Ribble & SeeSaw – The Valentine’s Edition

Implementing SeeSaw — one of the apps I am exploring for my major project — in my classroom has allowed both myself and my students to examine and understand many of Ribble’s 9 elements of digital citizenship. Now for a cheesy Valentine’s pun: they seem to go hand in hand.

After spending some time viewing my classmates content catalyst screencasts and reading some of the course material I started to think about how my major project relates to the elements of digital citizenship. In class last week we discussed Mike Ribble’s 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship that are briefly outlined here and described in more detail in this excerpt from his book “Digital Citizenship in Schools” (2007). Ribble separates these nine elements into three categories of respect, educate and protect (aka REP). In this article, Ribble explains that “respect, educate and protect are key principles in both the digital and real world. Recognizing similarities and differences helps us better understand the world on both sides of the device”. As the binary of online and offline self become increasingly fluid, Ribble’s elements of digital citizenship are becoming part of citizenship education (do we really need to call it “digital” citizenship?).

After all, citizenship is described in the Oxford dictionary as “the qualities that a person is expected to have as a responsible member of a community”. As members of the digital community, members are expected to be aware of and act on Ribble’s 9 elements of digital citizenship. After reading Alec and Katia’s post on (Digital) Identity in a World That Never Forgets, it is increasingly clear of the importance of digital citizenship education.

In fact, Edmonton Public Schools has a rubric to assist students on their digital citizenship journey. You can also find a digital citizenship continuum throughout K-12 in the Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools document as well as a significant amount of information and tools about Ribble’s 9 elements of digital citizenship. 

I recently posted an update of my major project here. You can check it out to see how things are coming along so far! To recap, my project is a personal journey into media, described here. In particular, I think my major project focuses specifically on three of Ribble’s elements: digital communication, digital literacy and digital etiquette.

At the start up of this year I signed up for Remind as a tool to communicate with parents. While this is a useful tool, I really haven’t used it to it’s full potential and I wanted to try SeeSaw after hearing about it from other teachers in our school division. I foresee myself replacing Remind with SeeSaw in the coming fall. Many of my parents are used to Remind and it might be a little tricky convincing them to switch over to a new app. But we will see what happens!

Having only used SeeSaw for a few weeks, I am already feeling like a like it more as a tool for communication for the student-parent-school connection as students create online digital portfolios to showcase what they are learning at school.

(One hurdle still to jump over is making sure media release forms are signed! After all, digital safety & security is VERY important!)

Further, using SeeSaw I am seeing students understanding of digital literacy expand as they use the various tools available on the app (drawing, typing, audio, video, photos, etc.) to demonstrate their learning. As students develop their digital portfolio, I am eager to open this up to parents in the coming weeks and examine how the connection (digital communication) becomes even stronger with parents having the ability to see, respond and comment on their child’s work at school. Digital access will certainly be something I watch out for as not all students/parents have access to devices at home so I am interested to see how the app will be interacted with outside the classroom. I will keep you updated!

As for digital etiquette, students are having to use the devices in our room in a equitable way and are seeing them more as a tool for demonstrating learning rather than a tool to simply practice (as they typically use it to practice reading on RAZ Kids or math practice on Mathletics). With this new use of our classroom devices, I have been using digital citizenship lessons from Common Sense Media and Google’s Be Internet Awesome curriculum to teach about digital citizenship. These resources allow us to explore almost all of Ribble’s elements as they relate to our use of SeeSaw and personal device use outside of the classroom. The students are learning about empathy (Digital Health & Wellness could be included here!) and digital etiquette as they learn how to comment, view and interact with the work of their fellow digital classmates. We have this poster hanging in our classroom with sentence starters on how to make positive and engaging comments:

The journey continues for my crew of learners and our interaction with SeeSaw. That is all for now, but please stay tuned as we continue to dig deeper into our digital citizenship education.

While I only mentioned three major elements of Ribble’s digital citizenship model in relation to my major project, I made reference to many others. There is some serious (and I’m sure, intentional) overlap in what Ribble is proposing. It is easy for me to see how my work with SeeSaw can fit into nearly all of Ribble’s 9 elements. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought it fitting to title the post in the way I did. They fit together perfectly!



SeeSaw Set Up – Final Project Update 1

I have been busy over the last few weeks getting SeeSaw set up in my classroom. What I have enjoyed about the process so far is the training that SeeSaw provided for new users. It had information for teachers to read and some short videos to watch. It provided just enough information without being overwhelming at first. It was very user-friendly as well.


The other excellent part of my SeeSaw experience so far is the network that SeeSaw has created. SeeSaw is available on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where they post recommendations for activities to use in the classroom and other useful information. The best part is that they retweet teachers from across the nation who are using SeeSaw in their classrooms. Simply from connecting to their social media network, I already have so many ideas to create with SeeSaw in my classroom. More specifically, SeeSaw has Facebook groups organized by grade so I am only seeing content that is relevant to my classroom.

We tried SeeSaw out for the first time today. The website provides a grade specific presentation to introduce the app to the students and a series of tasks for the students to try out the features before diving into an assignment. The students were very engaged and interested in using the app, taking photos and recording their voice.

One of the skills we practiced today. SeeSaw has detailed lessons to get your kiddos started on the app!

There is etiquette that students must follow in terms of how to record their voice effectively and how to take pictures properly. This is what we will be working on next!

I have really enjoyed my experience with SeeSaw so far. One barrier I see is that we only have 5 devices with the app in my classroom. It would be ideal for all students to have access but right now all activities must be partner or group work. Suggestions on how to work with a limited number of devices is welcomed!

The Future is Here – Are We Ready for It?

This week Alec posed the question, “what sort of world are we preparing students for?”  This question really digs deep into the purpose of education. What are we doing as teachers in the classroom? Are we preparing students for a career several years down the road? Are we teaching them to explore their current world through inquiry? Are we focused on raising adults or focused on kids current interests? For me, the answer is a combination of all of these things.

When we think about the world we are preparing students for it is a world we largely have no idea about. Especially as a teacher of young elementary students, their future is quite distant. Technology and the world around us is changing so rapidly that it is difficult to predict what their future will look like. To help me think about this in a more in-depth way, I read the articles 9 Things That Will Shape the Future of Education and 2020 Future Work Skills. This latter document lists projected skills people will need to be successful in the future. These skills include: sense making, social intelligence, novel and adaptive thinking, cross-cultural competency, computational thinking, new-media literacy, transdiciplinarity, design mindset, cognitive load management, and virtual collaboration.

Sense making is the ability to find deeper meaning in a variety of texts/medias. In my classroom we talk about surface ideas and deep ideas using imagery of the iceberg at the top of the water versus what is below. Students need to be able first to make those literal, surface connections of what they are learning about but also be able to dig deeper. Part of the digging deeper is in making connections (to self, other texts/medias and the world) and the ability to make connections comes from students experiences and exposure to the world. Being a so called “digital native” doesn’t automatically give children the experiences they need, adults must help curate the vast range of experiences children require to be skillful sense-makers.

Social Intelligence is the ability to connect deeply with others and be able to sense and stimulate reactions. When I think about the students who are in front of gaming systems all weekend long, I strongly feel that they lack this skill when they come to school. Some argue that this is where students are making the friends that they don’t find at school, but there is still significant value in face-to-face interaction, in conversational skills, and understanding how others react to your communications and actions.

Novel and adaptive thinking, design mindset, new media literacy, cognitive load management and computational thinking are inextricably linked. Students need to be able to consume and analyze a large amount of information and data to determine what is and is not useful to them. With the information they are given they need to be able to Create. This is where multiple literacies, opportunity for play and makerspace are so important.

Cross-cultural competency and virtual collaboration are important as we think about what education “looks” like in the future. Classrooms without walls and borders come to my mind. We are no longer confined to the walls around us. Our EC&I832 course is a perfect example of how these skills can be lived out in an education setting. The idea of “global” has many implications in regard to these two skills.

I have briefly touched on each of these skills for future. What I find however is that none of these skills is far-fetched or something that we are incapable of teaching. I like how my classmate Dani, said it. As a teacher, “it my duty as a teacher to be doing more to ensure my kiddos leave me as critical thinkers, multi-taskers, digitally literate, cultural responsive citizens”. In fact, many of these skills are being taught by parents and teachers that I personally know. Is there work to be done? Yes, certainly. My classmate Nicole suggests that this is the case in her blog as well. However, we are already on our way. Teachers too, need to possess these important skills if they are to teach about them. The students in my classroom will need these skills in the future which means that we need to be teaching them now. Are we ready for it?

To conclude, I will comment on what I think is a major weakness in the 2020 Future Work Skills document. This document is bright, colourful, and full of excellent suggestions for what the future will look like. However, it also has an air of exclusivity. I attended a private high school for grade 9-12 and I can certainly imagine how my high school classmates would achieve these skills and many are living out these skills in their current work places. However, I have also spent some time teaching students whose socio-economic status and opportunity is not equal to my high school classmates. The skills suggested in this document are certainly attainable if students have access to the tools they need to achieve them.This issue can be referred to as the participation gap.  To fill in the important information missing from the 2020 Future Work Skills document, the 2017 K12 Horizon Report and Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century do an excellent job of highlighting inequalities as we think about our students of the future. Three key problems are highlighted below from the Confronting Challenges to Participatory Culture document:

“The Participation Gap — the unequal access to the opportunities, experiences, skills, and knowledge that will prepare youth for full participation in the world of tomorrow.
The Transparency Problem — The challenges young people face in learning to see
clearly the ways that media shape perceptions of the world.
The Ethics Challenge — The breakdown of traditional forms of professional training and socialization that might prepare young people for their increasingly public roles as media makers and community participants”.

The future can be bright and colourful, like the document suggestions but it is important we address these structural and ethical concerns in a timely manner if all students are to have equal opportunity to gain these important skills.

The Internet is Not the Problem

During our last class session, as Dr. Couros presented various critiques of technology through the ages we are reminded that every new technology brings what Devorah Heitner calls a cycle of anxiety. A NY Times columnist writes “Before the Internet, television, telephones and automobiles all had their turn at being bashed by people afraid of social changes wrought by new technologies”. My classmate Logan illustrates this point further in his post “Stop Villainizing the Internet”.  The internet, in a techno-dystopian manner, is constantly “blamed” for the demise of society and especially of today’s youth. Blame is incorrectly placed onto the thing itself (the internet) rather than placing accountability on its users (it’s visitors and residents).

Part of our assignment this week was to view the videos Do “Digital Natives” Exist? and Visitors and Residents which provide a critique and alternative to Mark Prensky’s “Digital Native vs. Digital Immigrant” binary argument. In critique of Prensky, I think it is important to understand that just because children and youth are born in to the Digital Age and may know how to use technology more adeptly than the previous generations (a privileged perspective), there are challenges in raising children to be caring digital citizens. This video by Devorah Heitner titled “The Challenges of Raising a Digital Native” raises some important points and is an excellent watch. Heitner discusses parents fears and anxieties of raising children in the Digital Age and how parents want to “spy on” and “catch” their child “doing something bad” on the internet. There is a very real parental fear that because their children are members of the Digital Age that they will automatically be susceptible to the evils of the Internet. This fear can be legitimate if young people do not have guidance.

Heitner suggests two important ideas. First, that just because children are tech savvy, doesn’t mean they have the tools to create a positive digital footprint or navigate the world of social media with kindness and caring. Second, that before parents try to catch their kids doing something wrong, Heitner asks “have we done a good enough job of modelling the right thing?” Students may be more tech savvy, but they still require guidance and a significant part of that guidance is educating students about empathy. There is immense power in positive digital sharing but the role of the parents and educators remains to guide students in bringing an element of humanity into their online behaviour.



The Jurgenson Effect: A New Year’s Resolution Ruiner

This New Year’s season I heard many people talk about their resolution being to scroll


Here is me using a real life map 🙂

less. That is, to spend less time scrolling through social media sites or apps in favour of spending more time IRL. This sounded like an excellent idea to me as I often find myself trying to disconnect.

As Nathan Jurgenson (2012) tells us in his article The IRL Fetish, “Having to navigate without a maps app, eating a delicious lunch and not being able to post a photograph, having a witty thought without being able to tweet forces reflection on how different our modern lives really are”. In fact, I recently had to use a map (yes…a paper map that you unfold and have to figure out the actual directions yourself!) while in Phoenix over the winter holiday. We had to turn off our data which meant not being able to use Google Maps to take us from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon and on to Las Vegas. I have to admit it was a little weird (and also unnerving!) to map out our own route (what if we got lost?!). Of course, even though I didn’t have access to data, I still took a photo (three to be exact) so that I could post this bizarre feat (using a real life map) into my Snapchat story once we reached the hotel and could turn on the wifi.


Selfie from the Larch Valley Trail @ Moraine Lake

Earlier this fall, I hiked the Larch Valley Trail which is out of service area but my phone was still in my backpack to document the journey. Now, I am all about documenting life experiences as I explained my love of photography in my introductory post. But I also thought I was all about being unplugged and disconnected and getting in touch with nature. For one week each summer my family heads up to Northern Saskatchewan where we are isolated and without service. Each year it is a breath of fresh air (no pun intended!) to be disconnected for that period of time. However, this week Jurgenson has me reconsidering my approach a little. Jurgenson (2012) argues “Twitter lips and Instagram eyes: Social media is part of ourselves”. It is quite literally an extension of our own bodies into a digital space. The dichotomy of online and offline becomes a blurry mess: “The clear distinction between the on and offline, between human and technology, is queered beyond tenability…time spent not looking at Facebook becomes the status updates and photos we will post later” (Jurgenson, 2012). Jurgenson (2012) argues “we’ve never cherished being alone, valued introspection, and treasured information disconnection more than we do now”. Even though the IRL fetish exists, he counters the obsession by indicating society’s desperate cry to be unplugged is create by the fact that we are so connected. As I reconsidered my “disconnected time” this past year, I realize that even though I was not connected at the time, there was time spent planning and preparing photographs that could later be posted to my social media pages. I now feel like a bit of a IRL fetish fraud.

We can further our understanding of a lack of an online/offline dichotomy as we explore Michael Wesch’s 2009 article “Youtube and You” in which he examines the complex relationship between Youtubers and their audiences. One ironic example lies in this following video (which I actually thoroughly enjoy!). The vlogger is suggesting that people can and should spend more time alone. But this author/vlogger is not alone. The video has been viewed more than 8 million times. As vloggers create in an environment of seeming loneliness, the audience feedback and views indicate a complex relationship that holds significant potential for human connection.

So, to truly be unplugged, do we need to disassociate the experience from the realm of possibly posting online later? While out enjoying “real life”, do we need to stop and think about photographing an experience simply for our own viewing pleasure? Or do we just need to embrace the fact, as Jurgenson (2012) argues, that we are inexplicably connected, even when we are disconnected? I think these ideas are something I will tangle with throughout the course of the term and have to reconsider during my Summary of Learning or future blog post. After reading Jana‘s post, I know I am not the only one grappling with these new understandings.

Either way, I suppose I will need to rethink my New Years resolutions.

What do you think? How can we disconnect? or are we so enmeshed in technology that we are unable to truly disconnect?


Major Project Projections

Welcome back…to my second blog post! So far this course has been fairly out of my comfort zone in terms of a new level of engagement with social media. While I would say I am a social media user, I would describe myself more of a consumer of social media than a creator. If not for this class, I wouldn’t be posting on Twitter or writing blog posts but I do enjoy reading what others put out there. But I am here to learn more and putting myself out there will be part of this EC&I832 journey.

One thing I have noticed is the number of tabs I have open on my screen is a little overboard and for my neat, tidy, OCD self, sometimes the tabs are too much!


For the past week and a half I have been in a bit of a slump trying to decide what I want to do for my final project. After reading Brittany, Kyle and Nicole‘s posts this week, I finally decided to go with Option 2: Personal journey in to media.

There are three media spaces I plan to delve in to over the course of the semester.

First, I plan to look at the app Snapchat. I use Snapchat quite frequently (mostly to share pictures of my dog!). However, having teenage cousins, I know that this app is often used for bad and has become “synonymous with sexting“, bullying and the anxiety of Snapchat streaking. Since so many young people engage with this app there has to be a way to use it for good and I would like to explore if and how Snapchat can be used in a classroom setting for engaging educational purposes.

The second media space I would like to explore is Seesaw. Our school division supports the use of this app and many of my teacher friends are using it, but I know little about it. I have been thinking about giving it a try for awhile now and thanks to Nina, I finally signed up today. I am currently using Remind but am curious if Seesaw will work synonymous with Remind or perhaps replace what I am doing with Remind. Perhaps I will like Remind better? I hope to explore this further in my investigation.

The final media space I hope to explore is not an app in particular but an exploration of the use of memes in literacy instruction. At a conference last year I heard a bit about this but dismissed it as mostly a tool for older students. However, I would like to use memes with my younger students this term to see how it enhances literacy learning and engagement. In this third media space I am currently (maybe I will change my mind) not thinking about using an app such as MemeGenerator because it has too many inappropriate images that I do not want my students accessing. However, I plan to use images from the app or other internet sources in my planning for meme exploration in the classroom.

I plan to examine Snapchat & Seesaw over the course of the semester and then focus specifically on a literacy meme exploration in March while continuing to use the other two apps. Following this extended use of the three media spaces I will conduct my analysis from a personal and professional lens.


Back in Action…for EC&I 832

Considering I had to reset my WordPress password from six years ago, I say it’s been awhile since I have been up to this whole blogging thing.

My name is Brooke. I am a grad student at the University of Regina. EC&I 832 is my fifth course. I can’t wait until the end of April to say I am officially halfway done my Master’s degree. Considering I only started this degree last September, I’d say I am kicking butt so far! I was interested in taking this course because I was feeling a little out of the tech world and wanted to join back in. Although I tend to be more of a reader or “lurker” than a participator when it comes to Twitter. I suppose I’ve got to put myself out there!

I am also an aspiring photographer, dog mom to a German Shorthaired Pointer named Odin and a Harry Potter fan. Here is one of my favourite and most recent photographs from Horseshoe Bend Canyon in Arizona. My husband and I visited this amazing site over the winter holiday. test photo