Category Archives: EC&I 831

Summary of Learning

Wow! What a semester it has been! A jam-packed three months with lots of new information, tools, resources, collaboration, relationships and many many things to think about. I have stuck with my tried-and-true method of procrastinating and have finally created a finished product for my Summary of Learning.

For my Summary of Learning artifact I wanted to try a new tool that I have not used before. I have always wanted to make a cool whiteboard video, but my whiteboard writing isn’t nearly as nice as Brooke’s  so I decided a digital whiteboard video, like this would suffice:

 

That’s when I found VideoScribe; a tool that allows you to create your own cool whiteboard videos without actually having to have legible whiteboard writing. After hours of work and feeling pretty happy with myself for learning this new tool, I discovered that the 7 day free trial of VideoScribe comes with the company logo in the background of your video. Unlike Amanda, I stuck with the free version so please don’t mind the VideoScribe logo all over the video… it doesn’t appear when you are editing and honestly by the time I discovered this I was too far in and too stubborn to pay for a subscription.

Here is my Summary of Learning

 

With the end of EC&I 831 (once I complete my final Major Digital Project post that is…) I will have officially completed my 9th Masters class and will complete my Masters of Educational Psychology in April 2020 – what a surreal feeling!

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What is Social Media Activism and does it work?

I was unable to attend class this week due to parent-teacher-student interviews followed by hosting a grad parent meeting. When I first read the blog post prompt, What Kind of (Digital) Citizen? post, and In Online Spaces Silence Speaks As Loudly As Words post, I felt very out of my comfort zone. I spoke to a coworker and friends about their thoughts on social media activism and we all had varying levels of comfort with this topic. Luckily I gained some knowledge and clarity when I watched the recording of the class. There was great discussion around the topic and I learned a lot. When discussing social media activism, one must first look at citizenship.

Citizenship
What Kind of Citizen? The Politics of Educating for Democracy by Joel Westheimer and Joseph Kahne describes three kinds of citizens; the personally responsible citizen, the participatory citizen, and the justice oriented citizen.
The personally responsible citizen acts responsibly in their community such as recycling, donating blood, and staying out of debt. By developing personally responsible citizens it is also developing character, honesty, integrity, and hard work (Westheimer & Kahne, 2004)
The participatory citizen actively participates in civic affairs and the social life of the community at the local, provincial, and national level. This type of citizenship emphasizes engaging in collective, community-based efforts and focuses on planning and participating in organized efforts to care for those in need (Westheimer & Kahne, 2004).
The justice oriented citizens analyze and understand the interplay of social, economic, and political forces. This citizen advocates and calls attention to matters of injustice and to the importance of pursuing social justice, focusing on responding to social problems. As opposed to emphasizing charity and volunteerism the focus is on social movements and how to effect systemic change (Westheimer & Kahne, 2004).

What is Social Media Activism? 
According to Wikipedia, “Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, direct, or intervene in social, political, economic, or environmental reform with the desire to make changes in society” (2019). Social activism is a broad range of activities which are beneficial to society or particular interest groups, often operated in groups to voice, educate and agitate for change, often focused on global issues. Social media activism is essentially using the platform of an online forum to lead or support a cause, it is activism behind a screen. Some examples of Social Media Activism include the Bell Let’s Talk campaign, the ASL Ice Bucket Challenge, and The No Makeup Selfie.

Slacktivism 
In a world of constant likes, comments, and retweets, is it possible to create real change behind the click of a mouse or tap of a phone screen? Often the concept of social media activism can be alluring to a personally responsible or participatory citizen who aligns with a movement or cause. These individuals contribute to the activism through retweeting, using a hashtag, sharing a post, or using a particular filter on social media. Unfortunately, more often then not this type of social media behaviour does little more than to potentially increase awareness of a particular cause with ones online social circle, a concept called slacktivism. Sophie Egar does a good job of explaining this concept in her TEDx talk, Slacktivism: Social Media’s Effect on Activism.

Can online social activism be meaningful and worthwhile? 
Yes, I do think that online social activism can be meaningful and worthwhile to create awareness and education, but not necessarily in creating actual change. As outlined in the article, Social Media Activism is No Joke, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter often ask users to engage with different causes through liking and sharing posts, commenting, or uploading pictures/videos using particular hashtags. Social media activism has been a powerful tool in giving a voice to people across the world, especially in regards to marginalized groups. There is a significant difference between social media activism and traditional activism – the action.

Social media activism can increase awareness and act as a stepping-stone towards further engagement for a cause… Despite popular belief, there is a certain amount of effort and passion that is required in order for a social media campaign to garner significant attention and inspire change.

-Nicole Langfield

Is it possible to have productive conversations about social justice online? 
After reading Katia Hildebrandt’s post, In Online Spaces Silence Speaks as Loudly as Words, I felt conflicted about whether or not it is possible to have productive conversations about social justice online. I actually agree with Dean Shareski’s comments that people use digital spaces in different ways and that with all of the travesties in the world people may prioritize and advocate for those which they see as most important. We have all seen (or perhaps been a part of?) a comment war. These are not productive and do not overly do much in terms of creating change or educating, if anything I feel that they only make things worse.


The key to having productive conversations is RELATIONSHIPS. Posting social media activism posts online can potentially polarize people, which is not helping the cause. By creating relationships and having face-to-face conversations where tone and body language can be read, real education and change may occur.

What is our responsibility as educators to model active citizenship online?
As Joel Westheimer outlined, we need to teach students to question, expose students to multiple perspectives, and focus on the local. We can model this ourselves in our daily lives as well. As Daniel outlined in his post, an educator should foster discussions and lead students to make strong arguments based on good information. We can do this by promoting good social media practices and teaching strong media literacy skills. As Kyla pointed out in her post, we can provide examples to our students such as Greta Thunberg and Alexa Chukwumah. We must also teach about the negative side of social media activism; that some people’s online behaviours can make you lose faith in humanity with the lack of empathy, respect, and decency towards others. This is something that we as adults are usually aware of when we post something online – perhaps it determines which platform we use (ie only posting to Facebook because only your friends/family will see it as opposed to posting on Twitter where you may be subject to the entire world seeing it) and is something that we must discuss with our students. As much as we often assume that our students are full digital citizens and understand the internet-world, the reality is that anything they post online can stay online forever and they may not yet understand the full consequences of those actions (there were many examples discussed in class – such as Alec’s example of his daughter’s assignment to post a video on YouTube). As Loreli pointed out, we have a huge responsibility and fantastic opportunity to model online citizenship to our students.  We must conduct ourselves in a way that we would encourage our students to conduct themselves – appropriately, responsibly, and respectfully.

I would love to know your thoughts, do you think social media activism works? What do you think the responsibility of educators is when it comes to social media activism and modeling active citizenship online?

 

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Open Educational Resources (OERs)

This post has been sitting in my drafts for a few days… but better late than never? Last week in EC&I 831 we were lucky enough to hear from Dr. Verena Roberts about Open Education. Dr. Roberts has done extensive research in the area of Open Educational Practices and Open Educational Resources. On the first slide of her presentation, Dr. Roberts quotes a student:

…real learning isn’t done behind walls or with boundaries, I believe that real learning begins when we are left to figure something out, to problem solve, to collaborate and discuss with people of experience. It’s about the “doing” and what can be learned from the experience.

-High School Student

This quote really resonated with me. Students need a safe learning space, somewhere that they can focus on self, immediate community, outer community, and overall network. I have found that learning is more authentic when I provide my students with these opportunities (which luckily for me happen fairly organically in Entrepreneurship and Personal Finance classes).

What are Open Educational Resources? According to UNESCO, OERs are educational materials that are public domain or provided with an open license, meaning that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt, and re-share them (textbooks, curriculum, syllabus, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video, animations, etc). Here’s a quick video introducing Open Educational Resources:

I also found this video which provides an overview and review of the effectiveness and perceptions of OERS. The video focuses on University-level resources and does not mention K-12 at all.

I have found a lot of OERs are aimed at higher learning, which I think is fantastic! OERs provide such a valuable option not only for post-secondary students/professors but also for those who are interested in learning for the sake of learning. I love learning and I think that it happens in many ways. I am obviously pursuing formal education through my Masters program but I also learn from my travels and adventures, and daily teaching provides new lessons on a daily basis. Too often as adults we can go a long time without consciously learning, so I think Open Educational Resources such as Coursera , Open Learn, edX, as just a few examples are fantastic resources. Unfortunately, despite the initial appearance of OERs in higher education in 2002, there has not been a significant shift in movement to OERs over formal post-secondary education since then. This article in EduCause Review explains the hurdles such as discoverability, quality control, bridging the last mile, and acquisition.

In addition to the numerous OERs aimed at higher-level learning, there are tons of resources for K-12 education as well. For this week’s post, the first OER that I looked at was ck12. This resources focuses primarily on K-12 math and science concepts. You need to create an account to access most of the materials which I chose not to do. It appears as though a teacher can set up an account, create a class, have students join the class, and use the ck12 materials such as assignments, videos, and texts. The site is very user-friendly and has a ton of options. Here is a screenshot of all of the subject options:

Capture

Since this OER isn’t overly relevant to me as a high school business education teacher, I chose to find a new resource to review. One OERs that I recently learned about is Next Gen Personal Finance. I learned about this resource from the Business Educators Facebook Group that I had joined last school year. This OER will be an invaluable resource in the Personal Finance class I teach next semester. Here’s a quick video introduction to the NGPF resource:

To gain full access to all of the resources you must be verified as a teacher, you can do this by providing your school email address and website that lists you as a teacher. Once verified, you gain full access to the site including unit plans, lesson plans, videos, assignments, case studies, answer keys, and much more. It is an American resource so some things need to be adapted for Canadian curriculum, but most of the resources are created in GoogleDocs so you can edit and alter them to fit your needs.

The NGPF mission is:

By 2030, ALL students will take a one semester personal finance course before graduating from high school.

We have our work cut out for us. In 2019, just 16.9% of U.S. public high school students (1 in 6) took at least a semester-long personal finance course that was required for graduation (the “Gold Standard”)

I cannot fangirl about this site enough.. this is the most useful Financial Literacy Education site I have ever found.

Despite the american-focused content, it is all-inclusive and 100% free. The “extras” include an arcade with 7 games and accompanying teacher resources (I may be addicted to the Credit Clash game…), blog, podcasts, and newsletters. There is a Teacher Toolkit which helps teachers to implement NGPF in their classroom, brush up on content knowledge, and ways to incorporate different pedagogical strategies into practice. There are units, semester-long courses, 9 week courses, middle school level, and more. The resources include activities, projects, case studies, question of the day, FinCap Friday, a video library, and more. Topics include checking, saving, types of credit, managing credit, paying for college, budgeting, investing, and financial pitfalls. Capture1 

Would this be something useful to other educators? What is the overall quality of materials? And is this something that can be easily adopted into others’ educational practice?
Yes! Saskatchewan has created new Financial Literacy 20 & 30 curriculum which will be ready for province-wide delivery by February. NGPF is a nearly all-inclusive OER for financial literacy. It definitely needs some tweaking for the Saskatchewan curriculum, but in a world of almost endless financial information and advice, this is a great place to start. It is a user-friendly site for teachers, materials are student-friendly, and is completely free. The materials are very professionally done, handouts are created in a Google Doc format so you can adapt it as needed or upload in Google Classroom, and there are answer keys for everything which have a new unique link every 6 months to ensure that they are updated and accurate.

In business education, there are often free materials that are provided because they are sponsored by industry, such as financial institutions. This is something that I always discuss with my students – who is providing this content and how do they benefit from providing it? I tried to find how NGPF is sponsored or who creates the materials but I can’t seem to find any connection other than it being an American Non-Profit Organization. As with every resource that teachers use, we must always be critical but overall I am happy with this resource as a basis for my lessons.

OERs have become common-place in public education – I can’t imagine teaching without them! What are your favourite OERs? How often do you incorporate OERs into your teaching practices?

 

 

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Open Education and Copyright in 2019

This week in EC&I 831 we began learning about the concept of Open Education. This is a topic that I have heard of before but have never really explored much. I am glad that we will be talking about Open Education more in EC&I 831 over the next few weeks as I hope to gain more understanding about the concept to better determine how I feel about it. 

Open education removes barriers to learning so there are no pre-requisites, no prior qualifications, no discrimination, affordable for all, and more. Essentially, open education is to be accessable by anyone and no one should be denied. Dr. Tony Bates’ blog What Do We Mean By ‘Open’ in Education? explains that open education as a concept can take a number of forms:

  • education for all: free or very low cost school, college or university education available to everyone within a particular jurisdiction, usually funded primarily through the state;
  • open access to programs that lead to full, recognized qualifications. These are offered by national open universities or more recently by the OERu;
  • open access to courses or programs that are not for formal credit, although it may be possible to acquire badges or certificates for successful completion. MOOCs are a good example;
  • open educational resources that instructors or learners can use for free. MIT’s OpenCourseware, which provides free online downloads of MIT’s video recorded lectures and support material, is one example;
  • open textbooks, online textbooks that are free for students to use;
  • open research, whereby research papers are made available online for free downloading;
  • open data, that is, data open to anyone to use, reuse, and redistribute, subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share.

There is a misconception that open education is free education. I have always associated open education with being free but upon further investigation, open education does not always equate to free education. As Bates explains, “there are real costs in creating and distributing open education, and supporting learners, which has to be covered in some way” (Bates, 2015).

According to BCcampus, Open Educaitonal Resources are “teaching, learning, and research resources that, through permissions granted by their creator, allow others to use, distribute, keep, or make changes to them.” Educators are no stranger to free educational resources, I strongly relied upon such resources when I began teaching and still use a significant amount of free materials in my classroom today. A quote that is often used amongst my colleagues and I is “sharing is caring” in the concept that sharing resources with each other is just a common thing that we regularly do. However in recent years I have become more conscious of the amount of time, effort, and resources that are going into those projects, assignments, and lesson plans that I have been so freely sharing while others are posting similar content on Teachers Pay Teachers and getting paid for their work. I am now conflicted on whether or not resources in education should be open and free or whether they should require some form of acknowledgement, copyright, or payment. 

 

In my undergrad ECMP 355 class, Dr. Alec Couros showed us the RiP! A Remix Manifesto documentary. I remember this film really challenging my views on copyright and ownership of material for the first time in my life. I showed this video to the Communications Media 20 class that I taught during my internship and we had a lengthy class discussion about it and the majority of my students were in favour of creative commons and being able to use any material for their creations however they did not like the idea of others being able to use their work without giving recognition or compensation.

I have noticed in recent years that companies are shifting to using consumer photos and videos as opposed to paying for their own content creation. One of my classmates in EC&I 831, Nancy has shared her experience working for a tourism campaign that used others’ photos that they had tagged with a particular hashtag. I have personally experienced my photos being used for a company’s marketing campaign just like this. A few years ago the RCMP Heritage Centre sold special edition rubber ducks with the iconic red coat uniform of the RCMP. I was ecstatic to learn of this rubber duck and knew that it would make the perfect travel companion.

Screen Shot 2019-10-26 at 11.57.41 PM

I purchased my very own Corporal Funduck and it was the first thing I packed as I jet set off to Europe for a summer trip. I quickly began snapping photos of Cpl. Funduck in Slovenia, London, and Spain and shared my photos on Twitter where I tagged @RCMPHC

Screen Shot 2019-10-26 at 11.56.40 PM

While I was away on my trip I received a message from a marketing company who was hired by the RCMP. As it turns out, the RCMP loved seeing the photos of Cpl FunDuck exploring the world and wanted to encourage others to share their photos of their ducks as well. I was so excited that someone liked what I had done that I immediately agreed to let them use my photos of my new travel companion. I did not receive any mentions, credit, or compensation for my photos as I had given permission for them to be used. I don’t regret this decision but I must admit that I had not fully thought it through before I agreed to it. I wonder if others feel this way in terms of Open Education or sharing of resources and materials for free? Would you agree to allowing others to use your photos for their own marketing materials?

In case you were wondering, I have since created an Instagram account for my Cpl FunDuck which documents all of our travels together and I continue to tag @RCMPHC in all of my photos.

Screen Shot 2019-10-27 at 12.04.50 AM

 

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Major Digital Project – Decision Made

After much thought, deliberation, and some consultation, I have decided what I will do for my Major Digital Project for EC&I 831. In a previous blog post I had considered many possible project ideas and had narrowed it down to 4 topics:

  • Option 1: Design, implement, and assess a project that integrates a social networking tool into the classroom
  • Option 2: Learn a new language through the use of YouTube, Duolingo, and other free online sources to assist me in my future travels.
  • Option 3: Learning to run and more about physical activity through apps, websites, and videos. This would likely incorporate nutrition as well as running.
  • Option 4: Learning more advanced cooking and baking skills to create more complex recipes through online resources.

The first official step of my digital learning project was deciding that I will proceed with Option 1; designing, implementing, and assessing a project that integrates a social networking tool into my Entrepreneurship 30 class. The use of social media can be incorporated into multiple modules of the Entrepreneurship 30 curriculum. I am planning for the project to revolve around the topic of social media marketing in business and entrepreneurship.

Upon consultation with my professor, Alec Couros, he agreed that this was a suitable topic choice for my Digital Learning Project and recommended I check out Bushwick Analytica’s project of having students learn about and create targeted ads. In the article Tega Brain, the project developer, is quoted as saying:

“Kids today are growing up in a post-broadcast era,” says Brain. “And because of this, it’s absolutely essential to find ways to teach an understanding of algorithms, recommendation engines, and targeting. Why does the internet look different to everyone, and what does that mean?”

This week my students are going to research and pitch a potential business ideas that we will run in the class throughout the rest of the semester. Through the pitch assignment students will be given their first pre-assessment of their use of social media in the form of using social media to conduct initial market research. Students have been encouraged to use social media to find out if their target market (students at our school) would purchase the product that they are pitching to run in our business, as well as how much they would be willing to pay for it.

I am looking forward to learning more about how Entrepreneurs use social media in their businesses and can’t wait to incorporate this social media project with my class. Do you have any social media marketing resources? Or know anyone who has used social media in their business? I would love any tips, tricks, dos/don’ts, or resources that others are willing to share.

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ShowMe App

This week in EC&I 831, we were tasked with finding a tool or app that we have not used before that could be used to make learning visible. To find a tool or app, I started with a google search of “best tech apps for teachers” where I found RedByte’s Top 17 Best Apps for Teachers and Educators. The tops apps listed included: Kahoot, Google Classroom, Teach Lean Lead, Seesaw, Slack, Remind, and more. I have already used Kahoot, Slack, and Remind, and attempted Google Classroom this year, I know many of my colleagues use Seesaw, and I didn’t think Teach Learn Lead was the type of tool I wanted to explore this week. Upon further searching I found the Educational App Store with a list of a wide variety of educational apps. Here is where I found out about the app ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard

This is a free app available for download through the Apple App Store with an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars. ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard turns your iPad into a personal interactive whiteboard that also allows you to create voice-over whiteboard tutorials and share them online or keep them private. In addition to using the interactive whiteboard and creating your own voice-over tutorials, you can also search existing tutorials that have been created by other users. 

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FEATURES
– Voice-record
– Multiple brush colours
– Enter text
– Pause and erase
– Import pictures from your photo library, built-in camera, or web image search
– Import documents as pictures from Dropbox, or Google drive
– Create video from any document
– Unlimited lesson length
– Free to upload and share your recordings with friends
– Easy embedding for sharing anywhere
– Manage students with Groups

SHOWME PREMIUM
ShowMe Premium is an auto-renewing monthly or yearly subscription which unlocks all ShowMe features. For just $9.99 a month or $89.99 a year:
– Upload up to 300 hours of ShowMes
– Post privately
– Create study groups
– Markup and share any documents in groups
– Import documents into ShowMe
– Search and import images from the web
– Download your video files
– Create student accounts
– Create courses

I was very impressed with this app and all of the options available for free. It is user friendly and has a giant library of pre-made content by other users. The only negative I found was that I was not able to find a way to edit my ShowMe once I completed it so if I had made a mistake I’m not sure how I could go back and fix it without completely redoing it. Unfortunately many of the beneficial features require the premium account, such as creating student accounts or saving videos privately. 

This app could be applied both personally and in instructional situations to document learning and growth. Personally you could use this app as an interactive whiteboard such as keeping a grocery list, leaving notes for your family, or us it like an agenda to keep track of important due dates. Instructionally I could see this app being used in a flipped classroom where the teacher creates instructional videos and voice records the lesson for students to watch outside of class time then during class they could review the ShowMe while working on assignments in class. ShowMe could also be used by students to save class notes and submit their notes so the teacher could record voice feedback for them. I would also use this app to search the existing videos created by others, I found some very informative Accounting lessons that I could use with my students or encourage them to use on their own. 

Here is a quick sample that I made: http://www.showme.com/sh?h=Wm80dWa

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Knowledge is Obsolete

This week’s writing prompt is: How do you take up teaching in a world where knowledge is becoming obsolete? What steps should/could we as educators take in relation to bringing social networks into the classroom? How do we balance the “moral imperative” to educate children to succeed in a rapidly changing world (see the NCTE definition of 21st century literacies) with concerns around student safety and privacy?

To answer these questions one must first consider what “knowledge is becoming obsolete” means. I had a conversation with a coworker about what this statement means and how we as educators feel about it. We concluded that knowledge in the traditional context has indeed become obsolete and that the role of educators has changed from merely transferring information to students to learning how to interpret, utilize, and apply such information. This conversation was reinforced by Pavan Arora’s TedXTalk Knowledge is obsolete, so now what?

Arora explains that 65% of elementary school students will have jobs that currently do not exist but that job types have been changing since the beginning of time. Knowledge is changing faster than ever before, it is growing, access is increasing, and we must learn to assess and apply that knowledge. No matter what new information and data gets thrown at us, we must figure out how to use it. As educators, we need to teach the application of knowledge rather than the knowledge itself.

One of my favourite TedTalks is by Cameron Harold title Let’s Raise Kids to be Entrepreneurs. His message is what I believe education needs to revolve around – encouraging students to use their creativity and promoting their strengths as opposed to focusing on their weaknesses. It is important for students to learn and grow through experiences and creative thinking not just through textbook learning.

John Seely Brown and Richard P. Adler reinforce these ideas in their article Minds on Fire; Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0 In this article the authors point out that learning has shifted from the Cartesian perspective of focusing on the content of a subject (“I think, therefore I am”) to a focus of the learning activities and human interactions around which that content is situated (“we participated, therefore we are”). Learning has shifted from learning about or explicit instruction and understanding to learning to be or tacit learning.

Bringing social networks into the classroom can be done easier than ever and options will continue to evolve. From YouTube videos, to Twitter chats and hashtags, to Skype sessions with other classes or professionals, there is no shortage of ways to connect our students with social learning. For example, last year our grade 9 science students were provided the opportunity to Skype with a real professional astronaut where they learned more about his life, his experiences and training as an astronaut, and were able to ask him questions. This type of learning experience never would have been an option 20 years ago, but as our connected world continues to grow so do the learning opportunities for our students.

As a part-time career counselor I am constantly faced with the challenge of helping to prepare our students for careers that have yet to be invented. In March 2018, RBC launched a Canada-wide research report titled Humans Wanted; How Canadian youth can thrive in the age of disruption. 

This report and video showcase the skills that our students require to be successful in any future career path. Instead of preparing students for specific careers, we must teach them the skills which they can utilize in any career path such as technical skills, management skills, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and analytic skills.

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