Topic 1: Privacy, Social Presence and Human Centered Learning

In this weeks reading by Regan and Jesse on the ethical challenges of Edtech, the author’s raise 6 individual ethical concerns that are wrapped up in the term “privacy”. These concerns are;

  1. Information Privacy
  2. Anonymity
  3. Surveillance
  4. Autonomy
  5. Non-discrimination
  6. Ownership of Information

As Regan and Jesse point out, using a blanket term to encompass all concerns about online safety runs the risk of oversimplifying the issue. Much of the online world is invisible, which means it can be all too easy to just click a box and assume that all the concerns lumped under “privacy” are being considered and respected. The authors argue that each aspect of privacy needs to be examined separately and equally when bringing technology into the classroom, because it isn’t only it’s effectiveness that matters, but also the ethics surrounding it. By addressing each aspect of privacy with my students I will be guiding them towards a safe and positive online presence, a necessary 21st century skill.

Check out Commonsense.org for some great lesson plans to “practice safe habits and stay safe online”.

The second article Dickers (2018), Social Interaction in K-12 Online Learning examined the importance of “the social” in the meaning making process. The idea that learning is social comes from Lev Vygotsky’s Social Constructivism theory, below is a short explanation (watch the whole video for a great overview of the 4 essential learning theories).

As Dikkers (2018) points out, learning environments have expanded beyond the traditional face-to-face model to a blended model, and just like “brick and mortar” settings the social aspect “is foundational to online learning”. Recently, Covid 19 has made a completely online classroom environment the only option, making curating a “social presence” and incorporating a Constructivist framework into learning design more relevant than ever .

Through research Whiteside and Dikkers (2015) proposed a Social Presence model to “influence and guide individuals meaning making process”. The 5 aspects are;

  1. Affective Association- How teachers and students show emotion online
  2. Community Cohesion – Seeing the class as a community
  3. Instructor Involvement – How teacher shows involvement in student learning
  4. Interaction Intensity – What ways and how often students interact
  5. Knowledge and Experience – ways students share their prior knowledge and experiences with course content

In Dr. Roberts blog post for this weeks topic, she references the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework, which also has a social presence component. This framework can also be referenced when designing an online learning environment.

Downloadable PDF from https://coi.athabascau.ca/coi-model/

Dr. Roberts also suggests designing for Human Centered Learning, learning that:

  • Emphasize positive communications and relationship development
  • Co-design well-being supports with the individuals and communities affected by them
  • Broaden definitions of success to reflect a holistic view of human development
  • Broaden learner supports to include more individuals, roles and organizations
  • Restructure education to encourage connection, cross-curricular integration and meaning
  • Broaden curricula to address honest historical truths

While doing a bit of research to deepen my own understanding of how to build an online environment using Constructivist principles, I came across the following video that explains two offshoots of Constructivism; Cooperative and Collaborative learning.

When designing curriculum it is always handy to have some strategies to build around. Check out Neil’s blog on 10 Cooperative Learning Strategies and Edtech tools to go with them. As well as Jessica Mckeown’s blog post Grow Beyond Group Work for some Collaborative strategies.

Garrett Dickers, A. (2018) Social Interaction in K-12 Online Learning. In R. Ferdig & K. Kennedy (Eds.), Handbook of research on K-12 online and blended learning (pp. 509-522 ). Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon University ETC Press.

Regan, P., & Jesse, J. (2019). Ethical challenges of edtech, big data and personalized learning: Twenty-first century student sorting and tracking. Ethics and Information Technology, 21(3), 167-179. DOI: 10.1007/s10676-018-9492-2 

Topic 3: Equity and Access in K-12 Online and Open Learning Environments (Revised)

In my initial topic 3 blog post I focused on explaining how UDL takes into account the variability of learners and how it is a guideline to ensure equitable access to education for all. Below is Ms.Gateley’s response to that blog post where she challenged me to go beyond UDL and explore other ways to implement OEP into my lesson design.

Below are some questions that I used to expand upon my initial blog post:

  1. What are some possible barriers to OEP?
  2. What are some other examples of OEP?

Here is my revised post;

In Topic 2 we learned that an Open Educational Practice (OEP) aims to remove barriers in education, providing equal opportunity for all. So how can we implement OEP into our lesson design to ensure equity in our teaching practice? By using the Universal Design for Learning Framework! Developed by researchers at CAST, the UDL guidelines are a tool to implement UDL into our learning environment. I had previously learned about UDL in my ED-D 420 Learning Support course. We designed a lesson plan following the UDL prinicples, you can find that lesson plan here, feel free to use and remix it.

Here is a video that I watched to solidify my understanding of UDL

Basham et al. (2018) state that UDL provides choice and flexibility for how information is presented, how students engage with the information and how they show what they know. Designing lessons around the 3 guiding principles “address the academic, social and cultural distinctions that exist in today’s schools” (p.480). The principles are;

Retrieved from http://udlguidelines.cast.org/

UDL has the potential to reshape teaching and learning by providing flexibility and choice. In an ideal learning environment, all lessons would be designed using the framework which leads me to wonder what barriers are keeping teachers from implementing it into their practice?

According to a study done by Anstead (2016) there were 6 possible barriers to teachers implementing UDL into their practice (p.130).

  1. Time – “Time to plan, time to plan collaboratively” and “more coordination to implement it better”
  2. Supplies – “Resources”
  3. Professional Development – “Training, support and workshops”
  4. Lesson Templates
  5. Lesson Modeling – “what it looks like in the classroom”
  6. Fear of Change

Reflecting on this list of potential barriers, it seems that what teachers need to implement UDL is support from other teachers. Teachers can support each other by opening their practice to other teachers through the development of a PLN focused on the sharing of experiences and OER. Through discussions on social platforms like Twitter and Facebook, teachers can share tools, strategies and resources, creating a collaborative space where they can learn from and with other teachers.

Moving deeper into my understanding of OEP, I did some research into other ways to implement it. As stated above teachers need support and guidance and Steiner (2018) has created the visual below with stages that can be used to develop and support you OEP. Steiner suggests that the stages don’t have to take place in a linear way, that users can “[make] use of continuous back- and cross-referencing of neighbouring stages”. As a visual learner this diagram greatly increases my understanding of the process of opening your teaching practice.

This course has equipped me with the knowledge and tools to develop a practice based on Human centered learning and an Open Educational Practice. By focusing on relationship development, expanding my idea of success and developing a practice centered around the 8 principles of OEP I can build a learning environment that is accessible and equitable.

This week my pod has been working on a project to critically examine and consider strategies to support digital equity in K-12 open and distributed learnign environment. Check out our Digital Equity and Perspective Pod Project.


Anstead, Mary Elizabeth Jordan. (2016) Teachers Perceptions of Barriers to Universal Design for Learning. Minneapolis, MN: Walden University. Retrieved from:https://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3002&context=dissertations

Basham, J.D., Blackorby, J., Stahl, S. & Zhang, L. (2018) Universal Design for Learning Because Students are (the) Variable. In R. Ferdig & K. Kennedy (Eds.), Handbook of research on K-12 online and blended learning (pp. 477-507). Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon University ETC Press.

Steiner, Tobias. (2018, February 23). Open Educational Practice (OEP): collection of scenarios (Version 1.01EN). Zenodo. Retrieved from: https://zenodo.org/record/1183806#.XyBt4ShKjIU

Topic 3: Equity and Access in Open Learning Environments

In Topic 2 we learned that an Open Educational Practice (OEP) aims to remove barriers in education, providing equal opportunity for all. So how can we implement OEP into our lesson design to ensure equity in our teaching practice? By using the Universal Design for Learning Framework! Developed by researchers at CAST, the UDL guidelines are a tool to implement UDL into our learning environment.

UDL provides choice and flexibility for how information is presented, how students engage with the information and how they show what they know (Basham, p.480). UDL is organized around 3 principles.

  1. Multiple means of representation
  2. Multiple means of engagement
  3. Multiple means of action and assessment

Our Digital Equity and Perspective Pod Project focused on compiling Edtech tools for UDL. Through our group research we came across Hyperdocs, a way to create lessons using tech and UDL.

What is a Hyperdoc? Holly Clark explores that question in her blog where she talks with Lisa Highfill co-author of The Hyperdoc Handbook.

Part 1- Let kids explore the topic with Multi Media Text (MMT)

Part 2 – On to what a Hyperdoc is…

To learn more check out the Hyperdoc Academy for free courses! Also join the Facebook group and follow #Hyperdoc on Twitter.


Basham, J.D., Blackorby, J., Stahl, S. & Zhang, L. (2018) Universal Design for Learning Because Students are (the) Variable. In R. Ferdig & K. Kennedy (Eds.), Handbook of research on K-12 online and blended learning (pp. 477-507). Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon University ETC Press.

Topic 2: History and Context of K-12 Open Learning

The focus of this week’s topic is the historical and theoretical trends in k-12 open learning. The movement towards open educational practices is aligned with a societal shift from small geographical communities to an interconnected global community based on collaboration. As the world and society change, the education system changes with it, moving from  the traditional, instructivist “one size fits all” approach to an open approach where barriers are dismantled and  every learner has choice for the “time, place, medium and content”(Roberts, p.530) of their education, becoming contributors to global funds of knowledge. 

Learning theories guide educational practices, helping teachers to choose strategies and tools based on current research. Theories have evolved over the last 100 years; from Behavourism to Cognitivism to Constructivism, moving from an understanding of humans as passive consumers of knowledge to active producers and contributors of universal content.

Retrieved from https://hamizahmohdisa.blogspot.com/2019/10/3-major-learning-theories-behaviorism.html?m=0

Check out my last blog post for a video on learning theories and this website that provides examples of ways each learning theory can be applied to lesson design. 

Open Educational Practice (OEP) is not a theory but a method (Roberts, 529) to improve the quality and access to education for all. OEP is built on the foundational aspects of Dewey  and Vygotsky’s theories,that learning should be based on real world experiences through creativity and collaboration.  Butcher and Wilson-Strydom (2008) identified 8 principles of open-learning;

  1. Learner centeredness
  2. Lifelong learning
  3. Flexibility in learning
  4. Removal of barriers to access
  5. Recognition of prior learning experiences and current competencies
  6. Learner support
  7. Expectation of success
  8. Cost-effectiveness

OEP requires Open Educational Resources (OER), according to Wiley (2014) to be considered an OER it should include the 5R’s of Openness

  1. Reuse- the right to use the content in a wide range of ways
  2. Revise- the right to adapt, modify, adjust or alter the content
  3. Remix – the right to the original or revised content with other open content to create something new
  4. Redistribute- the right to share copies of the original content as well as revisions or remixes
  5. Retain – the right to make, won and control copies of the content

OER are found in the public domain or are attached to a Creative Commons license designation. Here are some links to OER’s within the public domain;

Open learning practices have the potential to change the way we teach and learn. When combined with public education OEP removes barriers for all learners, bridging the gap between formal and informal learning environments and experiences.

Check out Dr.Roberts Topic 2 post as well as these Google slides on this weeks topic

Also… here is a documentary some of you may find interesting on the paradigm shift in teaching and learning towards a collaborative model.


Barbour, M & Labonte, R. (2018) An Overview of eLearning Organizations and Practices in Canada. In R. Ferdig & K. Kennedy (Eds.), Handbook of research on K-12 online and blended learning (pp. 600-616). Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon University ETC Press.

Butcher,N.,&WilsonStrydom,M(2008).Technologyandopenlearning:Thepotentialofopeneducationresourcesfor K-12 education. (pp. 725-745). Boston, MA: Springer US. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-73315-9_42

Roberts, V. , Blomgren, C. Ishmael, K. & Graham, L. (2018) Open Educational Practices in K-12 Online and Blended Learning Environments. In R. Ferdig & K.Kennedy (Eds.), Handbook of research on K-12 online and blended learning (pp. 527–544). Pittsburgh, PA: Carnegie Mellon University ETC Press.

Wiley, D. (2014). The access compromise and the 5th R. Weblog. March 5 2014. Retrieved fromhttp://opencontent.org/blog/archives/3221

Making your own podcast

There are so many ways for your students to show what they know, here is 72 of them. Podcasts are a medium that allows students to combine digital literacy and Language Arts with just about any subject, topic, story or idea. You may want to encourage your students to use podcasting to show their learning or as a way to dive deeper into a topic but don’t know which direction to send them in. As we all know, google can be a source of information overload, so I have compiled some of my own research into a short how-to post. Check out my tech inquiry partner Nat for the basic of microphones and recording and Erin for how to prepare for an interview.

picpedia.org – Nick Youngson – CC BY SA 3.0

Step 1: Choose a format and a focus topic

Here are a few of the most common podcast formats:

  • Interview podcasts: These are podcasts with a one or two hosts who interview people.
  • Scripted non-fiction: These shows are mostly serial podcasts that have a single theme for a full season.
  • News recap: A podcast that recaps the news in a specific industry.
  • Educational podcasts: These are scripted non-fiction shows that focus on teaching their audience. Examples: Stuff You Should Know, Hidden Brain, and TED radio hour.
  • Scripted fiction: These podcasts are most similar to radio dramas and are often scripted and highly produced. Examples: Bubble by Maximum Fun, Limetown, and Everything Is Alive.

Podcasts are a great opportunity to get students communicating and collaborating so encourage them to work in pairs or small group. Roles can be assigned to group members like “tech specialist’ or ‘script editor’ but it is important that each member contributes to the research portion of developing the podcast, the ‘what’ of the show.

Step 2: Choosing a topic

We all have a story to tell or find. Narrowing down a topic for your podcast can be difficult, New York Public Radio has a some great resources on coming up with a story.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when coming up with a story:

  • what are you passionate about?
  • what do you have a unique perspective on?
  • is there a social problem you’d like to address in a story?
  • what stories and interview subjects do you have access to? 
  • what sides of a story are often ignored?
  • is there something that might surprise?
  • what’s at stake? what do people have to win or lose?
  • what is a story that people don’t know about, but should?
  • what is something you are very curious about and want to know more about? (ideally this is true for any story you tackle)

Once you have an idea of what you want your story to be about ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. Who would you interview? * think about someone you have access to
  2. What do you want to find out? Where can you look? Teacher, parent, friend, internet, books etc.
  3. What is your unique perspective on this?

Step 3: Develop an outline

Pixabay -CC BY 2.0

For your podcast to sound organized and professional it is important to figure out what your going to say and come up with an outline for your recording . The best way to prevent rambling and dead air is to write a podcast outline. You don’t have to write out your podcast word for word but taking the time to write out a short outline will lead to a dramatic improvement in the quality of your episode. Encourage your students to listen to other podcasts and take notes to get ideas.

Here’s a sample outline to consider, via Voices.com:

  • Show intro (who you are, what you’re going to talk about): 30-60 seconds
  • Intro music (repeat for each show so listeners identify the jingle with your show): 30-60 seconds
  • Topic 1: 3 minutes
  • Topic 2: 3 minutes
  • Interlude (music or break): 30 seconds
  • Topic 3: 3 minutes
  • Topic 4: 3 minutes
  • Closing remarks (thank audience, thank guests, talk about the next show): 2 minutes
  • Closing music (suggest same as Intro music jingle): 2 minutes

Part 4: Keeping it to the point

Writing a script and keeping it short is a great way to get to the main ideas of your topic. After writing a portion read it over and get someone else to read it, then ask if there is any parts that are unnecessary and can be cut out. Overloading your script can take away from the important information your trying to relay.

Part 5: Setting the scene (helping your audience visualize)

Providing context and visual aids allows your listeners to visualize what you are talking about. Unlike online videos, 99 percent of podcast content is invisible, this requires your listeners to use their imagination to visualize the information. You don’t have to describe every detail just be aware that your listeners may need a little help to understand what you are talking about. Using just a few descriptors can set the scene for your listeners imagination.

Here is a great list of descriptive words.

Use sounds and music! This is a radio show after all. Adding something as simple as a few seconds of song can really spiff up your show.

Part 6: Get creative, have fun and think about what your audience will want to listen to

For a great episode on the making of Brains On and some great resources check out this link

Sketchnote and Twine Workshops

Our EDCI 336 class had another workshop with Rich McCue on Tuesday. This time Rich taught us about sketchnoting and the non-linear storytelling platform Twine.

Sketchnote is a form of note taking that uses visuals as well as words. The idea behind sketchnoting is that images tap into a part of your brain that would otherwise be disengaged during purely word for word note taking. A study completed by the University of Waterloo found that people were better able to recall information when it was combined with a symbol (word) and an image. Taking notes on a laptop, when combined with fluent keyboarding skills allows note-takers to document a lecture word for word, while taking notes with a pen and paper requires the note-taker to summarize the information. When summarizing information an image can be used as a memory hook that better enables the concept to be assigned to our long term memories.

Rich had us complete an Introduction to Sketchnoting Activity, where we started with basic drawings of nouns before moving on to images that represents concepts. Follow the activity above for some basic sketchnoting skills to produce your own sketchnote like mine below.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is imag0465-1.jpg

Google images can be used as inspiration. Sketchnoting is fun, engages the whole mind and helps with concentration.

The 2nd part of Tuesdays class was spent working with an interactive, non-linear storyboard platform called Twine.

Twine is free and posts directly to HTML so you can create and publish virtually anywhere. It uses the basics of programming to build interactive stories which are very similar to a choose your own adventure game. Twine allows you to add sound and images to make your text based game even cooler! If you are interested in learning to code or develop your own game Twine is a great place to start. Check out the YouTube video below for a short Twin how-to.

Click here for Rich McCue’s Introduction to Twine that he developed to be shared!

A Deeper Look into 6 Native Plants: Part 2

All information from Nancy J Turners Sannich Ethnobotany

Wild Strawberry

James St. John – Wild Strawberry CC BY 2.0

Perennial herbs, Wild Strawberry Fragaria chiloensis grow in loose patches, spreading by long thin runners.The coarse green leaves are 3 parted and have jagged edges. Wild Strawberries bloom in April and May, bearing white five petaled flowers. Mature berries are bright red and delicious. Wild Strawberries are found throughout WSANEC territory. Any open habitat (except for bogs) can support wild strawberries. They flourish in areas that are burned intermittently.

Traditional uses: Unsurprisingly wild strawberries were a favorite fruit of the WSANEC people, they would regularly burn and clear brush from patches to increase yield. These berries were rarely ever dried because they are too juicy so are eaten fresh, making it a yearly treat. Christopher Paul said there is an excellent tea made out of the dried leaves.

There is a mountain on the Malahat Ridge named ‘like a strawberry face’ and according to Tim Montler, if you point at the mountain, showing it disrespect. the weather will change to rain. Manson Pelkey said that if you want to signal to that mountain you nod your head towards the mountain if you don’t want it to rain. Violet Williams, Elsie Claxton and their families used to go over to Orcas Island and the Mount Vernon area in Washington to pick cultivated strawberries.


Leslie SeatonThimbleberries – CC BY 2.0

A deciduous shrub with large maple-like leaves that cluster in dense patches. Thimble berries are closely related to raspberries and blackberries but have no thorns. The bark of the older stems is light brown and shredded and young shoots are fuzzy. The leaves are soft and a little fuzzy with long stalks and blades usually 15 – 20 cm across. The white flowers flowers bloom in late spring. The short thimble-shaped berries ripen throughout July and August depending on elevation.

Thimbleberry is widespread and common, growing in sites, often at the edge of woods, roadsides and shorelines. It can be found moist to dry sites from sea level to higher elevations.

Traditional use: Christopher Paul said that the sweet juicy edible stalks were harvested, peeled and eaten raw in the spring. They must be harvested before they turn woody, if you could snap the stalk off with your fingers it is just right. Violet Williams remembers eating these sprouts when she was a girl. The berries were picked wherever they were found, eaten fresh or boiled and pressed into cakes for winter. An effective medicine for diarrhoea and stomach aches, the brown leaves could be chewed or a tea made of the leaves, according to Violet Williams, Dave Elliot and Chris Paul.

Stinging Nettle

BrewBrooks – Urtica Dioica – CC BY SA 2.0

A herbaceous perennial, Stinging Nettle grows stalks up to 2 meters from branching rhizomes. Covered in fine stinging hairs, the nettle can often take over expansive areas. The leaves grow in opposite pairs along the stiff stem and are a triangular heart shape. The edges of the leaves are coarsely saw-toothed. The small greenish flowers grow in clusters that droop from the upper leaf nodes. The seeds ripen in midsummer. Stinging Nettle grows in wet meadows and open forests, along stream banks, avalanche track and roadsides from sub-alpine to sea level. The lagoon as Tsawout means “bite of Stinging Nettle” because of the stinging nettle patches around its edges.

Traditional use: The most important use for this plant was the use of fibrous stems for making twine, fishing line, fish nets, duck nets and deer nets. In October the stems were cut lengthwise with a bone knife and dried for five or six days outside, then dried further over a fire. Once they were dry the stems were peeled and the fibers combed out. The fibers were then spun on a bare thigh or with a spindle from Bigleaf Maple wood. The threads were then twisted into two and four ply twine which was used for tying and net construction. Christopher Paul said that fish nets were often dyed using Red Alder to make them invisible to fish.

Dave Elliot points out that the leaves were rubbed on the skin as a counter irritant for aches, rheumatism and bruises. While painful, this treatment eventually relieves aches.

According to Violet the roots were used as an ingedient in a medicine for sore throats. They were also used with Scouring Rush and Maple leaves to make a tea; the leaves would have had to have fallen on the bushes and not touched the ground.

The WSANEC people boiled and ate the young stems and leaves like many people do spinach but this may be a recent use learned from colonizers.

Minecraft Edu

Tuesdays class changed the way I see the integration of technology in the classroom. Heidi James, a teacher from Colquitz Middle brought in a group of middle schoolers to teach our cohort how to play Minecraft. If you have spent any time around kids in the past 5 years you have probably heard of it. A widely popular game, Minecraft is an “open world game that promotes creativity, collaboration and problem solving”. Those nouns probably sound pretty familiar if you’re a BC educator, that’s because they are some of the core competencies in the new BC curriculum! Heidi uses Minecraft Edu, which is a classroom friendly version of Minecraft with features that allow the teacher to manage learners within the game, build challenges and choose or create students ‘worlds’. The Education edition also provides a 10 module training course and lesson plans. Heidi showed our class how game based learning is a student centered approach that incorporates prescribed learning outcomes with 21st century skills.

Mike Prosser – A map of my minecraft world -CC BY SA 2.0

Minecraft is an immersive game which means that it is technology that attempts to recreate attributes of the physical world within a virtual world. A 3D block landscape where participants create and alter the ‘world’ they are dropped into. Players collect and re-purpose the 3D blocks, building shelters and crafting tools like a pick axe, that allow your avatar to mine for granite or the coveted obsidian. As well as building and mining, players can explore, gather resources , build communities and even learn to code.

I have always thought of video games as an isolating past time but when played in a classroom setting the game has the potential to increase social interactions. Players need to work together in order to ‘survive’ and end up communicating to their team mates beside them, face- to face, developing strategies or telling them where the ladder to the next floor is.

Having the Colquitz team facilitate a Minecraft how-to was a great example of how we as future educators can empower our students, work with their interests and help them become digitally literate citizens of the 21st century. What an exciting time to be an educator.