Category Archives: Digital Citizenship and Responsibility

Get Techy w/Digital Literacy and Citizenship

The idea behind Get Techy is for teachers to try ONE thing to move their instructional practice forward. Think of it as a “next strategy” into becoming more digitally literate in the learning environment.


  • Digital Literacy and Citizenship skills


Our students live in an interactive digital culture where they are used to accessing media whenever and wherever they want. In order to be literate in today’s media-rich environments, students need to develop knowledge, values, critical thinking, communication and information management skills for the digital age.

In Alberta, we look towards Alberta Education’s Learning and Technology Policy Framework (LTPF)  in guiding this work in schools. In particular, Policy Direction 1: Student-Centred Learning where students will use technology, online learning and digital learning to:

  1. access, share and create knowledge
  2. discover, develop and apply competencies
  3. develop and apply digital citizenship and technological skills
  4. demonstrate what they know and are able to do through effectively using a range of resources and media
  5. monitor their learning progress and inform decisions through the use of data and evidence-based reasoning


Technology Competencies all schools work on Global Citizen and choose to highlight one other Tech Competency throughout the year.

screenshot-2018-09-29-at-20-13-12Technology Skills and Resources

  • Assistive Technology, Basic Procedures, Coding, Communication Applications, Data Entry and Analysis, Digital Learning Environments, Multimedia, Search Skills, Writing and Publishing



  • Let’s Look at Privacy Basics


Common Sense Education has many thoughtful resources to support teachers and even parents when looking at digital resources. Take a look at a few specific Privacy Basics resources regarding Social Media.

Video – Facebook and Blog post – Protecting Student Privacy on SM

Video – Twitter




  • Your Data Portrait


No, you don’t have to be an artist nor an amazing infographic graphic designer to create your own data portrait. It is an opportunity for both teachers and students to look at themselves in a pictorial way to create an understanding about ourselves and to continue to evolve with our experiences. A really fun activity and even more interesting discussion afterward! Read the blog post, do the activity, reflect and then watch the TED Talk.

How to Draw Your Own Selfie – Using Your Personal Data



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


Catch ‘Em All with Pokemon Go in Your Classroom


Gamification took on new meaning this summer with the release of Pokemon Go. Not just for the young’ens, this has captured the data streams and battery packs of various aged smartphone carrying people. I, for one, wasn’t too excited when Pokemon originally came out in 1996, however I did incorporate the characters into literacy, numeracy and physical activities since my students, at the time, were quite enamored with the game.


Throughout the years as both a teacher and an administrator, I have connected the outside gaming world with learning that occurred within the classroom walls. My students were engaged and motivated. And I got to guide them with the curriculum.


So, back to Pokemon Go. I clearly am playing it and enjoying the discussion between fellow players that I meet whenever I have the app running on my smartphone. I also get into some intense, yet fun conversations with my 6 foot 14 year old son, who is also playing it. I’m excited to see that other educators, specifically those part of my Twitter PLN (professional learning network), are finding ways to use this game in/out of their classrooms. From building numeracy skills with mapping, direction, CP levels and literacy in reading the details for each caught Pokemon, there is much that could and can be incorporated into learning if one wishes to. Check out some of the great suggestions and ideas below and share your ideas via my comment section!



Suburbs Pokemon Go

Middle School Pokemon Go

ISTE ideas

Value of Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go Workout from NAIT


Gone Digital: Good and Bad Connections

At the end of May, I had an opportunity to spend 1.5 days with some pretty ‘smart’ people regarding how emerging technologies can hold both a promise and a peril for individuals, families and communities. The evening lecture and the day long Invitational Research Colloquium on Growing Up Digital in Alberta: Children, Youth and Society shared some amazing findings. (I will make my best attempt at summarizing what these incredible experts shared.)

The evening was an overview and open to the public while the colloquium was invitational and hosted a variety of professionals and diverse groups from across the province. A few goals to think about as you delve further into this subject:

  • To consider the extent to which technologies are (re) shaping the minds and bodies of children and youth
  • To explore the neuroscience and psychology of digital distraction(s)
  • To identify the issues, perspectives and contentions emerging from current Canadian and American research
  • To discuss the 2015 findings of the Harvard University, Alberta Teachers’ Association and University of Alberta longitudinal study on Growing Up Digital (GUD) in Alberta
  • To generate key questions to guide policy decisions and future research on emerging technologies, learning, teaching and the well-being of children and youth

Our expert speakers were:

Larry Rosen is a research psychologist with specialties in multitasking, social networking, generational differences, parenting, child and adolescent development, and educational psychology, and is recognized as an international expert in the “Psychology of Technology.”

Michael Rich came to medicine after a 12-year career as a filmmaker. His current areas of health research and clinical work combine his experience and expertise in medicine and media, making him the world’s first “mediatrician.”

Here is a visual and audio (I created) summary of Larry and Michael’s presentations. While watching and listening, think about:

How does this information challenge or affirm current practices and policies?

What key research areas or essential questions require further exploration?

Larry – The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World


Michael – Gaining Connectivity Losing Connectedness

Michael 2

Yet there is more. Watch the following THREE videos that continue this conversation and research on this topic.


How Brains are Built: The Core Story of Brain Development


Got Some Initiative with That?


Photo Credit: Nicobobinus via Compfight cc

Today I had the opportunity to work with a whole staff. The first part of our work together was an overview of some of the EdTech Initiatives that our school division has been working on. Check out what was shared below. See what you have in common. Also, are there some pieces that you haven’t thought of? Are there things that we should be looking at as well? This is a brief overview, mind you, but it is always good to read other people’s comments.


Just Like Me – how many of you are similar? different? from each other. This is a great activity to start off a session/workshop with!


Initiatives in PSD


  • Social Media/Networking


Social Networking in Real Life – hilarious video!

Parkland teachers are using Social Media in a variety of ways – communication, collaboration, connecting with other classrooms/experts, resources, sharing, learning, demonstrating….

Citizenship and Social Responsibility standards are part of the reporting process in the school division. Continued work on digital citizenship and literacy will enhance the already existing standards. Staff and students are working with many resources.


  • Digital Citizenship and Digital Literacy


Library Learning Commons staff use Destiny Library system for their books, textbooks and other resources. Accessing ebooks, audiobooks, links is also an important part of this process.


  • Library Learning Commons – new library companion software


    • Destiny
    • MackinVIA™ is a library program that makes it easy to access your school’s eBooks and educational databases and it connects with our current Destiny Library System. Teachers can easily create groups that host specific linked resources for a particular topic. You can use MackinVIA on any device that has Internet access. For online and offline access, there is a free MackinVIA app available for download.

5×5 Learning: No Patridge in this Pear Deck

One of my favorite tools is Pear Deck because it allows a teacher to use any PowerPoint, Google Presentation, or PDF and incorporate different student activities to check for understanding and engagement. Pear Deck is free for students and teachers (freemium) and it fully integrates with Google Apps for Education, especially connecting directly with Google Classroom.


You can sign in/create your Pear Deck account with your GAFE account. Start to create a new interactive lesson by selecting “New Deck” and then create a slideshow from scratch or import a PowerPoint, Google Presentation, or PDF. You can easily go through and edit the slides by adding free response (text), free response (number), and multiple choice questions within the slide.


Introduction to Pear Deck

Check out how you can use it with GClassroom

And Student Takeaways are a phenomenal way to have “notes” stay with them in their GDrive


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5×5 Learning: Have the Right Chrome Extensions at Your Fingertips

ExtensityIn this day 4 of 5 looking at chrome extensions. Users who frequent the Chrome Web Store are most likely expanding their enabled extensions collection and their toolbar may not be well organized. This is where today’s chrome extension comes in.

Extensity drop downExtensity is a hard working, yet easy to use chrome extension that integrates all your current chrome extensions and chrome apps into one place. I really enjoy being able to enable/disable chrome extensions quickly. I may want to use 5 specific extensions, so I can click these within Extensity and disable the rest (not delete) so that they are the ONLY extensions in my toolbar. This is great for students who may use different extensions in different classes. It helps to declutter the top toolbar where enabled chrome extensions plant themselves. I also appreciate the ability to open a chrome app from here as well instead of making my way to a chrome launcher on the left side of my screen.



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