Learning Project Summary

Wow! I can’t believe how fast the time has went by! I’ve learned so much in the last few months and have definitely utilized social media in the classroom more than ever before.

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A Project of Transformation and Expansion
My original project was implementing a classroom Twitter account and involve students in sharing their learning. However my project quickly began to evolve after I realized how little my class knew about digital citizenship and responsible online use – and yet nearly every student was using social media platforms, whether it be Snap-chat or Facebook, in some way or another. I was shocked and knew that before I just hop into using Twitter, we needed to have some important discussions and lesson around responsible internet use. What seemed to work well was using Twitter in authentic moments, while having regular lessons each week that evolved around …

  • Twitter etiquette – The language, the hashtags and all that jazz
  • The use of private and personal information
  • The power of words online
  • Keywords to give you the best search results
  • Plagiarism, it’s consequences, and when it’ acceptable to use people’s work – including citations

This wasn’t the initial direction of my project, but I quickly learned teaching about digital citizenship was going to be essential and almost more important than simply using social media in the classroom. Having conversations around appropriate internet use is going to be where most of the learning takes place this semester for my students. How could I expect them to jump in and know how to use social media without preparing them with background on responsible internet use.

As I look at our use of Twitter in the classroom I was happy about the growth I made and the lessons learned. I do believe this will become a staple within my classroom as it is a quick, easy way to share what we are doing in the classroom and connect with others in our community and around the world. There was a learning curve associated with transitioning the Twitter account from me onto the students and some difficulties associated with not having a classroom iPad. Instead students used my phone for the photo and then we drafted the tweets together from my computer projected onto the whiteboard.

Drafting Tweets:
Students learned Twitter etiquette though modelling and practice on our “Twitter Board” which involved students writing their Tweets, editing mistakes, and creating hashtags before they actually tweet it out online. This also helped us to THINK before we TWEET – something we discussed many times this year.


Here is how I see our progression of learning based on our Twitter history. At the start of this project, I set up our Twitter account, it was very little used and I was doing most of the Tweets. I was using Twitter to share our learning to parents and the community but not really giving students any ownership until my project really got started.

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Slowly but surely students began taking ownership of the Tweets, at other times it was a combined class Tweet. We talked and decided as a class to use “Quotation Marks” to capture what the student said about their picture and “signed” the Tweet using first names only. I think this process of taking baby steps and working together to compile tweets, in unison of the digital citizenship curriculum made an impression on students and hopefully how they will use social media independently moving forward.

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Students were most drawn to creating tweets about their accomplishments and work they are proud of. This has been a great opportunity for students to share their growth to a wider audience.

For example, students who have difficulty with math were tweeting about moving up in their math fact levels, which in turn increased motivation to to keep working hard o they can update their latest progress on our class Twitter Board.

One of the biggest challenges was not having our own classroom iPad. The school board started a k-3 initiative where iPads were dispersed to these younger grades, however now we no longer have our own iPad in our Grade 4/5 classroom. This made taking pictures a bit challenging as I had to let students use my personal phone (or take the photo of them and their work – depending on what they wanted to tweet) with close supervision. If we had our own iPad I would feel more comfortable with assigning a “photographer of the day” and letting the kids have full control over the photo portion of the project. The Tweets themselves could be written either together on our Twitter board, or on the computer hooked up to the projector which seemed to work fine.

My second largest challenge was the fact I was running a classroom project during the time my fantastic intern, Miss Weber, was to be teaching full time. I still managed to sneak and teach some of my digital citizenship lessons but not teaching my class while she was in her block made it slightly more challenging to tweet everyday as a class. I was still able to involve the class but it wasn’t as easy to get it done or remain consistent with tweeting during this time.

Class Dojo 1My third challenge – although it’s more positive – was I had already committed to trying Class Dojo for the first time at the beginning of the year, so I had to balance running two online communication tools. This has been working fine, however, I wish I had also shown my progress in learning how to use Class Dojo within my weekly posts. I didn’t really consider doing this until it was too late but I could have compared the two platforms throughout my journey. I guess I felt like Twitter would be most challenging for me so I wanted to focus on one tool, although I was technically trying to balance using two tools this semester.  I wanted to start Twitter in addition to Dojo because of the student involvement aspect. Although using Class Dojo took up some of my time I could have spent communicating Twitter, it wasn’t wasted time because it seemed to have a little more of a personal connection to parents. I often sent videos straight to parents of their child reading or presenting a project to the class which is something I didn’t feel dojo2piccomfortable posting on the wider Twitter platform. Class Dojo also made direct messaging parents more simple – a connection I didn’t have using Twitter. The main difference between using the two platforms this year was that Class Dojo was solely ran by me as I had complete control as the teacher and Twitter lended itself to a wide range of conversations about internet safety and responsibility while shifting ownership over to the students.

I’ve really enjoyed the flexibility within this course to learn about something I’ve always wanted to do, but have never had time to explore and try. I’m confident that this project has helped me lay the foundation for making Twitter a staple in my classroom for future years.

Check out my summary of learning here! In this video I summarize my key points of learning and give a closer look at my Twitter Learning Project!


EC&I 831 Wrap Up: Social Media and Open Education

Something I’ve most enjoyed through the duration of this course is being able to walk away with what seems like an endless list of resources I have no yet tried in my classroom. My list of resources began to grow starting from Day 1’s Padlet exercise (Check out 30 Creative Ways to Use Padlet in the Classroom here!) right through to the end of the course and that has been a huge gain for me to “up” my teacher game.  Trying out some new tools like Ted Ed, Explain Everything, Open Learn will be sure to keep me learning long after this course has officially ended.
*If you’re interested in learning more about Explain Everything, check out my review post here!

Let’s talk about the Power of Blogging! I can say I really appreciated having a creative outlet to share my learning as opposed to sharing my thoughts, ideas and responses in isolation with the professor, as most classes are designed. Blogging myself and seeing the power behind commenting and receiving feedback from classmates has opened my eyes towards how easy this can be to do with my own students using tools like Google classroom. Not to mention blogging has really helped me to “up my game” knowing with the click of the “publish button” my assignment would instantly have a much larger audience then I had been used to.

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Although I came into this course aware of my own digital footprint this course encouraged me to think about my role in educating my students about their digital identities. I quickly learned after a few conversations with my class  how many of my grade 4/5 students were using social media, at times facing conflicts with others online or representing themselves in ways they may regret later on in life. “Context and audience matters” and educating students on the impact of their own positive or negative digital identities is so important. As Katia says in her post “Digital Identity in a World That No Longer Forgets” “The internet has a mind of an elephant”. We need to “think before we post” a theme I’ve carried into my own personal project.

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Using Twitter in the classroom was something I had wanted to do for awhile now. I know I needed to branch out from the “typical teacher network in an effort to become a “networked teacher”. When I switched to teaching in a community school, my classroom blog was receiving little viewership by parents and I knew I needed a new format that was simple, to the point and reached a larger audience. I quickly learned a few key things:

#1- Networking is everything. It’s not enough to simple tweet and re-tweet but actually interacting with others online is rewarding experience – although difficult for me at first I’m slowly putting my online fears behind me and sending my questions out in the open! Following key educators on Twitter and expanding my social network early on was an important part of my project. Check out how I went about who to follow and why in my post Information Overload and Project Progress

#2- Making tweets authentic and purposeful is more important than having a classroom tweet every day for the sake of tweeting!

We wanted to focus on sharing when we really wanted something to be seen

Image result for twitter logoas opposed to Tweeting everything we do. Although we didn’t Tweet everyday, we did Tweet what mattered to us and posted more personal learning videos in our Class Dojo apps where only parents can view. Combining content with Twitter and using it as a teaching tool to reach out for help, as I shown in the blog post Connecting With Other Via Twitter was a rewarding experience for both my students and I.

#3 – Transferring ownership to students is crucial for 


engagement. As a type A teacher, it was difficult to gradually release the responsibility to my students – however you can see on my feed a shift in language as gradually moved towards Tweeting out my class, to leaving it up to the students to create their own captions and hashtags.
Last but not least – #4 Learning to use social media can not be taught in isolation of digital citizenship. These two things go hand in hand and quickly my project began to transform into the need to teach a thorough digital citizenship curriculum (Thank you commonsensemedia.org – a resource I highly recommend for lessons and resources by the way!) Check out my blog post titled Digital Citizens or Just Citizens and How to Show Respect for Others Workto learn more about this!



learn teach apply picIf we expect our students to be able to navigate the tech- savy world we live in today, we are doing a great injustice if we resist teaching about the complexities of social media and let students learn to navigate this on their own. Bringing twitter, blogging and other social media tools into the classroom can help model proper use and prevent many perhaps devastating or unsafe situations for our students in the future. Technology has changed the way students learn and I’ve hung tightly to the notion that we need to “Teach the application of knowledge, rather than knowledge itself.”

It is my responsibility to integrate technology in a way that prepares students to make wise decisions in relation to how they use the internet in positive ways. There will always be advantages and disadvantages to learning “in the open”, however having students explore these complexities within the classroom could better prepare them

blog pic 4to use technology successfully. Embracing technology and making students aware of the advantages and disadvantages has the potential to promote the positive use of social media and open the door more positive learning opportunities and interactions, especially when students begin to use these tools on their own outside of the classroom walls.

At times I catch myself feeling a little sad my grad studies journey ends with the completion of this course but as explored the Open Education Resources available (Read My Post on Open Ed here), I found myself getting excited about all of potential ways to continue to learn – for free! This leads me to my next takeaway -the importance of sharing. Our ideas are worth sharing. The benefit of open education, creative commons, and open collaboration means current info and free access. The open access movement works to make publicly funded academics open to the general public which offers many positive outcomes where locked down academic journals don’t. As discussed in my previous blog post, Sharing for Growth, this class has encouraged me to promote a culture of collaboration in my own school. We teachers we need to share our secrets, collaborate with others and not be afraid to expand our networks.

To view a more interactive version of my summary – check out my Summary of Learning video here!

Story Telling Tool Review: Explain Everything

I’m having a very indecisive week because although I knew I wanted to explore new online storytelling tools, I just couldn’t narrow it down and pick one to write my review on. After watching a short online tutorial of Touch Cast, I was instantly excited as it looked like something I would be interested in using to record my summary of learning. Unfortunately my personal iPad software is too out of date to download and my iPad “Too Old” to upgrade to the required IOS 10.0. I got excited about Blabblerize because of how comical, and although it was simple to use I felt as though I should explore a tool both my students and I might both use in the future.

After many of days of indecision… https://giphy.com/embed/VKtsOAHDx1Luo

…I finally chose to review the app: Explain Everything! And I’m glad I did!

Explain Everything is a great app that could be in all classroom, although it definitely requires some teacher help in the younger grades.  The best part is – this app can be

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literally used to explain anything and everything! It’s a tool used to create and design. Both students can explain their ideas, generate stories, and create presentations with voice overs. I can see this being a great tool for teachers to explain new content to students and would definitely benefit a flipped classroom environment as everything you do on the screen (both audio and visual tracks) can be recorded. Can’t find that perfect video for the content you’re teaching – create exactly what you want using Explain Everything! Draw, change and manipulate objects on your screen, or import or your own slides and record your own audio and visual over top. There are so many way to use this app, I give it two thumbs up!


  • Flexible Tool – Bring to life any topic you want to in virtually any way you want to use a template or blank canvas.
  • Easy to understand tutorial videos
  • The video-cast ability allows voice over when looking at websites online, voice over drawings made within the app or any image or file you import.
  • Easily export video as an mp4 file which can play on any device or drop right into your google drive.
  • Easy to use with Google Classroom – students could offer feedback recording over classmates projects as informal assessment.

Image result for prosCons:

  • 30 day free-trial (whoo-hoo!) but will have to pay when the free trial is up
  • Kind of a pain that this app doesn’t work with my work laptop – but I’m sure I’ll get over it

This doesn’t have to be used just to record video, but could be used in place as an interactive whiteboard when teaching lessons. If you can hook your device up to your projector this app could potentially allow your boring old projector to become an interactive whiteboard by mirroring the work done on your device and projecting it to the whiteboard for others to see.  Import a lesson, a poem, a picture, a document etc. and allow students to use the Explain Everything pen or other tool options to edit, add or manipulate your document during a lesson, in the moment – right in front of your students eyes. Don’t just tell them about something – show them!

This app has tons of options. At first it may seem overwhelming if you’ve never really used a  tool before. However, it is an app that is relatively easy to use, with plenty of tutorials and a thorough help guide available when you get stuck! The way in which you choose to “Explain Everything” is endless. I think this tool allows for endless creativity for both teachers and students. My only frustration was not knowing exactly what I was creating or what I could really do with program at first – but after a few tutorials I was able to play around and could quickly see the potential of these learning tool.

If you are completely new to this concept like me, I found this webinar very helpful. It’s a bit longer but very thorough and walks through the key things you need to know!


Is this app worth checking out? That’s a big yes from me!

Until next time,


Connecting With Others Via Twitter

Follow my learning journey of bringing Twitter into the classroom by following our class @CameronsCorner1

We have been primarily using Twitter as a communication tool with our families. Students have been very eager to share what they are doing in the classroom on Twitter and caption their photo.

I’ve personally tried to connect with other teachers more by following another teachers tip given to me on Twitter – connect with teachers in your division by following Regina Public School’s as they often share other teacher’s tweets, allowing me to follow how others use Twitter in their classroom.

After one of my students found a rock (in the music room of all places) students began wondering what kind of rock it is. This was the perfect opportunity to reach out the Twitter Universe – and of course we learned a few things by making some mistakes!


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First Mistake – We should have tagged some geologists or geology related Twitter pages to help us with this question – oops! Rookie move! After realizing this, my wonderful intern Jessica Weber who is teaching science right now re tweeted our question with some key geology related hashtags.

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Second Mistake – When taking pictures of rocks – take focus your camera on the rock (duh!). Although this seems like common sense, we took the photo without thinking too much about it but our photo focused more on the background item then the rock itself. Lesson learned….

Since we haven’t been on Twitter long, I was surprised and really happy that we actually got some responses and guesses by others – and my students were too! One person even shared a resource chart which led us to a flow chart to use on the projector. It felt really neat to bring the outside world into our classroom and see who responds to our question.

I’m excited for the next question that lends itself to a classroom tweet!


Sharing for Growth

In my opinion of the advancements in education, technology and many important areas have to do with sharing.  In fact, when I think about the advancements I have made in my career, I can relate almost everything I have ever learned to the concept of sharing and open communication with others. This isn’t limited to the sharing of lesson resources alone – but on a larger scale that includes the sharing of ideas, feedback, problem solving and open communication with friends, colleagues and and other grad students.

Steve Johnson’s Ted Talk titled,  Where Good Ideas Come From speaks to the importance of collaborating with others and sharing ideas. He draws attention to the importance of not only sharing good ideas, but how sometimes talking about problems or what my kids and I call in the classroom “speed bumps” can often lead to new and noteworthy ideas or innovations.

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I believe a popular misconception, at least for me, is that often a good idea is a sudden light bulb reaction that happens out of nowhere, or so it seems. However, Johnson’s Ted Talk addresses the fact that often good ideas are built over long periods of time. Johnson had me thinking about the push companies like Google make for employees to have 20% release time from their regular duties just for to focus on generating new ideas. It’s an interesting concept but one I can really see the value in. When I think about my own workday, I am so stressed for time and literally make too many minute by minute decisions to think about much else. That is why I can really appreciate the common prep time given aside from teaching to share, discuss new teaching resources and problem solve with other grade alike teachers within my school. It’s not google – but I always walk away learning something new from someone else.

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Image via Personal Outcomes Collaboration

This common prep time set aside regular work, or even regular prep times is built with sharing and collaboration in mind. We often share and develop new teaching projects, ideas, problem solve or share interesting PD resources with one another. We may be in a different category then Google, however this time does benefit my learning as an employee and as a result has an impact on my performance which is in turn good for my employer. A key factor in creating a culture of sharing between educators is providing time and opportunity within the school day to do so and exploring online avenues to explore PD opportunities, including developing your PLN (Professional Learning Network) outside of the school day using tools like Twitter.

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Image via 30daybooks

However, many teachers are very reserved when it comes to sharing  – many who do not share at all – at least in front of an audience. Non-sharing, in my opinion, limits one’s growth and creates a culture of non-collaboration. Why do some people believe not sharing is best for them? Perhaps it’s not an issue of believing what’s best for them, but rather a fear of being ridiculed or judged for their work or ideas. Is it merely an issue of self-confidence? I was once guilty of not sharing my ideas in front of others unless I was literally asked or absolutely had to. I was always open to sharing my resources and what I knew, but avoided being put on the spot in a large meeting to “share” at all costs. As Marley mentions, “There is no need to reinvent the wheel” but rather lets build upon what we already know and whats already out there to take our work to the next level. I preferred to blend into the crowd until a mentor of mine began to highlight my skills and strengths and encourage me to share what I’m doing in the classroom with other teachers. For me, it was the fear of what others thought. What if others don’t agree or like what I have to say? With age, this notion of “What will others think?” became less and less important and my thinking shifting towards the importance of sharing from others. If I could help just one teacher by sharing what I am already doing in the classroom was more meaningful to me then worrying about what others would think.

I think confidence in one’s self is a key issue regarding one’s level of comfort in sharing. Also the more one seeks information to learn, the more like they are to establish a similar sharing attitude. When I began teaching several years ago, I was so grateful for new information, ideas and resources that were shared with me – both by colleagues I

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Image via Teaching Culture

knew, and strangers online from different education resource platforms. The more things I “borrowed” from others, the more obligated I felt to share what I had with other teachers who are looking to learn about a certain subject or needed help. I was much more willing to make suggestions based on what has been shared with me when I noticed a colleague struggling with the same issues I may have already experienced before them. I think of this as my “duty to share” and given the amount of great ideas that have been shared with me, it is my duty to pass them along to others. As Amy so nicely put it in her most recent blog post that “A big part of openness is being adaptable” and I think this is so true. We must be willing to be flexible in our thinking and actions as we learn and grow. I believe that in order for that to happen there needs to be a willingness to accept new ideas and in turn share with others.  A culture of sharing is just so critical to developing in our profession.

Speaking of the culture of sharing, as leaders within the school I think sharing is a big part of building your team up and highlighting the strengths of others within the school. Not only does Parkland School Division’s website titled 184 Day of Learning highlights the great work of teachers, but they are also sharing ideas of what quality teaching with their employees. Whether it was their main goal or not – this website makes learning visible and but it always demonstrates the value they place on creating a culture of sharing.

Heather Duncan’s Ted Talk makes reference to the need so “share our secrets” as teachers with others. Within the day, it can feel isolating within our classroom and the need for collaboration and sharing is more important than ever. She emphasizes the need to “break out of our comfort zones” and initiate these conversations with students within our grade groups and then venturing further to meet other teachers.

I enjoyed Christina’s most recent blog post which stressed the importance of focusing in on the basic needs of the student and collaborating with an entire team to ensure the individual student succeeds not only in academics but also in terms of social growth and having their basic needs met. So often I think of sharing in terms of resources for academics, when often the need for sharing entails a holistic approach that addresses the whole child. I spoke about many in-house “key players” in collaboration and appreciate Christina’s reminder about the outside agencies that are often needed to provide proper supports with students – it truly does take a village to raise a child.

Until Next Time!

The Amazing World of Open Education Resources

Last week the course content and my blog post led me in the direction of MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses) and my mind was pretty blown. I’ve heard people talk about these online courses but it wasn’t until I started looking deeper into the countless options available that it really struck me – WOW this is SO cool!

This week I explored TEDEd and Open Learn and I’m here to offer you my personal realizations, reactions and most importantly evaluation of these sites/resources.

First up to the plate..

Although I have heard of TED-ed and watched the odd video that pops up on my FB News Feed, I have never truly taken advantage of the site itself or used it for my own classroom. I was instantly drawn into the engaging setup which allows you to visually “preview” the videos. The wide range of topics had me instantly excited as I could see this being a solid “go to” site for educational resources and short video clips to either introduce or review curriculum content.

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Although the videos were of extremely interesting topics and fun facts, I found it difficult to find content that directly related to the outcomes I’m working with. This isn’t to say this site doesn’t offer anything of value – it truly does. But perhaps it doesn’t fully align with outcomes in the way I had hoped for and I need to adjust my view of this sites purpose. Will I be able to consistently find a video to support my lesson specific to a certain strategy or content?  Maybe not. But will I be able to find an engaging video to stimulate discussion within my classroom? Absolutely!

I was instantly excited about the well organized theme menu along the left hand side (Health, Literature, Mathematics, Science and Technology etc.). I used the search bar to locate different learning topics “rocks and minerals” or “Agriculture” but didn’t have much luck finding content related to learning outcomes.

All in all, I think this is a good site filled with quality educational videos. Each video is designed with a lesson and offers a “Watch, Think, Dig Deeper, Discuss” links that provide interesting discussion questions and prompts for teachers to use and to support this video portion of the resource.

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Image via Traffic Challan

Fun, engaging, quality videos on a variety of interesting topics
Great conversation starters and videos to facilitate student discussions
Easy to use menus and toolbar
Easy to navigate – filters to access age appropriate videos
Flipped classroom resources

Challenge to find content that relates to curriculum topics
Wide range of topics result in narrow focus rather than deep learning

Next up…
Open Learn

Open Learn is Moodle based learning resource through the UK’s Open University. 

One of the pro’s of Open Learn is the easy to use user interface and of course the free content which includes over 1000 courses. The site is easy to navigate with menus that allow you to access a wealth of different courses. I wanted to get a grasp of what this site could offer me as an educator. Clicking on “Education and Development” I am was impressed with the variety of courses I could explore for free in terms of professional development. I’ve attached a list (although it’s not a complete list) of some of the topics offered within the Education category alone.

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Image via Open Learn
Another benefit of open education is quick and cost effective way to access information as opposed to the using textbooks which quickly become outdated. “Open Learn allows users to download, modify, translate and adapt to their culture to the material to enhance its usefulness. They provide the opportunity for people to work together to co-modify, co-produce, test and co-produce again, retesting derivative material which generates a cycle of rapid continuous improvement. Using technology Open Educational Resources aim to remove access barriers to knowledge and educational opportunities around the world.” (Wikipedia, 2017) The idea of collaboration and sharing is strong in the world of open education.

Open learn allows you to choose differing levels of courses from introductory to advanced and provides a multitude of different course lengths from 4 hours to 100 hours depending on the course you take.


Image via Open Learn

I think this is a great resource for anyone who wants to grow in a specific skill and develop themselves personally and professionally. I feel like this is a quality resource and was unable to find many flaws or cons towards this site or it’s content. One question that comes to mind is how content relates to us in Canada. Does being based in the UK impact the content for me personally? I tried to find the answer for myself, and being it is an Open Ed site there are many wide open courses however in the area of business some courses are specific to to certain locations – for example “Why are Public Companies Vanishing in America?”  Would it be somewhat difficult to find Canadian content?

After a quick search in the Open Learn search bar, I was quickly directed to a large amount of courses that touch on information about Canada across many subject areas. Clearly availability of Canadian content is not an issue in  the UK originated Open Learn platform.

– Large variety of topics and courses to choose from
-Easy to use interface
– Options to connect with other users and ask questions in a comment field within the course
– Courses available computer, mobile phone or tablet
– Easy to understand Copy Right Info (See image below)

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The free content in which Open Learn owns copyright is available to use under the
Creative Commons licence ‘Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike’ .  Open learn tries to release to as much information as they can under an open license as cost is usually the most common barrier for those seeking higher education.  Open Learn  also created a sister website called OpenLearn Create which allows users to take Open Learns content and ” rework it or adapt it for your own use and then contribute it back into the OpenLearn community by placing it in OpenLearn Create.” (Open Learn FAQ’s). Open Learn is a neat resource to keep in mind regardless of your profession. I believe with the wide range of courses available, the only problem you may have is narrowing your choices down to one course!

Until next time!

Teaching Students How to Show Respect for People’s Work.

Learning project update!

My Twitter project has slowly morphed into implementing a more thorough digital citizenship education for my students. Instead of waiting for issues to raise or addressing things like copyright when we come to a new project, I want to be proactive about it and have these conversations and teach these lesson now to set us up for a successful year using technology.

Whose is it, Anyway?

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Image via MHC Training Solutions

My students have also been learning about plagiarism, its consequences and how giving credit is a sign of respect for people’s work. I continue to use suggested lesson from Common Sense Education as I find it has the most thorough and kid friendly resources. I found this video helpful to explain to students about when it is okay to use others work and how to cite this. Citing was a new concept for my students so I used this lesson a an introduction and although they will not yet be able to do this independently until they have had much more practice I’m glad we’ve had this conversation so they understand what is respectful and what isn’t.

The Power of Keywords:
A big conversation as of recent was how to use keywords properly when searching. The need for this lesson was very helpful timing for starting our inquiry projects on rocks and minerals in science, as each student is doing online research to answer their own inquiry question.

The learning objects of this lesson, which I found in the common sense education lesson plans included:

  • Experimenting with different keyword searches and comparing results
  • Refining their searches by using multiple words, synonyms and alternative words and phrases
  • Draw inferences to explain their search results

Although my students are beginning to learn more about how keywords impact search results, this was relatively new territory for them, especially my grade 4 students. This is something that some students grasped after one lesson and others did not so I will be revisiting and modelling this with students on the project in the upcoming weeks. I want to continue to focus on refining our search. For example, we compared search results like “dog” as compared to more specific searches using two keywords, then of course adding the additional key words necessary to find the information they are looking for.
Check out this teacher video explaining the importance of the lesson and how they teach it.

We continue to use Twitter, but I’ve let go of my “Must tweet once a day” philosophy because I want our Tweets to be authentic, in the moment and revolve around exciting things happening in the classroom. Sharing for the point of sharing is not authentic and feels like work for students which goes against what I wanted this project to become.

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Until next time!

Open Education. Open Doors.

Open access.
Open resources.
Open textbooks.
Open Education…. Opens Doors
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The concept of open education is powerful one. It allows for everyone to access a wealth of information anywhere, at any time, for free. Education and knowledge is at the tip of our fingers should we chose to utilize it. As I consider how “Open” open education is, the opportunities are endless for those who are literate, and can access readings, or videos online through technology. This however is not everyone but it certainly opens the doors of opportunity for many people all around the globe.

My brother, like many people, take advantage of the many free courses offered by universities online. It’s so great to be able to develop our interests and passions so easily using technology.  I have never explored the endless topics delivered by Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) available until this week’s class readings and it left me nearly speechless. WOW! “MOOCs provide an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills, advance your career and deliver quality educational experiences at scale” (mooc.org)  There is literally a course for any interest or passion from architecture to earth sciences, including everything in between – electronics, medicine, law – you name it!


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“The MOOC is an indicator of how important it is for people to connect with each other as part of their learning experience. And what I hope it’s doing also is validating informal learning and changing what we think life long learning is about.” -Amy Collier (Directory of Digital Learning Initiatives at Stanford University).
The idea of remixing content has become to intertwined within today’s culture. You can literally find a remix of anything! Growing up I constantly searched for “mash-ups” of my favorite songs – taking two or more different things and turning them into something new. Imagine your favorite song mashed with your other favorite song – genius! But what are the repercussions of this remix culture. Is a remix considered copying.  Dean Shareski’s opening keynote for the 2010 K-12 online conference is built around the fact that education is built on sharing. Prior to the internet sharing outside the walls of your own school was difficult to do unless you presented at a conference or staff meeting or shared a resource you made with a friend. Today is a different world in terms of sharing information. I agree with Dean that some teachers are very protective of their work, but the more one is open to collaboration the more we learn and grow and the stronger the outcome.  Dean says “We all seek recognition for our contributions but the moment we focus on protecting our work, we are in some ways the antithesis of a teacher.”

As teachers, when considering whether or not to share in these open spaces, Dean challenges us to embrace a culture of sharing and consider the following questions:

  • Is this an obligation?
  • Does my institution see value in sharing?
  • How will it help my students?

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In the video Everything is a Remix Remastered Kirby Ferguson claims…

We can make our novel ideas more accessible, more understandable and perhaps more impactful by copying familiar elements. We can make familiar ideas more fresh, exciting and surprising by extensively remixing from diverse sources. If you can create that perfect hybrid of the new and the old the results and be explosive.


Open education has transformed the way we seek information, collaborate with others and learn. The days of purchasing textbooks of out of date information is thankfully behind us. The amount of free information, resources and collective learning, sharing and collaboration is endless and has completely changed formal and informal learning.

Open Ed – It’s a thumbs up!

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Until next time!
Ms. C

Digital Citizen Or Just Citizens?

Vicki Davis’ blog titled What Your Students Really Need to Know About Digital Citizenship introduced me to Anne Collier and her perspective on dropping the word “digital” from digital citizenship. Don’t you love technology – with each article I read, I’m instantly connected to other recommended readings and arguments. Anne really got me thinking this week about what it means to be a digital citizen. Anne argues that we should drop the word digital because what we are really teaching is citizenship – “The skills and knowledge that students need to navigate the world today”. 

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Reflecting on my learning project, implementing Twitter in the classroom and attempting to “do digital citizenship teaching justice” by really focusing into this year. In past years we have discussed digital citizenship and as we use technology I address different things such as passwords, privacy, personal information on a need to know basis as things came up. This year, I want to teach this consistently on a weekly basis, being proactive about it and dig deeper. It seems silly that I waited until I had a lesson that applied to the topic of digital citizenship when the information is likely just as, if not more valuable to students  “right now” as they are going home from school and using technology in a variety of ways anyway. It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but sometimes the pressure of the amount of content I’m required to teach becomes overwhelming and content like digital citizenship has been taught in inconsistent bits and pieces.
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My Top Resource Findings of the Week!
1. Need Help Now

2. Media Smarts: How Cyber-Savy Are You Quiz?

3.13 Apps/Games for Internet Safety Awareness




#Change the Story
This week I found a great recourse called Need Help Now which offers support to teens who have been negatively impacted by self-peer exploitation. This was a very insightful site that offers tons of resources, support, and information. The #ChangeTheStory campaign is about empowering teens to take control of their own narrative and how their story is being told.

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Since my learning project has sparked so many conversation about social media use in our classroom it was only fitting to run with it for Halloween! I teamed up with my intern Jessica and our EA Andrea to be Social Butterflies.

For the upcoming week I will continue to teach digital citizenship lessons – wrapping up “The Key to Key Words” and begin to share about how to show respect other people’s work.

The school days fly by and I haven’t always been consistent with my classroom Tweets but I continue to make progress each week in my teaching, having deeper conversations, finding new resources or interesting articles about digital citizenship and taking notice of how other teachers are using Twitter in the classroom.

Over and Out!

Information Overload & Project Progress

I will admit, with every article I read I feel fairly overwhelmed at this point. There are so many avenues to share and connect with not only parents, other classrooms, authors -you name it – that it is impossible to predict where this project will take us. I’m a little OCD and am very clearly a type A planner so not having a solid road map is a bit terrifying. I do look forward to exploring with my kiddo’s and evolve as a teacher in the digital age. Perhaps now that I’ve moved up to grade 4/5 this project takes on more meaning as the percentage of students who do use social media after school increases significantly. During a conversation with my class today we did a quick poll of the social media apps my students are using and nearly all hands went up for apps like Instagram and Snapchat – Facebook wasn’t far behind.

apps pic for blogI was a pretty shocked. I expected a few hands to go up but not every hand. I quickly can see my Twitter learning project to branch off into another teaching area – implementing a digital citizenship curriculum alongside our use of Twitter within the classroom. The two go hand in hand and make complete sense – although I didn’t expect my project to take me in this direction initially.

Right now I’m battling the pressure (and slight intimidation) of how many amazing ways there are to bring Twitter in the Classroom, yet I want it to be authentic and connect to our learning at the same time. It’s easy to get ahead of ourselves but I want my students to clearly understand what Twitter is, it’s purpose, how to use it – essentially spread the word about everything I have learned up until this point.


Accomplishments Update:

  • We “toured” Twitter together as a class
  • Learning Twitter Terminology  – retweet, hashtags (and their purpose) etc.
  • Followed other classrooms and people who will add to our learning experience.
  • Shared our favorite learning moments to our families – ongoing
  • Taught lessons on Private and Personal Information, The Power of Words and Rings of Responsibilities 
  • Introduced our “Classroom Twitter Feed” – A practice tweet station on the white board where students can develop tweets. As a class we revisit them and edit and necessary and tweet them out on the projector.
  • Connected with other SK Classrooms


Here is a picture of our “Practice” Twitter Feed. Clearly we need to develop our use of hashtags and punctuation – but one step at a time…

I’ve been using my personal Twitter account to seek advice about my project.


Essential Questions Explored:

  • What kinds of responsibilities does a good digital citizen have?
  • How can you protect yourself from online identity theft? What should you do when someone uses mean or scary language on the internet.

    Next Week:

  • Continue with Digital Citizenship Lessons
    • The Key to Key Words – Which keywords will give you the best search results
    • Whose is it Anyway? – How can I show respect for people’s work
  • Establish a routine to do the Tweet of the Day
  • Continue to explore ways to use Twitter
  • Continue to explore digital citizenship resources