To Post or Not to Post

The first time I felt fear about using technology in the classroom was at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. We were told our return to school plan included live streaming of our classrooms, while supporting both our in person and online students, while creating assignments for both. There were a variety of issues that concerned teachers with this plan:

  1. Student privacy in the classroom
  2. Teacher being monitored by parents at all times
  3. Recording of students and teachers
  4. Creating both in person resources and online resources
  5. Not having adequate technology in the classroom to support this

As a result, many teachers within Prairie South wrote letters to the members of our Board of Education. The Board then decided to launch a Virtual School, two days before in-person learning began. I immediately phoned and applied to be a part of the Virtual School. I loved technology before, but this opportunity developed my skills in creating online content. Throughout this semester, I see that while I developed more skills, I could have developed my students skills more than I planned for. With this comes some other ethical implications.

Lovepreet’s article Ethics of Teaching with Social Media states that

When we ask our students to tweet, blog, post, share, or co-construct their texts with the rest of the class, we are asking them to perform in public or semi-public arenas. In this situation we are faced with the ethical question of whether this practice is caring for the identity of our students. How can we promise students that their digital footprint (online conversations, interactions, personal details) will be confined to the classroom context?

Henderson, Auld & Johnson

I think back to the assignments students created, and if those platforms were confined to the classroom. For my grade 3 students, I used mostly used Flipgrid and Google Slides. I feel confidant that this will be confined to the classroom. However, if I had students create their own blogs, this would be a much greater concern. If I were to do this I would want to have parental involvement and control. Having parents informed on the learning benefits, access to the content, and awareness would be important. This would include possibly a pseudonym, no images of the students, and comments disabled to prevent cyberbullying (as described in Shristy’s article). I feel like this would protect my students privacy while engaging in classroom based online communities. This would be one way to navigate introducing students to creating content in a controlled manner. The chart from Dylan’s article this week Chapter 2: Beware: Be Aware – The Ethical Implications of Teachers Who Use Social Networking Sites (SNSs) to Communicate has a great table that outlines the ethical considerations in K-12 settings:

Through this class I have been exploring using TikTok and Twitter. I wrote previously about how previous students found me on TikTok. Under the “Privacy & data security” section, I liked the option of having two profiles- one private and one public. I have followed this model, having my Twitter and TikTok as public life, and my Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat as my private life. I feel like this has worked for me, as even on my private accounts, I’m not much of a sharer!

Privacy and the permanence of a digital footprint are concerning for everyone. I think that introducing students to strategies to keep their identities safe, and be responsible digital citizens is the first step we need to take as educators!

Happy Teaching,


A Day in the Life of Mrs. Cheese Robot Lady

When I was visiting a classroom this week for a literacy lesson, a student called me, “Mrs. Cheese Robot Lady”, and I loved it. So yes, I am Mrs. Cheese Robot Lady.

Chris’ article this week “A Reminder that ‘Fake News’ is an Information Literacy Problem- Not a Technology Problem” resonated with me in the part that writes:

Most importantly, in the eyes of the Valley, every problem can be solved exclusively through technology without requiring society to do anything on its own. A few algorithmic tweaks, a few extra lines of code and all the world’s problems can be simply coded out of existence

Kalev Leetaru

With such a large part of my position revolving around technology, I do have a bias about the benefits of technology. Even planning Professional Development Opportunity on Outcome Based Practices in High School, as Learning Consultants we talked about the ease of setting up your My School Sask gradebook to match outcome based practices.

When teaching Digital Citizenship I make sure to talk about the language of coding, media, algorithmic data, cookies, and problem solving. The images below is how I often introduce coding to students. I’d like to build a lesson on how monitoring and checking your coding is related to literacy.

In the Classroom

Two weeks ago I was able to go into Bart’s class to teach Digital Citizenship. We looked at how influencers may try to manipulate our emotions or stage an apology. In the future I’d like to add a section on misinformation and mal-information from Holly’s reading “Fighting Fake News in the Classroom”. The article shares tips for Informational Literacy:

  1. Check your emotions
  2. Use Google News
  3. Reverse image search
  4. Look for the checkmark (verified)
  5. Know there is trustworthy information
  6. Identify the source
  7. Check Wikipedia
  8. Keep a list
  9. Leave the page
  10. Look for existing fact-checks

Thank you do whomever in our class posted this Cybersleuthing Activity, I think this would be an excellent way to get students involved in digital identity creation. I would have them research themselves first before passing judgement on another persons.

It’s My Life 🎵

In my own media consumption, I generally stick to the same news sources that are admittedly more left leaning. If I see someone has posted an article on social media, I will often read it then search the topic and observe the headlines to check for biases. If I see conflicting headlines I will read from well-known sources and compare the information found. To decide which headline is true, I will compare the commonalities to form my opinion.

Most often I lean towards doubt when presented with an extremist article, statistic, or headline. I try to identify how the article is trying to make me feel, if it is trying to persuade me to be overly emotional, I need to investigate why. If there are lots of statistics, I generally think it is rooted in reality. A fault of mine is assuming that because it is shared on Facebook, it doesn’t mean it is false as Amanpreet’s reading investigates. I have also resisted deleting people from social media based on what they post, as to not create an echo-chamber for myself. This is what I find the most difficult.

I’ll admit like other classmates (thanks Brenda) that my news consumption affects my own mental health. However in order to have respectful dialogue, I have to know the facts. It’s is valuable modelling to say, “I don’t know enough about this topic yet to form an opinion”. We don’t have to be the expert, we do have to be capable of finding them. More often than not, the truth about an author is just a few clicks away!

Happy Teaching,


Media Literacy

I have a previous post that talks about my group’s discussion of Media Literacy in a post named “Emotional Damage”, please check that out! I had posted my blog response for the wrong week, oops.

For this week’s reflection, I want to look at our group’s Mentimeter results:

Word Cloud

Agreement Scales

Media literacy has many aspects that can contribute to confusion surrounding the final “definition”. As the Center for Media Literacy states,

Definitions, however, evolve over time and a more robust definition is now needed to situate media literacy in the context of its importance for the education of students in a 21st century media culture. 

Center for Media Literacy

I can see that even in this class we have a large definition for Media Literacy, as can be seen in our Word Cloud. There are few repetitions in our responses, although they all contribute equally to the evolution of Media Literacy. Of course, this Mentimeter was limited due to the 3 responses per participant and there are several synonyms in the Word Cloud. There are many responsibilities involved in Media Literacy whether we are consuming or creating content.

Gratefully, we live in a society where we do have the option of being Media Literate, we can now clearly see the effects of a government controlled media affecting the Putin Russian invasion. It is surreal to see war being played out on social media, and we can see journalists and citizens risking their lives in order to protest and share (mis)information.

In essence, my (shortened) view of literacy is being able to consume, comprehend, analyze, understand context and format, respond, and apply in different contexts. This means I can apply this to Mathematical Literacy, Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Literacy, Science Literacy, and Physical Literacy (plus more!).

As Chris’ article is appropriately titled, “A Reminder That ‘Fake News’ Is An Information Literacy Problem – Not A Technology Problem”. This article investigates how anonymous posters are not examined for bias. It is interesting that reputable journalists, scientists, and experts are increasingly scrutinized but we still aren’t looking critically at all the media we consume. Our EC&I 832 class appears to agree in the Agreement Scales, as under the statement “journalists report facts” our class fell almost directly centered between strongly disagree and strongly agree.

Patricia’s article, The Challenge That’s Bigger Than Fake News, summarizes this sentiment:

Determining who’s behind information and whether it’s worthy of our trust is more complex than a true/false dichotomy

Sarah McGrew, Teresa Ortega, Joel Breakstone, Sam Wineburg

Bart’s article, What is Media Literacy and Why Does it Matter?, tells that Americans spend an average of 473 minutes each day consuming media. This highlights the increasing importance of Media Literacy.

Check out our groups video on Media Literacy for an introduction to Media Literacy and how to teach it to your students:

Thanks to Bart, Christine, and Patricia for creating this video with me!

I began my journey of teaching Media Literacy by introducing Digital Citizenship to Bart’s 7/8 class last week, check out the blog post for more information.

Happy Teaching,


Emotional Damage 🎶

In Digital Citizenship

We can warn people about being socially appropriate for our audience when posting, but it doesn’t always seem to make sense until you’ve made your own media “mistake”.

Teaching students about netiquette and visibility settings is a great place to start. But it isn’t enough to protect students from all possible situations they might encounter on the internet. What we should do is teach strategies when consuming and creating media.

Some things to consider are:

  1. What audience am I trying to reach?
  2. What media is the best format for what I am trying to share?
  3. What platform should this be shared on?
  4. How are my emotions? Will I still feel this way in 1 day, 1 week, 1 year?
  5. Does this add anything to a conversation?
  6. Does my voice need to be heard, or should I be lifting up others voice? (Do I belong to this community?)
  7. Are there facts to support my opinion?
  8. Do I want this to be a part of my permanent digital footprint/identity?
  9. Is this safe for me and others to share?

There are many resources and lessons available for teachers to teach about digital literacy and digital citizenship from many sources including, Edutopia, Be Internet Awesome, InCtrl, Common Sense Education, and so many more!

I firmly believe that this isn’t a one time conversation. Digital citizenship needs to be integrated into many areas of curriculum, not just a one day intervention to be forgotten about (I’m looking at you- one-day sexual health education programs). This can be in Social Studies in the context of citizenship, English Language Arts in the context of author’s purpose, Health in mental health and well-being, Science in technology, and almost every other content area.

Digital Citizenship Lessons available for Prairie South Schools Staff (log in required)

I feel thankful that our division has prioritized Mental Health and Wellbeing these past two years, and have integrated that throughout the organization, including digital citizenship. We also have Learning Consultants (like myself) available to go into classrooms to introduce topics such as digital citizenship into schools. I am lucky enough to be going into Bart’s class this week to do some learning around digital citizenship!

Through my exploration of this topic with my group this week, I really began to see the value of emotional literacy through the podcast Connect Safely. Watch our group’s video below:

Thanks to Bart, Christine, and Patricia for creating this video with me!

I feel like the education sector in Saskatchewan is beginning to see the value in training teachers about digital citizenship by offering post-secondary courses to teachers about media and digital literacy in education. Classes such as EC&I 832 and EC&I 834 through the University of Regina, and the addition of Educational Technology as a route for MEd students. However, we still have lots of teachers who do not take these courses. We have to build capacity in all our educators if we expect them to teach digital contexts, and add explicit language about digital literacy throughout our curriculum.

This week I’m challenging myself to creating a digital literacy lesson for grades 7/8. I’ll do a follow up blog post this week to post the lesson and my reflection.

Happy Teaching,


The Good, The Bad, The Old Me

My Media Journey

The greatest reminder of my uncensored teenage digital identity is the dreaded Facebook Memories. I almost always see the “on this day” memories and immediately delete them or change the privacy settings. I don’t think that 13 year old me was considering my future at all, never mind a future as an educator. Many of these posts are photos/comments/status updates that I am tagged in, and I cannot control who views this. While not impossible to find, these posts are now 16+ years old. As Alec Curous and Katia Hildebrandt write in (Digital) Identity in a World that No Longer Forgets, “digital identity has, in effect become about gaming search results by flooding the Internet with the desired, palatable “self” so that this performance of identity overtakes all of the others”.

I am sure I am not alone in cringing at my old posts. Throughout my post secondary career I have always been encouraged to have a positive social media presence as a living resume. I never really bought into it, instead opting for little, and very controlled, digital footprint. Partly because I taught on Hutterite colonies for 3 years where digital anything is unnecessary, and partly because I was afraid of criticism.

I actively engaged in creating my digital identity in 2020. I found that I had more time to create aesthetically pleasing materials and felt confident enough to put them online. I finally felt confident in my teaching abilities and the development of a stronger sense of my own identity.

Just as everyone had been telling me, it did help me create a living resume! The next year I advocated for virtual learning options for our elementary students and promoted the Prairie South Virtual School. This led to me teaching at the virtual school for one year, and then moving into a learning consultant position the next. Reframing my mindset from “I’m promoting myself” to “I’m promoting educational change” helped in this process for me. I am well aware of the mental health impact of teachers comparing ourselves to others in online communities, and don’t want to promote an unrealistic or inauthentic version of myself. Through these courses, I’ve come to learn about “Digital Dualism” and how my online and offline identities are not seperate, but one:

our reality is both technological and organic, both digital and physical, all at once. We are not crossing in and out of separate digital and physical realities, ala The Matrix, but instead live in one reality, one that is augmented by atoms and bits. And our selves are not separated across these two spheres as some dualistic “first” and “second” self, but is instead an augmented self. […] Our Facebook profiles reflect who we know and what we do offline, and our offline lives are impacted by what happens on Facebook (e.g., how we might change our behaviors in order to create a more ideal documentation).

Nathan Jurgenson- Digital Dualism versus Augmented Reality

I truly believe that creating my digital identity has allowed me to be successful in my school division. In the next 5 years my plan is to remodel my Teachers Pay Teachers store for Saskatchewan teachers, continue using #TeacherTok, use this blog to promote coding and STEM in elementary, and create my own teacher merchandise (think mugs, sweaters, t-shirts, planners, keychains). The way to do this is by promoting myself digitally and increasing my presence. The big problem is time. I will be completing my MEd in December 2022. I plan to take a year to revamp and brand my TPT products in 2023 while continuing my blog.


Our school division has a guiding Media Policy where guardians can identify media comfort levels with the school and division posting images of their students. In the past I have also sent out information about our class webpage, accessing their students Google classroom, their comfort level with technology, and their preferred method of communications.

Questions from my beginning of the year survey for parents

We’ve practiced digital etiquette in controlled, closed settings, I have never given them the opportunity to try these skills in a real life setting such as blogging, social media, or open comments. Mrs. Cassidy’s class has an excellent example of how this can be done with six-year-olds! I feel more comfortable creating a space for students to do this now, but still fear parent permissions for posting. I would feel more comfortable if I did a parent’s night about digital literacy prior to introducing this to my students. I definitely want to challenge myself to this! It would be a great way for students to control their learning portfolios, and be able to share them at Student Led Conferences (SLCs). I’m excited to try.

Happy teaching,


Time for TikTok – Update (Part 2)

In this post I am applying Dr. Mike Ribble’s 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship to my personal application of TikTok and Flipgrid in the classroom. To keep things organized for my final project I’m going to investigate the themes I feel most relatable to each platform separately. Even though they are both video based platforms, I think there are different applications, audiences, and considerations that are unique to each platform which will affect my final project for EC&I 832.

Image from Let’s Talk Science


Element 3: Digital Etiquette

When copying someone’s content, it is expected that you tag the original creator when replicating. There is a history of Black creator content being replicated by white creators without crediting the original poster. While scrolling TikTok there are many fantastic lesson ideas and resources that teachers have created videos for. While I am still finding my own style, I will need to be cognizant of where I am getting my inspiration from and making sure I credit those creators using appropriate “netiquette”.

Educating Self and Others

Element 4: Digital Literacy

Something I feel can be overlooked in education is the purpose of the technology. We need to be explicit about what platform we are creating and sharing content on. For TikTok, I think it is a great format to share resources, strategies, and teaching comedy. It would be important to communicate the importance of voiceovers, selecting appropriate sounds, and captions as each communicating meaning and intent. The way I’ve been approaching sound selection is by finding a sound and exploring TikToks that use that sound to make sure I am using it appropriately. This has been working, although I haven’t mastered the video and sound synch yet. I can see the potential to teaching students the importance of author’s craft in multimedia literacies.

Element 5: Communication

Author’s craft definitely applies to Dr. Ribble’s fifth element, Communication, which is using the right technology to communicate, for what purpose and to whom. I think this is the real importance of teaching students how to use authors craft to boost engagement on a platform (hey, influencing is a real profession!). This applies to many Saskatchewan Curriculum outcomes such as CR3.2, CC3.3 CR5.2, and so many more! Teachers need to realize that to assess these outcomes it doesn’t have to be a written text, there are professions where sound and art are their primary focus in graphic design, advertising, video game production, T.V., the list goes on. I have dabbled in creating content for entertainment, resources, and a unit introduction, but I still haven’t decided on a “brand identity” for my account.

My first attempt at a content TikTok

Element 9: Health and Wellness

This is probably the biggest concern I had for myself when downloading TikTok, just how much time was I going to spend on TikTok mindlessly scrolling? TBH, it has increased my phone time, although that is part of this project so I really want to look at how it may affect my mental health. It is easy for teachers to compare these “learning snapshots” that TikTok offers, the cute classroom décor, the engaging lesson plans and feel like a complete failure. It is important to remind yourself and others that this is a highlight reel, since we control what we post we are going to put ourselves in the best light we can. I appreciate that in TikTok’s settings there is a “Digital Wellbeing” category where you can set time management and restricted content.

I haven’t engaged with the platform enough to understand my own boundaries with TikTok, so these settings are currently off for my profile. I have noticed that because I haven’t given much personal information to TikTok yet, the algorithm for my “For You” page is not yet tailored to my interests and can often frustrate me with TikTok’s initial algorithm. I’m interested to see how this changes as I engage further with the platform with likes and follows.


Element 1: Law

The first thing I will need to do in my division for Flipgrid is look at students’ Media Release forms. While this form doesn’t apply to limited access platforms such as Flipgrid, it is still important to model respect for privacy and offer choices such as audio recordings or filters to build a community of trust within your school families. In this I believe it is important to be transparent with parents about the access to student work, moderation of comments, and their right to deny use. While I don’t want to disadvantage students by omitting technology or being afraid of it, there is a different comfort level among families that needs to be respected. Teachers and families are a team, not opponents.

Element 3: Digital Etiqutte

The next step to implementing Flipgrid in the classroom will be to determine digital etiquette when interacting with other’s posts. This includes likes, reactions, and comments. It will be important to teach students that what we write is stored, and has serious effects. In the day of screenshots, it is also important to have a conversation of respecting other’s privacy by not distributing or editing images of other people without their consent. This also ties to the next element I’d like to address.

Element 8: Rights and Responsibilities

This element includes modelling our responsibility to report other’s misuse of a platform and maintaining digital equipment (including school provided resources). I’d like to have students create their responsibility list as a class and agree to these conditions, as well as the consequences of not following these conditions. This puts ownership to them in creating a safe digital community. I’d like to scaffold and practice this by first having students upload their videos with a moderated topic, then progressing towards unmoderated topics. This will allow me to have one-on-one conversations with students who are not complying with these responsibilities.

I’m looking forward to testing and comparing these two video platforms. Now, I’m off to make more embarrassing TikToks!

Happy teaching,


Teaching to the Tech

Often I’ve heard that teachers will “teach to the test”. In a time where tests are being assessed for their validity and authenticity of student learning, I sometimes see technology being substituted as an “end point”. We teach technology because we feel like students “need” to know it. However, I feel that technology can be used as a way to build skills such as perseverance, problem solving, creativity, and collaboration.

How I Met Your Mother- Mystery vs. History

So, what do schools need to do to prepare our students for their future?

Teachers 20 years ago couldn’t have predicted the world we live in now, neither can we predict what the world will look like in 20 years. The content that we teach changes, but the strategies we use to teach it, are not. I like this view of learning, because it means I don’t have to memorize content. I have to learn skills that help me learn better and more efficiently. We need to foster curiosity. When we are curious, we need skills to find and locate information, be able to confirm and construct meaning, and to evaluate information. These skills are useful if we are researching in a library or using a search engine like Google. When we learn these skills we can apply them not to just one technology, but all future technological advances. When I’m teaching code to elementary students, I emphasize that we repeatedly need to check our code as we progress, rather than at the end. I emphasize that I’ve never written a code correctly on my first try, and that it can be frustrating. I also tell them that I’m not going to help them *gasp*. They need to fail and help each other!

This also doesn’t mean we don’t teach how to use technology into our classroom. Just as abstinence-only sexual health education is proven to be ineffective, there cannot be abstinence-only digital education. We need to teach them how to become responsible digital citizens and how technology can help us reach our goals when we know how to use it effectively.

The Future of Schools

Are brick-and-mortar schools on their way out? The short answer for this is, no. While during the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen an increase in remote learning options that have benefitted many, it has not benefitted all. Education needs to be available to everyone. For many of our students, school is the only place they feel safe and cared for. The reality is, our workplaces would need to change first. For students to be at home, their parents also need to be at home. We also aren’t preparing all students for a life of academia or office work. Many skills need to be taught by a skilled person (teacher) in a safe, supervised setting. If its woodworking, mechanics, coding, mathematics, or writing, we need to assess and reflect on our work as we go.


Grade 4 Saskatchewan ELA Curriculum

Our curriculum places the learner at the center, then Broad Areas of Learning, followed by subjects. What this image shows is that we value Thinking, Identity and Independence, Social Responsibilities, and Literacies more than we value the outcomes. Yet as teachers we often get stuck on only presenting the outcomes, but we need to look at learners as a whole. We can’t only teach to the test or tech.

Time for TikTok

Image from

I’m 29 years old, and I’ve made a point of not downloading TikTok. I already struggle with “multi-tasking” by working, listening to a podcast, and scrolling my phone. My shortening attention span always requires more stimulation to stay focused. TikTok seems like an endless trap.

When on Twitter for EC&I 832 I saw Holly Alexander tweeted about #booktok. I had never considered using TikTok in an educational setting, other than #teachertok humorously exposing the challenges of teaching.

As I browse TikTok I’m starting to see how these videos can be used to do short demonstrations, engage learners, and simply give exposure to topics. For my EC&I 834 Major Project, I plan on experimenting with TikTok trends in education. I’m definitely going to include the *star*, my dog, Mia. Stay tuned for bad dancing, book toks, and some laughs at my expense. Does anyone have a suggestion for another app to put to the teacher test?

Happy teaching,