Course 3 Final Project: My CV Visualized

I created a Google Site to house my newly created infographic resume. You can access the site here.  Below is the infographic I created using Vennagage, a website that offers free and paid infographic templates.  Wanting to try something different besides Canva and Piktochart, I gave Vennagage chance. After looking through the different templates I decided to make mine from scratch. It was a bit of a learning curve but after some trial and error, I came away with a hyperlinked, interactive, “About Me infographic CV” that I’m quite pleased with. Have a look below!

 

Cools & Warms of Venngage

Here is a site that makes the comparison between Venngage and Canva.  It shows that Canva is cheaper at 12 dollars compared Venngage 49.  In addition, Venngage is rated higher with a score of  8.9 to Canva’s 9.4.  The cost was a certainly a cool for me. In order to download my CV as a PDF or JPG, I must pay a minimum of 19 dollars for the first month.  I thought about this for awhile but at the moment I’ve just decided to have it embedded on to my Google Site.

I also found that Vennagage was limited in the number of text styles, and images.  The number of templates was not as large as Canva but there were some really interesting ones which looked different and more appealing. It was the CV and infographic templates that originally drew me into using their site.  The only warms were also the slim features in their free plan and I’ve included them below.

Free plan

  • 5 infographics
  • Venngage branding
  • Share publicly

I’m happy I tried something different but overall I think that Canva or Piktochart are much better websites for designs and infographics.


Google Sites = “An About Me Ecosystem”

By using Google Sites, I’m able to provide and house so much depth showcasing my professional career. The ability to embed various docs and slides and make my “About Me” more responsive and interactive is why I believe Google Sites is a perfect platform for job seekers. The G-Suite offers a Learning Center that teaches you how to create a Google Site from scratch.  Check it out if you’re new to Google Sites and thinking about trying it out.  My next step with this site is to create a page specifically for my upload my Youtube Channel.  Stay Tuned!

Although I’m certainly not looking for work now, I’ll continue to maintain and improve my “About Me Ecosystem” for next time I enter the recruting season.

@NicholasKGarvin

Where Doodles & Data Meet

“Your message is only as good as your ability to share it.” These powerful words sum up a great video explaining the importance of infographics.

These days there are many ways to grab someone’s attention through infographics.  Canva, vizualize.me & Piktochart, to name a few, are in my opinion some of the best ones out there. I’ve used them all in the past for various projects and presentations.  Just three days ago, fellow Coetail’er Pana Asavavatana used Canva to quickly add some aesthetic appeal to the Twitter questions I created in preparation for our upcoming Digital Citizenship Twitter Chat on February 28th.  Here’s a sneak peek &  a shameless plug 🙂

Speaking of infographics and Coetail’ers I couldn’t help but think about the recently redesigned Coetail website which prominently features an awesome infographic documenting the Coetail Learning journey.  I find the new website to be fun, engaging, and informative.


Sketching, Doodling & Synthesising Data

With all the sites, apps and tools out there now to help you collect and organize information. I’ve recently been made aware of the beauty of sketchnotes. Being a visual learner,   I’ve found myself being drawn to sketch notes more and more. (no pun intended)  The ones I’ve come across on Twitter lately have been quite engaging and I’m seriously considering giving it a go. Craighton Berman’s website, Sktechnotes 101, was a great jumping off point and inspired me to dig a little deeper. After a while down the rabbit hole, I found out there’s actually a World Sktechnote Day (Jan 11) &  that sketchnoting is a creative, relaxing, AND efficient way to synthesize information. What I once thought was silly or a bit out of place, now seems like the perfect way to personally conceptualize data.

In the following TED Talk  Doodlers, unite!,  Sunni Brown discusses some other misconceptions about sketching and doodling as well as our inherited cultural bias towards them. Check out the video from Sunni or alternatively the Sketchnotes from ,  below.

Discuss Sktech Notes and TED using Sketch Notes….

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/andymcnally/status/960694599214948352
Created here  by @andymcnally 


In short:

  • Sketching notes helps us understand concepts. 
  • When we make our thinking into images we synthesize our ideas
  • Visual Notetaking enhances memory and improves understanding. 
  • Visual Notetaking and sketching exercises your brain by connecting verbal material to visual material

Infographics in Kindergarten

As I alluded to in my previous blog post, Unpacking Visual Literacy in Kindergarten, visual material plays a massive role in the development of my Kindergarten student’s vocabulary, conceptual thought, and imagination.  It is the cornerstone of their comprehension.

https://www.tes.com/lessons/SfcwZrqsnSblGw/learner-profile
https://www.tes.com/lessons/SfcwZrqsnSblGw/learner-profile

Aside from picture books, the most popular items in my classroom are our “Learner Profile Badges”.

Inspired by the Olympics, I turned the LP images into medals (or badges as my students know them) as a way to introduce the language and visually represent the Learner Profile attributes. When a student sees another student embodying these attributes they will take the badge off the wall and hang it around the next of that student. Since it’s inception, they’ve really taken to it. The way they proudly wear the “Risk Taker badge” or “Thinker badge” around on the playground, you would think it’s actually a gold medal – to them, it is.  Because of these images and the idea of passing them off as badges, my students have developed an understanding of the vocabulary and continue to make a strong commitment towards living out the learner profile.

Another Infographic that I use in my Kindergarten class is for self-management and it’s known in class as the Kelso’s Choice Wheel.  Have a look!

https://www.tes.com/lessons/nKPKtoZ6DgI_mQ/kelso-s-choices
Source: TES Connect (linked)

Teaching children to reflect on their actions is an important yet challenging aspect of Kindergarten. Our Kelso Wheel acts as an intervention infographic that provides students with multiple choices allowing them to feel empowered to take their own action.  A self-governing classroom of five-year-old students will certainly take time but as seen in the image below, my students often revisit the image throughout the year to work on working out their conflicts.

For more information on Kelso’s Choices, including other images, videos, and songs check out TES Teach here.

In this case, the two ways in which I use images to convey meaning help my Kindergarten students make informed choices to solve conflict and model positive behavior and attitudes inspired by the Learner Profile.  Both the Learner Profile badges and Kelso’s Choice Wheel act as aids to connect the verbal to the visual. From foreign vocabulary to understandable concepts, both visual aids have allowed them to responsibility for their own actions. 


Final Wonderings

Knowing that the Kelso Wheel and Learning Profile images are not your typical or classic infographics, I’m wondering what other types of infographics could you introduce to Kindergarten students?

What other ways could I incorporate infographics into a Kindergarten classroom?

Do you have a favorite website or app for creating infographics?

What experience do you have with Sketchnotes?

Thanks,

@NicholasKGarvin

Remixing The Art of Storytelling

For sale: baby shoes, never worn. 

The following six words have been attributed to Ernest Hemingway and his concept of flash fiction by telling a story with the minimum amount of words possible.

Hemmingway may have changed the game with his six-word novel, showcasing his art of storytelling but, Hemmingway never had access to emojis. Could you imagine the vividness?  What if we remix Hemmingway’s initial challenge and state the question “Can you tell a story using only 6 emojis?” Let’s think about that one…. could you?  I bet you can. I bet you’ve semi-accidentally accomplished this in the past without thinking much about it.  Similar to how video killed the radio star, the emoji along with memes, vlogs, vines, and video uploads have nearly obliterated text and completely remixed the art of storytelling. 

I proposed this emoji questions to my Kindergarten students when they were tasked with explaining their holiday adventures using only emojis.  Can you tell a story using only emojis??

What resulted were very detailed and thorough recounts that were not only fun for others to decipher but engaging and exciting for my students to create.  From the perspective of a Kindergartner, visuals allow for more depth and enhance their stories sevenfold.  The act of choosing their emojis also made for a fun and level playing field where both ESL students and native English speakers could fully express themselves.  It was here when I realized how much of the world is moving in the same direction, towards embracing visuals. From hieroglyphics to emojis; we’ve circumvented all the way back around.   🙂

If you’ve needed more proof that the world is moving towards visuals just look at Facebook’s  1 billion dollar purchase of Instagram. They know that this generation is becoming increasingly interested in producing its own visual content. With the likes of social media, mobile devices, photos, and videos the entire landscape has changed and we have completely remixed the way we consume (and produce stories.) And it’s not just a trend, there is a biological factor that lies deep within our love for visuals.  We’re are much more wired for visuals than we are oral storytelling or print on a page. David Jakes touches on this a bit in his opening paragraph of this blog post titled “Towards a Framework for Visual Literacy Learning.” when he makes the internet analogy of “a dial-up connection from the ear to the brain and broadband from the eye to the brain.” David also came up with awesome ideas of using other mediums such as Google Earth,  DNATube and or StartYourTube.com and to incorporate visual literacy.

The ability to navigate and create on more than one platform is exactly what our students are now doing in this new remix culture. The meme is a great example of this as is video blogging. Nobody wants to be a Hollywood movie star anyone. Ask anyone under the age of 15 and they’ll tell you.  They all want to be a Youtuber. Many of them already are. Video Blogging has been so successful that Youtube has installed a Creators Academy which teaches the basics of editing, sharing and thumbnailing.


Modern Versatility & Shareability with Filmora

Before becoming a teacher, my original university major was in Mass Media and Telecommunications, so it goes without saying that I have found feeling for creating and editing video content.  Although I started my video editing venture with the traditional analog AB roll, that has long been ruled obsolete. Looking back now it seems like such an archaic way to create a piece of work. Once you’ve spent hours creating it, don’t even think about sharing it with others unless you bring your VHS tape to their house and politely ask to use their VCR.  

Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Panasonic_AJ-D350_20020110.jpg

Flash forward some 15  years later and now it’s easier than ever to produce a film.  So much so that some have even been shot and edited solely on their smartphones.  These days loads of people gravitate towards iMovie, however, for the past three years, I’ve been using a software called Wondershare Filmora.   Far from the AB roll I began on, this iMovie alternative is inexpensive, open sourced, and extremely easy to use. The fact that it works on Windows, Mac, & mobile devices make it already more versatile than iMovie. Filmora has many other advantages over iMovie. So much so that about a year back, I presented this Google Slide during a Speed Geeking session at my previous school.  Have a look! 

I’ve have used videos in which I’ve created from Filmora in the classroom on multiple occasions. Whether it is for reflection, assessments, or simply to celebrate and document learning,  the use of videos have always been a cornerstone of my teaching practice.  This one, which has already been shared on Youtube,  was a way for me to document our EY inquiry into making paper.


The other video below was shown at a Primary School assembly. Its purpose was to emphasize the concept of perspective by showcasing what it “a day in the life” of an early years student looks like. 


The Timelapse video below showcases an example of some of the large ongoing projects that my preschoolers took on during our inquiry into outdoor learning spaces.


My most recent video was created earlier this week.  Its purpose was to celebrate Multi-cultural Day and the diversity of my Kindergarten students at UWC Thailand. 

I plan to upload this video onto SeeSaw to show parents and use it as a reflection piece to show students once they return from mid-term break.

No matter the purpose, images, and videos to me have always felt like the most authentic mediums for showcasing and representing student learning. It’s great for assessments, reflections, and provocations. When the controls are handed over to the students, creativity, student voice, and a plethora of digital skills ensue.


Final Wonderings

With all of the excellent and innovating ways teachers are using videos in the classroom,  with the likes of Flipgrid, SeeSaw, Bookcreator & Youtube,  I’m curious to know what ways you embed and promote the use videos to enhance learning in your classroom?

Also, are you on team iMovie or do you have another personal favorite when it comes to video editing software?

Visually Navigating the Conceptual Age

Having just come off the heels of delivering a presentation last Wednesday to the entire Primary school staff at UWC Thailand, this week’s focus on understanding presentation design was really helpful albeit, a tad too late.

Last week, I presented on SAMR and how we can use this model to reshape the way we can embed technology and teach Digital Citizenship throughout the primary school. The use of the SAMR visual really allowed us to dive deeper into its framework. Knowing that some of the content would be unfamiliar for some members of the staff, I attempted to keep the acronyms and buzz words to a minimum using them only when necessary. When they were rolled out, I made sure to accompany them with visuals. You’ll notice this on slides 4 & 6 below.

In addition to images, I decided to ensure that my presentation was enhanced by multimedia. Interestingly enough, however, after embedding it here,  I noticed that the video no longer appears as it did on slide 5. Having said that, I inserted the clip below so that you can witness what my audience viewed and see how I’ve tried to keep them engage with a short video.


The 5 Design Principles of PowerPoint

 I decided to run my recent presentation through the 5 design principles proposed by David Phillips, partly as a form of self-deprecating self-reflection.  I thoroughly enjoyed David’s TED Talk Death by PowerPoint. and jotted down his 5 design principles, all while critically looking at my own recent work. Embarrassingly enough, my use of animations was my first noticeable faux pas. Before providing you with the whole critique, here are my biggest takeaways from his TED Talk. 

  1. One Message per SlideMake it simple
  2. Working Memory – Text + Speaking at the same time,  is not only annoying but nothing will be remembered.  It’s not practical – short & sweet bits of text & an image is
  3. SizeThe most important part of your slide should also be the largest
  4. ContrastContrast controls your focus
  5. ObjectsThe magic number of objects is 6 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=89&v=Iwpi1Lm6dFo

Overall, I discovered quite a few blind spots, such as not controlling the contrast with my white background, not adjusting my text size to keep the focus on the main ideas, and not limiting my objects to six or below per slide.  As much as I had consciously thought about the delivery of this content, David’s design principles helped me refine my thinking and enhance my perspective. Not only was his TED Talk entertaining, it was also informative and highly practical. I’d recommend it to anyone looking to also sharpen up their presentation skills.


The Information Age & The Conceptual Age

I’ve added Daniel Pink’s book,  A Whole New Mind to my Kindle list.  All it took for me to press the buy order on Amazon was this snippet showcased on the Presentation Zen article & taken from his book below 

“…an age animated by a different form of thinking and a new approach to life — one that prizes aptitudes that I call ‘high concept’ and ‘high touch.’ High concept involves the capacity to detect patterns and opportunities, to create artistic and emotional beauty, to craft a satisfying narrative….High touch involves the ability to empathize with others, to understand the subtleties of human interaction…”

                                             — Dan Pink,  A Whole New Mind

I love it! He has a sound vision of where we might be headed in the near future. With the help of Google, we’ve nearly conquered the information age. Soon, Artifical Intelligence will forever alter the landscape as we know it. The changing of the guard seems to be evident, now more than ever, as we move beyond the information age towards a more conceptual age of communicating and understanding one another. Perhaps once we adjust to living amongst the endless stream of information that is the internet, we’ll get back our roots through our human values and emphasize the need for empathy, creativity, & non-digital relationships.

Like David Phillip’s 5 Designs of PowerPoint, Dan Pink also supplies his audience with tips for visually improving ways to deliver information. Unlike the guidelines of  David Phillips’ design principles, however, Dan Pink conveys six fundamental aptitudes that, when applied can be beneficial to one’s personal and professional life.

“The best presenters can illuminate the relationships that we may not have seen before.”

In a time, when we might be more “connected” than ever, it’s Dan’s emphasis on empathy, design, storytelling, as well as symphony, meaning, & play, bringing the focus back to the natural and authentic human to human connections so ingrained in our DNA. That type of relationship between the audience and the presenter is not only vital for a good presentation but also useful in life as we all begin to navigate the conceptual age together.


Final Wonderings?

What’s your take on Dan Pink’s six fundamental aptitudes?

How has your views on presentations changed over the years?

Thinking back on some of the more memorable presentations you’ve endured, (good or bad) which ones stuck out to you the most & why?

Thanks,
@NicholasKGarvin

Unpacking Visual Literacy in Kindergarten

Visuals play such an important role in nourishing the imagination of young learners. Dr. Michio Kaku understands this importance and how images can promote curiosity and inspiring learning. As a Kindergarten teacher, I wholeheartedly agree with what Dr. Kaku states in the video below.  Do you?


Comprehension, Creativity, & Critical Thinking with Visuals

One way to help young learners begin to understand Visual Literacy is through the use of picture books. The use of picture books in Kindergarten is an important aspect in the development of student’s vocabulary, conceptual thought, and imagination. Susan Stephenson writes about this in her article, Visual Literacy Through Children’s Picture Books. Where she mentions how the use of visuals help students develop a conceptual understanding of the world around them.

” …visuals present information at-a-glance that would otherwise take a long time to get across in words.”

The following SlideShare provides a great summary of visual literacy and dives deep into symbolic imagery, design and colors schemes.  The best part is that this SlideShare is accompanied by with many wonderful picture book titles.  It’s a perfect resource for any teacher who wants to start implementing more picture books and/or visual literacy into their curriculum. It also lists one of my all-time favorites,  The Rabbits by John Marsden

That slide share coupled with Susan’s wonderful list of questions works as the stellar combination to help provoke deep observations, conceptual thinking, and creativity with the use of picture books.

Here are few of her questions:

•    What do you notice in the picture?
•    Do the words exactly match what’s happening in the illustration?
•    How does that picture/color make you feel?
•    What does that image remind you of?
•    How has the illustration changed/progressed from this page to the next?
•    Do the animals look real?
•    Whose perspective is this illustration from?
•    Why did the artist choose those colors, and why do they change here?


Art to enhance Visual Literacy & Math

In my Kindergarten classroom visuals are constantly weaved into the curriculum as a way to help us communicate and understand concepts and ideas.  For instances, around the beginning of the school-year, one student proposed the question,  “What is Math?”.  This question occurred on the carpet after we spent the first week unraveling our misconceptions about Play and how we learn. (only to find out that we learn a lot about Math in our Play, without knowing it i.e. Legos).  Eventually, another student spoke up to answer the question.  She confidently stated that “Math is something an artist does.”  Many other Kindergarten students disagreed and a bit of a debate ensued.  Later in the week after some collaborative planning with the other Kinder teacher, we agreed to bring both classes together to discuss this claim. We grouped the children into 4-5 students and provided each group with one A4 image of Piet Mondrian’s Line over Form.


Piet Mondrian – Line over Form


We asked them to think like a Mathematician and look closely to see if they can find any Math in this Art.  The image captured the attention of our student’s thanks to its identifiable shapes, striking colors,  & noticeable patterns. This one piece alone sparked so many different discussions about Art in Math and vice-versa. We touched on symmetry, angles, & patterns all while changing and challenging the student’s perspectives on “What is Math.” Having all started with a student-led inquiry, the addition of this visual aid took our learning to new heights and created opportunities for transdisciplinary connections. This to me, was the first time I think I really understood the power of visuals and how they can help connect authentic experiences to higher levels of thinking.

Now, our  Maths inquiry has moved beyond the classroom as outdoors as we look for “Math in Nature.”  Our latest Unit of Inquiry titled, How the World Works, has my Kindergarten students looking through the lens of a scientist. Becoming keen observers and practicing how to look closely have been at the forefront of our classroom inquiries. The following photos will be used to help create a buzzing discussion about whether or not there is Math in Nature.

Machaon

Nicolas Winspeare: Flickr

tidal pattern 1

 

I’m confident that these two photos will be able to provide the same sort of spark that Piet Mondrian’s image did. For one, we live on a tropical island with beaches and critters galore so both photos are already tapping into students’ prior knowledge and authentic experiences. It’s just about looking at them now with a different lens altogether.  Now it’s about a new perspective for my students, one that teaches them to look for the meaning being communicated by and beyond the image.


Final Wonderings?

I enjoyed using the https://search.creativecommons.org/ website to quickly find images that I can use in the classroom. This time around, I stuck to images from Flickr but, I hope to explore other sites offered on the CC.org site.

What’s your favorite site?

In what ways do you use images in the classroom to promote critical thinking?

Do you believe that Visual Literacy is transdisciplinary?

What types of discussions about Visual Literacy are going on in your class?

Thanks!

@NicholasKGarvin

COETAIL Course 2: Continental Connections

Course two is in the books or should I say in the blogs. Our group of international educators overcame both time and space as we collectively crosschecked and improved a Responsible Use Agreements for my current school UWC Thailand.  My awesome team included Coetail members Carolin Escobar currently living in the USA and Kehri Magalad currently living in Qatar.  We were also joined by Maria José Terán, a friend of Carolin’s and current tech coach at Carolin’s school.  Maria currently works out of Ecuador and happily linked up with us to offer her professional perspective and expertise.  Our group Google Hangout was an overall success, allowing four different people from four different countries, across a 12-hour time zone, to share and discuss ideas in real time. It was there that the seeds for our RUP idea were planted. We then played to our strengths and took ownership of different parts of the project, communicating through Twitter and in the comments of our Google Docs.

Looking back, I think might have benefited from using a social collaboration tool such as Whatapps or Viber but, we pulled it nonetheless.

Our Google Hangout

After some digging, I found that there are quite a few different platforms beyond Whatapps that we could have used to communicate. Here are 10  great social collaboration alternatives to WhatsApp.


RUP Background Information

Regarding the RUP, the document itself was a bit dated and not really owned by the students.  This year,  I have been tasked with reviewing and refining many of the UWCT documents that pertain to digital citizenship.

As a Kindergarten teacher, the first thing I noticed was they were left off of this document.  We decided to add them to this document because we all agreed that they are more than capable of understanding how to take care of equipment. Furthermore, after weeks of digital citizenship and footprint readings, blog posts and TED Talks, I realized how important it is to be ready to equip and empower young learners with technology that’s not being micromanaged.

In addition, I believe that it’s important to teach Digital Citizenship and responsible use at this age level especially at my school if we want to create any sense of vertical alignment in our primary school.

We also noticed that within the document there is also no mention of privacy. Safety is mentioned but there is nothing pertaining to privacy. This is another reason why we should have ISTE and Common Sense as our backbone, ensuring that we do not have any other oversights.  You’ll notice on our RUP that we have used the ISTE standard 3a, 3b, 3c, & 3d, all which fall under the category of digital citizenship.

 

Because we had many chats on students ownership, we also added a digital citizenship e-book for grades K-2. This interactive e-book will help engage our younger learners and keep the focus on digital citizenship in a developmentally appropriate way.

The eBook could easily be shared and personalized through a QR code, and or downloaded off of the web. This would be especially helpful if teachers wanted to replace the images with images of their own student’s in action, modeling how to be safe, responsible and respectful digital citizens.


Collaborating on this project was a wonderful learning experience. Using Google docs and slides to collaborate really helped us all create, communicate, and house all of our progress along the way. Gsuite for education continues to provide everyone with functional and user-friendly tools. Although time was against us, Google helped us connect globally and create this great cross-continental collaborative project.

The Internet is…

an information superhighway

a web

a network

a global system

a verb

a platform

Whatever term you choose to associate it with, there’s no denying the internet has changed the way we communicate, behave, and learn.

John Stewart, Comedian-writer and former host of the daily show,  once proclaimed that  “The internet is just a world passing around notes in a classroom.”

It wasn’t until reading  Jeff’s Utech’s book, Reach, where I realized the symbiotic relationship between the user and the web or, in John Stewart’s case the notes and the note takers.  The more you work it, the more it works for you. Take Twitter for example, in an instance, you can throw out a question or idea to your PLN and receive global perspectives feeding back to you instantaneously. Social media, although quite prominent, isn’t the be all and end of the internet but, it has certainly changed the landscape. How about others like Yelp, Uber, or Amazon. All of these sites/apps depend on a user-generated rating based system in order to operate effectively. The ability we have as a global contributor, wielding that kind of power and influence is a massive responsibility that we’re not even fully aware of.  In fact, many of us daily do more than just participate with the web on a daily basis. Perhaps, are you going on holiday soon? How many of you have already checked the reviews on Trip Advisor before you booking that hotel or tour? If you are beyond the participatory stage of the web perhaps you’ve even contributed by writing a review, discussing your approval or loathing of a certain establishment. Either way, once you move into the role of active contributor you shape the overall user experience for everyone, better or worse.  

The truth is the internet is just made up of our collective consciousness, resources, and information. It’s our involvement and our role in the equation that makes work. It takes both creators and consumers to keep the net thriving. This was evident nearly a decade ago when on December 13, 2006, Time Magazine named its person of the year “You”. http://img.timeinc.net/time/magazine/archive/covers/2006/1101061225_400.jpg

Now think about how much more relevant that nomination seems after a decade of social media, interactive sites and the rise of mobile devices, personalizing and customizing our individual online experience. Keep in mind that there is no moderator overseeing all. Where we go as a global society so goes the internet. It’s also part of our role to keep it kind, factual, and productive.  An often overlooked part of our role, that seems to be reflective our current times. Speaking of being reflective, let’s have a look back at what one minute on the internet in 2017 looks like.


The Internet is… an opportunity for change 

The video, Extracurricular Empowerment, showcases how powerful of a change agent the internet can. Martha and people all over the world like her understand how to harness and leverage this power and make it work for them. For every Martha, there are hundreds of other students that have one way or another found their voice and audience on the web.  It’s not out of the question for today’s digital natives to want to aspire to be Youtubers. After all,  Hollywood movie stars are so 2016, and the allure of influences of megastars like Casey Neistat and Fun for Louis make it look cool and easy. 

Here are11 of the biggest web changes in the last 11 years.

These days it’s easier than ever to start producing content, attract an audience and then continue the cycle while watching your subscriber count grow. Our students know this? Do we as teachers know that they know this? Do we allow for them to flourish under these conditions? How does your school react to and cater to students as digital change agents?  Do they tighten up the parameters like initial reaction of Martha’s school board or let them harness the opportunity?   Here are twenty-five other ways to leverage the power of the internet and start creating!


The Internet is…. a level playing field.

Not only does the internet level the playing field, It gives us the ball and expects us to run with it. Martha Payne did exactly that. How will you empower your students to do so?  How do you build good skills for our students to turn into children like Martha? 

The truth is we still don’t know the full magnitude of the internet’s untapped potential. Eric Schmidt from Google stated, “The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.”


Final Wonderings: The internet will be….?

Will the internet continue to remain a level playing field or will more and more countries follow suit by enacting their own “Great Fire Wall” If you’re from the USA, you’re probably wondering what the future entails with the looming FCC regulations. We’ve seen massive changes within the internet since that Time magazine cover, what’s next?  What will the internet be in 20 years, 50 years?  How do you prepare your students for what’s next or as Schmidt’s said “the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.”..? 

Bridging the Digital Divide

We live in a digital world, but we’re fairly analog creatures.

-Omar Ahmad

 Just think about the five most important technology trends of the 21st century: search, smartphones, mobile operating systems, media, and the cloud. Now think about whether or not any if of those trends made it into your school? Perhaps, if you’re lucky, they all did. Things change fast in the digital realm and the increasing changes have shaken up learning so much that schools are just now beginning to absorb the aftershocks. More and more schools and teachers are encouraging students to post to blogs, text each other, and do their own work on their own devices brought from home. The learning benefits of flip classrooms, gamification, and social media have taken the internet by storm all while delivering overwhelmingly positive results. Generally speaking, learning looks different now. Much of the firm foundation that education has comfortably sat upon for the last three decades has shifted and it’s time now that all of us recognize and admit that the landscape will remain altered forever.

Update Available

The following article from @MindShiftKQED titled, “Making Media Literacy Central to Digital Citizenship” does an excellent job summarizing the evolution of digital citizenship, alongside the rising popularity of teaching and learning through videos on the web. Seeing how students consume information and interact with each other on the web continues to change and evolved, it’s important to note that digital citizenship in itself should not remain stationary.  Tanner Higgin from Common Sense Education, who authored the above @MindShiftKQED article states that,

“We need to move from a conflation of digital citizenship with internet safety and protectionism to a view of digital citizenship that’s pro-active and prioritizes media literacy and savvy. A good digital citizen doesn’t just dodge safety and privacy pitfalls, but works to remake the world, aided by digital technology…”

So the question becomes,  why haven’t we considered changing the way we view Digital Citizenship after all of these years? A DigCit version 2.017.  Why can’t we look at Digital Citizenship as an evolving software or digital platform that occasionally needs updating? We update our phones, our apps, and our laptops at least once a year but, still somehow choose to maintain an outdated version of Digital Citizenship in our minds and in our classrooms.  


Engineering with Empathy 

In my view,  school documents pertaining to Digital Citizenship should be intertwined or merged with the Communication Charters or Essential Agreements that mirror how we speak and care for each other in the real world. This would help the school develop a shared vision of Digital Citizenship while also acknowledging the importance of including all stakeholders. It also places it at the forefront of many discussions pertaining to the parallel skills in and outside of a digital space.  

Getting the students involved in the creative process allows for each voice to be heard and for each class to develop a collective understanding of its importance within the school and at home.

The synthesizing of these two school-related documents should also occur with more explicit emphasis on Common Sense Media and the ISTE Standards.  This collective culture pertaining to #DigCit can be spearheaded by the admin or leadership team, but ultimately will be individualized and purposefully designed for and by each grade level. 

The following infographic from iste.org outlines the parallels between being a good citizen and a good digital citizen.
Citizenship in the Digital Age Infographic

Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics via 

Perhaps, once a common understanding is reached within each grade level, we could then ask teachers to share and compare their “tech agreements.” This will help the school and the teachers develop a better understanding of what it looks like it the grade level above and below them.  It also allows them to survey what the students want. This slow burn to the vertical alignment starts with the same sequence with teachers as it does with the students. Develop a shared vision by unpacking the language and understanding of each teacher’s perspective, and make connections between being a good citizen and good digital citizenship.  Afterwards, take the time to go through that delicate process of understanding the causation, the parameters, and the process to allow student-teacher ownership. This type of discussion will probably be ongoing, but that is a good thing!

The bridge between the digital divide separating digital natives from digital immigrants and outdated views from updated perspectives can be engineered with empathy, just as long as we don’t lose focus of our shared set of values. We can’t grow too comfortable in our acceptance of the way things are either, even if they might be okay today. Technology is an industry of increasing disruption and change, but within disruption and change, there is always an opportunity for growth, refinement, and behavioral action. Positively laying the structural framework, that connects everyone is our role as educators.


Final Wondering?

How do you identify consistencies that help bridge the digital divide and get everyone over to the same side?

Professionally Navigating Social Media

What do you know about your own digital footprint?”

“Have you ever reflected on the imprints you left behind?

These are the questions that we need to be asking both students and teachers.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a digital native or not, the physical realm and the digital realm have become so interwoven that everyone these days has a digital footprint. Technology and the radical social changes that come attached to it have completely changed our everyday lives. Social media and technology, whether you like it or not, have completely changed the way we interact with each other. The smartphone has replaced the camera. Cloud-based storage has replaced photo albums. You may not realize it but, you definitely have some left some sort imprint out there on the web. Don’t believe me, just have a look at this outrageous snippet from Business Insider  


That’s right. An estimated 120 billion photos will be taken in 2017 and a mere 10 % of them will be taken by a digital camera. 89.7% will be taken by a device that is most likely linked to social media. That’s a lot of potential uploads.  Keep in mind that this is just data pertaining to photos, it does not even account for the rest of one’s digital footprint such as emails, texts, forums, etc.

We’ve have agreed to trade-off our personal privacy and information for convenience, comfort, and entertainment. That die has already been cast. What we now must do now is self-reflect on the type of imprints we as educators have left behind and help others understand the importance and impact of their footprints from here on out.


A Professional Presence

In 2017 a  digital presence will certainly help aid you in attaining a job. Understand, however, that if left uncheck and uncared for it can at the same time lead to your future endeavors. An article from the Irish Independent, titled, Why your digital footprint could ruin your career, isn’t intended to be a scare tactic. It’s more of a wake-up call, bringing to light the awareness of the shifting guidelines revolving around our privacy our, digital choices, and real-life repercussions.

I know that I’ve gotten many interviews and at least one job partly because of my professional digital footprint. The interview mentioned looking at the contents of my professional teaching blog and my twitter. 
The following infographic below provides an interesting look into how recruiters use social networks to screen candidates.

In my last blog, I linked an article that focused on cleaning up your digital footprint.  Perhaps for teachers unsure of there’s, this would be a good place to start in order to develop and maintain one’s professional presence.


A Healthy Dose of Digital Awareness

 

Student’s should be taught about cyber ethics and netiquette from an early age just like they are taught about diet and well-being. I currently do it with my Kindergarten students.  I think it’s important that we look at maintaining personal protection and privacy the same way we look after our physical selves.  It is this mindset that parents, students, and teachers need to adopt. It’s essential that teachers maintain a healthy dose of digital safety awareness. It’s equally important for our students to fully understand the complexities of today’s digital age and how choosing to create a negative or unhealthy web persona could potentially jeopardize their future. More modeling from the top down, (admin to teachers, parents to students and even student to student), will help us all instill this paradigm shift into our own teaching and learning journeys, in and outside of the classroom.

Some teachers might view the digital realm and the physical world as two separate entities, but to the children and students who have grown up as digital natives, it’s all one.  The line between our personal self and our social media/ avatars is so strong that, Elon Musk claimed that we’re already cyborgs. Have a look at his entire chat from the 2016 Code Conference below


Final Wondering: With Great Power comes great (global) responsibility…

In that same video clip from the 2016 Code Conference, Elon Musk also mentioned that “We have more power than the president of the united states had 20 years ago.”  Is it not our civic duty to educate and encourage the next generation of web users?   Would it be wise to embedding #digcit classes into the curriculum like social & emotional learning, our essential agreements, and other approaches to learning?  Afterall, we need to teach students to become good citizens first and foremost. How many of you have thought about tieing it into the Global Goals for sustainable development?? If our goal as teachers is to make sure we leave the future of the world in the hands of good human beings then we need to start holding our digital footprint into the same high esteem as we hold our carbon footprint.  My final visual aid is from a Twitter chat last week, summing up my thoughts on weaving the real and digital world together with the same moral fabric.