Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III: Experts or Amateurs? Gauging Young Canadians’ Digital Literacy Skills | MediaSmarts

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This report is drawn from a national survey of Canadian youth conducted by MediaSmarts in 2013. The classroom-based survey of 5,436 students in grades 4 through 11, in every province and territory, examined the role of networked technologies in young people’s lives. Experts or Amateurs? Gauging Young Canadians’ Digital Literacy Skills (the fourth in a series of reports from the survey) explores the level of young people’s digital literacy skills, how they are learning these skills and how well digital technologies are being used in classrooms to support these skills.

Executive Summary (PDF)

Full Report (PDF)

Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III: Experts or Amateurs? Gauging Young Canadians’ Digital Literacy Skills was made possible by financial contributions from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and The Alberta Teachers’ Association.

Experts or Amateurs? Gauging Young Canadians’ Digital Literacy Skills Infographic

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Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III: in-progress infographic

Experts or Amateurs? Gauging Young Canadians’ Digital Literacy Skills slideshow

About Young Canadians in a Wired World

Initiated in 2000 by MediaSmarts, Young Canadians in a Wired World (YCWW) is the most comprehensive and wide-ranging study of children’s and teens’ Internet use in Canada. Phase I and Phase II of this ongoing research project – which tracks and investigates the behaviours, attitudes and opinions of Canadian children and youth with respect to their use of the Internet – were conducted in 2001 and 2005. In 2011, MediaSmarts launched Phase III of the YCWW study with qualitative research comprising interviews with teachers from across Canada and focus groups with children and youth and parents, followed by a national classroom survey in 2013.

Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III: Experts or Amateurs? Gauging Young Canadians’ Digital Literacy Skills | MediaSmarts.


Video: “The Future Will Not be Multiple Choice” | MindShift

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Katrina Schwartz | February 4, 2013

Educator Jaime McGrath and designer Drew Davies explain how to create a “classroom of imagination” by turning lessons into design problems and giving students space to be creative in this Tedx video. In a New York Times op-ed The MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Competition’s co-director Cathy Davidson said she thinks it’s possible that 65 percent of students today will end up doing jobs that haven’t been created yet.

McGrath and Davies argue that school needs to keep up with the times by promoting creativity, entrepreneurship, design thinking and hands on skills. McGrath’s experience teaching design problems has convinced him that the approach includes all learning styles, brings the best of project-based learning, encourages cooperation and integrates subject matter horizontally. But mostly, McGrath and Davies are impressed at the cool stuff kids design.

via Video: “The Future Will Not be Multiple Choice” | MindShift.

10 Commandments of Innovative Teaching – A.J. Juliani

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innovative teaching toolbox

As a new teacher I remember getting into my classroom for the first time. I set up the space like classrooms I had seen before and enjoyed; I got my lesson plans in order; packed the filing cabinets with resources; started to make copies of overhead slides; put together an area for reading and stacked the shelves with books I had picked up in college or from my parents house.

Then the students arrived, and all my plans went out the window. I realized very quickly that the type of teaching I had been exposed to and grew up with, and the type of teaching taught at many undergrad programs…was quickly becoming a past practice. That’s not to say many of the pedagogical and instructional strategies I learned don’t stick with me today (the good ones always will) but these students were different learners than I was…and at the time I was only 22 years old.

After teaching in a nice classroom of my own at the middle school I jumped up to the high school ranks and became a “floating” teacher. We had recently joined the “Classrooms of the Future” movement and every teacher in our district received a Macbook. Many teachers had a cart of 30 Macbooks in their classroom, and every room had a SmartBoard installed. I taught in four separate classrooms and learned to digitally organize my classroom and instruction.

Flash forward eight years and the classrooms look very different in my same school district. In the two years since my district began our 1:1 laptop initiative our classrooms have evolved once more. New technology, new standards, and new content. Throughout this process I have tried my best to stay on top of where education is headed and what are the emerging “next” practices. Now when I talk to teachers in my district and around the country, I try to focus on the key elements of innovative teaching. With technology, standards, and content continually changing…these “innovative commandments” give teachers a starting point regardless of their situation.

1. Innovative teachers must offer choice

Commandment #1 might be the most important. I spent a lot of time as a teacher figuring out new ways to inspire and motivate my students. Sometimes it worked, but often I would fail to reach all of them. Then one day I gave my students choice.Not some “fake choice” assignment where they could pick one topic out of a box of topics…but REAL choice. You know what happened? Students were inspired and motivated to learn by themselves…and by each other. And they did a much better job at inspiring then I ever could. Choice gives students the ability to go above and beyond our curricular limitations…try to give as much choice as possible and watch your students innovate.

2. Innovative teaching allows for failure

Maybe this one should be re-labled “provide growth opportunities”. We learn best after failing. In fact, you should start promoting epic failures in your classroom. Give a round of applause when students fail because now the learning can really begin. This doesn’t work too well with tests…but with projects it is great! If you create a culture where failure is not only accepted, but embraced…your students will not be afraid to challenge themselves.

3. Mentorship comes in all forms

Remember when learning was hard? It took time to find an answer. You had to search the library, ask the right teacher, or find some type of adult of expert who had knowledge and ask for guidance. Today’s learners can find out what a professor at MIT thinks about the future of robots…and we have to be ok that his/her answer if most likely much better than ours ever would be. In the same fashion we have to model to our students where to find the “right answers” to their questions. Their learning mentor could be Google, Siri, YouTube, UdemyQuora etc. These sites and platforms can connect our learners to better information than we ever had, it would be a shame for us not to show them how to best use it!

4. Technology with a purpose

I recently had a teacher ask me what I thought about Prezi. I told them I really liked it for some uses and then asked them what they were going to use it for… They responded that their students needed to do a presentation and Prezi seemed like a cool new format to present. I agreed. When I dug deeper on the assignment it was short 1-2 minute presentation on a recent medical discovery. While I agreed that Prezi was an awesome tool for presentations…it didn’t make sense for the students to spend time learning a whole new platform and putting together a presentation in Prezi (it takes a while) for this topic.

I suggested them using Haiku Deck because it was super-simple, easy to use, and they could create on any device. Students could then get to their presentation material quicker, and allow for some deeper tasks in the future. My point was use technology with a purpose. And understand which tool (technology) is right for which job (assignment or project). In order to do this you must be informed on what options are out there…or ask a colleague that knows. Don’t waste your time, or your students time by using techn for tech’s sake.

5. Build something together

You know what is so much better than one student working passionately on something they care about? Students collaborative together to build something that matters…to them…and the world (more on that later). How often do you let your students collaborate? I’m not talking about “Think, Pair, Share”. I mean real collaboration where they work through problems together and come up with solutions, and test those solutions, and then debate whether or not they can improve upon that solution… Give them a chance to build something together, and they’ll learn much more than they could learn by themselves.

6. From local to global

When I first did the Flat Classroom Project my students realized that they are not alone in their “learning”. And they also learned that students all around the world were just like them. They struggled to learn, and had to work hard to create. My students were no longer naive about their place in a global education system and we had many discussions about what it would be like to not only compete with these students for college spots and job positions, but also work with them in college and in the workforce. At the same time, you can’t forget to have a focus on your local community. When we do project with our local watershed, or run community fundraisers its about a bigger cause. Teachers need to tie “innovation” with both local and global experiences, because both allow students to interact with the real world.

7. Standards are guidelines, you are the architect

Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe made a great point when they said:  ”The standards are like the building code. Architects and builders must attend to them but they are not the purpose of the design. The house to be built or renovated is designed to meet the needs of the client in a functional and pleasing manner – while also meeting the building code along the way.”

Don’t let new standards get in the way of innovative teaching. That is a lazy excuse. Instead, use standards as a starting “code” for creative lessons and projects that promote design thinking and innovative learning experiences.

8. Be a learner first and model it

I’ve had a number of great coaches in my life, but my one football coach will always stand out. He wasn’t our head coach but worked specifically with the offense. He sticks out in my mind because he looked at the game differently. He would see things in film and relate them to a game he watched on TV. He would bring in new ideas that he came back with from clinics and camps and other coaches playbooks. He never stopped learning. And we could see it as players. He was never satisfied. He demonstrated what a growth mindset looks like to a learner. I was his student, but he inspired me because he was relentless in learning. We in turn wanted to watch film and break down other defenses because of his modeling. Remember, it is what you do…not what you say…that speaks volumes to your students.

9. Flexible with high expectations

My students like to say I challenge them. My players that I coach say the same thing. And I admit that I have high expectations for myself, our team, our students, and our school. But with high expectations often comes lack of flexibility. Innovation doesn’t happen without either of these. Have high expectations for your students and they will rise to meet a challenge, but also to have the flexibility to go with what is working and change paths if need be. It is a fine line to walk as learners, but keep an open mind about what is possible, and anything really can happen.

10. A challenge that is fun

I really shouldn’t have waited till #10 to mention the word fun! Learning needs to be fun. The process may have its ups and downs, and it should be challenging. However, it should have moments of pure fun and enjoyment. One of my favorite quotes is by the late professor and author Randy Pausch of the Last Lecture. Randy says, “If you can’t learn and have fun at the same time, then I’m not sure you have a good understanding of either.” As human beings we enjoy a challenge. It’s a different kind of fun then going to Disney World, but I’d argue that it may also be a better type of fun. Let your students work hard and have fun in their learning experiences. They’ll thank you for it.

Bonus: The Innovative Teaching Toolbox

Right now when you sign up for my newsletter below, I’ll give you access to the “Innovative Teaching Toolbox”. It includes:

  • A copy of my ebook “Teach Above the Test” (52 pages of innovative projects and activities)
  • A subscription to our digital magazine for teachers, leaders, and learners “The Best & Next in Education”
  • My Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram PPT Templates
  • A new resource added each month and sent to you via email

I’m sure I left a few things off this list that would be considered innovative teaching. Let me know in the comments and add your thoughts to the discussion!


10 Commandments of Innovative Teaching – A.J. Juliani.

A Framework for Innovation in the Classroom – A.J. Juliani

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By A J Juliani

Each month I add a new resource to the Innovative Teaching Toolbox. Here is a simple framework for innovation in the classroom that came out of the research, interviews, and countless conversations I had with teachers and educational leaders during the book writing process.

Feel free to share, download, and modify! When you sign up for the Innovative Teaching Toolbox below I’ll send you:

The picture file of this infographic

My ebook Teach Above the Test

A digital subscription to our magazine “The Best and Next in Education”

Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest PowerPoint Templates

Thanks for stopping by!

Share here:


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Get the Innovative Teaching Toolbox

Sign up for updates below and get the Innovative Teaching Toolbox including my ebook Teach Above the Test, a subscription to our digital magazine The Best and Next in Education, and much more!

via A Framework for Innovation in the Classroom – A.J. Juliani.

The Small Ripple | The Principal of Change

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Working with my good friend Shaye Patras, Principal at Blueberry School, I have had the opportunity to do one-on-one visits with his school in the last 12 months.  A few years ago, one of my suggestions I made to many administrators, Shaye included, in the area of using Google Apps, was to move all of your work you do as a principal to using Google Apps with staff. Although this is a little change, it can make a big impact.  Doing simple things such as sending agendas out to your staff on a Google Document, or asking for feedback through a Google Form, can make a big impact.  It doesn’t make much sense to encourage the use of Google Apps for Education by sending your staff a Word Document.

This goes back to the notion that if you want to innovate, you must disrupt your routine.  It also lends to the idea that if you want to change things in the classroom, you have to change the way we do things organizationally.  People are more likely to embrace change when they experience it.

So with these opportunities of visiting every three months or so, I have seen HUGE changes not only in skill level, but openness by staff and students to try different things.  I give a ton of credit to the teachers in the school for being open and wanting to grow, but with Shaye willing to try something new and model that he was willing to take risks, he opened the door for his staff to do the same.  You can never expect people to take risks unless leaders model it; saying it is not enough.

With little changes in the way that we do the things we have always done, you can start a ripple that can lead to a big wave.

The Small Ripple | The Principal of Change.

A Wonderful Visual on How to Use SAMR Model On Different Classroom Tasks ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

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February 16, 2014
Hi everybody, I hope you are having a great weekend and happy belated Valentine. It’s been a hectic week for me, busy reading a couple of books and preparing for a workshop on digital writing for graduate students in my university here in Halifax Canada.

In this quick post I want to share with you this beautiful interactive image on the SAMR model. I learned about this resource from a tweet shared by our colleague David Fife. As you can see from the image below, iPadders provided examples of how to use each classroom task according to the different SAMR categories. And in each category, a set of apps and tools are provided to help you carry out the task under study. I invite you to have a look and share with your colleagues. Enjoy

Hover your mouse over the graphic to access its hyperlinked resources.

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A Wonderful Visual on How to Use SAMR Model On Different Classroom Tasks ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.

10 Ways Teacher Planning Should Adjust To The Google Generation

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smartphone-in-classroom10 Ways Teacher Planning Should Adjust To The Google Generation

by Terry Heick

For the Google Generation, information isn’t scarce, and knowing has the illusion of only being a search away.

I’ve written before about how Google impacts the way students think. This post is less about students, and more about how planning resources like standards and curriculum maps might respond accordingly.

Curriculum maps are helpful little documents that standardize learning. That is, they clarify the content to be learned, and offer a shared pathway and schedule to deliver that content to students. Curriculum maps function as a kind of overview of learning content, and can also provide a common ground for the reform of planned learning activities based on assessment data (O’Malley, 1982).

The problem is, now more than ever, critical knowledge is changing. The things a student needs to know are different now than they were a half-century ago (unless you want to get super macro about it all and underscore literacy, critical thinking, etc., as timeless and universal).

In the presence of Google, predictive search, digital communities, social media, Quora, adaptive apps, and other technology, information is less scarce than it has ever been in human history. The same with networks, digital channels, and possible learning pathways to discover new ideas.

There is a subreddit for transhumanism. That means there is a community of folks that gather to share ideas, resources, and conversation about the “use of science and technology to improve human mental and physical characteristics and capacities”–living, breathing, enthusiastic (and sometimes snarky) human beings that can contextualize ideas, clarify misunderstandings, and point you in the right direction for future learning.

That’s pretty incredible.

There’s also one for education, science, the future, the past, self-directed learning, teaching, books, technology, and almost any other topic you can think of. When Google + Quora + twitter + YouTube + reddit +everythingelseontheinternet exist, the kinds of things a student needs to know change.

The age of knowing is slowing giving way to an age of data navigation, and what students need help with should be adjusted accordingly–even if in ways other than the ideas below.

the-google-generation10 Ways Teacher Planning Should Adjust To The Google Generation & The Age Of Information

1. Make the work Google-proof

Put another way, design it so that Google is crucial to creating a response rather than finding one.

If students can Google answers–stumble on you want them to remember in a few clicks–there’s a problem with the instructional design. And asking them what they’ll do when they WiFi goes out probably isn’t compelling enough as an argument.

Instead, anchor learning experiences around new kinds of thinking that force the synthesis of disparate ideas, media, and communities. Scenario-based learning, challenge-based learning, project-based learning, learning simulations, and so on.

It’s all out there, ready to be integrated in your classroom.

2. Force them to grapple with big questions without answers

Promote study and observation, not “content mastery.” In a Google-centric world characterized by access to content, networks, and new ways of thinking about things, the focus should be on more classically human practices of observation, study, and perspective.

Via a reddit thread, I found this link to a TED talk–the concept is called “rewilding.”

“Yellowstone National Park had become overrun with deer, which grazed away the vegetation dramatically. For years, biologists like Dave Foreman suggested a solution: bringing wolves back to the park, as the last ones were killed off in 1926. In 1995, wolves were finally reintroduced to Yellowstone, and the effects were dramatic. The wolves brought the deer population down to a sustainable population — but more importantly, they radically changed the behavior of the remaining deer. These deer started to move more often and avoid places in the park where they could easily be trapped, which in turn grew thick with vegetation. This allowed birds and beavers to move in, and the beavers’ dams became habitats for otters, muskrats, ducks, fish, reptiles and amphibians. The wolves also killed coyotes, which allowed for more rabbits and mice, which in turn boosted the populations of weasels, hawks, foxes and badgers. Meanwhile, ravens, bald eagles and bears fed on the carrion that the wolves left. In fact, even the river patterns in the park changed: the regenerating vegetation stabilized the riverbanks, which yielded less to erosion and took on straighter water flow. “The wolves, small in number, transformed not just the ecosystem of Yellowstone National Park—this huge area of land—but also its physical geography.”

Not sure how that kind of discovery could ever be packaged into a “standard” without neutering it completely. Curriculum maps should promote careful, self-directed study of relevant and meaningful ideas, rather than design micro-lessons to “efficiently deliver information.”

And for the Google Generation, this kind of authentic content and perspective is infinitely available.

3. Actually make social networks and media channels part of curriculum

Their identification, navigation, analysis, and evaluation should be as much a part of study as branches of government or the writing process.

4. Focus on learning strategies 

See #2. Rather than emphasizing content, emphasize how to deal with an abundance of fluid and perishable content on a daily basis.

5. Create curriculum and lessons that absorb data seamlessly

In an age of information and analytics, data is abundant. Currently, maps and units and lessons are not designed to accept data, leaving it up to the teacher to extract it, and constantly make often significant adjustments to planning in light of it.

In 2014, we can do better.

6. Anticipate student needs

Student proficiency can be predicted by examining past performance, reading levels, and an assortment of other factors. This isn’t tracking, nor is it consigning certain students to novice levels of performance, holding them to lower standards, etc. It’s simply being pro-active–creating a map–or at least units within a map–that can facilitate the educated guesswork and instinct on the part of teachers.

Will they need extra time?

Mini-lessons on Digital Citizenship?

Unique literacy strategies?

A mix of digital and physical texts?

More choice or less?

Currently this is all done at the unit or lesson level. What would it look like at the curriculum map level?

7. Focus less on “understanding”

Of course students need to “understand”–but (hoping Grant’s not reading this) prescribing exactly what students will understand, when they will understand it and at what depth, and where, and how they will prove it–regardless of background knowledge, natural interest, literacy levels, etc.–is a bit…ambitious.

And even if it’s possible, at what incredible cost of teacher training, related resources, “classroom management and general gnashing of teeth and stifling of natural curiosity?

Of course the idea of learning is understanding. And we absolutely need to measure what’s working. But focusing entirely on mastery of pre-determined, catalogued, and non-student centered outcomes measured by unbearably unimaginative tests can’t be the zenith of modern pedagogy, can it?

8. Use spiraling by design

If you want to get better at something, you practice. So why not establish a handful of the most important ideas in content that act as anchors for other more discrete knowledge and facts, and practice them over and over again at a variety of cognitive levels (e.g., Bloom’s).

And if this happens, shouldn’t the design of the map promote it naturally? Why should the map say one thing, and then what happens in classroom be different? Should the curriculum map not reflect this approach? Even make it better?

9. Discourage use of traditional units

Among other sins, units encourage illusions of “coverage” for the sake of content packaging. Why not instead emphasize that learning is a marathon, not a series of artificially-divided sprints.

10. Illuminate the nuance of the world

Have you ever had anyone force you to listen to a song? And then stared at your face the whole time waiting for your reaction? Then asked you to write a cause-effect essay about it all? Horrible, right? That’s the process traditional curriculum maps encourage.

Content is incredible if we can just let it be incredible, and for the Google Generation, it’s right there at their fingertips. Curriculum documents should underscore the nuance of the world, not provide a chronologically-based checklist to cover it all.

If students can’t separate what’s worth understanding and what’s not for themselves–whether on the first page of Google search results, or links they find via twitter and facebook–our collective efforts are diminished.


11. Promote discovery and curiosity and self-direction over coverage and compliance

A curriculum map should be as much for the student as they are for the teacher. As such they should function as learning and discovery pathways, helping the learners see where they’ve been, where they’re going, and what’s possible. The Age of Information is characterized by discovery, curiosity, whimsy, and connectivity–all which necessitate self-monitoring and self-direction.

10 Ways Teacher Planning Should Adjust To The Google Generation; image attribution flickr user flickeringbrad

10 Ways Teacher Planning Should Adjust To The Google Generation.