Tech Tools


My new FAVOURITE tech tool is the snipping tool! If you have the option I highly suggest you find this tool on your device, and pin it on your task bar. I use it daily, multiple times. I am not even sure how I lived without it before. Sure I know Ctrl + c and print screen, but this is amazing. It has saved so much time with creating lessons, and worksheets.

Screencastify is another tool/ program that I enjoy. So far I have only used it for my eci courses, but my goal this year is to use it two times for my classes. My plan to record a lesson, either a difficult one or a review and post the video on my class website. This way students could access it and refer back to it when need be. If you have never tried a screen recorder program I suggest you do so this semester. Screencastify is extremely user friendly, and there is a free version available. Here is one I made last for eci832.


Another of my favourite Google Extensions is Google Photos. If you are like my you typically only get a new phone when the old one breaks or dies. And like me you may possibly have a lot of photos on that phone that are gone with it. To solve this problem I synced my phone to Google Photos, so that all of my photos are automatically uploaded to my Google account. It even has an assistant feature that makes collages of my photos and creates albums. So although this one does not connect to my classroom and teaching, personally I find it very valuable. 


As far as privacy I do not get too hung up on privacy concerns when it comes to Google, hence my use of Google Photos. I do sometimes get taken aback at how easily accessible my information on Google is. For example even on my blog here I clicked to add images and hit Google and there were all of my recent photos I had taken from my phone. Not ones that were specifically uploaded, but all of them. Screen shots and even images I had tweeted. That was a little freaky to me. However, I do love Google and would probably use any tool made by them that would enhance my life, I figure they already have all of my information there is no stopping now.

My questions:

  • What are some valuable Google Extensions that you use, personally or professionally?
  • Do the majority of people who use Apple products favour Google?
  • What are some Google extensions my preschooler or toddler could use?

Thanks for reading!


Learning Theories in Practice

While discussing learning theories in our class this week, I felt I really had to dust off the theory side of my teacher brain. Even after our discussions, I could not pinpoint ways to describe how I put theory into practice daily. I found the info graphic below extremely helpful! Gif via Giphy

Learning To

I would like to think that I apply all of the theories at some level in my classroom, everyday.  Here are some examples I can think of from this week.

Behaviorism: In my ELA 9 class we had a lesson on document structure, tips and saving in Microsoft Word. Students then used the sample document to create their assignment. It was not higher level and did not require independent thought, but I believe we covered some general useful skills that will help them presently and in the future.

Cognitvism: Again in ELA, students created letters to survivors following our Survivor & Conquering unit. This allowed them to take the knowledge we covered throughout the unit and create their own independent work. Some students wrote letters to famous people, or fictional characters while others wrote to family members.

Constructivism: As far as constructivism students in Entrepreneurship 30 were required to create mini trial businesses and sell a product over a three day period. This required students to take what they have learned in class, create their own business and sell their product. As simple as selling candy and cookies at lunch students really learn a lot about how a business works.

Image via eLearning Infographics


Along with learning theories Alec displayed the following 9 Events of Instruction from Gagne, 1965. Although, it was created in 1965 and the classroom, world and learner has changed I use many of these in my daily practice.  Some traditional teaching methods stand the test of time, as Alec said, “these are solid”.

My questions:

  • Is it unrealistic for me to believe that I actually use all learning theories in my classroom?
  • Are some subject areas geared more towards some learning objectives over others?
  • Do you know what SWBAT stands for? That may take many of you back to your undergrad lesson planning…

Thanks for reading!


My Understanding of Ed Tech

If I had to summarize my understanding of educational technology, I would have to say that ed tech is both the teaching and learning with technology. Ed tech has allowed us better methods of displaying content and demonstrations through: overheads, digital projectors, smart boards, and mimios among many others. Those were just the ones that I have used in my teaching. Ed tech has also allowed teachers, students and parents better methods of communication through our Home Logic (online grades and assignment manager), class sites, blogs, and even email.

This makes me wonder if students are better learners simply because:

  • Teachers show them how to do the work in a different way.
  • Parents can see their grades and attendance as soon as it is entered.
  • Students can access the assignments and submit their work anytime, anywhere.

Image via Giphy

I would like to think that although these would be considered ‘modern’ examples of ed tech, they are becoming outdated. As educators we need to move beyond simply using technology as a fancy form of teaching, and as a better way to communicate and moving assignments to students utilizing it and become literate with it.  The article Being addicted to technology is not the same as being literate in it describes technological literacy as “literacy that requires an awareness of how the social network operates”. This leads me to my definition of ed tech

Educational technology is…

  • Various methods of teachers demonstrating skills or tasks.
  • Ease of communication, assignments and information outside, both in and out of the classroom.
  • Students learning and be given opportunities to use technology for personal and professional uses.
  • Teachers helping students to critically think and examine what they see and hear online.

Image result for before you post think

Image via Tech Rocks

My questions:

  • How do you teach students to use tech, while teaching them to be responsible with it?
  • What is the oldest piece of tech you have used in your teaching career? What is the newest?
  • Are you scared of using tech, or do you dive in and embrace the chaos that sometimes ensues?

Thanks for reading!


Rationale – Inspiration – Curriculum Connection – Overview


I decided to focus my major project for ECI832 this semester on creating a unit for my ELA 9A class. I chose to focus on the theme: All That I Am – the Search for Self. I believe that this an appropriate theme for my digital citizenship unit, as this theme focuses on identity, the students’ connection to the community, their life journey and their future.

I decided to use Microsoft Sway as the platform for delivery as:

  • It is posted online so it is easily accessible for students.
  • I can update or amend portions, and it will automatically update it online.
  • Both students and I have access to the program through our school Office 365 accounts.
  • It is easy to use and I can insert various types of media.
  • Students will be able to work at their own pace through the unit.


To begin I referenced Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship to branch out beyond the theme. The four main elements that I see as most applicable to this theme are:

  • 5 – Etiquette
  • 7 – Rights & Responsibilities
  • 8 – Health & Wellness
  • 9 – Security (self-protection)

Two sources of support and inspiration for background and activities are:

 Curriculum Connection

The English_Language_Arts_9_2008 curriculum provides some guiding questions for a deeper understanding within each of the themes. These questions provided the basis for my project:

  • From where does our sense of identity come?
  • What makes each person unique and interesting?
  • How do people journey as they change through life?
  • How do we keep our self-identity yet, at the same time, become part of a community?

Compose and Create (CC). Students will extend their abilities to speak, write, and use other forms of representation to explore and present thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a variety of forms for a variety of purposes and audiences.

Outcome: CC9.5a Create and present a variety of visual and multimedia presentations to best represent message for an intended audience and purpose.


  1. Create multimedia presentations to communicate information using resources such as overhead projectors, computers, recorders, and other presentation software.
  2. Integrate a variety of media (e.g., sound effects, mime, graphics, physical movement, short video clip) into oral and written representations to enhance the message.
  3. Use visual aids, media, and other technology to support oral presentations.

Outcome: CC9.6a and CC9.6b Use oral language to interact purposefully, confidently, and appropriately in a variety of situations including participating in one-to-one, small group, and large group discussions (e.g., prompting and supporting others, solving problems, resolving conflicts, building consensus, articulating and explaining personal viewpoint, discussing preferences, speaking to extend current understanding, and celebrating special events and accomplishments).


  1. Demonstrate respect for the needs, rights, and feelings of others.
  2. Support a position acknowledging opposing views.
  3. Organize ideas in appropriate format and sequence ideas and information clearly and logically.
  4. Move smoothly and logically from one point to another.
  5. Adjust language and tone to suit audience, purpose, and situation.


The task and topics are numbered from 1. – 7. Some numbers will take more than one class period and some will take less. It is designed so that if a student misses a day, or I wanted students to work independently they could easily achieve the required components by logging on and accessing the Sway.

  1. Digital Citizenship Introduction

I plan to open the unit with defining some general terms to introduce the ideas. Following that I will have students complete a digital citizenship quiz I found online, I will ask them to record their score /20, and review any answers they got incorrect.

For homework, I am going to ask students to keep a log of their cell usage. I challenge them to record two school, and two non-school days. Near the end of the unit, we will analyze their tracking when discussing healthy behaviours online.

  1. Online vs. IRL

We will open this task up by watching the In Real Life #bestrong video. Although this video could be perceived as inappropriate in some aspects, it is too powerful to not show my students. I think the message is strong, clear and relevant. Students will be asked to complete an individual reflection following the video. I provided some prompts they could use, or they are welcome to free write whatever they are thinking and feeling at that moment. This video passionately covers the topic of cyberbullying and the seriousness of how online behaviour is mirrored in real life.

  1. Seeing is believing…

I am going to open this portion by showing students House Hippo video. If you were a child in the 1990’s in Canada, you have most likely seen this. While I am not planning to extend things into fake news, it would be unfair to students to immerse them in a digital citizenship unit without stressing them important of being cognizant of the source of information they read online.

As a class we will be watching Eli Pariser TED Talk Beware “online filter bubbles”. I know that I found this exteremly interesting when I watched it, and believe that students will as well. Following the video students will have three options:

  • discuss when they read or heard something that turned out to be fake
  • shared when online marketing was based on their recent online activity or search
  • or compare google searches with a friend.

Students will be required to share their responses on a class flipgrid. They will be asked to comment on at least 2 classmates responses.           I am hoping this creates some good dialogue that is student facilitated through the app, while keeping them engaged in the content.

  1. Phone addiction

I don’t have it written on the Sway, but at this point I will ask students who have logged some of their cell use to share their results. I will have done the same logging, and will share my cell usage as well. I will encourage those who have not recorded any days of cell use to do so in the next week or so. The results of our shared cell usage logs connects to this lesson on phone addiction.

As students watch the video – It’s not you. Phones are designed to be addicting and then reading the article Evening screen time can sabotage sleep they will be instructed to apply the journalistic approach noting the 5Ws. We will use these to recap and discuss what the video and article were about.

Following our discussion students will be required to choose a position and create a persuasive paragraph the two points of view they can choose from are:

  • Teenagers today spend too much time engaged in their phones and online.
  • Teenagers today are able to easily balance their online life with the IRL selves.
    1. Photos & Sharing

As a class we will view the three images and discuss the message they are sending. I will also ask students to discuss their photo sharing habits, and the habits of teens in general.

In pairs students will be asked to create a top 10 list for being safe and happy online. We will share these lists and display them in the classroom.

  1. Sexting & being safe online

Through the study Non-consensual sharing of sext: behaviours and attitudes of Canadian youth we will discuss sexting. Overall, the study is fascinating and provides lots of good information. I am not planning to cover the entire study but to focus on the language and definitions as the term sexting is more than one would think, and to cover some statistics. I plan to achieve this through a Power point I created with some visuals from the study.

Students will also be required to read the article Four Illinois high school students face charges in sexting scandal. After the powerpoint and article students will pair up to create an acronym for the work Sexting. The target audience for their acronym would be new social media users, and grade 4 – 6 students. Keeping in mind we would be encouraging and teaching them about online safety.

  1. PSA

To end our unit I am going to have students create public service announcements to summarize their learning and hopefully educate their peers. I am planning to have the PSAs posted on the Sway so that all of the classes are together and accessible in one place. Depending upon the quality and feedback from the students we may look at displaying them on the tv monitors throughout the halls at our school.


Although, I have not actually worked through this unit with my class I am looking forward to it. I am also looking forward to learning more about my students and finding out which avenues of digital citizenship are the most engaging, or perhaps the most needed for them. While there is SO much more I could cover, the first time around I needed to streamline it as much as possible for my sanity. Watch my blog for my final review once I have complete the unit with my students.















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!