Category Archives: Digital Citizenship

(Dis)Connected, Distracted or Addicted? Understanding the Smartphone Generation

I had the extreme pleasure to attend both the Public Evening Lecture and the Research Colloquium on this highly important topic. Please view the STORIFY of the tweets and materials for the 2018 event.

Important points from both the evening and day events:

  • we all need SLEEP, 8-10 hours depending on age
  • step away from the turned on screens one hour before bedtime
  • middle years and high school students are going out less, doing less with friends
  • society needs to reconnect with nature – go for walks, hiking, playing ball/frisbee, sit around a campfire
  • all media is educational! It’s just as important to feed the brain as it is the body. It’s the quality of the media that matters.
  • try a weekly digital sabbath with everyone in your family

Privacy, Digital Literacy & Networked Classrooms

In 2017, education, educators, students and parents are trying to keep up with the unstoppable pace of technological change in the classroom. It is no longer just about the devices nor the access but also looking at the profound impact on privacy protection for our students. We want them to have active and positive digital footprints while also protecting them from becoming soft targets for commercial data gathering and marketing practices by various companies.

I attended the full day in-depth workshop followed by the evening public lecture sponsored by the Educational Technology Council of the Alberta Teachers’ Association. The evening opened up a discussion on Canadian and American research on the privacy challenges posed by networked classroom technologies and educational software. It also shared new insights on education law and policy designed to protect students from cyberbullying.

The keynote and panelist speakers (biographies below) are renowned Canadian and American research scholars who shared new developments on the privacy challenges.  They also discussed new insights into education law and policy designed to protect Canadian students from cyberbullying.


Full Evening Public Lecture Video:


Speaker Biographies:
Dr. Valerie Steeves – Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa 

Professor Jane Bailey – Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

Dr. Leslie Shade – Faculty of Information, University of Toronto

Dr. Priscilla Regan – School of Policy and Government, George Mason University

Dr. Philip McRae – Alberta Teachers’ Association 

These researchers are also leading a national Canadian research study that is examining privacy, online behavioural targeting of children and youth, digital economy policies, and cyberbullying. Information is found at


5×5 Learning: Get Your Tweets in Line

Day 3 of 5 finds us looking at Twitter and specifically a Twitter aggregator. Tweetdeck is a Chrome App that allows users to create columns for specific hashtagged/keyworded information.

See how you can use Tweetdeck:


Tags: , ,

Are Converging Your Learning in 2015?

Convergence defined

#conedtech – an IT/ET conference that was hosted November 8-10 in Calgary by the Alberta Technology Leaders in Education (ATLE) group.


It is a learning opportunity that I look forward to engaging in every year. My work as a Curriculum Educational Technology Facilitator in my school division has me supporting staff in moving their pedagogical and integration of technology practices forward as well as working closely with our IT department. This conference allows me to experience a greater provincial, western Canadian and North American context.
I was also able to bring along some of our IT personnel who had not experienced this conference and a Principal of one of our new schools that will open Sept 2016. I learned so much just seeing the conference through their experiences. Socializing and interacting with the vendors was great. And two fantastic keynote speakers – The Daring Librarian and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach – just rounded out the whole experience. (Oh, and the food was very tasty!)


Once the conference had ended I took a moment to list all the presentations from the schedule and asked those who either presented or attended the sessions to put a link to their information. The crowd-sourced lists is HERE.



Got a Story? Share It.

I was introduced to microTrend’s “What’s Your Story?” contest via one of my Diigo groups – Digital Citizenship in Schools this past week. It was exciting to see this yearly video contest (for students aged 13+) that highlights creative, impactful and safe and responsible ways to interact online. Not only is digital citizenship an important topic in schools today, but to have opportunities to see and hear some innovative ways that students relate/connect to it is fantastic.

Don’t wait for the individual or school entries to be shown, try this with your students right now in the classroom. Have them create a video(s) using the same specifications found in the More Details section.

Develop some criteria on what would make an effective video? Should it be creative? Memorable?

Have students look at past winners. And have them check out the many resources before they storyboard and film their masterpiece.

I think one of this year’s participants really has nailed it! What do you think? Could you do better? How?


Effective Classroom Instruction Using Tech: Providing Recognition

Photo Credit: Matias Carreño via Compfight cc


Eight years ago, the authors Pitler, Kuhn and Malenoski1 took the eleven essential instructional strategies that were identified originally by Marzano, Pickering and Pollock2. These essential instructional strategies allow teachers to then use them purposefully to steadily improve student learning. In this digital age of learning and in considerations of this research, I have included not only an outline of how technology could be used to complement and enhance these teaching strategies but also specific technology tools/resources.

This is the third of a series of 11 posts on this topic.

Essential Instructional Strategy #3

In providing recognition teachers focus on giving students rewards or praise for accomplishments related to the attainment of a goal which then positively influences student attitudes and accomplishments. Technology allows teachers to create personalized and group recognition with postings found within the classroom as well as online.

Within the learning environment, various resources may be used. Below is a complementary list of actions and ideas, but by no means is it an exhaustive list. Please add your ideas in the comments section if you like.

  • Have an online area (blog/wiki) where students can post their product, have peer evaluations and global comments. In my school division we encourage all teachers to use their classroom blog as a place where classroom learning is shared, students are connected with each other and resources/information is readily available for parents. As well, all of our students have their own showcase blog hosted by edublogs. Their everyday learning is housed in their Google Drive.
  • Create certificates such as EdWorld, MWord, BigHugeLabs and GoogleDocs.
  • Showcase student work in an online gallery like the Jordan District Elementary Film Festival. This can easily be set up in Google Sites, a Wikispace or on a Blog.

Have students communicate with peers and professionals in an authentic manner with videoconferencing (VC unit, GoogleHangouts, Skype).



1 – Pitler, H., R., E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works. Alexandria: ASCD.

2 – Marzano, R. J., Pickering, D. J., & Pollock, J. E. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. Also look at Dean, C.B., Hubbell, E.R., Pitler, H. & Stone, B.J. (2012). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement, 2nd Edition. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.



Weekly Tech Tips and Tidings


Photo Credit: mattwalker69 via Compfight cc

This week try out some seasonal activities, work on comprehension and delve into edtech research!

Tech Tips and Tools

  • Google Certified Teachers created lesson plans for INTERSTELLAR, a new movie from Christopher Nolan that touches on topics from climate change to space travel to the theory of relativity. Find the right lesson plan to take your classes even further with Google Play for Education.
  • Rockin’ Around the Geome-tree – Educator Tom Rose of Chowchilla High School in California uses Geogebra, a free web app, to bring complicated math concepts to life. “The app’s ability to move things around and dynamically see what changes and what doesn’t goes much further than the most well-written lecture notes,” Rose says. “Students love working with GeoGebra, and have no problem loudly saying ‘YES!’ when I tell them it’s ‘a GeoGebra day’ rather than another slideshow from Mr. Rose.”
  • Follow Santa around the world with Google Maps Santa Tracker: Take your students on a tour of Santa’s Village to learn about holiday traditions from all over the world, access complete standards-based lesson plans, and enjoy fun holiday games.
  • GAFE Tools you can trust:Google knows that trust is earned through protecting privacy and providing top-notch security to schools and students. Learn more about their commitment on our Google for Education Trust Center. This includes their detailed paper, “Data Security, Transparency, & Privacy: How Google Protects Your Data“.
  • Moon walks with Neil & Buzz – See the moon like never before with Google Earth Moon View. Zoom in on astronauts’ footprints, watch rare footage of the Apollo missions, and take a tour of moon landing sites with Apollo astronauts narrating the whole experience.


Discovery Education Tidbits

  • DEN Trend Report – this week concentrates on building strong teacher leadership, teacher evaluations, global warming, engaging girls in tech and games to reimagine learning.
  • The Envelope Please – this strategy has students making a prediction to enhance and check on their comprehension.
  • Zaption Premium Access – take a Digital Learning Survey and get premium access to Zaption Pro which turns online videos into interactive learning experiences that engage students, deepen understanding and track student progress.


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