Calling All Innovators

Attention Innovators:

Yes, you brave souls who are daring to do school differently. Those of you who are creating new, branching out, experimenting, and sharing ideas.

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Photo CC By Tookapic

This is a call to you to help me.

Help me be a better innovator.

Currently, I am an innovative learner who has spent time creating and learning new things. I have discussed the non-traditional. I have learned in the way that works best for me thanks to a class and instructor who allows me room to do so. I have challenged my own thinking and hopefully the thinking of others. I have used new resources to create and complete tasks in a new way.

But help me be better.

Help me innovate the way a classroom looks. Let’s innovate the way we teach and learn. Let’s use technology to our advantage and not let the stereotype of trouble get in the way. Let’s encourage learning through play and exploration. Let’s get down and dirty for the sake of forming a connection. Let’s try new things because there’s a chance they just might work.

As George Couros said in “The Mindset of an Innovator“,

                      “I question thinking, challenge ideas, and do not accept                                                                                        “this is the way we have always done it” as an acceptable answer                                                              for our students or myself.”

In order to be the most effective innovator, though,  sometimes you have to unlearn.

Unlearn there is only one way to learn a concept. Unlearn technology is a nuisance. Unlearn social media is only for teenagers. Unlearn people can only connect with each other in person. Unlearn you’re too busy to learn something new.

Although I have innovated the way I learn and want to teach, I still have more to learn.

I want to learn  how to continually learn new things without being required to.

I want to learn how to help my students learn in the way that works best for them.

I want to learn how to better use technology. I’ve had a start but I want to go deeper.

I want to learn how digital tools can make my life easier, more fun, and more colorful.

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Photo CC By Kaboompics

Throughout this class, I’ve been able to experiment with technology and what it has to offer.

Twitter is definitely one of the tools that I want to continue learning more about. I’ve learned so much already, not only about how to use it but also from those sharing ideas and thoughts. I will continue to use it to interact with my PLN.

The three other technology tools I see myself continuing to use include Pixteller, Canva, and Smilebox. The first two are great for creating posters and infographics. I can use them in my personal life but also use them in my classroom. Either could be an option for my students to create a presentation or create posters to hang in my classroom. Smilebox is fun. Its simple to create an attractive slideshow of pictures to tell about a trip or event.

In addition to learning new tools, I learned new things about myself.

I became willing to share my thoughts, ideas, and emotions through my bog posts and on Twitter.

I became willing to set aside several hours per week to learn a new tool.

I spent more time in this class than ever before reading articles about mostly education, not just required ones but also those I came across on Twitter.

I have come to love blogging. Something I was unsure about in the beginning but now look forward to continuing in my own classroom.

So now what?

This class is winding down and what will I do with the knowledge learned.

Well, armed with my new technology information and experiences, I will keep learning more. I will build on what I already have and adapt as needed. I will take everything into my classroom where it will hopefully help my students. I will continue to learn and connect with others who have knowledge to share. Most importantly, however, I will continue to learn. Not just because I want to but because I want my students to be life long learners and I want to model that.

To quote George Couros again,

                    “I model the learning and leadership I seek in others. I take risks and try new things                                     to develop and explore new opportunities…I believe that isolation is the                                             enemy of innovation, and I will learn from others to create better learning                                            opportunities for others and myself…I listen and learn from different                                                    perspectives, because I know we are much better together than                                                                we could ever be alone.”

 

Sincerely,

A Slight Delayed Yet Heartfelt Learner Who is Still Learning

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Keeping a Journal of My Attention

This week has been a fun and interesting week.

In addition to learning about neat online creation tools and being digitally mindful, I have also spent time keeping an attention journal.

Throughout this week, I have paid more attention to my body language, emotions, and where my time was being spent while being online and using technology.

For each session in my journal, I was to document the following:

  1. Date
  2. Description of Physical Space and Device
  3. Duration of session
  4. What occurred
  5. What you did
  6. How you felt
  7. What worked
  8. What did not work

I learned several things throughout the week. Probably the most interesting to me is about the time I spend online. The majority of my time was for homework. This included reading articles, watching videos, reading other blogs, commenting on other blogs, and writing my own blog. Each of these activities require a good amount of time.

IMG_2381IMG_2142Whenever I work on time-consuming homework, I try to work for about an hour and then take a short break. At the beginning of the week, I found myself reaching for my phone to scroll social media but by the end of the week, I decided to truly give my eyes a break from the screen and would play with my dogs for a bit.

As for my social media time, I actually found I did not spend as much time as I thought. Truthfully, I try to unplug as often as I can and make a conscious decision to do something other than scan social media when I have a free minute. The most common time of day that I do get on social media is in the evenings. By the evening, I tend to be finished working on homework for the day and spend a chunk of time scrolling. I only have notifications turned on for Instagram and Twitter. I don’t get a lot from Instagram because I don’t post very frequently and I have Twitter turned on so I can interact and correspond with classmates.

Another interesting thing I learned this week was something that surprised me but probably shouldn’t have. When I journaled about my time spent on social media, I repeatedly reported not exactly feeling much emotionally. What I’m saying is that I realized I only check social media for something to do to waste some time. This made me wonder, what am I gaining from social media? It should be noted that I am talking about Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram (I’m gaining tons from interacting with my classmates on Twitter!) Sure, I stay in the loop of my family’s adventures but aside from that, I don’t need to know what everyone else is doing.

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Photo CC By Lia Leslie

One last thing I learned while journaling was that once I had been paying closer attention to my online time for a couple of days, it made me more conscious in other areas. Not only did I tend to steer away from social media more but I began to ask myself what the most productive option was for my time. It also opened my mind into reflecting upon my homework habits.

This week has been quite a thought-provoking and reflective week. I enjoy learning more about how technology can help us but I also enjoy taking breaks and unplugging.

 

Sincerely,

A Girl Giving Her Attention to Real Life Events

Digital Tool Production

This week, I have enjoyed digging into online creation tools. After reading the following article, Tech Review: Online Creation Tools Piktochart and Canva, I decided to give Canva a try. I choose Canva because the article said it was a good option for creating posters, which is what I was after.

Canva was really easy to use. There are tutorials available online but also upon signing up (for free!), it walks you through a few brief steps to get you familiar with the various aspects of the program. This was much appreciated as I had never heard of Canvas previously.

One thing that was challenging was figuring out which format to use. There are several different categories which have various dimensions and shapes. Some of those categories are social media, documents, blogging and eBooks, marketing materials, headers, events, and ads.

Once I picked which one I wanted (one called Presentations under the category of Documents) I had to start filling in the blanks. Another challenge I had was choosing images and backgrounds to include. The program offers a free variety of both, however, the selection is limited. Several times I would find an image I liked but would have to pay to include it in my creation.

Here is my finished creation: 03

I choose to include what I learned and my takeaways from painting, my ILP.

I found the great image on the left and put my biggest takeaway : Create. Throughout my ILP and this entire class, I have so enjoyed the challenges and adventures of learning to create. I included “Paint” since that is my ILP.

In the top middle, I included my favorite abstract piece with the word “abstract.” This was one of my favorites styles that I experimented with. There was so much freedom to use many colors and lines and shapes and patterns.

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Photo CC By Jocelyn Durston

In the top right corner, I used a paint splatter. This symbolizes the freedom to go outside the lines and have fun. I also used the words “relax” and “express yourself” because this is what painting was for me. I also looked forward to painting because even though it technically was homework, it was a break for me. It was a chance to calm down and have fun.

The other three sayings were other things painting was for me. I enjoyed trying out so many different styles and techniques throughout my ILP. Some of them didn’t always turn out but I tried to remember to have fun with it. Over the course of my ILP, I discovered that I preferred watercolor over acrylic. “Paint your Style” represents my preferred style. Finally, “Be an Artist” speaks to my overall learning. Throughout this process, I have learned every artist is different and that’s part of what makes art so fun and interesting. Each piece is unique.

I could definitely see myself using Canva and other online creations in my classroom. If I had a good time creating with it, I am sure students would.

Students could create posters to accompany their presentations or reports. It is a great way to creatively and attractively organize information for others to see. For older students, it could be fun to have students create a poster showing classroom rules to display around the room. A great project to accompany rule review and a conversation starter for respect and positive relationships.

The eye is naturally drawn to color and I think Canva could be used to create classroom posters as well as students creations. Presenting information in this way could prove to be quite effective. I think students would much more prefer to get their information from neat, creative posters rather than plain posters. There most definitely is value in tools such as Canva.

It brings an added level to the table. Canva could really enrich the classroom.

 

Sincerely,

A Girl Bringing Creativity into the Classroom

 

 

Digital Mindfulness 101

Technology is a great tool, right?

Yes, correct. We’ve covered that. There are limitless amounts of information and activities which can be done with it. You can be almost instantly connected to people around the world. It’s great!

However, this week I have spent some time reflecting on the balance of technology use.

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Photo CC By Debra

The term to cover this balance and reflection would be mindfulness.

Am I being mindful of my use and time spent online? Am I digitally mindful?

I think in our world of ever-increasing dependence on technology, we need to consistently be asking ourselves this question. So, what does this look like?

Being digitally mindful is essentially being aware and conscious of your time. It is taking into consideration your actions and feelings. It is then taking that reflection and evaluating the influence and impact of it on your face-to-face life.

When I really reflect and think about it, I am not always digitally mindful. I would like to think that I am but I don’t think anyone is, all the time. And the truth is, its hard. I mean, our lives are almost totally consumed with technology. From email, to social media, to games, to online reading, to online banking, our lives revolve around our devices.

So, in order to be more digitally mindful we should just disconnect, right?

Well, maybe not. In a TedTalk called A Year Offline, What I Have Learned, Paul Miller describes his experience of going totally “off-grid.” I encourage you to watch this video, it is quite interesting. Miller discusses first his dependence on technology, then his total disconnect,and finally his entrance back into technology.

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Photo CC By Matthew G.

The interesting aspect of his talk and experience is the lapse and exit from his social circle while being disconnected. While watching, I thought about this. If we are so dependent on technology to stay in touch with our family and friends, I think something is a bit off. Yes, I understand when you don’t live in the same area, technology such as texting and face-timing are such a blessing. However, I worry we are forgetting the meaning, importance, and impact of a coffee date with a good friend or an unexpected surprise visit or even phone call from a special friend or family member.

Perhaps, totally disconnecting is not the best option to be digitally mindful. The good news is, there is another option – limit and simplify. Leo Babauta wrote a great article about just that. You can find the article here.

Babauta lists tips by category of online tools and technologies. Some of those categories are social, email and work, and reading accounts. Some of the tips include limiting time, limiting number of accounts, limiting notifications and letting go. As I read this article, I found myself reflecting upon my own device and technology use.

According to the list, I would say that I am not doing a horrible job at being digitally mindful. I only have a few social media accounts that I check regularly, same with my readings such as blogs, and my email is not all that complicated.

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Here I am touring WWII bomber planes! Such a neat experience I’m glad I was present for!

I tend to give extra effort to be mindful when I am spending time with friends and family. Paul Miller talks about the intensity of his conversations when he was offline and I like the idea of creating potential for the same in my life. I know that this is a well-talked about topic but I really think we should at least attempt to disconnect when we are face-to-face with real people. When people are in front of us, we need to be in front of them. I think part of it comes down to common courtesy.

Katrina Schwartz wrote an article that described what happened when teens were asked to give up their phones for three days. (You can read that article here.) One of the quotes that really stuck with me was one of the teens said it was ironic that the older generations who had previously been criticizing them for device use were then the ones who were on their phones while the teen was not. This reminded me of the saying, “Practice what you preach.”

This week of reflecting has reminded me, once again, of the impact technology has on our lives and society. When we give more attention to the device in our hand rather than the people in front of us, we miss out. We miss out on deep conversations, funny picture opportunities, and even some memories.

So, if there’s one thing you remember from this post, let it be this: Be present. Don’t let the power of technology overtake the opportunity to appreciate life’s adventures.

 

Sincerely,

A Girl Being Mindfully Present

 

Leading World-Changing Generations

Remember when I talked about digital citizenship and digital leadership last week? I covered the meaning and importance of teaching it in schools in my post Leading Generations in Digital Citizenship.

This week, I have taken time to research a term which has a similar name but means something a little different.

Digital Activism

So, what is digital activism?

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Photo CC By Virtual EyeSee

This is where people use online tools and programs to communicate, connect, activate, and influence others. Currently, I would say the majority of those who would be labeled as digital activists are teenagers.

Teens have discovered a way for them to have their voice heard about something which they are passionate. Seemingly, the most effective method teens are using is social media. They are using social media as a way to reach other people from around the world. They are letting their thoughts and passions be known in the popular way of 140 characters (Twitter). They are communicating with those who share their passions. They are influencing and changing the world.

I recently read an article in TeenVogue called The New Face of Teen Activism. This article discussed the influence social media,specifically Twitter, has on the world. Twitter and other social media sites give teens an outlet unlike any other.

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Photo CC By jst.fd

They are letting their voices be heard. They are speaking to others who are struggling with issues such as bullying, depression, suicide, and many other situations. (Read about teens truly making a change in the world here.) Twitter is unique in that it has the ability to give an encouraging word of support but it also is a way for bullies to share degrading comments.

This is where digital activism separates from digital citizenship. The latter focuses on behaving ethically and responsibly. The former is about getting something done and having an influence.

The idea of digital activism sounds good but does it really work?

Well, the answer may not be as straightforward as you think or want. As stated before, Twitter or any social media site for that matter, has two sides. It can be used for positive matters but also, unfortunately, can be used for negative. In another article I recently read called The 6 Activist Functions of Technology, the author Mary discusses the limited number of things technology tools can accomplish. The list includes shape public opinion, plan an action, protect activists, share a call to action, take action digitally, and transfer resources.

Functions like shape public opinion and take action digitally can take some time to come into effect. Other functions such as plan an actions and share a call to action may not be as time consuming to create or write, however, who knows the time it will take for it to circuit the world and actually be effective. I think with anything or any new change, it is a process. I think the potential is great but it requires dedication and passion.

What does digital activism look like?

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Photo CC By Jurgen Appelo

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Photo CC By Jurgen Appelo

As covered in the articles mentioned above, digital activism can look like many different things. It includes but is not limited to: online donations or fundraising, blogs, online social media accounts, online petitions, and online boycotting. I’ve participated in digital activism through fundraising online, writing and sharing my blog and thoughts, and joining groups on Facebook about something I support.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect about digital activism is the voice it gives users. I think it is important to teach children and everyone that they have a voice and how to share it. That being said, it is also important to teach them how to do so in a way that is respectful and responsible.

As educators, we want our students to become responsible citizens. We want them to discover their passions. Digital citizenship and digital activism take that a step further. Teaching and modeling digital citizenship and activism will help our students to be courteous of others’ opinions online but also let them know it’s okay to share their voice. And if they do so, they may just change the world.

 

Sincerely,

A Teacher of Potential World Changers

New Style : ILP Update

Hey all!

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Isn’t this just beautiful? Photo CC By Karsun Designs

This week has been a busy one. Also, because of the holiday (God Bless America!) I have had absolutely no idea of what day it is…

Anyway, in terms of my Independent Learning Project – Painting, its been a fun week!

This week, I tried my hand at abstract painting. Two of my painting were actually inspired by 1) a storm and 2) me!

Let’s get to the paintings!

First up, my watercolor abstract. Having decided last week that watercolor is the medium I prefer, I was excited to complete this one.

A little backstory on the painting first. We got quite a threatening and severe storm midweek. It was also strange. It seemed to come out of nowhere but it came with a vengeance. There were weird clouds, crazy lightening, booming thunder, tornado sirens, and ridiculous winds! Thankfully, no one was injured, however, some trees and light poles did not fair as well. IMG_2242.JPG

My inspiration for my painting came from the weird clouds. At one point during the storm (while I was standing outside watching it – its a Nebraska thing) the sky was literally split. The West side was dark, mysterious, and troubled while the East was a beautiful blue, normal, and un-bothered by the incoming doom. There was a literal line down the sky – one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen.

So, as you can see in my painting, I made one side darker while the other was lighter. The added greens, reds, and purples are additions to balance and include other colors.

 

Next up, my acrylic painting. Painting with acrylic feels more permanent to me. Its not as easy to flow the color with the brush. I’m working to feel more comfortable with using acrylic. IMG_2240

The only thing I had in mind when I began this painting was to use mostly warm colors. You will see that in my choice of reds, oranges, and yellows. I also included some blue and purple to add balance.

One thing I did enjoy about completing this painting was the brush strokes I was left with. I seem to enjoy the texture and movement they provide in a painting.

Another thing I enjoyed was the freedom to just paint and see what I ended up with. I tried to use various lines and include different directions. I am pleased with this end result!

 

Last up, my mixed medium painting. I completed the background with watercolor and then added the details with acrylic. IMG_2241

The inspiration for this painting was, I guess, myself. I began with my favorite colors as the background. Then, I added a heart which, I suppose, represents love. Along the side is a play on the rhythm of a heartbeat, signifying the steadiness and importance of love in life. Opposite of the heart is a sort of tornado. This could still be linked to the storm or (going deep, here) the troubles and confusion of life. Lastly, I added a faded lightening bolt (again, could be the storm or could signify the impact and strike of knowledge).

The background is not neat and tidy because, well, life is not neat and tidy. Sometimes, life is real messy. I think my painting says that yes, life gets messy but love and knowledge makes it worth the struggle. (Sorry to get all philosophical on you!)

 

On the agenda for next week is…more painting!

There is another art gallery coming to town that I am excited to check out! I’m thinking about  another abstract watercolor and maybe some text using acrylic. Also, I have an idea in the works for another attempt at alcohol ink.

Stay tuned! (I’ll try to keep it lighter next week!)

 

Sincerely,

An Artist with Meaning Behind Her Art

 

 

The Daily Create Updates (part 2)

Alrighty, people of the internet! This is the place to find the second half of my completed daily create assignments and challenges.

Each day for the next 10 days I will be completing a challenge. The Daily Create comes through ds106 in an effort to help me better my skills in using technology and challenge my creativity. New assignments are posted everyday and shared with online community. Categories for the assignments include writing, photography, drawing, audio, and video.

So, thanks for joining me!

 

Day 11:

#tdc1643 : You and Your Shadow

You know how Peter Pan lost his shadow? You likely still have yours (unless you’re some sort of weird vampire, which is possible).

Take a photo of your shadow in some interesting pose, and share it out. That way, if you ever lose your shadow, you will know what it looks like. You’re welcome.

If you see my shadow around, send it back to me! Look for something like this : IMG_2239

 

Day 12:

#tdc1644 : Let’s Make a Crappy Book Cover

Anna Hoyle paints Fantasy book covers, one of which is called “Let make more crappy art”

Have a look and draw or paint your own cover, crappy or not.

I created mine in word document using shapes. I chose one of the worst color possible.

Here it is: FullSizeRender(2)

 

Day 13:

#tdc1645 : Write a Short Story

Write the unexpected short story that leads to this moment…FullSizeRender(4).jpg

You know you’re my best bud!

-Promise?

Yes! Now, smile! Look, at the banana!

 

Day 14:

#tdc1478 : Create a Tribute for Early 20th Century Bronc Rider Bonnie McCarroll

Create some kind of media that celebrates the spirit of an early female rodeo performer.

I found a quote by Maribeth Shanley which I thought epitomized the culture and spirit of early cowgirls as well as cowgirls today. (I used PixTeller which is an awesome tool for creating posters and banners!)

Here it is: http___www.pixteller.com_pdata_t_l-454387

 

Day 15:

#tdc1647 : C64 Yourself

Make yourself a retro computer portrait! The C64 Yourself site converts any image into something that would look at home on a Commodore 64 screen.

I had fun with this so I did a few different pictures. Check them out:

 

Day 16:

#tdc1648 : Do Your Most Serious, Critical Face Selfie

Here’s my “Did you really just do that?” face followed by my “Are you sure you wanted to do that?” face. Watch out!

 

Day 17:

#tdc1649 : Make Continuous Line Art

Vacuum cleaners, blenders, lawn mowers, disposals… can you find a way to make a musical sound from them?

Oh no DRAWING! You can draw, trust us. See what you can create in one continuous line, no picking up the pen, cursor.

You might have to think about it first! See it in your head. Or copy something you see in your view.

My attempt includes a tree and flowers next to a small pond with tall weeds around it. There is also a small turtle on the pond. So, here it is: IMG_2272

 

Day 18:

#tdc1550 : Oh No! We Missed #NationalDogDay Do a Puppy Video!

Never mind. We don’t need an excuse to celebrate puppies. Make a video.

Enjoy a video of my dogs dancing for a treat! Starring : Angel and Sara! (:

 

Day 19:

#tdc1651 : Introduce Yourself in a Language You Do Not Speak

Choose a language you absolutely don’t speak.

Go to google translate and have it translate "Hello, my name is <your name>. I am okay.". Now listen to the pronunciation of the translation and repeat it yourself as often as necessary to be able to repeat it yourself.

Record yourself speaking the translated foreign text and save the audio on the web e.g. on Soundcloud where it’s accessible for others.

 

Day 20:

#tdc1397 : Anny Cow the researcher

My friend professor Caritat is very curious about your purposes. So, can you write a 6 line poem about your purpose for life? We will analyse the results and publish a non-binary report on ‘How to have a life purpose’.

 

Well, I finished 20 days! Thanks for joining me on this adventure. I enjoyed it more than I initially thought I would!

Have You Googled You?

Stop: Have you read my last post “Leading Generations in Digital Citizenship“? If not, read here.

Okay, so you’ve read my last post. Thanks! (This post will tie in, I promise)

A little recap : digital citizenship is important. It is in your best interest to be kind with what you post online. Also, be conscious of who may view what you post and what your online presence says of who you are as a person in real life.

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Photo CC By Carlos Luna

With all that in mind, I did something today.

I googled myself.

And let me just preface this with, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.

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Photo CC By Jurgen Appelo

The first listing is for Facebook profiles of people named Cara Sanchez. Oddly enough, I looked through all 5 pages of Facebook’s suggested profiles and none of them were me. So, I guess that means I am not exactly active on my Facebook page since I was not chosen to make the list. This is true, however, I rarely post anything except to promote my blog.

 

Next, there are images for the name “Cara Sanchez.” If you click to see more images, you

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Photo CC By Jurgen Appelo

will find the second one is my Twitter profile picture. Clicking on the link takes you to my twitter page. I only have one Twitter account because I previously knew nothing about Twitter and tweeting. Viewers can see all of my tweets, who I follow, and my followers. I have it set this way to better connect with my PLN. Currently, my twitter is my most actively used social media account.

 

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Photo CC By Jurgen Appelo

Among the other results, you will find a link to my Pinterest page. You can also see my profile picture several images down on the images page. Clicking on the link or picture will take you to my Pinterest page with my boards. Anyone can view or follow my boards which consists mainly of teaching ideas and activities as well as food! I also have boards for different holidays, a couple for craft ideas, and of course, one for coffee!

 

Some of the other results were interesting to look at. Apparently, there are several different Cara Sanchez’s in the world. There were results for YouTube accounts and some websites I really have no clue about like LinkedIn, Spokeo, and Ripoff Report? I followed the link for the latter and apparently someone calling themselves Cara Sanchez made some people mad so they posted their grievances and warn others on that website. It’s too bad they gave my name a bad rap!

Looking at the results of my googling, I would say the lack of information could be seen as mostly positive. I think it says that I care about what I post online. I hope it says that I am responsible, kind, and humble online.

My future employers may not be able to learn much about me from googling me but hopefully they will take more time to learn about me in person.

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Photo CC By Herkko Hietanen

Now, have you googled you?

 

 

 

 

Sincerely,

A Girl Who Lives Her Life Offline

Leading Generations in Digital Citizenship

Our world is ever changing. It’s always on the move; sometimes for the good and unfortunately sometimes for the bad.

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Photo CC By Jason Howle

A major part of that ever changing world is technology. In my lifetime, it has become something no one ever knew it could be. It would seem that everyday it grows and becomes an even larger part of everyday life.

In my field of education, I am 100% confident I will continue to see more changes. I am confident I will witness many more improvements, setbacks, inventions, and hopefully more positive steps to a better education.

This week I have been looking into an important aspect of technology in education : digital citizenship. Going into this week, I had an idea of the definition but I have learned more and been reminded of the importance.

What exactly is digital citizenship? What does it mean to be a digital citizen? And what does it look like?

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Photo CC By Stefan Baudy

 

Having looked into several articles and conducted research, I have formulated my own definition.

Digital Citizenship : having the knowledge to act responsibly and safely while using technology tools effectively to be engaged and communicate online.

Back to my field of education, digital citizenship is one of the most important lessons we can teach in the schools. And this is my biggest takeaway from my research this week. Why, you ask?

Well, if you will remember, as educators we are leading and guiding the next generation. Teachers can play a major role in their students’ lives. We are role models who students look up to. Students notice our attitude, work ethic, and especially the way we interact with others-online and offline.

That being said, our students need us to be teaching them how to be a good digital citizen. Practically, from the moment children are born, they have already made an entrance into the digital world. (We all share pictures and stories about a new baby in our lives.) By the time they get into school, the majority have browsed, gamed, and hopefully learned online. Yes, most likely under the supervision of parents or guardians but still they are already somewhat familiar with what digital technology provides.

I recently read a couple of articles which really hammered the importance of being conscious of our online presence.  When Craig Badura talks about digital citizenship, he uses a survival kit as a visual tool. Included in his kit are objects such as a padlock, toothbrush, permanent marker, and toothpaste. Each object represents reminders such as strong and secure passwords, never share private info, everything is permanent, and you can’t take anything back. (Read Craig’s article here.)

George Couros is another great person who shares about digital citizenship. George spoke at Syracuse University and gave a speech titled “140 Characters of Kindness”. He shares about the impact social media, twitter in particular, can have on users. This is a great video to watch when talking about how something you share can be seen be others around the world. His story is one with a happy ending but it is also important to talk about those whose stories have a negative ending.

George also wrote a post about a school’s digital citizenship practice called “Is Your School’s ‘Digital Citizenship’ Practice a Pass or Fail.” It is an insightful read about the differences between teaching and exampling digital leadership and simply cutting out social media thinking it will avoid problems. If we cut out digital tools and social media, how will we effectively teach our students?

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Photo CC By George Couros

In his post, George also shares a “Digital Leadership Continuum.” I found it quite interesting and was able to place my schools at different levels. The more I read it and looked at it, the more it made sense. The best way for us to teach our students how to be safe and conscious online is to allow them to practice while also talking and demonstrating it for them. All schools should be at level 4. I think its the best for our students and school communities.

 

The bottom line of this post and my week of research is this:

Be conscious of and kind with what you post online. Know many more people than you think will and can see it. It is very hard to take anything back once posted online.

And for my fellow educators out there :

Be an example of digital leadership for your students. Know they are watching and will take notice. Talk about online safety and kindness with students. Teach them to practice good and healthy digital citizenship.

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Photo CC By SylviaDuckworth

 

Sincerely,

An Educator with Online Footprints Teaching Students to Watch Theirs

 

* *    For another great read about being kind online written by a teacher, check out “Read, Write, Reflect : Living Our Lives Online.”

For great videos to show kids about digital citizenship, check out Common Sense Education’s selection here.