Monthly Archives: May 2013

Digital Citizenship Discussion

Students are interested in using Web 2.0 Tools. With these tools, one needs to be cognizant of how to conduct oneself online (netiquette). This month I asked my students to describe how they have been good online citizens. Here are some of their responses:

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Example 1

Example 2

Example 3Screen Shot 2013-05-28 at 5.40.52 PMWhat I appreciated the most about this assignment was that they brought up some suggestions that were not previously mentioned on our digital citizenship poster (re: How do we become better digital citizens?). We had discussions about:

  • Why Facebook and Twitter asks for your age
  • Why people send spam
  • Why personal information should not be shared with people we don’t know
  • Why we don’t write in ALL CAPS
  • Why we need permission to use images in our work

I can’t stress this enough with my students, that when working online, one needs to be safe and responsible. I strongly encourage students to share their accounts with their parents while they are this young so that way they can learn together how to conduct themselves responsibly while using social media. If they practice these skills with guidance from their teacher or parents, when they are older they will know what to do when they have more privacy with their accounts.


My End of Year Reflection on my Edtech Journey

I have had an interesting week, and to say the least, I have come to the realization that not everyone will be as enthusiastic (as people have defined me) about educational technology as I am. I understand that everyone is driven by different goals and areas to work on and may have more pressing issues to address. This is reality and something I should try not to take to heart. I often wonder or ask myself…

What should I be doing with this knowledge I am attaining?

How do I encourage/motivate others to try at least 1 new thing in edtech without scaring them away?

How do you detach your emotions when attempting to convince others to try something new and it isn’t well received?

How do you take one step back and convince yourself you are not Superwoman and to not take on the world?

How do I change the way I approach others about technology so I don’t sound too enthusiastic about what I am learning in grad school?

How do I manage to find the time to support teachers who are interested in using the Web 2.0 tools I have shared?

Where do I go from here? How do I not overwhelm myself, but continue to learn about the many Web 2.0 tools available for use in the classroom?

These are just some of the many questions I ask myself through my edtech journey. This has not been an easy journey. I know there are many educators out there who go above and beyond in many different areas of study. I am so inspired by the many educators I follow on Twitter who are very knowledgeable (even more than me!) on a variety of tech tools and pedagogy. I appreciate the support and encouragement I receive from colleagues both at school and in my grad school course. Thanks a million!


To Twitter or Not to Twitter?

Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 10.54.29 PMYou may have heard about Twitter through friends who use it to stay connected by sharing funny antidotes, describing what they are doing or sharing pictures, but some of you may not be aware that Twitter can also be used for educational reasons. Before beginning it will be important to understand some of the terminology used with Twitter. The Twitter help center provides an informative glossary found at

Here is another quick reference guide you may wish to consult:

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Once you have set up your own Twitter account, it would be important to start following people you care about or want to learn more about. For my fellow educators interested in knowing more about edtech or education, I encourage you to add some of the following Tweeps (Twitter accounts):

@ATA38 @TechPudding @rmbyrnes
@albertateachers @TerryHoganson @stevewclark
@AlbertaCORE @gcourous @kpegler
@Educause @AmberMazur @Chelsea_OLeary

Once you start following people, you can read and respond to their tweets. The more Tweeps you follow, the more followers you could potentially acquire, as people will often consider adding those who are following them. The other way to build your followers is to start tweeting and posting about things that matter to you in education. I have recently posted about student engagement, digital citizenship, website evaluations, top mobile apps and blogging. I also have my WordPress account linked to my Twitter account, so every time I create a new blog post, my Twitter followers can also read what I have to say.

If you want to know which hashtags or trends to follow, please read my post on Twitter hashtags (#). It will give you some good ideas on what threads to start reading and participating in to further discuss educational topics. This would be a great way to participate in professional development (PD) at home as well as collaborating with others to improve your teaching practice.

For those of you who think that Twitter has nothing to offer, I urge you to create an account, follow my suggestions and if you are still convinced after a month it’s not for you, then that’s a fair decision to quit. However, if you have never given Twitter a chance, then you don’t know what you really are missing out on.

iPad Management and Organization

Managing iPadsipad_students1

There are many ways to manage iPads in the classroom. In our school, we have one account where we synch all our iPads together. The reason we do this is because we only need to pay once for any apps that we would like to use and it also ensures that every iPad has the same software. So if I were to borrow an iPad from someone else, then I know I’ll be able to use the app that I am looking for. As for managing apps, each teacher is able to submit a request of certain apps. Our technology leader will then research that app and if they agree it would be great for learning, then the app is purchased/downloaded. At the end of each school year we go through the list of apps and discuss which ones to keep and which ones to remove to make sure that apps on the iPads are being used and not cluttering the iPad. Overall, this has been a great way to manage and organize the iPads. The only suggestion I would make, is informing staff how to select great apps, so that the ones being recommended are geared towards learning concepts and not just towards having fun. My other suggestion would be to sharing the iPad restrictions password with more people so that when a picture apps are denied access to the camera roll, we wouldn’t have to send our iPad to the technology leader to restrict access.

Organizing iPads

Each teacher receives 2 iPads to use in their classrooms. They way a teacher uses their iPad, varies from teacher to teacher. Some teachers use it as a reward or free time and others allow students time to explore games of their choice. I prefer the way I use iPads in my classroom as students are more directed in their learning so students will have opportunities to use apps that they may not choose during free time. To start, every morning a small group of students (3-4) use the iPads during the first 30 minute block. Each week students will be assigned subjects or apps to explore and use. Every now and then I also assign free time where they can choose an app of their choice or continue to use an app their previously used. While one group is working with the iPads, I have the other students split into groups and they are assigned other tasks such as silent reading, guided reading, computer work on Tumblebooks ( or Kidblog posts ( I have found this an effective way to ensure all students have the opportunity to use the iPads on a weekly basis, as well as working through apps that support the concepts we are presently learning.

Group Work with iPads

When it comes to group work in any of the subjects, I will often borrow iPads from my partner teacher or will sign out additional iPads for the week. Usually this will allow me to have 4-8 iPads, instead of 2 iPads for my entire class. When borrowing from my partner, I will find a time she is not using her iPads to ensure I don’t take away from her classroom’s iPad use. Usually this is when I teach math or English, which have been the times I have conducted group work the most with iPads. Fortunately our school has 60 iPads, so we can have them in the classroom and aside for group work. If your school isn’t as fortunate, I would suggest either having 1 iPad per classroom or a group set to sign out and encourage your staff to sign them out so they get used and not kept sitting in the cart.

For more ideas on what apps to use, please check out my page on top elementary mobile apps.


Riddell, R. (2013, February 21). 17 Real-world ways iPads are being used in schools. Retrieved from

Elementary Webpage Evaluation Sheet

This past month, I have been working through activities and worksheets that address digital citizenship and the ITC outcomes mandated by Alberta Learning. One activity that went really well with my grade 3 students is the webpage evaluation sheet we completed. To conduct this activity you’ll need to select a few webpages that vary in accuracy and information. Once you have selected your webpages, start with the evaluation of a good or average webpage. This way students can see examples of good characteristics of a webpage. The example I used with my students is . Screen Shot 2013-05-11 at 3.31.02 PM

For our first evaluation we read through the categories together and discussed why we would put a check mark in the yes or no column. The two categories we analyzed were the format/style of the webpage (how it looks) and the content of the webpage (what we learned). After completing the two categories we answered the following questions:

What did you learn from this webpage?

Was this Website helpful (or unhelpful) in finding the information you were looking for? Please explain why…

Is there something you want to learn more about? (I wonder…)

Through this first activity we discovered that the webpage was helpful in learning about garbage decomposition. We thought it was informative and taught us something new. The facts were easy to read and well explained. Some of the questions the students asked were:

I wonder why we use glass bottles if they take 500 years to decompose?

How long would it take to decompose 70 bottles?

I wonder why we use glass bottles?

I wonder how long it takes to decompose paper, bubble wrap and cotton?

How many recyclables go into the garbage each year?

Attached is the evaluation sheet I adapted from Kathleen Schrock (

Website Evaluation

If you have suggestions for other webpages to evaluate, please write your suggestion in the comment box.

Educational Twitter Hashtags (#)

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Twitter was introduced to me as an educational tool this past summer during one of my grad courses as a way of connecting with other educators. As I get more familiar with this tool, I have started to create a list of hashtags (#) that I like to use when Tweeting. I have included some of my top hashtags used as well as some other subject specific hashtags. Here are some hashtags to consider using and following:

Ed Tech/Leadership/Ed Chat

#edtech               (Educational Technology)
#edchat               (Education Chat)
#abed                  (Alberta Education)
#cdnedchat        (Canadian Education Chat)
#21stedchat        (21st Century Chat)
#edcamp             (Education camp – for educators)
#connectedca    (Connected Canada)
#edleadership    (Educational Leadership)
#elearn                (Education Learn)
#elearning           (Education Learning)
#smartboard       (SMART Board)
#web20                (Web 2.0 Tools)
#web20chat        (Web 2.0 Tools Chat)
#edu                     (Education)


#YYCbe                (Calgary Board of Education)
#cbeilc                 (Calgary Board of Education Innovation Learning Commons)

Mobile Learning

#onescreen        ( – for tablets/iPads)
#mlearning         (Mobile Learning)
#appsforkids      (Mobile Apps)
#ipadchat            (iPads)
#ipadapps           (iPad Apps)
#ipad                    (iPads)

Subject Specific

#frimm               (French Immersion)#elementary      (Elementary Level Discussions)
#kinderchat       (Kindergarten)
#kindergarten   (Kindergarten)
#literacy             (Literacy)
#mathchat         (Mathematics)
#eltchat              (English Learning Learners)
#SSchat              (Social Studies)
#digitalcitizen    (Digital Citizenship)
#pblchat            (Project-Based Learning)

For a more comprehensive list, check out these webpages:


Kharback, M. (2012). The 17 best Twitter hashtags for education (2012). Retrieved from

Teach Thought Staff. (2012, September 11). 50 important Twitter hashtags – with meeting times! Retrieved from

How do we become better digital citizens?

I have spent many months reading up on trends in ed tech including the integration of mobile apps and blogging. It wasn’t until this week that I stopped and asked myself, what about the citizenship aspect of 21st century technologies? Our school has an extensive list of how to interact with others appropriately using email and we have a very detailed policy in place that parents need to sign every year. I spend a considerable amount of time going over digital conduct and even go as far as showing a video on Internet safety. The one thing we were lacking was a nice kid-friendly reminder somewhere in our learning commons citing good online behaviour. I believe it is important to teach students how to conduct themselves online, to ensure they are safe and respectful towards others.

It is for this reason, that I was on a mission to create a kid friendly poster. I have been inspired by the following links on netiquette:

Attached is my kid-friendly poster on digital citizenship at the K-4 level. If I were teaching older students, I would add info about plagiarism (intellectual property) and proper grammar/sentence structure as they are capable of these skills at that age.

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 4.54.01 PMScreen Shot 2013-05-25 at 12.54.11 PMDigital Citizenship Poster 11X17

Now that you have some guidelines, check out these interactive resources on digital citizenship:
Garfield videos discussing: cyber bullying, self-esteem, self-control, peer pressure, listening, online safety, fact or opinion, giving back, diversity, forms of media of several Games discussing digital literacy/citizenship by MediaSmart Digital Passport Program (log in required)

Teacher Resources from Google:


Common Sense Media. (2013). Digital passport. Retrieved from

Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. (2012). 10 excellent digital citizenship tips for our students and kids. Retrieved from

Edudemic. (2012, July 22). 10 interactive lessons by Google on digital citizenship. Retrieved from

Edutopia. (2008, August 13). Beyond Emily: Post-ing etiquette. Retrieved from

Infinite Learning Lab. (2013). Homepage. Retrieved from

Media Smarts. (n.d.). Educational games. Retrieved from

Weir, L. (2008, August 13). Online manners matter. Retrieved from