Beg – Borrow – Steal

Copyright and Fair Use: did you ask for permission? Have you just borrowed it without the owners knowledge? Did you steal it? Do you know?

This is a hot topic in schools, especially as our students can be worldwide published authors.  No longer are we in the safe domain of Turnitin and plagiarism checkers for essays – we live in a world of multimedia, where students are encouraged to be creative, where we actively encourage them to submit summative work in the form of a blog, video or presentation.

I did an interesting Unit with my students.  They came into class and I gave them 30 mins to create a video, it had to include motion, music and stills.  At the end of the 30 mins I gave them a questionnaire with the following questions:

What was the subject of your video?
What website and/or programme did you use to get the music?
Which programme and/or website did you use to get the video?
Which programme and/or website did you use to get the images?
Who does the media you have used belong to?
Is it copyright free?
Do you know what copyright means?
How do you know if media is copyrighted?
Is your video and original piece of work?
Explain why you think your video is or is not an original piece of work.

The responses were varied and it was clear that we had a bit of work to do on copyright:

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It was really interesting to see that most of the students took their word from youtube, through convertors. They really weren’t interested in quality or finding the original sources.  Therefore, a great place for me to start, as a teacher and a learner, was youtube – as it seemed that this was the place students went to find media, ranking now as the second largest search engine and the third most visited site, and it was the place that they would ultimately post their creations.  It was clear that we need to look at their laws, rules and regulations of copyright and fair use.

Youtube was and excellent resource, the students and myself found it extremely manageable.  The videos were both fun and informative:

YouTube Preview Image

It’s page on copyright was great!:

We explored a variety of different mediums and it was interesting to have discussion with kids and allow them to investigate the true meaning of copyright and fair use – although I really don’t think that we got to the bottom of fair use in video, there were some amazing debates in the classroom!

Here was the final task slideshow for the students:

And still…. I look back over my previous blog and am still not sure if I have cited everything appropriately! This looks to me like a very good project to explore again and introduce to my primary department.

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Looking for Option 2 collaborative partner!

Option 2: In a small group that contains at least one person outside your school, create a unit planner (using the UbD template) on the enduring understanding of this course that helps teach students about 21st Century Literacy Ideas, Questions, and Issues. Include a reflective blog post describing choices you made in developing the unit planner i.e. strategies used, topics covered, unit evaluation etc. In your blog post embed your unit planner from Google Docs.”

For this course I would like to develop an introduction to digital safety with elementary/primary aged children.  We are at the beginning of the school year and I feel that this would be beneficial to all.  I would like to start with giving children the opportunity to inquire into our RUA agreement.  This is based on the IB learner profile and was developed by a fellow COETAILer a couple of year ago.  I want to introduce the idea of the digital tattoo, as previously discussed in my last post footprints-tattoos-cvs.  Abbi Sandweiss, would this interest you?  Please get in touch…

RUA – PYP NIS 2016


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Footprints – Tattoos – CVs

Digital Tattoo
As an international educator is is key to have a professional brand.  I went to a workshop last year about branding yourself and getting your educational philosophy out there to be seen by future employers and of course your peers.  This started many years ago with chat rooms.  I remember that the first place i would visit to find out about a school, the school culture and the staff was the TES international teaching forum.  When I got my first job as a tech coordinator i was asked to search through that forum and try to identify whether or not any future employees of the school had been posting there and what kind of thing they were saying about their current or past schools.  I am certain that this was the beginning of a professional digital footprint.  Thinking back with was the early 2000’s – I guess we could say that my employer was ahead of his time and a practice that is highlighted in the Mashable Infographic on ‘How Recruiters Use Social Networks to Screen Candidates’.
infographic on recuiters and social mediaI
As things moved on I was asked to search through Facebook to deem whether or not future employees would fit into a Muslim faith environment – it was at this point I was horrified as some of the images teachers, as professionals, were sending out to the world.  Not as time goes by and those posts grow old with some digging I am sure that something slightly unprofessional may be found.  I cast my mind back to when Scotland elected it’s youngest MSP, Mhairi Black.  There was a wave of completely inappropriate tweets that were aired!  I am sure at this point Black wishes that indeed the internet did have the delete button that Schmidt, CEO of Google talks about in ‘How You’re Unknowingly Embarrassing Yourself Online (and How to Stop)‘.Leading me on to a move from the digital footprint we leave to a modern day digital tattoo, which is difficult and extremely painful to remove!  It is interesting that recruiters are using Facebook and twitter far more in the screening process than LinkedIn, interesting but not unsurprising! We all know that LinkedIn is a professional platform, and not somewhere I will post my holiday snaps or Saturday nights out!  The stats provided by Mashable need us to sit up and think about our online presence! 47% of employers don’t even wait until they have met a candidate to look at their social media presence, 69% have rejected candidates based on their social media networking sites! This is a serious business… Social media has become our online footprint, our on line tattoo, but more importantly our online CV.  There is some excellent advice for parents on digital tattoo written by ParentInfo. They offer a list of five thinks to think about before you post – all of which work just as well for adults, as well as children:
  1. What do I look like?
  2. Is this ‘ink’ permanent?
  3. Am I giving away too much?
  4. Would I want this shared about me?
  5. Does it pass the billboard test?
 Perhaps the last is the most powerful:
“Would you be happy to see it on a billboard where the rest of your school, your parents, your grandparents and neighbours could see it? If not, do you really want to share it?”  Just replace those last few people with your school community!
Employers are looking for a social media presence that demonstrates a good fit, creativity, ‘solid communication skills’, supports a candidates professional qualifications… this is a CV.  These are all the things that you try to demonstrate through the actions, roles and responsibilities that you take on in your job.  Addressing your social media pretense in this way doesn’t just tell your future employer that you are the right professional for their organization, it demonstrates it through your actions online.
Before we can influence our students we really need to give ourselves a good digital check up, are we practicing what we preach? Do we really understand the audiences we are posting to? In a Unit on social media safety with my grade 7 class they researched many many social media fails.  I was astounded when they began to do the right up for their summative task, when I asked them to explain their target audience many cited the 30-40 age range! I explored this further and in the students opinion and from the research they had done online they felt that this was the age group who knew the least about social media.  Lisa Nielsen echoes this in her article “Teaching Kids to Manage their Digital Footprint’, “Teaching kids to manage their Digital Footprint really starts with the adults. Teachers can’t teach this effectively if they, themselves have not managed their own digital footprint”.
As requested… here is an example of the videos my class made about social media.
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Teaching children and adults the importance of managing their digital footprint starts with being reflective….
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Final Project 1- UbD planner

The following unit will be used with my grade 7 class.  This unit is a move away from hard skills.  I have decided to move the focus from front loading the students with information about how to use photoshop or GIMP.  I did this in previous years and got some rather narrow results, they basically just regurgitated some tools and techniques that they had picked up along the way.  With this move I hope that my students can connect with technology and use it as a tool to aid their work.  I would like the to have an understanding on how technology is just that – a tool.  To be a successful graphic designer there is so much more than just using and tinkering with photoshop.

Further to this, reflecting on my last post I do not want to be the sage on the stage imparting my knowledge – filling the little vessels.  I talked with my students and we found that most of them used some kind of photo editing/graphics software and all of them used you tube to figure out how it worked.  Again this connects with that flipped classroom – so why not run with it during my lessons.

Throughout this first course I have been forced to re-examine my stance on technology education and connect with educators across the world who have also come to this cross roads in their teaching,

21st century learners is a term we hear all too often, but have we really done anything about it? Shouldn’t we have prepared our students for the 21st century before 2017 – I mean we’re 17 years in and still we seem to be fumbling with the term,

I have read some amazing insightful blogs, adding to my existing knowledge and opening my mind to new ideas.  I have read some interesting papers explaining and deepening my understanding about current tech education and how we have arrives at the point we are at.  There are some very exciting young educators and some outstanding TED talks and you tube videos and these are all tool that I was to bring into my classroom.  So have course 1 changed me?  Not yet, but I’m sure on the road of development and look forwards to moving through the next 5 course!

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Autonomy – Mastery – Purpose

When considering the how technology is changing the learning landscape of global education we must first look at what we think is happening within our schools.  Life is a series of problems to be solved, however are we giving our learners the skills they need to solve real life problems.
Learning tasks and activities are just that, tasks and activities.  We give our students narrow problem, provided with all the tools needed within the problem – we spoons feed them the solution.  Problems then become formulaic, you no longer need skills you just need to be good at finding patterns.  Dan Meyer highlights this in his TED talk.  Posing the question,
“what problem have you solved, ever where you have all the given information in advance…?”
He suggests that we must create patient problem solvers, who are not merely looking for these patterns and routines.  Thought provoking problems look for conceptual understanding, they create dialogue, promote collaborations, ask students to use their intuition and allow the problems to be built based on prior knowledge and understanding.
This is a sentiment that is echoed by Dan Pink, although his does not make a case for education he talks about the business world and how to increase motivation.  We must make parallels has, after all, it is the world of work that we are preparing our students for.  Pink suggests that there are three aspects of the working world we must consider:
“Autonomy – Mastery – Purpose
  • Autonomy
    • “The urge to direct our own lives”
  • Mastery
    • “The desire to get better and better at something that matters”
  • Purpose
    • “The yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves””
Design thinking is beginning to permeate our teaching practices – we are recognizing that this is vital to developing thinking skills and collaboration.  Technology is key to promoting these practices.  Classrooms are beginning the embrace Maker Spaces, Genius hours, 20% time, Fedex days.  Here the emphasis is on intrinsic motivations, back to Meyer and this idea of allowing students to construct their own problems.
We should move away from using technology as a reward, this is a narrow vision! Pink suggests that rewards only work for mechanical operations, if we are to more closer to deepening our students conceptual understanding we will find that the rewards may in fact lead to poorer performance.
More and more left brained work is being out sources and done by software as it is straight forward and narrow in vision – you just don’t need to think.  You need to look for a pattern within the question that will help you to arrive an answer – we can create a computer program to do that.  What we must do as teachers and instructors is become the ‘guide from the side’ and encourage our students to engage in far more right brained activities.  As both Pink and Meyer agree that real life problems don’t have a clear set of rules and a single solution.  Problems found in text books are not real life, not real 21st century life anyway.  The rules are complex and the solution, if there is one at all, is surprising.  Therefore as this is the case then the ‘if then rewards’ don’t work.
Through the use of technology within the classroom, used as a tool to aid thinking and learning, we can ensure that our learners are ready to solve 21st and 22nd Century problems.


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The following is an excellent tool that can be used in the classroom to support conceptual learning and use Blooms taxonomy within lessons.


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Learn – Share – Change



Where are you on the four-step process, as outlined by Prensky?  This depends on the teacher and the time of the year, and not on our learners.  As the Tech Coordinator in an international school it I am happy if everyone is on the continuum somewhere.  I know that teachers have different comfort zones and technology puts people in 3 firm camps:  Early adopters and innovators, I’m excited and ready to go but don’t have the skills or confidence, and I’m too busy for that.


I am also aware that it is hard to get people on the road to dabbling however, it is often far more difficult to get people to move from doing old things in new ways to doing new things in new ways.  Just walking around the school I look at our investments in technology and wonder if that investment is paying dividends… Interactive whiteboards (IWB) now there is a lot of money and massive investments in time for training – has it transformed our teaching?  Have they transformed the learning in our classroom? Or are they just fancy OHPs? Are all the interactive features being used or are we just projecting onto the wall? is this adequate technology in our school?  Raj Dhingra supports the idea presented by Prensky – We still have the ‘traditional classroom’ and that ‘we are delivering learning just like we did when we didn’t have computers’.




Is it any wonder that some people are technologically fatigued? Old things in old ways will ensure this.  How many of us have entered our curriculum, lesson plans or teaching units into a plethora of different ‘online tools’ that have promised to revolutionize collaboration and our effectiveness as a teacher? Yes, I am sure we have all been there and just see it as moving what we already do from one place to another… another job on an already long list!  I see this in the classroom all to often, computers or iPads used in place of text books for ‘researching’ and word processors used as a publishing tool after the the integral jobs of editing and redrafting have taken place on paper! I remember my school days and although we did not have computers we certainly had beautiful handwriting pens and fancy paper – ‘old things in old ways’ or is this ‘old things in new ways’? I’d argue the former, nothing has really moved forward.


I’d further argue that the accent that you bring to technology is irrelevant.  It is our duty as educators and life long learners to adapt to our learners needs.  Understand that: yes, not having one to one in the classroom is difficult and constantly adjusting our lessons to ensure that we are using todays resources is hard work! However, we must invest this time and effort if we are to prepare our learners for the future.  This is sentiment echoed by Raj Dhingra in his talk ‘Can technology change education’.  He highlights that the idea that ‘big dreams need big budget’ is a myth.
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You Tube is a scary place, what if we paint our school in a bad light? How can we ensure that students are using their technology for educational purposes 24/7? We need to trust in our learners and give them the key skills that they need to merge their formal and informal learning in an online space and through technology.


This merger is key for our students to invent and innovate – doing new things in new ways!  Prensky puts it beautifully,


“So, let’s not just adopt technology into our schools. Let’s adapt it, push it, pull it, iterate with it, experiment with it, test it, and redo it, until we reach the point where we and our kids truly feel we’ve done our very best. Then, let’s push it and pull it some more. And let’s do it quickly, so the 22nd century doesn’t catch us by surprise with too much of our work undone.


A big effort? Absolutely. But our kids deserve no less.”
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Will this be graded? Create-Connect-Celebrate



As an IB teacher I constantly ask my students to reflect.

This isn’t as easy as it sound… “Shall we just write down what we did?”, this is the most frequently asked question!  No don’t just write down what you did, think about it – what did you learn?

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(Taken from this You tube video:

This is a video that I like to share with my students:


“Peer based learning is characterized by a context of reciprocity”


When looking at the use of social media platforms, this idea reciprocity is far more important than one might first think.  Yes, it’s great to get ‘likes’ but as the video suggest “learning is inherently a social activity, motivates and encouraged by interaction with others.”  The perimeters for learning have changed, and  the very definition of social is vastly different from my youth. Commenting and discussing online postings is an amazing tool.  It gives our students time to read, digest and then think about how they would like to be involved in peer based learning, ‘where participants feel they can both produce and evaluate knowledge and culture’. (p39)  The idea that the construction of meaning happens within a social context is one that resonates very strongly with me.  I firmly agree with the statement that ‘the foundation of learning is still based on social interaction’, however this may be defined.

Perhaps this idea of peer based learning is why Muller suggests that ‘You Tube is the platform that will revolutionise education’.  You Tube is not graded? I’d argue that it definitely is!  Perhaps there isn’t a defined rubric…, perhaps you don’t get a percentage…, but someone, somewhere is making a value judgement.  However, the idea of interest based communities ensures that the feedback is seen as authentic,

  • “It’s something I can do… be creative and write and not be graded [because] you know how in school you’re creative, but you’re doing it for a grade so it doesn’t really count” (p32)

What a powerful statement! Peers matter more than grades… more than any formal evaluation.

Finally, it must also be noted that this context of reciprocity is a two way street.  The learner receiving the comments can reflect on their learning and refine their ideas and the peer assessing the work is given the opportunity to ‘exercise adult-like agency and leadership that is not otherwise available to them’ (p30).

So much to think about on so many levels and parents think that having their kids stuck in front of a computer is inhibiting their abilities to be ‘social’.

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Reflection 1

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Procrastination Expert

How many different themes can I possibly try?

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Bloom Vs SOLO

So after reading over Bloom’s revised taxonomy it made me reflect on a previous workshop that I have attended, Visible learning by John Hattie.  Within this work shop we looked at using the SOLO taxonomy (Structured Overview of Learning Outcomes) and how it compares with Bloom.
Rather than looking at a process that can used as a way to assess students, we must look at levels and depth of understanding that students have.  I seems rather neat to take Bloom’s taxonomy, modify it and look at it as a ‘one size fits all’, where assessments are created and they are then shoe horned into Bloom’sTaxonomy.  I would suggest that one size does not fit all and on the contrary one size fits might some.


Perhaps I am jaded from experience and SOLO is new and shiny…  However, I do like an approach that looks at levels of understanding and can be used to measure or gauge those levels of understanding:


Unstructured, where one idea has been identified or named
Multi structural, where many ideas have been defineddescribed or listed
Relational, where related ideas are analyzedappliedcause and effect has been explained and ideas have been justified
Extended abstract, where ideas have been extended, and learners are beginning to create their own ideas, hypothesize and generalize


Further to this, it is fair to say that with both taxonomies there are common factors.  Higher order thinking skills are identified in Bloom’s Taxonomy and within the SOLO taxonomy these are termed conceptual. Bloom’s lower order thinking skills are termed surface deep within the SOLO taxonomy.
It also has to be understood that neither of these taxonomies can work in isolation and that there is a great need for teachers to collaborated when assessing learning, not only between year levels but across all year levels from K to 12.  This kind of collaboration will only further strengthen any taxonomy used but it will give us a common idea of progress.
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