Course 2, Unit 6: Final Project

Image by moonkee na from Pixabay

My three-woman group for this project was Erika, Andrea, and myself. Erika and I work together in second grade at our school and we collaborated on the final project in Course One. We work well together so I asked her right away if she’d like to collaborate on this project together. I knew from reading the Cohort 12 blog posts at the beginning of Course One, Andrea is also a second-grade teacher so I sent her an email asking if she’d like to join Erika and me on this project. Fortunately, she was able to join us.

The collaboration on this project went very well. Erika and Andrea out-did themselves with the lessons, resources, and their contributions. It is wonderful working with motivated, responsible professionals! Kudos to Erika and Andrea and I’m grateful to have had such a positive experience working on a virtual group project.

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Although it can be rewarding working with a group, it is also challenging. We were all dealing with a pandemic, being in different time zones, and the jet-lag from traveling across the globe. Luckily we had the time for people to be able to provide their contributions. When collaborating on a unit planner with others who you never have face-to-face (f2f) meetings is different from planning sessions with coworkers at school. The personal connection aspect is missing. There are no quick hallway-meetings to ask questions or five-minute discussions. However, it is similar because we go back to our own computers to complete the work. We send messages and emails to get clarification and share ideas, just like our f2f coworkers.

We chose Option One, create a unit planner, because it was practical for Erika and Andrea to have created it for use with their students in their classrooms. Although our technology integrationist at school provides an introduction to internet safety to our students at the beginning of the year, this unit goes much more in-depth to helping students understand how to be proficient digital citizens. ISTE Digital Citizen 2 standards were the basis for the goals set for this unit.

This learning experience I helped design is different from my normal instruction because I am usually adapting or designing lessons for my English learners or my students with learning disabilities, not creating units of instruction. It is helpful for me to participate in the process Andrea and Erika used to create this unit. Of course, it is not completely different from what I usually do. This experience was like the instructional big picture instead of the snapshots I typically work on.

The Digital Citizen unit we created synthesized many of the ideas we learned in Course Two. Ideas like respecting the intellectual property of others, connecting with others on social media (safely), managing digital identity and protecting data, and differentiating between truth and misinformation. The ISTE standards for educators support the work we are doing with students and the Digital Citizen unit planner we created was based on the enduring understandings of Course Two.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

My Course Two final project was a globally collaborative project. We used the UbD lesson template and included desired results, learning goals, and opportunities for students to show evidence of their learning.

Course 2, Week 5: Becoming Contributors

Gerd Altmann, Pixabay

There is no acceptable use (AU) policy for students at my school, only for adults. The AU can be found on the school’s website and in the faculty handbook and I have included the AU at the bottom of this blog. Honestly, this was my first time reading through it carefully and I had two main takeaways. First, the school wants everyone to use the WiFi provided and second, don’t do anything inappropriate while using it.

image by Holly Marshburn

While reading the AU, I considered if it empowers stakeholders to make positive contributions to local and global communities. In the AU, it said, “Our goal in providing this service (WiFi) to users is to promote educational excellence by facilitating resource sharing, innovation, and communication.” However, taking into consideration what Scott McLeod shared in his TEDx talk, Extracurricular Empowerment, it seems to be a way of controlling users out of fear something bad will be done. It is unclear to me how the AU is promoting any sharing, innovation, or communication. I believe the AU is laying out the rules and if anyone breaks them, then you won’t be allowed to use the WiFi at school. For teachers, it could mean disciplinary action from the administration. McLeod encouraged us to let go of the fear and the need to control in order to empower the students, and in this instance, the people. That being said, of course, I believe the students’ privacy would be honored and we should behave professionally.

Media literacy is an on-going process of growth. Technology is evolving at the speed of an expert typist’s words-per-minute and it’s a continuous journey to learn what’s new, relevant, and useful. I have a degree in instructional technology and distance education yet here I am taking another tech certification so I can continue to improve my media literacy. I am always asking my students to teach me what they’re doing online. I offer help to my colleagues with any tech issues they may have that I can help them with. Sometimes it feels like a blow to the ego not to be the ultimate media literacy expert since I have that ITDE degree (that I’m not even using); however, I swallow my pride and ask anyone and everyone for help to improve my tech skills and continue to learn.
video by Holly Marshburn

Participatory culture is a term used to describe how people are creating self-made content then sharing their videos, audio, text, and images on social media (Mindjet, 2008). I have embraced this culture and I enjoy putting myself out there. I have always loved making digital stories (DS) and I have been posting my videos on my YouTube channel for a while. I find the best way to learn something new is to practice it on yourself. In 2017, I wasn’t able to attend my graduation ceremony in the states so my friends celebrated with me in Russian style-selfies and a big party. I created my ITDE digital story to remember it by.

Recently, I discovered Tik Tok. I believe this is a prime example of participatory culture and just this week I posted my first video on TikTok. So far, I have three followers! (Two are personal friends but it’s still a start.) Seriously though for me, contributing my work to the web isn’t about how many followers, likes, or subscribers I have. I do appreciate all that of course but I enjoy the process of creating and have a warm sense of accomplishment when I upload and/or post my creations for the world to see and judge-or not. In the past, I have had students create their own digital stories. They would write a story, create illustrations, record themselves reading their story, take pictures of their pages, then share them with others. I’m not the only one who enjoys this process of creating for a purpose and audience.

Photo by Stefan Cosma on Unsplash

Deanna Troi was my mentor in learning about empathy. Counselor Troi and my lived experiences of almost a half-century have helped me become a more empathetic person. I’ve learned to listen to others, try to consider perspectives different from my own, and being naturally introverted has helped. When someone is mean to me, I consider the possibility his wife beats him at home. When a student is being a jerk, I imagine she has an older sister getting all the attention at home and is acting out with me because she knows I’m safe. When I notice a student or peer is not being empathetic, I try to support them by asking questions about the situation to try to get them to see another perspective and possibly feel empathy. Empathy comes from nature and future. We’re born with it, or not, but there’s always room to learn the ways of the Betazoid.


Extracurricular empowerment (McLeod, TEDxDesMoines) FacultyHandbook(2018-19 September). pp. 35-38 PuttingtheParticipatory Culture to Work. (2008). Retrieved from

The School offers electronic communications and network access to all users. Access to the network provides users with Internet access in addition to other resources. All employees, students and visitors are encouraged to use the school wifi or wired internet connections (not to use data from cellular networks). Our goal in providing this service to users is to promote educational excellence by facilitating resource sharing, innovation and communication. While the Internet provides a massive information source to our school, we must also recognize that some material available may not be considered of educational value in a school setting. The responsibility for proper educational use of the network lies with the user. If an AAS user chooses to access resources that are objectionable, adult-oriented, or restricted, the consequence may be withholding or termination of access privileges, depending on the circumstances and intent of the user.

AAS Computer Systems and Internet Use Terms and Conditions

  1. School computers should be used to support education and research consistent
    with the learning outcomes of the Anglo-American School. Use of another
    organization’s network or computing resources from school computers must
    comply with the rules appropriate for that network as well as for the AAS network.
  2. Network Etiquette – Users are expected to abide by the following rules of network etiquette. These include (but are not limited to) the following:
    a. One should be polite and never abusive in messages to others. Using
    vulgarities or any other inappropriate language will not be tolerated. Hate mail,
    harassment, discriminatory remarks and other antisocial behaviors are
    prohibited. Messages should not contain profanity, obscene comments,
    sexually explicit material, or expressions of bigotry or hate. Such remarks may fall under purview of the AAS Harassment Policy.
    b. E-mail is not guaranteed to be private and may be monitored at any time.
    Messages relating to or in support of illegal activities may be reported to
    c. E-mail chain letters should never be forwarded to or from AAS e-mail accounts.
    d. The personal address, phone numbers, or passwords of users of the AngloAmerican School, including one’s own, should not be revealed without the
    employee’s permission other than on a need-to-know basis.
    e. The network should not be used in such a way as to intentionally disrupt its use by others.
    f. Files downloaded or transferred via removable media should be checked for
    viruses. Deliberate attempts to degrade or disrupt system performance will be
    viewed as a severe offense.
    g. Illegal downloading of files is prohibited.
    h. Files stored in public storage areas may be deleted by the school at any time.
    Users should save files either on removable storage or on their home network
    i. Files stored on the school computer local hard drives are not backed up and
    should be saved on either removable storage or in user home directories on
    the network servers.
  3. Accuracy of Information – Use of any information obtained via the Internet is at
    one’s own risk. Users are responsible for determining the accuracy or quality of
    information obtained through school accounts. Users should not alter any computer configuration on a school computer (without express permission). This includes installing ANY programs from home, the Internet, etc. If a user needs a particular program for school use, the user should contact their divisional administrator (principal or direct supervisor) and/or with the request.
  4. Security is a high priority, especially since the system involves many users. If a
    user identifies a security problem on the network, the user must notify a teacher, librarian or principal, without demonstrating the problem to other users. Users should not intentionally seek information on, obtain copies of, or modify files, other data, or passwords belonging to other users, or misrepresent other users on the network. Attempts to gain unauthorized access to system program or computer equipment will result in the cancellation of user privileges.
  5. Vandalism – Vandalism will result in revocation of privileges as well as other
    sanctions cited in the AAS handbooks and Board Policy Manual. Vandalism
    includes any malicious attempt to harm, modify, destroy, or remove from the AAS premises computer hardware, software, or data of another user.
  6. Any software installed must be properly licensed and evaluated by AAS IT
    Department prior to the installation.
  7. Computers and other electronic equipment available for checkout may not be
    removed from the AAS campus by AAS Staff without explicit, written permission. Lists of available items for checkout will be updated regularly. AAS Staff members may checkout approved devices for professional use only. When checking-out and using an AAS school-owned ICT device, AAS Faculty and Staff members agree to the conditions and procedures outlined below:
    a. AAS ICT devices are only to be used to support our school’s Mission and
    Vision. Personal, non-school related use is inappropriate and prohibited.
    b. AAS school-owned ICT devices off-campus use is short-term only (i.e.,
    c. AAS Staff members are 100% responsible for the off-campus care and
    appropriate use of the AAS school-owned ICT devices checked out to them.
    d. AAS staff members are liable for any associated costs due to on or off campus
    damage/loss/theft, including repair/replacement costs.
    e. All AAS school-owned ICT devices must be checked out through the current
    prescribed circulation system. Any subsequent extensions of checkout periods
    must include a visual inspection and verification of the AAS school-owned ICT
    device by the ICT / IT staff.
    f. In the event of the loss or theft of an AAS school-owned ICT device, on or off
    campus, the user must notify the following immediately — AAS Security,
    immediate supervisor or Divisional Principals, and the ICT / IT staff. (This will
    ensure that recovery procedures can be activated as soon as is possible
    including device tracking and security surveillance.)
  8. Damage to AAS school-owned ICT devices must be reported immediately to the
    employee’s immediate supervisor or Divisional Principals.
  9. AAS Administration reserves rights to monitor any information which is stored on the AAS Network Servers or transmitted over AAS Intranet, Extranet, or Internet communication links. This includes (but not limited to) any data sent over AAS wired and wireless communication systems.

AAS respects the right of employees to use blogs and social media as part of their professional network and as an extension of their personal and professional lives. We do not want to discourage employees from self-publishing and self-expression, but employees are expected to follow the guidelines and policies set forth to provide a clear line between you as the individual and you as the employee in order to preserve the environment that is based on focusing on students at all times.

General Provisions – Employees should not allow social media or blogging for
personal reasons to create a distraction to the learning environment consistent with our similar expectations for students and as noted in Acceptable Use Agreements. Blogging or other forms of social media or technology include but are not limited to social media, video or wiki postings, personal blogs or other similar forms of online journals, diaries or personal newsletters not directly affiliated with AAS.

Consistent with standard privacy expectations in other areas of this handbook,
employees should not publicly discuss students, employees or work-related matters that would typically be considered confidential in other forms. Employees are expected to protect the privacy of the school and its employees and community, and are prohibited from disclosing information and any other proprietary and nonpublic information to which employees have access. Such information could include but is not limited to student and parent information, images of students, student work, financial information, admissions data, etc.

Instructional Blogging – The goal of instructional blogging and instructional social media is to promote sharing of ideas, collaboration, and expanded exchange of information. Instructional blogging/social media may be used to convey information about the school, promote and raise awareness of AAS activities, and communicate with employees, students, and parents to brainstorm, discuss divisional-specific activities and events. To start an instructional blog or social media site, you should consult with technology
leadership in your division and coordinate with the Director of Communications and Development. When blogging or using other forms of web-based forums, AAS must ensure that use of these communications maintains our highest standards of conduct, integrity and reputation while minimizing actual or potential legal risks, whether used inside or outside the workplace. We also have an interest in maintaining connected integrity of our systems and these leaders can provide support in ensuring tight integration with existing systems.

Personal Social Media – It is important to remember that the use of social media networking implies personal responsibility and a complicated separation between personal and professional speech. Individuals can be held personally and/or professionally liable for public commentary that is considered defamatory, obscene, proprietary or libelous by any offended party, including AAS. In order to maintain a professional and appropriate relationship with students, employees should not communicate with students who are currently enrolled (or former students under 18 years of age)using personal
social media sites.

o Staff should not issue or accept student friend requests or follow
individual students on personal social media accounts.
o Staff should decline students’ friend requests on personal social media
accounts. Employees are strongly encouraged to maximize “privacy” settings on personal social media accounts and should not share or allow access to these accounts with students. Staff should not have online interactions with students on social media outside of forums/platforms intended for educational purposes. Employees should refrain from using school-owned equipment, including computers, company-licensed software or other electronic equipment to conduct personal blogging and should not access personal social media during work hours, if said use will constitute a distraction to the learning environment and detract from a staff member’s primary duties as assigned. Professionals should never use social media to harass, threaten, discriminate or
disparage other employees, students or anyone associated with or doing business with AAS. If you choose to identify yourself as an AAS employee, please understand that some readers may view you as a spokesperson for the school. Because of this possibility, we ask that you state that your views expressed in your personal social media site(s) are your own and not those of the school, or of any person or organization affiliated or doing business with the school.
Posting school logos or other proprietary documents on personal social media sites constitutes a breach of copyright. In addition, it is recommended that employees obtain expressed consent of each of any person(s) in the photograph(s) or other image(s) that they choose to post online. Photos of students or individual student work should not be posted on an employee’s personal social media site. While traveling or participating in school-funded business, professional development, school sponsored/funded activities or trips, employees should refrain from posting photographs or accounts of personal entertainment, unprofessional behaviours, unprofessional comments or questionable social activities. Abuses associated with the above guidelines are consistent with similar behavior in other forms of media, print and in real life. As such, adjudication of problems or complaints in this area will be addressed through the appraisal process as appropriate to the Professional Responsibilities domain. If you have any questions related to these guidelines, ask your principal, supervisor, or Human Resources.




Course 2, Week 4: THINK

Butler University’s division of student affairs shared a mnemonic device to use before doing anything on social media on their website. It resonated with me-T=Is it true? H=Is it helpful? I=Is it inspiring? N=Is it necessary? and K=Is it kind? Several times I have noticed my friends and family repost social media news I doubt is true, I might find offensive, or I may not appreciate. Butler recommends we should, “Be critical about what you post, like, and forward. Utilize your research skills to check fact from fiction.” I wish there was a way to get this message out there to my friends and family! Oh wait, I can start by reposting it on my Facebook account:

Butler went on to suggest we should be active bystanders. Active bystander?! This is taking action which is a little less comfortable for me than just sharing an article on Facebook. In the past, I have directed people to when I find something that’s been reposted which is not factual. That part is ok, I’m comfortable with it. However, does this mean I am supposed to tell someone when they are posting information I find unhelpful, uninspiring, not necessary, or unkind? Is my opinion more important or more correct than theirs? Is posting information I find mean just their freedom of speech? I can imagine having this conversation with a student but with an adult-seems sticky. Butler has given me something to ponder and next time I see a post, I will have to THINK carefully about how I will respond and how I can be an effective active bystander.

Famous quote by Pokemon Go Trainer, Hodema; and Pokemon, Butterfree. A visual to help students remember to THINK.

How can I teach my students to critically question what they’re reading online, to question if it is true? My students are at an age when they are learning to read, they are beginning to distinguish between fact and opinion; also, they are learning the difference between fiction and nonfiction. Gaining these understandings is paramount for students to be able to critically question if what they are reading online is true. Seven-year-olds may not yet be ready to fact-check news articles or find original sources for posts online; however, they can begin to hear about the concept of people posting false information online. When we start teaching students about researching online, teachers can give students a consistent message they should consider the possibility someone might have posted misleading information online just to lead them astray, just to mess with them. At this age, teachers can begin to plant the seed of doubt in students’ minds which will lead them to begin questioning the validity of online information. This is the first step for students becoming critical THINKers.

Course 2, Week 3: Finding the Balance

Keep your posts rated G and do not friend students! This was the first idea that came to mind for maintaining my privacy, and it was concerning social media. I was warned years ago by my school system I could get in trouble for having pictures of myself at parties or being online friends with students. I realize now as I’m reading about privacy, this was also a protection issue – not just privacy.

Image by kalhh from Pixabay

The information my students and I are posting and sharing online could be considered sensitive and there are people in the world who might take advantage of the information for financial gain or other purposes. Just because this would never have occurred to me, that people are doing bad things with children’s data, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be aware of the issue or relieved of my responsibility to protect my students in every way possible.

Specifically what I have done to maintain my students’ privacy is to not share details about them with non-stakeholders. I don’t post pictures of students and I won’t mention their names online. I am sure to shred sensitive documents and not place them in the trash or recycling. For my own privacy, I have passwords for accounts, I do not consent for anyone else to see my medical records, and I still don’t post pictures of myself at parties on FaceBook.

The elementary school’s Acceptable Use and Digital Citizenship policy

Last year, there was a rumor high school students had hacked into the school’s online grade book and changed grades. Assuming the rumor is true, I’m unsure how secure the sensitive information is; however, this type of rumor is the stuff movies are made of but should keep us aware of the potential issues. My school protects students’ privacy by having students use class codes to join and then use their passwords to enter websites the school has subscribed to. In addition, the school keeps its accounts password protected and we are careful when using online platforms. The students are aware of what behavior is expected of them online and we teach them how to be digitally responsible. When students are given their iPads at the beginning of the school year, there is a class discussion concerning expectations and appropriate behaviors online and the correct treatment of their technology.

As a reminder, a copy of the policy is placed inside the iPad case. Just like the students, an infographic is also placed inside the teachers’ iPad cases of our Acceptable Use and Digital Citizenship policy. We’re all doing our best to try to keep up with privacy issues and keeping our students safe.

Infographic inside my iPad case of our Acceptable Use and Digital Citizenship policy

Course 2 Week 2: Social interactions change as technology evolves

Image by Pixaline from Pixabay

“Ping me!” The first time I heard this from my friend, I was too embarrassed to tell her I didn’t know what that meant. I mean, in context I understood, but I didn’t want to ask her to explain because obviously I was out of the loop on the current lingo. My students communicate in the same ways as when I was seven years old. We talk at school, play together in the neighborhood, and once in a while make a call; albeit the calls today are not from landlines like back in the dark ages when I was a kid. Even as an adult, my students are making video calls to their friends, just like I am. Living abroad increases my use of video conferencing more than my normal, but my students are also international so they are experiencing the same long distances from their extended family and friends.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

My thoughts about social media has changed during the recent past. One thing that has changed for me is my understanding about keeping my social media settings private. In the past, I didn’t give privacy settings a second thought; however, through discussion with my son and reading about it from Lara and Sofia in Like. Flirt. Ghost: A Journey Into the Social Media Lives of Teens (Choi, 2016), I have come to understand I should keep my social media accounts private. It’s still not clear to me what bad can come from it but if the cool kids are doing it, then I guess I should too!

Kids today spend more time now than before with friends virtually than face-to-face. With mobile, devices, and gaming technology becoming more affordable and available, more and more children and teens are connecting online with their friends and others. With the new technologies, there are new social norms, new language, and new expectations all around. Adults need to at least be aware of these norms so they can be aware of why the younger generation is poking fun at them on social media. For a funny example, check out Rob Lowe’s Sons Keep Trolling Him On Instagram (Balčiauskas & Laurinavičius, 2019).

In second grade, there isn’t a lot of social media use happening, and for my position as a support teacher, even less. We use Seesaw as a platform for students to post their work to share with parents but there is barely any communicating beyond a comment from parents saying how proud they are of their child’s work.

a student’s unsolicited comment on another second grader’s work

As the year progressed, I have noticed classmates will now comment on other’s work. “I like your drawing, Junseo!” This is the first year these students have had the opportunity to use a form of social media in school. They have not been told they have to make comments on others’ work but a few have learned from the parents and teachers modeling, it seems. We know the feedback on our work is important and seeing students supporting each other is amazing. I realize I could support these comments better by encouraging students to do this more often. In addition, this example from my lived experience shows me “Social media is a key form of communication, bonding, and friendship among people today.” This is starting at a very young age and traversing several generations. Excuse me, now I should go Facetime my mother.

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash