The Art of Losing….

Losing is not something that I overly enjoy. Growing up as a competitive athlete, I have always taken things like this past week’s debate, well, seriously. So it came as no surprise that experiencing a loss to the extent that we did, hurt, hmmm…. just a bit. But, here’s the thing. Every great coach I’ve had in the past has always helped me to reflect on my performance, and helped me to see that, it is truly through losing, that one can gain the most.


Photocredit: ryry602 via Flickr

I knew going into the debate that we were fighting the underdog side of things. Technology is everywhere and we are in an Ed. Tech. graduate class. So why would anyone agree that “openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our kids”? This was what my team set out to find out.

Our opponents, were very well rehearsed and prepared for this debate. They had their facts polished, their arguments timed, and their cute little kiddo rehearsed and ready for action. Lisa, Stephanie and Haiming Li were hot to trot! In the end, they were the ones that got the victory card, but looking back on things, I feel as though I may have won more in the long run. This debate opened my eyes to some vital components necessary for safe classroom blogging and student sharing, that before now, I was (sigh) naive and uneducated about. So, even though we didn’t win the debate, what I did win in knowledge that I can put to use in the future, made it all worth it!  Let’s take a look at just what that learning was!

First, and most importantly, awareness in sharing of any sort online is essential. Through reading blogs of colleagues this week, it is very apparent that we have varying levels of comfort in our own class. Yet, we all seem to agree that understanding the permanency of our digital footprints online, is crucial before taking steps toward sharing student content online. Each uploaded document, photograph, comment, that is shared about our classes and students adds to their digital identity and it is important that we understand the permanency of these actions, as they are very much like permanent digital tattoos.

Secondly, guidelines. Guidelines are very important for teachers to follow in order to know what should and should not be shared, and most importantly how to go about doing so in a safe way. Saskatchewan actually has an excellent document, Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools, that identifies many great policy guidelines to help educators implement safe online sharing practices. The message it teaches: “Respect. Educate. Protect”. Here is the problem. Not enough people know about this. When my team looked up guidelines for safe sharing, guidelines were difficult to find, and not always up to date. The Saskatchewan document never came up in a search. If we have such a document out there, how do we help teachers to know where to find this? This document should be available on every Saskatchewan school division homepage. AND teachers should read it!

Technology and social media are here to stay. Making the decision that sharing student content online isn’t fair, isn’t the answer. Technology is not going away. So, we as educators, we need to provide scaffolding and educate others on how to be responsible digital citizens. Alec Curos shares his views on the digital world in his Ted Talk by stating that “digital media has changed our world”. He reminds us that when policies are put into place and teachers are educated, sharing can be a powerful and healthy learning experience for students. So what do we do?

Well, we educate. First, we educate the educators. Next, education for students and parents alike, will help ensure content sharing is safe at a personal and professional level. Here are 20 quick do’s and don’ts that can act as a quick guideline checklist for anyone before taking the plunge and submitting something to the ever permanent cyberspace.

Educating Educators- Through courses like EC&I830 and 831, we are taking the steps to become the advocates for our staffs and school boards. Reading the Sask Policy Planning Guide by Alec and Katia would be a huge bonus to anyone taking the time to read it! Teachers like Justine Kyle are doing an outstanding job of this already. Take a look at some of the amazing lessons that she is using in her primary classes to promote healthy digital identities. This is what we need to see more of! This is the key to starting in the right direction.


http://Photo Credit: SFB579 Namaste via Compfightcc

Educating Parents- Many people have had moments of regret upon posting something online, much like Linda Geddes. Following a few easy steps might save some posting regret down the line. Madden and Smith suggest 1) limiting the amount of personal information that can be found online 2) changing privacy settings regularly 3) deleting unwanted comments, & 4) removing names from photos. These 4 steps won’t guarantee being able to avoid harms way, but it is a good place for parents to start. Providing parents with clear media release forms, and also educational opportunities enabling them to stay on top of the latest tech talk, is also a great idea. Parents want to keep their kids safe and are willing to learn. They often just don’t know where to turn to find this information.

Educating Students- Educate our students. Start young. Lead by examples and teach students how to create a healthy digital footprint. Provide lessons for students that are centered around digital citizenship. Model it, model it, model itLead by sharing examples of what oversharing can do to harm students in the future. Make students aware. Learn from our mistakes as a team, and have conversations about what could be done differently in the future.

Through taking these steps to further educate students, parents, and teachers alike, we can create a digitally safe environment, that helps students to grow as citizens in face to face interactions as well as online.

The positive definitely outweighs the negative side of sharing online if proper skills, and use of tools can be instilled in the minds of our youth starting at a very young age.

We are capable of creating a digital world that is safe to exist in. It will take time, education, caring, and awareness. But, it is most definitely possible. I look forward to doing my part in helping my students to begin this exciting and ever-changing journey!




26 thoughts on “The Art of Losing….

  1. Danielle,
    Being your opponent in this debate was challenging! You brought up very valid concerns. Privacy and lack of professional development for teachers are impossible to ignore. I like how you mentioned that you felt like you learned more – I know your points, articles and arguments have given me a lot to think about. They were all things that I think all teachers need to be aware of when teaching about sharing online. I think we all won for this debate, both the debaters and those in our class, as the material presented only helps us all to reflect more on our own teaching practices and strive to make it better for our students! Really enjoyed this post and the debate! 🙂


    1. Thanks Lisa! There have been some pretty fantastic posts this week, leading me to believe that this was a topic that got many of us reflecting on our current practices! That’s great! Thanks for popping by to leave a comment!


      1. Thanks Stephanie. Your team definitely had their side of the debate prepped and ready for action! Great job as well! 🙂


  2. Danielle, that was a heck of a debate. As a fellow loser, I feel the same way. But I must say, you did a tremendous job. I love how you moved the focus in your blog post to better educating people involved in social media usage. I think the parents are an under-used aspect of social media education for kids. Many parents not only are completely aware of social media, but condone behaviour on it. Worse, many expect teachers to police social media posts by other kids. Educating parents on their role, as well as on how they can help to raise digital citizens seems like a key step.


  3. Given this particular group of students and their biases, your side of the debate was very challenging to support but you and your team did so admirably and you show such grace in “defeat” (not actually how I see it)”. Thanks for these important points and for pushing us to see this topic from a more balanced perspective. I think everyone wins when we are able to articulate some of the real problems ahead for digital identity, sharing, etc.


    1. Thanks Alec. I totally agree. It is a win win situation when everyone is able to walk away gaining insight from both sides of the debate. I know that this debate will definitely impact the way I go about online sharing of my students and children in the future. Thanks for “guiding us” to get to this understanding! Also, fantastic Ted Talk! Awesome!!!


  4. You’re so right! If we, teachers in an edtech course, are unaware of these digital citizenship resources, I would assume that many others have never encountered these documents!


    1. And that…is a big problem! Isn’t it?! I suppose it’s a good thing there are 40 something of us here to help make a difference!


  5. Thanks for your thoughtful post Danielle! I completely agree that parents, teachers and students need to work together and lead by example in order to most effectively reach our young learners!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think recognizing that it is more than just something between teachers and students is a big part of that battle! 🙂


  6. Great points, Danielle. We all have a lot to learn when it comes to sharing and staying up to date on the changes privacy that happen so frequently. I agree awareness is very important. I like how you have noted that even in a grad class about tech we have a variety of comfort levels…. And we all signed up for the class. Imagine the diverse comfort levels in schools. Who brings up the topic to even start the conversation? And yes the Sask Digital Citizenship Guide should be at the forefront to increase awareness. It provides a great place to start and lots of great reminders for even the most experienced users.


    1. That’s a great point. I wonder who is “responsible” for bringing the topic of digital citizenship safety up at the school level. Since many schools don’t have tech leads, there wouldn’t necessarily be “a person”, aside from teachers taking courses like this. Maybe we are the ones to be starting these conversations???

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No pressure on people taking this course or attending sessions like this;) I’ve started reading the Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell. In it he talks about the nature of word of mouth epidemics and the role of connectors and mavens. I think like you say it will be up to us to invite the conversations and share our wondering and learning. If there are digital consultants available then we can can work with them to spread the word.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We are fortunate to have two right now and I’ve had the privileged to work with both. It changed my perspective on technology and how I worked with it in the classroom. It truly does make a difference to have support because it’s not just learning about the tech that matters. It’s the conversations about pedagogy and learning that impact your teaching for years to come.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s so important! Support for teachers filters down to the students in great ways when it is “quality support”. Glad to hear your experience has been a good one.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. To echo the earlier comments, I really enjoyed reading about your reflection on your debate. I respect your outlook that you gained more through the process of losing. I agree! My team “lost” as well, but I’d echo your sentiment and agree that the entire research and collaboration process on these current ed tech issues was SO rewarding, I feel like I didn’t lose at all!


  8. Great post this week Danielle! I thought both groups did an excellent job with the debate and made very good arguments that went with the side they were representing. Going into the debate on Tuesday night I was already leaning towards disagree from my personal experiences with having positive experiences with my students sharing online. I thought your group presented important pieces of information that educators need to be aware of before they can begin to have students share their work online and interact with others. I liked to point you made about how not enough people know about the Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools document. I saved this link into my favourites on my school computer after I was introduced to it in EC&I832 so I was shocked to read that you could not find it in the search. That is very problematic as it is an excellent resource that needs to be used in classrooms from K-12. I agree that technology and media are here to stay so we need to make sure we are providing our students with the necessary tools, skills, and knowledge in how to be positive in all of the spaces they engage in. Thank you so much for the kind words about my lessons in your post this week! I appreciate it a lot! Over the past two years it has been a huge learning curve for me so my suggestion to everyone is to take baby steps. Also so many of the concepts in the SK Digital Citizenship Continuum can connect to many outcomes and can be integrated into so many lessons. I really enjoyed reading your post this week! You gave me lots to reflect and think about. 🙂


    1. Thanks Justine! You are a great example of how far educators can come in being knowledgable in this area if they invest the time. I took a long search through the website for my school board and found nothing on digital awareness support except for a designated day for online anti-bullying. Hopefully with time, this will change and this awareness will become something that is recognized system-wide in all Sask school boards. Recognizing and promoting the Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools document. Thanks for taking the time to read my post this week! 🙂


      1. Thanks Danielle so your kinds words. I am happy with the progress I have made so far on my journey and I am excited to continue learn and grow in this area. I know I still have so much to learn about teaching digital citizenship and blogging to my students. Yes I am hoping it will be change over time and that more educators will be knowledgeable about this area. You’re very welcome Danielle! I look forward to reading your posts again! 🙂


  9. Great post! It was really hard to swallow defeat, especially when we learned so much about our side. But, as you said, the learning part was one of the most important parts. The sources you found were so helpful and I think that more like the guidelines should be developed.
    Overall, good job, team.


    1. I totally agree. But I also think we learned a lot that will help us to continue to be advocates for our students!


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