Inspire and encourage educators and students to use technology for civic engagement and to address challenges to improve their communities.
I get excited about this standard because there are so many opportunities with technology, that allow educators to make a difference. One example is a hackathon and how a problem is posed and creative solutions are created in a short period of time. I participated in one at the University of British Columbia with a student employee a couple of years ago and the energy and solutions created were exciting and new. There were ideas that I would never have gotten to hear about in my support role as a Learning Management System Administrator. It was a refreshing and new way to hear about problems and how they could be resolved.
There are a lot of other areas that I’ve thought out, one in particular is the impact AI can have on students, how to make my Digital Learning Mission Statement more tangible in the work that I do, but the one I am most interested in is how to make accessibility a habit everyone does as a regular practice. It’s not always easy to make one’s work accessible, there are many things to remember and look at, but I do think there’s a minimum that everyone could do, including students, to help make their classroom spaces inclusive. Everyone in the room contributes to how inclusive a space is and yet traditionally, this is still left to the instructor only. This can make working with peers difficult because everything needs to funnel through the instructor or the one student has an additional burden (more work) to get access to accessible documents when their peers could’ve made them accessible from the beginning.
This is just one example, where I could see educators help students model digital citizenship, but there are many other ways too. By connecting the learning in the classroom with the communities and experiences students have, there will be even more opportunities to change how we interact with each other in digital spaces.
Partner with educators, leaders, students and families to foster a culture of respectful online interactions and a healthy balance in their use of technology.
I think with this indicator in particular, educators need to be pay extra attention and be intentional. It’s easy to “feel” or see in the digital space that something or someone is fake and or to be overly skeptical about a person’s intention. Sometimes there are online spaces that thrive, but there are many that die too or fail to thrive. It is my opinion that the spaces that allow people to thrive take a lot of extra care and work.
One of the ways ETM works with faculty is to provide professional development opportunities throughout the year, but in particular at the beginning of the academic year when faculty are returning from summer break. This allows us to bring up topics like Demonstrating Care through Course Design, Taking the “Pulse” of your Course, and ways to close the digital divide.
These topics in particular help us talk about ways to make learning more “student-centric.” For example, introducing social emotional learning activities and helping instructors think about how the setup discussions in person and online to be more equitable by creating ground-rules for interactions. This might even include building activities that help develop trust amongst students and how to provide affirming feedback towards one another.
Support educators and students to critically examine the sources of online media and identify underlying assumptions.
While I think this is an incredibly important indicator and topic, it’s one I regularly struggle with. When writing papers and citing sources, you often need to find peer reviewed journals, but when it comes to fixing technology issues, often your answers don’t come from journals and databases – sometimes the best place is a random thread on the internet. As I think about information literacy impacts the work I did in ETM and the work I do now, I’m still not sure I have all of the answers. With the sheer number of resources one can find online.
One area that I thought about in more detail was how mob mentality manifests itself in online spaces and what we can do to avoid jumping on the bandwagon. In CIS now I need to teach new student employees how to find quality resources that help them troubleshoot complex computer issues that people call our office about.
Being able to critically examen resources is a skillset that will continue to be developed and will likely change as new mediums for information expand (e.g. using artificial intelligence). It’s a skill that one never stops using, whether that be for writing academic papers, learning a new skill like playing guitar through online videos, or learning how to solve problems in order to do one’s job.
Empower educators, leaders and students to make informed decisions to protect their personal data and curate the digital profile they intend to reflect.
The more our physical and digital lives become intertwined, the more important I think it becomes for each of us to understand who has access to what and how they intend to use the data collected. This especially became apparent as I worked in ETM and had to spend time evaluating education technologies that faculty wanted to connect with our learning management system.
Not only did we need to know if the company was reputable, but we also needed to know how much data would they be taking from our system, how responsive they were going to be for support, how accessible were the technologies they were providing, and who accessed the data, under what circumstances, and what did they do with the data collected. This lead to the creation and publication of our Technology Evaluation Process. We also made efforts to document the specific systems selected by the university that faculty would use for teaching & learning and encouraged faculty to do the same for any tools they chose to use in addition to what ETM supported.
In some documents, I have seen companies take more data than is necessary, claim that the content uploaded becomes theirs, and that they’ll do research on the data collected. Now, I admit that I don’t read everything in as much detail for my own personal accounts and data, but as a person who has the ability to make decisions that impact hundreds of other individuals, I think it’s important that the individuals using the tools provided by any institution know what happens to their data.
In addition to making it easy for people to find this information and for institutions to provide this information, it’s also important for administrators to strike a balance between making sure information and systems are secure and teaching & Learning. I touch on this a little in empowering instructors and students: learning data. That said, the most important piece is that the users know and can make informed decisions about their data.