Course 1, Week 2: Becoming a Researcher

Coetailing while in France. February break 2020.

There were two probing questions this week: (a.) How will you actively seek out knowledge instead of letting it come to you? and (b.) How might being an active researcher impact your practice? Can knowledge just come to us? I believe we always have to do something to find knowledge. Therefore, since I did learn some new tips this week for searching for information, I decided to give it a go. I did a Google search for “Who coined the phrase fake news?” I found several articles with .com domains and I tried a sites: .edu search but I didn’t find anything for who coined the phrase. Interestingly, it seems the term has been around quite a while. Defined by etymologyonline.com, “Fake news ‘journalism that is deliberately misleading’ is attested from 1894; popularized in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.” Trump took credit for the term; however, Craig Silverman an editor at Buzzfeed, also claims he popularized the term during the election campaign, even though he has decided to no longer use it (Beaujon, 2019). As I spiraled down this rabbit hole, I also learned the United Kingdom government also decided to no longer use the term “fake news” (Hern, 2018). Since I could not find supporting evidence on a domain other than .com’s, I checked the name of a source Hern cited, Dr. Claire Wardle. I found her on harvard.edu so I have decided this bit of news is probably trustworthy and maybe Beujon’s article is accurate but without more reliable sources, I leave it as only a possible truth. The second question was about how being an active researcher will impact my practice. This question has true-to-life significance for me in my current position. I am educated to teach languages, was hired as an English as a second language teacher, but three years ago I was voluntold to also teach students with learning disabilities. I have enjoyed the experience immensely and have learned so much. One of the ways I have made it through this experience so far is through finding information online to help the students I’m working with now. Don’t know what ASD is? You can find thousands of hits online. Don’t know how to write a social story? You can find examples for any topic on teachers-pay-teachers or Pinterest. Maybe my example is not exactly the type of “active researcher” the question was implying; however, the practical research I have to do to be better at my job is spot on.

First reading of the week and my takeaways from Children in a Digital World: I was surprised to read, children who “speak minority languages often can’t find relevant content online.” I wasn’t surprised this is true, I was surprised the idea had not occurred to me. As a native English speaker, I think I’m spoiled and have this expectation the whole world understands English. “Ninety-two percent of all child sexual abuse URLs identified globally by the Internet Watch Foundation are hosted in just five countries: the Netherlands, the United States, Canada, France and the Russian Federation.” Since the URLs are based in those countries, does this mean the abuse is happening there too? Information and communication technology (ICT) lacks the needed research on children’s health like it’s effect on obesity and depression. The authors recommended we should be “focusing more on what children are doing online and less on how long they are online.” They also suggested, “internet companies should work with partners to create more locally developed and locally relevant content,
especially content for children who speak minority languages, live in remote locations and belong to marginalized groups.” Should it be internet companies’ responsibility? I wouldn’t trust corporations to do the right thing. My next thought is should the government be able to regulate this? I definitely don’t trust governments to do the right thing either.

Second reading of the week and my takeaways from Pages 13 – 20 of Living with New Media: Genres of Participation with New Media. The main idea of this section was the three genres of participation, “hanging out, messing around, and geeking out are three genres of participation that describe different forms of commitment to media engagement, and they correspond to different social and learning dynamics.” The study found adults see using new media while hanging out with friends as a waste of time. In response to restrictions on hanging out, teenagers find workarounds. The first genre was hanging out. “While hanging out with their friends, youth develop and discuss their taste in music, their knowledge of television and movies, and their expertise in gaming. They also engage in a variety of new media practices, such as looking around online or playing games, when they are together with friends.” “Young people use new media to build friendships and romantic relationships as well as to hang out with each other as much and as often as possible.” The second genre was, “messing around represents the beginning of a more intense, media-centric form of engagement. When messing around, young people begin to take an interest in and focus on the workings and content of the technology and media themselves, tinkering, exploring, and extending their understanding. The third genre was, “‘geeking out’ —an intense commitment to or engagement with media or technology, often one particular media property, genre, or type of technology.” TLDR: Hanging out, messing around, and geeking out are three ways kids are using technology in their lives but to different extents.

My takeaways from Google Search Tricks for Research: Search operators target whatever I’m searching for. First, quotation marks give more exact results for what’s in the quotes. Second, use OR in caps; for example, climate change OR global warming. Third, the minus sign, for example, apple -fruit will give results for apple but not the fruit. Finally, site: – you can search within a specific website for search terms. You can also include university domains with .edu and country domains like .de for Germany.

Course 1, The real week 1 (aka week 2)

I hate to disconnect; however, I love short but sweet articles and What does it mean to disconnect? (Utecht) hit that sweet spot for me. Going into the lurker debate, I was confident I was not one; however, after reading this article I started to think about how much content I’m creating, or rather not creating. I have room to grow to reach the 80/20 rule. I would guess I’m closer to 5/95. I’m going to make a point to keep a balance of my screen time while increasing my production time. I am creating a video this week for a presentation coming up and I’m having a great time doing it. I’m recording videos, uploading them to my drive, to be edited together this week to create teaching points for the impending presentation. It doesn’t feel like work at all and I’m excited about it. Although I’m spending more time creating the video for the presentation than I am preparing for the presentation. Another one of those lack of balance moments. Make adjustment, move forward.

What did I learn new this week? I’d heard about UbD so a refresher on that was good but not new. Google Synergyse was definitely new since I’d never heard of it. Of course, I had to Google it, Google acquires Synergyse, an interactive training service for Google Apps. It’s some sort of training on Google Apps for workers outside of Education. I’m so deep into my own little educational world, the thought hadn’t occurred to me companies would be using Google Apps and of course they’d need a way to learn how to use them. I ran across a new term, in the white paper,  Living with New Media, so I consulted the handy-dandy, go-to Wikipedia page and it was able to explain media ecology fairly well. They still used really big words so I had to read it more than once. I also learned leeches are a type of participant found in social media. I hope to avoid that title if at all possible!

My take-aways from Living with New Media. There were two research questions: (a.) How are new media being integrated into youth practices and agendas? and (b.) How do these practices change the dynamics of youth-adult negotiations over literacy, learning, and authoritative knowledge? I only read the introduction and the conclusion, which was all the energy I could put into it. I thought it was interesting how they explained social media is the new hangout compared to when I was hanging out at friends’ houses whose parents were away. As a mom, I think back to my kids growing up and I felt better about my kids being at home and not out getting into trouble. I was ignorant of the online dangers but luckily we survived it ok. Recently they’ve been teaching me to play WOW. I’ve not made any new online friends yet, but I expect I will eventually. I discovered another way we’re messing up our kids-when we don’t allow them access to the internet we are keeping them away from their peers, their common culture. We’re isolating them and probably causing them depression! Yikes. The writers told us girls are more stigmatized for participating in these online social groups, “highly technical interest groups and complex forms of gaming.” I checked the publication date of this article and it was published in 2008. Which means the study was probably done around 2005. It’s way too old for us to trust what they’re saying is still relevant. Girls are geeks too and we let our freek flag fly! Girl power! If you doubt the irrelevance and obsoleteness of the article, they spout Myspace and Facebook as the means of social communication of the youth (p. 36). Educators are not communicating with the teens and adult leaders in the gaming and creative production worlds. The authors suggested to “build bridges” of communication in order to gain awareness (p. 37). I would make a guess the gamers of 2008 are now current educators and perhaps they are more intune and aware of the online social norms of today and better able to make connections.

My takeaways from Online Personas: Who We Become When We Learn with Others Online. “who does the work in an online network and how rich are the roles that they adopt.” concluded Lloyd, Skyring, and Fraser in the last line of this paper. Let’s call them LSF for short. My initial thought was we’re talking about a multiple personality disorder. Aren’t I still me regardless of which online group I’m connecting with? LSF introduced, “This paper contends that people take on multiple online identities, here called personas, depending on context. These emphasise the “social” in social media and mediate our relationship with others and how we fit within the networks we join.” Maybe they’re talking about a switch of mindset? Like when we switch between formal and informal language depending on our audience? Gladwell (2000) identified the roles, “connectors, mavens and salesmen;” which are new-to-me terms cropping up in this paper. What are they in this context? I control F for the term “connect” and do a word inquiry. I got 82 hits including the terms connectors, connections, connectivism, and connecting. Finally, on page 161 I found the explanation and I re-cite from the paper, Gladwell (2000) “roles can be comparatively described as: “Mavens are data banks. They provide the message. Connectors are social glue: they spread it. But there is also a select group of people – salesmen – with the skills to persuade us when we are unconvinced of what we are hearing.” LSF went on to explain the roles deeper then concluded the findings: The roles are still current and it was found people can switch between these roles. LSF found, “Those outside of these roles were categorised as: lurkers, core participants, challengers, facilitators, irritants and leeches.” I personally find leeches a colorful role title. how personally engaged participants in personal learning networks are. Lastly, LSF found in their study participants were as personally engaged in their online professional learning networks (PLNs) as they are when in face-to-face situations. “They (the participants) were as concerned with their fellow participants as they were with the topics under discussion.” This is nice to hear. #coetail , you care! You really really care!

Course 1, orientation week 1

I wonder if anyone else struggles like I do to figure out the way new communities work? Not the read this, then write that, and finally respond to a classmate’s post of typical online courses. I’m thinking on the parts I don’t know. Someone said they’re the unknown unknowns. Comprehensively, I feel like I’m missing stuff.

Something new to me is the RSS feed. I’m not sure what it is yet but I’ve started a Feedly and added some instructional technology blogs. I even found it in the Play Store so I added it to my phone. I’m sure it’ll make sense eventually. Just like everything else, hopefully, maybe it will eventually make sense.

ISTE Standards. I am looking through the ISTE standards and two jump out at me, (a.) Designer (Educators design authentic, learner-driven activities and environments that recognize and accommodate learner variability) and (b.) Analyst (Educators understand and use data to drive their instruction and support students in achieving their learning goals). I have a passion for designing instruction and I look for designing opportunities in my everyday lesson planning. I enjoy trying out new apps and learning how to implement them for my students’ learning experiences. Second, analyst is where I can see providing the big impact on my students’ learning. We are currently talking formative assessment throughout the school and here is where I see the possibilities of implementing different ways of assessing my students to plan for their needs. My goal for this course is to show growth in using instructional technology, specifically in the areas of designing and analyzing. I hope to come away with new ideas and improve my practice.

This orientation week has not been easy! However, I feel excited about the learning about to happen and I’m looking forward to collaborating with everyone in the cohort. Now, I wonder what I’ve forgotten to do…

Course 1, my introduction

My name is Holly and I’m originally from North Carolina, USA. I currently live and work in Moscow, Russia with trips back home to NC twice a year to visit friends and family. This school year I am working as a grade 2 support teacher. I mainly work with students with learning differences and/or English as an additional language. I’m in Cohort 12 and you can find me on Twitter @holly28428.

My school suggested the opportunity to do the COETAIL courses. I am the typical teacher – a life long learner. I am always learning something new and I am looking forward to what I will learn next with this online learning experience!