Analyzing Information

An average day for me in terms of reading and utilizing media is scrolling through: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. For the most part I use Twitter in a professional sense. I follow fellow educators and schools’ Twitter accounts. Facebook is more so for news, links to parenting blogs and recipes. I only recently started using Instagram to follow local businesses and fitness enthusiasts.As far as new sources I mostly follow regional and national news pages. I don’t subscribe to anything internationally.

My strategies for analyzing and validating information are to search and see if there are more than one source on the topic and news source. During our class this week Alec mentioned the term “reading laterally” in our last class. Basically, it means that when analyzing a source you need to look beyond the source to an outside party. This makes sense to me, but I am concerned with people or students who might.


Gif via Giphy

The following video was shared in our class this week and is an excellent resources for teaching students to be able to identified fake news, and to critically analyze what they read. One part of the video that I really like is the 5 C’s of critical consuming: context, credibility, construction, corroboration and compare. I think this is a great tactic for students, or anyone who is looking for a concrete way to analyze a source of information.

This next video I found is a fun take on some headlines that have been around in the news recently.  The host asks random participants if they believe certain news stories are real or fake.While some of the headlines were actually in news and media they were fake. It is interesting how the host highlights that although they seem real due to presentation, reputation and source they are in fact fake.

This quiz was shared by my colleague Kelsie is an excellent teaching resource – The New York Times weekly news quiz for studentsThis would be a great teaching tool for anyone learning about fake news and the media.

Here are some of my questions:

  1. What are some ways you have taught, or have heard of others teaching students ways to identify fake news?
  2. What are some predictions you have about how fake news will impact our youth?

Thanks for reading! 

Modern Literacy = Communication

This article from CBC – Breaking up is hard to do: Why leaving Facebook is more difficult than it looks highlights that while people are concerned about the recent privacy breach for Facebook “there isn’t much of anywhere else to go”. The article notes that Facebook provides connectivity. This includes: businesses information, sports and rec teams pages along with quick access to all of the photos you posted. It also reasons that there are a few steps if you wish to deactivate your account, so that may deter users from deactivating their accounts.


Image via Fox Searchlight

I used to think that Facebook was one of the main sources of social media. It does not seem like a primary source for young people anymore. On my own Facebook account I see more news, cooking and parenting pages that I have liked appear in my feed as opposed to actual friends. I do agree that it is a good source of information for businesses and what they post on their pages. While it used to be the main source for people sharing photos I don’t think it is anymore.

When I think of being media literate it all comes down to communication. For example, my parents are not on Facebook and would therefore miss out on photos or posts from relatives that live out of town. But with so many easily accessible message apps now, people can conveniently share photos or send a quick note, which is much less time consuming than an email. Another part of communication is the option for video calling. For myself, and my parents it is a fairly newer concept. I really only video call people who live out of town. However, I think of my kids who are disappointed when they phone rings and it isn’t someone we can video chat with.


Emojis are a form a communication, and a language that has come along with our increase in cell and app usage. Apparently emojis add emotion, and context to messages being sent. This article, also from CBC – Emojis are everywhere and they’re changing how we communicate highlights that emojis are “breaking down language barriers and accelerating human interactions”. That’s a pretty strong statement, maybe I just don’t fully agree as I am probably a bit older than the average avid emoji user. I do know, that while they sometime appear innocent they sometimes have double meanings…Because of this I no longer allow students to use emojis for Kahoot or other class activities where they can create a username.

Image via Pixabay

My questions:

  1. In what other ways has being media literate increased communication?
  2. What are some forms of technological communication that you simply “don’t get”?
  3. Do you think you’ll ever break-up with Facebook? Or any other social media?

Thanks for reading!









Teaching (Digital?) Citizenship

In the article What Your Students Really Need to Know About Digital Citizenship Vicki Davis covers “9 Keys Ps” of Digital Citizenship: passwords, private information, personal information, photographs, property, permission, protection, professionalism and personal brand. Davis also makes mention of the fact that many are starting to drop the digital from digital citizenship, as we are simply educating students to be citizens. I see this as the more modern approach to teaching digital citizenship. We can’t effectively teach it, if we are distinguishing the digital versus the real-life selves of students. I do not believe that students see a difference between their digital-self, and their real-life self.

Gif via Wiffle Gif

Douglas Rushkoff coined the term “screen-agers” as youth that do not distinguish between media, it’s all interconnected for them in their everyday life:

  • Screen-agers see media not as discrete products that can “impact” them or their culture, but as elements of a multi-media mosaic that is their culture.
  • Screen-agers “read” and “write” seamlessly using images, sounds and words.
  • Screen-agers experience the world not in physical boundaries but as an instant global network of wireless connections and interconnections.

By classifying teenagers, or younger digital literate individuals in this manner we can no longer separate the digital from the citizenship piece in education, because of this we need to educate students to think critically in all areas of media and their daily lives.

In the article Media Literacy: A National Priority for a Changing World the authors highlight five key questions for interpreting and critically analyzing information:

1 – Who created this message?

2 – What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?

3 – How might different people understand this message differently from me?

4 – What lifestyles, values and points of view are represented in – or omitted from – this message?

5 – Why is this message being sent?

As adults I think we sometimes take for granted that students can decipher valuable media and sources, from those with a specific agenda or viewpoint. But just because students have viewed lots of media and sources doesn’t mean they fully comprehend what they are viewing.  The post Digital Literacy: Whats Does it Mean to you?  presents two opposites of students skill and understanding of technology. On one end of the spectrum is comfort and ease of use, and on the other, information literacy – “the ability to judge the quality of information one receives through electronic means”. So although, students may argue that they know how to use technology it does not mean that they fully are able to interpret it.


Image via Pixabay

Regardless, if you think the digital should be separated from the citizenship students are fully immersed in the online world. If we are looking to engage with students and teach them to be productive members of society and prepare them for the future we need to connect the classroom learning with their online living.

My questions:

  1. What do you think about no longer distinguishing between digital citizenship and citizenship?
  2. What are some great digital citizenship lessons/ videos/ information you teach or have seen?
  3. How can we convince students that they need to be taught how to be good digital citizens?

Thanks for reading!


Digital Identity: past, present & future

Image via Pixabay

Digital identity means so much more than I initially thought. Before taking eci831 I would’ve simply said it is your online presence. I would now extend that to being your online: past, present and future self.

Past – As far as my past social media wasn’t around when I was in high school in the late 1990’s. Even Myspace was after my teenage years. I am glad for this, and am not afraid to tell my students I feel this way. This is not to say I was repeatedly making horrible decisions, just that when we did make poor choices no one was there capturing them on video or in photos. Any gossip, true or otherwise was maybe discussed for a week or so and was then forgotten. Teens today are under constant pressure and scrutiny, even when they’re with their closest friends. Nothing is forgotten, and they’re always connected.

Present – For my present practices for digital identity I would give myself an average rating. I have my personal Facebook and Instagram accounts, which I rarely post on. On Facebook I am a member of two business education teacher groups, which I do find extremely valuable for resources and ides. I have had a twitter for many years, but only started using it valuably last semester for eci831. I have really enjoyed using twitter, mostly for professional articles and making connections. I also find twitter great for keeping up-to-date on news.

Future – As far as my future practices I need to work on building up my professional idenity online. Although, I don’t believe I have anything negative to hide there is also not a huge positive presence to display. I don’t feel the need to have a professional portfolio at this point, but I do need to build up and maintain my PLN.

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Gif via Giphy

I think a lot about how what my high school students do presently will affect their future, but I don’t honestly think a lot about what the actual internet will be like in 10-15 years. I probably should, especially since my own kids are 4 and 2, and will be using the internet in some capacity in that time frame. So like any reasonably out of touch tech person I googled “what will the internet be like in 10 years”. I came across many articles, that touched upon: decreased privacy, increased VR and the internet of things increasing. The article 7 Predictions For How The Internet Will Change Over The Next 15 Years  highlights how internet access will become even more prevalent and how “augmented and virtual reality will play a major role”. That is completely beyond my understanding. So as an educator, and parent we need to prepare students for a digital world that doesn’t fully exist yet, we don’t fully comprehend and while it is online it will still impact their daily lives.

Recently I read the novel Ready Player OneI read it thinking that I would maybe use it for a novel study with one of my future ELA classes. Turns out I LOVED it, and thought it was a great book. The book is set in 2045 and the majority of people basically live their entire existence online in the Oasis. People use actual currency to purchase items so that they can live better in the Oasis than their real lives. The main character also attends school and socializes online. While the whole idea of the book is for the main character to complete a series of tasks and complete a game that was created by one of the Oasis’s founders, it was still fascinating how his real life paralleled with his online life.  I hope the movie is as good as the book, although they never are.


My current questions/ thoughts:

  • How do we prepare students to balance their real lives with their online lives?
  • Is it best to stay connected and immersed in up-to-date technologies so I somewhat have an idea of what my students and kids are experiencing?
  • Is it normal that all of this augmented/ VR stuff scares me? Not like the games that currently exist, but the fact that young people may become fully immersed and lose their developing sense of self.

Thanks for reading!



Teaching what they (think they) already know

As far as preparing students to be positive digital citizens it’s a unique situation as we attempting to prepare them for a world they are already part of, or fully immersed in. For younger students they are most likely part of the digital world through their parents or class groups. Older students are members through their own social media and online interactions.

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Image via Giphy

I believe that we need to educate students about the dangers online, and some steps to be safe. But more importantly we need to teach them to think critically and behave in ways that demonstrate they’ve thought through their online actions. Alissa Skylar highlights that “digital hygiene teaches so much more than just safe, responsible use of digital tools. A parent who sits down together with their child to Google how to configure Instagram privacy settings is also modelling critical thinking, research techniques, discussing context, and involving their.” Sound, Smart, and Safe: A Plea for Teaching Good Digital HygieneThis is important as it encourages parents, or possibly even teachers to model skills and teach them to think critically and independently.  

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 Image via Senior Academy

My colleague Kyla Moffat created this video What does it mean to be a (digital) citizen? In the video she displays the  poster above, which I think is a great visual for anyone who is thinking of posting images online.

We are preparing students to be (a better) part of a community that they are already part of. We are also trying to instill in them the reality that anything they do as a member of the online world is there forever, and will impact their future. Since it is nearly impossible to restrict kids in any way in regards to online activities we need to teach them to be good online citizens.  Here are some ways we can help prepare them:
  • model good online behaviour
  • teach them to think critically
  • show examples of where online actions have impacted peoples’ lives.
  • provide them opportunities to use online tools for classroom learning, or connect to the lives.

What are some other ways we can teach students good online behaviour, or help prepare them to be positive online citizens?

Thanks for reading!