A Whole Can of Worms.

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This idea of posting online is such a can of worms in elementary and secondary teaching. There are so many implications, both obvious and more subtle.

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Photo via: Heart Sisters

Posting class achievements and online work online is a way to show the world what educators do, which often occurs behind closed doors. Educating students can be a very isolated event and teachers can sometimes feel maligned by various interest groups. Teaching is an emotional labour and showing the fruits of that labour can feel really validating. It proves that teaching is an essential job and that students are learning things, despite it not being in a traditional fashion, like perhaps their parents and grandparents learned.

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Photo via: Getting Smart

Students can feel value in their learning by seeing its applicability to the outside world: they can see immediately the impact what they do has on others and see other’s responses to their work.In this way students are exposed to the wider world, beyond their closed classroom doors. This prepares them in many ways for life after high school.

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Photo via: Steven Smith

The world of work is in many ways about how you connect and to whom you connect. Being able to more easily through the internet and understand the trail you leave is now an essential skill. Networking is no longer just circulating at a cocktail party in your hometown; you can now wander the globe, making contacts literally everywhere.

In my context, a high school English teacher, the task is to get them to understand the power of their words: not just in the sense of what they say, but how they say it. Being articulate and using proper conventions is important when trying to get your message out. Being able to sound like you know what you’re talking about is almost half the battle. Spelling and grammar have not disappeared. Sure we have spellcheck, but it doesn’t do everything. Proofreading is still an essential skill.

However, there are issues when it comes to blasting the internet with your latest literary essay.

Infrequently, but still enough times for me to pause and reconsider my practice, the issue of custody appears.

This happens in two forms: custody of the materials I’m posting and physical custody of the child.

 

Who owns what I’ve posted online? Do I own it because it was turned into me? Does the student own it because they created it? Does the school or school board own it because it was created using their materials/technology? If it were to generate an income, to whom would it be paid? The person who uploaded it or the person who created it or the entity that provided the opportunity?

The second potential issue is with physical custody. There have been situations in schools where there has been an acrimonious breakup and there have been protection orders issued. A child’s safety may be compromised by putting their artifacts online, which can be traced with a little bit of tech wizardry.

This letter from the Peel District School Board and this one for British Columbia teachers gives some guidelines for teachers to follow regarding what to put when. By providing protections for both staff and students, the online world can be explored.

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Freedom and Choice

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Hi! My name is Kelsie Lenihan and this is my 9th Master’s course in Curriculum and Instruction. This is also my third Alec course.

I was initially a little hesitant to sign up for a social media course because 1) our lives are so dominated by social media, do I really want to add another layer on top of it? and 2) I’m not the most active on social media.

But I dove in. I want to learn more about how to use social media effectively, both personally and professionally. It seems like a big job to curate your online presence in a way where you control the message sent to the world about you.

As well, I have two young sons. I want to know how to make the social media world inviting and safe for them by helping them create their online identity early.

On the first day of class, when we were assigned the task of learning something new through exploring online help, I was stymied.

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There were just so many avenues and options. This is a huge opportunity to do something — anything — that you’ve always wanted to try but never had the time. Here is the time. You need to do this.

So I started asking around. Everyone had a different opinion. My art teacher friend insisted I learn how to paint, because she saw how “well” I did at a Paint Nite. I thought about cake decorating but that got a hard “no” from my husband, who would most likely have been responsible for the eating of the cake.

Finally, it was my three-year-old who made the decision for me.

He’s been starting to get together his wish list for Santa Claus (thank you, Costco, for having Christmas decorations out before Hallowe’en). One of the things he’s been after is called a Code-a-pillar. It’s a way to introduce coding to preschool children.

This started me thinking about why I would want my child to learn how to code at such a young age. It came to me that this is about 21st century learning — about preparing him for jobs that don’t yet exist and to get him familiar with technology so that he’s confident using it and can adapt to the massive shifts in learning that are happening right now.

Computer science is no longer just for nerds. It’s become part of the core curriculum rather than a hobby.

Because my children will probably have coding for homework, I want to be able to help them.

I know nothing about coding. Quite literally nothing. I am starting from ground zero. Well, not quite ground zero, because I’ve got Twitter.

I’ve got a place to start from, but I’m still struggling with the end product. Backward design is ingrained in me, so I am trying to figure out what success will look like. Do I want to learn to code for Apple (I’ve got an iPad and iPhone) or for Android (much more open)? What do I want to code? A game? An app? What is being too ambitious? What is not being ambitious enough?

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If anyone out there has experience about coding, I’d LOVE to have your advice of where to start.