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 www.snopes.com

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.



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.

Photo source

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.

Photo source

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.

Photo source

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.

Photo source 

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. 

 Photo Source

Photo Source

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.



The Alpha who?

After our EC&I 832 online class last week, the term “Alpha generation” was a new term for me. As Alec had mentioned during our online discussion, every generation has always had an opinion or has made a judgment on the various past generations and their use of various technologies. I really enjoyed watching the videos this week from Bree  Danielle  Kyla and Brittany on their definition on what it means to be a digital citizen. Thank-you for sharing your finding ladies! 

Though when looking back in our history, every trend and every technology has taught us something new and has made a contribution to our society either in a positive or negative light.  With change comes discomfort and uncertainty, though it also comes with new and exciting possibilities. By being open to change and understanding the new future, it opens up the opportunities to teach our learners / children about how to steer themselves in the right direction. Meaning it is necessary to take positive steps with change and to help prepare our learners / students / children for what is to come for them in their future.


Photo source 

Digital citizenship will play a huge role in this process for the reason that today’s students have various technologies at their fingertips. It will not come naturally to our learners as they are still unaware of their own digital footprint. DC would need to be integrated / taught in the classroom where it is somewhat of a norm (not just taught in one unit) in any subject area to protect and ensure that students understand the importance of their own digital citizenship.

As discussed in the 2020 Future Work Skills, it is necessary that these ten skills: social intelligence, cross cultural competency, novel and adaptive thinking, design mindset, new media literacy, computational thinking, trans-disciplinary , virtual collaboration and cognitive load management be implemented in the work place and education systems.

These ten skill will support digital citizenship with the Alpha generation and also future generations. Furthermore, our learners will become more critical in their thinking as well as have an open mindset to the new technologies that will develop.

madi tech

Technology reflection

For this week’s blog post we were asked to respond and reflect on an assigned article. I really enjoyed the articles and as I watched a few of them from the past two classes, I pondered on how technology is used in my classrooms and in my daily life.

I found David White’s article on You Tube to be quite interesting though I do not consider myself to be a ‘digital native’ or a ‘digital immigrant’. I think I am actually in between both.  Like Carter Davis shared in his blog,  I too found it interesting that anyone who was born after the 80’s are considered to be a ‘digital native’ for the reason that they have grown up with technology. My mom to this day still needs help on how to maneuver her CD player one of the most basic of tasks.

I  myself am not an expert as I am always wanting to learn more on how to use the varied technology that is out there. I also enjoyed White’s idea on having a continuum of online activity for both professional and personal use.  I agree that is all about balance, when it comes to connectivity in our personal and professional lives. Though to be honest I am guilty of not being great when it comes to this balancing act. On a nightly basis, I can be found checking work email at home when I should be spending quality time with my family.

me and tech

Wherever I go everyone (including myself) are using some sort of technology and social media.  The other day, my family and I were in line at Fuddruckers waiting to order and almost everyone in line was on their cell phones checking their emails, texts and social media.  It’s as though nobody can be bothered to converse with eachother nor does anyone have the patience to wait in a lineup. Instead, we use our technology to fill in the void of waiting in line or to converse with each other. I ask are we bored?

In my classrooms, students are asked to put their phones away during teaching time in a cell phone charger holder. Two minutes before the bell, my students can be seen rushing to their phones in desperate need to check what they missed on their social media. It’s as though I took away “their social media life”  for a small hour of their lives.  I ask why are my students so desperate to be on their cell phones? Why must they always fulfill this need to be on their cell phones even when they are allowed to use them in the classroom?

giphy-downsized cell


I have done my best to put away my cell during the teaching day, though I know I am also guilty of constantly checking my device in between classes and during the lunch hours to read the news or check my own social media. Students in today’s schools are constantly on their phones like zombies. A student will ask to go to the bathroom with cell phone in hand and I will always chuckle and say, “you may want to leave your phone here…you don’t want to lose that in the toilet.”

I am all about connecting with loved ones, friends and fellow educators. I also feel that it’s important that our students are able to connect with each other though at what point do we stop when it becomes obsessive?

The social media that I check on a daily basis is Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I guess you could say I love posting pictures of my family and I also enjoy sharing about what my students are learning. Similar to my students, I am guilty of mindlessly /constantly checking / reading news articles and social media posts. Like Sherry Turkle discussed in her Ted Talk am I constantly checking social media and reading news articles because I have the need to constantly be in the know because (like my students) I don’t want to be alone / left out of what is going on in the social media world.

gates spanish

I can honestly say that when I have had no internet access (my vacation in Cuba Xmas 2015) I was not feeling the need to check the news or social media. It was like it was out of sight and out of mind literally which can also be a good thing for everyone. Disconnecting and then reconnecting is truly about a balancing act and can be great for the soul.







Until we meet again EC&I 833

As I type this post, I cannot believe a semester has already flown by and we have already reached the end of our EC&I 833 course. Bellow you will find my Summary of Learning with my partners Luke and Liz. Not only am I lucky to have done this project with these two fine classmates, I am also proud to call them my teammates at work.

The impacts of what I have learned in this course have been profound as they have and continue to shape the way I teach. This is my second Master’s and I still feel as though there is always more to learn and share with my fellow teaching colleagues.

I have understood that technology can be used meaningfully while teaching curricular outcomes.  I will continue to try a variety of tools, assistive technology tools  that are beneficial for my teaching and that are useful for all learners.  I am still wondering what technologies are purposeful and useful for EVERYONE in the classroom.  As I go on in my teaching, I hope to find answers to that question.

The historical background of technology helped me process where we were and where we have come to today. Theories such as Connectivism, Constructivism, Behaviourism, Cognitivism, and Social Constructivism all play a role in how I am teaching through the curriculum. There is so much out there to use in the classroom. I continue to learn in my own teaching practices and try new technologies that are both meaningful and engaging.

There is sometimes resistance where we teach…… I think of Katia’s presentation on audio-visual technologies and how tech tools were seen as dangerous tools. This is not so different from today, as some educators are still against using technology in the classroom. Though I do believe with the understanding of teaching of Digital Citizenship, technology can be used purposefully and safely with our students.

I have found that a variety of tools specifically Kahoot and Mentimeter have changed the way I teach my students. These tools not only help me follow curriculum, they can also be used for formative assessment purposes. There are so many tools out there such as Socrative, Google Classroom and Poll Everywhere.  I am determined to continue to use these tools and new ones as they come into play in my teaching career.

Something that was an eye opening experience for me was how our Educational Systems has been and continue to be controlled by some technology systems like Google. How can we benefit from these systems and ensure that our students are receiving the best education? If students do not have access to education from the face to face contact, how can we ensure all students have access to online learning? How can we ensure that all students can have access to a device? How can we continually promote Digital Citizens with the new Web 3.0? How can we continually understand that technology can be used safely and meaningfully? As educators this is something that we will be continually working on as we move onto new technologies in our teaching careers.

The learning will never stop. Period! It is forever ongoing.

I wanted to say a huge thanks to Alec, our guest speaker Katia and fellow EC&I 833classmates for a wonderful semester.  Thank-you for sharing your knowledge and insights.

May we all continue to grow alongside our students within technology in the classroom and help create positive digital citizens. Thanks for having such a positive impact on my learning #EC&I 833. Please stay in touch via Twitter and our PLN.

Gracias and merci!



Virtual and Augmented Realities in Education

Gracias to Bill and Logan! They did great job on the discussing the benefits of augmented and virtual realities in education. I am super impressed with the tool Aurasma…….thank-you for sharing the benefits of this tool Bill especially for language learning!

I was quite hesitant about this week’s class topic like Erin as I have really never used these tools in my classroom before.

Though at the same time, I agree with both of our presenters this week, that there are many positive benefits with integrating VR and AR in the classroom with students. I actually have access to 30 Google Cardboards.  I just recently began to play with this tool.

For example  I can take my  language learning students for a quick tour of the Eiffel Tour with Google Cardboard via Urban Hike with their own cell phones. (I took the following pictures while playing with Urban Hike).


From there my students can also take a swim in the Great Barrier Reef in Belize:


They can also check out the Coliseum in beautiful Rome and even the Westminster Bridge Road in London.



It is very neat for our students to experience the world of travel via VR and AR through a virtual scavenger hunt. Though in reality, it is truly a better experience for our students to see these places in the real world.

Reede and Bailiff’s article on When Virtual Reality Meets Education was very informative. They discussed how VR is a useful tool as it provides immersive experiences for our students. That classrooms can use these tools to collaboratively construct historical sites as well as architectural models. Immersing our students with AR and VR is truly a transformative experience for our learners as they are able to learn interactively with many new and innovative resources.  This is all so truly amazing!

Though as we know with advantages come also disadvantages.

Some teachers may not view this as a learning tool but only a “gaming” tool. In reality these type of tools can provide positive learning experiences for our learners…..even gaming tools!

Also, not all students will have access to the tools that they will need for VR and AR technology. As well as some of this technology is quite expensive to use and for this reason some may benefit more from it than others. Though the Google Cardboard is a great start! This tool can be found online for roughly $20.00. I also understand that with cardboard you can create anything….perhaps educators could also help create VR and AR with their students with a simple piece of cardboard. Within this topic anything is truly possible.

I will for sure be trying this tool with my students shortly….stay tuned! Though in the meantime, do you know of any other AR and VR travel apps?



Assistive technology is for all learners!

Huge thanks to Holly, Allison, Benita, Heidi and Launel on their awesome presentation on assistive technology. It is true that assistive technology is not just for struggling learners. There are many great assistive tech tools for all learners.

When thinking back on my teaching career and my first experiences using assistive technology, it was a speaker and microphone set (for my hard of hearing learner), a laptop for a learner and the Kurzweil program.

The speaker and microphone set was lost when it was required for my student. I spent roughly 2 weeks looking for the sound and speaking system when it was transferred from the elementary to the high school setting. During that time my hard of hearing student sat close with me and was able to understand my teaching, though not to her full potential without the required equipment. It turns out the equipment was locked away at the board office over the summer months and was unfortunately given to a different student within the system at  the start of the school year. Luckily a system was found not used and I was able to pick it up for my hard of hearing learner. There was no training to use this system, luckily my hard of hearing student taught me on how to use the system for her.

For the Kurzweil program all teachers in the high school that I was at, received the start-up training.

The unfortunate part, French Immersion resources were not able to be used with some of the programming at the time, which was very frustrating for a language learner and teacher. When teaching over a 100 students in a semester, being expected to know how to use new assistive technology, though the assistive technology does not support all French Immersion resources I found myself not using it, and looking for other suitable tools to help my learners.  To make matters worse, when we were trained, the training was not complete. It required two more training sessions. Unfortunately, we did not receive these training sessions due to lack of time at the schools. The information was emailed without more supportive training for the teachers.

The laptop (to support my student) arrived a month late during the semester. To make unfortunately, the laptop was not updated and was slow. I was able to bring the computer to the board office to receive its proper updates.

My first experiences using assistive tech were frustrating ones. Though these tools were necessary for our learners, so I guess you could say I just dealt with my frustrations and moved on.  As Dave Edyburn discussed in Rethinking Assistive Technology, teachers are frustrated with assistive technology because there is not enough training on this assistive tools, “there is little evidence that in-service professionals have received adequate training”. (P.18)

And on the other hand these days, there is an enormous amount of assistive tech tools out there, that some educators do not know which ones are the best tools  for their learners. It is best to learn/review an assistive tech tool “one at a time” to not overwhelm the teacher tech tool learner.

I have a grade 9 student who is reading at a grade 4 level. She has other cognitive learning disabilities that are impacting her learning in the classroom. My next assistive technology tool that I want to use / try with her is Google Read and Write for our French Immersion resources. I am in the process of learning this program on my own and I am trying to figure out on how to get my French Immersion resources added to this program. I found out that not all French Immersion resources are supported by this program….this is a common theme for French Immersion teachers….not all tools support French Immersion.

This video was very informative on the Google read and write program:


When researching the Google Read and Write program, I will need the following for my student:

-A Board office issued laptop for my student.

-Chrome installed on this laptop.

-Insuring my student knows her RBE Google account.

-Learn this program for myself.

-Help my student learn and understand this program.

-Help our LRT learn this program.

After having revised some of the Google Read and Write program, I am realizing that this tool (if it supports our French Immersion resources) can be a useful tool for all my Immersion students. Assistive technology can be used for all learners not just for students who have disabilities.

There is a stigma in our classrooms and we all know what it is. For some reason when a student is using these tools, they are seen as the “weak” student. Now and in the future, I want my own children/ students to understand, that there is nothing wrong when using tools to support your learning. I am hoping that we can break this stigma and have all students understand that using supportive /assistive technology is for all learners.

Do any of my fellow EC&I 833 classmates know of any other awesome assistive tech tools that supports French Immersion students?