Course 2 Final Project – Option 2

As course two comes to a close, participants were asked to choose from several options for the summative task.

Our group chose the following:

Here is the link to our final submission for this assignment.

To wrap up this summative task, COETAIL has asked us to reflect on the following questions…

How did you find your group for this project? How did the collaboration aspect of this project go? 

Honestly, this was one of the easiest globally collaborative groups I have ever worked with. Here were the keys to our success:

  • Early birds get their worms – I knew who I wanted to work with and reached out early
  • Early rumination of an idea that was pitched early; in fact, team member selection was based on option two
  • Frequent back channelling – The team was connected via Whatsapp
  • Video chats – Two – one at the start and one near the end
  • Soft deadlines – Mutually agreeable times to have our respective sections done
  • Timely feedback – All members receptive to feedback to improve our respective sections
  • Agency – Members had a choice and voice on their section of contribution
What challenges did you face? How did you overcome them?
  • Mutually agreeable times – Not really a challenge, but still needed some thoughtful consideration and flexibility.
  • Flexibility with the pandemic – One of our team members needed to repatriate during this project, so having empathy for her and delaying some of our soft deadlines paid off.
How was this collaborative planning experience different from or similar to other planning experiences?
  • Honestly, with all that has happened in the past year, not much differed in terms of collaborative planning. In these times, we all have experience collaborating on teams where our colleagues may have chosen to repatriate, and yet still meet contractual obligations successfully. This is not limited to just collaboratively planning with their teams.
  • Open-mindedness, carefully thought out meetings, and considerations as to what is essential for asynchronous vs synchronous collaboration are really the only potential “barriers”.
Why did you choose this option? These standards?
  • Of all the options, this is the one that spoke to me. After reaching out and persuading the team, it was one that was the most purposeful in creating for the potential to transfer in all of our respective work environments/contexts.
  • The standards were part of the task, so “choice” wasn’t an option.
How was this learning experience different from or similar to other learning experiences you have designed?
  • I think the pandemic, as mentioned above, has given us the skills to use digital technology in effective ways to achieve this purpose.
  • In addition, my Master’s in Educational Technology from the University of British Columbia was all online, so globally collaborating on a shared vision wasn’t anything out of my comfort zone.
How does this experience relate to what you learned in Course 2?

On behalf of my team, I hope you enjoy what we have created and get introduced to at least one thing that gets you wondering or sparks your thinking!

Taking action on … Digital Leadership!

This week’s COETAIL course two, week 5, learning provocation was about taking action towards positive change and empowering others to do “GOOD” with technology.

Which links nicely to ISTE for Educators Citizen Standard Indicator 3A.

Educator resources on this topic

I’ve said it before, but, I’ll say it again, Jennifer Casa-Todd. She’s legendary in this department. She is YOUR expert.

Step 1: Buy and read her book – Social LEADia. You won’t regret it.

Step 2: Enroll in her and Adam Hill’s, “Empowered Digital Leaders“, online professional learning course.

If learning from super nice and empowering people who love sharing their passions isn’t your thing, then Common Sense Education also has some fab resources.

In search of better policy

Without throwing my current employer largely under the bus, I would say we could be better in terms of our ICT mission and vision, documentation and policies, curriculum, communication, training, as well as hiring an appropriate amount of staff in this department and retaining them.

That said, in the three years since I’ve been there, it is getting better and thankfully I’ve got to work alongside some pretty awesome people who share the same passion.

Small steps.

Did someone say policy?

This week we were asked to look into our school’s acceptable use policy on technology.

I inquired and could find very little. I’d share, but you’d come to the same conclusions as me – not the greatest in terms of what we should be communicating to our current and future stakeholders.

I figured there had to be something more.

I took action.

I emailed our tech lead who is trying his very best trying to do two or three people’s jobs. He’s got great ideas, confers with myself and another passionate colleague of mine often. However, most ideas, when he does try to champion them, often get roadblocked.

In my email, I also carbon copied the head and deputy head of school.

I asked him if there was something more but just wasn’t finding it easily.

Answer: No

I did make some positive, actionable suggestions, and also offered to put my hand upon taking action.

Here’s what I proposed:

 

1. Re-focus on curriculum: Next year, we continue to be given time on our curricular revision groups. Sure, the pandemic did put a wrench in this time and vision. However, it’s been over a year and it’s time to blow off the dust again. This gave us ICT-focused folk the time to vertically and horizontally articulate an ISTE fuelled concept-based scope and sequence curriculum. I’ve got the experience, direction and willingness to persevere on this. It will be awesome!

 

2. Communication and policy revision: I like Scott McLeod’s suggestion of an EUP instead of an AUP. Empowered, Engaged and Energized is our school’s 3E motto in our mission. So an Empowered Use Policy (EUP) has a natural fit. Plus, it sure rolls off the tongue much better than just an “Acceptable Use Policy” (AUP). This difference is likened to what Jennifer Casa-Todd promotes. She elucidates, why just have digital citizens (ie participants), when we should be promoting digital leaders? What’s more empowering?

In my email, I did mention that our grade level’s 1:1 iPad AUP, had plenty of “DO NOTS” and not enough “DOs”.  I think the Western Academy of Beijing (WAB) and NIST both have excellent examples to benchmark from which I also shared in my email.

Advocacy does lead to Action

In fact, advocacy is one of the types of action, according to the IB’s PYP.

Long story short, my email led to a meeting next Tuesday to get the ball rolling on some of these ideas. Exciting!

Thanks for the kick in the rear, COETAIL!

Your turn…
  • How would you rate your school’s accessibility factor to it’s Acceptible Use Policy (AUP), highly visible being a 10 and obsolete being a 1?
  • Would you say you’re happy with your employer’s AUP? Justify.
  • What would you change with your employer’s AUP, if at all?
  • Do you have any great resources to share that match with ISTE 3c linked above?

Building media fluency: Cultivating discerning detectives and caring creators

This week’s COETAIL Course 2 focus was on building media fluency through the lens of developing critical consumers of media (ISTE for Educators link to Citizen Standard Indicator – 3c).

In essence…

When “playing” in the realm of media, we wear two hats – creators and consumers. Sometimes we’re wearing both at once.

As far as COETAIL shared resources go, these, “THINK Before You Post“, tips are great for humans of any age when wearing the creator hat (Kidscape).

How do I help my kids become more discerning detectives in this area?

T.R.A.A.P. Testing

This is by far my favourite tool to share. It’s far less of a humourous acronym than C.R.A.A.P., however, the meaning is quite similar: Timeliness, Relevance, Accuracy, Author and Purpose.

To expand briefly on TRAAP, when you’re looking for media, particularly to give evidence of research in any inquiry/project/paper, you want your source to be as recent as possible (Timely); it should be relevant to your inquiry; you want the source to be accurate (grammatically and in linking to other research); Is the author a salesperson, some random blogger, or a professional in this field?; and think “Why was this media published? Who is the audience?” (purpose). If you want more info on TRAAP, this is a great site.

Here are some resources that I’ve created for TRAAP in my context, that you’re welcome to make copies of and use and adapt to your context:

I also love:

How about you?

  • Do you have any gems, in terms of resources, to share that help build media fluency in this area?
  • What were some of your takeaways from this week’s readings?
  • Do you use TRAAP or something similar? If you haven’t, can you think of a unit that you’d like to try it in? If you do use something similar, care to share how you’ve used it?

 

Online Protection & Privacy

Data protection. Passwords. Online privacy.

Crucial to be taught and done correctly, yet often, loosely followed.

Humans tend to shy away from this topic similarly to personal finances and savings.

This week’s learning is connected to ISTE for Educators Citizen standard indicator 3D – which is about modeling and promoting privacy of data while navigating and upholding an online presence.

What are things that I do well in this category, personally?

  • Use a password manager: You have to do your research here, and no one application is perfect, but I’ve used LastPass for over a decade and only recently switched to BitWarden (because of information that the former is not going to be free anymore). Essentially, the gist of these apps is that you remember one really good password (that you change frequently), then the app is a safe house for all of your other, really great, randomly generated passwords that you’ll never be able to pronounce or remember. They have add-ons and apps for every device, making life simple and, hopefully, taking any worries away.
  • Share positively and cautiously on Social Media: I have two social media accounts that are active. Twitter more so than Facebook. Basically, if I can post something my employer would approve of, then that’s my litmus test to say it is post-worthy.
  • Review privacy settings (ideally often): These are so highly subject to change, and often, I probably don’t do a good enough job of this. I just went into Facebook and turned off all my ad settings, turned off searchability for me in all areas except one, turned on 2-step verification and re-changed my password to one only my password manager will remember.

What do I actively teach on this topic?

  • Password protection: At the beginning of the year when we’re personalizing our 1:1 tablets, I teach a modified version of Common Sense Education’s lesson on the subject. Afterwards, I encourage students to make their own secure passwords (with the help of DinoPass, if needed). Next, they fill out a “Get out of jail free” Google Form with their new password, which only the adults on my team, admin and our IT department have viewing rights to. The form is useful just in case, or whenever students undoubtedly forget their secure password.
  • “Who we are” Inquiry: As part of our beginning of the year inquiry, we focus a lot on community and how the centric circles branch out in terms of how identity is interconnected. This is an excellent time to build an understanding of who we are in person shouldn’t change from who we are online. During this unit, my team and I run explicit workshops on this topic. Children learn adapted Common Sense Ed lessons about their digital footprint, finding media balance, cyberbullying and more.
  • Parent workshops: To help build that golden triangle of support for our learners, parents also need education and help on this topic. Here is a workshop slide deck that two other passionate educators and I led for our community.

Some good takeaways from the learning this week…

  • Our anchor text for this course, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture (John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation), had a gem of a quote…
    • “One important goal of media education should be to encourage young people to become more reflective about the ethical choices they make as participants and communicators and the impact they have on others.” (p. 17)

    • I also enjoyed these “How do we ensure that every child has…” questions:
      •  access to the skills and experiences needed to become a full participant in the social, cultural, economic, and political future of our society?

      • the ability to articulate his or her understanding of how media shapes perceptions of the world?

      • been socialized into the emerging ethical standards that should shape their practices as media makers and as participants in online communities? (p.18)

    • Lastly, I also loved how the authors, when looking for their own definition, strongly advocate for the need for textual literacy first when it comes to navigating online spaces. In addition, the skills to navigate online spaces are just as much social as they would be the communication skills of literacy (p. 19).

In closing

This topic can be easily ignored due to its nature for one to get legally bound to agreements. Clauses that are so lengthy that, for many of us, it’s “easier” to just scroll bottom and hit the “agree” button without knowing what you’re actually signing up for (yup… guilty). However, claiming ignorance here is not bliss as it could seriously impact those under our care, ourselves, and could potentially cost us our job.

The Educator Toolkit for Teacher and Student Privacy, shared via COETAIL course two this week, offers nine great tips, from an educator’s lens, to help simplify these potentially overwhelming decisions (p.20):

How about you? Please share…

  • When’s the last time you checked your privacy settings on the online spaces you frequent often?
  • In what ways do you keep your private information safe? Any password tips?
  • As an educator, what do you do well in this area for your learners? What could you do better?
  • Would you say that your organization is “on the ball” with this, “just keeping afloat”, or “not even above the surface”? Care to justify?

Social media – Who is influencing who?

Bahhh… social media.

It’s the monster we love to hate. Yet it also is a vehicle to keep us connected with loved ones beyond our household, particularly highlighted by the pandemic and/or if you’re an ex-pat.

For those of us who grew up learning to navigate it on our own, perhaps some of the consequences were direr. Although, we also know what life was like before these devices, too. For me, I’ve made plenty of blunders as learning experiences, have learnt that being overly positive is “the way”, and know that whenever I’m not in the “Green Zone” of my emotional regulation, I should always wait 24 hours before responding, if at all.

Finding balance

In terms of balance, I also make clear and cognisant choices; otherwise, I end up in a rabbit hole.

My biggest choice is that I only allow Twitter on my phone as the only endless scrolling Social Media app. All others are a distraction for me for time better spent that will actually improve my well-being (e.g. going on a bike ride with my son, playing tennis, having a swim, going out for lunch as a family).

I allow myself 20 minutes on a weekend to have a quick notification check on Facebook (on my laptop), but even that is unnecessary as I find it still sucks me into endless scrolling.

Most of my non-F2F connections are done via Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger. I have a fortnightly video chat with my parents in Canada (along with some Messenging back and forth) and that is more than enough time for proper catchup – well, at least for me.

Another big one for me is no work email/apps on my phone. The most pivotal and mindful decision I ever made. Important news gets to me, but it is rare that I ever need to be bothered in non-work hours.

As a family, we stick to a no-screens at the table policy (whether we’re home or dining out) and my son has a device contract that he, my wife and I all had a say in. He is eight.

If I had it my way, there’d be no WiFi or phone use in my bedroom, but I can’t win all battles I guess.

Okay, that’s me personally. And I’m, “old”.

Yet it is this Generation (… that rules the nation) 

Kudos if you know the reference.

Luckily (or unluckily), these kiddos today are digital natives. By that, I mean they already have a generation (or two) ahead of them that made plenty of blunders navigating the waters, and are able to offer some words of wisdom, provide resources, and even write a book or two.

They even have some documentaries to “Netflix and chill” to on the subject.

Therefore, especially as educators, we have a grave responsibility to help them navigate these waters.

This leads us nicely into our COETAIL Course 2 – ISTE Educator Standard Indicator of the Week – Citizenship 3a – which is about not only creating positive digital citizens engaging in online communities but empowering digital leaders within those spaces.

A contextual example to share

One way simple way (of many) that I foster a positive community online is through TAG feedback. We use it as an alternative to “Two stars and a wish”, and use it often in class. However, to take it a step further, we connect to multiple Seesaw Blogs around our school and offer TAG feedback once a week on other people’s work. We rotate whose class it is each week, and the feedback is reciprocated. The kids love having an audience beyond their four walls, and they love getting positive and constructive feedback that drives their learning forward.

To take it a step further, I’d love to connect to some PYP Upper Primary Seesaw blogs globally that are interested in doing something similar.

Not sure where to start? No problem!

Here are some of my favourite, “Go-To” educator resources:

Some adult reading to challenge your thinking / perspective …

Must-read book for educators:

Amazing (Free) Professional Development

And Finally – The kids’ perspectives

Going further, COETAIL also inspired us to have a conversation with our kiddos on the topic.

Without any front-loading, I asked my class to help me out with a survey for this course. I told them it was optional, anonymous, and just to answer as honestly as possible. They are ten years old.

Which of the above are most important to you? e.g. Text message

  • Almost unanimously “Face to face”

I did ask them what challenges they face when connecting with their friends, but most responses were about laggy internet. They mentioned they solved this by restarting their device or trying again later.

In sum, I’m pretty happy with the results. I feel like my kids are and were pretty candid, so it does bring a smile to my face that kids prefer real connections over chatting within Roblox.

I also think the pandemic does and has illuminated the importance of face-to-face connections. The “lockdown” provocation really helped all humans appreciate how hardwired we are to be social creatures.

How about you? Please do share…

  • Has any of the above got you wondering about anything more in-depth on this topic?
  • What are your social media habits?
  • Would you say that you are a role model for positive digital citizenship? Has it always been this way? Have any stories to share?
  • How do you foster a positive online community in your classroom?
  • What has you worried about those you teach and/or parent on this topic?
  • Would you say that your school does this well? Are there just pockets of excellence or is this topic widely practiced?
  • Do you teach PYP upper primary and use Seesaw Blogs? Would you like to connect for some reciprocated TAG feedback as suggested above?

Respecting the Remix

As we begin COETAIL 13 – Course 2, we kick off with a week of respecting the remix. In other words, understanding that we’re all inspired by others and that copying is a true and well a good thing, as long as we make it our own and give credit where we were inspired from.

This aligns nicely with the ISTE for Educators Citizen standard indicator 3c.

Kirby Ferguson’s, “Everything is a Remix Remastered“, was by far the most entertaining and well-crafted resource of the week. I loved his cinema style, humour (the “I’m sorry about Colonialism” genre), detail to a variety of media, and his use of persuasive repetition in threes to get his message across…

Copy. Transform. Create.

Ferguson’s message reminded me of one of my favourite John Spencer videos about, “Why Consuming is Necessary for  Creating“, where Spencer elucidates a similar persuasive three combo – Critical consumption of media (i.e. knowledge gathering; “geeking out”); finding one’s Inspiration; followed by the Creative work.

The Wisdom of Mitch Resnick

I’ve plugged the book before, and it won’t be the last time. Every educator must read, “Lifelong Kindergarten” by Mitch Resnick. A beautiful quote within the book’s, “Top ten tips for learners” section is number 6 – “It’s okay to copy stuff (to give you an idea).” Resnick posits that copying is a two-way street,

“You should feel free to build on the work of others, but you should be open to others building on your work, too.”

Resnick is also the creator of Scratch, a widely popular and free computational thinking application in which children can make their own games and more, either from “Scratch” or by remixing the work of others. The platform makes “remixing” and giving credit to the original author super simple, too!

Resnick lives and breathes all the wisdom that Seymour Papert passed on to him. Resnick has said that all of his major projects have been inspired by the work of Papert (If you click no other link, I implore you to take 5 minutes to watch this one). Papert himself “remixed” Piaget’s ideas and wisdom to create his own theory of learning – Constructionism.

And now, some provocations from COETAIL…

 

How can you inform your students and peers about the importance of respecting the intellectual property of others?

Simple – model it in action and talk about why. Here’s a video I made for my ISTE Certification on the subject, which I use with my kids at the start of the year.

Also, I know my audience. Every photo I use is either from PhotosForClass or another attribution-friendly source.

Do you see this as an issue in your school?

It would be very naive of me to say that it wasn’t, although I’d say most members of my team, and a select few of my other colleagues do feel passionate about this.

How do we teach copyright in countries where international copyright law is not clearly defined or followed?

Again – – modelling, advocacy, informing and educating.  Just because people do it, doesn’t make it right.  You could kick off the discussion with a nice story like Ellen Javernick’s, “What if everyone did that?“.

What is our obligation as educators?

If we don’t teach it — who will?!!!

What are your thoughts?

  • How do you un-demonize the word “copying”, all the while teaching your learners to respect and pay tribute to the work of others?
  • What could you do better in terms of the way you model this ISTE Citizen standard indicator for your learners?
  • Do you have any contextual examples or ideas you wish to share?