Course 2: Week 5

How did we get here? How did we [the education system] create such a disconnection between how teens spend their time outside of the classroom and the learning materials and experiences we often give them?

While we may recognize the power of social media we may not always know how to harness this power. Teachers aren’t always good at ‘giving up’ control and policy may not allow flexibility, healthy boundaries guidelines, or positivity.

I love this collection of resources about getting shifting the perspective of responsible use policies to teacher empowered student use.

This week’s material was particularly engaging and one I will continue to reflect on as I plan for next year. The video below brings to life a solution to this dicotomy.

“We have to get rid of our fear, we have to go beyond this overriding need for control of everything that they do, we have to focus more on empowerment.”

Extracurricular empowerment: Scott McLeod at TEDxDesMoines

Scott McLean illustrations effective learning environments as robust technology-infused places, where students do meaningful work, and where we get out of their way and let them be amazing.

I love that: get out of their way and let them be amazing. I do find at my current school we allow student voice and opportunity to grow into leaders. Our current leadership listens to ideas and with proper rationale, is flexible toward change.

Take a look at our current policy, mostly make public, about social media usage guidelines. Positively speaking, we think of responsible usage policy as a community effort. Shifting wording to be more positive and reader-friendly could be areas of improvement. I’ve love to form a task force to revamp this. I note with appreciation, teachers have been asked feedback regarding this agreement about our entire operations manual.

Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

One project I’ve added to my curriculum that has organically empowered students to use social media is the 20Time Project, inspired by teacher Laura Randazzo. You can find the complete download for FREE here.

We just wrapped up students’ presentations last week and I had a variety of excellent work. Students created video games, blogs, make-up and food tutorial videos, etc.

Moving forward, I want to create more empowered student use policies and culture in the classroom and help others teacher do the same.

How can I continue to help students thrive in a participatory culture?

Course 2: Final Project

Course 2 accompanied a whirlwind in my personal and professional life, letting PD slip to the back-burner. I felt like giving up.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Luckily, I didn’t.

It wasn’t just me. A global pandemic set us all off course in an unprecedented way. Our lives are still far from pre-COVID normal but the following realizations I’ve made will carry on with me forever.

  • Radical educational reform IS possible, ‘school’ can be done differently.
  • Stop and appreciate what you have, especially those you love.
  • We are all more interconnected than we think.
Photo by Donald Tong from Pexels

Given I was WAY behind the others, it was going to be hard to fulfill the group project element for this final project. I had to creative but also realistic.

At my current school, social media/technology usage and regulations are either an appendix (filled with don’t and avoid) or sparse. (Basically, someone did something bad, and let’s add a line in our handbook so it doesn’t happen again.)

I took this project as a charge to shift the perception of social media usage in the classroom, from the ground up.

Aspirations/ guidelines for my final project:

  • Be worded positively
  • Encourage continued thought and commitment toward the desired goal.
  • Be standards-aligned.
  • Be applicable to different subjects in secondary, not just English.
  • View social media as an asset instead of a liability to learning

This is what I created with the help of 2 teachers outside of COETAIL, in Mongolia, and 2 cohort members. I will add this agreement to my course outlines for the fall and share it with my colleagues.

Course 2 Final Project- Social Media Agreement

Course 2: Week 4

Across many demographics, people are using social media on a daily basis. Social media has changed the way we consume information. Misinformation can be easily spread and negatively impact society. To explicitly address media literacy, our students are more empowered to filter commercialism, propaganda, censorship, media ownership, and stereotyping in the media. What is media? … Continue reading “Course 2: Week 4”

Across many demographics, people are using social media on a daily basis. Social media has changed the way we consume information. Misinformation can be easily spread and negatively impact society. To explicitly address media literacy, our students are more empowered to filter commercialism, propaganda, censorship, media ownership, and stereotyping in the media.

What is media?

Social Media: The 5 Key Concepts

  • Key Concept #1: All Media Messages Are “Constructed”
  • Key Concept #2: Media Messages Shape Our Perceptions of Reality
  • Key Concept #3: Different Audience, Different Understanding of the Same Message
  • Key Concept #4: Media Messages Have Commercial Implications
  • Key Concept #5: Media Messages Embed Points of View
Image by tiday from Pixabay

At times, I’m overwhelmed by the amount of information I have access to on social media. It feels right to know the life of George Floyd and advocate for justice. His story and the tragic killing, at the hands of a police officer, should be made known. But this week has been tough. From George Floyd to Black Lives Matter, knowing some of my family members’ views on BLM are openly racists to witnessing, in real-time, peaceful and disruptive protests happening. All along the backdrop of a Global Pandemic. It’s a lot to deal with. I’ve been vocal about my anti-racist sentiment which has sparked some emotional debate. I’m emotionally drained, to be honest.

How can social media be used for social progress?

How do you help your students process the vast amounts of information on social media and identity misinformation?

How can teacher guides students through the 5 key concepts of social media mentioned above?

Course 2: Week 3

Protecting Data in Education

The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data claims the Economist. Is teacher and student data at risk? Who profits? How can our data be protected? These are just some of the questions I’ve considered this week.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

This is a big topic and one I didn’t have much background knowledge of. But this paragraph from the Educator Toolkit for Teacher and Student Privacy helped give me some context.

“So what is privacy and why does it matter? Privacy refers to the ability to protect one’s own personal information and control with whom and how the information is shared. It matters because even if you’re not doing anything illegal or feel you have nothing to hide, the standards and norms by which judgments are made about behavior that’s “right” versus “wrong” today could easily change tomorrow. Moreover, the freedoms of expression, association, and assembly — all of which are necessary for a free and functioning democratic society — are underpinned by the
right to privacy.”

Context Matters

The Privacy Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) was established by the U.S. Department of Education as a one-stop-shop for education stakeholders on all things data privacy, confidentiality, and security practices for student data. Even though I work at a WASC accredited American-style school, it’s located outside of America. This week’s materials led me to search for the Laws of Mongolia on Education.

Truth is, I’ve experienced some cringe-worthy moments as an educator in Mongolia: ranking students by exam scores, public grade comparisons, and shaming, grade changing, unashamedly preferential treatment for high scoring students, etc. All of which, violated student data privacy. I have seen a shift in recent years; progress in Asia is well underway.

According to this blog post, Mongolia doesn’t have legislation to criminalize violations of privacy breaches. Only in 2011, Mongolian Data protection Law (adopting a Law on Personal Secrecy 1995 and a Law on Personal Secrecy/ Privacy Law) was first approved. The author, Badamsuren Batchuluun, Mongolia, mentions more training should be conducted to inform the public and government about data protection law.

More needs to be done. I see a huge gap in protecting student data and confidentiality in Mongolia and I hope the final project for this course can help me discover ways to close it.

Further Resources:

Common Sense Digital Curriculum

Making Sense of Data for teachers and Google for Education Trainers

The Privacy Project by The New York Times


Protecting Student Privacy on Social Media

Lingering Question:

How can I advocate for legislation in Mongolia to protect student data and privacy?

Course 2: Week 2

Has anyone else been called a #boomer before, by a student? In a joking way, of course, but as a millennial, I take slight offense. I know I’m older but I’m not a baby boomer (my connotation/ not theirs)!

This video spoke to me. In instances where my students let me into their world, they often show me a thread of memes which I may or may not get. Honestly, I don’t even feel confident pronouncing ‘meme’ and ‘gif’ and I’m not old.

(Maybe I am a boomer…?)

Teens today use memes, hashtags, and emoji’s as advanced and sophisticated tools of expression. Within social media, there is an added layer of building on trends to further deepen the connection with others. Example: #ME RN.

Mongolia has one of the highest stats for Facebook users. And while the trend ‘Facebook is for old people’ may be true here too, Messenger is still an essential app for all. Amongst the teens I talked to, over Messenger no less, they said they mostly talked to their friends in group chats. These chats can have upwards of 20 people in them. Also not a surprise as students in Mongolia graduate to the next grade with their same cohort and homeroom teacher, forming tight-knit social networks for life.

Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Social Media Market Share

I also asked them how quarantine has impacted their frequency of communication with their friends. All said it has increased significantly.

Teens today, like generations before, use the tools to make life easier and/or more fulfilling. I talked to my best friends every day after school for hours. Teens today do too, but instead of talking, they text, instead of needing to charge the cordless phone or ending the phone call to complete a chore, it’s always available.

Social media has a high impact on society. I think it’s important for parents, admin, and teens themselves, to understand and make it work for them. We need to use social media to benefit our life instead of diminishing it.

As a teacher and Google for education trainer, I can create &/or instruct people:

  • How to create a shared calendar for students and parents
  • How to automate life with Add-ons
  • Share Google Extensions like Screencastify or Kami

What I’m left with is this, school administration doesn’t like it (or prohibit it) when you befriend students and parents on Facebook or use Messenger for communication. I get it. But knowing it’s more effective than other Apps for communication, what should we do?