Category Archives: Weekly Post #eci832

Ribble Me This…

The Essential Elements!

We examined Ribble's Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship this week in #eci832. I've been reflecting how this relates to my social media journey project. I'll be looking at TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter, and maybe Wakelet as I journey into the wilderness of social media and education. TikTok is the first one I am tackling. Progress has been slow. This is a bit related to being a content-catalyst for next week's ECI832 Lesson! It's hard, yet inspiring, to try to keep up with the Hollywood videos created by the amazing group last week: shout out to Catherine, Nataly, Amanda, and Melinda.

I'm especially interested in TikTok... so while I believe all these points apply to the other social media platforms I'm examining, I'm especially turning my attention to TikTok. Here they are.... 

Element 3. Digital Communication and Collaboration: "the electronic  exchange of information".
Well, TikTok allows people to exchange videos, which could have any sort of content or purpose. The most popular "purpose" I've seen in my "studies" on TikTok is that of entertainment, meme generation/spreading, and self-promotion. 

Element 4. Digital Etiquette: "standards of conduct or procedures and has to do with the process of thinking about others when using digital devices".
There is great potential to discuss the appropriate use of Etiquette when utilizing TikTok, as you are presenting yourself to the world when you post a video.

Element 5. Digital Fluency: "the process of understanding technology and its use. Includes  the ability to discern good information from poor, such as “fake news” from real news." 
Lots of information is shared on TikTok, from memes, to reactions to current events, and news. Discerning what is valuable from what is not is certainly a part of this platform. Choosing it for entertainment or information is another. 

Element 6.  Digital Health and Welfare: "physical and psychological well-being in a digital world. Educators need to ask the question of how much screen time is appropriate for students."
My biggest downfall is opening the TikTok app. I've started setting a timer for 10 minutes, because time flows differently when you open the TikTok app. It's easy to drain an hour watching video after video. This is not OK. Definitely a discussion for students around appropriate use and screen time limits. 

Progress on TikTok

I've recently identified from some discussions with students ways that they think TikTok might be useful in education. We all agreed that perhaps for Drama/theater, TikTok might actually be useful for motivating students, and giving them a global audience for their performances. See the video below that I filmed today while I was having some candid conversations with some of my grade 11/12 computer science class about TikTok and how they use it. 

Well, you heard it here first! Some kiddos use it as their news source (which scares me frankly). It was in another unrecorded conversation where one student suggested it'd be great for Drama/Theater. So I went to the drama teacher, and low and behold, she said that coincidentally, her grade 12 class was just talking about TikTok today! Imagine that! The butterfly effect? Who knows! ​

A Collaboration!

So, my colleague and I, we decided that she would try to use some TikTok in her classroom, and let me know how it goes. I'll do a quick interview with her, and post it as part of my examination of TikTok, whenever it is complete! I am excited to share the results with you!

Do any of you foresee any useful educational uses of TikTok? I really can't find much on the web that actually seems reasonable/useful, at least at the high school level. Drama/theater was a new idea for me!

Till next time, 

Stay curious,


The Lonely Promise of Social Media

We are getting into trouble in how we relate to ourselves, and our capacity for self reflection ... we are getting used to a new way of being alone together ...

                                                                                                                       ~Sherry Turkle 

                                                                                                                                            in her TED talk, Connected, but alone? 4:15 to 4:32

Last class, we had the wonderful and informative Mary Beth Hertz speak to our class. She is the author of Digital and Media Literacy in the Age of the Internet. While I haven't had time to read her book, (would be nice to get around to it... I've actually done a good job so far of hitting my goal of listening to 2 books a month on Audible, I recommend it for anyone who is taking a masters or education and is busy!) I really enjoyed her talk. I found her to be very focused on how to ensure that students understand the complexities of social media, and how to verify and fact check information, which is totally a thing educators need to do more of!

In fact, I went on her blog and found it to be good additional reading.

Can I Be Alone, Please?

However, as the quote above from my favorite recent TED talk by Sherry Turkle suggests, I think there is more to social media in schools that just teaching students the risks, benefits, and how to utilize it properly. As a bit of a social media/news/technology junkie myself, I think we need a sincere talk about how technology both connects us and yet isolates us at the same time. No matter how much we connect online, no matter how useful this technology becomes, after listening twice now (thanks Audible! I swear I don't work for them!) to Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday, I think more and more we are losing the capacity to self reflect and truly be alone with our thoughts... which is part of being a healthy human. There are just too many distractions, made by people who understand how the brain and dopamine works. We get more and more wrapped up with "me" and things we are interested in only. I appreciated Mary's informative talk, which focused largely on educational moments and fact checking social media, which is admittedly a problem. However, I was largely interested in how to balance social media and technology in our increasingly busy and connected lives.

I believe that teachers and society at large have a vested in making sure our students understand how to balance their phones and social media as part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle. 

... you only want to pay attention to the bits that interest you. And some people think that's a good thing ... 

                                                                                                                       ~Sherry Turkle 
                                                                                                                                             in her TED talk, Connected, but alone? 4:56 to 5:01

The part of Mary's presentation that interested me most (and there are LOTS of things she said that interested me!) was when she spoke to how technology makes it very easy for us to be tracked. We don't know what is done with our information, but often, all we need to sign up to "free" services is to give up all our data, and we do it without a second thought (I certainly have, as a user of the internet and apps). 

What struck me was how she got rid of her Dot Mini, an amazon device that can certainly make your life a lot easier and cool. I am glad she shared this story with us, and her students. 

Why did she get rid of it? Well, the devices by default record all audio in your home. It gets sent to Amazon, or Google, depending on the device you buy, for "processing". "Smart" and "connected" products are spying on you.

Does Anyone Care?

Anyone who says they like companies knowing what products they might be interested in so they can buy stuff easier needs to get checked up. It goes far beyond that. Giving away vast amounts of information about ourselves to strangers and companies who reap maximum rewards from it cannot be a "good thing" for you. What do you gain? Would you tell a complete stranger named Amazon on the bus where you live, what you like to buy, what you had for dinner yesterday, details about your personal life, the lives of others in your life? Does this seem healthy? 

I think we ought to make this clear to students, while at the same time we also teach them how to "safely" use these technologies, and leverage them to improve our teaching. There are a lot of applications of technology and social media. I mean, check out this AI that can tell if students are paying attention. Does this or does this not make instruction better? 

Certainly, there is more false/misleading information out there on social media (where most people get their news) than completely factual and unbiased (is that a thing?) information.

Mary Beth has this recent example (and how she taught her class to combat it and recognize it) 

Recently, a study found that pro-vaping posts on Instagram outweighed e-cigarette safety campaign 10,000 to one, as another example.

Social media and the internet is not a magical playground, that is for sure. People make money on social media, and the intentions are not always geared towards education, although social media certainly has lots to offer clever teachers and their lucky students. 

I would say that social media is like anything... do it in moderation... but I think social media holds a lot more power than your average "thing you should do in moderation". That's because people crave connections, and social media offers this mirage aplenty. But really, does it? 

I'm going to leave off with one last quote from Sherry Turkle, who whose TED talk I've referenced all throughout this post. 

So what do you think? Should we be warning students about the pitfalls of social media? Believe me, I'm all FOR the educational opportunities, but I do think that we need to be VERY careful with our students and social media... we should err on the side of caution.

Stay curious, 


We're lonely but we're afraid of intimacy ... We are designing technologies that give us the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.

                                                                                                                       ~Sherry Turkle 
                                                                                                                                        in her TED talk, Connected, but alone? 12:20 to 12:34

Hello ECI832!

Cheers to everyone in this class!

I have been teaching high school pre-calculus math and computer science since 2011 in Brandon, MB!

I first started teaching guitar when I was about 14 years old, and continued all throughout my university degrees. I think this is part of what made me fall in love with teaching, besides the fact that many people in my family are educators and had a big influence on me. 

I'm currently guiding my first Robotics Club at my school through the FIRST Robotics Competition. The nonprofit that gave us funding to do this has a mission to spread awareness of STEM, so we plan to do a lot of networking using social media, etc. in order to document our process as we build our robot. I'm excited to get my students out in elementary schools doing STEM activities with kids as part of this initiative. We plan to share this all on social media, so I figured this course would be a nice complement towards being successful in this endeavor.

My interests outside of school include exercise (running especially!), cooking, baking, and hanging out with friends, and sleeping.

I look forward to learning with all of you, and from everyone in this course! 

Stay frosty,