Category Archives: EC&I 832

The ‘perfect life’ of Instagram

As part of my Major Project, I am focusing on two very popular social media apps: TikTok and Instagram. In this blog post I decided to take a look at Instagram, a social media app that has become part of my life just recently. Focusing on Mike Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship helped me look at this app critically and have a better understanding of its behind the scenes.

  1. Digital Access: Instagram is an easy to access app. Anyone can look at someone’s Instagram without having an account of their own. There are certain limitations to Instagram without having an account, such as the ability to like or comment on a post, or like a comment, view stories and story highlights, follow an Instagram account, view a private account and use the mobile app.
  2. Digital commerce: Instagram users will encounter ads and photos promoting commercial brands. They can also make purchases via links embedded in stories. There are also people with several accounts using Instagram for building and promoting their business brands adding the geotag for easy accessibility. Startups can showcase their work to the audience as well. Instagram is an effective marketing strategy.
  3. Digital Communication and Collaboration: Instagram is a social media app giving the users the opportunity to express themselves through taking, editing and sharing photos and videos. The content of Instagram is made up of feeds, stories and IGTV channels, the later used for sharing collection of videos ranging between 15 seconds and 10 minutes. The stories are a series of photos or videos that will last for only 24 hours, then disappear. Instagram also provides the instant share feature across multiple platforms.
  4. Digital Etiquette: Just as TikTok users, Instagram users should also remember to be cautious how they present themselves in front of the world. Since this app has an option to comment on each other’s posts, this is when raising responsible digital citizens is crucial. Teaching people to THINK (Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind?) before they post anything is the key. And the most important question would probably be “Is it true?” with all the special features that can make life look ‘just perfect’.
  5. Digital Fluency: Instagram being the worst social media for mental health, the users need to have the ability to differentiate reliable information from poor content. On the photo-based platform, where users have the ability to add filters and edit pictures in order for them to look ‘perfect’, it is crucial not to believe everything we see in order to avoid psychological distress due to negative body image and anxiety. The article, Instagrammers reveal the difference between a posed body and a relaxed one, shared by Kalyn, brings to our attention not to believe everything we see.
  6. Digital Health and Welfare: Although there is an option to set a time limit, just as TikTok, Instagram can be very addictive. Instagram has been proven to have a lot higher impact on the users’ health and welfare due to the ‘perfect’ body, life or world that is depicted in the photos posted causing a high level of anxiety, depression, bullying, FOMO, or the ‘fear of missing out’. As Kalyn highlighted, the popular trend involving health, fitness and nutritional advice called ‘fitspiration’ also known ‘fitspo’ not only works as inspiration. The unrealistic expectations cause feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, unworthiness leading to lack of self-esteem and mental health problems. Spending more than two hours a day on social networking sites can increase the users’ tendency to fall into the “compare and despair’ attitude. Thankfully, as Nataly mentioned, Instagram is now hiding likes counter, another element that can cause lack of self-esteem being based on the number of likes.
  7. Digital Law: Just as with TikTok, setting a private account is crucial to be able to avoid anybody being able to see the content. Cyberbullying and sexting can still be an issue in within the circle of youth.
  8. Digital Rights and Responsibility: Instagram users need to be aware of the fake accounts of people who are just trying to become famous with a fake life they created. ‘Finsta accounts‘ are also trending where users post their ‘less-edited’ lives. This tends to be the right platform for racy content and bullying. When it comes to raising digital citizens, it is crucial to teach youth to be critical thinkers and be able to identify potential problems as well as be brave to inform adults of problems they come across. This way they can protect themselves and others. 
  9. Digital Security and Privacy: It is important to teach our students to respect their privacy by creating a private account as well as being careful with the information they share through photos, videos and comments, since after posting photos, image theft and screenshots cannot be prevented.

Looking at Instagram through Mike Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship, I am certainly seeing this social media app from a different point of view. The more apps I examine, the stronger I feel about bringing social media into our classrooms and guide our students in becoming critical thinkers.

More on TikTok

I have been spending endless hours on TikTok during the last few weeks since my curiosity keeps telling me to watch just one more video. I am definitely experiencing the feeling of missing out on something very cool or creative. I have mentioned in my previous post that I have restrictions set on my TikTok account since I share one with my daughter and my son likes to watch the videos as well. Sometimes I come across inappropriate songs or content, but I feel that it is not more than what kids are being exposed to on the various radio-, and tv stations.

I did want to know more about TikTok, so I went on their website to find out about the content that I miss out on for different reasons. In the newsroom, there are a number of articles highlighting some of the memorable TikTok moments, such as Charlie Puth seeking help from TikTok in coming up with the lyrics for one of the melodies he created. What I loved about this was, that many people collaborated and came up with creative content. It was quite successful and Charlie Puth did end up finding the right lyrics for his song. This was a great example for Digital Communication and Collaboration as well as Digital Etiquette, two of Mike Ribble’s 9 elements of digital citizenship.

Under TikTok shows heart on Valentine’s Day, I came across some valuable content, such as a recipe and tutorial for molten lava cake, as well as a TikTok showing great Digital Etiquette by addressing not only couples but single people as well, bringing a smile to everyone’s face on Valentin’s Day.

I also like the TikTok videos with the main focus on managing screen time. Obviously TikTok is aware of its addictive quality. What I appreciated about these recordings was that they are addressing one of Mike Ribble’s elements on digital citizenship by teaching Digital Health and Welfare.

There was still a missing piece I needed information on, the Digital Commerce. My main focus was looking into ways TikTok can be used to make money online. According to the article “How to make money from TikTok”, the #1 way is to become an influencer, that can lead to being approached by brands to showcase their products in your videos. I also came across an Instagram Marketer, Elise Darma who presents six ways to make money on TikTok:

  1. Growing a TikTok profile around a ‘niche topic’ then reaching out to brands and selling the account to them. This also means that the purchasing brand would have access to all those followers. I just wonder how this fits into the Digital Etiquette and the Digital Rights and Responsibility category?
  2. Going live and collecting donations from viewers. TikTok has a built in monetization, with the opportunity to buy coins.100 coins cost $1.39. Viewers can send coins to the creators of the videos, that the creators can turn into diamonds, converting them into cash through PayPal.
  3. Being part of influencer campaigns
  4. ADS platform, by signing up for TikTok ads
  5. Offering management services to creators
  6. Offering consulting services to boost their strategy to become TikTok famous

According to Elise Darma, another way business owners can make money from TikTok is to use it for growing an already existing business. She shares five creative ideas for TikTok videos that might be helpful for the world to get to know you and your business.

It seems that there is a lot more behind TikTok, than being a simple entertaining platform. I am looking forward to learning more about it and maybe experimenting with creating my own video. If I will ever be able to figure out how to make one. Lol

TikTok and Mike Ribble’s Nine Elements

My 8 and 11 year old kids are a big fan of TikTok, so I decided to look at a few apps, including TikTok as part of my Major Project. I downloaded the app and made an account, that my daughter and I share. Interestingly many of her friends are on TikTok posting videos, so I am not the only parent who agreed to this. Looking at this app more carefully, I learnt that it is a social network where people have the opportunity to record lip-syncing, share creations, create remixes, etc. It has cool filters, speed adjustment, duet function and music/sound. Watching several videos on TikTok, I certainly came across some very creative pieces, tutorials, funny videos, as well as recordings that I wasn’t sure of what their purpose was. I noticed that breaking news makes its way into TikTok as well. The death of Kobe Bryant was on TikTok for more than a week. I had a hard time watching those videos, since the content was very powerful and heartbreaking. I felt that youth throughout the world was mourning his death. At this point, I cannot say that I am for or against TikTok. What was shocking for me from the very beginning was the swearing and the sexual content. But is TikTok the only app where kids come across this? Luckily it has privacy and safety settings with the option to create a private account.

I looked at the 9 elements of digital citizenship developed by Mike Ribble regarding TikTok

  1. Digital Access: TikTok is an easy to access app, there is no account sign up required to view its content. My 8-year-old son has access to TikTok. Even though he cannot comment or post, he can still view the videos as long he has the app downloaded. My 11 years-old daughter and I share an account, or I could say I supervise her using my account. Since there are mixed reviews, this was the only way I felt comfortable of her being on Tiktok. 
  2. Digital commerce: I did not come across any information regarding this element. I am wondering if it is applicable to TikTok.
  3. Digital Communication and Collaboration: TikTok is being used for electronic exchange of information. People use short descriptions attached to their videos so the audience would understand the message. It is used to share creations, tutorials, bits of news, entertainment as well as for finding own voice and express self. 
  4. Digital Etiquette: When it comes to TikTok, it is important for people to remember to be cautious how they present themselves in front of the world. Since this app has an option to comment on each other’s posts, this is when raising responsible digital citizens is crucial. Teaching people to THINK (Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind?) before they post anything is the key.
  5. Digital Fluency: has a strong connection to digital etiquette. As Ribble described, the better educated or “digitally fluent” students are, the more likely the ones to make good decisions online, supporting others instead of making negative comments. Digital fluency also ties in with media literacy and the ability to differentiate reliable information from poor content. As Matteo mentioned, some of his students use TikTok as a source to learn about news. It certainly provides bits and pieces of breaking news, but do our students have the ability, skills, and knowledge to think critically when it comes to the news or they fall for the ‘fake news’ as well?
  6. Digital Health and Welfare: I just downloaded the TikTok app not long ago, and just as Matteo said, if I don’t set a time limit, I end up spending hours a day watching TikTok videos. It is almost addicting. Most of the videos are short, vibrant, sometimes funny, or creative, sometimes super sad. If I am having such a hard time keeping a balanced approach when it comes to this app, how do we expect our kids and students to do so?
  7. Digital Law: Setting a private account is crucial to be able to avoid anybody being able to text. Cyberbullying and sexting can still be an issue in within the circle of youth.
  8. Digital Rights and Responsibility: this is a crucial element of being a responsible digital citizen. We need to teach our students to be diligent when using Social Media, raising critical thinkers to be able to identify potential problems as well as be brave to inform adults of problems they come across. This way they can protect themselves and others. 
  9. Digital Security and Privacy: It is important to teach our students to respect their privacy by being careful with the information they share through their TikTok videos and comments. 

Looking at the 9 elements of this widely used app made me look at it more critically. I think a similar activity would be useful for students to do as a class, to raise critical thinkers when it comes to Social Media.

How to educate our current and future students?

Do schools really need to change? If so, in what ways? 

As a parent and educator, I feel that with the generational, cultural and societal changes, we have to recognize the fact that making changes to our education system is crucial. We not only need to prepare our students to safely navigate in our digital world, but also finding ways to engage them while teaching these skills. Prof. Mary Beth Hertz draws our attention to the importance of taking the time to educate our students about technology and appropriate ways to use social media instead of assuming that our ‘digital native’ youth is on the right path of becoming responsible digital citizens without guidance and mentoring. Just as no one is born being a native speaker of any language, our children need to be taught how to be responsible citizens of our digital world. Bringing technology into our classrooms will also make learning fun and more engaging for our students. 

Is it possible to change our educational system, or is it more likely that the system will be replaced by other forms of education?

I am seeing that our education system is changing. The question is if it is changing at the right pace and if we are heading in the right direction? We definitely need to do more work shifting from the 1990’s teaching style where the role of the educator was to be the ‘monopoly of knowledge’, towards the role of a facilitator guiding students in their journey of creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, as well as developing their ability to synthesize information through project-based learning. The transformation of the education system will certainly look different at the elementary-, middle- and high-school levels as well as at the university. Growing up in Romania, we used to have specialized teachers for every subject matter starting grade 5. I often wonder if a teacher specialized in technology, teaching digital literacy and media literacy would make this shift faster, since it might take a long time for teachers to familiarize themselves and find the right fit to teach through the lens of our digital world. I think that in order to avoid generations missing out on learning how to be digital literate and media literate (Prof. Mary Beth Hertz), offering ‘technology classes’ for all grade levels could be quite beneficial. 

And when I think of the education system being replaced by other forms of education, I agree with Christina Petterson, that no matter how much the education system changes, human interaction is crucial for our students’ emotional development. Me working with EAL (English as an Additional Language) students who face so many challenges when moving to a new country, I cannot imagine them being able to cope with life with having no human interaction. Besides helping them learn English and all the subject matters, our job is also to help them through the nightmare of culture shock, as well as modelling social norms and interactions in Canadian society. In today’s multicultural society our job is getting more and more complex.

What sort of education or education system will be needed to adequately prepare students for the world ahead?

Both Prof. Henry Jenkins and ISTE underline the importance of open education where teachers scan the globe for best practices and collaborate with each other. Teachers of the ‘Future Schools’ in Singapore have the opportunity to watch model lessons in order to learn new ideas and provide suggestions to each other. Through skype sessions educators share best practices and critique lessons with colleagues in their school and with others from around the world. It is important for us to realize the power of sharing, communication and collaboration in order for learning to grow. I feel that providing more time for teachers to share, collaborate and plan together would be beneficial to make our education system more effective. 

What sort of world are we preparing students for?

The world is shaped by us, our values, actions and beliefs. Since technology is a key component in our everyday lives, we need to prepare our students to think and act as responsible citizens in our digital world. By raising adaptable, responsible, empathetic critical thinkers we can guide students towards digital leadership, as described by George Couros, where the Internet and Social Media are being used to improve the lives, well-being and circumstances of others.

And the results are in!

So, it seems as though the kids that took part in my survey are more aware of what information they should share with particular audiences than I gave them credit for. That’s a positive!

Let me backtrack a bit.

Last week, I sent out a survey to both kids (ages 7 to 12) and parents related to information sharing (online or offline). I received 18 completed surveys from kids (two 7-year-olds, two 8-year-olds, two 9-year-olds, four 10-year olds, five 11-year olds, and three 12-year-olds) and 15 completed surveys from parents (assuming there were families that had more than one kid complete the survey). The questions I used came from Google’s Be Internet Awesome website, which were:

Who would you share the following information with?
Your parents, friends, everyone, or trash it (you can choose more than one)

  • Best friend’s phone number
  • Your location
  • A rumor about someone in your class
  • A selfie of you and your best friend with their new hairdo
  • A silly video of your friend that they don’t know that you took
  • An article about a band that you like
  • A funny lip sync video of you and your friends
  • An embarrassing picture of your sibling
  • A live video from your class field trip
  • Meet up details for a school dance

The results showed a resounding awareness that most, if not all, information being shared should be shared with parents. This pleased me as it shows that some kids at this age understand the importance of parental involvement.

**I’ve kept in mind that my survey sample was small and completed by families that fit a particular demographic.**

The parent survey consisted of the following three questions:

  • After I asked my child “Which type of audience do you think you selected most when answering the questions?”, I felt….(why?)
  • After I asked my child “What did you learn about the types of information that can be shared with others? Why?” I felt….(why?)
  • After I asked my child “When you share information with others, what are you going to be more aware of now?”, I felt….(why?)

Most parent comments were positive and reassuring that their child understands to ask or involve parents when sharing information. The word TRUST was used often. There was a SATISFIED and PROUD feeling noted by most parents, including myself. Some parents felt that their kids were able to know the difference between public and private information and that permission should be asked before any information is shared with others. One parent has stated that their kid’s answers weren’t surprising because they “talk about and/or share those things already” at home. It was also noted that they “learned these things in school and they know that being private is important”. I was impressed to hear that schools were addressing topics like this. Overall, there was more of an awareness piece by both parents and kids about information sharing, whether it was already known or now recently learned through this survey.

After exploring more of Mike Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship with the help of ISTE, I’ve come to realize that my major project is primarily focused on the elements of Digital Communication and Digital Etiquette. These two elements have a focus on student responsibilities in our digital world.

In each of the elements listed within this resource, Ribble identifies essential questions to help focus and reflect on with students.

Digital Ettiquette Essential Questions
Are students aware of others when they use technology?
Do students realize how their use of technology affects others?

My survey of information sharing directly relates to the second question. Students need to be aware of how their actions of sharing can affect others, directly or indirectly. “Very often, parents and students alike are learning these technologies from their peers or by watching others use the technology” (pg. 29). It’s important for parents to help their child understand proper digital etiquette so good digital citizens are born.  “A good digital citizen seeks out feedback from others to evaluate their use of technology, and then makes personal adjustments based on this feedback (pg. 29). This will lead to more appropriate technology behaviour and an attempt at breaking the cycle of poor netiquette with peers alike.

Digital Communication Essential Questions
Do I use email, cell phone, texting, and social networking technologies appropriately when communicating with others?
What rules, options, and etiquette do students need to be aware of when using digital communication technologies?

Within my major project, I have dove into etiquette as well with getting students to identify which types of information are sharable with specific audiences.  Knowing your audience is important as it dictates the level of etiquette needed to communicate and interact with them.  Something you send to your best friend isn’t something that should be sent to everyone to see and comment on.  

I plan to continue to dive deeper into Digital Communication and Etiquette to bring to light how kids can use technology more appropriately.  “Too often, people send emails, texts, or posts without considering who might see them or how they might be interpreted” (pg. 23).   It’s easy to respond quickly to someone and send it without thinking of the long term consequences, for which your message cannot be retracted even if you delete it.  “In some situations speaking to someone face-to face can solve a situation faster than multiple emails or other communication methods” (pg. 23).  I want kids to understand when this would be the case.

After watching a video created by Manoush Zamorodi this week with my daughters titled “How Many People Can’t Walk Without Their Smartphones?“, we had a discussion about what this meant to them and to others.  Zamorodi observed how many people walked by her with or without interacting in some capacity with their phones.  Out of the 1000 people that walked by, 315 of them were using or holding their phones.  That’s 1 out of every 3 people. 

Me:  Is that number high or low?
11-year-old: low
9-year-old: high
Me: When we are engaged or on our phones, we don’t experience boredom.
11-year-old:  I HATE being bored.
Me: I also struggle with boredom but I’ve been using puzzles to help deal with boredom and to stay off my phone when I don’t need to be.
11-year-old:  That doesn’t help me with boredom because I get mad when I can’t find a certain piece.
Me: (to the 9-year-old), what do you do when you’re bored?
9-year-old: Gymnastics, like flips around the house. At school, I play with my markers or swing my arms and legs around.
Me: So it seems that you always have to be moving than when you are bored.  Can you ever just sit still?
9-year-old:  Ya, when my teacher is reading to the class.
11-year-old:  I can’t!  My mind is always thinking about other things and what I could be doing instead.

This discussion brought my attention back to the  Bored and Brilliant Challenge by Manoush Zomorodi.  I want to ensure that my daughters’ have a purpose for being on their devices or online, not just to curb boredom, as this seems to be the number one reason. 

I’ve gone back to the book Web Tools for Kids, as mentioned in one of my previous posts, to help my daughters, their friends and parents reflect on how they use the internet or identifying the purpose of going online.  

For my next survey going out to kids and parents, I am going to address this topic in addition to other related topics using BrainPop’s video series on Digital Citizenship, in particular Digital Etiquette.  Much of the focus will be on terms such as flaming, flame wars, trolls, anonymous, and of course, netiquette.  

Stay tuned!

Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship, and a Critical Questions on TikTok

This far into my major project I have been compiling information on Wakelet, Seesaw, and TikTok.  Be sure to check out the continued progress of the work that I am compiling on my second website, Curtis Bourassa’s Edtech Reviews. Over the past couple of weeks, I have begun to branch out and approach teachers about each one of the apps that I am studying.  In addition, I have gone to PD sessions for some of the apps that I am studying and building off of the connections and resources that I have made. 

Last week we learned about Mike Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship.  These elements help provide a framework for me to use these apps in the educational setting.  I will be following Jennifer Casa-Todd’s format of how to implement these tools into Education from her book, SocialLEADia.  I will highlight how my tools can be used in accordance with Mike Ribble’s Nine Elements.  

  • Digital access 
  • Digital communication
  • Digital Law
  • Digital security
  • Digital commerce
  • Digital health and wellness
  • Digital literacy
  • Digital etiquette 
  • Digital rights and responsibilities 

These digital elements can apply to many online tools or apps. Using Ribble’s framework will “help direct questions and your teaching when practicing digital leadership”.


  • Connect with students and other classes from around the world, and create a global classroom (Digital Communication)
  • Recognize that not everyone has access to the technology, or that the access is not equal access. (Digital Access)
  • Even young students can learn how to use technology appropriately by commenting and responding thoughtfully in a controlled environment (Digital Etiquette)
  • Ask thoughtful and critical questions when are not sure of someone’s content of questions (Digital Communication)


  • Students have the ability to curate their own resources.  This could provide the opportunity for students to look at in-depth their resources.  To determine if their resources are credible and reliable. (Digital Literacy)
  • Students will have the ability to collaborate on resources together.  Or send resource lists to each other. (Digital Communication)
  • Students will use material ethically, including citing sources appropriately.  (Digital Rights and Responsibilities)


  • Provide content in a meaningful way, get students to determine the purpose of their content. (Digital Communication, Digital Etiquette) 
  • Look at in-depth terms of service agreements, and privacy policy.  What does this app track, how is it using my data? (Digital law, digital literacy, digital security)
  • Understand that anyone can see our post even if they are not following us.  (Digital Security)
  • Understand and set up guidelines for using TikTok, appropriate time and place, using (Digital health and wellness)
  • By using the digital wellbeing portion of the app users can limit screen time and restrictive content within TikTok. 
  • Understanding and reporting inappropriate use, or content on TikTok (Digital Rights and Responsibilities)

As educators, the connections above list some of the practices we would want our students to follow as a (digital) citizen in the above apps mentioned. When it comes to teaching students, as Jennifer Casa-Todd states, this is based on what we want students to know but we have to be explicit about what we are teaching. 

Major Project Update

Within my major digital project, I am spending a lot of time researching and exploring TikTok. I am struggling to find an appropriate way personally to rationalize TikTok used as an educational app. This is due to the questionable content that is found within the app. However, I also realize that the majority of middle year to high school students are users of TikTok.  Therefore it provides an opportunity for education and learning opportunities for TikTok. I have reached out to some teachers that are using TikTok in the classroom. On one of my early morning commutes to work, I decided to listen to The House of Edtech one of my educational podcasts focusing on edtech, the episode, TikTok for Teachers and #TikTokEDU. I then went on to look more in-depth on how these teachers are using TikTok in the classroom.  I ended up following Jeremy Rinkel, and reaching out regarding some future questions I have of using TikTok in education. 

Here are some other TikTok teachers/students to explore on TikTok. 

  • Brooke Pavek: A High School Senior Student who creates creative videos that could be directly linked to curricular outcomes in many areas.  Check out this TIME article showcasing some of Brooke’s creative work.
  • Brooke Rogers: a Middle School English teacher, who creates teacher content and student content. 
  • Jeremy Rinkel: A High School English Teacher, who creates content for students and teachers. 

After listening to the podcast what really stood out to me was that many of these teachers are not just creating content for their students, but they are trying to build relationships with students through TikTok.  What are your thoughts about teachers building relationships through social media such as TikTok? 

How can students provide meaningful content on Twitter such as Brooke Pavek?    Can teachers provide quality supplemental learning experiences such as the Instituteofhumananatomy, melscience, or chemteacherphil.  Can the learning objective be achieved in a different setting, such as Flipgrid, or a contained YouTube video?  Would students be as engaged in the content if it was not on TikTok?  I still have big questions regarding navigating TikTok in educational spaces as I believe this is still a grey area, filled with potential privacy issues with use in the classroom.

Let me know what you think about TikTok in the classroom.

Check out this great TikTok video by chemteacherphil:

@chemteacherphilWait for it… your patience will be rewarded. #chemistry #chemteacherphil #scienceismagic

♬ Zero Gravity – Louie Zong

Digital Generations- Controlling the Gap

Is it better
Is it better now?
Are we better
Are we better now?
Is it better
Is it better now?
Are we better
Are we better now?

All we needed was a lifeline (is it better, is it better now?)
We swore we’d be better than the last time (are we better, are we better now?)
Tell me, tell me that you’re all right (is it better, is it better now?)
I’m not the generational divide (are we better, are we better now?)

Do these lyrics from Blink 182’s song “Generational Divide” song sound somewhat like a reflection we do as generations reflecting on our own society?  Is it better now?  It depends on which generation you ask. 

Silver Fit

“I used to walk to school every day in 6 feet of snow, uphill both ways.”

I recall and still hear my parents and their friends engaging in the “when I was your age” rant, but guess what?  I now find myself saying it to my kids.  As explains, the purpose for these rants it to express how “advantages have made the young people of today soft, lazy, spoiled, or worse; the hardships gave people moral fiber.” Each generation is guilty of falling into this trap, but with the advancement of technologies and societal norms/expectations, younger generations aren’t doing things the way we have done them.  Does this make them worse off or are they navigating the world in their own way, much like we did before our generational predecessors?  There may be mistakes that they make along the way, but that’s part of the journey, isn’t it? 

How can we bridge the gap?

I came across a blog on written by Brian Cain titled “How Boomers and Gen Y Can Bridge the Tech Gap“.  It addressed how people in different generations need to put aside their disgruntled attitude towards the older and younger generations and work together to bridge the gap.  “Boomers need to stop bellyaching about the ADHD tendencies of millennials, and millennials have to stop discounting the treasure chest of knowledge stored in the minds of the boomers. If we just face the fact that we must work together to make the organization more successful, we can have a symbiotic relationship that takes the department to new heights” (Cain, 2013).  Ideally, yes this is great.  However, it takes a lot for people to change their attitudes.  One approach mentioned in this article “sort of follows the “I Do, We Do, You Do” (pg. 28) gradual release of responsibilities model that most teachers use for literacy:

  • I do, you watch.
  • I do, you help.
  • You do, I help.
  • You do, I watch.
  • You do, someone else watches.

For those that are tech savvy, this approach can work to help older generations become more comfortable with the changes, especially in technology.  They may be more willing to “buy in” and have an understanding of how younger generations are using technology to benefit them daily.  This is my approach to my major project.  I’m trying to learn about digital awareness, navigation, and interactions through my daughters’ experiences and understanding.  This is what Dallia Wilson-Scott, who wrote the article “The Digital Generation Gap and the Management of Information“, advises as well to bridge the gap.  We have to “start thinking more like our kids. Ask them for advice about technology and stay up to date on the latest apps.”  Rather than deny them access, try to understand the role technology plays in their lives.

However, not all millennials are tech-savvy like we may think.  Just because they are born into it doesn’t mean they can effectively and efficiently use it.  “We don’t innately know how to use these emerging forms of technology. We are forced to learn it because of our dependence on it” (Cain, 2013).  As Alec pointed out in our discussion, “no one is born a native speaker of digital in the same way that no one is born a native speaker of any language.  Through context, immersion, and practice they learn.” 

Much like Catherine noted, we need to move away from the fear-mongering approach to technology use to a more responsible citizen approach. The fearful approach is perpetuating the gap because it creates a reluctance to learn how to navigate appropriately. The responsibility for this type of education is starting to fall on schools as we are seeing more and more students, even in primary grades, start to have devices at school. Although this puts more on our plates as teachers, I feel it’s important to address as technology is now how students socially interact with friends and strangers as well.

How do you incorporate digital citizenship in your classroom and with your families to help bridge the gap of digital generations?

say what weird al yankovic GIF

“Lemme tell you somethin’, you whiny little snot
There’s somethin’ wrong with all you kids today
You just don’t appreciate all the things you got
We were hungry, broke, and miserable
And we liked it fine that way!”
— “Weird Al” Yankovic, “When I Was Your Age”

What is normal?


My project for EC&I 832 is going to be social awareness piece based on Normative Center and the unconscious biases that form it. The first time I was introduced to the idea of Normative Center (NC), was through this article by Graham and Slee. It was in a curriculum class and how NC relates to First Nations (FN) culture and FN education. I have discussed this article and its ideas with a lot of friends and colleagues since then as I find the idea thought provoking and believe that it needs talked about more openly.

Normative Center is an interesting concept that can be applied to many different areas of our lives. NC is based on individual and cultural biases, so it can be a sensitive subject and a conversation that you cannot force someone into. A person must understand their own biases to reflect on how they may have influenced past decisions, or the way you talk to and treat other people.

To better understand my own biases and hopefully open the floor to some discussion about it I am going to talk to some people that can offer unique perspectives on aspects of Normative Centers in Canadian culture. These talks will look at but not be limited to: physical/mental disabilities, First Nations culture, race and gender.

I am excited about the response to this idea and have been able to line up several experts willing to be interviewed. These interviews will discuss the Normative Center and how it relates to them personally, professionally, culturally, and what this means in an increasingly digitally world.

I hope these conversations will further my understanding of bias and NC. I also hope that this will help others to identify the need to discuss this and become more aware of the deep reaching impacts of unconscious bias.

Musings of the future.

Conversations of the future have always been intriguing to me. I often wonder what the future will bring and make a conscious effort to challenge my teaching practice with a growth mindset.

People have pondered the future since the beginning of time, this is evident in early literature and has expanded even more in modern culture. I think it is difficult to imagine what culture would be like without imagining school. School, for better or worse; shapes a large part of our early life. What would your life be like without the influence of school and the people within it? It is interesting to think just how far reaching peer relationships are, this study outlines a few examples.

Besides the writers of “The Simpsons“, not many of us can predict the future. I think it is always fun to consider how our predictions of the future has evolved. For instance, with modern technology having already invented driver-less cars, would future shows still include pilots and drivers? What does it say about modern culture when most futuristic shows written are post apocalypse? Based on many of these futuristic movies, education will either be a non existent (people are literally just trying not to die), or a marvel of modern technology and Zen-like students. Not a lot of middle ground, or mention of curriculum or agricultural based calendars.

Anyone that hasn’t seen this little gem… you can thank me later.

One thing is for certain, education is not developing as fast as new technology and teachers should be working hard to become as literate as possible in regard to technology and its uses in the classroom.

It is impossible to predict what public education will look like in 50 years, but there will always be a need to deliver it. I agree with the 9 things that will shape the future of education, as many of them are already being implemented now. The brick and mortar buildings most of us work in are essential to our current economy, many families rely on dual income and this leaves children with no place to go. Some of the 9 points from the article stuck out to me as a large steps away from the standard of education as we know it. The project based learning,field work and student mentoring sections in particular. This reminded me more of a tech/trade school approach. This sort of public education system is what I envision if we moved towards a system that Elon musk and many others predict will eventually happen in North America.

I believe that there will always be a need for face to face teachers, but their role in public education may look very different in the future. I think the best way we can support young learners is to teach them to be self motivated,critical researchers that are flexible to changing work/learning environments.

Celeb talks with Mary Beth

This was an exercise in self control for me, It’s hard for me to be professional for that many minutes in a row, so I didn’t ask to many questions… I kinda think this could have been an interview Zac would have been proud of.

All jokes aside, the conversation we had with Mary Beth was a great example of a guest speaker facilitating a conversation between a group of people. I enjoyed the way she presented resources and thoughts but left it up to the audience to draw their own conclusions.

The amount of tech that youth use on a daily basis has skyrocketed within the last decade. With this increase there needs to be equal growth in the education surrounding digital citizenship and literacy. Mary Beth, Alec and the rest of the class raised a lot of interesting points and I was able to walk away with a lot of great resources to pass along to teachers in my school. (please add any other relevant links to the document).

Like Michala I found the talk on COPPA, to be informative as I know very little about that. It prompted me to do a little further research and thought this was an interesting video as I remember being intrigued when the video upload requirements changed on youtube.

Fake news, reading laterally vs. horizontally and teaching students to be critical thinkers is something I really enjoyed talking about as I think it is extremely important in our society. These are subject that should have far greater importance placed on them, so I always look for ways to gain perspective and resources from like minded people.

Thanks for sharing!