Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Hi & Welcome to the new section of students in InfoTech 8 in 2016.  We are working with the tools of of Information Technology. So, what is Info Tech, exactly? It's all of the technology tools related to school, but more than that, it's also about how we use those tools to be the best citizens of the world we can be.

As you work with the tools in our class, many of them web-based or "cloud" based, we're going to learn more than just the skills of using the tools. Safety, creativity, curiosity, and engagement all go into becoming a thoughtful individual! I hope you'll develop many of those qualities during your time at our school.

I mentioned a little bit today about your digital footprint and digital portfolios. Google, by common use, has become a digital portfolio for everyone, but what shows up in a Google search can't be fully controlled by you. During our time together, you can create a space in the Internet that is in your control and can demonstrate who you are and what you're capable of!

I look forward to the things we're going to work on together!

Friday, October 10, 2014


With the Thanksgiving weekend about to begin and the end of the first rotation of InfoTech 8 rapidly approaching, I am very grateful to get to work with all of you. You make me a better teacher with your great questions and the risks you take in your learning with technology. Thank you!!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Making Mistakes and Liking it!

After so many years in school, it's hard to believe that making mistakes is a good thing. Even so, most of what you've learned in your life has been because you made mistakes and learned from them. The best learning experiences we have are often the ones where making mistakes is fun because you go back and do something you're kind of enjoying. Sometimes, though, it can be really hard - like learning how to read or doing fractions or doing long division or learning how to do a lay-up. It all depends on who you are and what your strengths are.

We each can learn how to get better at something, but it means we have to stick at it. Even if something is really frustrating, if we keep trying (after taking a break from it for a little while to calm down) we will get better! It just means taking a risk.  Learning how to use technology can be like that, too.  Watch the following video by Sa-Hali Grad, Sophia de Zeeuw. Sophia graduated last year and presented at last year's TEDxYouth event, held at TRU last spring. It's pretty amazing to think we have a TED presenter who graduated from our school!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Trillion Dollar Footprint

Monday's activity is called Trillion Dollar Footprint. You're going to pretend you're the Producers for a new reality TV show called Trillion Dollar Footprint. The research/investigative team you hired have narrowed their search for a host down to two people. Based on the information they have given you, you must pick the new host based on their social media presence. 

Your digital footprint is not just the things that you post on different social media sites. Your footprint also includes online newspaper articles and photographs and things that other people post that you may be tagged in. If you (or your team) win awards, your name and photograph could be linked to that. If a friend posts a picture of you in a silly pose, that may be part of your footprint, also. 

One way to get a sense of what your digital footprint is already is to do something called a "vanity search." This is when you Google your own name to see what other people see when they search for you. There might be nothing. There might be a few things. There may be things about people who have the same name as you. It's worth knowing what Google can find about you, because employers will search for you and so will the universities that you apply to, when you are in grade 11 and 12. I've even searched out potential baby-sitters to see if I would trust them as a person to look after my children. 

Think about what kind of a digital footprint you would like to have in a few years. What kinds of things would you like to see when you look yourself up on Google. Would you like newspaper articles or videos of interviews? What kinds of things do you hope you'll have created that other people will see as examples of what you do well? What awards might you have won and how would those show up- would there be photographs or links to webpages of the sport you play? Will your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, website or Electronic Portfolio be there?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Internet Safety

Internet Safety is more than being careful with your passwords and not talking to strangers in chat rooms. Internet safety is recognizing scams designed to put malware on your computer. Internet Safety is recognizing how to deal with problems on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat when so-called friends start bullying or harrassing you. Internet Safety is especially recognizing that the Internet is basically just the same as your neighbourhood. You wouldn't say certain things to your neighbours and you wouldn't want your grandmother or mom to see you behaving badly or in embarrassing ways. If you put it out on the Internet, chances are someone you know will see it, or share it or use it against you if it could put you in a bad light.

The key to remember is that the Internet is very public, no matter how many privacy settings you try to set up, there are ways around it and it's easy to forget how many people can see what you've put up, or what others have shared about you. Internet Safety is also about how to remove things that other people write, say or share about you.

Watch the following video as a class.  After watching, take 5 minutes to talk at your table about:
  •  experiences you've had, especially if you've had the opportunity to be really smart about your privacy and safety. 
  • What have your parents and others taught you that you think everyone should know. 
  • Is there anything you're not sure of that you want to know or get better at?

One person in the group should be the note-taker for your group and write things on a big sheet of paper with a marker. Put the names of everyone in your group. (Spelling doesn't matter for this assignment, except the names.) Hand in the sheet to Mr. Erickson, the substitute teacher.

After your group chat, please take the rest of the period to write down your ideas for how you're going to be Cyber smart and protect yourself. Consider:  
  • Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Gaming, Youtube)
  • Picture sharing/Video sharing
  • Scams/Spam/ Malware
  • Password safety and online shopping safety
This is a draft and we'll work on polishing this writing in class on Friday using Google Docs! You will need to have at least 5-10 sentences for Friday!

Thank you, Mr. Erickson, for being my Teacher on Call today! I hope the students made you feel welcome in our class!