Summary of Learning #ECI832

This semester has felt both like a blink and a journey. Seasons changing, earlier mornings, and all the wonderful sports taking place again keep me busy, making time fly by. As time passes, I often feel “not enough time in the day.” I could always use another hour to work on something or another half an hour in bed!

That being said, his has been a rewarding semester and has pushed me to begin a passion project I have been thinking about for a while, along with aligning my actions with future goals in my personal life and professional career. If you have read my blog posts, follow me on Twitter, or know me personally, you know that I am interested in technology and utilizing it in education. Being able to participate in a class that explores Edtech is fantastic PD. I have also been able to create relationships and engage in conversations that positively impact my growth and understanding in this area.

Kelly and I have made a Potentially Educational episode to highlight our learning throughout the semester. We know it ran over the recommended time, but this was a big semester of learning and growing my knowledge of digital citizenship and how I can support teachers, students, and parents moving forward! As this is the Summary of Learning for the class Kelly and I have also thrown together a Blooket. If you listened to episode one I call it, “Kahoot on Steroids”!

Summary of the Semester

Throughout this semester, there was a focus on implementing technology effectively in students’ lives and what that means. Topics like digital citizenship, digital/media literacy, digital footprint, etiquette, basic foundations, and social media’s role in our and our students’ lives.

Two years ago, when the world declared Covid a pandemic, we moved to online school. This pandemic became a positive push into utilizing technology in the classroom. However, because it happened so fast, there was an expectation of being immediately proficient in many subject areas. This expectation fell on teachers, students, and parents. Technology has become more prevalent in the education system within this timeframe, with many classrooms having 1 to 1. We may not see our curricular outcomes line up perfectly with teaching digital citizenship, though it may be an assumption that all stakeholders already have a proficient understanding. 

In YouTube video Do “Digital Natives” Exist? he talks about the label that people who grew up alongside technology have this title “Digital Native.” I was shocked to find out that anyone was born from 1980 to the present day. The term Digital Native does not only describe people based on age but is making preconceived notions about their understanding of technology. A backlash about these preconceived notions is that these young people may not need formal direction in this area because they are already familiar. Which, in my own opinion, would be the wrong way to approach it. Looking at a school format, students are there to learn, and this is an area in which we should be emphasizing as a crucial skill for future success in a modern world. 

Mike Ribble, aka the “Digital Citizen God Father,” was able to speak to our class and share his perspective on modern digital literacy and citizenship. On his website, digitialcitizenship.net, Mike and his team have taken the nine elements of digital citizenship and broken them down into a continuum that we can use as a guide in the education sector. Following the continuum, you will see that it will set students up to explore and be familiar with several different areas before reaching high school. In high school, the hope is that they would be familiar enough to shape their online identity positively to benefit them moving forward in life. 

When teaching digital citizenship or digital etiquette, we need to be keeping the conversations frequent and open. By keeping the conversations frequent, we can help the students grow their understanding as they explore independently. Students will feel like they can come to you with an issue they may be having online, and hopefully, it will not spiral out of their control. When discussing this earlier in the semester, Kelly Ziegler shared a great article that got me thinking. We have these conversations with teachers and students, but we are missing the parents. Involving the parents will give our students a support network to ensure they grow into positive digital citizens. 

created by Kelly Ziegler

As it says in the graphic directly above, just because it is not explicitly in the curriculum does not mean that we can skim over it with our students. We also can not expect that learning to be coming from the home. As I said earlier, many parents are not comfortable with these topics either. In episode #1, you hear I talk about my parents, who never grew up with social media and now try to support my younger sister through it. Parents do the best they can, but many of those tactics involve fear rather than educating how to navigate appropriately. This is when the conversations begin to be closed, and we see students get in situations online and feel they can’t approach an adult because they were warned of these things and feel guilty for falling into it.

Many educators would benefit from diving deeper into their relationship with the digital world when educating students or parents. We do have many teachers that are tech-savvy and digitally literate. My fear is for those who are not and are missing out on connecting with a wide range of colleagues online because of some of those early fear tactics that were used to warn people about the dangers online. Kelly again made a graphic that is an excellent reminder for everyone out there when using social media. 

created by Kelly Ziegler

As we search for new and innovative ways to keep our teachers, students, and parents engaged in the journey to becoming digitally literate, we have to answer what that means in today’s society. Throughout the semester, we engaged in conversations about what it means to be “fully literate,” or if it was even possible. There are many different avenues when you think about being fully literate. In my blog post (What Does “Fully Literate” Mean?) I talk about how we strive to build foundational understanding so that students can apply them in real-world applications. There are a few key points we talked about throughout the class when it comes to being digitally literate, and they are laid out nicely in the graphic below.

created by Kelly Ziegler

As we wrap up the semester, I appreciate everyone who has taken time out of their week to read my blog and/or listen to Potentially Educational. This was a great semester, and exactly what I said last class I had with Alec Couros. If you have the chance to take one of his classes, I highly recommend it. It is excellent for people who are tech-savvy or just starting their journey. He has a great format that allows you to grow, explore, question, and learn.

3 thoughts on “Summary of Learning #ECI832

  1. Durston fantastic Summary of Learning! I agree fully that about the concern surrounding preconceived notions regarding if Digital Natives do exist. I know I am preaching to the choir when I say there is a difference between Information Technology and Ed. Technology. Because you may know how to run technology in the physical sense, but that does not mean you know how to use technology in a manner that is ethical, respectful, thoughtful and intellectual.

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  2. Wow! This is a really well-thought-out post summarizing everything that we covered, as well as you did a good job tying in your own experiences. I think COVID has changed a lot in education (and the world too), and it was a spark for some teachers to start using more technology in their practices to enhance their teaching, learning, and understanding and not just to say that they are using it. Thanks so much for sharing all your thoughts and ideas on this.

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  3. Hi Durston,
    Congratulations on all your hard work this semester! I have enjoyed following along on your blog and podcasts this semester. Your summary of learning (along with your Major Project Podcasts) with Kelly are something to be proud of! Your concerns surrounding the scare tactics that were presented in the past are valid. They do harm the work of educators and parents who are trying to navigate the online world of today with their children. As an elementary educator, I feel a great need to teach my students to be good digital citizens from a young age. Before this class, I was one of those teachers who didn’t understand how important it is to teach digital citizenship. You have certainly highlighted this throughout the course. Great job!

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