Digital Life Skills Everyone Should Learn

After this weeks reading, 8 Digital Life Skills all Children Need – and a plan for teaching them, I started to think. So many kids these days know how to use platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and so much more. What they don’t know a lot of the times is that there are so many potential dangers that lurk in them.

This article was shocking to me when I learned, that the most important thing in my eyes when it comes to digital literacy, digital citizenship, is the one of the most unspoken things . After taking this course and learning how to avoid some of these dangers I have realized how much I didn’t know so I can only imagine scary it can be if students aren’t aware of the dangers. I had no idea what a filter bubble was or how certain platforms hide things from our view when they know we may not agree with them.

Students, and everyone else, using these platforms have a right to know these things and should be taught how to navigate through these sites safely and effectively. As I am working to graduate from this program this upcoming June I want to make intentional efforts to teach my future students these things next year.

I have learned how to include digital literacy into a classroom in a way that only adds to the learning of the students and I want my students to receive those benefits. Teaching students how to use online sources to learn from and how to fact check that the sources are reliable was my key focus for my question this quarter and I want to take that into my classroom first and for most.

As for my classmates during this quarter is there anything that you took to heart this quarter and want to bring into your future classrooms? Or maybe you’re not in this program to be a teacher, if thats you what are some things that you want to take into your future workplace that you learned in this course?

How Far Have I Come?

I decided to write this post because I have been working on my final portfolio and I am amazed at how much I have learn. This class taught me how to connect with people online and form networks of people who are passionate about the same topics that I am when it comes to education.

In terms of specifics, here are some things I didn’t know, or didn’t know to use prior to this class.

  1. I didn’t know how to write a blog post, let alone how to categorize it and “tag” it so that my readers could search for specific topics.
  2. I didn’t know what a Tweet Deck was.
  3. How to use Hypothes.is and annotate readings in a community with other people who annotated with me.
  4. I had no clue that Microsoft Sway existed.
  5. I didn’t know that Twitter Conversations were a real thing that educated professionals used to communicate all over the world.
  6. I didn’t know what HTML stood for, or how to change my blog to that view so that I could upload video content.
  7. I had never heard of a filter bubble.

Those things sound so small and if I had heard of them outside of the context of this class I never would have felt like I was missing out anything. This class gave me an environment to explore these things on my own and with a community which let me fail in order to succeed and really showed me how I can continue to use these platforms in my own life after this class is over.

 

 

Digital Literacy

After this weeks readings from A New Culture of Learning by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown I began to have my eyes opened. They talked about the experiences of multiple people through their own uses of technology and digital literacy. One example was how a family bonded over playing video games together and both had different experiences playing, and played with different strategies but played together none the less and spent hours doing so.

Another person’s experience came from being diagnosed with diabetes. He was given information that led him to online sources that contained groups of people who suffered from the same illness. They could talk together about their experiences and work through things as a group. It became a way for him to learn about his diagnoses and learn from others who felt the same way that he did.

I guess I always viewed things like Facebook and Instagram as a way to network with friends and family and stay caught up in everyone’s lives but I never really thought about using platforms like these to reach out to people I do not personally know but whom I am have things in common with.

This brought up an interesting point for me because I am a students in a masters program, like all of my classmates, and I aspire to write children’s books one day. Both of these are things I could use to get online and find groups of other people who are where I am at in life and could probably give me a great perspective and insight so why is it that I am not venturing out to find that? Part of it is that I never thought about it until this reading but now I want to find a site that brings together aspiring writers to share their experiences.

In an effort to do this I started researching places I could do this and everywhere led me to the same website, http://www.scbwi.org This website brings together illustrators and writers of children’s book and allows them to network together.

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Quality Failure

Go figure, I reached another quality failure. At this point, I am actually thankful for my failures as it has brought me a new perspective. This week we were asked to created a piece of mediated writing that included pictures, videos as well as embedded links.

I was introduced to the Microsoft site, Sway, in order to complete this assignment and I was soon after greater by frustration. Being that I like the learning curve of having to explore and try things out to learn how they work I was able to mess around with the site as well as watch a tutorial video and was soon on my way.

At first though, once I have completed the writing aspect, I turned to the uploading of links and pictures and was put at a standstill. I would drag a picture to a box where it needed to go and it would magically create a whole new box and appear there instead of where I wanted it to go. This happened multiple times and it was a large process of trying new things to make it finally work.

As a teacher, I was actually able to have a positive outlook on this experience and I realized that when I was frustrated and confused I was being given the opportunity to see how my students feel when they are learning something new. It made me realize that we are all unfinished, whether we are the teacher or the student and with that comes a perpetual cycle of learning.

Weekly Play

For this week’s weepy play I decided to try something that I had yet to do for this class, I made a snapchat story. A snapchat story was different for me because up until this week all of my “plays” were stagnant. None of them moved and all contained still photos.

I thought that creating a snapchat story would be fun because it adds something more for the viewer, similar to our mediated writing piece from this week. When we create a moving visual aspect to a form of writing or work it makes it more real life and relatable.

Being that Groundhog’s Day has just came and gone I thought that creating my snapchat story around how many more weeks of winter we have would be funny and relatable for all of our class. Our groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, is said to have the ability to let us know how may more weeks of winter we will have based on whether or not he sees his shadow when he comes out of his burrow.

Being that it is almost March and we all woke up to some sort of snow on the ground today I was slightly bummed, after a semi-nice weekend with no rain and what I hoped was signs of Spring on the way.

Unfortunately, because I do not pay for an upgraded plan on my WordPress site I am unable to upload videos. When I tried to upgrade to the cheapest option it would charge me for an entire year costing nearly $40. Clearly, that was not happening so to make due I took a screen shot of my video thumbnail so you can see that the picture was part of a video from my Snapchat account. You are able to see the snow, the words I added as well as the “play” button.

 

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Weekly Play

This week my “play” is adding humor to the idea that so many people will believe anything that read online instead of thinking to fact check their sources. I found making a comic strip to be really fun and thought that this can be made easier or harder by asking for more from your students if you were to use this as an assignment in the classroom.

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Social Media for a Change

 

This weeks online reading to the Harry Potter Alliance website was intriguing for me. I have always heard of online sites for people to network with others who have similar interests or passions but I have never seen a site where people with a passion for something, like a book series or movie series, congregate to create civic action and social change.

The Harry Potter Alliance site,     thehpalliance.org (click the blue line to be sent to the site) is doing just that. The site is not only for Harry Potter fans but it said to be mostly Harry Potter fans gets people connected through the internet for a common good.

Events are labeled after Harry Potter characters or “wizarding” terms to create a fun and playful feel to the action items but they are creating real change. For example the Granger Leadership Academy is a weekend of fun training to learn how to become a better leader and is based of of traits from Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series who is seen as a female hero.

This concept makes me think about why this is not more prevalent, or if it is where we can we network to find other organizations like these who have a found a playful way to encourage others to make a difference in the world around them.

To my classmates, I wonder have you ever seen sites like this for other activist groups?

Learning to Thrive Online

After reading Networked by Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman I am left with a few questions. Chapter 10 poses a very important issue with using social media and online resources to become a networked individual – knowing how to use it. It seems so simple, stupid almost to assume that people are using online resources and platforms without knowing how to use them properly but yet it is happening all around us, all the time.

We don’t often stop to think about how different the “online” world is from the “real” world, but if we do I am sure we would all realize that the list goes on and on. We can connect with people whom we have never met, who may live on another continent and we can get real news that is happening right this second on our news feed. Without these advancements in how we use digital literacy and online media we would be stuck waiting for a newspaper to be delivered to our doorsteps every morning, and connecting with friends and family from other cities and states via phone calls and letters.

Being able to network online provides numerous benefits, but its not often that people stop to think of the negative effects if they are never taught how to use these resources. Rainie and Wellman say “the variety of information sources has boomed; the velocity of information is accelerating, especially at the level of personal news and niche communities” (255). It is because of these things that people now expect to know what is going on in the exact moment in which it is going on.

That being said, I wonder what are some ways that we can educate the masses on how to use these platforms? It is true that the information is already out there if people wanted to take the time to educate themselves on how to use these things if they wanted to, but I wonder if there are fun ways to teach people how to network on use digital literacy in a more effective manner? Wouldn’t it be funny to create a class video based on satire and humor to teach the basics on being online and networking?