Well it is time to summarize my Major Project. To be honest, it feels incomplete as affecting change on social media is a much more ongoing process than it is a process with some finality. That said, I am happy with what I produced for "Ins.peer.ation": 5 Tiktoks, and 8 Instagram posts (most of these were multiple pages) and some sharing on Facebook and Twitter. This may not seem like much but it was truly a significant amount of work, especially for someone quite new to the platforms! The best way to view the posts is likely looking for ins.peer.ation on TikTok and Instagram however, here is a link to a slideshow if you choose to view them not on social media or a want a total summary (click here for Ins.peer.ation slides).
I have completed my Summary of Learning for ECI 832 - The Missing Digital Citizen. It is a mini-movie - action trailer searching for a missing person, whereby I provide information and scenes in various locations attempting to provide an overview of digital citizenship as learned in our course. At first I was just going to do a Powtoon as I wanted to create an animated film, but its free features were lacking and I wanted to live up to my previous Summary of Learning from ECI 834 - the Car Salesman. Since Powtoon produced a less than stellar result, I decided to add some dramatic flair and make a real mystery - action film, once again hiring my daughter in a supporting role. It took a fair amount of computer work, filming, and video / sound editting on WeVideo, and in the end I am happy with the result.
I learned a great deal in the course about the importance of digital citizenship and media literacy as well as, why and where these necessary skills should be taught; the community, the school, online and at home. One question I still have after all my learning and reflection is 'HOW' best to teach digital citizenship to youth and even adults? This will be the challenge I continue to explore as I move forward as an educator and parent. Hope you enjoy the video!
This week in our ECI 832 class we looked at moral and ethical issues around technology and social media use. Being the nostalgic person I am, I can't help but wonder if all this tech is making our lives better or worse? For example, Google maps seems great to find a random location in a new city compared to the old paper maps and asking locals for directions, but we are losing some social interaction, our brains are less able to follow routes and our phones now track all our movements. With every convenience we seem to have a major trade off in off-loading thinking, giving up personal information, losing our brains abilities or wasting time. So the question I would like to discuss in this post is, is tech great or just a fancy way of providing our data to wealthy tech companies while we become less capable than our grandparents and ancestors?
Well I'm going to be completely honest on this post, I basically do not read, watch or listen to the news. I don't really know what it is about me, but I live in a tight bubble almost all the time. To give an example, in my Fall Uni class we did a current events portion of each class at the start and discussed mostly major Canadian happenings. I was not aware of a single event that we discussed in the whole semester, despite all my classmates seeming very knowledgeable of these latest events. My facebook feed is very tight, basically winter sports, canoeing groups, dogs, and friends posts. The odd friend shares a news story about the Ukraine Russian conflict, or fish farms, or hockey fights, but I never click on them. I believe this is why Twitter feels like standing in an aggressive hail storm to me. I really feel like most of what is being said is an inside joke that I am not in on, with some rude commentary following. I listen to podcasts, read many books (fiction and non-fiction), read a few select blogs, and watch the odd streaming show, but consume almost no current news except what is occurring in my community and what others are talking about. I read a few online articles regarding financial matters just to have some basic economic understandings for long term investment. Although this may seem abnormal, I might argue that this is likely how people functioned for the last 200'000 years of human evolution, and so it is the normal way to get news, from those around us. And so consuming endless online perspectives is very foreign to me, or maybe I am a very, very, critical thinker?
Well I am little late in posting this (Monday Eve) but had a very busy weekend of travel and coaching hockey. So this weeks' question of 'what does it mean to be literate today?' had me comparing the idea of sports, participating and understanding, to the idea of consuming media and information in a digital age, again participating and understanding. As some may remember my small town comparison to digital citizenship, I will now attempt to compare being literate in the digital and physical world to being literate in a sport or in sports. I'll use hockey in my metaphor as I am near the end of coaching for this season (my 22nd hockey team coached in 14 years).
Well to be honest, after growing up with computers, using them through my high school and university career, having seen the rise of social media through my young adulthood, and now seeing the evolution of smartphones, and very immersive social media such as Snapchat and TikTok as an experienced teacher and parent of two adolescents, I truly feel like the lessons of digital citizenship and media literacy are like the Abbot and Costello skit of "Who's on first" (linked above - I recommend watching before reading on if you don't know the famous skit). Nobody knows who is teaching what, when, how or who, so I guess the 3rd baseman 'I don't know' is going to be in charge of teaching media literacy this year in art class. Without a curriculum or division wide focus on teaching media literacy, I really feell like the learning of students varies with each teacher (or parent) and their experience, comfort, background knowledge and passion to teach digital citizenship and media literacy. As a teacher and parent, I am comfortable with technology and eager to have youth learn about their digital identities, impact, accuracy of information and mindset online. And so I teach this in my homeroom class and social studies and when possible. This is not easy without a focused course on the subject as the materail must be woven into existing (often outdated) curriculums strategically, which involves comfort with both subject curriculum and teaching digital literacy. It really should be a course taught to all students (Digital Citizenship 8??) and then a unit in many social or english curriculums throughout high school. As Dr. Couros said in class, then we could have new teachers being trained to focus on this as an important topic for future citizens, because if it not a curriculum class then it is not a focus of the university and thus many teachers in public schools. So not only is media literacy and digital citizenship not really taught, it doesn't really look like it is going to be taught much differently in the future at this point.
Well I am long overdue to provide an update on my Major Project! The good news is I was quite busy over the February break and before working on it, just no updates. As stated in earlier posts my idea was to really promote healthy digital well-being and awareness. In the initial stages I discussed the idea with staff at my school, select students, family, friends and had great comments from classmates on previous posts. Slowly the idea developed that I would like to inspire people to be their best on and offline selves using social media. I did a few hours of research about social activism, influencers and social media posting in general. I then started an Instagram page @ins.peer.ation and a TikTok channel under the same name, with a few posts spilling on to Facebook (as Instagram was automatically posting there as well, unbeknownst to me). If you are reading this I would love more followers, traffic and commentors to the project so please consider doing so!
I grew up in Lumsden, SK and this is a large part of my personal identity and worldview. You learn in a small town that if you are not kind to someone, or do something you should not, that people find out and they judge you based on this. Your reputation is built on your mistakes, successes and, most importantly, contributions to the community. People are slow to forget but also one can positively affect their reputation by contributing and being their best self. I feel it is quite similar with one's digital identity. The internet is slow to forget and also rewards positive contributions and interactions. We are all citizen's of the digital town, Internet-ville and we should be aware of how our existence affects others. We should also be mindful of how we are a global community online and how children are learning to become citizen's in this new settlement.
In our ECI 832 class we had a presentation from Dr. Mike Ribble regarding the Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship and his newest book "“The Digital Citizenship Handbook for School Leaders” (co-authored by Marty Park). The presentation really re-inforced the importance of not assuming this material will be taught in the home or in each subject separately. The question was posed that likely it could be a subject on its own that is a required class for all students. I think the best way to integrate this into Saskatchewan schools would be a curriculum update where digital citizenship is a key unit in English 9 or Social 9 (it could also be done in curriculums of primary and middle grades ELA or Social, or both) and teachers can then integrate the elements into areas of study, research and technology as this would not "add" more to the already full plate of what teachers and students are to learn in their time at school. In my attempt in integrating Ribble elements into my major project (a social activism / motivational project) looking to motivate students to be good people and live a great life, I will be mostly focusing on digital health and wellness with a small focus on digital etiquette and communication regarding kind communication and motivating others.
Well here we are at 2022. I got my first nintendo in 1986 and played Super Mario Brothers more than I should have. But I also built forts, ran through the bush and rode my bike everywhere. I used my first laptop in 1987 (as my mother was a software sales rep and we always had the latest computers) which I would eventually teach my mother how to use and troubleshoot. I also played soccer, hockey and French horn. In my high school in 1990 the typing lab was replaced by a computer lab, and in computer class we new way more about computer's than our poor instructor. I also starting working a job full time in the summer and learned about hard work and farming. In 1999, I got my first email address and was very comfortable with computers, spreadsheets, and now social media, online teaching, interactive whiteboards and many other tools. I spent time surfing, snowboarding, kayaking and learning Spanish in rural Mexico. I see the potential in VR and AR and am excited to see them integrated meaningfully into education. However, to tell the truth, at no point in time do I think that my education or teaching is truly improved by the use of this technology. There is benefits but also some very large consequences. It was in doing that I learned 99% of what I know not by passively watching or consuming.