March 7, 2020: Project Update #4 and Digital Citizenship in Schools

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time passes. We are already a month out from our final class… Where did the time go?! With that being said, over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about my major project and how I plan on summarizing my learnings at the end of this course. This post is a combination of this week’s assigned blog post, “Consider the school’s and/or teacher’s role in educating students about digital citizenship” and an update on my project.

An Update…

Digital Citizenship Unit Plan

From my previous major project blog post, I mentioned I would provide an update on our photo booth activity! We had hoped to do our photo booth activity at the end of our unit, but we wanted to tie in this concept with Anti-Bullying/Day of Pink. In the end, we decided to push this lesson ahead!

Initially, I was a little nervous about having students post/comment at school on social media! However, I was pleasantly surprised at how respectfully our students interacted with one another by asking if they can take each others photos and asking us questions before posting. This highlighted the value of having meaningful conversations about digital citizenship and taking a proactive approach. When our learning community came together to discuss the rules and procedures for using the photo booth, one of my co-teachers pulled up her Twitter account and showed the Build Love Twitter page. We viewed and discussed the comments posted on their page, as well as the posts they make themselves. We reviewed “THINK” and discussed how every comment and post fit the criteria. Next, on her own Twitter account, she pulled up the post she had made when Build Love came to visit us. Having “real life” examples of appropriate comments was the “lightbulb moment” for a lot of our students. We explained that even though a comment may not be offensive, it still is not appropriate if the comment is not relevant to the content of the post. This was not included in my original lesson plan, but in retrospect, I think that providing real and relevant social media interactions is crucial to the students’ understanding. We also had a discussion about what hashtags are and how they work. One of the students described it as a link to see similar tweets about a topic… Definitely keeping that analogy in my back pocket for future lessons! We then asked the students to fill out comment cards as practice to comment on each other’s superhero worksheets posted on our bulletin boards. For the most part, comments followed the “THINK” criteria. I found that some comments were very detailed and meaningful, as they highlighted certain aspects of one another’s work. This was very exciting to see and made me feel more confident about our upcoming photo booth activity! 

Our photo booth activity was successful and the students had a blast dressing up as superheroes! Since we did this on Anti-Bullying/Day of Pink, I found it set the tone for kind and respectful interactions online and offline. It generated a lot of discussion among the students and gave them a chance to apply their “superpowers” and knowledge of digital citizenship! Check out Nicole’s tweet and my tweet from the day!

I’ve been slowly, but surely been teaching away my unit! This week, I started teaching about “in app purchases” and opening up some conversations about these apps with my students. I now realize it was very naive of me to think that they might not be able to think of any games or apps that involve in app purchases, but I was completely wrong! I learned so much from my students! I was actually shocked at the amount of games that are out there that involve purchasing items to enhance the usage of an app or game. I asked my students if they have rules at home around these purchases. Most of my students have a rule in place where they need to ask their parents before buying anything. However, we also discussed how sometimes accidental purchases can happen when using these apps, so being more conscious of them is important. I plan on wrapping up this lesson sometime this coming week!

Thinking about this week’s Content Catalysts and my unit plan, I would have to say that teachers and schools play a significant role in educating students about digital citizenship. Kids use technology and engage in online activities now more than ever, so it almost seems impossible to not be addressing it in schools. I feel authenticity is key when illustrating the importance of being a good digital citizen. Showing real life examples of what that looks like and what it doesn’t look like makes this concept more concrete. By showing the students my co-teacher’s Twitter account and the types of comments on her posts was a powerful moment. Simply teaching digital citizenship isn’t enough. There needs to be authentic learning opportunities, such as applying these skills in some capacity.

Flipgrid App Review

Overall, I’ve had a great experience with this app! I have lots I want to say about it, so I’ve been grappling with how I want to present this information. However, I think I’ve come up with an idea. I’m thinking of using my blog posts about my project as a short summary of my reviews/process, but also create a GoogleDoc with a more detailed outline of each app (Flipgrid and YouTube). THEN, put my reviews and units (How To… Project and Digital Citizenship Unit) into one folder and share it in a blog post. I am wanting to have everything in one place, so in the future I am able to easily access my work. How are you putting together your final projects?

In order to explore Flipgrid as an assessment tool, I created a small How To… Project with my students. We have been working on these projects for about three weeks and we finally are wrapping it up! I haven’t had a chance to view their final tutorials on how to do the skill that they learned, but I am looking forward to it! They were SO excited about “teaching the teacher”! For more information on my How To… Project check out this post. One thing I forgot to include in my original How To… Project unit plan was an organizer for their final tutorial. When my project is closer to being completed, I’ll be sure to include the organizer that I used with my students in my unit. Something that I would like to highlight is how important using organizers are with your students when using video apps like Flipgrid. When my students did their first post, I had kids talking about all sorts of things other than their project! So, for the second post I had my students complete their organizer and get it approved by me before posting (I was way more sticky about it being completed this time around), which made for more meaningful feedback and conversations! Take a peek at some of the creations below!

A video game creation
The beginning stages of an origami duck
DIY Minecraft Head
Fortune Tellers

My general opinion on Flipgrid– I loved it! I found it intuitive, engaging, and easy to use. A more detailed review will be included for my final project, but the following is a brief review of the app’s effectiveness as an assessment tool and its educational value.

Feedback Features

I experimented with giving feedback through private video comments and creating a custom rubric.

Video Feedback

Pros

My students enjoyed receiving video feedback from me! The novelty of seeing their teacher create a personalized feedback video was exciting. In addition, for students who struggle with reading, having a visual form of feedback was helpful. I almost made the mistake of using the comment feature to create my feedback videos, however, I used the Flipgrid Help Center to explore my feedback options. I learned that by clicking on the button that says “Video Feedback: This video will only be available to (student name)” I can offer private video feedback. 

I found doing video feedback opened up more conversation between myself and my students, as I could tell them in their feedback to meet with me during our next work period if they needed assistance or if I needed to clarify part of their response. Above all, the accountability that the feedback option puts on my students generated substantially more focused work periods. Students knew at the end of the week they needed to provide me with a video update, detailing their progress, so this means that they needed to have something to discuss in their video.

Cons

This feature worked quite well, however, I did run into some issues. My students log in using their ID code I created, rather than their gmail accounts. If students do not log in with a Gmail or Microsoft account, they do not have access to myflipgrid.com to view all of the videos they have made or to view their feedback. Initially, I did not know this, otherwise I would have opted for the email log in. However, I created a GoogleDoc for each student and copied and pasted the link provided to their feedback video in the document. My second issue occurred when I would re-listen to my feedback video or to another student’s video. Sometimes all of the other videos sound in the topic would come on simultaneously! I was not able to figure out why this was happening. This made doing video responses not as time efficient as I was hoping, as I needed to wait until all of the background noise was finished.

Custom Rubric Feedback

Pros

Due to the sound issues I encountered with my video feedback responses, I wanted to explore some other options. I knew I could provide written feedback, but I wanted to provided a customized rubric to specify the areas I was looking for in my students’ responses. Creating a custom rubric was efficient and simple. You can enter your grading scale, areas of focus, and a short explanation of each area. I encountered the same issue as I noted above in regard to students not being able to access myflipgrid.com unless they have an email log in, so I copied and pasted their feedback link to the same GoogleDoc. 

When students follow the link, it looks like this:

In comparison to using video feedback, I found this method more efficient and students have the ability to read parts of their feedback, rather than needing to re-watch an entire video. 

Cons

When I created the rubric, I wanted a different description for my areas of focus in my topics. However, it does not appear that different topics in the same grid can be different, as when I adjusted one rubric in another topic, it changed my other topics’ rubrics as well to that new adjustment. Overall, I prefer using the rubric for quick and efficient feedback. However, the video feedback feature is useful when opting for a casual and conversational form of assessment.

Educational Value

From my perspective, I think Flipgrid has a substantial amount of educational value. Aside from it being a dynamic and engaging tool for students, it also offers opportunities for educators (and students) to connect and collaborate anywhere in the world. Flipgrid can be used as a form of summative and formative assessment. I found that by having a medium to offer students feedback and students posting regular updates on their projects increased accountability and use of work periods. Using this technology allowed me to have meaningful conversations with my students and offered an efficient way of performing check-ins with that otherwise would not have been possible. Flipgrid also opened up opportunities to discuss digital citizenship and what kinds of content should be posted. We used this checklist as a guideline to support the responsible use of the app. The authenticity of the “teachable moments” that arose throughout our use of the app was valuable in moving forward in our unit on digital citizenship, as students could apply this new knowledge in a safe space. Lastly, the app’s discussion based platform encourages students to think critically about each other’s work.

The Common Sense Media’s review of Flipgrid highlights that this app offers students the opportunity to learn how to create and plan meaningful responses to questions or prompts. It was also noted that students have the ability to present their responses at their own pace without the added pressure of having to speak in formal presentations in front of their classmates. In addition, Common Sense Media noted that teachers must be clear when outlining expectations for posts, as some students will spend a significant amount of time making the “perfect” video when a simple response is the expectation. I encountered this issue with my students initially, as they were spending more time re-filming their videos because they stammered on a word, rather than focusing on the objective of the post. Overall, Common Sense Media rated Flipgrid as 5/5 stars for engagement , 4/5 for pedagogy, and 4/5 for support.

Although this app has many educational benefits, there are some areas of consideration when addressing its educational value. Common Sense Media noted that the app can be easily misused, as it is structured somewhat like a social media site. Students are able to add filters, emojis, and other animations to their video responses that can distract from the purpose of the assignment. Furthermore, Common Sense Media noted that some students may feel anxious when filming themselves and posting their videos for their classmates to view and comment. When I first introduced this app, two of my students were hesitant and expressed some feelings of anxiety. Toward the end of our How To… Projects, these students gained some confidence and wanted to use the app for their final post, as they were seeing their other classmate’s videos. I still have yet to open up the commenting feature, but this is on my to do list for this week!

Along with tons of great learning opportunities for students, Flipgrid also encourages teachers to connect with each other and expand on their knowledge of meaningful ways to use the app. Educators can become Flipgrid Certified! There are three different levels of this certification and at each level you must perform certain tasks to obtain the certification. This past weekend I earned my Level 1 Flipgrid Certified badge!

YouTube App Review

As I mentioned in my previous major project update, I was thinking about not just using YouTube as a way to vlog about my major project, but as a potential way to share small tutorials of various concepts we are learning in math. I’ve taken a step back from creating my own vlogs, but have now created a YouTube channel to post tutorials for my students to watch. My Grade 4s lost it when they found out their teacher had a YouTube account! My channel is called, Teacher Tremblay Tackles: Grade 4 Math 2020. Take a peek if you want to learn about Fraction and Decimal Equivalency! I currently have five subscribers and 17 views… I may or may not be seven of those views. I am planning on creating another mini-tutorial soon about 3D shapes… Stay tuned for more tutorials!

Since I’ve created an educational YouTube channel, I’ve started doing some research (although there is still more to come). I stumbled upon this video that outlines how to create and manage an educational YouTube channel through YouTube’s Creator Academy. Some tips they use to outline how to create successful videos are:

  1. Define your audience
  2. Brainstorm topics
  3. Focus on your expertise, but don’t be afraid to learn along with your audience
  4. Plan videos
  5. Practice your presentation style

I am planning on looking into more ways YouTube can be utilized in the classroom and exploring this app more now that my Flipgrid exploration is coming to a close.

This post got away from me a little bit, but thanks for taking a read!

-Leigh

7 thoughts on “March 7, 2020: Project Update #4 and Digital Citizenship in Schools

  1. Great update! You can see you’re learning a lot and having fun with it. I also cannot believe we only have a month left. This class has been flying by. I feel like there is still so much to learn and play with. I am excited to see what your unit plan looks like. Your overviews look great! Great work, Leigh! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christina,

      Thank you for your kind words! I feel like this class is just the beginning of exploring so many other possibilities around different apps and technologies!

      Like

    1. Melinda,

      Thanks for sharing that resource! This week my students will be commenting on each other’s Flipgrid tutorials, so that will definitely be a great structure to follow when posting a comment!

      Like

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