Alan’s Optional Article Assignment ED 366

A Facebook ‘like’ and your name can reveal a shocking amount of info.

I chose to speak about an article i just read on privacy.

This article should be a concern for all of us because of the amount of easy to access information we readily give away. It may not seem like a big deal. What if you gave your first name when ordering coffee and discovered that the barista knew your birth date, where you worked and your home address? That’s just for starters.

In the article they only took three minutes to find that info out. Imagine what they could have got if they spent a little more time and their motives were not so innocent. The flow of our own personal information is up to us to protect. After all, Information is power in the wrong hands. Knowing where we live, work, and play can say a lot about us. With that information and a few personal details like mom’s maiden name, someone could access your identity and cause serious headaches for you.

The group devised a stunt involving a coffee shop in London, England. Last March, a sign outside the coffee shop promised a free coffee and croissant to customers who liked the café’s Facebook page. Customers were asked for their first name when they ordered their coffee. This is a good example of ” Nothing is free”.   “The likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other online platforms are much more than just social media sites — they are now a hunting ground for identity thieves,” Simon Dukes, chief executive of Cifas, said in the news release. “We are urging people to check their privacy settings today and think twice about what they share”. That’s great advice. Most of our privacy settings by default are very weak.

The video ends with the words, “Don’t make it easy for fraudsters. Set your privacy settings,” and refers viewers to its website for more information.

I found this article interesting and I plan on going to all my online accounts and checking my privacy settings.

“Smartphones and social media expand our universe. We can connect with others or collect information easier and faster than ever.” Daniel Goleman

Have a great night all.


End The Classroom War On Mobile Devices – Article Discussion #2 Christine

This article from Huffington Post outlines the differences in attitude about cellphones and laptops in a classroom setting. Shuter cites a number of examples of instructors and professors who hate the devices in the classroom and use a variety means to get rid of them, from  outright bans to one professor who submerged a device in liquid nitrogen and smashed it pieces to get his point across. An extreme example for sure, but no doubt effective.

I think this hatred is rooted in the love/hate relationship we all seem to have with the Internet. We hate the internet when it is spewing bad news, horrific pictures and just things that make us feel just plain bad when we’re rooting around on there. On the flip side, we absolutely love it when it saves us time, makes us smarter by quickly finding something we want to know, and keeps us in contact with family and friends.

It angers people not be paid attention to. The mobile device by it’s very size and nature makes the user seem to think that sneaking a peek is okay, that no one will notice. Everyone notices – especially the person in the front of the room, looking at you, looking at your crotch.

The students, on the other hand, most of whom have had a cellphone since elementary school, have a different take on the situation. They MUST be connected. They believe the ability to look things up immediately and on the fly is beneficial, and are often puzzled by the attitude of the instructors/professors.

As we saw in our own ED366 class, cellphones can make learning fun, if integrated properly. Making the device, that is already in everyone’s hand anyway, part of the lesson might make it less of a distraction. Take away the sneakiness and crotch looking and perhaps you take away a lot of the appeal.

But there does need to be some balance. The question remains how to find it. It is allowing a certain amount of time to look at the phone during class? Integrating the phones a couple of times a week with the lesson? Or do you just let things fall where they may? It will be interesting to see how the next generation of teachers, who have grown up with these devices always on and present will deal with their classrooms.

Optional Article response #2

I chose to respond to an article on cell phone policies in the classroom.


When it comes to classroom policy, I always go back to putting myself in the place of the student. What policies would I like as a student? As an adult, and recognizing that we all have other responsibilities outside of our classroom, I feel that I wouldn’t want a specific policy around cell phone use. If I needed to wait for a quick text from someone during class, I want to be able to glance at my phone without feeling like I’m breaking a rule. However, I would never think it’s appropriate to have a texting conversation during a class. Having said that, I recognize that not everyone in the class thinks like me. Also, texting can be distracting to others around you and just plain disrespectful to the Instructor or speaker.

I like the following quote from the article:

“Are we failing to see that in some ways this isn’t about the devices, but rather about power? When there’s a policy against using phones in class and students use them anyway, that says something about how powerful we are, or in this case, aren’t. It feels like we should be doing something, but we’re justifiably reluctant to make the big power moves that fix the problem when there’s such a high risk of collateral damage.”

Power is one of our basic human needs (along with love, freedom, fun and safety). Knowing this, it’s important that we, as humans, allow other humans their right to power. Imposing too many (needless) classroom rules and policies just increases the power the Instructor has over their students. Is this necessary for learning?  I am a huge believer of equalizing power among humans. I fully believe that the more autonomy you can give your students, the more enjoyable and effective your classroom will be.

However, what do you do when students are distracting others with their cell phone use or are using it inappropriately?

I think the key to this issue is teaching students how to self regulate.

“Self-regulation is when a person or group governs or polices itself without outside assistance or influence.”( )

I do realize that self regulation comes easier for some then it does for others. For example, people that have ADHD may be terrible self regulators. Teaching students how to self regulate should be part of the instructors “hidden curriculum”. At times, it may require classroom discussion and conversations where the class discusses appropriate vs. not appropriate cell phones use in class, or the class members may decide rules for themselves. 

At the end of the day, we will not be with our students as they go out into the workforce… and many workplaces do not have cell phone policies. People have to learn to use them appropriately, so why not start teaching that skill in the classroom?


“In Your Pocket” and “On the Fly” Article Discussion – Christine

Meeting the Needs of Today’s Generation of Online Learners with Mobile Learning Technology.

This article appears to have been written about ten years ago, but surprising has some very forward thinking, much of which has come to fruition. Written by three colleagues from Athabasca University, the article focuses on the need to meet the expectations of the younger generation who have grown up with mobile devices.

Athabasca University in Alberta, founded in 1970 is a pioneer in the distance education movement and was the first Canadian university to specialize in this type of learning.

In the article Richard Sweeney, a university librarian is quoted as saying,” higher education was built for us under an industrial-age model.” The us he is referring to are baby boomers and previous generations. I have to agree. If you are over the age of fifty, or perhaps even a little younger and rural, you most likely were taught by textbook with a teacher at the front of the room, making notes for you to copy down, from a blackboard.

Not so today. An “arsenal of electronic devices”, as stated in the article is now the norm. I think this was very evident in our ED366 class. Cellphones, tablets, laptops, as well as the desktops computers all came into play during the seven days. I know I used all three. The beauty of today’s updated technology, unlike the struggles the article refers to, is the ability to cross platforms, to be able to start aproject on one device, and then open it up and continue on another.  The Apple Corporation has been a leader in this regard, but others are quickly catching up, such as Google.

I don’t know if you all took note that most of the desktop programs we used to work on our presentations, had a corresponding app. As we try to educate a new generation of learners who have a phone permanently attached to their hands, this must become the new normal.  This is part of what is referred to in the article as “multiple media literacy.” It is not enough for students to do the job you are training them for, you must also be able to teach them the technology required to get it done as well. Because there are very few professions anymore that technology has not touched in some way. Even the cashier at the dollar store needs to know how to operate a computerized register.

Today’s teachers now have to become the students.  And there may be come catching up to do. Would my fellow classmates agree with that?

Alan’s reflection on ED366

Hi Everyone,

My final reflection on this course is that it was well worth my time. I found that tackling a new technological subject each day was draining at first. I wasn’t really sure what was expected of me. I decided to look at myself as a learner with clear goals and objectives. I learned a great deal about new and different tools I will now use in the classroom. Google Docs, Powtoon, Jing, Prezi, Slack and Khan Academy were not part of my vocabulary two short weeks ago. I will definitely be using Google Docs to organize my document folders, files, videos and my ideas. I had a big problem with organization before. I am excited to get back to my work computer on Monday to begin to organize my desktop. I will be talking to my program manager about purchasing a licence to use Prezi. I can see it having a place in my classroom.

I’m glad this is only my second CAE course. I feel this one will help me with all my upcoming courses. I feel a lot more comfortable researching different tools that I didn’t even know existed before. Two weeks ago if you would have told me I would have a Twitter account I would have laughed at you. I now see the benefit of instant communication with many different people from many different backgrounds. The real time communication impresses me a lot.

I enjoyed our class time. Our group was serious and focused. Even though I started ED366 on the first day of my desperately needed vacation, I feel I’ll be going back to work refreshed and eager to apply some of the new ways I learned how to turn the light bulbs on in my students’ heads.

“Life is tough, but it’s tougher when you’re stupid” John Wayne

Stay safe all! See you on the Internets.

Final reflection on ed366

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this course… I knew it would be about technology and that’s about it. And I’ll let you in on a little secret: I strongly disliked using technology! The main reason I strongly disliked technology was because I find it is so temperamental- sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I learn about something, and then it changes or updates, or there’s something new to learn. 

So, after spending a little over a week in this course, completely immersed in technology, blogging for the first time, tweeting till my fingers got cramped, getting dizzy from creating prezi slides, and learning how I can put my whole world in Google docs,  I can say now that I (kind of) like technology! I definitely see the benefits more than I did prior to last week.

I liked the exposure to different tools. I think part of my problem was that I was completely unaware of what was out there. I’ll use the expression “I didn’t know, what I didn’t know”. Now, I have a toolbox full of technology tools that I can draw from, if needed.

I appreciated the relaxed atmosphere of the classroom and I liked how Dave facilitated and structured the course to let us determine what direction we wanted the course to go in. I also loved the conversations and discussions that we had around digital citizenship, contract learning, etc. As others have mentioned, the class seemed to gel well together and we were able to have some fun laughs while learning. 

It’s been 11 years since I’ve been in a classroom (as a student) and I forgot about the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes from being immersed in learning and working hard. This was a great way to  begin my CAE journey.

Thank you all for a great 7 days. See you all around.


Article response (optional assignment)

The article I chose to respond to was titled: Critical Digital Citizenship: Promoting Empathy and Social Justice Online.

Critical Digital Citizenship: Promoting Empathy and Social Justice Online

I only just learned about the term Digital Citizenship through this course. Our discussion  in class totally caught my interest. By nature, I am an advocate for those who are disadvantaged in our society. I naturally tend to cheer for the “underdog”, and have compassion for those less privileged.  So when I learned about digital citizenship, I was intrigued.  Previously, I tended to only see the negative side to social media. I would read comments under news articles and get angry over the  harassment and bullying that some people would receive online. I viewed social media as a toxic space that tended to breed narcissism and make it easier for bullies to bully the vulnerable. However, after reading this article, I started to reflect at the positives of social media.

“social media creates opportunities for connecting as global citizens on a day-to-day and even moment-to-moment and public basis that were not present beforehand.”

One huge advantage to social media is that it can become a platform to raise awareness on global issues that would rarely be talked about in the traditional media. As the quote above says, it “creates opportunities for connecting as global citizens” It allows for the opportunity to actually get to know people that we wouldn’t normally get to know living in our small space in this world. It allows us to take a glimpse into other cultures and spaces in this world that may be different then our own. But most of all, it allows us to see that although we may have different cultures, religion, etc. We are all much more alike then we are different. Social media allows us to be more connected on a human level, and for that reason, it can make us a better, more compassionate people.

The author of the article, raised an interesting question:

“Can digital spaces such as social media help promote empathy and social justice instead of sensationalism, hatred and extremism?”

As I reflected on that, I thought about how social media has changed me over the past couple of years. I have found myself sincerely grieving over the horrific terrorist attacks that have happened in France recently, or the devastating war in Syria that’s displaced millions of people. Through digital world, I have recently learned about #blacklivesmatter and my eyes have been opened to the inequalities that are STILL happening among us humans. I thought about the blogs that I’ve read about recognizing privilege, and how that’s helped me to identify and be aware of my own privileges that I enjoy that I have previously taken for granted. I thought about how social media has helped to raise awareness to the rape culture that is still so prevalent in our world.

It wasn’t until I read this article, that I realized that for me- social media HAS helped to expand my empathy and promote justice. Now the question is, what can I do to contribute to that and help fight against the hatred and bullying that also exists online?



Article Discussion #1 by Leona Perry


This article outlines ten advantages to taking online classes and include points such as no travel, being able to continue with your work and study at the same time, less associated costs etc.

In the early 90s, I began working on my nursing degree through a distance education program from  St. F.X. University.  Things went relatively well but I got discouraged when I realized that in order to complete my degree, I would have to actually leave home to attend a university as there were a number of courses that were not available through distance ed. Because of that, I did not complete my degree. Today, with so much learning available online, my experience might have been different and I would probably have kept at it.

I took my first totally online course, The Adult Learner, in the winter of 2015.  If you look back on the weather conditions during that time, I am sure you will agree that I couldn’t have picked a better time to take an online course!  I loved the convenience of it.  Living in the western end of PEI means I travel a lot…for shopping, my children’s activities, meetings and education.  Not having to make that 4 hour round trip to Charlottetown each week for class was a godsend.  So this article totally makes sense to me when it talks about the learning in the comfort in your own home plus not having to worry about travel.  

Another thing I liked about the online course was the feeling I had of being in control.  I could set my own pace (within the limits of due dates) and never had to give a thought about the progress of the rest of the class and whether or not I had to slow down to let others catch up or struggle to keep up myself.

I was surprised to hear that a good number of the students who took the class the same time as I did were not that impressed with it.  The main issue was the lack of face to face interaction with the instructor and other students.  However, from my point of view, the instructor provided adequate support by being available by email, answering questions during our real time classes and connecting us together as classmates in various ways.  The class material was well organized and easily located. The only drawback was the occasional problem with the technology, Blackboard Collaborate in particular. There are always glitches with technology but then, there are always glitches in real life as well.  I would do an online course again without any hesitation.  

Final Blog by Leona Perry

This afternoon I was sitting on our cottage veranda with my soon-to-be 17-year-old daughter.  She has always had strong opinions on education and I thought I would ask her opinion about the use of technology in the classroom.  As usual, she had lots to say! Basically she feels that people her age are not as keen on technology as we might think.  “it’s not going to make kids like school any better”, she says.  “Most of us get all the technology we want at home.”

She had lots more to say but this is a blog not a book so I will try to summarize.  Good teaching is what matters and that involves a lot more than the use of the latest and greatest technology.  Carefully thought out lesson plans and good organization are factors that she touched on as well as concern for the students’ progress and treating them with respect.

Do I think there is a place for technology in education?  Yes, I do.  The same as I believe there is a place for textbooks and desks, whiteboards and markers or chalkboard and chalk!  They are all just tools and when we pick a tool, we should be thinking of what we want to do with it and how efficient it will be. Will it make our lives easier or just add stress?  Will it get the job done?  Will it foster student learning?  Will it cost us so much in time that perhaps other aspects of our job get short-changed; like student-instructor interaction for instance.

I have certainly come a long way in my comfort level with the use of technology in the last few years.  Even this time last year, I’m sure I could not have handled ED366.  But I came into the course ready for the challenge and I did all right.  I gained knowledge of new tools and some of them I will continue to use.  But the best part of the whole class was the camaraderie; learning from each other and supporting each other.  The human interaction in other words.  And from reading other peoples’ blogs, others seem to feel the same way.  So, I say choose your technology carefully and remember that those are human beings in front of you, even the ones you may only have contact with through a computer screen!

PLAR Online, Dustin’s Article Response

Dustin’s Article Discussion

I have chosen to respond to Dianne Conrad’s article, “Situating Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) in an Online Learning Environment.” The article outlines the Online PLAR Program at Athabasca University.

I just completed ED 319 Preparing For PLAR in May of this year. PLAR makes up Milestone two and three of the B.Ed (HRD) program. It happed to be the first distance course I have taken and was surprised with how well it worked out for me. The course was taught by Natalie Worthen who is the Coordinator of Professional Development at Holland College. She did a great job setting up the course on SAM. In the past, the course used to follow a blended delivery format. Our class was the first time she has taught the course completely online. Natalie was easily accessible through e-mail or by phone anytime I had a question relating to the course.

The distance learning format was extremely well suited for my busy family, work, and school schedule. It allowed greater flexibility and reduced barriers that would have otherwise not allowed me to take the course.  I worked on the it during my free time and often took breaks (sometimes for weeks at a time) to work on other projects. However, I had little difficulty picking up where I left off even after long periods.

PLAR is a unique course that focuses on personal reflection, selection of artifacts and verification of evidence. This is not a fast process, actually quite the opposite. The PLAR process encourages reflective, experiential, and active learning to help students realize the value of their past non-formal learning. PLAR helps to identify areas of strength that creates a type of learning platform. A known place to start formal education. In addition, it is used to acquire credits toward specific academic programs.

In the article Conrad states that students of Athabasca University have the option to build a paper or e-portfolio. For Ed 319 we used the paper based format, but I thought it would be interesting to make up an e-portfolio as well. It would be easy to organize and allow for more customization, however it is easy to over do it with the use of technology. E-portfolios should be kept simple with the focus on student learning.

The most challenging aspect of the online course was staying motivated and engaged. It was nice having open ended assignments, but made it very easy to procrastinate. I also missed out on the classroom chemistry that only a face to face learning environment can provide.  I think PLAR is well suited to the distance delivery format, but may not be the best match for all learners.