Summary of Learning

Here it is! Had some fun doing this summary of learning and a great time during the term in the class. Hope you enjoy

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Me a Millennial…That Can’t Be Right

First off, when thinking of the students within our schooling system the first term that came to mind was millennials… wow was I blown away when I found out that not only was this generation referred to as generation z, but I was considered a millennial. Shows how much I know about the digital world.

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Changes to schooling

When dealing with technology within the classroom it is pretty safe to say that technology is not going away, but instead it is going to only get more prevalent within the schools and in the hands of our students. With this in mind it is only reasonable to expect that schools need to continually grow with the technology and use it as a tool to help our students learn.  Often it is taken for granted that students know how to use technology because they have grown up with it from an early age, but according to Digital Citizenship: The Critical Call to Educate and Prepare 21st-Century Learners our students use technology for socializing with friends and viewing media outlets. This becomes an important element that needs to be focused on within our schools.  We need to give our students the tools to use technology in an effective way so they can be successful in the real world.  In short we need to teach them to become aware and critical thinking digital citizens. According to Bree and Danielle’s presentation a digital citizen is someone who develops the skills and knowledge to effectively use the internet and other digital technology.

Moving Forward

Moving forward in the education field I believe that it is going to become crucial for our education system to educate students on the ideals of technology and allow them to see that technology is more then just a way to view other peoples lives. It will become important to give them the skills to use their devices or technology to better themselves and society.  Often I am blown away at my students who can code and create apps, but have trouble formatting a word document.  Often I take for granted something that I was TAUGHT in school and assume they know how to do it because of the time they have spent with technology.

I also begin to wonder if we are going to have to focus more on face to face communication.  At times it seems like it is becoming a lost art, because Generation Z (yeah not millennials…) communicate so much with their device that slang and tech terms are being introduced in to conversations. Often it is a lot easier to communicate via text rather then face to face conversation.

Another concern that I have moving forward with my students is the issue of self esteem.  I often tell my students that the majority of the things that they see on social media are the high points of others lives and that rarely will people post the lows.  It is important to let our students know that they cannot compare their lives to social media because we only see the good in social media.  I feel that due to this our students will have a uphill struggle dealing with self esteem.  Recently the meme came out about the boy focused more on his phone then he was on Justin Timberlake because he was so concerned with letting everyone else know what was happening…. This is the world we live in.

Practise makes perfect…Kind of

While watching the PBS video Do “Digital Natives” exist? I found it interesting to hear that anyone born after 1980 is considered to be a “digital native”, for the basic fact that we have grown up with technology.  I immediately began to chuckle to myself remembering all of the times that I have needed to help my grandparents with the most basic of tasks.  Simple things that I have taken for granted.  the simplest of tasks; such as changing the input on their television to making sure all of the cords are plugged in on their VCR. It has also made me reflect on the amount of growth in technology they have seen in their lifetime and try to imagine what technology will look like at the end of my life.  Witnessing the growth in technology in the last ten years, I cannot Fathom what technology will look like in 50 years.

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Although I am still considered to be a “digital native”, at times I feel like my grandparents when my students are talking about new apps or technology that comes out.  They must look at me the way that I look at grandparents when I ask for help with things that they deem as simple. I often feel that by the time I am aware of technology or apps that my students use, they are on to something different and I am left in the dust. It can also feel like this in education when it comes to the use of technology.  A great technology tool comes out for teachers and by the time we get the hang of it there is a newer and better tool.

Another piece that I found to be extremely interesting and insightful was the way that the video talks about technology to “digital immigrants” is like learning a second language.  It is possible, but most “immigrants” are left with an accent.  This meaning that they are not as fluent as a “digital native” that has been immersed with technology their whole lives.  Within Megan’s blog post  she discusses that people will often be on their devices even though they are surrounded by people seeming to be bored with social interactions.  When in fact this has become the social norm and is the contributing to “digital natives” fluency in technology.

I have become extremely aware that although I am in the category of being a “digital native” I am nowhere near as fluent as my students when it comes to technology.  It is like practise makes perfect…and they have a lot more practise.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Backward

Throughout the week I have been stressing about what I want to tackle for my major project dealing with digital citizenship for my EC&I 832 course. Teaching a group of grade 7/8 students it has become quite apparent that most of the communication between adolescents takes place on a social forum. Unfortunately I am not fluent in the ways of social media….hence the taking of this course. I often feel that once I have a grasp of an app or technology my students are using they are done with it and are on to the next social media app.  This often leaves me feeling like I am taking one step forward and two steps back.

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Another issue that I have continuously ran into with my students is the impact that social media has had on relationships within the classroom.  Often issues stemming from improper social media use are brought into the classroom creating a wedge between students.  With this in mind I wanted to find a way that I could educate my kids on Digital Citizenship as well as incorporating proper etiquette within my classroom. The idea for my project came to me while talking to a principal that was from another school division.  He told me that his school was having a digital citizenship initiative at his school and using the ministry document as their guiding document.  This got me interested and I looked into the document Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools. Upon further investigation I found out that one of the authors of the document was none other than our professor Dr Alec Couros . It became quickly apparent that I could use this document to help guide some of the principles within my classroom regarding digital citizenship and educate my students in the process.  On top of this it will help me learn to be a better digital citizen as well.

The Process

After posing my idea to Alec, he explained to me that the document was grounded largely in Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship.  I have decided to focus on 3 of Ribble’s elements and teach them to the students within my class.  Those three being; Digital etiquette, Digital Law, and Digital rights and responsibilities. After a short review these three appear to focus on the issues that have been growing in my class.  I will also create a Digital Citizenship Policy within my class that allows my students to have an input.  Throughout this process I will be blogging my journey as well as the growth within my students.  I am excited to get this journey started.

Well here goes nothing….

It has been quite awhile since I have blogged last, so here goes nothing. For those of you  who do not know me I am Carter Davis and I teach a grade 7 and 8 split in Moose Jaw. I am on class 7 of 10 on my way to my Masters in Educational Administration, so I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I have chosen to take EC&I 832 this term because I strongly believe that to become a more impactful teacher I need to know what it takes to become a more insightful digital citizen and quite honestly more aware of what my students are being influenced by on a daily basis.  Often my students will be talking about a new app or website that they are interested in and it will feel like they are talking a foreign language to me. After attending the first two classes I am excited for what we are going to learn in class and hopefully become more aware of what my students are interested in.

Last July I became a new father to a baby girl named Andi Marie, so I have learned to live and function on little sleep.  I have a wife named Amy that is also a teacher.  I am a huge Edmonton Oilers fan that has nothing to cheer about as of late.

I am excited to take this journey with all of you and learn from all of you in the process! If you would like to follow me on twitter @carterdavis87

Photo Credit: Vernon Barford School Library Flickr via Compfight cc