The Semester is Over, but I’m Just Getting Started

As I said in a previous blog post, this winter semester was a blink of an eye and a journey all in four months. I had my sights set on starting a podcast and started drafting down some notes back in December after the fall semester ended. I knew that I wanted to have a space to chat with like-minded people about technology in education and education in general. Although it is part of my life daily, I do enjoy talking with other people to grow my understanding. I have felt isolated throughout the last two years of my professional life. It was tricky to know when I could see people or what their comfortability level was with ever-changing mandates. I was missing conversing with other educators at other schools, and the spark of “podcast” began in my mind.
At the beginning of this class, I thought it would be interesting to see if there was a way I could line up the podcast ambition with Alec’s expectations. After reading the syllabus and realizing it was possible, I was excited. Kelly and I began chatting about major learning projects and bounced some ideas around. It may be interesting to note that Kelly and I met in the 2022 Fall semester in ECI831. We had small communication with each other, but I would not say I was familiar with her. As the ideas started to flow, we got on the topic of a podcast and shared what I had wanted to do. As this seemed like a nerve-racking experience, I was excited when she appeared interested in co-hosting together.
I will not say that we are podcast experts, but we had fun recording our first podcast episode and reflecting on the rise of technology throughout the 90s and 2000s. From there, we reflected and adjusted on how to improve on the next episode. We knew we wanted to start bringing in guests to expand our conversation.
In the beginning, we talked about trying to reach 15-minute episodes. After our first recording, we realized that 15 minutes was an unreal expectation as we recorded 30 minutes without even thinking about it. All the nerves make you set the bar lower to accomplish the minimum. We soon found ourselves trying to set a max instead of a min.
This was a great experience throughout EC&I832. As the title suggests, though, I am not done with this passion project. I enjoy edtech and want to keep opportunities to engage in those conversations with people and hopefully give some listeners some tips or ideas on what they could bring into their classroom to support students in this plugged-in world.
I am looking forward to future guests and some ideas I have around mini-episodes where content will be focused just on tips in the classroom.

I appreciate the support and people taking their time out of their day to either read this blog and/or listen to episodes. Currently, #2 Chris Brennan has the most listens with 20! This is a higher number than I was expecting and I am excited to see where it goes so please stay tuned!

Tools and Resources Used

Something you need to know is I am a researcher—everything I buy or do, I research into the ground so I can weigh the pros and cons. I like to know the easiest way to do things and the hardest, so I can decide what is worth it: money vs. time. With that being said, I watched many YouTube videos before and found Think Media’s videos the most helpful to sort out my thoughts and make a plan.

I ordered a SamonQ2 microphone off amazon. I chose this microphone because I thought it gave me the best options for growth. It has a USB plug-in for your computer. It also has an XLR plug-in so that it could plug into more effective sound systems in the future. 

Kelly and I live in different cities, so to record remotely, we used Zencastr. I appreciated Zencastr’s ability to download everyone’s audio individually. It was easier to manipulate if I had to adjust volumes or take out unexpected sounds. My dog barking in the background was easy to remove without ruining Kelly or the guest’s content. Something else I found handy was the footnotes that you could make during the podcast in case you needed to come back. They were time-stamped and made editing a much easier process.

To edit and add music I used Adobe Audition. This is a paid application. I am sure there are ones that are similar if you looked into it but because I already utilize Adobe Create Cloud for Photoshop and Illustrator it made sense to learn how to use Audition.

For introduction music, I searched There were free sounds, and I just searched and listened for a vibe that I thought fit the podcast. For Potentially Education, I went with “The Cradle of Your Soul,” uploaded by lemonmusicstudio.

To manage and upload the episodes, I used Anchor. It is powered by Spotify and allows you to have two places to stream your episodes easily. I found it easy to upload audio, cover art, and upload it as I wanted or scheduled. 

Lastly, the cover art for the podcast. You can create one cover art and use it for the podcast and every episode. Or you can create separate cover art for each episode. I chose the ladder. I did not go intense on the design. I had a thought to have it look like old windows browsing as we are talking about new tech. I use Canva to make this happen. I believe I looked through the templates, found one that resembled what I wanted, and then messed around with fonts, colours, and words. I built a template to make it easy to change for each guest/episode. 

#2 Chris Brennan

Welcome back or for the first time to Potentially Educational. Kelly Ziegler and I are excited to be posting our second episode for everyone to enjoy. I hope you enjoy listening as much as we enjoyed recording.

Today we are joined by Chris Brennan! In my previous blog post, I said I would make sure we had an introduction for our guests, and you will hear that to start this off. As you will hear in the introduction, Chris is not a part of ECI832 with us this semester. However, Chris and I go way back to high school. We played football together as a member of the Central Collegiate Cyclones. After high school, I would often see Chris at the University of Regina and ended up building a relationship with Chris over the last 12 years. Kelly has not been as lucky to know Chris as long as I have, but we were all fortunate enough to take ECI831 together in the fall semester of 2021.

Chris is currently taking ECI834 during the winter semester here. I enjoyed interviewing him for this episode because he is focused on other areas of Edtech this semester. Check out his blog to dive deeper into his semester. As last time we had six guiding questions and then went with the flow based on the conversation.

We covered various topics from his relationship with technology, how he utilizes it in his class daily, and his thoughts on Google Classroom vs. Moodle. I feel like we could have chatted for an hour longer and dove deeper into some topics, this was a fun episode to do, and I hope you enjoy it. I may be looking to bring Chris back in the future for a part 2! 

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post and listen to the podcast. It is very appreciated!

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,, 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.

#1 Meeting Your Hosts

We did it! Recorded and launched our first episode on the podcast Potentially Education. Although there may have been nerves and unsure of the direction we had fun recording!

Some background into the process. We had six guiding questions for the episode. Although we only managed to get through three of them when we recorded. It sounds like a natural conversation when you listen to the episode because it was unscripted for 90% of the episode. We were able to dive into some of our encounters and memories with technology.

As the episode progressed, we got on the topic of our first social media memories and what they meant to us. We talked about MSN messenger which was a big deal for us early 80s and 90s kids. You were able to have instant communication with your friends over the internet. This brought us to our conversation for our first email. Asking millennials their first email is always a fun trip down memory lane. This adds to the journey of our current digital identity. Although most of our first emails are a thing of the past, it is still a reminder for us as educators to guide students as they embark on creating their digital footprint.

Throughout ECI832, we have talked about how some of our early mistakes on the internet were quickly forgotten and are now a thing of the past. When Facebook first launched, everyone, tried to figure out the space and how to interact. When Instagram started, it was a fun place to post pictures with your friends and have a funny caption. Nowadays, it feels as if kids have this expectation of getting it right the first time. As educators, it is our job to educate them so they can create the digital footprint they will be proud of in ten to twenty years. At the very least, they will not have mistakes that will create a lasting negative impression on those who see their posts.

Made by Kelly Ziegler

As for Potentially Educational, I am looking forward to reflecting, taking feedback, and growing. There are already some things that I am looking to change upon listening and reflecting. I noticed we did not give an introduction for ourselves and just began the podcast as people should know us. I’ll be working to make sure all guests get a proper introduction in the future. We also ran to the 32-minute mark. I want to keep it to 30 minutes or lower. This goal will be more challenging as life is busy, and to get a guest, you want to make it worth their while. I know that I have a short attention span and would like to be more cautious. I’m still brainstorming if the conversation is good. I don’t want to cut it off, but maybe a two-part would be better than one long one?

What Does “Fully Literate” Mean

This week we’ve been asked to respond to what we think it means to be literate in today’s world. Also, what that it means to be “fully” literate in digital, media, physical, and/or math, for example. It is a loaded question, but after reading a few length articles, I will give my opinion on it. I am a math guy, so I will lean into math and preface it by saying that I think what goes for math applies to digital, media, and physical.

What does it mean to mean to be math literate? In the article Quantitative Literacy and Mathematical Competencies, they outline that “mathematical literacy” is defined by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as:

“The capacity to identify, to understand, and to engage in mathematics and to make well-founded judgments about the role that mathematics plays, as needed for an individual’s current

and future life, occupational life, social life with peers and relatives, and life as a constructive,

concerned and reflective citizen. (OECD 2000)”

I apologize for quoting a wordy article at you to start the blog post. It is important to understand that math literacy is not just a term in the education sector. It is recognized throughout a variety of sectors and professions.

Mathematical literacy is the goal we want to achieve with students as they become lifelong learners and competent adults. As a teacher, my goal is to provide the students with the foundational understanding of Mathematics and help them understand where it can be applied throughout their life. Math talks, word problems, and cross-curricular content help explore where math can benefit them in their lives.

The above categories (digital, media, physical, and mathematical literacy) can be viewed through the same lens. I can not have the pressure on myself as an educator to be a one-person army in creating full literacy. However, I can view myself as a piece of the puzzle. I can lay down some fundamental understanding. Then utilizing stories and posing open-ended questions, the students will start to build that “full” literacy.

“Full Literacy” does not happen without a bit of questioning and push back. There is a discover-for-yourself aspect that the students need to learn. As educators, we can let students explore many subjects in a controlled environment. When students begin to question and form their own conclusions off our teaching, we can see that they are on the road to becoming fully literate.

Applying those practices in a controlled environment to having them formulate perfectly in life does take some failures. Many of the life lessons that we pass down to young people are failures we have experienced. When we were young, someone older shared their experience, and we did not listen and made the same mistakes, I’m sure. Becoming fully literate in many categories will come with teaching, exploration, failures, and an understanding incorporated into everyday life.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy week to read my blog. I hope you’re having a good week!


Digital Citizenship in Schools

Over the past week, we’ve been asked to think about the school’s/teachers role in educating students about digital citizenship. What practices are currently in place in your school? How might you envision addressing the concept of digital citizenship in the future? As I dive into this, I am sorry to my colleagues because I feel as if I am becoming a broken record. EC&I832 has had some great conversations and resources that already have me thinking about how we may not properly educate our students regarding understanding their digital citizenship.

With covid and an unexpected move to virtual learning, many teachers were taken by storm. They were expected to become digitally literate and effective teachers using these tech tools with little time to prepare, as someone interested in technology and wanting it to be used frequently in my classroom. I often forget about my colleagues that are intimidated by it. I take for granted that I was introduced to technology early and had a “nerdy” friend group who all loved technology. We shared ideas and our learnings and navigated through the rise of technology in education and our personal lives. We may not always of been utilizing it correctly, but we were comfortable on it, and we’re always sharing something new we learned.

I was talking to one of my childhood friends the other day. We discussed this class and technology in education. We reminisced about the old days with our Sun computers in the classroom and our computer lab. One of our earliest memories that we shared was using Powerpoint to present on planets. We had transitions and music included in our presentation. We had it all timed, and when we put it up on the projector, we had the rewarding feeling of our classmates asking us how we did it. As we spent hours in the computer lab, I remember feeling thrilled to find the next “revolutionary” thing that we could add to make our presentation stand out. I feel fortunate to have grown up with friends that took an active interest in technology. We were able to share and grow together. Due to that early comfort level, it has given me an opportunity to explore how I can provide an experience for my students when teaching with technology.

Sorry for walking you down memory lane. However, I don’t remember explicitly being taught anything on the computer except to double click to open an application. My friends and I found it interesting, explored the space, and then collaborated on our findings. In today’s modern world, I think students need direct instruction because situations online are more complicated then they were 15 years ago. Connecting with friends and strangers online is becoming easier and your digital footprint impacts people’s impression of you in real life.

Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

Currently, I am seeing what I’m sure most teachers across Saskatchewan are seeing, which is a lack of direction on how to properly support students about becoming positive digital citizens. Unless you have a tech-savvy teacher or a teacher who takes an active interest in learning about what makes a positive digital citizen, breaks that into bite-size parts for the students, and then actively implements it in their classroom. Students will not get the fundamentals, along with more profound thoughts about the lasting impact of their digital footprint.

An article that Kelly Ziegler shared about 3 Ways to Foster Digital Citizenship in Schools made me think about how we could approach this. First, we need to educate our teachers at the forefront of this education properly. We need to create a plan for consistency across the teachings, language, and expectations. The critical piece is bringing our parents in for tech talks to ensure that our school messages are carried forward into their personal lives. Students are more active on social media throughout the evening. Providing these parents an enhanced understanding of some of the latest trends and ways to navigate through positively would be the perfect support system for our students.

Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

This is a document from Mike Ribble as he and his team try to break down critical skills on how to support students through their journey of becoming positive digital citizens.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my blog. I’d love to hear your thoughts on ways that you think we could be implementing digital citizenship into our schools with our current curriculum having very few outcomes that speak to it directly.

Who Tells Our Story?

This week we have been asked to put our reflections on the idea of digital citizenship. Since the beginning of this course, I have been reflecting on my journey through social media and setting our students up for success moving forward. On more than one occasion, I shared that it was not until second-year university when it finally clicked that my digital identity could shape my first impression. At that point, I tightened up my security settings and did a “scrub” of all the things that I no longer wanted to be associated with my image moving forward.

George Bernard Shaw is quoted saying, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” With that quote in mind, the person we are creating both physically and digitally must be the ones that we are proud of. As professionals who were able to grow up with and make mistakes, we have been fortunate. Many of my errors have been erased, and although they are most likely on some server somewhere, they are not haunting me when you type my name into Google. Dalton said it best when he said, “There were no such things as screenshots when we grew up – we could delete posts without someone having their own copy of it.”

As an educator aware of digital citizenship and digital literacy, I take it as an obligation to teach and learn with others who don’t understand the ramifications of their actions online. This does not always include students. Many adults are unfamiliar with the terms of their online impact as well. In the education sector, I think of myself as fortunate that I have the ability to reach the students/our future generations and their parents. I hope that I will spark some conversation or thought when it comes to how they want to present themselves online.

When I was in university and was first becoming aware of the impact that my Facebook or Twitter could have on the future, I thought it was wise to take some of my experiences and friends to make a presentation to share with students. I worked it into health and career. We talked about future goals and aspirations. I presented them with a scenario where they were a boss, and they had a couple of suitable applicants, but when you did an internet search, a particular picture or post showed up. I then asked them to respond to the three applicants they hadn’t met about how they felt about their chances of working for them. After the presentation, I said that these were all pulled off my personal Facebook wall from friends or strangers that I had friended over time. We then talked about security settings and how we wanted to be presented when we put our name in for that dream job. The shocking part was the next few days when the students came back to tell me how they did not have any security on their accounts until that day.

I’m left with the question: How do we convince the younger generations how important it will be to their future success to maintain a certain level of maturity online?
–> We educate, and we hope that the message gets across to a few of them and that they can make those distinctions for themselves?
–> We scare them with a presentation of what will happen to them if they are viewed negatively online?
–> We educate teachers, parents, and students so that they are getting consistent messaging and influence all around them when it comes to digital citizenship?

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my blog. I hope you are having a great week! I’d love to hear your thoughts below; please leave a comment.

Education and Change

This week’s guiding questions for this blog post

  • Do schools really need to change? If so, in what ways? 
  • What sort of world are we preparing students for?
  • What sort of education or education system will be needed to adequately prepare students for the world ahead?
  • Is it possible to change our educational system, or is it more likely that the system will be replaced by other forms of education?
  • What does citizenship look like in this future reality?

I know these loaded questions can stir up some lively debates regarding the education sector. I know when I read the questions, several thoughts came flooding in. However, I am looking to take a mild approach at answering them. Please feel free to comment with your thoughts and check out my classmates’ blogs for their approach!

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Do schools really need to change? If so, in what ways? 
I am unsure if schools really “need” to change in the sense of what they achieve and have achieved for many years. There is always room for educators to explore different perspectives regarding teaching strategies/models within our schools. However, there are certain expectations that guide teachers within their division/province/state/country. If there were going to be changes made to the education sector, the curriculum would make the most significant impact. As our modern world advances, some of the curricula will become outdated. The curriculum is a guiding resource for what is being taught in our schools and therefore could provide the biggest change in schools. 

What world are we or what world should we be preparing our students for?
This is a challenging question because we can only prepare ourselves and our students for what we know or anticipate within a realistic realm of possibilities. As educators, we need to maintain some realism in what our students may encounter in a future world. An example would be still having driver training available for teenagers. Although self-driving cars are on the market and may continue to grow in popularity, there is still a need for basic skills and understanding. Currently, we are preparing students to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, and how to navigate through a world that is always connected. We teach them how to be good neighbours, community members, and maintain that same reputation online.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my blog!

Durston McKenna

Think Tank with Kelly

Hello Everyone,

Today’s blog post may seem a bit scrambled in thoughts, and that is because it is.

This semester I am looking to join forces with my colleague Kelly Ziegler (Twitter/blog). She captured our conversation and initial thoughts into a beautiful blog post.

Our assignment is to choose from 4 options and take an in-depth look at the selected section. There are four very intriguing options. When I was looking through them, two caught my attention. After speaking with Kelly, we think we have a plan of attack to combine two of the options for maximum benefit in our learning and understanding and, hopefully, our colleagues. Below are the two options we are going to join. These are taken from our ECI832 syllabus.

Option 1: Development of a curriculum-supported digital citizenship/literacy resource: Students selecting this option will investigate and develop curricular connections that support the integration of digital citizenship and digital literacy competencies. Students should develop a comprehensive digital citizenship/literacy resource that includes a scope and sequence for a grade (elementary) or subject area (secondary).

Option 4: Student-designed project: Students are welcome to propose an alternate project, subject to instructor approval. Students-designed projects should entail an equivalent amount of work and should be directly related to some aspect of digital citizenship or media literacy.”

Looking at these two options Kelly and I were able to talk through several angles that we may want to take. We were able to come a few ideas that we are still tweaking to make sure we don’t bite off more than we can chew.

Idea 1 –> We are going to co-host a podcast that will look to incorporate the knowledge and understandings of stakeholders (teachers, students, and parents) around digital citizenship and digital literacy. This interview-style podcast will allow us to learn and expand our knowledge. We will keep open-ended questions to allow the guests’ knowledge and understanding to guide the conversation.

Idea 2 –> This is a reflection based on our conversations in the podcast. We will be able to reflect on our knowledge and our guests’ knowledge and create something that may aid teachers in how to utilize technology in their classrooms.

As I said at the start, these may seem like scrambled thoughts, and that is because they are. Kelly and I continue to talk to filter out some of our ideas and get to a more concrete idea. Our main goal is to create something that will help the students become better digital citizens and support teachers in their journey to understanding their role in that journey.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this!

Stay tuned,
Durston McKenna

Educator Introduction

Hello Everyone,

My name is Durston McKenna. I currently reside in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. I have been an educator for seven years and am in my third year as Vice-Principal. I am interested in helping kids and teachers harness technology as an aid. In my classroom, you will see a differentiated approach to teaching that incorporates the student’s voices to support struggling students and enrich learning for those who have a deeper understanding.

Outside of school hours will find me coaching volleyball, basketball, and track and field throughout the year. Aside from that, I love getting students interested in coding with our tech club and competing with them in our Esports club. I strongly believe in extracurricular activities to help students feel part of a community and promote a healthy and fulfilled life.

Along with an interest in technology I enjoy connecting with other educators and discussing anything education. I would love to connect with you so please feel free to reach out via Twitter or Email.