Owning It!

Well this is exciting! My first Ed Tech in the 306 blog post from my own little piece of the internet. That’s right I’ve moved the blog over from the third party WordPress.com to my own WordPress install on my newly acquired Reclaim Hosting space thanks to Jim Groom and Tim Owens! I’m only a few days into the process of learning to manage my own server space and already I’m feeling the power surging in my veins! No longer shall the IT department lord their install privileges over my head! No more shall I be denied plugins, themes, or open source application sandboxes! I and I alone will rule my destiny online!!! MuAhahahahahahha!!!!!

In all seriousness though I don’t know why I didn’t do this ages ago. It really is great. Already I have a WordPress multi-site platform syndicating content most of my online entities, I have a Moodle platform waiting for me to play with, I’m exploring Vanilla Forums, a few social networking platforms, and will probably install Drupal just for giggles later this week. YES! Lovin’ it. I don’t know how Jim and Tim are doing it, but for $12 I’ve got all this power, a registered domain which I can build sub-domains off of, and Jim has already been in contact a few times and been there to answer some real newbie questions. All for the price of a up-sized fast food dining experience. Amazing.

My motivation for making the plunge comes from a few places starting with my anti-establishment skater/punk childhood that had me questioning every cop and security guard that ever chased me off a set of concrete stairs at a very young age. In short I was born to question those who lord power over us. I spent a good amount of time in the hallways of my elementary school for asking how assignments were relevant to what we were supposed to be learning (actually I was usually in the hallway for being lippy or disrupting the class, but it was all the same to me). In this case IT departments, web hosting services, and now more than ever, the giants of information like Google and Facebook. We click “accept” on terms and conditions screens like they weren’t even there. For all the time I spend on the internet each and everyday, for all the information I pump into the “series of tubes“, I have little more understanding than Ted Stevens himself. Simply put, I need to understand more about how this information is used and take back some control of how and where it exists. I took a CS100 course back in 1996 as part of my undergrad and to be honest that’s probably the most I ever learned about how the internet worked. We built a GeoCities style webpage with a few links on it and signed up for a yahoo email account. Since then I’ve been letting the internet drive. A few months back The Hour of Code campaign was really ramping up and it got me thinking more and more about digital citizenship and literacies.f8b8079e2c0a6d5d3e60f6c1f3aad1bc I completed my hour of code (kind of a useless exercise) and resolved to be a more informed digital citizen in 2014. After some very frustrating conversations with our IT department around the installation of plugins for our under supported University WordPress install I decided it was time to pull the trigger. Glad I did. You should too. Own IT!

DCMOOC – Digital Citizenship MOOC

Well I’m jumping into the DCMOOC a little late, but I just got caught up with the recordings this morning and you can too. I’m really excited that the Ministry of Education thought to provide this PD opportunity to the people of Saskatchewan and beyond.

A key component of Saskatchewan’s Action Plan to Address Bullying and Cyberbullying is the support and promotion of digital citizenship instruction for K-12 students in Saskatchewan schools. The Ministry of Education is pleased to support this professional development opportunity for educators.

And who better to lead the charge, but our own Alec Couros. Very Cool.

I’ve actually been thinking a lot about digital citizenship lately and how there is an ever widening gap in our understanding of information usage and how companies like Google and Facebook are using our information. Jim Groom’s A Domain of One’s Own project and other whistle blowing warriors of the open web like Audrey Watters have been really pushing me as an instructional designer to subversively insert Digital Citizenship skills into course developments here at the U of S.

Large web companies are getting better and better at exploiting the information we share for their own profits and under the guise of serving you better. But if we don’t understand how our information is being used, if we click next next next on every terms and conditions screen we come across how can we be responsible digital citizens. Multi-billion dollar companies are researching and developing new ways to harvest and use this information and yet we keep using the internet like it’s our own personal computer.

I don’t mean to sound like a conspiracy theorist or a propaganda pusher, but the gap between their knowledge and ours as average users of the net is exponentially widening and that is a real issue.

I’m really hoping that DCMOOC will open some eyes and encourage a much deeper focus on digital literacy and citizenship skills to grow in all curriculum and help promote an attitude of informed internet users in our kids, teachers, and administrators. This is a great start to the conversation and I can’t wait to see all the resources and conversations that emerge. Thanks to everyone involved in this great project for making it happen!!

Learn to Code. Teach Code.

Name a discipline today that doesn’t use computers as part of their practice….. Oh. You can’t? So what computer skills are being taught in your college, in your courses, in public education, in kindergarten?….. f8b8079e2c0a6d5d3e60f6c1f3aad1bcOh…that’s not good. Learn Code. Teach Code.

Code.org is a non-profit concerned with the lack of computer science in your children’s education. And I agree. I’m not sure coding specifically is the most important computer skill they need, but I’m all for any organization pushing for more technology learning in schools. Go check them out or better yet go learn an hour of code. I did and they gave me this snazzy Certificate of Completion. Yeah!!!

Katy Independent School Division

I imagine you’ve all seen this video of Katy Independent School Divisions vision for integrated technology in not only the classroom, but in the philosophy and pedagogy of the teaching methods. Adding computers to the class creates distraction. Adding digital citizenship and literacy to curriculum creates engaged students prepared for real world respect for technology.

Cisco takes a little too much credit for the success, but they did pay for a very nice video. enjoy!

Gets it.

Here is probably the best example of a mother “getting it”. We can’t shield our children from mobile technology. What we can do is teach them to use it responsibly and respectfully. This is the same philosophy we need to adopt in the classrooms. This is one Mother’s contract with her son.


1. It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren’t I the greatest?
2. I will always know the password.
3. If it rings, answer it. It is a phone. Say hello, use your manners. Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads “Mom” or “Dad”. Not ever.
4. Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30pm every school night & every weekend night at 9:00pm. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30am. If you would not make a call to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text. Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.
5. It does not go to school with you. Have a conversation with the people you text in person. It’s a life skill.
6. If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs.
7. Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.
8-9. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.
10. No porn.
11. Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public. Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.
12. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts. Don’t laugh. Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life. It is always a bad idea. Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you. And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear — including a bad reputation.
13. Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos. There is no need to document everything. Live your experiences. They will be stored in your memory for eternity.
14. Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive or an extension of you. Learn to live without it. Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO — fear of missing out.
15. Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff. Your generation has access to music like never before in history. Take advantage of that gift. Expand your horizons.
16. Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.
17. Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Wonder without googling.
18. You will mess up. I will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. You & I, we are always learning. I am on your team. We are in this together.