Promoting Digital Citizenship

Mr. Pane engages his students in a lesson on digital citizenship by connecting the traits of being a good digital citizen to superheros. Mr. Pane has his students making comic books where the student is making a poor decision dealing with the internet, and their superhero comes to the rescue. One student made her comic about not giving out personal information, such as your address, online. Mr. Pane had students connecting the risky behaviors to responsible, respectful, and safe behaviors. Mr. Pane then had students walk around the room to read other students’ comic books. The gallery walk is a great way to have students gain appreciation for their peers’ work, and make connections back to their own work. In a future classroom I could see myself using the gallery walks in similar activities where creativity is one of the main elements. Allowing students the chance to connect with their peers is just as important as the activity.



Copyright 101

Copyright is the set of rules that protect the work of individuals from being recreated, or for lack of a better word, stolen by others. Any form of work that is created in a tangible form is protected under copyright laws, even if no copyright mark is visible. It is important as future educators to understand these laws, and how they play a part in what we do in the classroom. Luckily there are a set of four tests to help aid with copyright confusion.  Test one involves asking yourself about how you will be using materials. Materials used for educational purposes are more likely to be protected under fair use. The second test analyzes the work itself. Is is published, unpublished, factual, etc.? It is beneficial to remember that facts are in the public domain, but the expression of facts may be copyrighted. The third test is about the amount of copyrighted work you are planning to use. A general rule is that anything under 10% is fair use. Lastly, the fourth test analyzes how your use will effect the market of the work. If the sale of the product would be impacted negativity by what you propose to do, you are most likely not using copyrighted material correctly.
The medium of the materials you plan to use largely affects the copyright rules. It is important to know the copyright laws for the medium you plan to use, as they differ greatly. The biggest take away would be to simply ask for permission if you are unsure if what you are doing is against copyright laws.

Presentation Design

1. What elements were you already aware of?  Which elements were you not aware of?
I was aware of the rule of thirds, because I took yearbook in high school. The rule of thirds applies to photography as well. I had also heard of the 1-7-7 rule. In high school we had to make a lot of power points and at some point a teacher told us about this rule. I had never thought of using large pictures as the backgrounds. While it makes complete sense to do so I had never thought of this. I also had never heard of all of the sites where you can access photos.

2.  How can you incorporate this into your own work and that of your students?  Why is it important?  
Using quality pictures as backgrounds can really grab the attention of students, and peak their interest. I plan on using this in any future presentations that I make.
3.  How do the Power Points that you have created over the years fit (or not fit) with these design principles?  You may also want to take a look at this blog posting on dodging presentation fatigue.
While I have made a great number of power points many of them were not the best. I would day many of them fit the limited text criteria per slide. My power points also were never gaudy with crazy transitions, or unnecessary images; however, I wouldn’t say that my presentation were visually intriguing.

True or Not True?

1.  Can we define what it means to be information literate?
Being information literate means you have the skills to successfully access information. Being information literate also means that you can critically assess the information for quality, and use the information effectively.

2.  Can we teach our students to have the skills essential to information literacy?
We can definitely teach our students the skills essential to information literacy. I would say using the gradual release of responsibility could be a great way to teach information literacy. By modeling the skills, then working towards students working together in groups, to eventually having students independently practice the skills will give them the best practice.

3.  Can we truly prepare students to be effective users of the most powerful medium?
As 21st-centery educators it is our job to prepare students to effectively use the internet. Educators, especially those who may be anti-internet, really need to change their views, and teach students how to use such an amazing resource. Educators of today also need to realize while may use the internet they may not know how to use it effectively.

Defining 21st Century Learning

In recent discussions of 21st century learning, the question has be posed: Are you a digital immigrant or a digital native? While the terms of ‘digital immigrant’ and ‘digital native’ are now widely accepted, Boyd’s chapter Literacy: Are Today’s Youth Digital Natives? argues theconcepts of ‘digital natives’.  Boyd mentions that the term ‘digital natives’ that is given to the youth’s of today is ill conceived. The term ‘digital natives’ does not address the critical issue of the digital divide. The expectation that all youth today are digitally literate is an unfortunate folly. Boyd describes technology as a privilege that some youth do not have access to. Boyd also points to the difference in skill levels among youth. Even youth you have access to technology may not be particularly ‘skillful’.

Prensky, on the other hand, believes that youth to day are all ‘native speakers’ of this new digital language. He uses the term ‘digital native’ to refer to this commonality. Prensky makes a point, in his article Digital Natives and Immigrants, that digital natives may not fully understand some of the language that their digital immigrant counterparts may use. Prensky biggest argument is that digital natives simply learn differently than what digital immigrants are accustomed to. Digital immigrants may even look down on the new skills that the digital natives are using.

In my opinion, Prensky has valid points. I do agree that youth of today value  a different learning style than the digital immigrants are accustomed. My issues are with giving the term ‘digital native’ to all youth. I agree with Boyd that the divide between digital knowledge makes the idea of being a digital native somewhat invalid. Overall, the focus should be on educating both ‘digital immigrants’ and ‘digital natives’ on the best ways to use technology, and ensuring that all of today’s youth can be correctly be considered ‘digital natives’.

Introductory Concepts

Recent discussions have shed light on being a 21st century teacher, a goal that is not being achieved in many classrooms across the U.S.  Marc Pensky writes in “Turning on the Lights” about the idea that children are no longer ‘in the dark’. Children come to school having vast amounts of knowledge about the world around them. In Pensky’s work in Turning on the lights he mentions that the teacher dynamic needs to change toward this idea that students are not in the educational dark. “Teachers would no longer be the providers of information but instead be the explainers, the context providers, the meaning makers, and the evaluators of information that kids find on their own” (Pensky, M., 2008, para. 14). Peskey mentions that more often than not, children are told to ‘unplug’ when they enter school (Pensky, M., 2008, para. 16). Pensky’s argument is that students should be using all of this technology to their advantage, and as educators we should be facilitating these skills with technology. Pensky encourages that educators “Give students the opprotunity to use technology in school, find out how students want to be taught, connect students to the world, and understand where kids are going [to the future]”(Pensky, M., 2008, paras. 28-31). Prensky, M. (2008).  Turning on the lights.  Educational Leadership. 6(65), 40-45.

Technology in the classroom is a controversial topic as  Mary Beth Hertz explains in her article “The Right Technology may be a Pencil”. Hertz who is a computer lab teacher herself has mixed feelings on how technology should be integrated into the classroom. “Too often we get so excited by the fancy gadgets that we have access to that we forget that sometimes a pencil will suffice” (Hertz, M.B., 2011, papa. 1). According to Hertz technology should only be used when appropriate, and pencil and paper should not be forgotten. Hertz believes that 21-century teachers shouldn’t count out older technologies just to become this futuristic educator (Hertz, M.B., 2011, para. 8). Hertz, M. (2011).  Sometimes the right technology is a a pencil.  Retrieved from 

Viewpoints are still not black and white on technology in the classroom as Kathy Cassidy explains in “The Use and Abuse of Technology in the Classroom”.  Cassidy explains that she is concerned with how technology is being used in the classroom. “Technology should not just allow us to do things in a more engaging way; it should allow us to do new things that we thought were not possible. It is those new things things that are the real value technology provides. (Cassidy,K., 2013, para. 2). Her ideas somewhat mirror those of Mary Beth Hertz in that they both believe that technology shouldn’t be replacing what is already working; technology should be creating new tools that have never before been possible. Cassidy explains that technology should not just be used for the sake of using technology, but rather the use of technology should foster new types of tasks and activities in the classroom. Cassidy, K. (2013, January 5).  The use and abuse of technology in the classroom. [Web log post] Retrieved from

My own views are the most similar with Kathy Cassidy’s opinions on technology in the classroom. I believe that technology has a plethora of valuable aspects that can be implemented into a classroom setting. I don’t believe that we as future 21-century educators should expect students to ‘unplug’ when they arrive at school, but we should be teaching and modeling how to appropriately use technology in a school setting. Cassidy, and Hertz believed that ‘old’ technologies, such as a pencil and paper, should not automatically be removed from the classroom I also believe that there is still use in some of the ‘older’ methods. I think the main issue here is that there are not enough teachers who feel ‘tech savvy’ enough to comfortably integrate technology successfully. Our best best to creating more 21st- century educators is to educate our educators on how to use new technologies in the classroom.