Digital Identity

When I first read our topic for the week I thought this is simple, I will just discuss my personal online activity, or lack thereof. After some research I learned that I did not fully know what the term digital identity actually meant. Techopedia defines a digital identity as “an online or networked identity adopted or claimed in cyberspace by an individual, organization or electronic device”. Techopedia continues that your digital identity is composed of your: username and password, date of birth, online shopping history and browsing history. Basically, all of the information you post, enter or view online. thumb

Via Pixabay

In the Forbes article, Moving from Static Identity to Digital Identity Garrett Gafke highlights the importance of moving away from a static to a digital identity. He mentions how companies retain customer static information in their databases for information and marketing purposes. These systems are vulnerable to privacy breaches and that information being stolen. He suggests that although static and digital identities share some similarities, the digital identity is ever changing, and may make identity theft more difficult.

As a teacher I see the importance of educating students about their digital identities for both their safety and future selves. My colleague Dani  shares her experiences with a classroom Facebook page in an elementary classroom. She is helping the students shape their digital identities by adding their own photos and taking turns deciding what to post. To ensure safety of her student she provides a permission form for parents/ guardians to sign to allow their students image to be posted online.

To educate older students about their online presence I found this lesson from The Open University – My digital identity: making a good impression online.  This straightforward interactive lesson could easily be used for middle years or even at the grade nine level. There is also a PDF version available.

What are some ways teachers can teach or encourage students to be cognizant of their digital identities? What are some positive examples of how a digital identity has affected you or someone you know?

 

 

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Teaching in the Digital Age

I do not believe that teaching students to be critical of information is a new concept. For example this article from Narcity,  reminiscing about the House Hippo video circa 2006 is encouraging youth to not believe everything they see on TV.

 

Along with teaching students to be critical of information one of my biggest concerns with teaching in the digital age is student motivation. How can we as educators have students motivated to learn and apply information when it is at their finger tips? The motivation to critically analyze and apply content is sometimes lost when students can read someone else’s viewpoint, watch someone else complete a skill online, or the dreaded Ctrl + c and Ctrl + v for assignment submissions. It is easy to tempt students with marks, or threats of preparing for future classes and their marks there. But how do we instill real motivation to sift through all of the information to find meaningful, relevant and interesting content?

Pavan Arora highlights how the value of knowledge is dropping and changing.

Arora reasons that we need to teach students to “access, assess and apply knowledge”. One way he cites for teachers to do this is to provide adaptive learning environments, where students can personalize their learning and focus on the skills they are lacking. I think to some degree as teachers we attempt to achieve this. Although, we must follow a curriculum we can teach in a variety of ways and provide students options for their assignments.

As teachers, we attempt to balance concerns of meeting curriculum objectives, preparing students for future classes and teaching them to understand and apply knowledge through providing options. If students are allowed some freedom in terms of learning and assignments, they may be more motivated to put forth effort and critically analyze their work and the knowledge they come across.

What are you concerns with learners in the digital age? 

 

Student Online Sharing

I get nervous about students sharing information online, both in connection to classroom activities and their personal lives. In my Entrepreneurship class student created businesses need to have an online presence, therefore we discuss how that looks and I monitor their project. This has worked out favourably as students have sometimes done a good job of marketing their products online. This has worked unfavourably as students have misused their business accounts and it impacts them, their businesses and the school. As this is specific to marketing and business, I feel that this can be taught as we have many examples of local businesses who have excellent online social media marketing.

As far as personal student use I have a few experiences of misuse. A student posted a picture of me on their twitter without my knowledge, making a joke about my stealing a bag I was moving. Another time a student tweeted that our school was in Lockdown mode when in fact we were in a Lockdown drill. In both instances students failed to see the greater impact outside of their circle of peers. The one about me was a violation of my privacy and was implying through a poor choice of words that I was stealing from students. The Lockdown tweet could have had media, parents and law enforcement concerned.

In the general sense it seems that students fail to see how their online sharing is not one big joke and the extension beyond them, also how it will be around FOREVER. I have voiced my relief to students about how when we did something stupid as teenagers “back in the day” people talked about it for a week or so and then they moved on. Now things are recorded, posted, shared and permanent. The second someone is doing something that stands out people are recording it, that goes for adults too.

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How can we teach students to really be cognizant and respectful of themselves and others about online sharing? I know there is a lot of education out there about digital citizenship, but is it really getting through to them?

Technology Loyalty

In my previous post I discussed how I would be creating a Google Classroom for better connections, organization and enhancements of in-class learning with my two ELA 9 classes. As it turns out our school system has invested resources into Microsoft cloud programs, Moodle and other online classroom learning based programs, and would therefore prefer for us as teachers to use those. This is not to say that I am not allowed to use GC, just that if I did and something went wrong as far as the technology side of things our technology department would not assist me as it would be out of their realm.

I am kind of disappointed as I was excited about GC, and the prospect of the user friendliness of it. Additionally, I have already invested a small amount of time in creating a GC. I admit it was not a tonne of time, but I was looking forward to having my students join me in the “classroom” soon and be my test subjects, offering some feedback and possibly some insight.

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I feel torn as I typically do what is expected of me, but I feel like it will be a tonne of more work to use an alternate program. Not as though I am looking to avoid a heavy workload, however it would be more of a learning curve for the students and myself. Either way here is what I know and need to achieve in this week:

  • Online sites and learning tools are time sensitive. We are already one month into the semester, if I do not get this up and running at least with a minimal amount of content it will not reach my desired level of usefulness for students.
  • I need to contact someone who has created an online space for their classroom using the resources available to me so that I can learn firsthand about their experiences.
  • In need to poll the learners and their use and experience with Google tools. Maybe I am overestimating the amount of students who use google.
  • I need to attempt to create an online classroom on the Microsoft cloud based system that I currently have access to for my email and my documents.

 

If you are reading this I would love to hear your thoughts, experiences and input. I really am dismayed and thought I had my Digital Learning Project on the go.

 

Google Classroom

For my Major Digital Project for eci831 I am proposing to create a Google Classroom (GC) for my ELA 9 classes this semester. In my first post I discussed how I used to have a class blog that wasn’t accessed often by students. Initially, I thought I may do a student blogging project, but I believe that it would simply be adding one more technological tool on top of the ones they are already required to use. Here are my initial thoughts about my using GC:

Who? – This will be for my ELA 9 classes this semester. At this point I am thinking that just the students will have access. I will have separate GCs for my separate classes.

What? – Creating an online space that students can access with ease. Students will be able to access class documents, submit assignments and view a class calendar. Once those applications are functioning I will introduce student interaction where they can collaborate and add to our online space.

Where? – I will instruct and encourage students to access and use our GC during class with their cell phones or other personal devices.

When? – I would like to have a skeleton outline of my GC within a week. Obviously I will be adding to it and learning as I go. I will inform the students that they are part of my learning process.

Why? – To keep students connected and engaged in our classroom activities and learning. Also, because the online grading and attendance system that I have been referring students to for class documents is slow and not always functioning.

How? – I have already started learning about GC through my PLN by posting in the Business Educators Facebook group, and tweeting expressing interest in using it. I instantly received a handful of excellent replies and resources. A colleague here in Regina put my in touch with Mickie Muller who is the creator of Guide to Google Classroom, a comprehensive and direct guide. Additionally, below is an excellent, straightforward tutorial about the basics of GC.

 

If you are reading this and have any tips, suggestions or experience with GC, I would love to hear!

 

 

Forgot about Blogging

As I start my journey in EC&I 831 this semester I remembered that I have used a blog in the past. I used one during my pre-internship for required reflections, and during my internship for weekly class outlines and assignment links. I did however forget that I actually used one in my own teaching, again for weekly outlines, assignments and general useful links.

School Adams

I stopped using one as our school requires us to post student assignments on the online reporting, and attendance system. Students are also required to work through a school provided cloud type email and word processing tool. Therefore, I felt it was redundant to have a blog with the assignments. Basically, I was posting assignments twice, in addition it was directing students to another online tool. It did not seem to be worth my time and effort.

This leads me to wonder what are some effective ways teachers are using blogs and class websites. Or possibly, how they are better drawing students to their sites for class assignments and information. Clearly my classroom blog was not useful since even I had forgot about it…