Coding: A New Literacy

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In class this week, we practiced coding (for my first time!) We used the program called Logo Interpreter and followed a workbook called Programming in Logo. This was my first experience using computer language and instructing the program to do what I wanted using code. This helped me to understand a bit about how programs complete tasks and how I was able to manipulate the code to meet a certain objective. I was also able to make many connections between coding and the SK math curriculum.

Adding to last week’s discussion about learning theories, Seymour Papert coined the term constructionism which is a learning theory rooted in constructionism where the learner makes meaning of information based on their experience with it but further (in constructionism), the learner is “most effective when part of an activity the learner experiences as constructing a meaningful product” (source).  Papert used Logo in his early research which was designed to teach young children about computer programming.

In his 2015 article “Why Kids Should Learn to Code“, Erik Missio explains that coding is being considered a new literacy and that learning to code is directly related to many future job opportunities. (Hint: scroll to the bottom of this article if you’re not sure where to start with coding. There are some great applications to start with! Or checkout this article) Missio argues,

Today, computing is involved in almost all aspects of our lives, from communications and education to social media, banking, information, security and shopping. Networked computers are capable of controlling our homes’ thermostats and lighting, our cars and our health records.

If grade-schoolers are taught biology and mathematics in order to understand the world around them, then knowing the basics of how computers communicate—and how to engage with them—should be a given.

Not only does learning to code help kids explain the world, it also helps them develop problem solving and computational thinking skills (Missio) both of which are listed as Future 2020 Work Skills. This 2012 article “Code Literacy: A 21st Century Requirement” by Douglas Rushkoff explains that kids “are spending an increasing amount of their time in digital environments where the rules have been written by others. Just being familiar with how code works would help them navigate this terrain, understand its limitations and determine whether those limits are there because the technology demands it — or simply because some company wants it that way. Code literate kids stop accepting the applications and websites they use at face value, and begin to engage critically and purposefully with  them instead”.

If you’re not yet convinced, this article, 9 Reasons Why Kids & Teens Should Learn to Code, sums it up nicely:

Finally, check out what some of these leaders and trend-setters have to say about the importance of learning to code in this article.

As you can see, there are many reasons that learning to code is important for young people today. Because technology is impacting nearly every aspect of our lives, it is increasingly important to understand how the programs being used work. In addition, coding can be used to help young people develop new programs and apply what they have learned in creative ways.

There are already many ways in which learning to code can be relevant in the context of the Saskatchewan curriculum. Do you teach coding in your classroom? If so, what programs do you use? What benefits are you seeing? What have your students surprised you with?

 

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An Ever-Shifting Perspective: Examining Learning Theories in a Connected World

This week’s readings presented a variety of popular theories of learning including behaviourism, cognitivism and constructivism. Ertmer and Newby (1993) provide an in-depth explanation of these learning theories in their article Behaviourism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features From an Instructional Design Perspective. Ertmer and Newby also include an article update in 2003 to reflect upon the changes in how learning theories can be understood as changes in the social learning environment have reorganized in the decades that follow their original piece. It is important to read an article like Ertmer and Newby’s in order to understand the historical background of these learning theories. This infographic nicely summarizes some of the key features of behaviourism, cognitivism and constructivism:

But…a shift has been taking place. We spent a lot of time in the Spring session with Alec talking about the stereotypes of different generations. Gen Z has received a lot of flack from its predecessors and in the media. But…it’s not all bad. This fabulous essay, “A Generation Zer’s take of the Social Media Age” (2018) by Elena Quartararo sheds some light on how the current generation is making use of the technological tools at hand. Her message is profound and intends to debunk many stereotypes which label her generation. The social action, connectedness and problem solving she talks about involve a variety of learning theories, including the newer theory: connectivism as presented by George Siemens.

In his 2010 Ted Talk titled “Knowledgeable to Knowledge-Able“, Michael Wesch argues many of the same ideas being argued in Siemens’ Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age (2004) article. Both agree that “technology has reorganized how we live, how we communicate, and how we learn” (Siemens, 2004). Therefore, our understanding of learning theories must also make a shift that accommodates the changes that technology has brought to modern society. We know, from the Future 2020 Work Skills document and all of the readings for this week that the skills required for careers of the future look much different from the previous generation. Teachers are currently preparing students for a world of work in which the landscape will look very different from our own. Therefore, Siemens’ suggests a learning theory called connectives in which knowledge is distributed across a network of connections to people and information — learning consists of the ability of construct and traverse those networks” (defined in a Map of Learning Theories).

This week, Alec asked us to explore which theories of knowledge and learning underpin our own teaching philosophy and classroom practice. To be completely honest, I don’t give much thought to all of the “isms” on a day-to-day basis but reflecting on my readings this week, I see how behaviourism, cognitivism, constructivism and connectivism all fit, to varying degrees, into the current educational system and my own teaching practice.

Behaviourism underpins a lot of what we (as an education system) do in Saskatchewan. Behaviourism is recognized by students producing observable, measurable behaviours that are scored using criterion-referenced assessment. The outcomes and indicators in our curriculum highlight the skills students are expected to know. They are taught in sequential  instruction and are scored using programs that measure student behaviour based on level of mastery. Behaviourism has imprinted itself on much of how we “do” assessment in our province.

In addition, you are likely to find behaviourism in many primary classrooms where (due to student level of mastery), the teacher often guides students to master skills and behaviours. My classmates, Sam and Sage, discuss using behaviourist theories in primary classrooms, especially to teach beginning-of-the-year procedures and establish classroom expectations. I teach third grade and we practice, practice, practice until we learn the the routines of our classroom, much of which is guided by myself and the students present observable behaviours to show a level of understanding of what is expected.

Cognitivism plays out in my classroom in some elements of reading, math and writing instruction where students learn how to learn and focus on a variety of strategies to construct meaning.

Further, constructivism has a role in my classroom as well where knowledge acquisition comes from learners using the experiences they have been given to create meaning. Meaning is content- and context- specific and can be used to support problem solving in a variety of situations. Daily 5 stations, Explore 4 stations, our learning in science, social studies and health can all be connected back to constructivism. Students are presented a variety of opportunities through stations in reading and math to make sense of the information presented. Additionally, I encourage my students to make connections across subject-areas in order to deepen their understanding of the information they are learning rather than the information being discipline-specific. We also take our learning as it relates to the place/context that we are in as people of Saskatchewan and identify how our experience is unique because of the place in which we live.

Finally, connectivism is gaining momentum in classrooms across the province. For me, the newest learning theory has become more relevant through the Master’s program courses I have taken. Due to how technology has changed the lives of our learners and ourselves, we must continuously examine how we help our students gain new understandings of the world. Connectivism allows teachers to use technology in a way that allows students to gain many of the Future 2020 Work Skills mentioned previously. Siemens’ presents a list of questions that are relevant for teachers to consider when selecting learning theories, some of which are listed below:

  • What adjustments need to made with learning theories when technology performs many of the cognitive operations previously performed by learners (information storage and retrieval).
  • How can we continue to stay current in a rapidly evolving information ecology?
  • How do learning theories address moments where performance is needed in the absence of complete understanding?
  • What is the impact of networks on learning?
  • With increased recognition of interconnections in differing fields of knowledge, how are systems and ecology theories perceived in light of learning tasks?

As Jana discusses in her blog post, it isn’t necessary to choose one learning theory and ascribe solely to that theory but rather utilize the various aspects that each theory has to offer in a balanced approach to understanding teaching and learning. There are so many elements to consider when we craft lessons and learning opportunities for our students and we must select a method of learning that benefits students in the most meaningful way.

Contemporary Understandings of Ed Tech

Hello fellow EC&I 833 classmates! It is so great to be back for another semester of ed tech learning!

In class this week, we discussed some definitions of educational technology and explored some of the historical contexts of technology and its impacts on society. You can read about my personal journey with technology in this blog post. My classmate Kyle provides his history with tech in his post found here and Scott provides a trip down memory lane as well.

This is my third ed tech course and we have spent a lot of time in all of the courses discussing how technology is simply a tool. It does not have positive or negative connotations associated with it but how people choose to use the tool does. In the spring session, our class debated whether or not technology enhanced learning. My classmate Erin used this graphic to highlight points from either side of the debate:

Despite some really relevant concerns that tech can possibly inhibit learning, most people felt that the positive aspects of ed tech outweighed the negative. To further this discussion, the SAMR model provides various steps in which technology can be integrated into the classroom in meaningful ways. My classmate Adam also share some of the tools he has used (many fit into this SAMR model!) that enhance or enrich student learning in his post.

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This week, Alec presented us with some variations to the definition of educational technology. My personal understanding of educational technology combines the ideas I have presented above in that the purpose of educational technology is to enhance learning using a variety of technological resources. Critical to this understanding is the consideration and facilitation of ed tech resources by the teacher so as to use the technological resource to enhance and transform learning. Equally as important are the ethical implications that go along with using technology in terms of data collection and sharing and student privacy. The ethical use of technology often leaves many teachers at various stages of comfort with the use of tech. My classmate Channing explores her experience and comfort level with using tech in the classroom in her blog post found here.

As Tony Bates (2015) argues in A Short History of Educational Technology, that “there are some useful lessons to be learned from past developments in the use of technology for education, in particular that many claims made for newly emerging technology are likely to be neither true nor new”.

I find it very interesting that Bates compares the King of Egypt’s (fifth century) critique of writing (as a technology) to modern day critiques of social media: 

When we think about contemporary understandings of technology use in the classroom, Neil Postman (1998) provides some relevant ideas about the ever-changing world of technology. As our contemporary definition of educational technology continues to evolve, Postman’s ideas provide a continuous reminder about technology in general:

  • Idea #1: “For every advantage a new technology offers, there is a corresponding disadvantage. The disadvantage may exceed in importance the advantage, or the advantage may well be worth the cost”. (I don’t agree with this statement in it’s entirety but the main point is relevant).
  • Idea #2: “The advantages and disadvantages of new technologies are never distributed evenly among the population. This means that every new technology benefits some and harms others”. Technology can be a driving force for equity or a driving force for inequity in society. To read more about my thoughts on this topic, visit this blog post.
  • Idea #3: I actually don’t really like Postman’s description of his 3rd idea. But what I think he is trying to get at it is Marshal McLuhan’s idea of “The medium is the message”.
  • Idea #4: Technological change is ecological / immersive and seeps into all elements of our society or ecology. Postman (1998) provides an analogy: “What happens if we place a drop of red dye into a beaker of clear water? Do we have clear water plus a spot of red dye? Obviously not. We have new colouration to every molecule of water.” This idea also relates McLuhan’s understanding of technology within society and has a Foucaultian ring to it: when tech becomes so ingrained, society fails to continue questioning its relevance, purpose and impact.
  • Idea #5: Relates back to idea three and four. Postman (1998) argues “Technology tends to become mythic; that is, perceived as part of the natural order of things”…which be become dangerous for society.

I tend to agree with some of Postman’s ideas and I think they are important to consider when reflecting on a more modern understanding of educational technology. I do think that his article is outdated especially in the many examples he provides along with each of his five ideas. One premise that I wholeheartedly disagree upon is his positioning that schools/teachers can be replaced by technology. I will reiterate a point made in an earlier blog post this spring: Critical to technology integration is the role of the teacher. Technology does not and cannot replace the teacher. Teachers play a crucial role in implementing technology which allows students to be more prepared for the future. In this article, McKnight et al. (2016) indicate “Teachers play a critical role by organizing the learning environment to provide students with active, hands-on learning and authentic tasks and audiences for their work…Researchers have found that for technology to make a difference in learning, specific systems factors such as leadership support, frequency of technology use, and instructional models must be in place…Perhaps most importantly…technology transformed teachers’ roles as educators and activated cognitive processes that learning science tells us enhance learning”.

That’s all for now folks! I look forward to reading more of your blog posts in the coming days. Comments welcome!

 

 

A Journey Back Through EC&I 830

EC&I 830, it has been a slice! This debate style course was unique and interesting and it posed challenging questions for me to ponder over the course of the semester. I have my mind made up in some areas but others I am still stuck in the middle! Regardless, discussing the important issues in ed tech covered in this course has resulted in lots of new learning!

Check out the Summary of Learning created by my partner Erin and I and journey back through the semester with us!

I look forward to seeing some of you in the fall semester! Cheers!

Whodunnit? Tech is the scapegoat for society’s inequity.

Our debate topic this week — technology is a force for equity in society — is, in my opinion, the most complex topic thus far. The previous four debates focused (from my perspective) on a more local-provincial level and at time national level. However, this topic seems more far reaching to me. Yes, it resonates locally, provincially and nationally, but also internationally and globally.

Team Agree mentioned several times that technology itself is the scapegoat for the corporate entity that produces it. True, a computer or cellphone is not to blame for inequity in society but rather the goals of economic expansion seems more at fault. The goals of massive tech corporations are deep seated in societal “values” of inequity that existed long before modern technology arrived. In fact, this article compares modern day government / corporate involvement in the digital world to the medieval feudalism.

Much of Monday’s debate had me thinking about my ED 808 class with Marc Spooner on Social Justice and Globalization. Typically, globalization and “words and concepts like economic growth, progress, development, and individual freedom are often presented to students (and all the rest of us, for that matter) as synonyms for ‘good'” (Bigelow, 2002, Rethinking Globalization: Teaching for Justice in an Unjust World, p. 308). This can certainly apply to the international expansion of technology and access to the internet. If we question concepts of economic growth, progress and development keeping in mind on whose agenda, for what purpose, who benefits and who suffers, these terms can be viewed quite differently. As Bigelow (2002) suggests, “globalization’s aim is to open up every nook and cranny of the earth to investment…Cultural diversity is the loser” (Rethinking Globalization: Teaching for Justice in an Unjust World, p. 262).

In the documentary, “Unschooling the World” (2010), Wade Davis discusses how Western power and thought often finds itself enmeshed in culturally diverse places as if to say, “here we are to teach your children” in the mostly blindly ignorant way. When Alec mentioned the notion of the “white saviour” last night, this is what he was referring to; the idea of the powerful and all-knowing North sent to save the South. With this type of bias in mind, you can imagine the assumptions made about what the South is like and the people that may inhabit it. However, often Western thought invades these culturally diverse places without being asked. These are places that are self-sufficient and prosperous nations that didn’t want or need the “help” they are so often forced to receive.

So, when we hear in the news that Facebook wants to provide free access to users in Africa, one lens to view this through is that Facebook is attempting to provide more equal access to users across the world citing digital rights issues. On the other hand, this story can also be viewed through the lens of digital colonialism. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg was “accused of acting like a digital colonialist: shouting about the right to the internet to mask true profit motives”. In another Ted Talk, Wade Davis argues that “the 20th century…is not going to be remembered for its wars or its technological innovations but rather as the era in which we stood by and either actively endorsed or passively accepted the massive destruction of both biological and cultural diversity on the planet. Now, the problem isn’t change…The problem is not technology itself…It’s not change or technology that threatens the integrity of the ethnosphere. It is power… dynamic living peoples [are] being driven to extinction but identifiable power inequity” due to the colonial powers that continue to exist today. 

When I look closer to home and think about my own experiences in a variety of schools with different socio-economic demographics, I see the digital inequity being lived out locally. This may be through device-to-student ratios, through access to paid applications and programs, through access to Internet/devices at home that may help or in absence, hinder learning and also the inequity that exists in money available through parent councils.

Further, I question digital equity or technology as a force for equity provincially as well. What about our federally run schools? What kind of access do they have? What kind of access is available in Saskatchewan and Canada’s more remote communities? When I see articles like this one, suggesting Internet upgrades in Saskatchewan Indigenous communities (or this one) I view the message with a critical lens. Yes, there are many positives to having digital access but keeping in mind the previous discussion, what risks are associated with increased access and what is being lost (culturally or otherwise) because of the presence of the technology and the corporations behind it.

We often use the image below to discuss equity, but did anyone ask, metaphorically speaking, to see the ball game in the first place? Or did some Western corporation suggest that the ball game was something we needed. Further, how does this discussion fit with the section on Education in the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada: Calls to Action? Who is making decisions about how digital access will influence (for better or worse) and affect the communities of young Indigenous people who are simultaneously seeking equitable educational opportunities as their non-Indigenous counterparts?

To clarify, when I think about inequity, I always refer back to what my professor of ED 804, Twyla Salm creatively acronym-ed RASH. That is, racism (culture), ableism, sexism and heterosexism. While most of my discussion in this post focused on cultural inequity and socio-economic inequity, I am not discounting other inequities that exist in our society and I thank Team Disagree for bringing light to some of these other issues. As a disclaimer to my earlier message, I do recognize the power of assistive technology for students. I recognize how technology has enhanced learning in my own classroom. I acknowledge how technology has shed light on massive social movements and in many ways, technology has allowed for minority populations or groups to gain increased positive attention. In this post, I am not attempting to discount any of these positive impacts of technology. But I do think we need to look a little deeper and reflect critically when we think about how technology can influence inequity in society.

I’d like to close in the following way…

Technology as a tool (computer, cellphone, etc.) is not to blame for inequity in society. The massive corporations that produce technology for the “betterment of society”, for “progress”, for “economic development” play a major role in increasing inequity in society. However, even corporations are the scapegoat for the true culprit in our inequitable society. Society as a collective including those that manage these large tech corporations are the product of hundreds of years of colonialism and colonial education. So, in the wise words of Hon. Justice Murray Sinclair, “Education has gotten us into this mess, and education will get us out“. Regardless of the technology or corporations that create it, education is the key to addressing inequity in society and helping us find a way out.

From Liability to Asset: A New Take on Social Media

What a great debate last night! Our topic: Is social media ruining childhood?

We heard opening statements from Team Agree and then opening statements from my team, Team Disagree. 

 

Here are the highlights from each team:

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On the flip side, social media  has the potential to strengthen relationships and offer a sense of belonging. Media Smarts tells us teens around the world have embraced social media to connect with others who can encourage them, mentor them, inspire them, and – most of all – show them they are not alone”. In Common Sense Media’s 2012 research study, “Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives”, teens indicated a that social media has a positive impact on their relationships and social well-being.

Mental health is another issue that must be examined in relation to social media. This article, How Social Media Helps Students Cope with Anxiety and Depression, presents a variety of examples in which students found solace in a social media platform. While I agree that social media can be the cause of mental health issues, this article demonstrates how it can also be a site of relief.

Mental health issues and bullying existed before social media. Social media is simply a tool that has created another avenue for mental health concerns and bullying to present itself within. This calls for the guided expertise of informed adults – teachers and parents – to engage in discussion with young people. It is increasingly relevant to teach youth about how social media can impact mental wellness as well as how to respond to cyberbullying concerns or how to be an upstander if they are witnessing cyberbullying.

Erin pointed out many important ideas when it comes to social media safety. She said ” Safety online is key. It is important that parents and teachers make an effort to be informed about what they are allowing their children to access online. As the public is learning lately in the news, reading policies is very important.  We suggest that parents should also be following the recommended age restriction set by online sites. Parents, teachers, and students need to be aware of the potential safety issues with online behaviour.  Thus it is key that parents and teachers help children learn what it means to be safe online and model these behaviours.  As Media Smarts shares in their article Social Media RulesHaving a family agreement or set of ground rules for using social networks is a good idea. It’s a great way for parents and kids to work together on how to be safe, wise and responsible online.” Media Smarts also explains that, “As kids begin to use tools such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and even YouTube in earnest, they’re learning the responsibility that comes with the power to broadcast to the world. You can help nurture the positive aspects by accepting how important social media is for kids and helping them find ways for it to add real value to their lives”. 

In an educational context, social media has the power to encourage learning in a globally connected way and encourage collaboration. According to Joanne Orlando: “Social media is a platform for sharing ideas, information and points of view. This can have important educational value: it extends the information young people can access while also giving them insight into how others think about and use that information. Maximum educational benefit comes from combining factual information with shared reflection. This can support a balanced, varied and “real” input for kids, which can help deepen their understanding of a subject”. This learning links to a final positive for team social media: the power of social media to create change for a better world. Social media is an outlet for young people to have a voice in social justice issues and create positive change. There are endless examples of students using various social media outlets to bring awareness to recent trending social issues such as Black Lives Matter, Me Too and March for Our Lives movements and the more recent Humboldt Strong movement which hit home in Saskatchewan. An article in The Guardian  discusses social media as a weapon for good in light of the Parkland shooting. The article states “the very openness of social media platforms makes it possible for voices in the midst of a mass shooting to find an audience and shift our understanding of events”.

The fact is, the vast majority of kids are doing the right things when it comes to social media, but social media receives a bad rap in (ironically) mass media which highlights all of the negative risks associated with its use.

The following is a transcript of our closing arguments and I think it wraps up this post nicely:

Social media is part of modern society’s landscape. It is not going away, therefore, we need to think of constructive and productive ways to manage how we use social media and how we teach young people to be responsible, active, participating members of society. To do so we need to look at elements of responsible digital citizenship, digital safety and kindness and digital wellness. Educating youth about the responsible use of social media should be approached at an early age to minimize the potential of adverse effects on their wellbeing. If this education happens early and is taught in effective ways, social media can enhance childhood development by strengthening relationships, offering a sense of belonging, providing support for young people, helping students develop autonomy and digital identity as well as encourage and enhance learning. As we have seen through various social media outlets, youth have the power through social media to make the world a better place. The generation of tomorrow have the potential to be the foundation of a better more inclusive, compassionate and empathetic society.  Social media will play a central role in determining how this society will be built. We as teachers must be at the forefront of helping our students acquire and develop the necessary skills to be the leaders of tomorrow.

What really sealed the deal for me and helped me plant my feet with what we (Team Disagree) were suggesting was reading this article: Generation Zers Take on the Social Media AgeThis essay, authored by seventeen-year-old Elena Quartararo, was one of ten winners in the New York Times Fifth Annual Student Editorial Contest where students write about issues that matter to them. This essay provides an insider perspective of a Gen Z youth on the relevance of social media and the “information superhighway” that today’s young people consider a vital tool in the progress of the human race in tackling substantial issues such as climate change, gender equality and mass shootings among many others. Access to information, global connections and platforms in which student creativity can lead to social change are among the positive aspects of social media cited in this article. This young voice is a gem — a diamond in the rough — attempting to dismantle the the negative perspectives of social media by the previous generations. It’s worth the read. 

Drum roll please…

The votes are in and I think it’s been our closest debate yet!

 

To Share or Not to Share? That is the question.

At the heart of our debate topic this week were issues of privacy, consent and online sharing as two teams mused over the topic of whether openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our kids. Team Agree started their opening statement with a bang by discussing the dangers of ignorance and permanence of children’s digital footprints as created by adults. Team Disagree argued for the reality of modern childhood experiences including the realm of social media. Their opening statement focused on safety as paramount and urged parents and educators to post based on being well-informed and with the appropriate intentions.

I have been thinking a lot about this topic; even prior to our course discussion. I continuously go back and forth between what is best for children: to share or not to share. I can certainly see the benefits and potential dangers of both sides of this argument. I really enjoyed how my classmate Melinda discussed that there isn’t necessarily and right or wrong answer but that you can do it right both ways.

Source – But which way should you choose?

I have thought a lot about how this would work as a parent who decides not to share photos of their children. Even though I value and respect this decision entirely, I can appreciate how challenging it must be to continuously advocate for your child to not have their photo shared on social media simply based on how increasingly entrenched social media is becoming in daily life. I constantly see photos of children at sports events, birthday parties and and other family events. Do you drop your child off at every birthday party and ask for photos not to be shared of them or have to police soccer games for parents potentially including your child in their photos? This seems like a really difficult job.

I also think of many parents who begin sharing photos of their child through pregnancy photos because they are excited about their new family member. In most of these instances, I would assume those people are not thinking about how their post is impacting their child’s privacy or beginning the life-long journey of digital citizenship before they are even born.

There are certainly many warning stories out there that side with Team Agree such as this story about an Austrian teen suing her parents for violating her privacy rights, the dangers of posting online and this article which indicates parents are responsible for protecting images of their children. In Data Collection, Political Candidate Edition, author Bill Fitzgerald reflects on how children’s information is being collected and stored in a digital paper trail like never before. These are but a few examples. However, the many of these potentially dangerous or personally harmful instances, the root problem can be explained away by this argument: “Each and every time we connect, we engage in some way that creates our online identity, our profile, our persona. And it happens automatically and too often without a lot of forethought about the identity that will be created” (ISTE EdTek White Paper, 2015). When we think about adults posting children’s images and data on their behalf, this issue becomes far more grand. As Buchanan et. al (2017) argue in this article, “Digital footprints can be an asset or a liability depending upon how well they are managed”. As adults — parents and educators — we need to do a better job of how young people’s online identity is managed so that their digital footprint becomes an asset.

Interestingly, Team Agree and Team Disagree overlapped in their selected readings in the area that mattered most: children’s safety and privacy protection. Both teams shared articles that highlighted the importance of thinking BEFORE sharing. Which makes sense because we ask constantly ask kids to think before they act or think before they post, so in all fairness, parents and educators should have the same question reflected back on them. In fact, in an opinion piece, Give Your Children a Chance at Privacy, author Amy Webb, urges adults to be more informed; a suggestion made by both Team Agree and Disagree.

In addition, Team Agree and Disagree also overlapped in regards to the role of the teacher/parent as an instrumental guide for young people. My classmate Channing shared a great quote: “Kids are growing up in a digital playground and no one is on recess duty“. We simply cannot allow this to continue to be true. As  “learning becomes more digital, educators at all levels are instrumental in building students’ understanding about how technology impacts both their personal and future professional lives. Educators are also instrumental in helping students develop lifelong habits to create and maintain a positive online identity (ISTE EdTek White Paper, 2015). The message here is simple: education about digital citizenship is as important for adults as for young people. Adults must also consider the implications of their actions when they are sharing on behalf of children.

While I believe all of this to be true, the classroom chat was a hot scene fueled by the debate topic this week. Much of this discussion focused on teachers being afraid to post online because of the ambiguity they felt surrounding privacy policies and the do’s and don’ts of posting online. So, my classmates (teachers who are informing themselves about these topics) could not agree on whether or not it was safe to share, whether policies in place regarding sharing of student information and images is adequate enough and despite the tips and tricks that are out there, what benefit or liability online sharing creates for young people of this generation.

To share or not share. That is the question.