#DigCit in Schools

Go to Twitter and search #digcit. You will find interesting discussions and credible accounts to follow regarding digital citizenship. You will also find many educators and accounts sharing information about digital citizenship, for example:

This is an important topic for all educators, regardless of subject area. This week in EC&I 832 we were asked to reflect on the role teachers and schools have in educating students about digital citizenship, our current practices and how to address digital citizenship in the future.

In November 2013, the Saskatchewan Government released the Saskatchewan Action Plan to Address Bullying and Cyberbullying. The action plan included six recommendations, including: Support Students to Develop Responsible and Appropriate Online Behaviour.

recommendation
Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools (2015), Preface

 

 

In response to these recommendations, the Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools was created to assist schools and teachers.  The guide was intended to respond to the following action:

proposed action
Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools (2015), Preface

Similar to the Saskatchewan, other provinces have created digital citizenship guides and resources to support teachers and schools. A few examples:

With all of these resources available, it is easy to see that policy makers and schools divisions believe that providing digital citizenship resources is important.  There are many suggestions and recommendations for providing instruction to students in our schools, but there is no plan to hold teachers accountable to incorporate these teachings.  So what should be the role of teachers and schools in educating students about digital citizenship?

School and Teacher Role

Using resources and supports made available to school divisions, I think it is important for teachers to model responsible behaviour when using digital tools.  Stand alone “digital citizenship” units may have been useful in the past, but at this point in our digital world it is necessary to follow digital citizenship guidelines in all teaching and interactions.  Using various guides and resources mentioned earlier, teachers must begin to close the gap between teaching citizenship vs digital citizenship.

For example, in the article “Turning Students into Good Digital Citizens“, Helen L. Chen explains that skills to navigate the web and social media are, “no replacement for the very basic foundational skills of critical thinking, written and oral communication, and, increasingly, flexibility, teamwork, and the ability to adapt to new working environments and collaborate with people from a wide range of backgrounds”.  Knowledge and experience using digital tools must be paired teaching students how to be good citizens.  I wrote about what it means to be a digital citizen earlier in the course:

  • “At this point, digital citizenship and citizenship are intertwined as life does not exist without the Internet anymore. As educators, it is more than managing a digital footprint, but rather acting ethically online with knowledge and empathy and making the transition towards ‘Digital Leadership’ as described by George Couros.”

Most importantly, I think schools should be able to teach students how to think critically, be aware of safety online and be a responsible participant.  Mark Ribble’s 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship is an excellent guide for teachers to think about and incorporate digital citizenship across curriculum.

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In short, I think the responsibility of educating students about digital citizenship can take place when teachers and schools are provided support, resources and most importantly, time.  Teachers need time to learn about digital citizenship through professional development opportunities before they can teach their students.

Current Practice

Every school I have worked in during my six year career (six different schools – life of an arts education specialist) has had a different dynamic when it comes to technology in the school.  This is affected by the changing tools supported by my division over the last six years (for example, introduction of Chromebooks, iPads, Google Suite and other approved apps), as well as the level of engagement from administration and down to staff and students.  Using the SAMR Model, technology was often seen as a substitution tool at the beginning. The overhead projector was replaced with the digital projector or using computers to type up written work instead of a neat handwritten copy.

samr_r2

I moved into a new build school in 2017, complete with beautiful interactive projectors.  We received “training” on these projectors which included a 30-minute presentation on how to connect your computer to the projector (by someone from the company).  I am not kidding – these very expensive projectors with lots of capabilities quickly turned into a very expensive data projector.  It was not until after I did my own research (watching YouTube videos) and then attending another training session that I was able to make full use of the projectors. But, I recently returned from maternity leave to the same school with a huge staff change this year, and unfortunately many projectors are not being used to their full capabilities again.

While that story is not related to teaching digital citizenship in our schools, I think it shows the importance that teachers and schools need to prioritize and commit to learning how to use digital tools effectively and responsibly.  In my current school, without digging very deep, the only guidelines I can think of are a Media Release form (provided by my division) and “cellphone jails” with the senior students.  That being said, I am one of the arts education specialists, so it is possible all the grade alike PLCs have their own digital citizenship practices in place and I am not aware.  My thought is that if I am using technology with students, digital citizenship conversations and teaching need to take place.

BUT, before I started taking educational technology courses at the U of R in 2018, the term digital citizenship was not part of my vocabulary or teaching.  I have always had a keen interest in using tech with students and considered myself to be “tech savvy” and current with social media.  But I had no idea about my role and responsibilities as a teacher to create well-rounded digital citizens.  I bet there are many teachers today who feel the same as I did two years ago.  How do we change this?

Digital Citizenship in Schools – The Future

During our class this week, we participated in a discussion to determine key characteristics of digital citizens at various ages.  Two of the questions looked at ways to support teachers and schools and anticipated challenges.  Something that stood out to me was the lack of professional development for teachers.  Sure, policy guides and resources are great, but they are only effective is teachers are given an opportunity to understand how to use them.  And while there are many optional PD sessions available (Digital Citizenship PD offered by the STF), it still requires the teacher to find the information about the sessions and time to attend.

My classmate Shelby explains that the importance of educating students on media literacy and shares a definition from CommonSense Media: media literacy is the “ability to identify different types of media and understand the messages they’re sending”.  Teaching media literacy includes helping students learn to think critically, be smart consumers of products and information, recognize point of view and create media responsibly.  These skills are relevant in many subject areas and are an important part of the digital citizenship puzzle.

What if our school division identified digital citizenship as a focus area (similar to numeracy, literacy, early years and FNIM instruction)?  Then every school would be required to create a school-wide goal that aligns with the school division goals.  Individual teacher professional goals could then relate an align with the goals.  School-wide and community engagement would result through various initiatives (instead of a Literacy or Numeracy night, we could host Digital Citizenship Night).  With a little extra push from school divisions to include digital citizenship as part of all curriculum with students, I think we would start to see a trickle-down effect, especially if we involve families.  If we begin to speak a common language regarding digital citizenship/leadership with staff, students and families, then we will be moving in the right direction to prepare our students for the future.

ribble quote
Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools (2015), p.5

Until next time,

@Catherine_Ready

The Evolution of my Digital Identity

This week in EC&I 832, we were tasked with reflecting on the idea of digital identity and how our past, present and future practices relate to our own digital identity. I will explore:

  • the concept of digital identity;
  • my evolving digital identity from the past, present and future; and
  • practices related to my students’ and daughter’s digital identities

What is digital identity?

Daina and Allison presented their video in class this week sharing an excellent overview of digital identity, first looking at the concept of identity followed by digital identity.  In the video, they shared Nora Lizenberg’s definition that “a digital identity is the representation through a set of features of the identity of an individual that is used in some processes of interaction with others in distributed networks for recognition of the individual.”

That is a lot to take in, so here is my break down of the definition:

  • “digital identity” (who and how we are represented online)
  • “representation through a set of features” (features of online apps, like profile pictures, bios, etc)
  • “used in some processes of interaction with others in distributed networks” (maybe through comments and posts on social media sites)

A few more definitions:

    • “A person’s digital identity is an amalgamation of any and all attributes and information available online that can bind a persona to a physical person”.  (Forbes.com)
    • “A digital identity is always unique in the context of a digital service, but does
      not necessarily need to uniquely identify the subject in all contexts. In other words, accessing a digital service may not mean that the subject’s real-life identity is known”. (NIST)

Overall, my understanding is that your digital identity begins with what you share about yourself online and information that is available to the public online. The challenge:

Untitled
Common Sense Education

A Brief History of My Digital Identity:

Before 2007:

It is the year 2000 and I am using my family computer, complete with dial-up Internet. I have patiently waited for my brother to get off ICQ so I could login to MSN Messenger.  I am using the Hotmail e-mail I created with my dad (cutie_cat2000).  First, I use Yahoo Search to look for meaningful song lyrics to add to my display name, then I patiently wait for my friends to appear online. I usually stay “offline” until someone important signs in, and the chatting begins.  This ritual took place a few times a week and it was the beginning of life online.

  • Digital identity so far: cutie_cat2000 e-mail address (I’m cute [haha], Cat as a nickname [although I was never called Cat] and it’s the year 2000)

Throughout the rest of elementary and high school, I explored various social media sites like Hi5 (remember when you could see who viewed your photos?), MySpace (top friend drama!) and Facebook (Grade 12 year, 2006-07).  I wish I could remember a way to login to some of my old accounts, or to view the Geocities websites I made in the early days of my Internet journey.  A few things I do remember are that I only shared a few very carefully selected photos on my profiles.  Prior to about 2006, my digital footprint existed, but I can’t find any history of it today.

Enter Facebook. The beginning of the end.  Multiple photo albums from single day events.  Any picture is fair game – the more unflattering, the better.  It was almost a game to tag friends in unfortunate photos before they had a change to review the tags, leaving a trace of our activities online forever.

  • Digital identity in high school: hundreds of photos shared on Facebook, daily status updates of mundane life details and personal information in my bio like: full name, birthdate, location, school, job, relationship status, religious views, political views, favourite music, TV and movies, etc
  • Quantity of posts over quality. No real “theme” or personal brand

University years, 2007-2013

I continued to use Facebook (it was a BIG deal in University) by sharing photos, comments and posts that usually had no purpose.  One thing I remember with Facebook posts – I moved to Montreal for my undergrad, and I found that comments from my Saskatchewan friends often included bad language.  I always deleted comments that made me feel uncomfortable or did not align with my values.

I also started using Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn during this period.  I even purchased domain names in my name as a way to protect my digital identity.  But I can honestly say that I didn’t really understand why I was doing it except that I might want it one day.

  • Digital identity in University: becoming more aware of how my personal social media reflects who I am, therefore trying to control the type of posts and photos on my personal pages
  • Using the same username across all sites as a way to create a personal brand (not sure why I did this, but someone probably told me it was a good idea.) After a digital cyber-sleuthing activity we completed in class this week, I probably would not do that again. Same username makes it very easy to find you online.

Transition period – 2014 – present

This time period of my life represents when I started working as a private piano teacher in Regina, school teacher with Regina Public Schools, followed by lots of travel and major life events (getting married, having our first child).  As I developed my personal music lesson business, I became more aware of my digital identity online. I wanted to control the narrative and make sure that if potential clients ‘Googled’ me, they would be impressed with my accomplishments and feel confident in my abilities as a music teacher.  I was trying to attract business, so I did a few things to “clean up” my digital footprint.

Digital identity in my professional life:

  • Utilize LinkedIn profile and make connections in the community and arts industry
  • Focus Twitter account on tweets related to music education and arts in our community. I wanted to appear as an active member of the Regina community.
  • Create catherinereadymusic.com to attract students and provide information (I tried to direct all my social media posts about teaching piano directly to my website)
  • Clean up Facebook photos albums, tagged photos and posts on my timeline (I hid most of my albums, made sure my profile was very private and was careful with what I posted online. I always asked myself, “would a parent hire me to teach their child if they saw this?”)

Luckily these efforts were not wasted, as they led into my career as a teacher with Regina Public Schools.  I wanted potential human resource professionals to be impressed if they Googled my name, so I check out my name frequently online.  Fortunately,  “Catherine Ready” brings up websites and photos that I have selected or given permission to post online.

Present – Future

Over the last couple of years, I have been more selective with the photos and information I post online.  While I consider myself someone who shares online, I try not ‘spam’ my friends and family with daily content (except for Snapchat – send baby and dog photos to a few family members).  As a family, my husband and I made a few rules and guidelines to follow when posting about our daughter. Mostly, we try to share happier moments and avoid naked baby photos.  As my classmate Leigh mentions in her post about Digital Identity, I try to make use of the ISTE STEP approach when posting online.

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“Building and Keeping a Positive Digital Identity” -ISTE

As I look towards the future with my family and students, I reflect on the different types of online identities. These types should consider security, privacy and anonymity and include:

  1. Open – shared through all platforms
  2. Avoidance – avoid all online activities and social media
  3. Audience – use different social media platforms for different purposes
  4. Content – carefully considered and curated content
  5. Compartmentalization – different identities on different platforms

My types:

  • Past (early years) – OPEN user, sharing freely and exploring social media
  • Past (University years) – AUDIENCE user – lots of different platforms for different reasons
  • Present (Professional years) – AUDIENCE user, shifting to a CONTENT user. For example – Instagram is for curated photos and closer friends, Facebook is to share with teacher friends and family, Twitter is for professional life (no personal life)
  • Future – I am beginning to see a shift towards a COMPARTMENTALIZATION user, especially as I consider how I want my daughter’s identity to grow online.

One thing I have learned throughout my educational technology courses with Dr. Alec Couros is that we need to stay on top of the frequent changes to our digital world.  Learning about privacy policies and terms of use agreements in my major project reminds me that we have control of what we post online and the information we share with companies and apps.

Returning to the question posed by Common Sense Media: How can I cultivate my digital identity in ways that are responsible and empowering?  In the ISTE White Paper, “Building and Keeping a Positive Digital Identity” (2015) , five essential questions are presented to think about when building a digital identity:

  1. What information am I sharing
  2. How secure is it?
  3. Whom am I sharing it with?
  4. What am I leaving behind?
  5. What are my rights?

Furthermore, these questions can help “kick-start meaningful conversations about online behavior, help students understand the broader impact that online identity can have in their daily lives, and provide a foundation of understanding for adopting appropriate online practices” (ISTE, 2015).  On Twitter, a few classmates (Amanda, Leigh, Shelby and Nancy) had a great discussion about encouraging a positive online presence.

The general consensus is that parents and teachers need to be part of the conversation to help young people build positive digital identities and encourage responsible interactions online.  By working with younger generations, we can empower our students and children to make choices that enhance their digital identity.

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Until next time,

@Catherine_Ready

Week 2 – Quality Content

This week we were tasked at looking at the concept of digital citizenship, including Mike Ribble’s nine elements through our major project update.  Since the main goal for my major project is to guide students through the safe use of Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and Flipgrid, I will focus on Ribble’s S3 Framework (Safe, Savvy and Social).

First, a quick update with my Instagram and TikTok highlights this week:

With each post I make on Instagram or TikTok, I try to imagine that I am a young user of the apps.  When I receive comments or direct messages, would these be appropriate considering the content I am posting?  Everything is fairly “lighthearted” with @callie.the.golden.pup, but I can’t help but think about the audience I am attracting. What if I flipped it and I was actually someone with inappropriate or dangerous intentions? I am attracting a young audience with my Instagram and TikTok accounts, so what if I used this as a way to lure my followers down a dangerous path?

This reminds me of some ‘Social Media Rules’ from MediaSmarts.ca :

  • I will only follow people I know personally.
  • I will always show an adult any message or post that makes me feel uncomfortable or threatened.
  • I will never share any personal information about myself, such as my age, where I live, and where I go to school.
  • I will keep my whereabouts to myself: I will turn off any location settings that tell people exactly where I am or where a photograph was taken.
  • I will never publish anything I wouldn’t want my parents, teachers, and grandparents to see, because photos can be shared widely, with anyone, in a matter of seconds.
  • When creating a password, I will make one up that is hard for someone else to guess but easy for me to remember. I will never reveal it to anyone (except my parents or a trusted adult) – not even my best friend.
  • I will always check my privacy settings and go over them with my parents.
  • I will practice the golden rule and always treat others as I would like to be treated. I will T.H.I.N.K. before I leave a comment or send a message: is it True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, Kind?
  • I will not upload or tag photos of other people without their permission.

By using these guidelines and thinking about digital citizenship from a responsible use policy compared to an acceptable use policy (Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools), we can encourage our students and children to protect themselves and others. This is considered the base of digital citizenship as ‘Safety’ in Ribble’s S3 Framework.

acceptable

Instagram: @callie.the.golden.pup

We had a slower week on Instagram in terms of new followers, comments and likes. I continue to post at least daily, but I am struggling with coming up with some original content. I read an article, Everything You Need to Know About Doggo Lingo to try an incorporate the terminology in my captions and comments.

This week I received three direct messages from the same follower. Each message contained a picture that I was able to view once before disappearing.  This made me feel very uncomfortable, because I was a little afraid of what kind of picture I would be opening, especially since I do not know this follower personally.  What if it was something gross? Luckily it was just a picture of the dog, but it made me stop and think about my own social media rules. With Instagram, there are direct message photo options: View Once, Allow Replay, Keep in Chat. Additionally, you can “unsend” an image or message if the receiver has not opened the message. What are the implications of these kind of functions?

Questions/Plans for next week:

  • Should I comment on other posts to increase engagement?
  • Experiment with different hashtags and take advantage of common trends (like throwback thursday #tbt)
  • How engaged do I want to be with other followers? I might experiment with my follower engagement (replying to comments, liking more posts) this week to see how this affects the number of followers and likes.

TikTok @callie.the.golden.pup

TikTok was blowing up with new likes, comments and followers this week.  Each time I check the app, I have at least 5 new followers. Overall my content was a hit or miss though- I haven’t quite figured out what my followers “want”.  One thing I have noticed is that if I spend a lot of time on a post with captions and choosing a trending audio clip, I generally receive more views.  But that is the hard part – trying to find the time to watch enough TikTok videos to find something interesting to do with my dog, Callie.  I also find the video editing function on the app to be very challenging to use – it is hard to sync up the video and audio.

Questions/Plans for next week:

  • Look at my followers to see a trend (so far, it appears to be very young girls) – what kinds of videos receive the most likes?
  • Look at some pet accounts that have thousands (or millions) of views and likes.  What makes these accounts different or special?
  • Research some tips and tricks for video editing on TikTok
  • Using this article as a guide to increase engagement, I will:
    • participate in the daily TikTok “challenges”
    • reply to comments
    • post 3 times a day (I have a feeling this will be impossible, but maybe I can try!)

Flipgrid

My “everything you need to know” guide is a work in progress and should be complete in the next week! Stay tuned. As a teaser – there are some significant privacy and data sharing concerns with this app. As a result (and due to my school division policy), I am rethinking about how/if I will continue to use the app with my students.

Snapchat

Nothing new to report, but Snapchat is up next on my list to complete an ‘everything you need to know’ guide.  Last week I explained that I would not be adding Snapchat to my experiential list, but that I would still complete and app overhaul.  Through conversations with my students, it seems like it is one of the most used communication and messaging app.

Plans for next week:

  • Post Flipgrid “everything you need to know” guide
  • Instagram
    • try to increase engagement with followers
  • TikTok
    • Participate in daily challenges, post more frequently, engage with followers
    • Learn more about video editing within the app
  • Snapchat
    • Begin research for my app overhaul

Thank you for reading!  If there is anything you would love to have in my app “everything you need to know” guides, please let me know in the comments.

Until next time,

@Catherine_Ready

Friday Night Dinner – My Generational Divide Focus Group

Every Friday night, my family gathers for a big family dinner planned and executed by my mother. We call it “Friday Night Dinner” and it is something everyone looks forward to after a long week of work and school. I get to reconnect with my brothers and sisters and all the cousins run around and play. After dinner, we sit around our big dinner table and have conversations that usually bring out our generational divides (My parents, the 5 kids [siblings and myself], our partners and 7 grandkids).

In short, we have our very own ‘generational divide’ focus group that meets weekly to discuss the latest issues and trends in our world.  Generational stereotypes? Yup, we cover all those and more.c4552553a55501a39ae09446e1d519ce There are “OK, boomer” comments from the Gen Z’s, the Gen X’s calling the Millenials lazy (read my classmate Matteo’s post) and the phone-addicted Gen Z’s being anti-social in the corner. The Gen Alphas are usually in their own world, so there is still hope, right?

Although many sources use different birth years to determine your generation, I like this image below (from 2015), as it highlights and pokes fun at some of the typical opinions and experiences of each generation.   a-generation-gaps-bruce-feirstein-vf

During our class discussion, I wondered if being focused on generation gaps was something more prevalent today. But Dr. Couros showed us a few different magazine covers over the last 40 years, each one condemning the next generation as being lazy, entitled, etc. It appears that a common concern is that the next generation is “doomed” unless we do something about it. With an understanding of the gaps that exist between each generation, we can consider how these divides affect the world we are preparing our students for in the future.

What kind of world?

Gone are the days of sending students on prescribed educational paths that will result in 30-year careers in one industry.  Teachers are often told we are teaching students for jobs that do not even exist. In fact, “in many industries and countries, some of the most in-demand jobs didn’t even exist five or 10 years ago — and the pace of change will only accelerate” and since it is impossible to know what the future holds,  “the key to molding job-ready graduates is to teach students how to live — and learn — at the intersections” (Iste.com).

POG-illustration-500pxThese “intersections” are areas that interdisciplinary learning can take place and we can prepare our students by using models like ‘Portrait of a Graduate’.  Many organizations have created their own ‘portrait’, but here is an explanation by the Oxford School District based in Oxford, MS.  As educators, we have the task of preparing our students for the future by developing skills and a mindset to take on the challenges in their future world.  The world we are preparing our students for is constantly changing, so I think it is important that we focusing on developing relationships with our students, which will allow us to curate their passions and help students find their spark.

Do schools need to change?

The article “Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century” describes new skills that need to be taught to students that build on traditional literacy, research skills, technical skills, and critical analysis skills currently taught in the classroom. These include:

skills

“Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century” (p. 4)

In some ways, schools are already taking on these skills by incorporating the 4 C’s of 21st Century skills as described by my classmate Amanda in her post this week. Amanda explains that, “Cultivating a classroom environment around the 4 C’s also gives students the chance to become “knowledge-able” instead of just knowledgeable”.

Another classmate, Christina, explains that our schools need to change because our culture is changing and “We need to keep up with how the digital world is evolving or we will have students thrown into a world with no skills how to navigate it.”  As educators in a 21st century world, we have a responsibility to keep up with these changes as life long learners.  We can do this by participating in professional development, or taking relevant courses like EC&I 832!

(As a side note – consider reflecting on how you used technology in your first year as a teacher and compare it with the present day. The SAMR model is one way to consider our technology use and how it is evolving.)

I also think it is important to change how we frame digital citizenship conversations with our students.  This includes moving from a cyber safety or fear/avoidance based model to our current model that emphasizes actions a responsible citizen should take.  Last week, I created a video “What does it mean to be a (digital) citizen”, and I think it highlights the shift schools need to take with digital citizenship in schools.

What does citizenship look like in the future?

In the research for the video above, I found a lot of information about moving from a ‘personally responsible’ idea of digital citizenship and to consider using Westheimer’s framework of what it means to be a citizen.  This includes looking at the benefits of participatory and justice-oriented citizens online.

Kinds_of_Citizen

At this point, digital citizenship and citizenship are intertwined as life does not exist without the Internet anymore. As educators, it is more than managing a digital footprint, but rather acting ethically online with knowledge and empathy and making the transition towards ‘Digital Leadership’ as described by George Couros. I love this visual from Sylvia Duckworth and Jennifer Casa Todd.  We have the opportunity to inspire our students to find passion, influence others and make positive change!

diff-dig-cit-1-fi

Returning to my ‘Friday Night Dinner’ discussion at the beginning of the post, I am curious if we can shift our family conversation to look at the positives each generation has to offer.  The Millenials are pretty good digital citizens, but it is the grandkids that will make all the difference.  Everyday I learn something new from young people as they become digital leaders to promote positive change in our world.  Even though the current passions might be the ‘Renegade’ dance, there is no denying their commitment and dedication.  As educators, parents and adults in the lives of young people, we have the chance to cultivate these passions and help promote the wave of the future: digital leadership.

Until next time,

@Catherine_Ready

Week 1 – Building My Empire

I have two sisters (and two brothers) and we share funny memes and accounts through a group chat on Instagram on a daily basis.  We sometimes talk about how we spend too much time on our phones and this week we chatted about how we should unfollow accounts that make us feel anxious or unhappy.  At that moment, I realized I had hardly looked through my personal social media accounts because I was so focused on building my ‘Callie, the sweet and friendly Golden Retriever” empire.  Why is this relevant? Through my major project experiential journey of Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and Flipgrid, I am quickly learning how time consuming these apps can be when you have specific goals in mind. Here is a little mini compilation of my top TikTok videos/Instagram experience this week (complete with a muted section at 1:00-1:21, due to a copyright claim):

And the nitty-gritty details of my progress this week:

Instagram: @callie.the.golden.pup

In my first major project post, I discussed my hesitation with using my personal life in a public account on both Instagram and TikTok.  So, I decided to use my dog, Callie as a prop and subject of my account. I followed these steps:

    1. Choose a username and make an account.
      • Apparently there are a lot of Golden Retrievers named Callie on Instagram, so I had to use some creative punctuation with the name
    2. Choose a profile picture and create a short bio
      • I briefly looked at different pet accounts, and lots of accounts included the date of birth of their animal and sometimes a flag for the country. I decided to against giving away my location and only added the D.O.B.
      • I chose a nice close up photo of Callie for the profile picture
    3. Make your first post
      • I made the first post before following any accounts – that way potential accounts would see my content if they decide to follow back. This is not based on any research, just my own idea
    4. Use relevant hashtags and format post in a particular style IMG_2344
      • I Googled: “top golden retriever hashtags instagram” and copied the list to my Notes app on my iPhone. **You can only use 30 hashtags per post
      • To create a post with multiple lines, I remember learning from my niece that if you write the caption in the Notes app and format it with dots and lines, the formatting will stay when you copy the caption to Instagram. Why? I have no idea. Maybe something to look into!
    5. Start following accounts and liking photos (I looked at a few of the different hashtags for inspiration).
    6. Continuing posting more content (at least daily), like a variety of posts and follow relevant (dog related) accounts.

Within the first week, I have 145 followers (and counting) and lots of weird interactions with other dog accounts. (Did you know there is a certain “dog” way to write on the Internet? ‘DoggoLingo‘- using words like ‘hooman’ instead of human and ‘doggo’ instead of dog. And some accounts ask if I want to be their ‘fwend’. Weird). With my early success of gaining followers, I read an article “How to make your dog Instagram famous” and learned about some of the ins and outs of the pet Instagram world.

Here are some interesting revelations and interactions on the Instagram with @callie.the.golden.pup.

  • Direct messages to be “fwends”
  • Requests to be brand ambassadors from pet companies
  • Direct messages to join “follow loops” to help other pet accounts gain more followers
  • ‘Suggested accounts’ to follow – as a result, some people from my personal life are following my pet account – which is a little awkward (especially when my siblings start making fun of me for having too much time on my hands).

As I continue my experiential assignment, I am starting to make a list of questions for my research overhaul of Instagram in a few weeks:

  • Privacy – what are the implications of becoming a ‘brand ambassador’? Do I really want to give my home address to a random company in exchange for free merchandise?
  • Direct messages – why? Do you need to be concerned about catfishing or luring?
  • What is the correlation between liking posts, following accounts and receiving more likes and follows?
  • How many posts per day for maximum engagement?
  • Best hashtags?

TikTok @callie.the.golden.pup

TikTok is a bit of uncharted territory for me, as I only started to use the app at the end of November 2019 as part of EC&I 831. Since then I have watched a lot of videos, and continued to follow trends through my nieces’ accounts.

    1. Choose a username and create an account
      • I used the same name as Instagram for continuity and to help with cross-promotion (if that is even a thing with Instagram and TikTok – something to explore)
    2. Profile picture and short bio
      • Again, same as Instagram to keep it simple
    3. Upload your first video
      • I have lots of dog videos on my phone from the last two years of Callie’s life, so I chose a funny audio clip that my nieces used a few times. I figured it must be current and trending.
      • Use hashtags, but most importantly the #foryou or #fyp – more on that later when I do my overhaul of TikTok.
    4. Watch the views, likes and follows come in
      • 500 views in the first two days! 35 likes and a few new follows
      • Different than Instagram, but it appears that views are more important than likes. I think.
    5. Watch lots and lots of videos
      • Part of your success on TikTok depends on staying on top of trends, which you can accomplish by watching hours of videos and adding certain audio clips to a “favourites” tab

Pretty easy! Until I uploaded my next few videos and received less than 100 views per video, sometimes less than 10 views! How is this even possible? I read a lot of articles trying to understand the TikTok algorithm , but it doesn’t make any sense to me or the Internet world. Then I uploaded a video that received almost 1300 views and over 230 likes! What made this video special? Is the content better? I am also noticing a lot of my new followers appear to be young girls (definitely under the recommended age to use the app).

A few questions to consider when I complete my TikTok overhaul:

  • Likes, follows, views – how does this affect engagement? Do I need to follow/like other accounts to receive more attention?
  • Safety/privacy concerns with a young follower base (it looks like a lot of young girls  are following my dog account on TikTok – but what if I was actually an online predator? These are the kind of questions running through my head on a daily basis).
  • How often do you need to post to maintain engagement? Do captions matter (I get a bigger response when I ask a question in my caption)?

Flipgrid

I decided to use Flipgrid with two Grade 7/8 classes at my school. Part of the reason I chose these classes is that one class used Flipgrid two years ago, so I thought they would be able to give me a few tips and tricks.

    1. Read the “Getting Started” post and Educator’s Guide to Flipgrid
    2. Create an educator profile (using my school division Google account)
    3. Create a “grid” – one for each Grade 7/8 class.
    4. Give students some time to explore the functions of Flipgrid before creating a topic.
      • I wanted students to be creative with filters, stickers, text, etc when creating their videos. This also gave me a chance to learn about possible issues with the app.

A few things I learned/questions about Flipgrid this week:

  • Some students showed me how to “add a sticky”, so that you can write out what you want to say when recording. This way you aren’t looking away from the camera while recording. The sticky disappears when you post the video.
  • How do you delete a video that you posted? It is not as intuitive as you think and requires a few steps.
  • Each video shows the number of views – does this make students feel uncomfortable? Is there a way to remove this setting?
  • Privacy/safety – the grid is only available to someone with the link, but how do you guarantee privacy? We talked about use stickers or emojis to cover student faces if they feel uncomfortable.
  • My division policy using Flipgrid – something I will discuss in more detail this week during my app overhaul.

Snapchat

After the first week of daily TikTok, Instagram and Flipgrid use, I realize that I need to adjust my goals for the major project. I don’t feel that Snapchat fits into an ‘experiential’ piece, as I have already used the app daily for over four years. That being said, I am still very curious about the safety, privacy and terms of service guidelines of Snapchat and will complete a research overhaul as planned. I will continue to use the app daily, although will not report on my use in the same way as TikTok, Instagram and Flipgrid. I also feel like there are not enough hours in the day to use all this social media effectively!

Plan for next week:

  • Complete the Flipgrid overhaul
  • Instagram
    • Do some research on how to receive more engagement on Instagram – better hashtags? Posting at certain times of day?
  • TikTok
    • Participate in trending challenges/hashtags – does this increase views/likes?
    • Try some of the tips from this article to get on the ‘For You Page’
  • Flipgrid
  • Snapchat
    • Continue my typical daily use (sending baby snaps and maintaining snapstreaks)

If you read this far, thank you! I have a lot of work I would like to complete with this project, especially when it comes to data privacy and safety.  My ultimate goal:

Guide students and children through the safe use of

Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and Flipgrid

Until next time,

@Catherine_Ready

An evening with Mary Beth Hertz

This week during our EC&I 832 Zoom session, we had an excellent presentation and conversation with Mary Beth Hertz, author of “Digital and Media Literacy in the Age of the Internet” and current high school art/technology teacher.

We shouldn’t be teaching kids to be afraid of social media, or that technology is bad for them. We should treat these tools like any influence in their life and help them manage the responsibilities connected to these tools effectively and ethically.Mary Beth Hertz

There were many takeaways from our conversation, but for the purpose of this post I will focus on my top three:

  1. Learning how the Internet works
  2. Validating what our children/students are doing online
  3. Understanding bias

1. Learning how the Internet works

Hertz explained that part of her high school technology course begins with teaching and learning about how the Internet works – from IP addresses, Wi-Fi, and cookies.  This discussion made me realize I vaguely know what is going on, but not enough to explain it to my students.  Hertz believes it is important for students to understand how their devices connect to the outside world, as well as privacy and safety with the devices. For example, what are the concerns with using the free Wi-Fi in a coffee shop vs your password protected Wi-Fi in your home? What are the safety concerns with being connected to an Alexa or Google Home? Hertz explains that part of being literate in a digital world is understanding the implications of technology, even if you don’t understand the functionality. 

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via GIPHY

Takeaway? We (as educators) need a basic understanding of the Internet to guide our students in a digital world!

2. Validating what are children/students are doing online

In a discussion of some popular apps like Snapchat and TikTok, we highlighted the obsessions or unhealthy communities young people find online.  Hertz focused on the idea that kids are not necessarily addicted to social media, but instead addicted to each other.  We also talked about Manoush Zomoradi, who dedicates an entire episode of her podcast, ‘Note to Self’ about the pressures of maintaining Snapstreaks. I encourage you to listen to the relatively short episode to understand the phenomenon (especially if you are obsessed with streaks, like myself! Going on Day 1038 with my niece…)

That being said, Hertz believes it is possible to teach young people self-regulation and reflection when it comes to technology use.  Another comment she made was that preparing our students to use their time wisely used to be a technology teacher’s job – but now everyone needs to be involved. How to use technology responsibly (and further discussions of digital citizenship) need to be included every time we use technology in the classroom or with our children.  Hertz explains that we should understand that there is value in what they are doing online, and we can validate this by acknowledging the digital divide among our students. Amanda and Daina provide excellent descriptions of Digital Equity and that young people fall into three categories when it comes to technology use.  They are described in an article shared by Hertz as Digital Orphans, Digital Exiles and Digital Heirs.

Takeaway? We need to build relationships with our students so we can understand and appreciate what they are doing online.

3. Understanding bias

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Hertz described bias in a way that was very easy to understand and I immediately started using it with my students this week.  If you are reading something (like “news”), and it makes you feel a certain way (an emotion), then you likely have bias as the author is trying to influence how you feel.  She also explained that bias is very difficult to teach because nothing is just news anymore and articles often lack context.  There is so much media bias and fake news online, how do we teach it as educators?  One suggestion from Hertz was to use AllSides.com, a website dedicated to providing balanced news.  We also need to look at where these biases originate, like from parents as inherited preferences (especially related to politics) or in our own cognitive biases that influence decisions.  This discussion lead towards the importance of fact checking and how ‘Reading Laterally’  helps our students fall out of the trap of not trusting anything.  We need to be a little be skeptical when we read online, but we can help our students by giving them the tools to understand how to avoid being fooled online  and how to make sense of bias.

Takeaway? We need to help our students understand bias and how it influences what we read online. 

As an arts education teacher, I have started talking about digital citizenship and how we use technology with students, even if it feels unrelated to arts ed.  Mary Beth Hertz helped me realize that if you are using technology with students, these conversations about technology need to take place.  It is not only the classroom teacher or the parents’ job – we all have a part in shaping mindful technology users and responsible digital citizens.

Until next time,

@Catherine_Ready

EC&I 831 – Summary of Learning

My final summary of learning for EC&I 831: Social Media and Open Education:

In my summary of learning, I wanted to capture everything I have learned over the last few months. I thought it would be fun to incorporate the top 5 social media apps that we discussed in the course and challenge myself to use or understand the apps.

  • Snapchat (user for the last 3 years)
  • TikTok (user for 1 week)
  • Instagram (user for the last 8 years)
  • YouTube (user for 12 years – my first upload was July 2007!)
  • VSCO (user for 5 years, but only recently understanding the VSCO Girl concept)

I hope the brief social media interludes in the video highlight some of the obsessions and common uses of the apps. I will say one thing – if you have not downloaded TikTok, be careful. I fell into a deep, dark hole of videos for over 2 hours…you’ve been warned!

Secondly, I originally wanted to include Rick Mercer style rants addressing the main issues and topics in EC&I 831. I quickly realized that it is impossible to film in the “rant” style as a solo videographer with a selfie-stick and an iPhone. In the video, I discuss the topics that resonated with me the most:

Lastly, I tried to incorporate all my editing skills acquired over the last couple months with WeVideo, like video overlaying.

I hope you enjoy the video!

@Catherine_Ready

P.S. Thank you to my sister and brother-in-law for letting me use their business, Assiniboia Gallery to record the video. No baby or dog distractions!