Category Archives: Citizenship

• Thinking like global citizens
• Considering global issues based on a deep understanding of diverse values and worldview
• Genuine interest and ability to solve ambiguous and complex real-world problems that impact human and environmental sustainability

Today’s news: Real or fake? [Infographic]

Today Students have a blizzard of information at the ready: on devices in their pockets, at school, in their homes, by their bedsides on their wrists… It’s almost a constant information “on” world.

Information and content floods to their eyes and ears in never-ending streams, torrents, downloads, feeds, & casts. How do they determine what is real an what is not. What matters and what doesn’t? Here’s a cheat sheet to help out.


At a time when misinformation and fake news spread like wildfire online, the critical need for media literacy education has never been more pronounced. The evidence is in the data:

  • 80% of middle schoolers mistake sponsored content for real news.
  • 3 in 4 students can’t distinguish between real and fake news on Facebook.
  • Fewer than 1 in 3 students are skeptical of biased news sources.

Students who meet the ISTE Standards for Students are able to critically select, evaluate and synthesize digital resources. That means understanding the difference between real and fake news.

There are several factors students should consider when evaluating the validity of news and resources online. Use the infographic below to help your students understand how to tell them apart.

Click on the infographic to open a printable PDF.

Media-Literacy_Real-News-Infographic_11_2017

Learn more about teaching K-12 students how to evaluate and interpret media messages in the book Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom by Frank Baker.

via www.iste.org http://ift.tt/2yq5zBQ

Is AR Good 4 Teaching & Learning? Or should we get real?

Augmented Reality is nothing new for youth. It has been a part of student’s social experience in apps like Snapchat and it made a big splash when Pokemon Go made its debut. But when it comes to learning, does it have a place?

While seeing an object, insect, or animal up close in an augmented reality is certainly preferably to reading about it in your science text, is it really the best way to help students learn?

Is learning via AR it better than that?

Well, yeah. Probably. It will engage kids with the wow factor for a bit, but then what?

And what about the source? Who wants us to buy into this? A textbook provider? A publisher? A testing company? A hardware or software provider?

What’s in it for them?

And, what about all the other ways to learn? Is it better than that? Is it cost effective?

AR: The Verdict? It depends.

When compared to textbooks, most would agree that AR improves upon the learning experience. It can also help make a textbook a bit more interactive and give it some life.

But what about other options? A powerful novel? A game? A MagniScope? A PBS documentary? A YouTube expert?

To help think about this, I turned to my friends at Modern Learners for some insights.
When thinking about AR, VR, mixed reality, and etc, Gary Stager, asks, are we “investing in reality first” before we invest in such technologies?

That’s a good question. Especially for kids who live in big cities like where I work. In New York City we have cultural neighbourhoods, experiences, some of the finest museums, zoos, gardens, and experts right in the backyard of our schools. Are we taking students there? Or if we aren’t in such communities, are we using resources like Facebook Live, Periscope, and Skype to connect and interact with real people and places in other parts of the world?

When I served as a library media specialist in an inner city school in Harlem, we had immersive experiences in places like Chinatown, Little Italy, and Spanish Harlem. We visited places like El Museo Del Bario and the Tenement Museum. We had scavenger hunts around the neighbourhoods and the museums were happy to freely open their doors to our inner city youth visiting on weekdays.

Of course there are times when a real experience can not occur in place of a virtual experience. For example, a trip to Mars or the Titanic are out of reach. Engaging in or witnessing a dangerous activity for a newbie such as driving a car, plane, train, are other examples.

But even with such extremes, there may be a movie, field trip, game, or museum experience that might provide a better learning experience.

In his Modern Learners podcast Will Richardson puts it this way. If for some reason we really can’t invest in realities, then yes, these “halfway measures for poor kids” make sense, but only if it really is not possible to bring students more authentic opportunities.

But let’s make sure those real experiences are not available before jumping into augmented ones.

Consider this…

When trying to determine what is best for students, here are some questions you can ask:

  • How would a student use this outside of school?

  • Does it help a young person create agency over learning?

  • Does this have a real-life use?

  • Is this better than…

  • Reading about it?

  • Watching it?

  • Doing it?

When you consider those questions, you will be better positioned to determine and explain if augmented reality should become a reality for the students where you teach.

via Lisa Nielsen: The Innovative Edu… http://ift.tt/2yI8Xax

Supporting Students Efforts in Determining Real from Fake News

Our students use the web every day—shouldn’t we expect them to do better at interpreting what they read there? Perhaps, but not necessarily. Often, stereotypes about kids and technology can get in the way of what’s at stake in today’s complex media landscape. Sure, our students probably joined Snapchat faster than we could say “Face Swap,” but that doesn’t mean they’re any better at interpreting what they see in the news and online.

As teachers, we’ve probably seen students use questionable sources in our classrooms, and a recent study from the Stanford History Education Group confirms that students today are generally pretty bad at evaluating the news and other information they see online. Now more than ever, our students need our help. And a big part of this is learning how to fact-check what they see on the web.

In a lot of ways, the web is a fountain of misinformation. But it also can be our students’ best tool in the fight against falsehood. An important first step is giving students trusted resources they can use to verify or debunk the information they find. Even one fact-checking activity could be an important first step toward empowering students to start seeing the web from a fact-checker’s point of view.

Here’s a list of fact-checking resources you and your students can use in becoming better web detectives.

FactCheck.org

A project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, the nonpartisan, nonprofit FactCheck.org says that it “aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.” Its entries cover TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases. Science teachers take note: The site includes a feature called SciCheck, which focuses on false and misleading scientific claims used for political influence. Beyond individual entries, there also are articles and videos on popular and current topics in the news, among a bevy of other resources.

PolitiFact

From the independent Tampa Bay Times, PolitiFact tracks who’s telling the truth—and who isn’t—in American politics. Updated daily, the site fact-checks statements made by elected officials, candidates, and pundits. Entries are rated on a scale that ranges from “True” to “Pants on Fire” and include links to relevant sources to support each rating. The site’s content is written for adult readers, and students may need teachers’ help with context and direction.

Snopes

The popular online resource Snopes is a one-stop shop to fact-check internet rumors. Entries include everything from so-called urban legends to politics and news stories. Teachers should note that there’s a lot here on a variety of topics—and some material is potentially iffy for younger kids. It’s a great resource for older students—if you can keep them from getting distracted.

OpenSecrets.org

OpenSecrets.org is a nonpartisan organization that tracks the influence of money in U.S. politics. On the site, users can find informative tutorials on topics such as the basics of campaign finance—not to mention regularly updated data reports and analyses on where money has been spent in the American political system. While potentially useful for fact-finding, the site is clearly intended for more advanced adult readers and is best left for older students and sophisticated readers.

Internet Archive Wayback Machine

This one isn’t a site that performs fact-checking. Instead, the Internet Archive Wayback Machine is a tool you can use yourself to fact-check things you find online. Like an internet time machine, the site lets you see how a website looked, and what it said, at different points in the past. Want to see Google’s home page from 1998? Yep, it’s here. Want to see The New York Times’ home page on just about any day since 1996? You can. While they won’t find everything here, there’s still a lot for students to discover. Just beware: The site can be a bit of a rabbit hole—give students some structure before they dive in, because it’s easy to get lost or distracted.

Want to take your students’ knowledge of fact-checking a step further? Engage them in discussions around why these sites and organizations are seen as trusted (and why others might not be trusted as much). Together, look into how each site is funded, who manages it, and how it describes its own fact-checking process.

via Edutopia http://ift.tt/2yiJzak

Human Books – Massive Sharing Circle

Sharing StudentsEvery once in while, one participates in an event that has a lasting impact on the soul – not in a troubling way, but in a way that reaches out, delicately torches, in some cases embraces, one for the better.

Today one of the strongest characters & most innovative teachers I know, asked me to be a “human book” and share a personal story along with 42 other human books in a massive sharing circle. It was breath-taking & awe-inspiring! And inside? My heart and soul reeled with hope as I watched students take in stories, share their own perspectives, not caring about their own differences or their issues, only wanting to share and talk openly about the story and the issue at hand. It was mind blowing how focussed and respectful participants all ages were.

Many of my fellow “books” had props or artifacts to sustain interest. This was a really good idea, but not one that worked well with my story. I was my own artifact. A lot of the stories I heard were quite positive! I shuddered a bit because, while mine ultimately turned out alright, it was not exactly a rosy story! I fretted, but unnecessarily so! The participants didn’t judge MY book by it’s weathered old cover. Nor did they deem my story unworthy. Quite the opposite in fact. My message of facing challenges, staying positive and not giving up despite what happens on your educational journey seemed to hit home with many. And many were surprised that a teacher could have such educational trouble!

This brings me to the part where I want to thank everyone, most especially Chantelle Cotton, for making this incredible experience possible.

Today hundreds of people connected in a way that was beautiful, deeply appreciative, and wonderfully connected! The sense of community, peace and consecutiveness was palatable.

We need more events like this!!!

Finally the “WSD Earth Day Picture Challenge” Mashup!

Over a month ago, I issued a challenge to the WSD Twitter-sphere… The challenge was simple (and was, in point of fact, inspired by high school friends of mine now living in the States!) :

for 7 days, post 1 Nature-focused, Spring-inspired image on Twitter with the hashtag #WSD7dNC in celebration of Earth Day.

Now, my fervent intent was to post this Mashup video on Earth Day itself on April 22. Alas, this was not to be for a number of reasons. First off, people continued posting images well after the 7 days were completed, which is an awesome issue to have. And secondly, I just ran out of time (not really a great excuse, but there you have it).

That said, the response to this challenge was incredible and the images posted were beautiful and varied. What has impressed me most? With little effort, the spirit of collaboration, the thrill of seeing positive, warming, hopeful images made my day and judging from retweets, likes and DMs I would say that that others involved felt the same way!

George Couros has coined the phrase “Competitive Collaboration” in his book and in his work with us this year, and while I have trouble with that phrase, I have NO trouble with the intention…

Unity is Strength
Collaboration
Collaboration more powerful than competition
Competitive Collaboration

The positive collaboration within this simple, non-competitive challenge was wonderful, drew a community of people together in a common goal and managed to produce a lovely piece. And so without further ado…

I have pulled together a presentation of sorts to celebrate this collaboration of spirit and positive nature in celebration of Earth Day! Enjoy.

 

WSD Coding Challenge Week 4 & 5 Drawings

Here’s the form where you can submit you drawings for this weeks challenge… Please have to try to have these submitted by week’s end.

 

WSD Coding Challenge Week 4 & 5 – Drawing App

As we zoom towards the break, I have been reminded that parent-teacher conferences have been or are in full swing. It is sometimes hard to keep up with outside projects at this time of year. With that in mind…

This week’s challenge is going to be a little different. One of the greatest thing about building an app is that you can actually start using that app!!! That, in fact, is the incredible power of coding! Solving a real problem, coming up with a solution that allows one to create or progress forward – in our case, we have been designing an app that can paint and draw!

Over the last number of weeks, Marcel Laroche’s class have been active participants in the WSDHSchallenges! One of his students has literally dropped this week’s challenge in our laps. And it’s an awesome one! See if you can guess it from just looking at the image below (posted with permission)…

Marcel Laroche's Class image

This weeks challenge is to actually USE the app you have created to PAINT or DRAW something special….

I am hoping you are all familiar with Chris van Allsburg’s book called “The Stranger”. If not, get it from the library and have a read or check out this PDF link…

The Stranger

This is a story about the seasons changing. We happen to be in the same situation right now. Spring is trying to arrive, but is having a hard time deciding whether or not it’s truly ready. What’s going on? Could it be that something like what happened in The Stranger is happening to us here in Winnipeg?


HERE’S THE CHALLENGE…

The challenge this week is to use the drawing app to draw a series of pictures…
As a classroom, decide what your picture(s) should be about? Should the class try to show pictures of Spring? Will the class retell the story of The Stranger but from a Spring point of view? Will you stick the images together in a sequence, creating a kind of image movie and add music? Get creative. I would love to post all these images online to show the power of app creation and use….

To that end, I will be posting an image submission form on Wednesday this week for uploading your images or images sequences… I will allow the following images upload types (jpeg, jpg, png, gif, tiff, mp4, m4v, mov). Please let me know if you need another file type enabled for some reason.

You will need some help with this as we have no way of actually “saving” the images out of our drawing app at the moment. I have posted a tutorial too assist with this below. The process for “saving” is the same whether you are using Scratch or Hopscotch.

WSDCodeCHWK4Prep from Keith Strachan on Vimeo.

How to get Screenshots from an iPad
Getting Screenshots from an iPad

FINALLY, SURVEY SAYS???

I would also appreciate if the teachers participating in the challenge please complete this survey to give me a sense of what’s working and where to go next…

Have a great Break!!!

WSD Coding Challenge Week 1 – Drawing App

I have had a fairly strong response to the coding challenge survey send out last week. The results are in and the consensus is as follows:

  • Nearly everyone wanted a variety of tools used: I will be highlighting Scratch 2, Scratch Jr., Hopscotch, and I may throw in some special connections with Raspberry PI or PICO boards other digital addons.
  • There was nearly an even split on weekly/biweekly delivery – I will be going with weekly delivery of the challenges for the month of March and April – roughly 8 lessons
  • I will be posting challenges on Monday, with tutorials on Wednesday and solutions from the field on Friday.
  • I will key all lessons for students, but adults can follow and learn along side; I will provide PDF and Video resources for all coding on the blog.
  • About half said they would post materials to Twitter. Please use the** #WSDCodes** or #WSDHSchallenges hashtags or both, or email your samples for me to post on the blog.
  • Now on to content… My theme will be ART focused. We will building an drawing app in stages. One that will draw shapes, lines in multiple colours. This will be challenging, but will address a lot of the creative and curricular ideas requested.

Hopefully, this will address the needs of the many. Please feel free to email or DM me if you have other needs that are not being met.

Here is the week one challenge:

Designing a Drawing App

Getting Starting in Hopscotch
Getting Starting in Hopscotch

 

Getting Started in Scratch
Getting Started in Scratch

For this challenge, I will be posting some video support on Wednesday. In the meantime, you will need to start looking for clues in the areas where movement is noted. Particularly movement related to the X and Y value of the pointer or cursor. When the mouse or cursor moves the X and Y value for the cursor or mouse needs to be constantly updated and recorded. A drawing app takes advantage of this by leaving a coloured trail as the cursor or mouse moves along this X/Y coordinate path. Hopscotch and Scratch each use slightly different keywords to accomplish this, but both are found in the movement or motion block sections. That’s the place to start looking. Good luck.


Winnipeg School Division Coding Challenges

Code Challenges
Code Challenges

I have been throwing some coding challenges up on my Twitter steam lately using the [#WSDHSchallenges](http://breakingnewground.typed.com/hopscotch-challenges) hashtag as a kind of test to see what kind of response I had to this sort of thing. The response has been fairly strong and so I am exploring the next step.

I really can’t take credit for this whole idea actually. It’s really modelled after the Hour of Code activities, and the Twitter challenge connection was suggested by the incredibly smart cookies that attended my coding session at this year’s CHARGE 2016 conference for preservice teachers at the University of Winnipeg I had the honour of being asked to participate in.

I want to solicit some feedback from followers to try to determine the kinds of challenges that followers might find most useful. To that end, please complete the short embedded survey to give me some ideas on how to tailor the up coming challenges.

My intention is to begin the challenges starting as early as March and I want to make then as focused as possible so any and all feedback is appreciated. I would love to have the feedback back be month’s end! Thanks in advance for the quick turn around.

 

QR Code for WSD Coding Challenge Registration form
QR Code for WSD Coding Challenge Registration Form