Media Literacy and Beyond!

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Wow! I learned so much from my EC&I832 classmates this week on media literacy. This topic fits well with an earlier debate in our class about the concept of digital natives. For further discussion on this topic, click here.

Generation Z which includes those born anywhere from the mid-90s to early 2000s. This crew is often lumped together under the title of Digital Natives. The concept of Digital Natives is frequently contested because it operates under the assumption that simply being born in that era somehow magically grants those young people with the “innate” gift of using, manipulating, and understanding technology. This is a BIG assumption to make. Children of Generation Z are part of a generation that won’t recall a time when the Internet did not exist. True. They are part of a generation with the most ground-breaking technological advancements. True. Although, so was every other generation before them at one point in time. They have technology at their fingertips and have been exposed to technology or portrayed on social media likely before they were even born. But does all this make them skilled users of the technology that is placed in their hands at increasingly younger ages? No.

I imagine that when the telephone was invented, the youth of that generation were using it more frequently. I imagine the same thing happened when the automobile was invented and frankly with all other major technological advances as well. It only makes sense that the younger people of this generation are quickly acquiring skills to be computer literate because they have been exposed to digitization for their entire lives.

But, as my classmate Dani points out in her vlog, digital literacy and computer literacy are not the same thing. She claims, it is not enough to be able to work with the programs (computer literacy) but that digital literacy requires critical thinking, awareness of behavioural standards (eg. Ribble’s Netiquette) and understanding of the social issues created by technology.

Most of the content catalysts this week first discussed the definition of literacy which is the ability to read and write or to have understanding in a specific field of knowledge. When we think about learning to read, kids need to be able to decode words, use clues to interpret meaning, understand the author’s purpose, among a variety of other skills. These too, apply to the relatively new concept of media literacy. As my classmate Nina describes in her vlog, media literacy helps students understand how words produce meaning and in turn, how people interpret these words which allows them to organize and construct their reality.

[By the way, media literacy seems like it should be a topic for the younger generation but I think it is just as important for my generation and people older than me to learn about digital citizenship and media literacy too. This learning is relevant for all ages! For the Generation X group to learn about it because most people in Gen X were teenagers and young adults when social media truly came onto the scene in the general public. Because it was so new, there wasn’t teachers and adults to help the Gen X crew navigate this new type of media.]

Ok, so what is digital or media literacy then? Well, Mike Ribble defines it in the following way:

This video also describes that while we are increasingly using media as a source of learning and information gathering, few people understand how it affects us and our society:

Media literacy is about the intersection of skepticism (as Erin explains in her vlog) and the act of deconstruction (shout out to philosopher Jacques Derrida on this one!) which meanings critically analyzing the relationship between the text itself (whatever media that may be) and the message (received, perceived and often replicated in some way) by the consumer of the media. Erin talked about the first line of defense in media literacy is a person who thinks before they click and that thinking comes from questioning.

In Media Literacy in the 21st Century, the presenter claims that media is hypnotizing; it is a construction and creatively and methodically captures our attention (in positive and negative ways). Teaching kids about their digital world through media literacy has the power to break that hypnosis. My classmate Jacque, warns in her vlog about “filter bubbles” which are personalized algorithms that allow the media you see to be curated to what the algorithm “thinks” you want to see. In Beware of Online “Filter Bubbles”, Eli Pariser suggests that algorithms are beginning to be the “gatekeepers” of our individual worlds and the problem is that they don’t have the same kind of human ethics or empathy that are required to do the job they do.
In his vlog, my classmate Luke discusses an important quote. This quote is by Alvin Toddler who said “movers and shakes will not be those who can read and write but those who can learn, unlearn and relearn”. In a weird coincidence, on the same day I was watching his vlog, I was also scrolling through some old tweets and this Tweet popped up from 2012 (great minds think alike!).

The definition of literacy is constantly changing and teachers need to be at the forefront of that change. Teachers need to be the movers and shakers for their students. To guide teachers, Luke brought up was a list of questions to use when critically examining media (other catalysts from this week brought up similar questions):

  1. Who created this message?Image result for media literacy meme
  2. What creative techniques were used to grab my attention? (how did they hypnotize me?)
  3. How will different people understand this message based on worldview (empathy for minority perspectives)? (We have to do what the algorithms cannot which is use empathy to evaluate media).
  4. What lifestyles, values, points of view are included or emitted in the message? (searching for the story that isn’t being told as much as examining what is being told)
  5. Why is this message being sent?

In school, we are taught to critically analyze in the same way with books and other print media. We need to do the same with digital media. This is part of our changing role as educators.

Do you use these questions personally? Do you use them in your classroom? How do you integrate this teaching into your daily practice?

To conclude, I’d like to share two important messages heard during the content catalyst presentations/readings this week. First is a quote that Luke put in his vlog: “Today’s media allows the most hateful and most beautiful voices to be heard like never before”. Media literacy is about sifting through those voices in personally and collectively meaningful ways. Finally, in Parisers Beware of Online “Filter Bubbles”, he suggests “We need the Internet to be that thing that we all dreamed of it being. We need it to connect us all together. We need it to introduce us to new ideas and new people and different perspectives”. Media literacy allows us to use the Internet for the power of good, in the way we all dream it to be.


Recommendation: Seesaw – User Friendly

We have all experienced PD sessions in which a new resource is shared that is difficult to navigate and from there on collects dust on our shelves.

Sometimes I feel this way with new technology or apps as well. Someone tells me something new or I attend a PD session for a new educational app or program and as great as it may be…Oftentimes that program or app ends up collecting dust on my digital bookshelf (also known as my bookmark page).

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With Seesaw — one of the apps I am exploring for my major project — I am loving the simplicity of starting a new program. The company makes it sooo easy for new teachers to start and supply you with everything you need and more.

When I signed my class up for the app, the first thing I received was a grade-specific document on Getting Started with Seesaw in Third Grade. If you are thinking of starting and want to find the Getting Started document for any other grade, click here!

This user guide is very easy to use. (You’d think the name user guide would mean that user guides are always user friendly, but if you have ever put together anything from Ikea or Canadian Tire, you know that it’s not always the case!)

There are many visuals and not a lot of text which makes it easy to meander through the 20 pages. The majority of this guide is made up of 14 lessons that prepare students to use the app. That seems like too many lessons, but each lasts approximately 5 minutes with two of the lessons lasting 20 minutes. For my group of third and fourth graders, we combined several lessons into a few half hour periods and easily completed the 14 lessons that prepared us to use the app.

Linked into the Getting Started Guide is helpful videos like the one below. You will also find many other helpful videos featured on their site.

In addition to the helpful Getting Started Guide and the set up videos, I also found a K-5 Seesaw Student Intro presentation via Google Slides. This presentation was certainly helpful in getting the kids to visualize what we would be working on. The presentation discusses what Seesaw is (a digital journal), why they would want to keep a digital journal, the types of things you can do on Seesaw and instructions for how to login and add something to your Seesaw page. The students got right to it and loved taking a picture of the QR code to login to our class page.

In the Seesaw Help Center, you can find just about anything you need including FAQ. While I was getting started, I found these printable posters that we use and reference almost everyday in our classroom. So many of my students needed practice taking a “good” photo, choosing a good recording spot, making sure the mic was close to their mouth, and many other kinks that come up during the recording process.

Once I had created an account, the Activity Library was so helpful in thinking about the kinds of assignments I would create for my student. I love that the students can read, but also LISTEN to the instructions. This is HUGE for some of my struggling readers.



Here is a sample of one activity we have recently been working on as we learn about the historical First Nations worldview:


The other thing I LOVE about being a new teacher on Seesaw is how connected I am with other Seesaw educators. Within minutes of creating my account I was connected with Seesaw on Instagram, Twitter and a grade-specific Facebook group.

I have already used both Facebook and Twitter for help. On Facebook, fellow educators commented very quickly. On Twitter, Seesaw replied with help to my problem as well. Much of what Seesaw posts on their various social media platforms is retweets or shares of what Seesaw educators across the nation around doing. This makes it really easy for me to see how Seesaw is being used in other classrooms. I have taken so many screenshots because I am constantly seeing activities I want to use with my students in the future. Love it!



One last amazing thing about Seesaw start up… They offer PD in Your PJS which is a variety of webinars on different topics; presented and created by teachers for teachers. You can easily sign up and if you miss the webinar, they send you the link to watch it later. I have attended a few of these PD in Your PJs sessions and enjoyed the interactiveness, the relevance and succinctness and also the resources offered by the presenters. So far I have participated in the Favourite Apps to Use with Seesaw webinar, Seesaw for Fluency practice, Sharing Activities on Seesaw webinar and the Brand New to Seesaw Grades 3-5 webinar. I loved all of them! If you are a Seesaw educator, I encourage you to sign up and participate in some of these live sessions. Each webinar comes with the option to print a certificate stating that you participated. The best part is you can participate from home, in your PJs!

In my books, Seesaw gets a 10 out of 10 on user-friendliness and I highly recommend the use of this app for ALL ages levels.


What is a Digital Citizen anyway??

In a recent post, I discuss an article called How to Teach Kids Social Responsibility in a Connected World and how I was focusing on the second recommendation in this article as part of my major project. To review, the second recommendation states, “Connect your class via social media and allow them to chat, post, and interface in a safe learning environment. Model responsible virtual social behaviors — blogging, vloging, Skyping, texting, and emailing. Set classroom norms for internet engagement, and give students tools and strategies for how to respond when they encounter inappropriate virtual communication” (Kristina Macbury, 2017, Common Sense Media). So far, as part of our digital citizenship unit, we have discussed rules for navigating the Internet safely, what information should be kept private and what it means to have a digital footprint.

This week, we discussed two new concepts: digital citizenship and cyber bullying. To teach this lesson, I used a variety of tools over two days including: the Rings of Responsibility lesson, the Screen Out the Mean lesson and the Power of Words lesson from Common Sense Media and the It’s Cool to Be Kind lesson from Google’s Be Internet Awesome Curriculum. I am really enjoying the lessons created on the Common Sense Media site and am using bits and pieces of a variety of lessons to differentiate for my group of students.

On the first day…

First we discussed what kinds of responsibilities we had IRL (in real life) to ourselves, our families/friends and our communities. Then we discussed how these responsibilities transferred to the online realm. Some examples (of many) that they came up with:

  • don’t litter (community)
  • don’t post random things or put too many emojis in your comments (only post what is helpful or necessary)
  • be respectful (family/friends)
  • post respectful comments
  • do your homework/chores (self)
  • don’t spend too much time online [I am constantly reminding them to play outside!]
  • go on Mathletics or RAZ Kids at home

We also used this video to help guide some of our discussions:

During the first lesson, we decided to focus on the responsibility of being kind. The students read about an example of a friend who took their login information on a gaming site and used it to destroy what the other person had set up on their game (see Screen Out the Mean lesson for the story). This opened up an opportunity for discussion about how cyber bullying isn’t just saying mean things, it can include other actions as well. Students were open about experiences they had with different examples of cyber bullying, how it made them feel when it happened to them or they saw it happening to someone else and talked about some steps to respond to the problem of cyber bullying.

On the second day…

This time we took the concept of digital citizenship a bit further by looking at this poster:



I particularly like this poster because it connects the “rules” about being a good digital citizen to different body parts. We stood up an did a movement activity as we went over the different rules and why the author of the poster chose to (author’s craft!) associate those body parts with that particular rule.

Next we previewed the video “The Power of Words“. Just prior, we talked about the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me”. Many students raised their hands to say they had heard this from an adult before. The video however, shows one character calling another character hurtful names. What I loved about the video was that it showed the words coming out of the computer screen and hitting the victim of the bullying in the face. Words can hurt you is the message clearly conveyed. Many students knew this to be true, others did not. This led to discussion about how words can hurt feelings and that feelings come from your brain…

The students worked with a partner to complete the following activity which featured a student repeatedly receiving unkind messages on a chat site. IMG_1946

After completing this activity with a partner, we met as a group to discuss our answers (this is where the empathy piece comes in!) Looking back to the recommendation from the How to Teach Kids Social Responsibility in a Connected World article (discussed at the start of this post), the author suggests “give students tools and strategies for how to respond when they encounter inappropriate virtual communication” (Kristina Macbury, 2017, Common Sense Media) which is exactly what we did in the lesson. Unfortunately, what you don’t get to see is the rich conversation that this assignment sparked when we met as a whole group including their suggestions about strategies to help solve this type of situation.

Attached to the Power of Words lesson is the following assessment which the students completed to hand in at the end of the lesson.

Later that afternoon, we reviewed what we had learned about being a digital citizen and how that might relate to our use of the Seesaw app. We used the following poster to make connections between the “Post Your Wow Work” section and our responsibilities to ourselves and community by filling the Internet with a positive digital footprint (instead of litter!). They also made connections to the “Only Share Public Information” (or personal, as we defined it) to our learning about personal and private information. We will continue to revisit this poster throughout our learning about digital citizenship and Seesaw work.

If you have read my Why Teach Digital Citizenship? post, you will know that I haven’t taught about digital citizenship before this course. I must say that I am loving it! I am so impressed with how much the kids already know and can contribute to our discussions. Simultaneously, I see the gaps that are being filled in their understanding through our time spent on this topic in the classroom. We are certainly making headway!

The best part was one of the parents emailing a YouTube video of their child retelling what they had learned so far about digital citizenship. We played it for the whole class the next day!

Later that week, we explored the What’s Cyberbullying? lesson from Common Sense Media. Here is the diagram the students came up with comparing in-person and online bullying: thumbnail_IMG_1969


Why Teach Digital Citizenship?

Earlier in the course we discussed what the future might look like for our students. You can find my post about it here. It is obvious that the world is changing for our kids and we, as parents and teachers, must change with it. I have to admit, prior to taking this course, I hadn’t thought much about the concept of digital citizenship/identity or the “how to” phenomenon of teaching media literacy. Perhaps this is because it wasn’t taught to me when I was a student.

Needless to say, this course has taught me a great deal so far. It is now very obvious to me that digital citizenship must be taught in schools and as I reflect on my experience with media literacy and especially social media, I see gaps in my learning that could have been filled by adults (if only they’d known!)

Because the world in which our students are growing up in is (typically) filled with technology and information like has never been seen before, students require adult support to navigate this ever-changing world. Teachers and parents have equal responsibility when it comes to educating students about digital citizenship.

The Google Digital Citizenship Educator Training Course explains that: “It’s not always possible for teachers to completely protect their students, but teaching them how to handle difficult situations online is something that every teacher can do in their classroom. You can foster open and honest conversations with your students, and teach them strategies for getting help and support”. It is not coincidental that the first module of this course (which I have taken!) discusses why teachers should be teaching about digital citizenship. Of course, teaching about privacy isn’t the only benefit of teaching digital citizenship.

According to the ISTE Standards for Educators, teachers take on several roles when it comes to teaching about digital citizenship: learner, leader, citizenship, collaborator, designer, facilitator and analyst. Each one of these standards has a dropdown menu of indicators which clearly explain how educators can take action with each of these roles. This is definitely worth a look if you haven’t checked it out yet. It is not surprising that “Learner” is the first standard. If you don’t know about digital citizenship and media literacy, how are you to teach about it?

As far as I am aware, there are no current practices in place in my school for teaching about digital citizenship and media literacy. It is not mandated. In fact, this topic has never been brought up and I would suggest many teachers don’t really know about it. However, I have found many outcomes and indicators in which digital citizenship and media literacy can be layered into.

The Digital Citizenship in Saskatchewan Schools document indicates that it was created in response to an action plan to address bullying and cyberbullying in Saskatchewan: capture

These actions are cited as to how this recommendation can be carried out: Capture1

The Digital Citizenship in Saskatchewan Schools document outlines the importance of teaching digital citizenship. First, school reactions to kids being online is outdated. While it once made sense (when access was more limited) to restrict students from being online and using their devices, this format is no longer appropriate (it reminds me a bit of book banning!) The second reason it is important to teach digital citizenship is because of a misunderstanding about “digital natives”. Just because a child is born into the Digital Age, doesn’t make them an expert at navigating the online world or more adept at using technology than the previous generation. Just like any other subject, students need a guide.

Teachers and parents have a big role to play when it comes to  education about digital citizenship. For me, this education has already begun in my classroom as part of my major project. We are working on using the Seesaw app but the pre-requisite to this is learning about being responsible digital citizens. Students began using the app with very restricted capabilities and as they learn more about being responsibile digital citizens, their restrictions become less and less. One example of this is that once the students learn about how to post thoughtful comments, their “like” and “comment” abilities will be opened up on the app. This plays into the role of teaching about empathy in the online world that I think is so important: the most important skill in the digital age.

Finally, I return to the point of the educator as a learner. In our Zoom session this week, we met with STF President Pat Maze. One important item that was brought up was this poster:


I know this poster is posted in many staff rooms in my school division. It is of course, increasingly important that teachers be aware of their own digital identity, how they conduct themselves on the web and with student information in their possession. We must look at our own practices before we can teach digital citizenship to others.

There has been much hype about these topics lately including articles in the news about teachers and other professionals in highly scrutinized positions following online behaviour. These articles can be found in recent news searches across North America and Europe. Some of this behaviour deserves scrutiny while others are more questionable, in my opinion. There seems to be a fear-mongering going on which is problematic for me. Each time I hear another story about this topic, I wonder who holds the interest of the teacher in the situation? Who has their back? On some level, digital forgiveness should be afforded in the same way for all when scrutinizing questionable posts and behaviour. Katia and Alec’s blog post highlights 5 key elements that should be addressed before many quick decisions about consequences: content/audience matters, intent matters, history matters, authorship matters, and empathy matters.

If empathy is the most important skill in the digital age, we must practice what we preach and use empathy towards our students and colleagues before jumping to conclusions and make judgments about character.

We all have a role to play in the education of our students towards being more responsible digital citizens and that journey starts with a reflection of, learning about and empathy towards ourselves.

Feedback is welcomed.


Snapchat and Privacy

Diving into my second privacy policy for the month…this is a first for me!

Snapchat has several sources of information with regards to their privacy policy. The privacy policy features Your Privacy Matters, Our Approach to Privacy, bi-annual Transparency Reports, and the Privacy Policy. The first source of information is their introduction called Your Privacy Matters where they indicate their constant commitment to upholding the privacy standards of its users as they would do for themselves, their families and their friends. Which is comforting, if it is true of course.


They also indicate: “We don’t stockpile your private communication, and we don’t show your friends an ongoing history of everything you’ve ever posted. We believe that this approach makes the Snapchat app feel less like a permanent record, and more like a conversation with friends”. This supports Snapchat’s three foundational beliefs (sharing authentic moments with friends, sharing should be fun, there is value in the ephemeral) which I discussed in another recent blog post found here. However, this promise is somewhat contradicted later on as you read about the information Snapchat can legal collect, share and store.

The second source of information that Snap Inc. provides is Our Approach to Privacy which I really enjoyed reading because it led me to some new information! In Our Approach to Privacy, Snapchat explains what Snaps and Chats are and when Snaps and Chats are permanently deleted (check this out if you haven’t seen it before!), what My Story is and how to use it, what Memories are and how to use them (can be set to “My Eyes only and password protected for further privacy), what Lenses are, how they work and how to use them (they don’t actually use facial recognition!), about advertising, Spectacles (you might not have heard about this before, check it out! It is a little Black Mirror-esque and reminiscent of the episode “The Entire History of You“), your account and how to change your privacy settings,  account security, search, SnapMap and location.

In the Our Approach to Privacy section, Snapchat talks about how its lenses, filters, and advertisements are all created from scratch and designed specifically for Snapchat. Unlike other apps, Snapchat does not make you watch an advertisement, they allow you to skip it if you don’t like what you are seeing.  While Snapchat is cognizant of providing information to you, users must be aware of one phenomenon discussed by one of my classmates this week on being absorbed into a filter bubblecapture.JPG

Another interesting element of the Our Approach to privacy section is an element of Snapchat that has received much attention since it’s introduction: Snap Map.

Snap Map has received much attention because it allows other users to see your location each time you open the app. This article from The Verge explains “A Snapchat representative told The Verge, “The safety of our community is very important to us and we want to make sure that all Snapchatters, parents, and educators have accurate information about how the Snap Map works.” However, the way Snap Map currently functions and is communicated to users provides opportunity for lurking, stalking, and other dangerous activities with real-life consequences”.

If you don’t know about Snap Map, you might want to check out information on how to change your settings to Ghost Mode so you cannot be found. I have personally done this and would recommend it to others as well. You can also check out Snap Map FAQ here.

The Privacy Policy starts like this, in an easy-to-read, much appreciated legalese-free way: capture

The Privacy Policy outlines three types of information the app collects: information you provide to them, information they receive when you use their services (including Bitmoji) and information they receive from third parties. The policy reminds users to “Keep in mind that the users you send Snaps, Chats, and any other content to can always save that content or copy it outside the app. So, the same common sense that applies to the internet at large applies to Snapchat as well: Don’t send messages or share content that you wouldn’t want someone to save or share” (Snap Inc., Privacy Policy, 2018).

In regards to the information that Snapchat collects, there is a ton. This information includes the filters you use, the channels you watch through Discover, the searches you make, the number of messages you exchange with friends, when you open messages from friends, the hardware of the device you use, the battery life of your device and other apps used on the device, your mobile phone number, service provider and signal strength, pages you visited before or after accessing Snapchat, the time you accessed the app and also your IP address. This list includes just some of the information collected by Snapchat and this is concerning. This means Snapchat collects data that even my closest friends and family wouldn’t typically have. You also need to be aware that anything posted to Our Story is shared with the general public and that Snapchat can keep your content for specific reasons (see the How Long We Keep Your Content section in the Privacy Policy).

Finally, the Snapchat Privacy Policy indicates that the app is not intended for or directed towards kids who are under the age of 13. While that may be the case, it is extremely easy for kids to sign up for a Snapchat account. This article explores whether or not Snapchat is safe for kids. The basic answer they give is that it is complicated.

While Snapchat has a privacy policy and it has the ability to protect some of your private information, the app is a social media app which means that information about you and what you are doing is meant to be shared with others. You do have some control as long as you have throughly read the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and understand what rights you have and do not have. The bottom line is that Snapchat collects a ton of information about its users and without the proper understanding of its features, users will likely share much more information than they are aware of. Essentially, by downloading the app and creating an account, you are entering into a legal agreement with the company. In this article, “Why Teens Should Read the Terms of Service and the Privacy Policies of their Social Media Apps“, the author explains if you are too busy or too young to read and understand what you are legally agreeing to then maybe you shouldn’t be using the app in the first place. And if you are freaking out about what you see in the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, it is not because it is new information but likely just because you haven’t bothered to read it before (I am guilty of this too!). Many of the items contained in these documents are similar across the board with other social media sites.

All of the information you need is out there (trust me, they aren’t trying to hide it from you!) and Snapchat has made it really easy to find out information about the app. Check out their support page!

After reading the privacy policy for both Snapchat and Seesaw now, I think it is increasingly important for parents and educators to understand the legal contract that students enter into through app engagement and to teach students about how to navigate this world of legalese (especially in the Terms of Service) before they create too many counts on a variety of platforms.

One way to start this discussion with young children is engaging in discussion about Personal and Private information like my class and I did a few weeks ago. Find the lesson here.


The Digital Trail

A few weeks ago I read the article How to Teach Kids Social Responsibility in a Connected World which poses questions about how to be a good digital citizen but also how to be a good global citizen. For my major project, we are working on a Digital Citizenship unit within the framework of Social Studies and Health and in the context of using our new Seesaw app. What stood out for me in this article was the role I had in helping kids to become better digital citizens. Because we are a primary classroom and just in the preliminary stages of our work (I anticipate this to be a work in progress for the rest of the year), I am focusing on the second recommendation from the article.

The article suggests that part of teaching students to be better digital citizens (and eventually good global digital citizens) includes the following actions: “Connect your class via social media and allow them to chat, post, and interface in a safe learning environment. Model responsible virtual social behaviors — blogging, vloging, Skyping, texting, and emailing. Set classroom norms for internet engagement, and give students tools and strategies for how to respond when they encounter inappropriate virtual communication” (Kristina Macbury, 2017, Common Sense Media).

Our safe learning environment (for now) is Seesaw. In today’s digital citizenship lesson we reviewed our understanding of personal and private information and introduced the idea of digital footprints using a lesson from Common Sense Media. We likened digital footprints to footprints we made in the snow but instead of being outside, they were in a place called the Internet. The students decided your digital footprint is like a trail of everything you do and say online. Some people have big digital footprints and some have small digital footprints.

Next, we watched this video:

In this lesson, the stories of fictional characters Mizzle the Mouse and Electra the Elephant are shared with the students via a “trail” of clues hidden around the room with information about each character that they decided to post online. We pretended that our classroom had transformed into the Internet. The lesson gives a bit of a script (cue evil minion voice): The students are detectives, hired by an evil human at The Big and Small Detective Agency who wants them to find out as much information as possible about the two characters so that they can create a plan to take over the world (you might think this is lame, but my students thought it was amazing! They couldn’t wait to follow the trail of clues).

They used this sheet to record their findings:

If you can’t tell from the photo, one student uses the title on the worksheet to write “Follow the Digital Trail…to rule to own the animal kindgom!”, then later the student writes “Did we pass boss? Plz say we did” and at the end of the page “deactivate [student name] and [student name]” when he and his partner finished their work. I told you they were excited!

They followed the trail of clues around the room to find out who shared more information, who the detectives could find out more about and which animal had a bigger footprint. To give you an example of what the clues were, Mizzle shared that he lived in a mouse hole while Electra shared her entire address. Finally, the students discussed with their partner if anything Electra shared could become a problem for her (spoiler alert! She overshares and includes private information!)

Their activity included a question about the funny things Mizzle posted including sharing his favourite photo (a piece of cheese) and a picture of his pet (a flea). We discussed that kids could still share funny things without giving away private information.

We concluded our lesson by reading Julia Cook’s “The Technology Tail“. I purchased this book after reading about it on another EC&I832 classmate’s blog. But…I can’t remember whose blog it was. If it was you, please comment below so I can give you credit. And thank you for the recommendation!

We had a blast with this lesson. Next up, what does it mean to be a digital citizen?


Seesaw Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

I had to start with these. They are too true.

One Does Not Simply Meme | ONE DOES NOT SIMPLY READ THE TERMS OF SERVICE | image tagged in memes,one does not simply | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

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This weekend I (actually) took some time to investigate the Seesaw Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Grandma Finds The Internet Meme | TERMS AND CONDITIONS? I BETTER READ JUST IN CASE | image tagged in memes,grandma finds the internet | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

I have been putting this investigation off for awhile now because I was thinking about how long it would take to read through the policies and how it would be filled with legal jargon. I was pleasantly surprised! It did not take as long as I thought it would. Both the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service were relatively short and the only legal jargon was the last few paragraphs of the Terms of Service. I was happy to find in other areas where they used jargon-y text that they explained what they meant in plain terms. This made for a nice,easier and more pleasant read (as far as pleasant experiences go when reading privacy policies and terms of service agreements!)

One of the most important bits of information (for my own peace of mind) found both in the Privacy Policy and in the Terms of Service is about ownership of content. Seesaw states: “We don’t own the content you provide – students and their schools own all Student Data added to Seesaw. However, in order to provide our Services, we need certain limited rights to your content. For example, when you upload your content, we need the rights to store it and serve it back to you.  Therefore you grant Seesaw the right to use, publish, transmit, display, copy, process, adapt, modify, and distribute your content only how you specify within the context of the Seesaw service” (Seesaw Terms of Service, 2018).

While this portion highlighted in red might be up for some debate, I found the rest of the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service to be straightforward and left little room for ambiguity or interpretation. (Disclaimer: I have no legal background whatsoever, so don’t take my word on this!)

One of my favourite things about Seesaw is how simple it makes everything for its users, including creating a one-page PDF of it’s privacy principles to share with parents.

Seesaw Privacy Principles:

At first, I didn’t know what COPPA and FERPA were, so I looked them up (see hyperlinks if you want to know more). Seesaw briefly explains: “These two laws in the United States govern the collection of information about students at school and people under 13. Seesaw is fully compliant with these important laws so it’s safe to use Seesaw in the classroom”. More can be found about COPPA and FERPA legislation on the Seesaw Terms of Service page.

Seesaw also commits to the Student Privacy Pledge (click on the photos below for better viewing). You can find a list of signatories for the Student Privacy Pledge here.

Seesaw Terms of Service plainly says: “By creating an account on Seesaw, you agree to be bound by our Terms of Service (our “Terms”). If you don’t agree, please don’t use Seesaw“. It is as simple as that.

By signing up for Seesaw, you as a teacher agree to the following:

By registering your class, teacher’s agree to the Terms of Service and accept the Privacy Policy as outlined by Seesaw. But in order for students to participate in use of the app, parents/guardians must sign the Seesaw Parent Waiver first. When I handed this waiver out I included a cover page explaining what the app was, how we would be using it in the classroom, how it was vetted, approved and promoted by our school division and directed parents to where they could find out more information about privacy.

In case you still have questions after reading the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, the Seesaw Privacy Center answers questions such as how student data is protected, how data is stored, who can view student journals and why teachers must verify their email address and school name.

The final link I came across while looking through the privacy and terms of service agreements with Seesaw is the Copyright and Intellectual Property Policy. This briefly outlines how Seesaw complies with copyright legislation and how to communicate with Seesaw if you think there has been copyright infringement through the use of their app.

Reading privacy policies and terms of service agreements wouldn’t be my first choice of activity to start off my weekend, but…it wasn’t as bad as I initially predicted.

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