Social media and education – how to reach the world while maintaining privacy

The Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) hosted an informative professional development session about social media with an amazing lawyer, Nadya Tymochenko, and Superintendent Chris Samis. We learned about some of the legal issues regarding how schools and school boards use social media.

As educators, we need to consider some important points when using various social media platforms in our lessons. Social media is a new phenomenon that can have many benefits for education, but we need to continue to think about ensuring the anonymity of our students.

When do we need for informed consent from parents?

When you reflect upon this question, you can see many areas of concern that may be relevant. There are three main points to consider:

  1. We need to let parents know how their children will be engaged in social media. This could be by sending a letter home or including information in newsletters. You should include how and why you are using social media so parents are fully informed.
  2. Parents need to know that they can withdraw their consent at any time. Educators need to ensure there is an easy process in place for parents to withdraw consent. This should be included in all communication home about the project.
  3. Students need to understand what privacy means. Educators cannot take this piece for granted. What privacy means to us may not be the same as what privacy means to our students. This is also a great opportunity to discuss digital citizenship with our students.

Continue reading “Social media and education – how to reach the world while maintaining privacy”

Why I love my job

buttonI recently attended a workshops in our board entitled ‘You had me at Hello’. It was a wonderful session led by Alison LaMantia, Manager of Communications at the board.

One of the key aspects of the presentation was the importance of storytelling. Learners remember significantly more of what they hear when it is framed within a context from a story.

As I sat down, I noticed that on our tables, were buttons. One set of buttons stated: Ask Me Why I Love My Job

I was inspired to answer this question by considering some of the stories of my own practice in education.

As the workshop continued, I was able to think about how the 6 Cs play a role in my practice. The 6 Cs from Michael Fullan are:

  • Creativity
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Critical thinking
  • Citizenship
  • Character

Each of the 6 Cs play significant roles in our classrooms and learning environments. They contribute to the success of all learners, and connect quite well to the concept of our ‘Sphere of Influence’. 

Sphere of influenceEducators make key decisions based on the factors that we have influence over as well as factors that are out of our realm of control.

If we can clearly identify realistic variables that have a positive influence within our realm of control, we can harness greater outcomes for our students. When I thought about this, I couldn’t help but feel the significance of our ability to influence the lives of our students. What we do on a daily basis DOES matter! I realized that when we can identify the ways we can positively influence our students, we can harness a great deal of power to help everyone learn and grow together in so many positive ways.

It inspired me to think about the importance of creating shared visions and understandings. If we can come to a shared understanding within our learning environments about what the 6 Cs mean to our situations, then we will be more likely to identify realistic goals and take steps to meet those goals based on our own learning needs.

This works to set the framework for success, but with enough flexibility for the kind of creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, citizenship and character that we need to inspire and innovate with learners and educators alike.

And this is why I love my job!  Why do you love your job?

Eight apps that can increase connectivity in the classroom

8 great apps for the classroomOne of the best things about being an educator in the 21st century is the increased ability to be connected, share experiences and learn together. Sometimes we wonder about different technologies and have questions about what programs or apps to use in our classrooms. I learned about some apps this past year, and I wanted to share my learnings. The following are all in addition, of course, to the amazing free Google Apps for Education that are provided to our board, including Google Docs, Sheets, Drive, Chrome, Hangouts and more.

Here are the top apps that I will be using consistently this year on the iPads: Continue reading “Eight apps that can increase connectivity in the classroom”

‘Unconference’ an unconventional learning opportunity

edcamp logoWith the beginning of a new school year, educators are thinking about strategies to make it a success for the students. Many are looking for ways to connect with like-minded people to discuss issues, challenges and opportunities, and to learn together.

If you’re starting to map out informal opportunities for learning, keep in mind that on September 27 a new and exciting opportunity is coming to Barrie. It is called Edcamp—a free, non-board based informal ‘unconference’ that is open for anyone invested in education. Continue reading “‘Unconference’ an unconventional learning opportunity”

Technology changing how we teach & learn

Technology is changing the way we learn. The typical classroom of today looks very different than it did 10 years ago. Students have greater access to information, and, when taught properly how to use this access, this is a great advantage.

Learning is evolving, and this can be seen through eLearning and Blended Learning.

eLearning is learning that can take place on any kind of computing device including laptops, tablets, smartphones, iPods and more. The Internet provides students with endless opportunities to expand their learning, collaborate, share and cultivate passions that are not available to students in a traditional classroom. Continue reading “Technology changing how we teach & learn”