Well, it has been quite the semester! Definitely one to remember. Aside from the major changes that are happening in our professional and personal lives, I feel that I have learned SO much this semester. Honestly, I don’t think I would have been as prepared as I was for these changes without the knowledge and relationships I have gained from taking this class. WE MADE IT!
Major Project: Artifacts and Reflections
The following are some highlights of my process throughout my major project. Toward the end of my post, I’ve included the links with my detailed unit plan, in-depth app reviews, and some other artifacts from this journey.
A Glance Back…
- Initially, it was not my intention to create and teach a unit plan. My original goal was to experience and review 3 different apps. However, some issues were surfacing in our Learning Community with social media use outside of school hours. I took that as my cue to start having more serious conversations about digital citizenship and how to handle these responsibilities inside and outside of school. I finally made some decisions: a digital citizenship unit plan, an app review of Flipgrid (with a focus on assessment), and an app review of YouTube (with a focus on creating vlogs). Check out my first project proposal here and my revised project proposal here. You can also check out out my first progress update here to find out how I planned on using Flipgrid in my classroom and a few tips that were helpful to get started!
- This adventure began with collaborating alongside my co-teachers to develop an outline for my unit plan. We looked at the K-12 Continuums in the Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools Policy Guide and brainstormed some lesson ideas. We also were looking at how we could tie our unit in with what we were currently teaching. Since I had some lesson ideas and resources in mind (Common Sense Media was a total life saver), I had already started teaching a digital identity lesson in preparation for our photo booth activity, which you can get more details on here. In the meantime, I also began creating vlog updates about my project and posting them on my unlisted YouTube channel. You can check out my vlog updates in the EC&I 832: Major Project tab here to view. As I was creating my vlog updates about my major project, I started thinking about YouTube’s capabilities in the classroom and possibly taking a different approach with my ‘YouTubing.’ I also got my students organized and logged into using Flipgrid. We did a practice post and did some ‘trouble shooting.’ I also did a Flipgrid PD: Getting Started session. It was very helpful doing a practice post with my students before the PD session because I had a chance to ask any questions that had come up when we did our practice posts. In addition, we started our “How To…” Projects not too long after. I developed this mini unit as a way to use Flipgrid and to explore its potential as an assessment tool. At this point, students had began working on their projects and did their first Flipgrid reflection! In the links at the end of this post, you can check it out! You can also take a peek at a more in-depth view of this step here. All of that took us to the February break!
- When we returned, How To… Projects were in full swing! Over the break, I experimented with listening to my student’s first Flipgrid reflections. Overall, I had a positive experience, but had some hiccups with the audio. I thought offering video feedback would be efficient, but it ended up taking longer than I had expected due to these issues. The audio of the other videos would play simultaneously as I was trying to listen to another video. As a result, I needed to wait until the background noises finished to listen to the video I was working with. I also became Flipgrid Certified: Level 1. Check out the certification levels here. After the break, my unit was fully planned and ready to roll! On February 26, it was Day of Pink/Anti-Bullying Day. My co-teachers and I decided to use this day to focus on digital citizenship and commenting/posting on social media with our students responsibly, respectfully, and of course, kindly. We created a superhero themed photo booth that went along with our Build Love presentation mentioned in my February 10, 2020 Major Project Update. Students could dress up as superheroes in the photo booth and take photos to post on their social media accounts (we had confirmed media releases and had parents sign permission slips prior to this activity). The day was a success and the students did a fantastic job of applying their digital citizenship and “netiquette” skills. Prior to this day, we had a large group lesson about how this day was going to go (rules and procedures) and we checked out one of my co-teacher’s Twitter accounts to give the students a sense of how hashtags and appropriate comments should look. Check out my reflection about this day here! For my YouTube exploration, I made the decision to change routes. Instead of just doing project updates, I started a YouTube channel that contains tutorials for my Grade 4 math class. My channel is called Teacher Tremblay.
- This is where things started to get a little interesting with COVID-19 and school closures. At this point, my Flipgrid review was pretty much wrapped up, as my students completed their How To… Projects. Check out some of their creations from this post. I also had an interview with Curtis. Initially, the interview was supposed to be about SeeSaw for Curtis’ major project… Little did I know he has tons of experience with Flipgrid! He showed me some other awesome features, like the Immersive Reader. Check out our impromptu Flipgrid interview here. Although my tutorial YouTube channel for my Grade 4 math students only had two videos posted, my students had mentioned that they had been really helpful! I had stopped doing vlog project updates, as I felt tutorials were beneficial for my students and slightly more interesting for anyone watching my videos! I had also spent some time looking into different educational YouTube channels. My favourite channel I stumbled upon was A Pocketful of Primary. This channel provides tons of resources on everything elementary. Michelle Ferre is the teacher who created this channel and she also teaches Grade 4, like myself. She has provided tons of great resources for using Google Classroom, addressing COVID-19, and resources for distance learning amidst the recent school closures. I highly recommend checking out her channel! YouTube presents many great educational opportunities, but it is so important to be mindful of the content that can be found on the app/website. YouTube depends on its users to report any inappropriate content, so there is a lot of responsibility that comes into play when using the app. Take a peek at Common Sense Media: Review of YouTube for more details! In terms of my unit plan, we had just started discussing in app purchases. I was shocked at how many of my students have made accidental in-app purchases! I was also pleasantly surprised with how well-versed they were regarding how various apps work. My favourite part about this lesson was how much I learned from my students! Check out my lesson reflection here. Unfortunately, this is where the story ends… For now.
To say this class has been useful is an understatement. Nothing could have prepared me for school closures and a global pandemic, but this class has offered me a variety of tools to apply in order to reach my students from afar. It just so happened that the apps I have chosen for my reviews lend themselves to distance learning in some way and present opportunities for my students to apply their digital citizenship skills in an authentic setting. Of course, my plans at this point are tentative and depend on what direction my school division decides to take. However, I am hoping to use Flipgrid for weekly updates from my students. The interactive nature of Flipgrid is exactly the kind of platform I am looking for when keeping up with my students when I am not seeing them on a daily basis. In addition, posting YouTube videos of tutorials for my students will be a great way to supplement what we are working on in math. There is also the potential that this could expand into other subject areas! I would absolutely recommend both YouTube and Flipgrid for classroom use, however, it may be helpful to take a peek some reviews before deciding if these apps are the right fit for you and/or your students.
Links to Major Project App Reviews and Unit Plan
One Last Thing…
Before we decided as a class to forego the Summary of Learning, I had written a poem that I was going to make into a video of some sort to summarize my learning/my semester. I had a lot of fun writing it and I figured some laughter is what we all may need now!
When I first embarked on this journey,
I learned a lot in a hurry.
It started with a blog and let me tell you,
I felt like I bit off more than I could chew.
Thanks to Alec and my very patient classmates,
My WordPress categories aren’t a disgrace.
Just when I thought blogging was cased,
Twitter was my next obstacle to face.
I dusted off the cobwebs from October 2014, according to my profile
And pranced back into Twitter world after my 6 year exile.
The learning curves were everywhere,
But check out my teaching– it has some serious flair!
Twitter allowed me to connect
With everything #edtech.
Now that the logistics were under control,
It was time to let this learning really unfold.
Alec had his work cut for him, because “cyber safety” and “no digital identity is a good identity” was where I was starting.
It didn’t take long for that knowledge to begin departing,
I finally was understanding the meaning of digital citizenship.
It’s more than just interacting appropriately and avoiding slips,
It’s the continuous development of appropriate, responsible, and empowered technology use.
This definition gave my understanding a serious boost.
As Common Sense Media frames it,
You should be saying, “I’m proud of that post because it’s the right fit.”
Throughout this deep dive, a guy named Mike Ribble became quite popular.
This dig. cit. expert’s Nine Elements are nothing less than spectacular.
As a matter of fact,
The Sask. Policy Planning Guide used these elements to develop the K-12 Continuums, to be exact.
As a teacher I began to think,
“Now what do my students need?” Ah ha! A unit plan with cross curricular links.
I began my research to find that digital citizenship needs to be taught through a reoccurring, integrative approach,
And those stand alone lessons won’t yield much growth.
To make this unit come to life,
My co-teachers suggested, “Let’s show these kids that posting on social media doesn’t need to cause so much strife.”
A plan was hatched, the photo booth was made, we taught those kids about digital identity, and what commenting should be.
We told those kids to post and post they did– as it turns out, real life experiences is not just the key,
It’s a definite necessity!
The unfortunate event of COVID-19 put my unit plans on hold,
But have no fear,
My app exploration was a sight to behold!
My learning experience of Flipgrid and YouTube
Was a lot to handle for this media noob.
I was giving it my best!
We all thought Coronavirus was contagious,
But it has nothing on that Flipgrid Fever… Now that’s all kinds of dangerous!
My students enjoyed their How To… Projects
Because Flipgrid allowed me to formatively assess.
Their feedback features are pretty top notch,
But the verbal feedback was kind of a botch.
Their customized rubric was the star of the show.
The interactive nature was a great way to “show what you know.”
Curtis is the Flipgrid master,
Without his insight, my project could have been a complete disaster!
He showed me the Immersive Reader,
And that quickly became my favourite feature!
Through a little more digging, I found this helpful tool.
It was a Flipgrid checklist to ensure your posts don’t sound a fool.
Most importantly, remember those do’s and don’ts,
And make sure you get those parents to condone their child’s use of Flipgrid alone.
My YouTube review was in constant evolution,
As I kept searching for the perfect solution.
I started with simple vlogs, updating my classmates on my progress so far.
It didn’t take long for me to see that those vlogs weren’t on par.
I changed my route!
I decided to show what my math class is about!
In less than 24 hours I became a YouTube sensation.
If you applied any media literacy skills, you would know that’s a gross exaggeration.
With that being said, you must consider
The content on YouTube can make a fact checker shiver.
So always be aware of what you watch and what you post
Because it doesn’t take much to get burned like toast.
Are these unique times?
But let’s focus on the opportunities these changes could heed!
Common Sense didn’t miss a beat,
Check out this link and imagine the outcomes this resource could meet!
Spotting fake news is more than just a skill,
It is essential for 21st century humans to ensure this gap is nil.
Thanks to some intelligent classmates,
They taught me about IMVAIN to ensure fake news is not my fate.
Let’s hope whatever damage this virus has done
Is quickly resolved and we can get back to some in-person fun!
I’ve learned a great deal, thanks to the awesome collaboration in this class,
I’m crossing my fingers for a definite pass!
I’m wishing you all the best of luck in your studies and if this is the end of the road for you,
Think of all the things you now can do!
Thanks for taking a read! 🙂