Is it more than good-bad, clean-dirty, acceptable-taboo?

After the course readings and videos this week, I was left disappointed and upset with our social culture. I began this post writing about why trolls were the whole problem, why white-middle-aged men were causing this, and how we should just ignore people who revel in creating emotional distress by turning of comments or not responding. However, I think this issue is beyond complicated, it is not only about trolls and white-middle-aged men, and how if we ignore these issues, they will go away. These issues of trolling, online harassment, and scammers are complex issues that deal with more than just a problem our society is facing on the internet, it is impacting our social culture and society as whole.


Why is harassment, especially targeted at women, in the online space so common? Why is sexist, racist, and hateful language seen as a norm? Why are we encouraged to not feed the trolls and simply ignore them, allowing this issue to continue? How do we make change?

Trolling, online harassment, and scammers are complex issues that need to be compared to real life crime. In some cases it is more than harassment and online abuse, the terms online harassment and online abuse are too easy to disregard and not see as complex issues, often telling people to ignore it or get off the internet if you don’t like it. Is this how we would treat people with offline issues of the same complexity? No. As John Oliver compares online issues to real life, it would be like saying, if you don’t want to get burgled, then don’t live in a house.

There’s no quick technological fix to end hate speech online, for it’s a deeply rooted societal ill which needs greater tackling offline – not a one-day Twitter boycott or a report abuse button” —Marta Cooper via The Telegraph

What can we do as a society to end hate speech, stop sexism, end racism, work towards social justice, and tackle complex issues online? To begin we should start the conversation and continue to speak out about controversial issues. Technology is not the problem here, it is a bigger societal issue.

 

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I am a creature of habit.

I am a creature of habit and I am extremely predictable, which is sometimes problematic. Some people may call my predictability organized, structured, or that it suits my Type A personality, but others may call it boring and not creative. As I have looked back through my major project blog posts, I have noticed a common thread… they are all very structured and follow the same format. I find it hard to break away from this format because I like and crave structure, but this week I am going to try to be a different.

I decided I would try something I have never tried before, but have always wanted to try, so I made an inforgraphic using Piktochart. I was actually inspired last term by Amy to make an infographic, but never got around to making one last term. Although the content is still very structured (this is something I am working on), the presentation is something new.

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Week 8 Piktochart

Is digital access a right?

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The New Digital Divide via Free Press Pics

The new digital divide is not some far away issue that is totally removed from Saskatchewan, nor is it specific to a certain region. It is a global issue that impacts the marginalized. It is also something that I am witnessing within my community school within Regina, SK. The loss of net neutrality scares me. I agree with Jannae and think it will negatively affect teachers, students and education as a whole. Additionally, it will affect the poor and the marginalized. The internet could be a place to bridge that gap and give the voiceless a voice. Access to all places on the internet, not just places owned by corporate entities, is crucial to giving a voice to the marginalized, allowing for free speech, and encouraging innovation. If we allow tiered internet to exist we are furthering the gap of equal access. We are already living in a world where the media dictates what we see and the perspective we see it from and the education system is influenced by corporate interests. Take for example, the idea of BusRadio to fund raise or fundraising events put on by large corporations. By allowing content providers to provide better access to their users, we are putting free and open source tools at risk.

“A faster web for some isn’t an equal web for all, and the rules that favor Internet service providers jeopardize the web’s ability to serve as a platform for free speech and innovation.” – Jessy Irwin, April 29, 2014

One of Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship is digital access, working towards full electronic participation in society. Everyone doesn’t have the same opportunities when it comes to technology and as (digital) citizens, we should work towards equal rights and supporting electronic access. If we exclude the marginalized, it is difficult to grow as a society.

So Facebook has decided to help provide access to those who don’t have it with internet.org, the only problem is that people with access to internet.org have limited access, limited security, and limited privacy. So is limited access better than no access at all? I don’t think so. We should be working towards providing equal digital access to all, but how do we get there? I am not quite sure, but something I think that is important to remember is that the key word is access, not tools.

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Open Access (storefront) via Gideon Burton

I will leave you with some questions to consider when thinking of digital access in your own community which come from the Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools document:

  1. What are school community members’ beliefs regarding the necessity of Internet access for staff and students?
  2. What is the school’s policy and current processes regarding blocking access to Internet content and social networking services, and how can the school ensure that students’ rights to digital access are maintained?
  3. What is the school’s policy on BYOD programs, and how will the school ensure access for all students?
  4. What opportunities is the school providing for teachers in order to support their use of technology in the classroom? What steps is the school taking to ensure that students have access to up-to-date equipment, including specialized or adaptive equipment for students with special needs?

 

 

Feedback vs. Evaluation

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Photo Credit: ClassicsOnTheStreet via Compfight cc

My Week in Review

I really liked how my colleague, Erin Benjamin, reviewed her goals on her major project by colour coding them, so I thought I would do the same. Here is my key:

GREEN = I achieved my goal this week! Yay Me!!

BLUE = I need to revisit this goal this week. I wouldn’t necessarily say I failed at this goal, but it requires a bit more attention in order to be considered accomplished.

RED = I didn’t get a chance to complete this goal and it got pushed on the back-burner. I will look at trying to accomplish it this week!

My goals for this week were to:

  1. Continue to attend and participate in prenatal yoga classes both through online resources and in my face-to-face communities.
  2. Pin more prenatal yoga resources.
  3. Get at least 20 posts on my Instagram account.
  4. Decide on how I will summarize my learning project.

I was very thankful to get feedback this week from Katia Hildebrandt. I appreciated the detailed review on how I was doing in the class and in particular with this learning project. Not only was the feedback detailed, it was personalized and I could tell there was a genuine interest in my progress in the class and provided me with ways in which I could improve. As the tweet states below, feedback that is received at the end is not feedback, it is evaluation. I am finding EC&I 831 is not only teaching us about effective pedagogical approaches, but is also modeling it.

 

One recommendation in my feedback was a join an online prenatal yoga community. I found an online community with Prenatal Yoga Centre. In this community I am able to read blog posts, comment, and connect with others. I have enjoyed following the blog posts in this community and have learned a lot from them, but don’t find this is the most functional space for my learning. I will continue to be involved in this community to see if maybe with some time it becomes more natural.

I have enjoyed growing my community on Instagram. This is where I am finding most of my learning and connecting is happening. I find that Instagram for the purpose of my learning project is very similar to Twitter for my professional learning network relating to teaching. It is a very natural space, I am able to quickly get a “snapshot” of yoga resources and motivation and if I wish to investigate further, I am able to dig deeper into the post and the account.

I am looking forward to a slower week with report cards being finished so that I can take some more time this week to work on my learning project!

My goals for next week are to:

  1. Continue to attend and participate in prenatal yoga classes both through online resources and in my face-to-face communities.
  2. Pin a few more prenatal yoga resources.
  3. Share my learning and connect with others through my Instagram account.
  4. Decide on how I will summarize my learning project.

Thanks for following!!

 

(Digital) Identities, Cyber-Sleuthing, and Digital Empathy

After reading Dallas, Luke, and Logan’s blogs and our required readings this week, I was inspired to do a self-check-up on my digital identity. I have googled myself in the past, but haven’t had the urge to do it recently. Last term in EC&I 832, the whole theme was digital citizenship and media literacies and so the reading this week were something I grew quite passionate about last term. How does our digital footprint (or even our digital tattoo) impact our future?

The video below delves into this question of our (digital) identities and how they might impact our future.

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Regina Morning Live- Social Media Sanfus

To do a self-check-up, I thought I would go through the digital identity and digital citizenship exercises as shared by Alec Couros in September 2015.

The following questions were asked:

  • If you Googled yourself, what would you find?
  • Did anything surprise you?
  • Are you happy with what you found?

I thought I had a pretty decent idea of what I would find when I googled myself as I learned to manage and create a strong digital identity back in 2009 when I took ECMP 455. However, when I googled myself under my new last name, I didn’t find as much as anticipated. I knew I would find my blog, anything school related, Twitter account, and a few other random online sites, but I honestly thought I would find more. Nothing really surprised me, except for the fact that there was so little and I was quite happy with what I found. Although I am not a master cyber-sleuther like Katia Hildebrandt, who was able to dig up copious amounts of information on someone in 30 minutes, I am pleased with what I found.

As I think about my digital dossier, I quite pleased with my lifelong accumulation of digital footprints that shape my identity. I have worked hard to manage my digital identity and have tried to create an online identity that not only depicts who I am, but also showcases the positive aspects about me. This may be creating a bit of split image, but it is the identity I am proud to share on the internet.

Another question presented in the document is:

How do we deal with information about our identity that is false, that we’re not proud of, or things that we’d rather forget?

We are creating a (digital) identity in a world that no longer forgets and it is important be critical about what you see and find online before passing judgement. Some key points when finding problematic posts or other content that may not represent the best image of an individual are:

  1. Context and Audience Matters
  2. Intent Matters
  3. History Matters
  4. Authorship Matters
  5. Empathy Matters

I encourage you to head over to Alec or Katia’s blog post on (digital) identity to further your understanding on how to critically examine online artefacts and to increase your awareness of digital empathy and understanding.

 

 

Only 4 weeks left?!?!

My Week in Review

My goals for this week were to:

  1. Continue to attend and participate in prenatal yoga classes both through online resources and in my face-to-face communities.
  2. Post to my Instagram account at least 3 times this week, increase my followers to 30. Try to follow at least 70 quality accounts.
  3. Update my Instagram user description to show my purpose and connect with my PLN.
  4. Create YouTube showcasing 3 new poses I learned this week. Think of a quality title for my video to increase viewership.

I am happy and excited to say that I have achieved all my goals this week! Something I appreciate about the learning online process and using my blog to document my process is that I am held accountable. When I post my goals for the week, it helps me to stay focused and not loose site of my end goal. This is something I think would be important when working with students as well. Goals and posting about our goals to our personal learning networks helps keep us accountable. It gives you a purpose, an audience, and the support you may need.

My Successes


I am very happy with the YouTube video I made this week. I was able to add music, video, pictures, and a caption. I am hoping I get a few views on this video and even if I don’t it reminded me how easy it is to make a movie with Windows Movie Maker. There aren’t many bells and whistles, but it fits my purpose this week. Next week I hope to try a different movie publisher, such as animoto. Do you have any other suggestions that you think I should try?

The video was inspired by a prenatal yoga workout I had pinned on my Pinterest board called 5 Prenatal Yoga Moves Every Mama-To-Be Should Try. I have really noticed a positive reaction from my body when I practice prenatal yoga. Research says it should help with labour and delivery… here’s hoping!

Another success I had this week was growing my PLN on Instagram. I am currently at 31 followers and following 74 accounts. I am finding Instagram to be a good tool for connecting with others who are interested in prenatal yoga. I haven’t had much success growing my PLN on twitter in the yoga sphere, but I guess every tool has a purpose!

My Struggles

I only have 15 posts on Instagram. I thought I would have a much easier time documenting this process with pictures, but finding time and space to photograph and document everything is proving to be challenging. Maybe this is a limitation of Instagram and using photos to post this process?

Looking to Next Week

It is has to believe that there are only 4 weeks of classes remaining. As I start to look toward the end goal, I would like to find a way to create a final product that sums up my process. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should do?

My goals for next week are to:

  1. Continue to attend and participate in prenatal yoga classes both through online resources and in my face-to-face communities.
  2. Pin a few more prenatal yoga resources.
  3. Get at least 20 posts on my Instagram account.
  4. Decide on how I will summarize my learning project.

 

 

 

 

Creators & Sharers

The open education movement allows access to education on the internet. By allowing open access, we are breaking down the four walls of the classroom, allowing the marginalized to access education, and becoming a global community of learners, sharers, and creaters. Over the past few years there has been increasing popularity in creating open-access of academic journals, people participating and contributing to MOOCs, and information activism. By supporting the open education movement, we are breaking down financial barriers and progressing towards equal access for all learners. In order to continue this movement, it is important to teach our students to not only be consumers of digital content, but also creators and sharers.

Why Open Education Matters from Blink Tower on Vimeo.

Often it is assumed that because students are young, they are digital natives; however, they need to explicitly be taught digital citizenship. One of the key components to digital citizenship is understanding that other people have created and own content that is posted online and it is important to attribute their work appropriately. This can be started at a very young age by just writing the author and title of a book and it will grow from there. As well, students should know the difference between copying, remixing, creating, and sharing whilst developing the skills of content curation and how to use creative commons.

 

Share, Remix, Reuse: Creative Commons in Your Library from lkstrohecker

 

Below you will find a lesson to use as a starting point to introducing your students to creating and sharing online using creative commons. The lesson is aligned with the Saskatchewan Digital Citizenship Continuum.

Knowledge: What will students understand?

  • Other people created and own the content that is posted online.
  • There are various ways of organizing information and we need to learn skills to find the information we are looking for. o I cannot believe everything that I find online.

Skills: What will students be able to do?

  • Search for copyright free images on appropriate websites and name their source.
  • Navigate appropriate websites as provided by the teacher.
  • Tell an adult if they find content online that makes them feel uncomfortable.

Creating and sharing are important components of transliteracy and digital citizenship as they give learning a purpose, an audience, and allow for connections. Through creating and sharing students should appreciate literature in all media forms. It is important not to get distracted by the “bells and whistles” of things and to remember your purpose. If we work together to achieve open access, we are working towards social justice.

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Creative Commons via Transliterate Librarians

 

 

Me Inspiring Me

My Week in Review

I have been sharing some of the same struggles some my classmates have been experiencing in past weeks this week. I found it really difficult to stay committed to my 3 days a week of yoga and posting it for my learning community to see. I guess this happens with the ebb and flow of learning, but I am feeling some pressure as this learning isn’t just for the sake of learning, it is part of an assignment and in the end a final evaluation.

Although I wasn’t able to commit to my 3 hour long sessions this week, doesn’t mean this project was put on the back burner. I feel like my yoga practice is starting to influence my life in a greater way than just being a learning project that will end at the end of the semester. The poses I have been learning from my PLN are often used sporadically throughout the day. For example, the other night I woke up at 3:30am due to pain in my lower back and hips (we are preparing to sell our house this week and I maybe over did it on the weekend). I could not get comfortable no matter how many pillows or times I flipped from side to side. So I got out of bed and did a hips, hamstrings, and lower back sequence in the living room and then returned to bed. To my surprise, the throbbing pain had dissipated and although I was not able to get back to sleep until around 5:30am, I was at least able to lay in bed and try to rest without pain.

As I was laying in bed, I had a lot of time to reflect on this learning project and it got me thinking of my pre-assessment. I decided I should do a reflection this week as a midterm assessment (as seen below). I also thought about the process of learning online. I have found doing a self-guided learning assignment, rather than one with more structure, such as a MOOC or creating something with a final product, is a lot more challenging that I anticipated. I am enjoying the process of learning something that I am passionate about and using my social network to learn, contribute, and create, as I believe this is lifelong skill that I will use again, but at the same time, this experience has been a struggle for me as I can only hope that my learning is evident through my twitter feed, Instagram postsPinterest board, and blog posts.

Midterm Assessment

 My Successes

During my learning project I have experimented with some different social media tools. I have enjoyed trying new tools and can see some of these working in my classroom in the future. Below are the tools I have tried out:

 hyperlapse Hyperlapse Hyperlapse allows you to easily shoot time lapse videos. Basically you shoot a video in the app and it allows you to speed up the video to varying degrees.

I have really found this app useful in sharing my practice as it allows me to video and upload my videos quickly.

 vidstitch Vidstitch Vidstitch allows you to post a picture and video as one in a collage. This mixed media is great way to showcase both videos and photos.

This app has allowed me to use photos and videos in a post, which really enhances the post.

 instagram Instagram Instagram is a social media site where you can share pictures and comment or like on others photos.

This has been the cornerstone to my project. The reason this outlet has been so important is because this is where I have been able to grow my PLN the most. I have been able to gain quality followers and have followed other accounts with like interests. By using appropriate hashtags, I have also increased the amount of likes I have gotten on my photos. Fitness is a major industry that is showcased on Instagram.

 Capture Twitter Twitter is a social media site where you can share updates with your network up to 140 characters. Quality posts are concise and contain quality hashtags.

Twitter hasn’t been the best outlet for this learning project as I find it hard to restrict my mini-reflections to 140 characters. I have followed some new accounts on Twitter that deal with my learning project and have found some great articles this way, but this is not my primary site for this purpose.

 pinterest Pinterest Pinterest is a visual bookmarking tool that helps you discover and save creative ideas.

I have really enjoyed the prenatal yoga resources I have found to this point on my Pinterest account. It is nice having one common place to bookmark my sources so I can visit and revisit them.

 

So far I have enjoyed posting about my learning project online. Although I have never met the people in my PLN and they show their support with a “like” or a “follow” they have inspired and pushed me to keep going on this journey. Getting a “like” when you are feeling vulnerable or nervous about sharing something has been more powerful than I would have thought.

My Struggles

Something I have struggled with this past week is posting my progress online every time I practice yoga and maybe that is ok. Many times I have practiced yoga using the open sources I have found on the internet, but have forgotten to post about it. I have enjoyed blogging about my progress weekly as it keeps me focused.

Another thing I have struggled with this week is the questions: Is anyone actually benefiting from this other than me? Again maybe it is ok that I am the only one benefiting from this and maybe I am impacting someone else just by posting my progress online that I don’t know about. In the end, this process is about me. I reposted a great photo this week on my Instagram account. As I continue this learning process I hope to live by this quote and focus on me.

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Quote via YogaInspiration

Looking to Next Week

Here are my goals for next week, hoping by posting them online and for my PLN to see I will stay accountable!

  1. Continue to attend and participate in prenatal yoga classes both through online resources and in my face-to-face communities
  2. Post to my Instagram account at least 3 times this week, increase my followers to 30. Try to follow at least 70 quality accounts.
  3. Update my Instagram user description to show my purpose and connect with my PLN.
  4. Create YouTube showcasing 3 new poses I learned this week. Think of a quality title for my video to increase viewership.

 

 

Fear not.

I am feeling some of the same feelings I had last semester. I left EC&I 832 feeling digitally literate and confident with my ability to teach digital citizenship, but this week I was thrown a curve ball! I was introduced to many new social media sites and tools. I had heard about a few of these sites, but never really knew what they were, nor had the curiosity to check out.

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Photo Credit: filipinooutsourcers via Compfight cc

Many of these sites, such as YikYak and 4chan, allow users to comment and participate anonymously. Nima Naimi says the anonymity offered by the app may lead to a lack of empathy and users saying things that they wouldn’t normally say in person. Participants in these communities can say and do almost anything they want without being accountable. So we should ban them and rid the internet of these sites, right?

Young people are also turning to the internet and social media to cyber self-harm. Students are inflicting psychological self-harm on sites such as Reddit, Ask FM, and Tumblr. They do this by creating fake online identities to attack themselves and inviting strangers to do the same. They may be doing it to finally open the conversation so they can get the help and support they need, they may be experiencing a mental health disorder and this is the most suiting outlet for them, maybe it is low self-esteem or depression. Needless to say, this is a growing issue and is impacting more and more teens and youth. So we should ban them and rid the internet of these sites, right?

Teens and students are also being exposed to porn and explicit images at younger ages. All you need is one kid in the playground going looking for the bad stuff and every kid sees it. Students are seeing stuff on the internet that they are unable to process and are confused about. Furthermore, one student can expose many others to these online searches. For example, just this past week at school we found in the search history on one of our shared tablets “porn” and some other explicative searches. Unfortunately, since this is a shared tablet and doesn’t require a log-in we were unable to find out who (out of the 3 classrooms using the tablet) was performing this search. So we should ban them and build restrictive firewalls of these sites, right?

The answer to all the above questions is NO. Of course we have to be aware of the complicated and sometimes complex issues that may come from these sites, but at the same time there is a bigger picture. How do we teach our students to be empathetic in online spaces? How do we combat issues such as cyber self-harm and cyber-bullying? How do we help kids cope with a digital deluge of inappropriate images?

The answer is not by shoving it under the rug and pretending it is not an issue. The answer is also not by banning students from using the internet and restricting all access. The answer is by teaching and modeling digital citizenship. If we don’t explicitly teach, keep the conversations open, and talk about the issues, we are leaving students to figure out these complicated and complex issues on their own. Something they may not be capable of doing at this point in time.

To be honest, I was quite shocked to hear of some of the popular sites and things available on the internet (even though I consider myself as quite tech savvy). I am thankful for this course and my learning project as it has given me a purpose to:

“Download it, try it, poke around, see how it works, see the kinds of things that are being posted,” he suggested. “And that’s just going to help you have a better understanding and open up a dialogue with kids.” – Dan Misener via CBC News

 

 

The tool may change, but the issues remain the same.

“If you’re going to ignore social media in the classroom, then throw out the ISTE Standards for Students and stop pretending that you’re 21st century.” – Vicki Davis

In A Guidebook for Using Social Media in the Classroom, Vicki Davis lists a bunch of hypothetical questions regarding letter writing, e-mails, and social media. I wonder if these were actual concerns for teachers when they thought about letter writing and establishing pen pals. If I think back to when I was in school, I actually think this was a concern. I remember writing letters in my Operation Christmas Child Shoebox and was told not to put any specific details about my identity (address, last name, etc.) in my letter. However, this form of writing was very powerful and since I am talking about it right now, it definitely had an impact on me.

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Jason Howle via https://flic.kr/p/e5wZ3t

The “fear” of taking learning outside of the 4 walls of the classroom has always been there. There are risks in everything we do. We cannot allow the “fears” of using social media in the classroom outweigh the benefits. Students will be exposed to social media and engage and create a mediated online identity whether or not we include social media in the classroom. It is our job to help them become digital citizens and digital leaders. As Vanessa said, “the use of social media in the classroom can and should be promising. Like the calculator though, unless students are taught how to use it effectively (as students), it has the potential of becoming problematic.”

Many kids are leaving social networks and transitioning out of broadcast social media (Facebook and Twitter) and switching to narrowcast tools (Messengers and Snapchat). They are personalizing their social media experience and prefer to share more transient posts with their closest friends rather than portraying a sanitized split life. Some 13-year-olds check social media 100 times a day, when they are not posting on social media, they are lurking. With that being said, I am sure the tool in which students use to participate will continue to change, but the social lives of networked teens will continue to encounter complicated and complex issues.

Students will participate in social media either way… How can we harness the power of social media in our schools? How can we teach students to use social media effectively? Why is it so important for us to explicitly address the complicated and complex issues of social media?

There are many risks and benefits of allowing children going online, as teachers and parents it is our job to model and teach students how to participate online appropriately. We cannot ignore social media in the classroom, in the school, and the impact it has on our students lives.