Tagged: digital citizenship

Course 2 Final Project

Photo by Sandrachile . on Unsplash

I chose this option because at the time I was interested in creating a unit that I can use in my practice if not immediately than in the near future as I think that digital citizenship is an area of growth for my school. When Boramy reached out to the cohort with a suggestion about creating something at the elementary level it was the perfect opportunity. Originally I thought that different standards could be used but upon conversations with Boramy, we decided that what we have now is a better fit for the age group and length of the unit. I think this was one of the biggest issues, how big to make the unit. We both found that while making this that it was easy to continue adding lessons and the hardest part was keeping the unit contained in a digestible package for the students that they would not get tired with.


Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash

I found the collaborative process to be quite seamless and one of my big takeaways from this unit is that it is pretty easy to plan with someone remotely. Although I think it would be much better to plan face-to-face and develop a relationship first to go over the norms of collaboration, we got along well and from my perspective, shared the workload equally. We were lucky that there was only one hour separating us and this made FaceTime calls and collaborative work on Google docs quite easy. Going further I am much more open to working with others overseas or in another city or timezone as we have the tools at our disposal to communicate easily almost as if we were in the same room. Thanks, Boramy for setting this up, although I don’t agree with how you spell behaviour, it was still a great experience.

Unit plan

I think that this experience is similar to units I have planned in the past as it follows the process of tuning in, finding, out, digging deeper, and going further. We always try to plan units and lessons that provide students with opportunities to access their prior knowledge, then take that further and think about new ways to present. This year I focused on providing my students with the choice of tools to use, and we worked together a lot to find the right applications. Often my students suggested applications that they thought would be the best way to express their ideas and I went through channels at my school to get those applications on their iPads. I always believe that the best way for students to learn is to provide them with the agency over how they create and this planner is no different. I think that the planning for me is different from past unit planners as it has a lot more links, resources and technology tools in it. I would say that this is because of the planning process involving planning for tech-rich units from this course. Normally I tend to teach a bit less scripted, I was told very early in my teaching career by my faculty advisor that I tend to rush when I try to follow lesson plans so I shouldn’t make as many steps. Of course, I prepare lessons with questions and resources but I don’t usually plan out a step by step method as a lot of lessons follow the same steps.

Lesson Flow

This unit relates to what we learned in Course 2 firstly because it is about student agency and play. We purposely planned for a lot of opportunities that give time to students to make choices, play around on Interland, and help each other. When originally conceiving the main concepts and standards for the unit we thought about the ideas of ethical and kind behaviour online. In Week One about respecting the intellectual property of others, although not explicitly assessed in this unit can be covered in lesson three and four when and if students find images to support their work, or when students are commenting on others and don’t see citations. We did not put this in the unit as the lesson scope was already getting large. Week two content about the evolution of connections connects strongly to this unit as the first lesson uses a new program to engage students in digital citizenship, then throughout the rest of the unit students are using technology in a meaningful way to create, give feedback, and practice ethical and kind online behaviour. Week four about contributing positivity online to the communities you are a part of is a core idea in this unit as students learn about and use the ladder of feedback to help other’s improve. These types of positive contributions are lifelong skills. The same could be said about Week five and the understanding that each of us has the ability to make positive impacts on our local communities. 

I really enjoyed working on this unit plan and I am excited to teach it in August. I am switching grade levels next year to a grade that begins their year with a Unit of Inquiry on Who We Are as Learners. I think that this would be a great introduction to the ideas of digital citizenship, learning with the tools I plan to use the Grade, and also discovering what the students already know about it. I think that it will work great with the Key concept of responsibility and really help to set the tone of the year about how we are expected to behave towards each other and that safety and kindness are the foundations for taking risks and sharing your learning in the classroom. I think that if I were to teach it that it would be well received by students in upper elementary. The embed function was not working for me tonight, I would have liked to have embedded the planner and lesson plans in this post but you will have to settle for links as the headers to the sections, most apologies.


The play finds a way

We had a great discussion in my classroom this week about communication. The students were very excited to share the plethora of ways that they communicate with each other and enjoyed relating stories of specific funny instances their communication failed as they were trying to concentrate on playing games and communicating with each other at the same time. My students are on the cusp of using social media, led by the girls in the class who all have just started using an Instagram and/or Snapchat account. They find this a fun way to communicate with each other using filters and pictures, again stressing the visual preference of my students. One of my more savvy students even uses Twitch and Discord as she enjoys playing games and talking to her friends at the same time. Many of the boys in my class enjoy using FaceTime or some other app on their TV (that they couldn’t name) to communicate with their friends in countries. they have lived in before.

Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash

I wonder how this tech use would compare to a Grade Four class in a local school system?  Out of my fifteen students, eight have their own device at home or on them all the time they use to communicate. What many of them lamented on is that they are not always allowed to visit each other after school and ride their bikes to others houses to play and communicate face to face which they would prefer to do. They complained that they don’t have the same opportunities overseas as some of them had in their countries of origin. Even though Japan is a very safe country, the children in my class still have to navigate busy roads, bustling train stations, and that is a freedom many parents don’t want to risk yet. What is fantastic is that the students use technology to overcome this and still find a way to play with their friends. The majority of my class play online through different platforms that allow voice or typing interface, some even with video to communicate. 

Al of my conversation with my class highlighted the necessary play adaptations that students must make in an urban environment that doesn’t allow for the roving suburban and small-town bike gangs of children from my youth.  My phone was attached to the wall and you couldn’t move more than 2 meters away from it. There was no call waiting, display, and I didn’t have a cell phone until I was 25. If a line was busy you hopped on your bike and went around. We left the house when we wanted to play and went door to door looking for someone to play with and explored our neighbourhood natural areas to hang out. When we reached our teen years we had the freedom of cars to court each other and visit friends who lived beyond biking range. Through our conversation, my students demonstrated that they become fluent in a variety of technological methods to be social even though they are isolated in their own homes. To me, this is kind of sad, but also kind of awesome that play finds a way. I can picture them in 2-5 years being the teens that were interviewed in Wired’s article.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

My first degree was in cultural anthropology and Wired’s article was a fantastic insight into the cultural nuances of online teen life. What this article teaches me the most that students value and use this form of communication, it is a basic fact of life for most teens and probably younger students too. It also teaches me how I really need to up my Insta-game. Most of my Grade fours are on their iPhone right after they leave the building, sometimes as they are still in it. As teachers, we need to communicate with our students and understand how they communicate to facilitate effective teaching and learning. So understanding how students socialize and communicate is a big part of getting to know who we are teaching, and we need to know them before we can teach them. I also enjoyed reading about the unspoken etiquette of teens online including some of the emoji codes. Ahmed’s quote about trading his phone for a car signifies that although the teens may be experts in social media, it highlights the theory that social media is more of an adaptation to different situations and not always a choice. Just like when I was talking to my 10-year olds about the fortnight dance, they would rather go to a real concert, but don’t always have the freedom and means to do so. The idea of using Snapchat is so foreign to my generation, who all grew up with cars at 16. The more things change right? Even our early ancestors felt the need to communicate visually over thirty thousand years ago on the walls of caves.

Source: Giphy

You are what you post, I had a good giggle at Are You Literally What You Post? as I usually add a reaction GIFs and memes to my emails at work, I find it lightens the mood, gives my co-workers something to laugh at, and helps add context to the email. No, I am actually not Jeremiah Johnson nodding at someone as I agree, or the Most Interesting man alive when I ask people to donate fruit to the homeless shelter. But it does add another level of communication to the email, it helps your readers feel an added part, like adding an illustration to your work.  I love what he says about how communicating via gifs and meme can “Providing an external, visual reference for complex internal emotions.” because it connects so much with how students and younger people (and also adults) can find new ways to communicate sometimes difficult to verbalize feelings, and also why maybe so many of the students in my class choose platforms such as Instagram, Line, and Snapchat because you can add stickers, images, and filters to share your feelings in a creative way and maybe about something you don’t have the vocabulary for. 

How does all this affect my teaching? I mentioned before that understanding how our students communicate is vital to understanding them as people, and by understanding who they are we can learn to build relationships, and teaching is all about relationships. Furthermore, after conversations about the visual nature of communication, I have to continue teaching ways to regulate how they pay respect to where they find the images they wish to communicate with and find tools to help them customize and streamline how they share their learning in a visual way.



Photo by Giovanni Randisi on Unsplash

When reading Jenkins et. al., about confronting challenges of media participation the outlined sections about by creating a culture of participation we enhance understandings of intellectual property and empower conceptions of citizenship which are skills necessary to succeed in the future workplace, and that we have to approach these topics through our curriculum to help shift the focus from simply individual expression to include community involvement. When reflecting on these skills I think they are strongly connected to the Approaches to Learning; and how can we dovetail the teaching of a culture of participation with teaching the Approaches to Learning in our day to day activities?  Maybe sometimes it can be explicit, or maybe just a natural fit?  How can we plan for situations to make it more natural, useful, and applicable to student lives?  How can we be more thoughtful in our unit planning to create opportunities for a culture of participation in an authentic and engaging experience? What also struck me in this article was the new skills, and how I already strive to give my students opportunities to play, simulate, build collective intelligence and so on. These skills are a great outline of what we should be striving for in our unit planning and lesson teaching to help build student agency and participate in their culture.


I have been a long time fan of hip hop music, the undisputed kings of re-mixing. Copyrighted content has been a long disputed issue in this genre of music and I wish more of the lyrics were more appropriate for a classroom full of 10-year olds as it is a great opportunity to learn about copyright, re-mixing information, and most importantly expressing yourself using other’s work in your own way. Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest talked about how when they were growing up they didn’t have instruments, only their dad’s record players and a mixer and they used the tools at their disposal. They use what they had. By finding and looping the sounds they liked they create something to help express themselves in an innovative way but still paying homage to the original. Q-Tip’s lecture on his creative process gives some great insight into how he remixes jazz samples and funk breaks to create his own music.

Sophocles photo Credit: Wikepedia

I believe that Hip Hop connects to the core of digital citizenship and intellectual property in the classroom. We want students to be able to use the information they have at their disposal and reconstruct it to express their own ideas in a respectful way. Re-examining the remix features in an entertaining way how information can be changed with a few clicks, and how important it is for students to learn judgements about the information sources and what they plan on doing with it. The Ted Talk also focuses on the idea of remixing being a valued part of the expression. Another important takeaway from this video is the point that artists have been doing this forever. I also think that as the world continues to remix, the laws about it need to change to give respect to the original creator, but then again, is anything actually original. Look at how most modern movies are basically remixes of ancient Greek poems and stories? I wonder what HomerSophocles, Aristophanes would think of, modern love triangles and character exploration rom coms, and hero journeys, would they want some credit? Joseph Campbell has some fascinating insights into the reproduction of classic tales in the modern day in his many books such as The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

This video also made me think about how students remix, take things and make them their own, and if they understand the importance of intellectual copy write as many of the students in my class love to play with visuals and using images to enhance and illustrate their ideas. We are constantly learning together how to use images in a responsible way without essentially stealing property, and this often leads to discussions about why we need to search properly for images. So is teaching and creating like hip hop? To continue with the analogy students have a fantastic record collection, how do we teach them to appropriate it to create something of their own, while at the same time respecting copyright laws and the rights of others? Aren’t I just remixing all these ideas in the resource section now to tell the story I want?  What this really highlights is that content remixing for a long time, students must have the freedom to continue to add their own creativity and voice to the mix.

Photo Credit: https://thevisualcommunicationguy.com/tag/image-copyright/

Aren’t we as teachers just information remixers, finding material and questions that help student’s on their learning journey and re-arranging it in a digestible format? I believe that as Course One progressed I improved at respectfully citing images either by using my own, searching through creative commons, or using sites such as unsplash.com to find free to use images that are easier to cite. Like I mentioned before my students love using visuals in their expressions and they love copying images or printing them out to add to there products and I am continually helping them to find creative commons images to use. This has been my first step. My next step is to continue modelling how I use images in my lessons by explicitly citing the thing I use myself and directing them toward sources they can find images to help easily cite their own work. In Grade Four at my school, we are just beginning to teach the citation of other’s work and I think that this could be something brought down to the lower grades as well. The Copyright Flowchart and “If you can use a picture? image are great resources to start teaching it and I plan on using this in my unit plan for the final course project. Time to regulate, RIP Nate Dog.