Get Media Literate Here!

During this week, MediaSmarts hosted its 9th annual Media Literacy Week. There were various opportunities for students to engage and talk about media literacy and how youth creates with multimedia. Some highlights include:

  • Facebook Canada, the Canadian Teacher’s Federation and MediaSmarts met with high school students from Greater Toronto Area to see what fantastic projects using social networking platforms were being developed and utilized. (See the new app created by one group from Manitoba!). Other teens from across Canada were taking part in the Encounters with Canada program that was live streaming this event.
  • Hands-on workshops were alkso offered and hosted by #FeedtheDeed, Facebook, Canada, Girls Learning Code, Mozilla, National Film Board of Canada and Twitter. Interested in hosting your own? Find out how you can take part here.
  • If you missed out on te events, have no fear since there are some available for online viewing. Check out the events calendar which is running all y.
  • Transforming K-12 Webinar with NAMLE where K-12 leaders and practitioners talk about how they are finding ways to integrate media literacy and youth media into teaching and learning in formal learning environments.
  • Learning from youth media organizations webinar where youth media organizations discuss their experiences engaging youth in media creation.
  • Manitoba students talk about the positive uses of social media to a local radio host.

Weekly Tech Tips and Tidings

tech tips2

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This week we have a variety of tips ranging from Google, media info, interactive chrome apps, and upcoming PD sessions (in and out of school division).

Google Apps for Education


Tech News from MediaSmarts

  • Beyond gaming, the VR boom is everywhere—from classrooms to therapy couches – Creators all over the world are looking beyond entertainment to adapting head-mounted displays for everything from psychotherapy, special-needs education, and space exploration to virtual luxury car test drives, virtual travel, and even VR movies.
  • Terror fight turns to Internet – The Canadian government says it’s looking for a way to stop terror groups and their followers from using the Internet to advance their cause as a debate emerges over how to fight threats to Canada while preserving civil liberties including free speech and privacy.
  • Your Next Psychologist May Prescribe a Video Game – A game developed by gaming tech experts and health researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas simulates everyday experiences and social situations that are typically difficult for those with autism or anxiety disorders. And it’s just one example in a growing trend in which video games are forms of therapy.
  • Museums Morph Digitally – Museums are being redefined for a digital age. The transformation, museum officials say, promises to touch every aspect of what museums do, from how art and objects are presented and experienced to what is defined as art.
  • Anti-spam law targets software starting January – Canada’s controversial anti-spam law has already forced businesses to change how they communicate with consumers by email. Early next year, the law will also start targeting software makers.


Tech Tips and Tools


Discovery Education Tidbits


PD Opportunities – November


Weekly Tech Tips and Tidings

tech tip

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This weeks shares are all about how to get your Google muscles working, read what national news is occurring with technology in life and learning, connect with some interesting trends with Discovery Education and check out a few cool tools to engage your diverse learners.

TechNews from MediaSmarts
Why Chicago is mandating coding education – Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel believes the language of the future is code writing — and he wants every kid in Chicago to be prepared.
This App Teaches Millennials About the World Before They Try to Change It – As much as selfies and student load debt, the drive to make a difference defines the Millennial generation. But 18-year old Patrick Finnegan is worried about his fellow millennials. “A lot of people my age talk about changing the world,” he says. “But they don’t know anything about it.”
Sensory marketing: the brands appealing to all five senses – From virtual holidays in Hawaii to plane food playlists, brands are using new technology to interact with consumers
How Facebook Is Changing the Way Its Users Consume Journalism – Facebook uses mathematical formulas to predict what its users might want to read on the site, from which, a study says, about 30 percent of adults in America get their news.
Report: Teachers Better at Using Tech than Digital Native Students – It’s time to give up the notion that “digital natives” are more tech savvy than their teachers. According to a recent study of middle school science students and teachers, the teachers tended to have greater technology use.

Google Apps for Education Updates
How Googlers Collaborate: Sheets and Groups (6 mins. video)
Google Groups, all you need to know (5 mins.)
Google Forms tips and tricks (6 mins.)
Google Slides for awesome presentations (4 mins.)

Tech Tips and Tools
Citelighter – an online research tool that provides an organizational framework for research. Enables students to quickly find and record facts and automatically cite sources. See video intro HERE. Free version includes content-capturing tools, outlining tools and GDocs integration. Available as a website, Chrome app, and Safari extension. (Grades 6-12+)
Online Voice Recorder is a free application which records sound from the devices’ microphone which you can trim and save. It is available as a website and Chrome app.
Insert Audio into a GSlide – currently this is no direct way to insert audio into a GSlide, however one can create a YouTube webcam video and insert it. Check out the sample GSlide HERE.

Discovery Education Tidbits
Den Trend Report – see what’s trending in education this week covering things like effective technology use in the classroom personalized learning, student’s perspectives on technology, infractructure, gamification, etc.
From the Ground Up – The Science of Soil. A joint venture with Discovery Education and Nutrients for Life for grades 3 and 7 Science students that looks at agronomy career spotlights, family activities, interactive lesson plans, etc.


Weekly Tech Tips and Tidings


Photo Credit: Takashi(aes256) via Compfight cc


This week’s information concentrates on healthy use of tech, hacking, games, alerts, democracy and being creative in the learning environment.

Tech News from MediaSmarts

  • Media’s future: New dimension for movies, games, TV, social – In the past we sat on the couch to watch TV, drove to a theater to see a movie, picked up a controller to play a video game and opened up a specific website or app to connect with friends online. Now, the lines between these activities are blurring—we can do all those things just on our smartphones. But 25 years from now, the distinctions between, say, watching a movie and playing a game will blur.
  • 5  Reasons We Love Taking Selfies – Behavioral economist Dan Ariely, author of The Upside of Irrationality, and a Wall Street Journal columnist, breaks down the highlights of why we take selfies—  those ubiquitous self-portraits snapped on our smartphones.


Tech Tips and Tools

  • Easily create an intro and/or review activity with Jeopardy Rocks (K-12+). It’s a free website that automatically creates a link to your game.
  • Field Trip iPhone and Android free apps allow users to be alerted when they pass by interesting places, points of interest, etc.
  • TinEye is a reverse image search engine. You can submit an image to TinEye to find out where it came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or to find higher resolution versions. Use it as a Chrome extension or from a website.


Elections Canada

As educators, your role is more crucial than ever in showing the relevance of our parliamentary and democratic institutions to students – the voters of tomorrow. Elections Canada offers elementary, secondary and ESL teachers free educational resources, tools, activities, information and links, all designed to make your work a little easier.


National Democracy Challenge

Students (aged 14-17) have an opportunity to win an iPhone, a Go Pro Headcam or a trip to Ottawa to participate in the Encounters with Canada or Forum for Young Canadians simply by submitting a video, image or piece of writing answering the following theme: Show us why Canada should vote! For full contest details and entry, click here. Contest closes November 30, 2014


Kids Write 4 Kids Creative Challenge (Grades 4-8)

Ripple Digital Publishing is inviting aspiring authors to participate in this unique youth publishing opportunity. The Kids Write 4 Kids creative challenge provides an opportunity for youth to share their creativity and passion through stories. A panel of judges will select stories to be published as ebooks available at iBookstore, Amazon Kindle and Kobo. Visit the website for complete details! Deadline for entry is March 31, 2015.


Ken Spencer Award for Innovation

How are you embedding real-world learning inside and outside your classroom? Now’s the time to gain some valuable recognition for the changes you have provoked in your classroom, among a group of classes, a department or your whole school. Apply for the Canadian Education Association’s Ken Spencer Award for Innovation and inspire CEA with the way you’re designing teaching and learning environments for a post-Google generation of learning. Seven cash awards totaling $15,000 are available to be won for your school!



Making Me a Better Billiard Player

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I love math, I love that math is all around me – in nature, in music, in architecture, in food, etc. Recently I was reminded of a silly yet pertinent math video that I used to watch in grade 7 math class. @theteacherlist recently showcased it and this brought found memories of the great math video clips my grade 7 math teacher would show us.

The video I am referring to is Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land where Donald is ‘schooled’ by the Spirit of Adventure on the appreciation and relevance of math in our lives. I would break up the video in these sections:

* 0:00 intro and music

* 7:15 pentagram, golden rectangle

* 11:15 pentagon in nature

* 13:43 math in games

* 22:00 closing

Before showing any of the above sections with students, I would have them brainstorm in small groups with paper or a collaborative tool (Google Doc, Titanpad, Padlet, etc.) about how they use math to solve problems or where do they currently see math around them and/or in their community.

A teacher’s guide was developed that incorporates activities for grades 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 once they have viewed a particular section. This is accessible at

For me it was a great reminder of the importance of mathematics in science and technology. Also a reminder to share the great provincial math resources from Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium with the Math Program of Studies Learning GuideNumeracy Learning Guide and The 2Learn Education Society’s resources found at go to student sites, chose Math and then the particular concept to get to the available resources.

Now, I think I’ll go back to 13:43 and re-watch the billiards strategy so I can become a better pool player!


Making Respectful Connections

In today’s digital world, our students have a variety of ways to stay connected with their peers, their parents, other adults as well as organizations. It is important to guide them in their virtual and physical lives via in-depth discussions, asking questions, making comments, and sharing exemplars. I came across this fantastic TedX video clip from Whitehorse that I believe is a great clip to share with students and start and/or continue to digital citizenship discussion in your classes.



Yes, go ahead and LOOK UP!


cc licensed (BY SA) 500px photo by Andrea Goh

I have a moment right now and am taking a few minutes to clean and organize my inbox email messages. I’m finding a variety of tweets, links, resources, ideas, questions, discussions AND gems that just….

  • inspire
  • compel
  • evoke emotions
  • are powerful

One such resource is ‘Look Up’ (written, performed and directed by Gary Turk) which is a video shared via a love story, where connection is key but not always attempted.

Take time to view this video. Where do you see yourself in this scenario? What about your students? How can we promote daily interactions that are meaningful, relevant and authentic using a variety of resources, including technology but also promote the human spirit?

If you do work with students, show them this video, ask them beforehand where they rate their screen time (with phones, tablets, computers, digital gaming, TV). Do they see themselves more so as tech-centric or people-centric? Then watch the video and hear out their opinions about what the video speaks to and what they think. Do they have an action plan? Has the video changed any of their pre-reflections?


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