3.4 Check out Social Bookmarking

I am going to start this post by saying that in all honesty, I am not a big fan of social bookmarking sites.  I’ve tried to use sites like Diigo before, but I find I quickly forget about them and go back to my tried and true ways of bookmarking for personal use and for sharing with students.

I am a Google Chrome user which makes bookmarking on multiple devices very easy.  By syncing my Google Chrome account on my 3 different computers, my iPhone and Chromebook, I always have access to sites I have bookmarked for work and home.  I also use the Google Chrome extension TeamSync Bookmarks which I use to share information with family members.

To share websites with students I usually use 2 different methods.  In Google Classroom there used to be a resource section where I would add links to websites I felt were of value.  With the recent update of Google Classroom, I will instead be creating a Bookmark Topic in the Classwork section of the platform and share bookmarked sites there.  The 2nd way that I share bookmarked information is through embedded Google Sheets on websites I have created.  I enjoy using this method when sharing information with colleagues as it is easy to organize and I can very easily add new material from a variety of devices.


Web-Resource Criteria

Criteria for Online Verification

  1. What is the source of the online information?
    • Are they a credible source?
    • Are they the original source?
  2. Is there a possibility of financial gain?
    • Is there advertising on the page?
    • Are they trying to sell something?
  3. When was the site last updated?  How old is the organization who created the site?
  4. Is the site easily navigable?
    • Are there useable hyperlinks?
    • Can you navigate forward and backward?
  5. Can facts on the page be verified by other sources?
    • Use fact-checking sites (snopes.com, factscan.ca)
    • Use credible news agencies.

When preparing for a recent job interview I came across the following site; http://canada2020.ca/numeracy/. I thought it would be perfect for this assignment since I had never heard of Canada 2020.

Evaluation based on my “Criteria for Online Verification”

  1. What is the source of the online information?  Canada 2020 is a progressive think take that seems to align itself with the Canadian Liberal Party.  Their ‘Big Idea” is based on research done by a variety of reputable sources.
  2. Is there a possibility of financial gain?  There is no advertising on their site, however, there is a ‘Donate’ button which asks you to “Help us hold more free public events, promoting a more progressive point of view and critical thinking for Canada.” 1
  3. When was the site last updated?  How old is the organization that started the site? The site was last updated in September of 2018.  The group Canada 2020 formed in 2006.
  4. Is the site easily navigable?  The site is easy to navigate.  There are a variety of hyperlinks that move you throughout the architecture of the site.
  5. Can facts on the page be verified by other sources?  The site provides footnotes of references made in the article.  The footnotes are not hyperlinked but most are easily accessed online.

Overall, through using my ‘Criteria for Online Verification” I found that the Canada 2020s publication “Big Idea: A Canada-wide Transformation of Numeracy Skills” is a fairly left-wing perspective on the state of numeracy in Canada, however, it is backed up by reliable data and facts.

1Support Canada 2020. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://canada2020.ca/donate/

Big Idea: A Canada-wide Transformation of Numeracy Skills. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://canada2020.ca/numeracy/

3.3 Checking Out Alternate Criteria

I chose to use the criteria Paul developed (HERE) as my alternate criteria.  My evaluation of http://canada2020.ca/numeracy/ based on this new criteria is as follows:

  1. Is the website name embedded in the URL with a recognisable domain?  The website’s name is clearly in the URL and is part of a .ca domain.
  2. Are the content and intentions of the website made clear on the home page? If you go to the website’s homepage http://canada2020.ca/ there is a clear description of the organization’s purpose.
  3. Is the grammar and spelling of content well-presented and correct?  Yes, the grammar and spelling are well presented and correct.
  4. Is it well laid out with obvious navigation tools where you were expecting? The site is very navigable and tools are in expected places.
  5. Is the information provided first or second hand by the website’s authors?  Information is provided first based on research.  Citations and bibliographies are included.
  6. Are there hyperlinks to given sources?  Yes, hyperlinks are provided to sources and individuals referenced.
  7. Do you need to subscribe for a free or paid period to use the website?  It is a free website, however, there is a spot to donate to help fund the organization.
  8. Are there many adverts and/or pop-ups when using the website? There are no adverts or pop-ups, however, sponsor information is available and hyperlinked.
  9. Can you comment/report or contact website owners/writers easily?  At the bottom of the site, there is contact information as well as links to social media sites.
  10. Can you tell where/why/when each piece of information was created?  New articles posted on the site are attributed to the author and are dated.
  11. Does the website have privacy policies and/or terms and conditions readily available?  There is not a specific privacy or terms and conditions policy readily available however when subscribing to the blog there is an “I’m Not a Robot” confirmation.  I was disappointed that there was not a disclaimer stating that your personal information would not be shared with other organizations.

Based on the criteria produced by Paul, I have once again found http://canada2020.ca/numeracy/ to be a reputable website and would be comfortable using it.


3.1 Find Reusabe Content

I found this first image using Google Images’ advanced search tools and selecting ‘Labeled for Reuse’.  When I clicked on the image it redirected me to the Wikipedia Commons website.
SAMR-Bloom-SchrockBy Kathy Schrock [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

This second image I searched for directly on the Wikipedia Commons website.Digital literacy disciplinesBy Dyuti mukh [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

I added both of these images to this blog post by embedding them with the HTML Code provided when I clicked on the ‘Use this file on the web’ button.  The usage rights for both images are as follows:

You are free:
to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work
to remix – to adapt the work
Under the following conditions:
attribution – You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
share alike – If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.


2.3 Your Take on Digital Literacy

In the age of digital literacy, I believe it is important for us as educators to help our students acquire the skills necessary to “create content and effectively communicate using a variety of digital media tools. ” (Hoechsmann, Michael, DeWaard, Helen, 2015, p. 5).  Specifically, I feel having a basic understanding of coding is essential for today’s student.

I began incorporating some coding activities into my classroom a couple of years ago.  I taught an elective called Go Google which encompassed a variety of digital literacy skills such as website design using Google Sites, blogging using Blogger, and creating a variety of content using the GAFE environment.  I finally decided to step into the world of coding when I first heard about the Hour of Code.  The first year I just gave the kids some free time and let them play.  Some of the students were really engaged and moved through the activities with ease and others were completely lost.  The next semester I wanted to go a little deeper so I created the following lesson:

Create Your Own Google Logo

Check out what I made: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/186390420/

Open https://goo.gl/hGhVQk
As a class, we will watch the video.
Choose Starter Project (Color)

The requirements for your Google Logo:
1. You need to Add a Backdrop
2. Put at least 2 costumes on your letters.
3. Use at least 3 motion effects to animate your letters
4. Add at least 1 sound effect.

Make your Google Logo public. On the project page click embed. Go to Share and copy the link and then add the sharing link to this assignment.

This activity went really well since students were familiar with the Google Logo and how it changed through the seasons.  As an educator, it was also in line with Alberta’s Learning and Technology Policy Framework (2013) in that it allowed students to use technology “as a platform for creation and sharing” (p. 4).

When investigating Mozilla’s Web Literacy tool and using it to evaluate my lesson I achieved the following:

Overall, this activity was fun for students, and for some their first foray into the world of code.  It falls under the branch of digital literacy Pangrazio refers to as digital design literacy in that “‘real’ learning takes place when people make and create” (as quoted in Pangrazio, 2016, p. 167).  Hopefully, my students finished this lesson and then continued to make and create with code on their own.

Hoechsmann, Michael, DeWaard, Helen. (2015) Mapping Digital Literacy Policy and Practice in the Canadian Education Landscape : MediaSmarts. Available at http:// mediasmarts.ca/ teacher-resources/ digital-literacy- framework/ mapping-digital-literacy-policy-practice-canadian-education-landscape

Government of Alberta. (2013). Learning and Technology Policy Framework . Retrieved from http:// education.alberta.ca/ media/6581166/framework.pdf

Web Literacy. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://learning.mozilla.org/en-US/web-literacy/write/code/

Pangrazio, L. (2016). Reconceptualising critical digital literacy. Discourse: Studies in Cultural Politics37(2), 163-174.

2.2—Find Help Resources

I have always been somewhat of a problem solver when it comes to difficulties I encounter with technology.  Google and YouTube are really my best friends when it comes to figuring out why something isn’t working or how to get it to work the way I want it too.  Most of the times I am successful, but there are still times I need to get help from other sources.  I am really lucky in that I have a few coworkers I can rely on in these situations.  Specifically, I work with the most amazing man who, even though he is blind, knows his way around almost any aspect of computer hardware and networking.  I also have a colleague who is a Google Domain administrator and I feel she will be a big help in my new role as an adaptive technology coordinator.

As an educator I am also always interested in new ways technology can be used in my classroom.  To that end, I follow a couple different blogs and websites which allow me to stay on top of EdTech.  In particular, I like to check in with:

I know there is always challenges when it comes to technology and how to use it in an educational setting, but I feel that with my problem-solving skills and assistance from my peers, I will continue to be able to figure out how to best harness ever advancing educational technology.


2.1 – State of Technology in Education

I have recently changed districts within my community and it has been very interesting to see the differences between both the type of technology in classrooms and how it is used.  For hardware, my previous board mainly used Apple computers, Promethean interactive whiteboards, Chromebook carts within Div II to Div IV, and iPads in Early Learning and Div I.  My current board uses mainly PC computers, Smartboard and Epson interactive whiteboards, Dell Laptops and full PC labs in Div III and IV, Chromebook carts in Div II and III, and iPads in Early Learning and Div I.  It’s been interesting making the switch away from the hardware I became comfortable with over the 15 years I was with my original district.  Just using a PC computer vs an Apple has been an especially challenging, and at times frustrating, endeavor.

As for how technology is used, both boards really aim to use technology to encourage student engagement, adapt resources for students with special needs, as well as create environments where students are empowered to be active participants in their learning.  In the early years, young students are often using iPads as part of their balanced literacy program and teachers are using interactive whiteboards as a way to promote engagement in whole class activities.  Once students reach Division II there is an increasing use of GAFE tools.  Teachers are using Google Classroom to deliver content, communicate with students and manage assessment.  Students are also able to use tools such as Read&Write, Texthelp PDF Reader, and EquatIO in order to make resources more accessible.

Lastly, we are beginning to see more STEM type technology available in both districts.  At the elementary level,  there are coding clubs where students are participating in the Hour of Code and Code Academy.  Elementary students are also working with Dash, Dot and MiP robots.  At the secondary level, there are also coding clubs where students are working on advanced coding skills and both districts have active robotics programs.  High schools are also using tech in engineering simulation and health science labs as well as in Career and Technology Studies classes to simulate real-world job experiences.

Overall, I think both districts in my community have good forward momentum when it comes to providing and using technology.  Teachers are seeking out and participating in increasing amounts of professional development which focus on the use of tech in the classroom.  Also, both boards consistently send tech leaders to provincial tech engagement sessions and conferences such as the Google Summit and Convergence.  The one area I feel we need to continue to focus on is digital literacy skills.   Like most boards, we continue to deal with the challenges facing today’s youth in regards to social media and online content and having the tools and skills to support students navigate these waters is increasingly important.

1.4 – Ed Tech History?

  1. Describe and discuss one or two elements from the Bates or Watters chapters that allowed you to think deeper about your past or present teaching.

Seymour Papert’s question “should the computer program the kid or should the kid program the computer?” (as quoted in Watters, 2014, p. 11-12) really got me thinking about when I first brought one-on-one technology into my classroom.  I remember having this dream of using tech as means of students interacting with the world around them.  Maybe one student could find a pen pal in the Ukraine and learn about what holidays they celebrate there.  Maybe another student could follow an astronaut’s trip to space and write about it.  Maybe a third student would use it to record his deepest thoughts.  I really had this dream that tech would be the answer to successfully and impactfully differentiang learning in my classroom.

The real world intervened in my dreaming however.  Just like Papert stated in his book, The Children’s Machine, “Progressive teachers knew very well how to use the computer for their own ends as an instrument of change; School knew very well how to nip this subversion in the bud.” (as quoted in Watters, 2014, p. 12), I could dream all I wanted, but I still lived and worked in a world where FOIP, curricular expectations, standardized testing and old-school thinkers existed.  So instead of creating this student-centered learning environment I dreamed of, I downloaded sight word apps and math games or had students use voice to text to write their stories.  Now don’t get me wrong, did it help with student engagement and offer accommodations for students, absolutely, but that vision I initially had, never really materialized.

Now when looking at Bates work, it made reflect on the definition of the word technology.  According to Merriam-Webster technology is “a capability given by the practical application of knowledge.”  So according to this, the answer to Bates’ question under the picture of Moses “Are the tablets of stone an educational technology?” is yes.  Using the knowledge, and ability garnered from that knowledge, Moses was able to chisel his teachings in stone and educate those around him.  So it makes me think, technology is always evolving, going from a chisel, to a pencil, to a typewriter, to a computer or even to an iPad and it’s going to continue to evolve.  It is our role as educators, to find meaningful ways to incorporate these technologies into environments where students are challenged and engaged in a manner that promotes growth.


Watters, A. (2014). The Hidden history of ed-tech. In The Monsters of Educational Technology, pp. 7-31.

“Technology.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/technology.

Bates, A.W. (2015). A short history of educational technology. In Teaching in a Digital Age. Victoria: BCcampus.

1.3—Collect Some RSS Feeds

I have chosen to use Feedly as my RSS Reader.  I have been using it for a while and really like how Google Chrome has the Feedly Notifier Extension (here) which notifies me when I have new content to read.  I use Feedly for school, work and home.  Here are a couple examples of things I follow:

  1. School
    • I follow all of my classmates WordPress Blogs
    • I follow blogs written by professors.
  2. Work
    • My Superintendent’s twitter feed
    • Edmonton Public Schools – Technology Help Youtube Channel
    • Texthelp for Education
    • Edutopia
  3. Home
    • CBC News
    • iheartorganizing.com blog
    • Specific Kijiji searches

By using Feedly and more specifically the Feedly Notifier extension, I find the time I spend surfing online becomes less of a time suck and instead I can quickly access the information I need or I am interested in.


Intro to 5101

Hi everyone.  I am excited to join EDDL 5101.  This will be the second course I take as part of my Masters of Education.  I began teaching in 2001 and through the years I have taught primarily Grade 1 and Grade 9 Math and Science.  Throughout those years I also wore a variety of hats over and above that of classroom teacher.  I have acted as a divisional leader and technology lead and I have also developed and delivered multiple PD sessions within my community.  This school year is a year of big change for me as I have left the classroom, moved to a new school board, and taken on the role of Secondary Numeracy and Adaptive Education Technology coordinator.

I have never been formally trained as a tech person, instead, my love of integrating technology into the curriculum developed as innovative technological resources became available.   Whether it be desktop computers, iPads, interactive whiteboards, cell phones, or Chromebooks, I have always found technology to be a tool to engage students in their learning if it is used in a pedagogically sound manner.  Now that being said, if you ask me anything about the technical sides of technology I’m at a loss.  When you start talking RAM, networking, processor speeds, coding, I’m at a loss.

Over the years I have created various online tools for students, parents, and teachers to access resources.  A couple examples are:

In this course, I would like to continue to learn how to evaluate technological tools to ensure that they are pedagogically sound.  As my role as Adaptive Technology Coordinator, I will be looking for a variety of tech tools to use with students who need interventions to support their learning.  I really want to ensure that the resources I present to teachers and students meet their diverse needs.  This year I will also be responsible for delivering content to teachers across the district.  In order to assist me in this role, I would like to investigate ways to use social media feeds, synchronous communication tools, and resource sharing platforms to deliver information and resources to colleagues.

I look forward to learning with everyone and can’t wait to get started!

Abbi Easton