Category Archives: Digital Literacies

Sharing “Student Privacy” at Lakehead University Faculty of Education

Recently, I was honoured to be invited to share with first year B.Ed. students (aspiring teachers) at Lakehead University (Thunder Bay Campus).

We began by thinking about why digital was important, and by examining Padlet as a tool to be used in classrooms.  Our thinking on digital has been captured below.  Please feel free to add to our ideas.

 

Made with Padlet

As we used Padlet, we considered what security settings we would use, and how a tool like this might be used to extend learning in a classroom setting.

How can a tool like Padlet be used effectively in instruction without risking student privacy violations?

The reading slides for the presentation have been posted below. My contact information is on the last slide, or leave a comment on this blog if you need further information.

Featured Image by Wesley Fryer shared under a CC-BY-SA-2.0 License.

#ONEWORDONT #ONEWORD2017

Back in August, Carlo Fusco invited me to speak on his podcast about my education passions, and the things that were keeping me up at night.

(The podcast can be found here)

In the podcast, I quickly outline my concern about the gap between what I see happening in schools, and what we need to learn to thrive in 2017 and beyond in the digital economy.

However, it was later in 2016 that I listened to Audrey Watters and Kin Lane in the Tech Gypsies Podcast, when they talked about each and every one of us being responsible to learn the things we must learn to make sense of the world, and to make good decisions.

The entire podcast is worth your time, and I highly recommend listening to it regularly.  If you only have a few minutes, begin around 35:00 (36:45 if you are really short on time, and Caution: Language can be explicit at times)

We need a more digitally literate society.  There are so many examples of why this is true, and I will be exploring those further this week.

Fullan's 6 C's don't require technologyEven when we consider the thinking around 21st Century Learning, and the 6 C’s (or 4 C’s) that we so readily accept, we are missing the part where digital literacies are critical to making good decisions for ourselves and for our children.

 

 

 

Throughout 2016, I worked to craft careful messages to influence others about the importance of digital literacies.

In 2017, rather than a focus on trying to convince others that digital literacies are important, I am committed to providing an open structure where others can learn more about technology with me.

I am convinced that in this world where facts are difficult to find, each and every one of us needs to find our voice and lead learning that will ensure that our connections are creating positive change in our world.

My focus word for 2017 is

LEAD

[rhymes with seed, feed, need]

 

This spoken word piece, written and performed by Chinaka Hodge at TEDWomen 2016, pushes all of us to find the leader inside ourselves.

Digital Literacies: Simon Sinek on Millennials and Social Media

Below is the portion of the Simon Sinek interview that deals with Millennials and their addiction to social media and cell phones.

As a school system, what are our obligations in ensuring our young people have the skills they need to thrive in today’s world?

What digital literacies are needed?  What understanding do they need around the impact of instant access?

Simon Sinek raises interesting questions around what Millennials (and others, including their parents) need, and what we need to change in classrooms for today’s kids.

 

 

*Featured image by Jimmy Chang on Unsplash

Learning Network Leadership – A Path Forward

If we are to build an effective learning network,

what will it look like?

An effective learning network is complex, changing, growing, shrinking, morphing over old, new and evolving platforms.  It reaches into classrooms and across the globe, held together by personal learning networks (PLNs) that continually build new connections, cultivate new relationships and learning while allowing others to dissipate.

It centres on individual connections and actions, yet provides far-reaching value.

It allows learning to reach the student desk more quickly than our old structures.  It puts an end to the geographic privilege of access, builds collaborative efficacy over distance, normalizes collaboration as a way of professional practice, and amplifies promising practices.

Individual Workflow – Personal Learning Environment or PLE

An effective network is composed of educators who work openly by default.  Their daily workflow (Personal Learning Environment or PLE)  includes personal learning that comes not only from traditional sources, like books and research articles, but also through efficient searching for educator blogs, tweets (microblogs), ebooks, audio books, webcasts, videos and exploring other online digital content that takes them into classrooms and into the minds of educators.  

Content is organized and shared back to the community in a format that will reach their audience (parents, teachers, ECEs, leaders, community).  They connect online with people in similar or different roles to have discussions, share strategies, consider ideas, connect thinking and stay in tune with what is happening in the world of the people they serve.  They bring in the experts they need to ensure student outcomes are improving.

And, as they learn, they document that learning in a way that is valuable to others, considering audience and format, privacy and purpose.  They share that learning back to their audience in a way that models digital citizenship and celebrates the work being done in their schools.

  1. Collecting Information – Leaders dedicate time for professional learning and develop competencies in effectively exploring and organizing relevant content, including blogs, podcasts, discussions, monographs and articles shared by others through social media.  They share these information and knowledge collecting strategies with peers, teachers, students and the community.  They understand how to access the information they need by leveraging the capabilities of the network.
  2. Connecting in Physical and Digital Spaces – Leaders value their connections to others and the learning that comes from conversations in person and online.  They continue to nurture and build connections, bringing value to their organizations and those they serve.  They model the importance of connectivism for students and other educators.
  3. Curating and Sharing Important Learning with Others – Leaders streamline the flow of information by filtering, packaging, and sharing in a way that mobilizes knowledge for targeted audiences. This is a complex skill that all of our students should also master. 
  4. Creating and Providing Value to the Network – Leaders contribute what they are learning and make their thinking visible to others. This involves documentation and sharing skills, modelling them openly for others in the organization.  Networks are only as valuable as the people in them and what they create and share with others.

Documenting Learning: Capturing the learning (and lack of learning)

  • Understanding a process/protocol for documentation (for example, Documenting for Learning)
  • Choosing an appropriate tool and product (text, blog, image, video, webcast, podcast, report, etc.)
  • Developing expertise in editing products (audio and video editing, website development)
  • Technical expertise
  • Reflecting (what to share, what audience, when?)
  • Modelling all of these for those you serve in the organization (students, educators)

Sharing the Learning (Openly as the Default)

  • Consider the privacy protection of those involved in your learning
  • Consider the intellectual property rights of any work you have used or remixed (develop a deep understanding of Creative Commons Licensing)
  • Consider the most effective and appropriate place to share based on desired audience (with open as default) – online open, online internal, conference, learning session. It is understanding the shifting differences and similarities among platforms, and where audiences reside at the moment.
  • Develop visual media, web and information literacies as well as global literacies
  • Amplify the practices that are making a difference.
  • Contribute in a positive way to the network, modelling this for others in the organization.
  • Where are other learning networks you can leverage?

This view of network leadership presents many entry points, and a shifting variety of digital literacies and skills needed for successful participation in networked learning.

Some of these skills are outlined here.

 

*Featured images by Giulia Forsythe CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0

Resources:

Langwitches Blog: Digital Citizenship and Documenting Learning

Harvard Business Review: Are You Network Literate?

The Digital Skills we Must Teach our Children:  World Economic Forum, 2016

The Tipping Point to Transformation: David Culberhouse

 

Retweet or Share?

Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook make sharing easy, much easier, in fact, than reading the full content or discovering the real source of the post.

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-10-12-56-pm

An algorithm, which you have no control over, determines what content reaches your eyes.

There is no human to complain to when that goes wrong.

Facebook makes money through likes and shares.  It wants you to be engaged and share what you see.  Critical thinking, truth, facts, none of these factor into the profit equation.

In what is now referred to the Post-truth era, it is disturbing to think about how much false content is circulated as fact.  Students struggle to determine the difference between truth and fiction.

As parents and educators, how are we modelling practices that promote facts and reliable sources over clickbait and sensationalism?

On social media, liking, sharing and retweeting  shows others the content that is meaningful to you.  It is a reflection of who you are, and what you believe in.

A decade ago, I used to retweet fairly indiscriminately.  If it looked like a good resource, I shared it.  Then, Ira Socol took the time to question my retweet.  I realized that retweeting is actually a form of curating.  If I want to create value online for others, I need to critically evaluate resources and ideas, and share them with descriptive comments.

What I choose to share reflects my professionalism.  What I choose to share is the value I am creating for others.  Before sharing, I carefully evaluate the source, and I often highlight (in my comments) the part I find most valuable.

Fortunately, I have a loud PLN that will quickly question almost anything I share openly.

Other curators help me sort through the unfathomable amount of information on the web.  Stephen Downes, Doug Belshaw, and Audrey Watters are examples of thought leaders who filter, curate and share information regularly.  I know that there will be value in their curations.

More importantly, what do we do when we encounter colleagues and friends sharing misleading information or sheer fiction as though it were factual? Do we just turn our heads the other way, or do we take the time, like Ira Socol did for me, and challenge the source or the thinking?

Barack Obama said that we can’t move democracy forward if we don’t have a common set of facts to refer to.  Now that we have seen the impact of the propaganda spread through social media, what will we do as educators to shut it down?

How do we ensure our students can critically evaluate information,  triangulate sources, and distinguish between belief and fact?

Featured Image by Wesley Fryer CC-BY-2.0

Where Truth Gets Eyeballs

We all know carbon dating has been disproven.  Homosexuality is a choice.  Climate change is a hoax. Hillary is a criminal. Everyone should carry a gun for protection.

All of these statements have been treated as facts in the media over the past few weeks, in preparation for USA to go to the polls.

screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-9-05-43-pm

And many people fully believe them to be true.

“People have difficulty now just sorting out what is true and what is not, and if you don’t have some common baseline of facts… it’s very hard to figure out how we move the democracy forward.”

US President Barack Obama

in conversation with Bill Maher

If we don’t have a common understanding of the facts, how do we have a national conversation about policy?

screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-10-00-02-am

President Obama goes on to say that the filters on the information getting to the people are very challenging to overcome.  News sources report untrue information that people believe.  People don’t think critically about the information delivered to them through AM Talk Radio, Fox News, Facebook, “Reality” TV…

Confirmation bias has people making decisions then looking for the statements in any media to confirm their beliefs.

 

In Canada, what questions are we asking about our media?

During our last national election, some of our largest newspapers used their front pages for partisan politics to influence voters.

screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-8-53-10-am

Canadaland with Jesse Brown explores the state of media in Canada on the regular podcast.

In Ontario schools,  while we are concerned about the ability of our students to make up an article for traditional print media, how do we also ensure that they know how to critically examine media and ask questions to separate fact from belief?

 

If ever there was a time for educators to make digital literacies, including critical thinking, a priority, today is it.

Canada needs critical thinkers who make evidence-informed decisions.  We need citizens who know how to  keep their eyeballs, their heads, and their hearts on the truth, no matter what filters are on the media that they tune into.

We need citizens who stand up to the indoctrination of children and the perpetuation of false information.

screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-9-30-56-am
Canada flag image shared by Brandon Grasley CC-BY-2.0

Featured image (Where’s my eyeball?) shared by Alan Levine CC BY 2.0

Resources:

Literacy Toolkit for a Post-Truth World

OSAPAC Resource for School Leaders

screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-10-22-24-am

OSAPAC Resources for Digital Citizenship: Critical Thinking and Information Literacy

screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-10-25-39-am

The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies by Doug Belshaw

Tech Gypsies Episode 31