photo from microsoft clipart

BYOD  in Education…


This week in our class we have been looking at student owned devices, or more frequently termed Bring Your Own Device.  Last year, our schoolboard opened up part of our network to devices that were not owned by the board.  This has allowed students to utilize their ipods, tablets, and phones to interact and engage in their learning in a whole new way.   I have several students in my grade five class that have embraced their mobile devices and use them regularly within the classroom.  It is a new thing to them and they often still ask, “Can I take video/pictures of this with my phone?” The devices also help to build community with students texting and emailing each other outside of school.  Students also enjoy sharing new apps or great games they have discovered with each other before school and during our nutrition break.  “Students now have at their fingertips unlimited access to digital content, resources, experts, databases and communities of interest. By effectively leveraging such resources, school authorities not only have the opportunity to deepen student learning, but they can also develop digital literacy, fluency and citizenship in students that will prepare them for the high tech world in which they will live, learn and work”(Alberta Ed., 2012, pg. 4).


Crichton, Pegler and White’s pilot study (2012) on ipods and ipads in the classroom indicates that these devices have different strengths, and that students selected each device depending on the activity they were assigned.  As educators, we are still trying to sort it all out, how to best support our students using a variety of devices, how to teach a strong sense of digital citizenship and how to best incorporate these devices into our current pedagogy.


What is your biggest concern with students bringing their own devices to your classroom?



Crichton, S., Pegler, K., & White, D. (2012). Personal devices in public settings: lessons learned from an ipod touch / ipad project. Electronic Journal Of E-Learning, 10(1), 23-31

Alberta Education (2012). Bring your own device: a guide for schools. Retrieved from



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How Much is Too Much?


Photo from Microsoft clipart

As a society, are we spending too much time with technology?  Gary Small of UCLA did a study to assess the physiological changes taking place in the brain when people are interacting with technology.(Trends, 2011, pg. 28)  More and more we hear and read about people sleeping with their phones, constantly checking their social media and email.  Another set of researchers found that “Many students, from all continents, literally couldn’t imagine how to fill up their empty hours without media” (Trends, 2011, pg. 29).


Studies have not only looked at young adults, but also children and their sedentary lifestyles.  Racine, have found that “students have very few discretionary hours with which to choose to be active or sedentary” (2011, pg. 754).  Their research showed that, “media use was inversely related to self-esteem and commitment to physical activity among preadolescent girls” (2011, pg. 754).  There are movements in the United States that are promoting getting children outside to be active.  As writer Richard Louv states, “The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.”


How as educators are we teaching our students to have a balanced lifestyle?  How are we promoting the importance of letting the technology go and letting our brains experience being fully engaged in the world around us?




Racine, E. F., DeBate, R. D., Gabriel, K. P., & High, R. R.  (2011).  The Relationship between Media Use and Psychological and Physical Assets among Third- to Fifth-Grade Girls.  Journal Of School Health, 81(12), 749-755.  Retrieved from:


The Challenge of “Media-Addicted” Consumers, Employees, and Citizens.  (2011).  Trends Magazine, (98), 27-30.  Retrieved from:

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Social Media..Helpful or Harmful in Relationships?


Image from Microsoft Clipart

After reading our articles this week that were based on Social Networking sites and relationships, I have been reflecting on whether or not social networking and texting are added value to my relationships or not.


It’s interesting, while “e-mail, instant messaging (IM), social network sites (SNS), blogs and most recently Twitter, the Internet offers a plethora of ways to communicate with a large number of friends and strangers”(Pollet, Roberts, & Dunbar, 2011, pg. 253) my closest friends are mostly not using these means to communicate with me.  Neither of my closest friends are fans of texting, nor email really.  While it is my preferred method of communicating, I have to remind myself that I need to pick up the phone and call them.  My family is spread across the country and in the US.  We more often use email, Facebook and Skype to communicate than traditional methods.  As Brown mentions, “the Internet can also strengthen family ties because it provides a continuously connected presence” (2011, pg. 30) When we left Quebec in the late 70’s, I lost contact with my cousins who are all around the same age as I am.  In the last 7 or 8 years, I have begun to reconnect with them through Facebook.  Is it the same as spending time with them weekly or monthly? Obviously not, but now I am able to see photos of their kids, and learn a bit more about who they have become as adults.  This connected actually inspired me to plan a trip back to ensure my children could see where I came from and meet my relatives they would otherwise have not. 


We often utilize Skype in order to visit with my parents who winter in the US as well as my husband’s dad who lives in Medicine Hat.  It has also been wonderful when my husband has been away on long trips overseas.  Certainly, it is not the same as having weekly family dinners in the same room, but much better then a quick long distance call to check in. As Subrahmanyam states that the Internet and social media, “have allowed us to keep in touch with close friends and a wider circle of less close friends in ways that are unimaginable even a few years ago” (2010, pg 12). 


Since we have been figuring out the world of social media as adults with experience and years behind us, how can we as educators work with our students to utilize these technologies to enrich their lives rather than segregate them?



Brown, A. (2011). Relationships, community, and identity in the new virtual society. The Futurist, 45(2), 29-34. Retrieved from:


Pollet, T. V., Roberts, S. G. B., & Dunbar, R. I. M. (2011). Use of social network sites and instant messaging does not lead to increased offline social network size, or to emotionally closer relationships with offline network members.  Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 14(4), 253-258. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2010.0161

Subrahmanyam, K. (2010). Teens, social media, and relationships: an interview with Kaveri Subrahmanyam. The Prevention Researcher, 17(S1), 11+.  Retrieved from:


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Footprints on the web…

footprints on the beach

image from microsoft clip art

Do you have a digital footprint?  Kligiene defines a digital footprint as, “a combination of activities and behavior when the entity under consideration (a person or something else) is acting in the digital environment” (2012, pg 68).

This week in our class we are looking at the idea of digital footprints.  I wanted to see what my digital footprint was so I Googled my own name as suggested by Lisa Neilsen in her blog post on the innovative educator.  When I did I realized there are many other women in the world with the same name as mine.  I was able to see my linkedin, pinterest and blog sites.  All items I am happy with having public.  One thing I found that I had forgotten about was some photos of my kids from 4-5 years ago in a picassa album.  I will go back and try to either remove that album or make it private. I wasn’t able to find any other information that I thought might come up such as when I have spoken at conferences and conventions, which might be good things to have documented as part of my career.

One of our articles focused on whether or not we should be teaching students about digital footprints and allowing them to begin to establish theirs by using their real names.  It was an interesting point/counterpoint article.  I found myself leaning towards the “YES” side of the argument.  Wees believes that,  “students being anonymous gives them a false sense of security.  They think that because no ones knows who they are, they can post whatever they want.  As a result they are posting all sorts of things without thinking about the consequences of their actions, including cruel comments about others”(2011,  pg, 6).  He goes on to discuss how beginning to build a web presence of student work could be beneficial to that student getting into a college or a job later in life.

As cited by Richardson, Shirky says, “One of the biggest challenges educators face right now is figuring out how to help students create, navigate, and grow the powerful, individualized networks of learning that bloom on the Web and helping them do this effectively, ethically, and safely”(2008, pg 16).

How can we begin to change our societal thinking that anything posted by children must be anonymous and begin to teach our students safe and responsible ways to build their digital footprint?  Do you believe we should be protecting our students by not allowing them to use their real names or should we encourage them to use them to post their thoughts, ideas and projects?


Kligienė, S. (2012). Digital footprints in the context of professional ethics. Informatics In Education11(1), 65-79.  Retrieved from:

Nielsen, Lisa. (2011, August 19).  Discover what your digital footprint says about you.  The Innovative Educator.  Retrieved from:

Richardson, W. (2008). Footprints in the digital age. Educational Leadership66(3), 16-19.  Retrieved from:

Wees. D., & Maas, D. (2011). Point/Counterpoint: Should Students Use Their Real Names on the Web? Learning and Leading with Technology.  38(8),  6-7.  Retrieves from:

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Professionalism and the world of Social Media


How do we separate our lives from the professional to the private?  Do we need to make sure there is a “line in the sand” so to speak?  This week in our class we have been reading about the world of social media and how to make sure we are keeping things professional.  The ATA (Alberta Teachers Association) has guidelines for using facebook which include, not making critical comments about your colleagues and employer, not adding your students as friends, not sharing confidential info about students, and the one that I see as a “grey” area – “Ensure that the pictures you post and the statements you make would not raise concern with your employer regarding your role-modeling function as a teacher”(Gordon, 2008).  While I agree with the points and think it is better to err on the caution side of the line, what exactly might raise concern?  A video from CBS news highlighted a teacher in the US that was fired for having photos of herself in Europe on vacation having a beer at the Guinness Brewery.  My question continues to be, if whomever was concerned about this particular photo had also been in Europe and seen her in person, would she still have lost her job?


Posting on social media sites requires common sense.  The ability to see yourself as a contributing member of society and making sure what your digital footprint says about you is positive and professional. As Harte, in her article E-Professionalism for Early Care and Education Providers quotes, “The rules that apply to face-to-face professional relationships also apply online. These rules are grounded
in trust and respect” (Farnan et al., 2009). 



Harte, H. (2011). E-professionalism for early care and education providers. Dimensions Of Early Childhood, 39(3), 3-10.

Thomas, Gordon. (2009, May 5). Teachers and Facebook, ATA News, 43(17). Retrieved from

The Internet and Our Right to Privacy (8 min)

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Digital Consumers…

This week in our course, we are reading about e-commerce and the world of digital consumerism.  I certainly have spent my fair share of time making purchases on the internet.  Using sites like EBay and Etsy, many online retailers, doing my banking online, purchasing music and apps from apple, etc have become the norm in our household and for much of society.  “E-commerce is growing at five times the rate of traditional retail channels” (Hughes& Beukes, 2012, pg 921).  I have a friend who recently moved from a small town in northern Alberta to Houston.  She has commented on how easy and fun it is to shop online!  With more and more of our leisure time being spent online, people are spending their money in various ways such as playing games on facebook, making in-app purchases and creating online identities in social networking sites such as Second Life.  Programs such as Groupon and LivingSocial enable buyers to purchase heavily discounted items, meals, vacation sites, etc.  According to Hughes & Beukes, Groupon is one of the fastest growing start up companies. 


Even at our school this week we had a discussion about our school itunes account and whether or not we should allow all staff access or only a few who would then have to control the downloading of apps, etc.  With the relative ease of spending and overspending without realizing it, this is a discussion we need to have as a staff.  Students are spending more and more time using mobile devices and social game sites such as Webkins and Animal Jam.  How can we work with our students to be more aware of advertising and online consumerism?  One more point to add to our long list of digital citizenship topics we need to make sure we are teaching.


Hughes, S., & Beukes, C. (2012). Growth And Implications Of Social E-Commerce And Group Buying Daily Deal Sites: The Case Of Groupon And Livingsocial. International Business & Economics Research Journal, 11(8), 921-934.
Koles, B., & Nagy, P. (2012). Virtual Customers behind Avatars: The Relationship between Virtual Identity and Virtual Consumption in Second Life. Journal Of Theoretical & Applied Electronic Commerce Research, 7(2), 87-105.
McEachern, R. W. (2011). Experiencing a Social Network in an Organizational Context: The Facebook Internship. Business Communication Quarterly, 74(4), 486-493.
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The Future of Learning?

This week in our class, we have been looking more closely at design of online courses and which is the best approach for learners.  In our set of courses, three so far, we have experienced a “face to face” course in the summer at the University, and two fully online classes.  Our online classes have been a mix of asynchronous (students working at their own pace under the guidance of a teacher/professor) and synchronous (having a set meeting time where everyone logs into a piece of software; in our case illuminate; and meets for a period of time.

While I enjoy the online format, allowing me to work around our busy family and work schedules, I appreciate that we  (a portion of our cohort) were able to meet in our first course.  This gives a face/person behind the comments and blog posts.  It gives some sense of who the person at the other end really is.   I like that the asynchronous model allows time to reflect on my learning and produce work at a pace that makes sense for me.  “Asynchronous discussion offers students time to think and contemplate an answer leads not only to a sense of confidence in the writing process…” (Rourke & Coleman, 2011, pg 268). The most important part of any class however is that it is good pedagogy is behind the design. As Rouke & Coleman state, “Educators need to approach elearning from the perspective that the pedagogy drives the technology not the other way around” (2011, pg 278).


Used with permission from:


Will these models of online learning work for all students?  In our readings for our class last semester we looked at what learning might look like in the future and there seems to be some sense that learners in the future will be learning more and more frequently in this way.  With the availability of mobile technologies becoming more commonplace, students are able to access information at any time when it makes the most sense.  We know however that change in K-12 education happens very slowly, will our grandchildren experience their education online or will they go to a building each day, interact with other children and have an experience very much like the one we have all grown up in?



Ge, Z-G (2012). Cyber Asynchronous versus Blended Cyber Approach in Distance English Learning. Journal Of Educational Technology & Society, 15(2), 286-297.

Murphy, E., Rodríguez-Manzanares, M. A., & Barbour, M. (2011). Asynchronous and synchronous online teaching: Perspectives of Canadian high school distance education teachers. British Journal Of Educational Technology, 42(4), 583-591.

Rourke, A., & Coleman, K. (2010). E-learning in crisis: should not the pedagogy lead the technology? Journal Of Education Research4(3), 265-282.

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