“So long, farewell…”

I hate goodbyes, how about you? I debated on whether that was going to be a good title for this blog post because I feel like “goodbye EDTC300” is a little too harsh. You’ll understand why I ended up going for this title by the end of this blog post.

This is my summary of my Learning Project, where I decided I would learn ASL. It’s crazy, I have realized just how little I actually know even now as I finish up my Learning Project. What I do know, is that I have found some great resources so that I can continue to learn ASL as I move forward, past EDTC300.

Let’s reflect on some of those resources, shall we?

Learning Project Post 1: “And we’re off! (Introduction to ASL Learning Project)”

This post had me very excited. So excited, that even though all we had to do was outline our plan for our Learning Project, I instead decided to start off by learning how to sign my name.

For this post I found a wide variety of different resources which consisted of many apps (which I later found weren’t all that helpful) and the really terrific YouTube account TakeLessons.

Learning Project Post 2: “A,B,C’s and 1,2,3’s (ASL Learning Project)”

This week, following along with the TakeLessons videos, I was ambitious and set out to learn the alphabet, numbers 1-20, and colours. The alphabet and numbers came easily. When it came to learning colours, however, I quickly remembered how with more you learn of a language, the more challenging it is to keep things straight.

This week I was filled with excitement about my learning project and figured I should probably learn a bit more about ASL for when I told my family and friends about it. I found a number of websites (“History of American Sign Language” Dawn Sign Press“The History of Sign Language” GoReact, and “A Guide to the Different Types of Sign Language Around the World” Richard Brooks) I planned on exploring for my following post.

Learning Project Post 3: “Standing the Tests of Time”

I decided to dedicate this post to the history of ASL as well as learning about some other sign languages. I utilized the resources I shared in my prior post in my research and they turned out to be pretty good. What I found interesting was that American Sign Language has origins with French Sign Language (LSF). At the American school for the Deaf (pictured below), LSF was combined with new signs developed at the school as well as those brought in from students to create the ALS that I used in my Learning Project.

American-School-for-the-Deaf-Connecticut-West

American School for the Deaf. Image retrieved from: https://www.britannica.com/place/American-School-for-the-Deaf

Learning Project Post 4: “‘I CAN’ sign!”

This was by far my favourite learning I did for my Learning Project. I used a site called lifeprint.com which broke down the learning into “I can” statements which, as a pre-service teacher, I loved.

I CAN for ASL

“I can” statements from Lesson 1 of Lifeprint.com’s ASL lessons. Screenshot retrieved from: https://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/lessons/lesson01.htm 

Overall, this site felt the most beneficial for those like myself who wanted to learn not only how to sign but also the history and culture behind ASL. This site is one I will likely go back to when I continue to learn ASL.

Learning Project Post 5: “Video Editing – What tool to use??” 

This is where I ran into a bit of trouble continuing my Learning Project. We were supposed to find a tool to use to document our learning for the week. I struggled to find a tool I actually wanted to use and liked so I ended up putting the post off. This is probably the trickiest part of learning on your own. Once you quit something it is so hard to get back to it, anyone who has tried to eat healthy or workout probably knows that it’s easier to just keep going rather than taking a day off. FINALLY, I put my foot down and told myself to get to it. I found the app InShot and it ended up working really well for me. I used InShot for all future videos I had in the class!

I tried out another website this week. It was okay, but LifePrint was still my favourite.

Learning Project Post 6: “Can you learn something new on TikTok?”

This was another fun week as I was able to try out another new place to learn: TikTok. I found a lot of signing users on the app, but only a portion of them really gave tutorials/lessons on how to sign. In the end I was able to find three really good users (@boonami, @thatdeafcanadianguy, and @chrissycanthearyou). I have since created a TikTok account for myself and followed them so hopefully I can come across more of their videos!

I also played around with InShot some more and was able to add music to my video.

Seventh, and Final Learning Project Post

The Learning Project assignment showed me how easily we can learn an assortment of skills online. Through mine, I utilized so many different websites, apps, and YouTube channels. What I came to realize is there is something for everyone, regardless of the level they are starting from and would like to reach. Because ASL is something I do want to better understand and continue to learn, I was interested in the history and culture, so the LifePrint site was my favourite resource to find. For people who are just curious in learning a few phrases and words for fun, I would recommend checking out TikTok.

I chose to learn ASL because I felt it would help me on my way towards building a more inclusive classroom. After actually diving into the history and getting to see TikTok users who are hearing impaired using ASL rather than just following along with someone who spoke what they signed the whole time continued to show me that this is an important skill. I plan to continue to learn ASL so that if one day I do have a hearing impaired student walk into my classroom, that I can hopefully make them feel welcome.

For my final Learning Project post I hoped to learn a song. Here is a very simple one I found and learnt since this is a goodbye (see you later?) post to my EDTC300 classmates.

Before we get to my video, I will note that although I am fairly musical, that trait does not translate to singing. If you would like to watch me sign while listening to singing in key, feel free to listen to the previous video (I won’t be offended)!

And now, until next time, enjoy!

Collaborative Learning

It’s hard to believe but EDTC300 is now coming to an end. One of the things we were sent forward to do in this class was contribute to other students’ learning and to learn from what others had to share with us. This was a really great way to learn. I always enjoy when online classes have forums so myself and others can share their ideas and question each other. EDTC300 went beyond that, though. We were able to develop a network that we can continue to learn from into our careers and I am so excited to see all that I can gain from my fellow pre-service teachers!

Here are a few of the ways I contributed to the learning of other students in EDTC300.

Blogs

Throughout this course we each developed an ePortfolio blog. These allowed us to share what we were learning through the course of EDTC300 and comment on others’ posts, sharing helpful information or resources. For me, I found that I did not give a whole lot of recommendations on blogs. Instead I mostly provided feedback on Olivia, Lydia, Julia, Lochlin, and Tracey‘s posts, to name a few. Here are a few of the other responses I left on my fellow students’ blog posts:

 

And a few of the responses to people who commented on my blog:

 

 

Slack Community

The EDTC300 Slack community was where I contributed the least. When I wanted to share a resource I did it on Twitter and if someone asked a question I would usually be too slow and one of the other (incredibly helpful!) students in the class would have beat me to it. These are the few times that I did participate on Slack.

IMG-2488                 IMG-2586

Twitter

Throughout EDTC300 I was most active on Twitter. I found that this was a place I could easily hop on to network and interact with classmates and other educators. I participated in #SaskEdChat twice, once with our class and one other time. These were wonderful experiences and I look forward to participating in more Twitter chats in the future. What I really liked about Twitter is how it allowed for more discussion than the two other areas mentioned did. Here are some of my Tweets, replies, and resources I shared on Twitter. I narrowed down the couple hundreds of Tweets to the ones that had some of the most interaction!

 

If you are interested in seeing more of my tweets, give me a follow on Twitter!

As I said, collaboration plays a huge role in the education system. This network and these collaboration opportunities are one of the things I am most thankful for as I reflect on EDTC300. So, to my fellow classmates, let’s stay connected! And to those reading who haven’t reached out but are interested, please feel free! Your thoughts and recommendations are welcome!

 

Coding AKA my biggest technological fear

In the first week of EDTC300 I looked through the syllabus and weekly plans. Everything was looking pretty good, I was excited about the assignments, until I got to one of the daily topics. Coding. As we crept towards this topic I wondered how challenging it would be and how confused I would get trying to work through trying to code something. Until this point All I had experience with was accidentally getting into the code of my WordPress blog back in ECS 100, getting confused, panicking, then quickly shutting my laptop to get it out of my sight. Back then, I NEVER would have expected to be sharing my Certificate of Completion for a coding program, but here it is!

Hour of Code

After our Zoom class, I was stuck between trying out Scratch or using one of the programmed tutorials found at Code.org. When my partner’s brother found out I was doing coding he tried teaching me how to use Scratch. He even sent me a link to the site he used in Computer Science where he learned how to code. After playing around with Scratch I did have an idea of how it worked but was still stuck on how to use some things so I figured I should get a bit more practice before trying it out. I went back to Code.org and decided to do one of the tutorials on building a Star Wars game.

Note: To document our experience with coding we were to use something such as Screencastify or another recording app/extension. I used Screencastify for the first time during this. Somehow I messed up trying to get my microphone on or working well for a couple of the videos so that is another application I will have to work on using.

The tutorial I found was very easy to follow. In this first video you can see that we started by using blocks to code. This was fitting for the grade 5-8 level that the tutorial was aimed towards.

This tutorial had two options: one where you only worked with blocks and another where you also learned the coding language JavaScript. I chose the second option, thinking it would be more interesting for me. In this next video you can see at the start that I use JavaScript. I ended up going back to just dragging the blocks however because it was a little quicker. These levels began feeling more and more like a game because of the added elements of points and different sounds for different interactions.

Throughout the tutorial, there were 3 instructional videos explaining the next steps we would be taking. This is the last video in the tutorial. The others were led mostly by the director of the animations of Star Wars The Force Awakens and others who contributed to the production of the movie. This was a nice touch.

I decided to share this final instructional video over the others because the last level of the tutorial was to create your own game. I liked that students who completed this tutorial shared their games in the video, it even gave me an idea for what I would do with mine.

Creating my own game was slightly more challenging, and it could even be worked on a little further I feel. In this last level I was able to explore all of the functions on the tutorial. This took me a little while but it was a lot of fun getting to play around with the codes to create a game that myself and others could play.

Overall I enjoyed the coding tutorial. I think that block coding is very simple and that it could be taught to young students. The JavaScript was fun because it was a bit more challenging for me and I think I might play around with it a bit more in the future in case I ever end up wanting to teach it to my students.

The question of whether coding is important or not is a tricky one because I honestly feel that a lot of what students take in school is subjective. For some students, this may not be something they want to learn or will ever need to know. For others, learning coding might be an exciting subject or even lead them to pursuing computer science in the future. Searching through the many options on Code.org I found some tutorials that had other educational topics included, such as one on DNA (which I wanted to try but for some reason my laptop wouldn’t let me open that one). Because I feel as though we should give students many opportunities to show what they have taken out of a lesson, I could see myself including this type of coding in a class. This would provide students who are less successful in some of the traditional testing methods to try out a new method, one where they could express themselves and their learning better.

Want to check out the game I made? You can find it here: https://studio.code.org/c/1156297480

Instructions:  Get all of the Puffer Pigs while avoiding the Storm Troopers. Once you get all the Puffer Pigs, catch the Tauntaun to win the game!

Puffer Pigs = +100 points

Storm Trooper = -25 points

Let me know your thoughts!

EDTC300: Summary of Learning

It’s kind of hard for me to believe, but the six weeks of EDTC300 are now coming to a close. This class has been very beneficial for me, especially as we are coming to better understand the logistics behind remote learning, and I am excited about being able to take the resources we have gained into upcoming placements for classes, internship, and my career.

Here is my summary of what Rachel Steele and I have learned.

Title caught your eye? Triggered your emotions? It could be a clickbait article

Teaching students digital literacy can be a challenging task for today’s educators. With the flood of “fake news” on social media, people can be fooled into believing one of the clickbait articles that are full of junk. I’m sure many of us have heard the saying “if it’s on Facebook, it must be true”? As educators, we are expected to shape students and help them become well rounded individuals when they leave our classrooms. This means we must also help them to learn to be critical in what they consume online.

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Clickbait Titles: “It’s a Trap!” Retrieved from: https://fourdots.com/blog/clickbait-titles-seo-2634

So how do we teach our students to sort through the flood of fake news to find credible sources?

Being that my major is in English and my minor is General Science and Biology, I feel like having a variety of resources available to educate students is beneficial. Both these subjects could involve using news and research to supplement the learning. Science courses often use research in assignments. For English classes, I think that understanding Digital Literacy is important because some topics may include reading news articles of current events. You could also have students create some sort of a clickbait article as a writing assignment or challenge them to find an article and identify it as being biased. Overall, I think that teaching students Digital Literacy could be covered in really any subject area and grade level.

From the list of resources shared with us in our EDTC300 Weekly Plans, the first thing that caught my eye was this comic. It teaches viewers about the “backfire effect” which is what causes you to become emotional when exposed to an idea that challenges your core beliefs. What I like about using a comic is that it can help some learners stay engaged, with images in to break up the continuous reading. One thing I would recommend for other Canadian teachers is to try to find a similar Canadian comic. This is an American comic so the examples might not be as effective in showing the way headlines can affect our emotions as one written about our events would be.

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The Oatmeal. “You’re Not Going to Believe What I’m About to Tell You”. Retrieved from: https://theoatmeal.com/comics/believe_clean

Whether we view a statement as being factual or based on opinion depends a lot on whether we agree with it or not. This study performed in the United States showed that people are usually good at identifying factual statements. However, when identifying opinion statements, they were more likely to classify the statements as being factual rather than opinion if it aligned with their own beliefs. If you are interested in trying it out yourself, visit this link. Thinking back to the comic, this is another study that shows how our emotions and personal beliefs influence what we seek out. Many of us want our beliefs to be correct and therefore seek out articles that reflect those beliefs.

I believe a comic such as the one mentioned could be a good introduction to teaching students Digital Literacy. From here, I think the students would need to learn how to distinguish the various forms of news and facts they find. This could be done by using a checklist for things to look out for, as is found here. This blog post breaks down what you should do when you find a new source, from investigating the URL to being critical of images. It then goes on to break down the things to consider when looking at each of these things and asks questions to get you started in thinking critically about the sources being used. The post also includes a link to a folder with all of the evaluating news resources mentioned that can be downloaded on Google Drive.

Here is another Google Doc that lays out a list of things to look out for when determining when a news source is biased or not. It also includes an activity where students are to go in groups to look through three articles, all covering the same event, to identify the biases present in them. This would be something I would use for a full lesson on Digital Literacy. The other resources I mentioned could be used as a quick reminder before sending students to do research. This activity could be used in a Digital Literacy lesson such as some of the ones I mentioned before.

As far as curriculum links, one I could tie Digital Literacy into is some of the Health 9 outcomes. From relationship expectations to the stigma around infections and diseases, you could teach your students to determine an unbiased article from one that is biased.

Question of the day for my fellow EDTC300 students, what are some curriculum links you can draw on using Digital Literacy?

Can you learn something new on TikTok?

For my next Learning Project lesson I decided to take a recommendation from Katia Hildebrandt, our EDTC300  instructor, by taking my learning to TikTok! This was an interesting experience that I could see being useful in the early learning of ASL.

I tried out a few hashtags to try finding some users sharing their own lessons. I first tried #asl. This didn’t come up with exactly what I was looking for. I did however find some users who made videos signing songs (considered trying to learn them, but they went pretty fast!) and others showing what a day in their life was like. It was exciting to see this community on TikTok where I thought people mostly just posted videos of them dancing or trying to do something funny for likes.

Next, I searched #aslinterpreter. I figured here I would be able to find some interpreters showing how to sign some things, or translating what someone else is saying. Again, this isn’t what I found.

Finally, and I don’t know why I didn’t try this sooner, I looked at #learnasl. There it was! I found several accounts showing how to sign various words and phrases. The main accounts I used once finding this area of TikTok were @boonami, @thatdeafcanadianguy, and @chrissycanthearyou.

All three had some great videos. Some, such as the one included by @chrissycanthearyou, were up to date on current events.

Others provided other resources for learning ASL.

@thatdeafcanadianguy

People always ask me for resources or suggestions on learning ASL. Here are a few great ones! #learnasl #asl #signlanguage #canada #oshawa #tiktok

♬ Beyoncé Check On It JBroadway Remix – j.broadway

What I enjoyed most about this online lesson through TikTok was that I was able to find both @chrissycanthearyou and @thatdeafcanadianguy and see how they share their language through a popular app. I can see TikTok as a useful location where we can learn and see others’ experiences. This brings awareness to the larger population and I think that awareness can help encourage a more inclusive society.

Here is my video for the week. I decided to share some of my struggles in the video because often times online we see all of the perfect versions of what we do so you’ll see this as well. Enjoy!

Video Editing – What tool to use??

This post has been a bit of a work in progress for a couple of weeks. We were challenged for this documentation of our EDTC300 Learning Project to find some sort of a technological tool to document our learning. Since I have been learning ASL I decided a video editing app would be a good tool for me to use. I wanted to find one that would allow me to compile several videos into one so that I wouldn’t have the “ums” and pauses between what I was going to sign. I also wanted to find an app that would allow me to do a voice over and include text to show the English equivalent to what I was saying.

As I searched through the many video editing apps, I was feeling a little overwhelmed. I had tried editing videos through desktop tools and have never had the best luck. As I looked I found that some of the apps I thought would work best for me had some cost to them. I had to decide whether or not I was going to spend money on an app that I may or may not actually enjoy using. I decided to try to find a free app over one that I would have to pay for unless I had no luck. This is what took some time.

The first app I downloaded was Quik. 

This app was fun. To get a feel for how the app worked, I decided to play around and make a practice video on my trip to Kona, Hawaii from January. There were options to add images and videos and I could add text as well. I liked that you could add music and filters to the images/videos you uploaded. There were many themes you could select from too. I found that for my travel video, this app worked well but wasn’t sure if it was exactly what I was looking for to use with my Learning Project. I found that the themes moved around too much. For other students I would say you should check out this app though! I thought that if you were documenting a more creative project such as refinishing a desk or learning to cook, you might be able to get an interesting outcome!

Next up, I tried the app InShot. I found that this app worked much better for me than Quik had. Again, I played around with creating a video from my trip before getting into my Learning Project clips. I was able to use the many tools to easily record a voice over and add text to my video. I also liked that I was able to decided the size that I wanted the video to be (there was even the options to make the video fit a TikTok or the many Instagram settings).

I chose the size setting for YouTube so I could upload it there to share in my blog post.

The most challenging aspect I found while editing my InShot video was how to have music playing for me in the background while I also had a voice over. Once I inserted the music I found it was quite loud. I redid my voice over a couple of times, becoming increasingly louder as I went to hopefully have my voice come out over the music. I figured there had to be a way to simply adjust the sound levels. It took me some time to look around to figure out how I could make my voice come out louder and turn down the music level. Once I did I was able to adjust to what you will find in my final product video!

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Near the bottom you can find the option to have your music fade in or fade out. The bar set at 12% controls the level of the music.

I think that InShot could be used for such a variety of videos. To anyone looking for a free, and easy app for those new to video editing. Once I found this app I was able to easily work with my video clips to create my final product.

For my learning this week, I tried out some new resources. I started off with this site. I liked the options to replay a video and that I could speed it up or slow it down if I needed. What I didn’t like is that I had to search for each word or phrase I was wanting to learn. I am finding that I like using videos because they usually have themes that I can follow along for a whole lesson.

Here is my Family Tree video! Overall, I am happy with the outcome and look forward to working with InShot more in the future. I hope you enjoy!

Becoming an Online Detective

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“Cyber Sleuthing” taken from Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Retrieved from: https://liberalarts.vt.edu/magazine/2019/cyber-sleuthing.html

This week we were challenged to partner up with another student in our EDTC300 class who we would become “cyber sleuths” for to see what all we could find about them. In our online Slack community I was able to partner up with Frank Fazio.

Mr Fazio

Mr Fazio and his family, obtained from his Twitter profile.

Going into this task of cyber sleuthing I did not know much about Frank, I followed him on Twitter and had seen a couple of his blog posts on his WordPress account. I started off looking for a picture of Frank so that once I dived deeper into Google I would know if I was looking at the right “Frank Fazio” (as it turns out, there are several people with this name so having a face to look for in my searches benefited me). This image also told me that he has two children and a partner.

From his “About Me” page on his blog, I learned this about him: “I have coached minor hockey since 2007 and hold several Hockey Canada accreditation’s including my High Performance I certification. I enjoy working with youth and seeing them learn new skills.” From this I expect that his coaching experience is likely what influenced his decision in becoming an educator. I also learned that he is in his fourth year at the University of Regina but before had graduated from the University of Waterloo and worked in the financial services industry for twelve years. On his contact page of his blog, Frank has icons for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress but in clicking on them I was simply led to my home page on these networks and was unable to find him on either Facebook or Instagram. After finding his LinkedIn page, I found out he worked with both RBC and Farm Credit Canada. From this page I also learned that he is in the elementary program and expects to graduate from the U of R in 2021.

I also learned from this list of skating coaches in Prince Albert that Frank and his partner both coach in the skating club, Frank focusing on Powerskating and his partner on Figure Skating. In browsing through other articles that pop up through my searches I see mostly articles on his coaching with a couple about his work at RBC scattered in between.

My overall impression of Frank is that he has a very professional online presence. He uses the name “Mr. Fazio” on both Twitter and his blog which shows that he is taking his professional development as a pre-service educator seriously and the number of articles showing his experience coaching leads me to believe he has many good leadership skills that will help him further his career in teaching. I would encourage him to continue to build this professional online presence through his blog by building on categories such as Professional Development and Unit Plans, which I was unable to access.

What I have learned from this assignment is how important it is to keep our online presence looking professional on all platforms. I have been working to clean up some of my social media accounts, removing tags in less appropriate photos and making some of my accounts more private. I think that this is a good idea for me to be doing but also see that it is important for us to remain online to show the good that we are doing. This eportfolio and blog that I am building is one of the good places that I am happy to be using as a place that people can find me on and I hope to further my presence here as well as on Twitter, which I have come to enjoy as a professional development and networking platform.

Interested in reading what Frank found out about me? Check out his blog post on becoming a cyber detective here. I also challenge you to do a quick Google search of yourself. Is this presence one you are proud of?

Spreading Oppression by Saying Nothing At All

Most of 2020, thus far, has been filled with news on the Covid-19 pandemic. This past week, however, the media has changed their focus to a “pandemic of racism”. Following George Floyd’s murder on May 25th by a U.S. police officer, the United States has had people standing up in protest against police brutality and racism towards the black community. In class, we discussed what this meant for us as future educators and how we should use our voices to address the situation online as well as in classes.

As future educators, I feel that our EDTC300 class has a responsibility in speaking up on the discrimination and systemic racism that has led to the death of George Floyd and the many deaths that have happened up until now. For those of us who are taking up a professional online identity, this is a space we must also address these events in our online lives as well as in our classes. I think for a lot of us we knew we needed to share something on these new platforms we are exploring, but the question was on what?

This is something I struggle with because I sometimes don’t know what to say or how to show that this injustice is not something I am okay with. To begin, I think the best place for me is to look at my own privilege as a white woman. By acknowledging my privilege, we can take a step towards addressing the racism in our societies. This is only a small step, however.

Once we are able to see our privilege and the racism and discrimination other groups of people have endured, we can then begin to educate ourselves so that we can find the right thing to say. For me, online, I have found through this time that sharing the voices of people of colour is better than for me to share my own thoughts. I have also begun to understand that this is not a time where my voice needs to be the one shared, but with my privilege I am in a position to share the voices of others instead. Others may question why I would bother making any sort of a statement if it is not my direct beliefs and words. Being that I am present online, for me to ignore that these events are taking place would be to continue to silent the voices of the black community who are speaking up against this injustice. We can see by looking at the murder of George Floyd that this is a problem that has been silenced for far too long. And remaining silent only benefits the oppressors.

As this article on silent racism explains, “recent events in the United States have catalysed the need for educators to be paying attention and discovering new ways to dialogue about race. Society demands it of them.” As a future educator, I plan to continue to address these topics, even though I may feel uncomfortable going into them. I believe that this is the only way we will be able to grow and learn as a society and in myself.

Inside the Mediascape

When I first downloaded TikTok I thought “what is the point of this? It’s just a bunch of people recreating dances over and over again.” I thought back to grade 9 when my friends and I would spend our recesses watching Vine, laughing and showing each other our favourite videos. Someone had told me that TikTok was the same as Vine, and I told them no. That Vine had original content on it. That people weren’t just mimicking each other to create the same style of video – but were they? And how were we contributing to the building and ongoing participatory culture?

Well, as Michael Wesch points out in his video “An anthropological introduction to YouTube”, The Crank Dat (Soulja Boy) dance that my friend taught me when I was 10 years old at a community function was an example of how we have taken part in the online participatory culture.

So how does all of this translate into our classrooms? As we have commented in class, there are many great possibilities – some positive and some negative – for our future students based on the participatory culture we have online. Let’s use TikTok for our example. This app can be used in the classroom by allowing students to create videos displaying what they have learned. On the other hand, using platforms such as TikTok in the classroom does expose students to a place where bullying and discrimination does occur.

For myself, as I mentioned in my post all about Twitter, for students to use a social networking platform they would first need a lesson on appropriate use of the app and a lesson on online identities. This is an important lesson for students to receive in general, but especially if they will be using these online platforms in the classroom.

If you are interested in other thoughts on TikTok in the classroom, check out this article from Education Week.

Overall, I see value in using the web to link students to professionals who can further their learning experience. Wesch explains how the “mediascape” connects us all across all platforms. The participatory culture we live in leads us to interact with one another by providing our own take on trends, connecting us in a way that may surprise some. While the increasing use of technology and media may seem like we are disconnecting from others, the use of the Web allows us to be more connected than ever before.