New roles for teachers in the digital age?

Upon reflecting on this past week’s discussion about education in this digital age, I believe there is a huge need for teachers to educate students, families and communities about digital citizenship.  All students need to learn the proper knowledge and necessary skills to develop appropriate and responsible online behavior starting in kindergarten up to grade 12. 

Dog What GIF by Nebraska Humane Society - Find & Share on GIPHY

Before taking this EC&I832 class, I possessed limited knowledge of technology, but as I continue in this journey, I am expanding that knowledge each week.  Each teacher should be on a similar journey as our world is changing and schools need to adapt to new realities of education. 

Recently, I asked my kindergarten students who had devices they used at home.  Most all of the students raised their hands.  Then I asked if their parents had talked to them about rules or safety using technology or their devices.  Not a single student raised their hand.  That shocked me, so I decided to teach my students a mini-lesson about digital citizenship and safety using devices.  

The first thing we discussed was always checking with an adult before you take and use a device.  We have an ipad accessible in our kindergarten classroom, and the children have to ask permission and use a sign in sheet in order to use it.  This is working well.  The goal is for each student to have a turn on it if they want to.  There are some children that are not interested in using the ipad, and others who would play on it all day if that was allowed.

The next thing I talked about was to only go onto the internet if there was a parent around.  We looked at some ads that could come up, and sights that pop up and ask for money or want to sell things.  I also talked about things that may pop on screen that would only be for adults to see, which is why it is so important for them to have an adult around them when they go onto youtube or other internet places.

I also talked to them about social media. If they knew what facebook was, or instagram, or snapchat.  Some mentioned that their parent used it, others said they used it themselves (which I am lead to believe that they did use it with parent supervision).  We discussed that social media can be good to get information about our world, but that some of the information was not true and could be “false news”.  Some students said they heard that turn from their parent.  I said it was important for all people in our world to use social media with caution, and be careful of the potential danger it could have.  I did find that talking about social media was more advanced for these kindergarten students, but I knew that staring the conversation was important.

Mr. Patrick Maze‘s had a wonderful discussion about the dangers of social media and posting pictures that include alcohol, however I did not mention this to my young students.

d&d wtf GIF by Hyper RPG







After my mini lesson to teach my kindergarten students about digital citizenship, I am now interested to learn about the practices that other teachers are doing in their own classrooms to discuss digital citizenship.  This topic is left to be continued and I sent around a message for feedback in what is currently in place teaching digital citizenship in our school….stay tuned….



Who me? Yes, you! Couldn’t be! Then Who?

Our professor, Alec, made a statement in our #EC&I832 class a few weeks ago stating that he always checks up on people’s digital identity (DI) and if a person doesn’t have a DI, he does not give them the time of day! Ok, he wasn’t that harsh when he explained it, but his statement made me think about my own digital identity, or lack there of one.  What does my small digital identity say about me?

Does a digital footprint really show a person’s true identity anyway?

Confession to be told, I am ignorant.  My two teen-aged children would say, “In more ways than one, Mom!” But I admit I am ignorant about my digital identity.  Hopefully that is not what people see as my digital footprint.

Practice and Publicity

I have a profile on LinkedIn and just recently on Facebook  and Twitter.  To my knowledge, I have not posted pictures or text that would be considered rude or insulting.  One thing I questioned was in response to one of my cousin’s comment on Facebook to a picture of me wearing a rider shirt that it was offensive to her, so I replied back saying “at least it wasn’t a bomber shirt!”  Well, that could of been totally misconstrued, however, my comment was in reference to Winnipeg Blue Bombers football team.  No one said they were offended, not did I get a message from law enforcement, and thankfully, I got to edit my message to sound more politically correct.

Although half the time I do not know what I am doing personally on social media, I do get to snoop on other peoples’ posts and things.  Many times I question the character of the person posting and it makes me think of how they get away with saying some of the things they say.

As the above image states, digital footprints can either give you a positive identity or a negative one.  Hiring managers and recruiters check candidates social profiles for purposes of character reference.

Do people care about their own digital footprint? 

Some of the things I see people post on their social media have been quite controversial, especially messages about Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump.  It is shocking to me to see that more people either are not aware of or just do not care about the lasting impressions that their digital footprint leaves.  If anyone has any thoughts, just reply to my blog and let me know.

No where to go but Up!

Digital citizenship or social media was never an interest of mine, mostly because I possess minimal knowledge with technology, but I finally took the plunge, thanks to my EC&I 832 class, and joined Face Book.  Everyone who knows me is shocked that I connected in their digital frenzy, but I do think this is important to become a digital citizen and be aware of our digital society.  I am tired of my two teen-aged children and most of my Gen Y colleagues getting frustrated with me with my limited knowledge of the digital world.  Most of my kindergarten students, know more about technology than I do! So I have decided to do my final project on becoming a digital citizen and using more technology.

A few weeks ago, the new principal at the school I work at challenged all teachers to make an “Up Goal” for themselves that would help them to be a more effective educator this year.   She wants us to share this goal with her along with the reasons for choosing our goal.   My “Up Goal” is to increase my knowledge using technology in the classroom and to effectively use online portfolios: Seesaw.  Seesaw allows parents and families to see their child’s activities, pictures and classroom information in our classroom.  It can be used as an effective communication tool between teacher and parent.  My final project will focus on my journey in becoming digitally literate and the use of Online Portfolios: Seesaw in my classroom.  Within this project, I will include information about digital citizenship.

I am beginning to learn what it means to be digital literate and the nine elements of digital citizenship.  I really like the comment in the article Digital Citizenship: The Critical Call to Educate and Prepare 21st-Century Learners (Robyn D. Shulman) where it states that, “Education institutions, parents, community programs and youth organizations must make digital citizenship a priority to ensure our young leaders are on solid ground for a positive future. The call for teaching digital citizenship must no longer remain in question; it is a critical priority for youth, our communities and the nation.”  Shulman goes on to say that, “Digital Citizenship is more than just a curriculum to be taught in a classroom; it is an ongoing process to prepare youth for a society immersed in technology, personally and professionally.”  I believe I need to become a digital citizen in order for me to teach my kindergarten students about our digital world.

This article encouraged me how important it is for me to be more knowledgeable about technology and to learn more about digital citizenship in order to teach and prepare my students in a digital society.  Teaching kindergarten students about digital citizenship will not be an easy task for me, but I will try to build on my own learning journey about being a digital citizen and share this with my students.

In my quest to learn about digital citizenship, I want to focus on two elements in  Ribble’s 9 elements.  The first element is digital communication, which is needed in order to develop effective communication with families in Seesaw.  The second element of digital citizenship I want to focus on is digital health and wellness and I desire to share the information regarding this with my students and their families.  In my final project, I will pole my kindergarten students about what they know about digital citizenship and what the students do online at their home.  I hope to create a survey to parents that asks more specifics about digital citizenship and it they have talked about digital safety with their children.  I desire to share information about digital health and wellness with my families but I will need conduct more research about what would be appropriate to send home.  If you have any comments or ideas about this, please provide.

Will Online Learning Replace the Classroom?

What is to become of education in the next 20 years? This question has been burning on my mind lately.  I have discovered that there are places around the world who have implemented education instruction with online learning instead of students entering into educational institutions.

In his article, Will Online Learning Replace the Classroom?   Avi Yashchin states ,”Web-based education technology has seen both promising and lackluster results in terms of adoption and course completion rates; however, online education proponents assure us that the traditional classroom is on the cusp of a dramatic change.” He goes on to say, “To be successful in the next decade, individuals will need to demonstrate foresight in navigating a rapidly shifting landscape of organizational forms and skill requirements. They will increasingly be called upon to continually reassess the skills they need, and quickly put together the right resources to develop and update these. Workers in the future will need to be adaptable lifelong learners.”  Employers in the future will prefer job candidates who are familiar with dynamic learning.

I believe this is where the future in teaching is headed.  There will not be the need for a physical campus.  In the article, What’s the Future of Education? Teachers Respond, Hyuk Jang, an educator in Busan, South Korea concludes, “Instead, students will learn in traveling classrooms, and the real world will be their campus. Students will live together and use city libraries and city laboratories to complete a project. Learning won’t be limited to a physical school. There’s already a model for this: Minerva Schools, a venture university.”

In the article, 9 things that will Shape the Future of Education: What Learning Will Look like in 20 Years?, Christiann Henny states, “Students will have more opportunities to learn at different times in different places.” Which leaves me to wonder, if online teaching is where education is headed, when would students get opportunities for social interactions or problem solving skills in relationships?  What about social justice practices in our community? These areas are important to discuss and practice, but how are they accomplished online?

With the ever changing family dynamics in society, schools have become more like a family community, and teachers have become more than just subject instructors.  Online learning can not replace real face-to-face communication and relationships.  I would like to find out more about how these areas will be supported in the future.

Is technology actually hurting our brain?

Do “Digital Natives” Exist? describes digital natives as children who are raised and immersed in technology from infancy, and digital immigrants who are the older generation of people who have to learn technology.   I am left to wonder how technology is affecting brain development in  digital native early aged children as I teach kindergarten.

How does technology effect digital natives’ brains?

I decided to do a bit more research on digital natives brain development.  The article, What Screen Time Can Really Do to Kids’ Brains, describes that using tablets and iPhones excessively provides dozens of stimuli at children’s fingertips while giving them the ability to process multiple actions simultaneously—but this is exactly what young brains do not need.

The article goes on to say that what children do need to have healthy brain development is human interactions and experiences.  It is recommended that parents/caretakers should monitor the usage of the technology that young children use and interact with their children more frequently because human relationships and connections are the key to their child’s mental growth.  I also found a video that describes similar information about the effects of too much screen time on children.

Since I teach early childhood education, most of these children are digital natives.  I am interested in doing more research and bringing awareness to others on the importance of play and social interactions in relationships.

Technology is the way the world is headed and learning how to use it wisely is key.   Just since the beginning of taking this class, I have made huge efforts to use more technology and social media, however I really do not have the desire to do so.

I am in no way patting myself on the back by demonstrating how much I don’t use technology or social media, as Nathan Jurgenson may tell me I am doing in his essay, “The IRL Fetish.”   I avoid social media because I think, as he claims people like me believe, “of offline as real and authentic.”

I wonder now things will change in my life….. to be continued through this course!



My Up Goal: Using Technology and Online Portfolios: Seesaw


I am posting information today on the digital portfolios I use with my kindergarten students called Seesaw.  Parents love Seesaw because they get to see photos of their child in school, receive classroom newsletters/reminders, and videos of projects their child is doing in kindergarten.  Check out some info about it….

This week I saw an activity on twitter about getting students to do journal writing on their seesaw accounts. @MissLaurerman

As scary as this sounds in my kindergarten room, I am attempting this project with my own students – with a little twist.  Our principal challenged all classes to work with students to create “Up goals” of things they want to learn by the end of the year.   My idea is to have them post their “Up goals” of what they can do now, and what they want to learn by the end of June – in a journal written page in their seesaw.  How this looks?, I have no clue.  Our admin also challenged all the teachers to find a goal for themselves, so humbly I confess that my “Up goal” is to get smarter with the use of technology and social media.  This is my idea for my final project in EC&I832.



via pinterest:

Continue reading “My Up Goal: Using Technology and Online Portfolios: Seesaw”