Monthly Archives: November 2015

Not. My. Problem.

We all know digital citizenship is important, but whose responsibility is it anyway?

Digital Citizenship Skills

I have thought about this question many times during this course and even somewhat before I started COETAIL: Whose job is it to teach these digital citizenship (DC) skills? I can imagine that many teachers’ quick response might be, “Well, I don’t teach tech, so it’s not my responsibility.” But I am not so sure that this is the approach we should have as digital citizens ourselves. I ask the question,

If not us, then who?

It is all of our responsibilities, as teachers, to teach DC especially in the context of our disciplines. DC might look very different in my science classes as opposed to your [fill-in-the-blank] classes. Of course, if your students are taking a technology class, this would be a very appropriate place for them to learn about DC, but I think it’s also important for our students to learn about DC in context. I think that makes it more obvious and relevant for our students to learn about how they can really be good digital citizens all of the time. If you are looking to incorporate DC into your lesson plans, these look like great resources: Digital Citizenship Lesson Plans from Common Sense Media.

Photo Credit: Ken Whytock via Compfight cc

Necessary Conversations

When and where should we be having such conversations with students? There is no time like the present! I do think teachers need to start having these necessary conversations with our students NOW.  I don’t think that teaching a stand alone lesson about DC is completely necessary (although it may be in some cases). Since most of us are teaching lessons that incorporate technology on some level some of the time, I think those lessons are the ones in which we could integrate a lesson on DC into an already existing lesson. If we don’t start talking about DC with our students, then who is going to talk with them about it? We can’t assume that they are experts on this topic. I am not even an expert on this topic yet, but I am working towards that 🙂 The above linked lesson plans are a good place for us to start thinking about how we can incorporate DC into our lessons.

The following video shows conversations that Dr. Devorah Heitner, who has her Ph.D. in Media/Technology and Society from Northwestern University, has had with some middle school students. It sheds some light on THEIR ideas/understandings about technology and digital citizenship:

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Dr. Heitner suggests that we, as parents and/or teachers, have conversations with our students. Ask them questions and come up with solutions together.


Are we taking this seriously? Sometimes, it becomes obvious that my students actually know less about technology and even less about DC than I had previously thought. I will oftentimes assume that they are all knowing when it comes to technology and DC, but that is not always the case. But we need to ask them about it, talk to them about it, engage them in conversation about DC. Before COETAIL, I will be honest, I was that teacher who thought it wasn’t THEIR responsibility to teach my students about DC – it was the tech teacher’s responsibility or the parents’ responsibility – not mine! But I am having a mind-shift. It is MY responsibility. I am their science teacher, and it is my responsibility to teach my students about DC. DC runs across all disciplines as well as into our personal lives. I want to model exemplar digital citizenship for my students, and it needs to start with educating them about it NOW. I warmly welcome your comments below.

Photo Credit: The Daring Librarian via Compfight cc


Filmmaker, writer, and speaker, Kirby Ferguson, argues that “Everything is a remix.” (Am I plagiarizing for using the title of his four-part video series as the name of my blog post? Is this obvious enough that I am giving him credit for it? I want to make sure that I am giving credit where credit is due!) After being assigned this week to watch the video series, Everything is a Remix, I was intrigued. Then, I dug a bit deeper and found and watched Kirby Ferguson’s TED Talk, Embrace the remix.

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Kirby’s definition of a remix is something that is copied, transformed, and combined, and his Bob Dylan and Steve Jobs examples really helped me to understand “the remix” as I was formerly unaware that such a thing even existed.

A screenshot from my notes for this week

Kirby explains that, throughout history, creators have borrowed, stolen, and transformed creative works. Our own creativity is, in fact, a “concoction of previous stuff,” he says. In his TED Talk, Kirby quotes Henry Ford, “an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and the sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production” (taken from,

“I invented nothing new. I simply assembled the discoveries of other men whom behind were centuries of work…progress happens when all the factors that make for it are ready and then it is inevitable.”

In Kirby’s TED Talk, he showed a picture of the Patent Act of 1970, and below the title, it read, “An act to promote the progress of useful art,” and I found that SO interesting! When I think of patent laws, “an act to promote the progress of useful art” is NOT what comes to mind! Unfortunately, I think of people copying each other’s work and resulting lawsuits. In his TED Talk, Kirby states that, “creativity comes from without, not from within.” Our creativity IS a compilation of our’s and others’ experiences, and I am not sure that I ever really thought about creativity in that way.

Photo Credit: Dawn Endico via Compfight cc

Honestly, I LOVE the concept of the remix. But I get so confused sometimes. What does it mean to be creative? If the purpose of the Patent Act of 1790 is “to promote the progress of useful art,” then how is this Act actually helping us progress? Most of the time, I feel like patent laws are doing just the opposite 🙁

How can we use the concepts behind remix culture in our teaching? That is a GREAT question! How can we convey these concept to our students without them taking it the wrong way? I think such concepts could, sometimes, be easily misconstrued. I am not even sure that I completely understand them all of the time!

I want my students to be as creative as possible (yes! even in science class), and I want them to give credit where credit is due and understand why that is important 🙂 I warmly welcome your comments below.

Keep Calm & Facebook On…or NOT?

On the return flight of our most recent family holiday, I leaned over and asked my husband if the plane had wifi. He didn’t think so except to play the in-flight movies, so I couldn’t use the Internet. Bummer! This was the first time I didn’t bring anything to do on the plane aside from my computer. And what to do with a computer sans internet? Needless to say, I was bored for a while…and then my 9-month old daughter woke up from her very short nap 😉

My point here is that I don’t (or can’t) really use my computer for anything worthwhile (in my opinion) unless I have the internet. I need the internet for EVERYTHING I do on my computer! Like Gmail (personal and work), Google Calendar (personal and work), Google Drive (personal and work), COETAIL, Digg Reader, Facebook, Twitter, my personal blog (which I haven’t had time to update since the summer!), etc. I think it’s obvious that through utilizing all of these apps/websites, I am putting myself out there. I am in a sense publishing information about myself for all the world to see.

Call me naive, but I honestly have never paid much attention to my privacy settings until reading some of the suggested readings for this week, like Beware: the Internet could own your future. I just didn’t see the importance (and I am still a bit skeptical). My feelings were that I didn’t have anything to hide, so why would I need to worry about my privacy settings, right? Not exactly, I guess!

Literally, right after reading the course readings for this week, which speak about the importance of privacy settings and with Facebook in particular, I log in to Facebook. And upon logging in, I am greeted with this message:

I guess there’s a difference between security and privacy, but I think they’re related. Upon following through with the 3 ways that Facebook suggested to increase my security, I also took a look at my Facebook privacy settings. I learned that my privacy settings were not as private as I thought they were! And I changed them immediately. Of course, finding the privacy settings were a bit confusing as was how to change them to display what I wanted them to display. The following article does a nice job of more easily explaining How to Control Your Facebook Privacy Settings.

I think privacy has A LOT to do with what YOU feel comfortable with. Like I said before, I don’t have anything to hide (at least not that I know of!), but I also don’t want any creepers creeping up on my personal information. Do you think privacy settings are as important for adults as they are for our children and our students? I warmly welcome your comments below.