Digital Citizenship

It’s amazing what a graphic can do. Teaching digital citizenship is now a requirement in my school district. With little to no explanation of what this actually means, teachers are left to their own devices. We were given a powerpoint and that’s it. I really appreciated the graphic included in the digital life skills article. It makes it easy to understand the different components of digital citizenship and would be a useful tool to use to ensure lessons clear and focused. I am excited to share this with teachers who are feeling stressed and overwhelmed at the prospect of teaching yet another thing. This graphic was designed so nicely, I didn’t even feel like they needed the extra text descriptions that followed. It reminded me of when I was doing my mediated writing project and was making decisions about how much information a photo, video, etc. could carry and project.


Final Weekly Play

If you are a teacher, I hope you share my feelings on this. I get this feeling whenever I look when my kids’ open their lunchboxes and see a whole roll of cookies!

Learning Through Play

Tonight I am reminded of the power behind play. In the spirit of play, I took some time to explore the online games Jane had on her website available to us. At first I just clicked and played around, but then I started playing through my primary teacher lens. Up until this point, most of the games I explored were geared towards an older audience. I came across a game on the iCivics website that I was incredibly impressed by. You can find the link below.

Immigration Nation

This is a game focused on teaching young children about immigration. In this game, the player is given scenarios in which people are trying to immigrate to the US by boat. You click on their boat to hear their story and then have to determine which harbor to send them to. For example, if their story says something about being born in the USA then they would go the harbor that says “Born in the USA.” Other harbors include “citizen parents”, “permission to work”, “marriage to a citizen”, and “seeking refuge.”  The last option the play has in to “deny entrance.”

I was particularly impressed by how accessible they made this game for young learners. For one thing the interface is simple to use and not overly distracting. The second way they made it accessible was by highlighting key academic vocabulary and allowing kids to click on it to hear a definition. The last and most impactful, in my opinion, choice they made was making all dialogue and text spoken. That is, kids don’t have to be able to read in order to play the game. It also has a points system for putting the boats in the correct harbors. I thought it was a very engaging way to teach young kids about immigration policy.


One thing I found interesting and wasn’t a fan of was the exaggerated excitement that comes from narrator’s “good job” when the player correctly identifies somebody who should be denied entrance. For example, there are scenarios where the person wants to come to the US because employment in their country is not good and their parents said a life in the US would be better.” The correct move in the game is to deny entry. I don’ t think this is enough of a negative that I wouldn’t let kids play, but I think it could start a great conversation around their own ideas of immigration and what they think. It could also open doors for talking about the process that somebody has to go through when they want to immigrate. Overall, a very powerful learning experience.

This game reminds me of the power of play. We do a lot of play in primary, but online play is another story. It can be nerve wracking to allow kids to play on the computer. I am reminded that online learning can be so much more than a computer station that kids rotate through. It takes time to find a good online resources, especially ones like this that create a cross-curricular connection to social studies, but well worth the hunt.

Who Deserves the Credit?

I have heard the phrase “on fleek” hundreds of times and it didn’t even cross my mind to inquire about its origin. I am grateful to have read the article featuring its origin, so I can think more critically about memes, phrases, GIFs, etc. that go viral in the digital world. With that said, I’m torn on who should get the credit. From one end you have the original creator, but on the other end you have the person who was innovative and could see the big picture of what the phrase could be. The original creator definitely got taken advantage of in this situation, but she also made the conscious choice to freely post content on the internet without protecting it. Is there such a thing as implicit copyright?

This situation provides a great platform and advocacy for teaching digital citizenship. It’s so easy to make content and put it out into the digital world without a care in the world. I believe the information around trade marking, copyright, creative commons, and privacy in general should be spread wider, so people can protect themselves and their work. I also understand it’s challenging to think ahead because typically the intent behind the content is to make something interesting that people will like. I think it’s highly unlikely the girl who coined the term “on fleek” was doing so purposefully.

Weekly Play #7

For this week’s Weekly Play I explored another Daily Create. For this Daily Create I was tasked with sharing an addiction I have via Twitter. It was simple and easy to do. The thing I like about the Daily Creates is how low pressure and stress they are. I never have considered myself somebody who participates a whole lot when it comes to social media, but exploring the Daily Creates has felt really comfortable. I especially like that the media used to express your thought changes. Last week I did one that required you to make a meme. This week it was Twitter. I think kids would really enjoy them as well. You can see my Tweet down below!

#tdc2510 #ds106 #uwbdiglit #StardewValley My Addiction via @ds106dc My current addiction, although I’m not a big fan of that language, is the video game Stardew Valley. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this invested in a game!

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Cyber Security

As I read through this week’s readings a lot of the DIY Feminist Cybersecurity article resonated with me. When it comes to the cyber world, it feels like a lot is out of consumers control, but protecting yourself is something we have some control over.

One of the suggestions in the article was to avoid using public wifi for personal business as much as possible. I know I’ve been guilty of being out and needing to pay a bill or deposit a check really quick. This reminder is making me think twice about using public wifi for anything other than searching the web.

Another section that I really enjoyed was the “zero effort privacy” one. I’m all about taking the thinking out of how to make myself safe on the internet. I went ahead and downloaded the “privacy badger” extension and the “uBlock”. I already had AdBlock installed on my computer, but uBlock seems to block more adds.

The other part of the article that grabbed my attention was the section on passwords. I am so guilty of using the same password for multiple accounts. I am well aware of the dangers of doing this, but it’s so frustrating to constantly be trying to remember your password. I try to make small shifts, so it’s somewhat unique, but this is something I could be a lot better about. I’m a little leery about using something like Password Manager, but am not totally opposed.

Mediated Writing

For my mediated writing project, I used a research paper I wrote for my multicultural children’s literature course. The gist of the paper was that I was exploring the gender stereotypes in princess literature. I specifically focused on Cinderella stories. I then used my findings to see if they prevailed in multicultural versions of the story. Overall I enjoyed the experience of using Adobe Spark to create my project. It was interesting to really determine what parts of my paper I could cut out and what I wanted to have in writing. I loved how easy it was to insert different forms of media. I did find myself having to go back and frequently re-order and sequence things, so the visual components flowed nicely. It could have been the theme I chose, I’m not really sure, but I did find it frustrating how limiting the editing options were. I wanted to move text around and split the screen so I could have a picture and video on one side and/or a text and a video, but I didn’t have the freedom in the program to do so. The only option for splitting the screen was to have an image on one side and text on the other. I am interested in continuing to explore this platform for other projects in the future, as I felt it would be fairly easy for students to work with.




What Would a Tech-Savvy Dog Do?

Weekly Play #6

For this week’s daily play I decided to explore The Daily Create option. I’m surprised it took me this long to start playing with it, as I’ve found it really enjoyable. The thing I like best is the balance between remaining within the constructs of the prompt and the freedom to express yourself how you see fit. The one I chose asked you to consider what a tech-savvy dog would do if it had online access. I took this one step further and imagined what a tech-savvy English Bulldog would do because they are my absolute favorite breed! I created a Meme using GIPHY to show what the dog would be spending his time doing. Obviously buying, selling, and trading stock, oh and checking for Tinder matches.




Expectation vs. Reality

Weekly Play # 5

For this week’s weekly play I chose to play more with making memes. This time, however, I challenged myself to make a meme using two pictures instead of one. I made the meme using imgflip. It came about from googling images of different school lunches. I was thinking about our class with Caitlin Maxwell where we played with changing the words you search for. I found that when you just search for “school lunch” the lunches actually look quite appetizing. When you search “hot lunch for school” the images are far less appealing. This got me thinking about what parents’ expectations may be. When you read the little descriptions of the menu options they sound appetizing. The reality is they are pretty sad looking. To include the second picture I uploaded the pictures in MS paint and moved them together. Super simple!

The Art of Screen Time

It probably comes as no surprise that when it comes to parenting there are A LOT of opinions. This especially holds true when it comes to screen time. This past week I’ve been reading The Art of Screen Time by Anya Kamenetz and read a particularly interesting section about screen use at home and how families navigate these waters. She online surveyed around 500 people about the rules and limitations they put on screen time for their kids. What she found was that most parents set screen rules by either time (how many hours/minutes), occasion (which days of the week or times during the day?) , priority (no tech until _____ gets done), content (what they can/cannot use the device for), convenience (to free up your own schedule), and emotion (setting limits when kids show negative emotions after engaging with media).

One of the things I found interesting was the differences between age groups. From her survey she found the younger children were, the more time was used as a restriction and limit. For example, the child would be allowed 1 hour of screen time a day, or they would have three 30 min tokens they could spend throughout the day. Once kids hit their teen years, parents seemed to care less about how much time they were spending on screens, but rather what they were using them for. A lot of parents who let their kids engage with social media required to have the passwords and created a culture in their family that the parents would be granted access to their account or device whenever they wanted.

Where do I fall on this? I don’t have any children yet, so I’m cautiously sharing my opinions here. I don’t believe there is a magic number or formula that dictates how much screen time is too much. With respect to creating rules and limits, I also think that what works well for one child or family, might not work well for another family. With that said, I think my ultimate goal would be to help create an environment where I can support my child in learning how to self-regulate their use of devices. This could start as conversations about where I would start to have them think critically about how they are using their devices (e.g., Games? To participate? To create?). I would also be cautious of red flags in behavior. What happens when the screen is taken away? Is it a full on meltdown? If so, that’s something we would have to talk about. I would also censor, the best I could, what shows and media my kids are being exposed to. As my children get older, there would be more self-regulation and more critical conversations that take place. I think for parents of teens the internet can feel like a really scary place and I would have to agree. It doesn’t take much for a photo to get leaked or a post to be misunderstood before the whole thing blows up. Rather than being scared of this tho, again I would try to hold those critical conversations. What happens when you post a picture and you don’t turn on privacy settings so only your friends can view it? What are the benefits and what might the danger be? Snapchat videos and pictures are a really fun way to engage in story telling, but do they really ever go away? What happens when you add a boyfriend or girlfriend into the mix? Again, I think critical conversations are the key to navigating these waters.

Side note, if you do have kids, I would recommend this book. It’s easy to read and has some common sense ideas about digital media.