Category: Social Media and Personalized Learning (page 1 of 2)

Comments from the CBC Podcast

Our ed camp discussions focused around the security and privacy of online learning and some of the challenges facing both students and educators. While teachers are encouraged to use technology in their everyday teaching practice, there are some real challenges with upholding the security and privacy for all students. As we discussed, there are often not many alternate options to support families who are reluctant to embrace certain platforms.

It seems that there are many assumptions made around using technology for education these days. Technology should improve and enhance student learning, not replace what is currently being used. As I discovered through this podcast, Google for Education is finding its place in education, however growing concerns around privacy and security appear to be at the forefront of this conversation.

The general worries around technology and security, (establishing informed consent) so that students can use platforms such as Google for Education, lead to misunderstandings around information sharing. While Google for Education appears to be the current trend, this idea that technology bridges the divide among people, by creating greater access, it can actually have the reverse effects when it comes to concerns with privacy and security. Parents have to provide consent for their students use, however as one parent noted, there is often nothing to replace tech options, so if you choose to opt out you are willingly putting your student at a disadvantage.

While in our group discussions it did not appear to be a huge concern, it is still a consideration. While the number of students not allowed to use these platforms are few, it begs the question of what we use in exchange? In addition to general concerns that parents have around information sharing and privacy, these online platforms also lend themselves to greater concerns around online etiquette that needs to be taught prior to using any of these platforms. Our discussions led us into talking about the potential for online cyber bullying and the need for online etiquette to be pre-taught as well as the appropriate measures needed to monitor online platforms.

One example provided for group discussion, that came up was the Whats App, which allows students to participate in group chats, while their teachers can also be included to monitor the discussions and ensure that conversations are about the content and respectful.

Google for education premises their products as offering students with an opportunity to collaborate, communicate, explore their creativity as well as gain critical thinking skills. Ed-Tech should enhance student learning or provide something that is not already in place. Using Ed- Tech in the classroom is incredibly valuable, especially when we can offer students exposure to tools that will be relevant to them later on in the work force. Using technology and  collaborating in a meaningful way, prepares our students for the future and real world applications they may require in their careers.

The podcast went on to address the worries that parents have about their children spending too much time on screens. Google for education would argue that its more about the quality of how the time is spent online. For example, students may be encouraged to read more news online, or collaborate and communicate through various forms of social media or social gaming. Their thoughts are that students may in fact become better communicators because of technology.  While I have seen some improvements in many of students have opportunities to practice their reading in ways that are perhaps more engaging (through online books), I personally am not buying the communication piece. While students do have opportunities to engage socially in online gaming, I do not feel this is adequately equipping them for real life experiences and everyday social interactions. It may in fact be hindering their ability to have face-to-face conversations.  General access to technology is so broad, its really hard to manage both at school and home, and further determine if communication and collaboration are happening in meaningful ways online.

Having said this, the power of collaboration is a wonderful thing, especially if it is used to make meaningful connections. The Podcast drew upon a wonderful example of a teacher that used her connections to communicate with a teacher in South Korea. She was able to do an impromptu lesson via video conferencing / Skyping and was able to share experiences and communicate with one another from the other side of the globe.

There are lots of ed-tech options out there that allow us to connect with others and make information more accessible, however we have to be aware of how that information will be protected. FOIPPA (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act) is in place to protect the privacy and security of personal information, and its important for educators to explore social platforms that are supported by these laws especially when considering where this information will go, long after we are done using it.

It is difficult to know what might happen to data in the future? Information can accumulate over time through schools (especially if you are using a platform for reporting and information sharing such as Fresh Grade).

As we discussed in our group chat it is vital to use a social/ educational platform that does not infringe on FOIPPA and even better to find a platform that is local, as to ensure that vital information is stored in Canada and not in the U.S.

The experts argue that while you should know about how your child’s information is going to be used, collected and disclosed, most people get hung up in the rhetoric of privacy and security.  They argue that it is a level of “misinformed hysteria” of individuals information being shared. While some may argue that student personal information is going to be meaningless to others (the FBI for example), others feel very unsettled knowing that their information is floating around .

Either way, as long as parents are given the appropriate information and education to make informed decisions for their students, the rest is really preference and comfort level. As educators who are encouraged to use technology to its fullest, support needs to be provided around alternate options for students, who may choose to not participate and have their information shared.  On the flip side these platforms provide today’s teachers with dynamic opportunities to teach and make learning more engaging and collaborative through a shared network.

Final Blog Post

The reflective approach EDCI 515 and EDCI 568 has taken throughout this summer term, has encouraged me to synthesize and mesh together concepts and methodologies from the articles, guest speakers and have allowed me to think more critically about their connectedness. Inevitably it has been encouraging to reflect on how we view the relationships we have with research methodology and technology, as well as how they inform our teaching practice. I have found myself thinking more critically, through varied lenses and have come to recognize misconceptions I may have had about technologies place in education.

There were a lot of great research articles that we read, several resonated with me. I have selected a few articles as well as guest speakers to discuss.

We looked at the concept of digital scholarship and the effects of technology and social media. Our class discussed a paper by DeGroot & VanSlette entitled, Twitter Use and its Effects on Student Perception of Instructor Credibility. Some of the points I took away from this article have led me to think differently about how social media can be used in the student/ teacher relationship. “Informal communication with instructors can positively influence student perceptions of trust and feelings of instructor immediacy, as well as student motivation.” (DeGroot & VanSlette, p.420). This informal communication can take place outside of lecture halls and classroom settings and creates more intimate conversations that lead to possibly more meaningful conversations. The article speaks a great deal to the notion of credibility and self-disclosure. Instructor credibility is based on three factors as the article points out, “competence (subject- matter expertise), trustworthiness (character and sincerity), and caring (showing concern for students’ welfare).” DeGroot & Vanslette, P. 421). This article and discussion, got me to thinking more about teacher/ student relations and their social interactions. Many of my previous students have not felt comfortable in many of the social aspects of school, yet they may feel comfortable in front a YouTube screen or with conversing over a game. The access and use of technology shapes our behavior and leads me to question how we might use technology to improve or bridge school/ home communication? Looking at some of the societal challenges, in particular from the indigenous perspective, we are often challenged to find new supportive ways to break down walls and create opportunities for our indigenous families to enter our schools. This has long been a challenge, and despite forward thinking and the move towards reconciliation, I still see this being a huge challenge. I have previously held parent- teacher interviews at Tim Hortons, so that I could offer parents with an alternate environment to meet and discuss their student’s successes. I found this to be very insightful, as my parent participation increased exponentially. Perhaps looking at how social media can be used in a meaningful way to create greater opportunities for dialogue between students, teachers and parents will be a good starting place. In addition this idea of using social media and technology fit nicely with Dale’s presentation yesterday that looked at ways to incorporate technology to improve student and school connection and develop a greater sense of belonging.

In addition, we read Thomas Flemings article entitled Effective Schools and Best Practices: What a Literature Review Tells Us, which describes what effective teaching characteristics found during a study of successful band and public schools look like. “An ability to create a warm, accepting, and supportive learning environment; a commitment to student success that includes the belief that each student can learn; a flexibility to adapt and experiment to find optimal educational programs and methods for each student; a commitment to performance-based education and willingness to use appropriate assessment tools; an attitude of solving problems; an understanding and respect for local culture; and the involvement of parents in learning partnerships.” (Flemings, p.67).The articles fit well together in looking at effective teaching practices, as well as how technology can improve communication with parent, student and teacher relations. I see this as a turning point in terms of breaking down barriers of communication.

An additional article and discussion I found very impactful was with Dr. George Veletsianos. His talk about harassment has made me think about how our students interact in the digital world and the level of vulnerability that exists, because we don’t typically incorporate this into our everyday practice. Navigating the internet is similar to sex health education, it is often a challenge to determine how much knowledge student have coming in. Educating our youth around navigating this knowledge and recognizing both the opportunities and limitations is definitely something I will take forth and incorporate into my teaching practice.

Specifically the research article, Understanding the effects of presenter gender, video format, threading, and moderation on YouTube TED talk comments by Veletsianos, Kimmons, Larsen, Dousay and Lowenthal brought up questions of student autonomy and credibility. “Researchers have explored how anonymity online increases participation while simultaneously providing an avenue for aggression and negativity.” (Veletsianos et al., p.3). Students may find comfort in communicating behind screens, which in turn allow them to feel more empowered in sharing their views, ideas and beliefs. This may create a gateway for students to share ideas without consequence or fear, which in turn creates further opportunity for more flexible learning. I currently teach grade 3 &4 and students have access to technology that is provided by the school (laptops and Ipads), but it still speaks to the potential implications of having students participate in an online platform. I can imagine this would be a challenge at a middle or high school.  Having said this, the positive aspects seem to outweigh the negative ones.

The presentation with Shauneen Pete resonated with me as we explored the idea of reconciliation and the methodology of indigenous orality or oral histories (stories). She raised some very important points around engagement and the indigenous voice. In her article, Idle No More: Radical Indigeneity in Teacher Education, Shauneen speaks to decolonizing teaching practices. “Teaching work is framed on the tensions between “telling and growth” whereby the educator (researcher) strives to move away from transmission approaches which student’s want- “just teach us how to teach” toward a deeper and more meaningful engagement.” (Pete, p. 56). This speaks to the challenges and need for change in education, as the pendulum swings between information delivery, to free thinking, to problem based and inquiry based learning, to independent learning. Furthermore, Shauneen speaks to a culturally responsive pedagogy which, “works with the assumptions that much of mainstream education is framed on the cultural, historical, and social norms of the dominant group.” (Pete, p. 57). A shift needs to happen, when looking at incorporating indigenous knowledge more readily in our everyday teaching practice. This shift from the colonial perspective, to that of the indigenous perspective. I have definitely grown in my understanding of varied research methodologies and Shauneen presented her understanding in a way that I had not previously considered when she spoke to the burden of responsibility. This notion that it is not the responsibility of indigenous educators to teach everyone else about Canada’s history

Dr. Alex Darcy came and spoke to us from the UVIC Ethics Board. A lot of great questions were brought up during this discussion. What are the potentials for harm? And what can we put in place to mitigate such issues? This made me reflect on my project options. I am interested in exploring the barriers to implementing indigenous education across curricular subjects, especially when I look at how rich in resources my school district is. In looking at exploring Action Research vs. Reflective Teaching, the question around the potential for harm is brought to light. I was exploring the idea of a Self-Study rather than Action Research. Looking from within, identifying the challenges from within (in my own practice) opposed to looking outward. Looking at indigenous education can be a confronting place, rich with tension and the thought of looking through an outward lens feels like a western approach, routed in traditional research methods and reeking with colonialism. I am not entirely clear as to the direction that I will take, however these rich discussions provided me with lots to think about.

In addition, looking at Jesse Millers discussion on digital identity, his point made about not comparing our generation and the new generation born into technology, resonated with me. This discussion around digital identity had me think about what this looks like, at all levels of educations (elementary, middle and secondary school). The concepts of privacy and ownership and how this is ever changing.  Many schools have their own Twitter accounts and Facebook pages, so I found this discussion very informative when thinking about posting pictures of students, especially when privacy is so important.

Dr. Christine Younghusband’s discussion around building our PLN was helpful as we look forward to making connections and learning how to better manage and curate our resources. Being able to network via Twitter and looking at other platforms, will support me with connecting to others and scaffold my own learning along the way.

I am left with lots of questions to sit with, in particular I look forward to further exploring how we can further enable the use of technology in our everyday practice, and how we will inevitably make it meaningful in our teaching rather than using it for the sake of.

While we have only just begun this two-year journey, I feel that we have been exposed to a lot of very informative artifacts (research articles, guest speakers, Ed Tech resources) that we will take with use over the next two years. It has informed my practice and has given me lots to think about and reflect on. There were lots of great connections and I felt that both courses complimented each other very well.

Inquiry- Community- Privacy- Collaboration- Equity- Methodology- Innovation- Reflection- Citizenship

The courses have provided me with lots to think about over the next month and beyond and have given me a new outlook on exploring educational technology through a multitude of lenses.


Jocelyn, M. DeGroot, Valerie J. Young & Sarah H. VanSlette (2015) Twitter Use and its Effects on Student Perception of Instructor Credibility, Communication Education, 64:4, 419-437, DOI: 10.1080/03634523.2015.1014386

Veletsianos, G., Kimmons, R., Larsen, R., Dousay, T. A., & Lowenthal,P R. (2018) Public comment sentiment on educational videos: Understanding the effects of presenter gender, video format, threading and moderation on YouTube TED talk comments.PLoS ONE 13(6):e0197331

Pete S. (2017) Idle No More: Radical Indigeneity in Teacher Education. In: Pirbhai-Illich F., Pete S., Martin F. (eds) Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham




Ed Tech & Formative Assessment

Think about how you check for understanding in your classroom. Often, when we look at formative assessment in the classroom, we can find it to be an onerous experience. Discovering what students know, while they are still in the process of learning concepts can be a challenge. As classroom teachers we need to determine our students level of understanding, this in turn provides us with a point of reference, moving forward.

Formative assessment often happens very naturally in our classrooms as we walk around and observe student conversations or look at students work (demonstrations of learning). My interest lies in using educational technology to support formative assessment practices, which hopefully will improve the way we engage in meaningful, sustainable and current assessment methods.

We know that educational technology can improve the ability to offer formative assessment to our learners’ during our instructional processes. The use of technology can support our learners in a multitude of ways, some of which include:

  • Providing immediate feedback
  • Aim to improve and the tracking of student progress
  • Improve student learning, engagement and participation

It can be challenging to determine where students are at, and traditional assessment practices often provide us with one type of information (a single data point). We are challenged with the thought of, where to go next?

In addition we can look at the diversification in our classrooms with respects to student needs and abilities, learning styles, cultures and language barriers; we need to be as creative with our delivery of assessment opportunities as we are with our delivery of curriculum.

What problem am I hoping to address?

I think teachers often don’t feel comfortable with implementing technology in their classroom, let alone using it for assessment practices. As well, I think that many schools don’t have access to the appropriate technology, and those schools that do, don’t have training or professional development opportunities available.So I am curious to find out, what our school districts can do to address the reluctance of teachers using technology for assessment?

I was particularly interested in the article, Using Technology for Formative Assessment to Improve Students’ Learning, as the study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of using a digital classroom response system such as Plickers.

What is Plickers you ask?
Plickers is a technology based formative assessment tool, which is designed to improve students learning by making it quick and simple to check for student understanding. This tool allows teachers to collect data (on the spot) without the need for devices or pencil and paper.

For more information definitely check this out at:


The idea that using technology to facilitate formative assessment provides students with just in time, specific feedback and improves their overall performance.

The participants in this research consisted of 166 students representing grades 9-12 students. The researchers used a questionnaire consisting of 17 items related to the importance and effectiveness of using formative assessment, technology, Plickers and whether or not they would plan to use the tech in future classrooms. The researchers used a cluster sampling technique as they wanted to have students from various grades and subject areas participate.

The researchers included some open ended questions, which provided participants the opportunity to elaborate, in depth on their perceptions of using Plickers as a tool for formative assessment to improve their learning. The results and discussion of the students responses using the mean and standard deviation statistics and the responses to open-ended questions are listed below in the table.


“The qualitative material generated from open-ended questions may reveal innermost thoughts, frames of reference, emotional reactions and cultural assumptions that may or may not be accessible by other methods.” (Woike, 2007, p. 293).


Many of the emerging themes from these responses included: engagement, checking for understanding, equal opportunity to participate, excitement and fun, saving on learning time, breaking the routine, ease of use, network problem and lack or infrastructure in schools.


The Results indicate that formative assessment is enhanced by the use of technology, therefore improving student learning, increasing engagement and making learning more individualized. In addition the results of this study indicate that using an app such as Plickers provides more immediate feedback and leads to creating more effective teaching and learning. Increasing student interest ultimately leads to more effective teaching and learning and increases student participation.


Lastly, the researchers pointed out based on the results and findings this study recommends instructors to do the following:

  • Engage their students in formative assessment processes to gauge understanding and correct misconceptions
  • Reflect on their teaching activities and strategies
  • Integrate technology into their classrooms as it enhances students learning
  • Utilize new digital apps and software (such as Plickers) that aid in applying formative assessment in their classroom


Furthermore, the research article spoke to teacher reluctance to adopt technology in their teaching practice. The common theme highlighted was lack of technological support for educators.


I connected with this research article because it spoke to the importance of student engagement, while also trying to debunk some of the misconceptions people have around using technology to support formative assessment. In my current practice I find that I tend to use technology in isolation and would like to explore opportunities to think about extending my teaching practice, by incorporating the use of tech in a more cross curricular approach as well as for assessment practices.


Where to next?


I feel that we have great tech support in school district 52 (Prince Rupert), and yet I sense there is still a reluctance to fully incorporate the use of technology for assessment practices. I relate to this, and can attest to the hesitations I have had. I definitely plan to extend my thinking and challenge myself to use more technology in my classroom as well as look to use technology to support my assessment practices. So I am left to consider thinking about these questions.


How do teachers gain confidence to increase their use of technology for formative assessment?

What can school districts do to bridge the gap to ensure that technology use increases?


It seems that it should be as simple as providing technological support and training, however what does that look like? It may look very different from one district to the next.


Resources to explore:



Ed Camps- Hooray!

July 22nd, 2019

Today was a great first experience to Ed Camps. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to engage in discussions around Indigenous Education.

Meeting and collaborating with colleagues with similar interests or areas of expertise made for meaningful conversation and a great opportunity to think more about what our Med projects may look like, as well as make connections for future conversations.

People were able to share some of their resources and people to follow on Twitter.

I am particularly interested in looking at how we can implement indigenous education across curricular subjects in our everyday practice. As I shared with the group, I feel like the school district that I work in (SD52) is rich with indigenous culture and the appropriate supports to ensure that we are able to see this idea fully realized, yet despite the wealth of knowledge, indigenous experts and access to incredible resources this is not the current reality.

In looking at this area, I am curious about the following questions to explore:

What are the perceived barriers?

What is the general culture of the institution? I would be really curious to see what our school staff would perceive as the obvious barriers to using indigenous education in their everyday practice.

As Christine Younghusband pointed out that changes are difficult and often met with contention as we often don’t understand the “why” in what we are doing. She also talked about the concept of reconciliation which stayed with me. This idea that we cannot fully achieve reconciliation as well as a level of empathy and understanding if we are not yet in a place of acknowledging the truth.

I look forward to exploring this topic further.







Conversations with Colin Madland

July 16th

Guest speaker, Colin Madland brought great conversation to our class last week, when he discussed indigenous education and educational technology. Engaging in our current understandings of what constitutes indigenous education, it was easy to see, with the emphasis of place-based learning and connecting to the land that there is a disconnect with online education and indigenous studies.

To follow Colin and his work around looking at indigenous and online education look up @Colinmadland

Although we discussed the use of tools which help support our understanding of indigenous education within a technological environment, it is evident that what is often missing is the relationships and dialogue.

In saying this I am curious to see why there is such a lack of informed dialogue? I think it is a challenge to engage in indigenous learning when there is a lack of communication between both settlers and the indigenous community. Non-indigenous people feel hesitant to fully engage in the indigenous curriculum, while at the same time need to recognize that they have an obligation to inform and educate themselves on this aspect of Canadian history. There has been a great deal of work done around creative curricular development to bridge the gap and engage in meaningful conversations around reconciliation and yet we still seem to be disengaged? At the same time I appreciated what both Shauneen Pete and Colin Madland said about it not being the job of indigenous people to teach about their own culture. At what point in time do we assume full responsibility and make self-study and professional development for indigenous education a priority?

When evaluating educational technology, we need to look forward at connecting relationships to space and land. When we think about the culturally rich resources, which we often have access to in our everyday classrooms; I question how this transfers to online learning? How do we make these resources accessible and how will limited access to these culturally rich artifacts effect the overall learning in online course work?

I would argue that just because you are taking online courses does not mean that you can’t be connected to space and time and the land in which you learn, work and play, but I also think that it alters the overall experience of particular areas of indigenous content areas.

I think another thing to point out is that while we don’t always get the full scope with online learning when looking at indigenous content, it encourages you to be more present and think about your own connections to the land, as well as think critically about gaining a deeper understanding of your own culture and your relationship in the world.

In thinking about Indigenous Education, here are a few additional teacher resources to consider:

I have enjoyed exploring Twitter and have come across a few additional people you may want to add to your PLN:

Bob Joseph (@wewap): Author of national bestseller 21 Things You May Not Know About The Indian Act

UBC Longhouse (@UBCLonghouse) Information about indigenous initiatives and events at UBC.

James Delorme (@James_ADelorme) First Sky Media founder, Indigenous Powered Reconciliation Through Innovation (

Lastly, some additional reading options:

Secret Path by Gord Downie & Jeff Lemire

Speaking our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation by Monique Gray Smith

Colonizing Bodies: Aboriginal Health & Healing in British Columbia by Mary Ellen-Kelm

They Called Me Number One by Bev Sellars

Indigenous Relations: Insights, Tips, and Suggestions to Make Reconciliation a Reality by Bob Joseph

Education if People Mattered

Jeff Hopkins did a great TEDxTalk and had a great discussion with our class this week speaking to the idea that there needs to be a major shift in education. We need to shift from knowing about to knowing. This notion that we need to think about internalizing the knowledge we acquire, think about how what we learn needs to spark further curiosity and needs to give us a reason or meaning for learning it.

Often we feel the time constraints of the school calendar and provincial exams for example, that limit us from hitting the zone of proximal development for our learners. This idea that in order to achieve curiosity and further inquiry about what we are learning, we need to have the time to invest in what we are learning, not simply offer the time to transfer information from the teacher to the student. We often feel rushed due to time constraints, as a result personal inquiry and self-discovery is sacrificed.

We are shifting from the traditional formulas of what educational institutions looked like, simply pushing information on to students, hoping that some of it will sink in to how we can look at more of the larger competencies.

Jeff Hopkins spoke eloquently about proposing a new paradigm that involves organizing learning into higher level competencies, rather than checking the boxes of the prescribed learning outcomes of the past. He founded the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry in Victoria and spoke to his educational model of inquiry based and self-driven learning.

This model makes me think about the composition of students previously in my classes, the levels of need, the differing learning styles, the need for differentiation, adaptation/ modification, the need and benefit of outdoor learning, need for assistive technologies as well as problem based learning. It would seem that Jeff’s school model strives to meet the needs of all students and focuses on interest driven, student directed learning which addresses a multitude of learning styles and needs.

One particular example he provided us was of the students’ interest in dissecting a frog. Some enjoy learning about the dissection process, specifically the scientific process, others may focus on the art of dissection, where other students may focus on the ethics of dissecting animals (focusing on how the animals would feel).

Furthermore he spoke to the notion of ecological learning, which I had never really investigated. I found this article entitled, The Learning Ecological Framework, a worthwhile read.

What resonated most with me, was looking at the educational model itself, which focuses on flexible learning and self-regulation. There aren’t a lot of current educational models right now that support students’ needs for self-regulation. We often hear of alternative schools, or hospital home bound programs, but usually these schools have designed curriculum and lack flexibility. The fact that this school model lends itself to allow for students to have autonomy over their learning is something that our public education systems should definitely consider adopting. Deciding on topics of interest, identifying learning styles and specifically what students need to be successful (example use of assistive technology) means that students have far more choice, and in turn a lot more meaning making takes place in a student’s educational experience.

I would love to see this model adopted in my local community. Our alternate program right now strives to promote some self-directed project work and does a lot with the surrounding First Nations communities to teach living from the land, incorporating the indigenous perspective as well as promoting outdoor education across curricular subjects. It has been very successful so far, however I like the model that Jeff spoke to, in that it focuses more on inquiry and self-driven learning, which I think would be a better fit for most students. I also think that regardless of whether you are working with a student with an exceptionality or not, meaning making is so valuable. When students are able to make connections and meaning with what they are learning, it resonates with them over time. They are then able to use their critical thinking skills to view the practical applications of the skills taught. Overall I think the discussion and video was very inspiring. I would love to visit this school and see this model adopted in our current system.

First Peoples Principles of Learning

To look at the First Peoples Principles of Learning click on the link below.×17.pdf

Some thoughts on extending the principles to make the curriculum more accessible and more meaningful for all learners means that we should also consider the following:

  • Making explicit connections to social aspects of learning
  • Developing relationships
  • Look at local contexts
  • Provide opportunities for mentorship
  • Invite elders and community members to share knowledge
  • Willingness of educators to see themselves as learners to seek and develop their own understanding of indigenous knowledge
  • Understanding oral traditions
  • Use of humor
  • Providing opportunities for student voice
  • Enquire about protocols and the process of specific knowledge being shared
  • Recognize culture as a complex construct
  • Provide opportunities for flexible learning opportunities (more time, less time)
  • Create opportunities for meaningful inclusion of indigenous content and perspectives in all curricular areas

In looking at the First Peoples Principles of Learning we also recognize that incorporating these core values into our core competencies works for all students not just our indigenous learners.

Reflections from guest speaker Shauneen Pete

July 16th– Thoughts on the discussion with guest speaker Shauneen Pete

A lot of great questions arose in our discussion with guest speaker Shauneen Pete this week, many that need further thought and consideration.

Think about whether we are making race-based decisions in our everyday practice?

I think that we try sometimes to be so culturally sensitive that we miss the mark altogether. I often struggle with ensuring that I am providing the most authenticated materials, however I may be making race-based assumptions about what I think is culturally appropriate for my classroom without really having the full understanding of what constitutes culturally appropriate curriculum.

In addition, when it comes to how we develop our curriculum we also need to think about how we are setting the bar for our students. We should have the same expectations for indigenous learners as we have for all learners, however I feel this has not been the case for many indigenous learners.

Last year for part of our professional development, we read the novel They Call Me Number One by Bev Sellers. This speaks directly to this notion of educational institutions making race-based decisions.  Bev spoke in her book of often not feeling valued throughout her educational career and not feeling that she received the same treatment as non-indigenous learners. She speaks to not feeling that her teachers were confident in her abilities, did not push her and therefore this effected the level of effort she exerted during her school years.

There is a new study exploring how race influences teacher’s perceptions of their students academic abilities and the implications and findings are troubling. For more information on this article visit:

How can we enhance the learning of indigenous students to ensure their success?

At my current elementary school the indigenous population is 67%, so it is paramount that we ensure that the indigenous perspectives are heard, and also that teachers feel comfortable with the indigenous content they are expected to teach. I personally feel that often time’s teaching staff are not comfortable with the indigenous content, because they don’t feel that they have a solid understanding or don’t feel that they will do it justice. In not teaching this perspective, we are robing our students of this learning experience. I studied side by side with my students this year while teaching the crests and clans unit as part of the Social Studies component. I think we have to be willing to take risks with our own professional development. Shauneen spoke about reciprocity vs. the burden to teach, this idea that it is not up to indigenous peoples to teach settlers about the indigenous histories of Canada. She talks about the importance of dialogue as a supplement to self-study or professional development. Indigenous educators should not be burdened with the responsibility of teaching everyone else, rather contribute to reciprocal conversations with non-indigenous educators.

How do we make education accessible and create a learning environment where indigenous peoples do not feel like outliers in their own community? This notion that we need to look at the concept of intelligent indigenous labor to ensure that all people feel that they have a place in education. This makes me think about the longstanding arguments in academia, where academic orality and oral histories have not been previously considered primary resources due to the fact that they are not written down. This needs to change as much of indigenous knowledge is about the sharing of stories and experiences through dialogue and should not be devalued.

What kind of acknowledgement do we offer as a reaction to moving forward towards reconciliation?

We need to have the belief that Aboriginal people are integral to the social fabric of Canada, and that providing these educational opportunities which lead to success for Aboriginal learners are vital in education.

Lastly, I enjoyed the section in Shauneen’s article, Idle No More: Radical Indigeneity in Teacher Education that speaks to her efforts to indigenize her own curricular practice through self-study which guides her research and allows her to reflect, look at various artifacts, examine and engage in conversations about her own learning. Some of our best work, when looking at indigenizing our own curricular practice will happen through self-study and professional development. Many of us learn best through experiential learning. We gain a greater understanding and appreciation for the historic content that we are bestowed to teach, and in taking more responsibility and being open and vulnerable to it, we will see a greater connection to the content and the overall experience for our indigenous learners.

July 9th, G.V. Reflection

Looking at ways to engage with and use data to steer educational technology can allow us to make a great deal of inferences about our students as well as ask meaningful questions to drive our practices. We ask these questions to inform and make teaching and learning better.

The talk from George Veletsianos this week shed a great deal of light on the process of  using analytics to question and critique what online learning should look like and how we can use this data to interpret the needs of online learners to better serve our online community.

The learning management systems and learning platforms are designed to collect and gather data about students learning and from this information we can learn a lot about the needs of our learners as well as the accessibility points. This discussion was eye opening, as I had not realized the amount of information these systems collected. Although provided great  insight, I appreciated that the point was highlighted about making a human connection. The personal conference and ability to connect with a professor or fellow colleague is still far more meaningful and gives the educator a far better idea of how to best support the needs of the learner, rather than simply interpreting the data from the learning management system.

The concept of online learning and focus of flexibility and accessibility lend itself to a multitude of questions, as we think about and make assumptions about the neutrality of flexibility. This idea of “anytime, anyplace”, makes learning less rigid, more accessible, is more student centered, allows for more choice and often allow students to engage in material that is more relevant.

I appreciate that the concept is to create a more flexible learning environment where barriers are limited, however as was discussed there are other challenges presented that can account for other structural inequalities. I can attest to this where in previous online courses that I have taken the majority is self-paced and the material and options for assignments are heavily structured. While the flexibility is appreciated, online learning requires the learner to have the intrinsic motivation to stay on task and follow the flow of the course.

Digital Sleuthing

This article by Jonathan Albright’s research I found interesting on the concept of digital sleuthing to expose fake news.

It also made me reflect on the efforts being made in my district to bring about more awareness on navigating the digital world. We recently brought a presenter the White Hatter, to Prince Rupert to speak to students about the fundamentals of traversing the internet safely. The emphasis is placed on understanding the realities of technology, such as concepts of privacy, security, positive opportunities, consequences of inappropriate behavior and cyberbullying. Students in grades 4 and 5 participated, as well parents were provided evening sessions. It was very well received in our district and increased overall confidence in how to use their technology safely. I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for something like this in their district.

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