Major Project Wrap Up

Wow! What a semester this has been. With many things changing in my personal life and of course everything going on in the world, my major project changed many times and I didn’t get anywhere near the amount of work that I wanted to get done, but, c’est la vie! I ended up learning a lot about three different apps throughout this whole process, one education app and two social media apps.

I was able to do research on TikTok and Discord and learn a lot about both of them. I learned that TikTok can lead you down a very deep hole that ends up of hours of time wasted! I also learned that my students think that I am really old and would keeping saying “okay, boomer” to me all the time, especially when I was asking questions about the app. While I didn’t make any videos myself, I was able to be part of one that one of the newbie teachers at my school wanted to make. My students felt that TikTok was a good app to use to waste time and scroll through if you are bored. They all also talked about some of the negatives of using the app as well. I can’t say that I have found a use for Discord in my life yet, but my students use this app all the time. All of my students could only tell me positive things about Discord, and had no negatives about it. They love the app because they can keep in contact with one another and allows them to find other people that have the same interests as them.

My original plan was to research two educational apps, but that just didn’t happen. I decided to stick to finding out more about Seesaw, which came in handy when we moved to remote learning. I had already been using the app, so it was familiar for my parents, students and me. There are lots of different activities that other teachers have made that you can share with students, or you can create one yourself. The students get to have options of how they want to do the assignment and can do the activities on any type of technology. I had already known that it was a great tool for messaging parents and have really enjoyed getting to use more functions within it.

Thanks for joining me on the journey!

Student Voices – Part 3

The third student is also a grade 8 student. Just like the other interviews, the transcript is altered a bit to make it easier to follow.

Ms. B – Do you have a TikTok account?

Student #3 – Yes, I do.

Ms. B – How often do you think you use your TikTok account?

Student #3 – Not too frequently.

Ms. B – Are you making videos or mostly just watching stuff?

Student #3 – Mostly me just watching out of boredom

Ms. B – Have you ever created a video of your own?

Student #3 – No

Ms. B – What are some good things about TikTok?

Student #3 – Some good things is it’s entertaining and stuff

Ms. B – What do you think are some bad things about TikTok?

Student #3 – Some people spread weird and false news and stuff and some things get overexaggerated

Ms. B – Do you know anything about the creating of TikTok?

Student #3 – I don’t know much, just that is was made from someone in China I think

Ms. B – Do you know if there is an age restriction for on TikTok?

Student #3 – I don’t know.

Ms. B – How long have you been using TikTok?

Student #3 – For a couple of months

Ms. B – Do you use Discord?

Student #3 – Yeah, quite a lot.

Ms. B – What does quite a lot mean? How many hours in a day?

Student #3 – Just a couple of hours to communicate with people

Ms. B – What do you know about the creation of Discord?

Student #3 – I don’t know where it was created, but I know it was mainly created for gaming.  So, if you are playing video games with someone, you could chat through there.

Ms. B – It’s evolved from there?  What else can you do on there now?

Student #3 – You can make servers and stuff

Ms. B – How would you communicate with someone?  What are the different ways?

Student # 3 – Call, type.

Ms. B – What are the positives of using Discord?

Student #3 – The positives of using Discord is you can communicate with people

Ms. B – Is it pretty anonymous?  Can you keep your identity hidden if you want to?

Student #3 – It depends.

Ms. B – Okay, so say you went into a server with 800 people in it.  Can you have your name hidden?

Student #3 – Yeah, you can just create a username.

Ms. B – Can you have more than one account on Discord?

Student #3 – Yes.

Ms. B – Do you have more than one account?

Student #3 – Yes.

Ms. B – Are there any negatives to Discord?

Student #3 – Sometimes there are people who are unfriendly.  But one of the good things is that you can scan for friends.

Ms. B – Explain that to me.

Student #3 – It will scan for what people are saying

Ms. B – So it scans for people who may have the same likes as you?

Student #3 – Yes.

Ms. B – That’s cool! Do you know if there is an age restriction for Discord? Student #3 – I don’t remember.

Student Voices – Part 2

The second student I interviewed is also in grade 8. The following is the transcript of the interview. Some of the questions and answered are altered a bit to exclude the umms, and okays.

Ms. B – Do you have a TikTok account?

Student #2 – Yes

Ms. B – How often do you think you use TikTok?

Student #2 – An hour maybe four or five times a week

Ms. B – Are you creating videos on TikTok?

Student #2 – Yes

Ms. B – Or are you mostly watching the videos.

Student #2 – I mostly watch but I do make videos

Ms. B – What do you know about the creation of TikTok?

Student #2 – It was originally called until it was bought by another person, or company, and then they changed it to TikTok

Ms. B – Is there an age restriction on TikTok?

Student #2 – 13, but it can be….

Ms. B – were you on it before you were 13?

Student #2 – No

Ms. B – What are some good things about TikTok?

Student #2 – Hmmm,

Ms. B – What do you like about TikTok?

Student #2 – Fun app, fun to use, fun to go on, you can get a lot of funny people

Ms. B – Okay, what do you think are some bad things about TikTok?

Student #2 – There’s a lot of hate on the app

Ms. B – Okay, like what?

Student #2 – Like a lot of discrimination and other things like hate comments

Ms. B – When you are on TikTok can everyone see your name?  Is your name associated with your account?

Student #2 – No

Ms. B – Do you have to add people to see your account?

Student #2 – It can be like that; you can set it to be private mode where you have to be friends with a person

Ms. B – What about Discord?  Do you use Discord?

Student #2 – Yes, very often.

Ms. B – What do you know about the creation of Discord?

Student #2 – Not very much.

Ms. B – You don’t know what country is was made in or anything like that?

Student #2 – No.

Ms. B – So did you start using Discord when you were gaming?

Student #2 – No.

Ms. B – So it was something other than when you were playing video games?

Student #2 – Yes

Ms. B – So why did you start using Discord?

Student #2 – To talk to my friends.

Ms. B – Okay, and how can you talk to your friends on Discord?

Student #2 – You can type, you can phone, you can video.

Ms. B – How often do you think you use Discord?

Student #2 – Every day

Ms. B – So explain Discord to me.  Do you have to set up groups?

Student #2 – You can set up groups, you can also talk one on one with a person, just private chat and you can also set up servers where there’s over 1000 people

Ms. B – And can you just set up a server for whatever you want to set up a server for?

Student #2 – Yep

Ms. B – What is an example of a server?

Student #2 – Well I created a server.

Ms. B – What did you create it for?

Student #2 – For people who like anime

Ms. B – What do you think are some bad things about Discord?

Student #2 – Hmmm…

Ms. B – It’s okay if you don’t think that there is.

Student #2 – You can’t send a video over a certain file size unless you pay for the Nitro version Ms. B – Okay.

Student Voices – Part 1

My plan for my major project has changed a lot from what I originally thought I was going to do. I still wanted to learn about TikTok and Discord, but I started to want to learn about these apps through the eyes of my students. I interviewed three of my students to see what they knew about and how they used both TikTok and Discord.

The first student I interviewed is a very well-spoken grade 8 student. The following is the transcript of the interview. Some of the questions and answered are altered a tiny bit to exclude the umms, and okays from the interviewer.

Ms. B – Do you have a TikTok account?

Student #1 – Yes, I do.

Ms. B – What do you like about TikTok?

Student #1 – I like the people that you can find.  There are a lot of different communities. There’s also a lot of funny jokes.  A lot of people have said that TikTok is it’s own kind of inside joke and you will not understand it if you are not on TikTok and I think that that is kind of funny.

Ms. B – What do you know about TikTok?  How was it created and stuff like that?

Student #1 – It started out as an app called  It was much different, the same premise, but a company ended up buying and changing it to TikTok and making it quite different to what it was.

Ms. B – How often do you use TikTok?

Student # 1 – I don’t make video as often, but I go on it whenever I am bored because it is a good past time if you are fidgeting and just looking at videos.  Then I send them to my friends.

Ms. B – What are some bad things that you know about?

Student #1 – There’s a lot of, there’s homophobia on there.  There’s racism, there’s been a lot of rude people on there.

Ms. B – So you said you don’t make videos, have you ever made videos?

Student # 1 – I don’t make videos as often, but I have made videos.  I have had three accounts.

Ms. B – So why three accounts?

Student #1 – The first one I had on and then I stopped using it because I couldn’t delete things as easily.  So, then I made another one that turned into a toxic account for myself, so I just made a completely new account for myself so I could just be myself.

Ms. B – So you only use the one account now?  Are the others deactivated?

Student # 1 – Yes

Ms. B – How easy is it to make a video?

Student # 1 – It depends on what you are doing.  Ones that have different transitions or point of view can take a long time, but you can make ones that don’t take long

Ms. B – Do you follow students from our classroom?

Student #1 – I don’t follow anyone from the classroom because personally I get very embarrassed if anyone sees my TikTok account.  I feel like people judge me.

Ms. B – Okay, so how about Discord?  Do you have a Discord account?

Student #1 – Yes, I do.

Ms. B – What do you use Discord for?

Student # 1 – I use it to communicate with people.  There are different servers that allow you to connect with people of similar interests.  It’s a really nice place and everyone is super nice on Discord.  Its fun to meet new people, text people, make servers.

Ms. B – What do you know about the history of Discord?  How was it made?

Student #1 – I have no clue about anything about Discord.  I got into it because a friend used it to message. 

Ms. B – Did you ever use it for gaming purposes or was it just for the chat room?

Student # 1 – It was just for chatting with friends.

Ms. B – What are the good things about Discord?

Student #1 – I think it is good because you can be private, you can leave whenever you want to, there’s no way that anyone can find you again which is good in case you’re concerned that someone bad is texting you, you can easily leave the conversation.

Ms. B – Does it show your name when you are logged in?

Student #1 – No, not if you don’t want it to show

Ms. B – What are the bad things about Discord?

Student #1 – personally, I haven’t found any bad things about Discord.

Ms. B – What do you do if there is an age restriction on some of these apps? Student #1 – It depends, if it is an app that is 18+ I don’t go on it.  But if it is an app that was 13+ and I was 12, I would just answer that I was old enough.

Examples of Seesaw in my classroom

Well, with the closure of schools and the start of remote learning, my teaching partner and I decided to stick with Seesaw and try it out for remote learning.

So, as I have already mentioned, we use Seesaw as a messaging app with our parents. Because you can download the app on many different types of technology, all of our parents have been able to use it. Now that we are not in the school, we have also been using it as a way to communicate with our students. We have the option to send messages to individual students or parents, or we can send group messages out to everyone. It has been such a great tool to communicate with our parents and students.

When we learned that we were going to be doing remote learning with our students, my teaching partner and I decided that sticking to Seesaw was the best option. Our parents were already familiar with the app and we knew that our students would be able to use the app easily as well. Seesaw has a lot of assignments that other teachers have created to use. You can search through the Activity Library to try and find assignments that will work with your class. You are able to search by grade, by subject or keyword. There is also a section that show popular activities for the week for each grade.

If you use an activity it automatically saves it in the My Library section, and you can also add “favourite” assignments to this section to save for later.

The app also lets you create your own activities. I haven’t had a chance to do this yet, but will definitely be trying it out in the next couple of weeks. There are many different options given when creating an activity. You can record a video, add audio, add a document, and much more.

When you find an activity or create a new one, you have the option of assigning it to all students in the class, or you can choose certain students to assign the activity to. This allows me individualize the content for the students. Once you assign the activity, the students will receive a notification that they have an activity to do.

I really like the options that the app has in the Class Settings section. I am able to turn off “Students can see each other’s work” if I want to. In my classroom, many of my students are very self-conscious about their work and they do not want it to be seen by other students. The other setting that I really like is “New items require approval”. One of the assigned teachers to the classroom has to approve their completed assignments before it gets posted. We receive a notification when they complete it and that it needs approval.

I know that there is still so much that I don’t know about Seesaw, but I am looking forward to finding out during these crazy times.

Digital Literacy

I think that being literate in today’s society means that you are able to read/view something, use critical thinking, comprehend it and then determine whether or not it is credible. Unfortunately, there is so much fake information (photos, news, videos, articles, etc.) out there that we need to be teaching our students the skills they will need to determine what is real and what isn’t.

In the reading Media Literacy for the 21st Century: Interview with Renee Hobbs, EdD, Renee says that there are five inter-related competencies that are needed by both teachers and students to understand participate in contemporary culture. I really like that she included teachers and that it is not just an issue that students need to worry about. If teachers don’t practice the skills that they are teaching to their students, it won’t work. The five competencies are: access, analysis, create and collaborate, and reflect and take-action.

In this week’s class the idea of lateral reading was presented to us. I had never heard of lateral reading before, but realized how important it is to teach our students about this concept. I found an awesome video from the website Let’s Learn English With Me (which on a side note has some pretty neat stuff to use in a literacy class) that explains what lateral reading is, as well as many other concepts that are important to teach when talking about digital citizenship.

On top of lateral reading skills, students need to be creative and build critical thinking skills. In my EDL 825 class I read a reading about creativity in schools called Measuring What Matters: Creativity in Schools that stated “Creativity also requires the capacity for critical thinking. Creativity and critical thinking can be seen to complement one another: being creative without the skills to assess the process and products of creativity is an incomplete creative act ” (Upitis, R (2014). Creativity; The State of the Domain. In Measuring What Matters, People for Education. Toronto: November 8, 2014). In Michala’s blog this week she listed some 21st Century Skills that students will need. One part of it said “Divergent thinkers and critical thinkers contribute to our world of knowledge. Our world has become more dependent on knowledge-workers who can solve problems.” I think that part of our job as teachers is teaching students about critical thinking skills. There are so many times in my day that I have students giving up or asking how to do something. I am a very big believer in having them work it our themselves, with guidance from me, not just handing it to them on a plate.

A little more about Seesaw

As mentioned, Seesaw was created in 2012 by Adrian Graham, Charles Lin, and Carl Sjogreen. When trying to find information about Seesaw, I came across their Meet the Seesaw Team section of their website. It states “At Seesaw, we’re a team of educators and lifelong learners who wake up everyday thinking about igniting students’ passion for learning and solving the challenges teachers face in making it happen. Nothing motivates us more than hearing from teachers how Seesaw helps their students have powerful learning moments more often, more easily.”

Seesaw’s website has many videos, tools and articles that teachers and parents can view to help them learn more about the app and how to use it.

My next posts about Seesaw in the classroom will show some examples of how I have used it in the classroom, as well as some ways to ensure privacy while using the app.

What is Seesaw?

I started using Seesaw when I started in the Quiet Elementary classroom last year. My teaching partner that I worked with in the 2018-19 school year had been using the app before I moved into the classroom. I had never used it before, but had heard of it because many of the primary grade teachers that I worked with at Grant Road had been using it. I quickly learned that it was an excellent app to be able to communicate with parents and that is really the only thing I used it for last year. My teaching partner had used it to assign some activities to some of the students in the classroom, but I didn’t do that.

I ended up getting a new teaching partner in my classroom this year, so I had to decide what I was going to use as a communication tool with parents. Well, my decision was basically made for me because we were told by the division that we couldn’t use many of the other apps out there. I set up all of my students accounts and sent invites to parents, and went on my merry way using Seesaw just as a messaging app. Then for my major project I chose to do some research into Seesaw and really start to use all of the functions of the app.

The Edtech Round Up, a blog by Mike Karlin Ph.D., published a post about Seesaw in 2015. The post stated that Seesaw “is a learning journal that empowers students as young as five to independently capture what they are learning at school with photos, videos, and their voice. Parents are notified (via text message, email, or the Seesaw Parent app) when new items are added, and can immediately see and hear what their child did at school that day”. It also allows teachers to post student work using many different types of media. The app was created by Adrian Graham, Charles Lin, and Carl Sjogreen in 2012.

Seesaw can be used on many different types of technology including phones, tablets, iPads, chromebooks and computers. It has many different functions and tools for teachers, students and parents to use. There will be much more coming up about Seesaw.

Changes in Technology

The reading by Christiann Henny called 9 Things That Will Shape The Future Of Education: What Learning Will Look Like In 20 Years? was a really great read. One idea that really stuck with me was “Education will never disappear. It will just take up different forms”. I could not agree with this more. Schools, school divisions, government, administrators, teachers and parents need to be willing to change in order to teach our students the skills that they are going to need to know in the 21st century. In the article, Christiann listed the following as the 9 things that will shape the future of education: (1) Diverse time and place, (2) Personalized learning, (3) Free choice, (4) Project based, (5) Field experience, (6) Data interpretation, (7) Exams will change completely, (8) Student ownership, and (9) Mentoring will become more important.

In Jennifer Casa-Todd’s video she also spoke of the need for adults and teachers becoming mentor’s for students. She questions if students do not have a mentor, then how will they learn about digital citizenship. I think education has already started to make the shift towards some of these nine things. The issue that I see is that technology, social media, apps, etc. are always changing and changing quickly. The education system does not work that way. I can school divisions and government lagging behind because of all the red tape that they go through. I am not trying to bash government and school divisions because I understand why there is so much red tape, but it can become a barrier to teachers trying to teach digital citizenship and 21st century skills.

Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship

This week, we’ve taken a look at the concept of digital citizenship, including Mike Ribble’s nine elements. In your blog post for this week, provide an update of your major project, thinking specifically about how your project relates to one or more elements of digital citizenship. You might draw on class materials, the assigned readings, or other resources that you’ve found independently to support your blog post.

This week, Melinda shared a video of Jennifer Casa-Todd speaking about youth using social media and technology and I absolutely loved it! Jennifer talked about seeing so many young people leveraging social media/technology in positive ways. Many of these young people had an adult mentor that guided them on how to use social media/technology in positive ways, but not many of those mentors were teachers. I think that some teachers are stuck in this grey area where they do not think that it is their responsibility or do not have the knowledge to teacher students about digital citizenship. However, I think that as teachers we should be incorporating digital citizenship in our lessons because that way we know for sure that they are learning about it. Jennifer said the same thing, how will they learn? Are we supposed to just assume that parents are teaching these skills to their children? Are parents assuming that we are teaching these skills at school? Who is teaching digital citizenship? Do teachers and parents understand what digital citizenship is?

Catherine shared a reading about Mike Ribble‘s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship to help answer the question of what is digital citizenship. He uses Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship to help understand what digital citizenship is. The nine elements are:

  • Digital Access  is about the equitable distribution of technology and online resources.
  • Digital Commerce is the electronic buying and selling of goods and focuses on the tools and safeguards in place to assist those buying, selling, banking, or using money in any way in the digital space.
  • Digital Communication and Collaboration is the electronic exchange of information.
  • Digital Etiquette refers to electronic standards of conduct or procedures and has to do with the process of thinking about others when using digital devices.
  • Digital Fluency is the process of understanding technology and its use.
  • Digital Health and Welfare refers to the physical and psychological well-being in a digital world.
  • Digital Law refers to the electronic responsibility for actions and deeds and has to do with the creation of rules and policy that address issues related to the online world.
  • Digital Rights and Responsibility are those requirements and freedoms extended to everyone in a digital world.
  • Digital Security and Privacy is the electronic precautions to guarantee safety.
  • (Ribble, 2017,

For my major learning project I have decided that I would like to focus on some of the technology that my students are using. I would like to teach my students about digital etiquette, digital rights and responsibilities, digital law and digital health and welfare. A large focus of my major learning project is going to be focused on the digital health and welfare. I am in an unique situation where I work with students that struggle with social interactions and use social media/technology a lot. I would love to be able to really dig into what digital citizenship is and focus on how they are using it.