which do you value more, the number or views, or the specific people who view it?
  11. Do you think you over use Snapchat? Explain?
  12. Do you ever get annoyed with Snapchat? Explain.
  13. What’s the best Social media app between Snapchat & Instagram? Explain

Instagram (Social media App)

  1. What do you like about Instagram?
  2. What don’t you like about Instagram?
  3. What do you post on Instagram?
  4. How many times a day do you use instagram?
  5. What kind of photos do your friends usually post on Instagram?
  6. Do you trust your friends on Instagram?
  7. Are you aware of Instagram’s privacy policy and user services?
  8. What are your privacy concerns  about Instagram? (Privacy / cyberbullying)
  9. Do you trust your friends on Instagram?
  10. Do you build and maintain friendships on Instagram?
  11. When looking to see how many followers , or who has viewed your Instagram Story, which do you value more, the number or views, or the specific people who view it?
  12. Do you think you over use Instagram? Explain?
  13. Do you ever get annoyed with Instagram? Explain.
  14. What’s the best Social media app between Snapchat & Instagram? Explain

Google Classroom (Educational App)

  1. What do you like about GOOGLE CLASSROOM?
  2. How many of your teachers use GC?
  3. What don’t you like about GC?
  4. Would you prefer receiving assignments via GC or via paper from the teacher?
  5. Do you prefer receiving feedback via GC or from your paper assignment?
  6. How many times a day do you use GC?

7) Are you aware of GC’S  privacy policy and user services?

8) What are your privacy concerns  about GC? (Privacy / cyberbullying)

9) Do you think GC makes classroom more engaging? Less engaging? Explain?

10) Do you think your teacher over uses GC? Explain?

11) Do you ever get annoyed with GC? Explain.

There’s a Snapchat etiquette?!?!

Hi all!

Working on my major project!

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So I have a confession! I just turned the BIG 40 this year and I guess you could say I qualify as “old” to my students. For my major project I have been researching Snapchat (social media) and Google Classroom (Ed tech) with my students.

I added Snapchat ….I think 2-3 years ago. The main reason for creating an account was to:

  1. Check what the hype was all about.
  2. To have the domain name: kristabgates


When I first downloaded the app, I was confused on how to use it. I kept asking myself… the heck is this such a popular app? Why is it cool to take a picture and then it disappear into the digital world? It never made sense.

For the past 2 years, I have close friends on Snapchat. Mainly to take funny pictures and send to educator friends funny faces. Sometimes I delete the app because I never use it. Though for this major project I have begun to look deeper into this famous Snapchat app.

I found a funny article from Buzzfeed of all places entitled: You’re Old If You Don’t Know This Basic Snapchat Etiquette.

I didn’t know there was an etiquette to it?!?!?!?

Rule # 1: If someone /friends snap you and you don’t snap back it is considered rude.  I have for sure failed at this. If teacher friends or  friends snap me it takes me hours / days to open their snap or even respond.

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Rule # 2: The uglier snaps you send, the better and closer the relationship you have. I think I passed this rule. I send only the ugliest snaps to my closest of friends.


Rule # 3: Streaks matter a lot.

First of all, what are streaks???? Must ask my students for my research purposes for my major project.

Rule # 4: If you’re dating a person, you must have a yellow heart to their name.

That’s cute! But I am married. Must I have a different coloured heart if I am married?

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Rule # 5: Do not screenshot other people’s stories and snaps and then post them on other social media platforms.

This rule makes sense. It sounds like If you break this rule, you are breaching someone’s’ privacy without their consent. Though if you use Snapchat and are sharing openly, you are risking sharing too much information to others. (Must ask my students about this.)

Rule # 6: Don’t make your Snapchat story too long.

What? There’s a Snapchat story? What is the difference between a Snapchat and Snapchat story? Must ask my students about this one… do I even create a Snapchat story?

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Rule # 7: Do not post a story every 5 seconds of doing literally nothing.

Who has time to do that?

Though I wonder how much of my students do this on a daily basis? How and when do they find the time to do this? And what are they snapping all the time of?

Rule # 8: If you post something to your story, you should not send it separately to someone.

This Snapchat story is intriguing. Again, what the heck is it?

Rule # 9: Filters are for when you’re trying to look cute for a friend. This is mainly the dog filter.

How the heck is this a cute filter? (LOL).


Rule # 10: Don’t post landscape pictures.

Why the heck not? We are from Saskatchewan and we have the best landscape pictures on the planet?!?!

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Rule # 11: Use a geotag once while you’re somewhere, not in every single snap.

I just discovered geotags. Very cool. I would probably over use them!


Rule # 12: Do not respond to someone’s snap and then not respond to their text.

Really? But I already messaged you via snap! I have to respond again via text? That’s multitasking galore!

Rule # 13: If you respond to a person’s snap after many hours, remind them of what they said in a previous snap.

I guess Snapchat doesn’t save conversations and people won’t remember what they said or sent!? ! Crazy!

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Rule # 14: If you’re going to a concert, don’t snap the whole concert.

Again…..I would be guilty of this! I love concerts.

Rule # 15: Don’t lie and say you’re sick and then post a snap of you hanging with friends.

You’re busted for sure!!!!!

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Rule # 16: Don’t watch your ex’s story unless you’re trying to get them back.

What? You can see who has watched a story?!? Need to find out more about Snapchat story.

Rule # 17: If you’re flirting with someone via Snapchat wait a few minutes before opening their snap and responding.

It’s been over 15 years since I have been in the dating game. This sounds like torture!

Rule # 18: If you’re crush doesn’t respond to your snap with 2 hours they are not interested.

Reminds me of a book I read years and years ago….He’s Just Not That Into You! ….But that was via a phone call over the phone. ….I am old!

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Rule # 19: Don’t post snaps at the gym

I agree with this 110%. It is never a pretty site to see me on the treadmill.

Rule # 20: If someone is bothering you or creeping on you block them.

Are their stalkers on snaps? How do kids know when someone is creeping on them?!?! (Must ask my students!)

Rule # 21 Nobody will get tired of pet snaps.

This makes total sense.

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After reading this, I am for sure old because I had no idea about the Snapchat etiquette. I have a lot to ask my students about this.

Until next time.


P.S: Does anyone know the number next to my Snapchat profile name mean? Have I taken too many silly pictures that I’ve sent to friends?


It takes a village to raise proper digital citizens!

Schools and teachers play a huge role in teaching our students about Digital Citizenship. The community and family can help support this process, though it truly is the teacher who is the main role model when it comes to DC.

As educators we need to be more aware of potential issues that students are facing on a daily basis with regards to social media and digital educational programs. Teachers cant shy away from technology. Furthermore it is important to teach students about the potential dangers within social media though at the same time, encourage the use of technology in a positive manner.

Schools hold a huge responsibility to support the development of DC in education because its learners have constant access to technology. To support this process, school boards and schools need to educate its learners about the true meaning of digital citizenship. This will in end teach our students about being aware of the digital footprints that they are leaving behind, whether those footprints are negative or positive. 

Lately in schools we now have access to varied technologies though we are not always teaching our students on how to properly use them. How are these tools making learning easier? Or more accessible? Are students even wanting to use them? Are we “over using” technology? This why digital citizenship should be taught in the schools. As this will support the need to educate students about their own digital identities and how to properly support their digital footprint.

The policy planning guide from the Ministry of Saskatchewan, supports the idea that today’s schools, do play an important role in teaching digital citizenship and the development of appropriate online behavior.  Schools should be supporting students in their digital citizenship development in all grade levels from grades 1-12 They should create a division wide policy / unit on digital citizenship that would need to be taught and interwoven in Saskatchewan’s curriculum in all subject areas. This means that digital citizenship would need to be taught in a context that links together being responsible and respectable digital citizens with digital teaching moments. Digital teaching moments can be planned or they can come about in a teachers daily teachings in order to create a well-rounded digital citizen.

 Our school division supports and believes in preparing our students to be more aware of their own Digital citizenship. They are also committed to achievement and equitable opportunities with the effective use of technology. Students in our division have a variety of access to technology resources to enhance their learning. Though it is made aware to parents, teachers, and students that the division cannot monitor student technology use on a daily basis.

 A few years ago, I worked a long side some staff members who supported Ed tech and DC. We even had a DC week to encourage students about being positive digital citizens. The initiatives were positive though I found the momentum had slowed down a year later. How we do we encourage the DC momentum in our division, classrooms and schools? How do we encourage our students and fellow staff members to support this important issue?

DC Week Poster 2015DC 1

 As Patrick Maze discussed during our online class, teachers need to be responsible digital citizens. What you post online personally /and professionally adds to your digital footprint.

 To support responsible Digital Citizenship in education school divisions, educators, parents need to understand and educate themselves on what it means to be a true digital citizen that supports Dr. Mike Ribble’s 9 elements of Digital citizenship.  


Krista Gates

Reflecting on digital identity

Digital identity is an important topic to discuss within the community, the schools and at home. What we post online (intentionally or unintentionally) can either have positive or long term negative effects on one’s identity.

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When reflecting on the history of my own digital identity past, I am thankful that I never had the constant and instant access to social media like my children will soon have in their teens.  Growing up in the 70’s-90’s, I lived in a carefree time where I never had to worry about what social media posts to check,  nor did I have to worry about email or even a cell phone.  I communicated with my friends directly face to face, or chatted directly via rotary phone at night.

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Does anyone remember cruising down Albert Street and visiting with friends on Friday nights? The way to communicate then, was to head to the 7 Eleven on Albert Street to find out who was having people over to watch a movie.

In high school  for my English class (we did research) via the encyclopedia or books. It wasn’t until University  where I began using the internet.  Who remembers ICQ? Or MSN messenger? That was always fun to instant message friends and check on their responses.  Or instead of heading to HMV I was able to access “free” music via friends who used Naspter….which was technically not legal.

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Who remembers renting a movie? Roaming around Blockbuster on a Friday night to find a CD / VCR tape of movies. Those were the days! Now I can access any movie via Netflix or record my favorite shows via our digital recorder.

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To this present day, I am an avid user of social media apps like Facebook and Instagram. Instead of calling people,  I find myself sending text messages to friends and family.  For the past few years, I have been playing with technology in education by using Skype Classroom with my students where they are able to connect with other countries who speak Spanish / French. Recently, I have been using Google Classroom where my students can access assignments & I can give direct feedback on their work.

Presently and for the future, I am hesitant to share everything online. I now regret that I may have shared too much on social media such as my own personal family pictures and memories. Have I shared too much about my family? Have I posted too many pictures?  Is it fair to my own children that I posted so many pictures of their childhood? I personally regret that I may have shared too much of my family and of my own identity online……something that is hard to take back and delete now.

As an educator & mother, it’s important that we help our students / my own children to develop a positive footprint. We also have to remember that we have social media personas that we display. 

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I worry about my children’s digital identities and how things may change for them in the future. I do not want them getting lost in social media. I do not want them to share too much online. But at the same time, I want them to understand that the digital age can be beneficial but with prudence and guidance. 

kids best

This is all truly a reminder that what we do online, cannot be forgotten.



Instagram : the social app!

Instagram : the social app!


I have been using Instagram since the birth of my son Connor in 2010. It was mainly just to take keep sake memories of my children and family.

Nowadays I see my students using it on a daily basis hence why I am curious to research why they are currently using the app. .

Have any of you had students voluntarily tell you they have Google’ed you? Or instgtam’ed you?  I guess my students have. And even though I am on strict privacy settings on my Social media app Instagram, students are able to see my profile picture and the amount of Instagram posts that I have made…I guess over 4,000 posts is quite a bit from what I am told!

I read a blog post from blogger and Instagram user @annamcnaughty who wrote the unwritten rules of Instagram.

THE DO’S on Instagram :

Be consistent in your posting – which means in the styles, subject matter and themes.

Always edit your photos before posting on Instagram – I guess in high school, all postings must be edited.

Be vigilant of posting times. (I succeeded at this one)

It’s important to post 3 times a day in order to grow your Instagram.  Post in the morning and in the evenings.

Quality over quantity – Don’t post If you have nothing really to share. (I have failed at this one)…..I post daily about my family.

Be creative and weird – I guess I post creative pictures…of landscapes….does tis count?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions in your comments – Talk with your followers! Ask questions and feel free to discuss instead of just scrolling on Instagram.

Be funny on Instgram – Use captions with your photos.

Use the story section on Instagram.  (I just discovered this this year. It’s quite neat and I am still trying to figure this one out.) It’s like sharing a quick announcement.

Engage with friends, family and people – always comment back, reach out to your followers admire and always keep in contact you’re your followers.


Think about your audience – use new hashtags, check out what others are doing, and always stay up on the trends.

Add a Location – This will engage your followers. (I do this when I travel.)

Anyone can access your pictures if it is not a private account– Be vigilant with is one.

THE DON’TS of Instgram

Don’t overuse hashtags –is you hashtag everything anybody has access to your photos.

Don’t post low-quality Photos –Always post quality pictures.

Don’t use borders! It is no longer cool to use borders…I failed at this one.

Don’t overuse filters! – Do not do it! ( I have failed at this one).

Don’t pay for followers or likes – I did not even know that you can do that!!!!!! What a waste of money!

Don’t allow ghosts to follow you – If you see that you have ghost, make sure that you block them! Half of them are fake, dangerous and will steal your images.

Don’t DM everyone – use DM with discretion

Don’t post a bunch of photos in a row – Again I have failed at this one.


This Social media app is way over my head. I have failed all the Do’s and don’ts.

What concerns me the most, is so many students have open accounts and do not privatize their accounts. Which means anyone has access to their accounts.

A worrisome thought.





Remind: the positives and the negatives from me (the teacher)

Remind: the positives and the negatives from me (the teacher)

Final project work and an educational add called Remind.

I have been using Remind on and off for a couple of years. When it first came about it was called Remind 101. Now they have converted to the name Remind.

Due to the many education apps that are out there, I have steered off from Remind until this year to research it for our EC & I 832 course.

I begin with the positives of using Remind in your classroom:

-It’s nice to be able to update your students about upcoming school events that are happening in the school and community.  It’s also nice to send reminders about upcoming tests and projects.


-Students do not need to have access to a smart phone. They can receive these Remind messages via their email or their parents email.

-Students do not need to download the app. They can join by simply a sent message from the teacher.

-Parents and their children can join via email address. They both have the option to receive Remind messages via email or text messages.

-I find that Remind keeps the parents involved in communication between myself the teacher and the student.

-As a teacher, I can send Remind messages from both the phone and my computer. It’s very accessible.

-A nice option for this app is no one has access to each other’s cell phone numbers. Students also do not have access to teacher’s phone numbers. No messaging to the teacher.

-As teachers we can schedule messages in advance. It’s great for planning.

-Teachers can send an unlimited amount of messages to classes / students.

-I found that this app saved time and paper!


Now the negatives:

-If you use Remind from your phone (Teacher’s phone) you need to download the app.

-(A negative / positive) messages are one way only. Students / parents cannot reply to a teacher’s message.

-There is a limit on your message of 140 characters.

-Remind can gather information from all its users to improve their customer service. Which means not all your information (the teachers) is kept confidential and may be given to third party vendors.

-Students are not as keen as they used to be when you request them to use the app.


Again due to the many education apps out there, remind has taken to the way side, though it can still be a quick and valuable tool to send quick messages and reminders to students.

Remind you to check out Remind!