Friday, November 3, 2017

The evolution of digital safety to digital leadership

Over the past few years, we have witnessed the shift from teaching about digital or online safety to teaching digital citizenship.

When teaching about online safety, we talked about WHAT NOT TO DO to keep ourselves safe online:
Source Mini Matisse
When talking about digital citizenship, we shifted the the conversation to a more positive emphasis on WHAT WE WILL DO to be responsible and appropriate contributors to the online world:
Source Lessons By Sandy
Even more recently, thanks to the work of educators like George CourosKristen Mattson and others, the conversation has evolved to talk about fostering and encouraging digital leadership as outlined in this video produced by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).

This doesn't mean that digital safety and digital citizenship are no longer important. Quite the opposite in fact.  The evolution of these concepts have just laid the ground work for this current conversation about "empowering proactive digital learners".
Source: ISTE

In this era of "fake news", cyberbullying and increasing concern and uncertainty about the impact of social networks and technology on the lives of our students, the need to lay a solid foundation of "respect - educate - protect" that Dr. Mike Ribble has advocated for over so many years needs to create digital citizens needs has never been more important. But we need to go one step further. We put that ever evolving understanding of citizenship into action - to make a difference.  

Our students need to understand that their digital presence can play a positive role in making our world a better place and that their ideas and talents can be used to create a positive change in their communities. But what does this look like in practice? How can we foster this idea to build digital leaders in our classrooms?

I would love to hear what you think about this topic. As educators, we need to figure out together what this looks like in our classrooms. How do we ensure our students are learning the skills they need to be able to live, learn and work in an ever changing digital world?

Please contribute your views to this Flipgrid. Having a growing collection of voices discussing this topic will be valuable in moving this discussion forward.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

My Personal Learning Philosophy

As part of the requirements for an online course I am taking in instructional design, I had to create an introductory video that utilized a Web 2.0 tool to help explore my learning philosophy. I don't get to play around in GoAnimate as much as I would like so I picked that tool to create my video.

I have included it in this post in case you are interested in watching it.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Digital Citizenship in Blended Learning

While attending the Building Student Engagement in Distance and Blended Learning Conference this week in North Battleford, I had the pleasure of presenting "Digital Citizenship in Blended Learning" to a large group of teachers. The presentation was very well received and contains a number of resources for teachers looking to incorporate digital citizenship into their blended learning environments.

I have shared it here in case you find it helpful:

One tool that I used throughout the presentation is called Mentimeter.  This is a great interactive tool that can be used for formative assessment throughout a lesson or engage an audience during a presentation. It is very customizable and user friendly. I also really like how you can export your results in different formats, making it multi-purpose.  Here is the collective word cloud that we built to define digital citizenship:

Monday, July 3, 2017

#Share Our Love

Usually I only write about education and technology on this blog. However, a major life event was greatly influenced by my work to promote digital citizenship and inspiring kindness that I have been doing over the past few years.  

On June 3rd, I married my best friend, Jeremy Mohr. It was an amazing day that created memories we will treasure for ever. 

As we prepared for our wedding, we decided to do something a little different. Recognizing how fortunate we are and that there are many people in our our world that could use a little more love, we decided that we would prefer not to receive traditional wedding gifts from our guests. Rather, we hopped family and friends would "share our love" by performing an act of kindness and then telling us about it. Our wedding wish was that our love would inspire 100 acts of kindness and that the stories about those acts would be shared on our blog to help inspire others to be kind and generous towards others.

We were very thankful that so many of our friends and family were willing to "share our love" and submitted stories for our blog about their acts of kindness. We are so lucky to have so many amazing people in our lives and we truly enjoyed reading the notes and emails we received.  Thank you for helping us to #ShareOurLove. 

For more information, please visit our website,

Friday, May 26, 2017

Supporting Reconciliation in Saskatchewan Schools

Over the past year, I have had the privilege of working with my colleagues at the Ministry of Education to conceptualize an online resource for educators to assist them in teaching about the legacy of residential schools in Canada. This project was developed as part of the Government of Saskatchewan's response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 Calls To Action.

After consulting with educators and Elders, our team determined that there were already many resources that were available for learning about residential schools. Although new resources are still required, we wanted to help save educators time by bringing those resources into one area online that was easy for everyone to access. In the end, we decided to house our site on Blackboard and developed an online organization called Supporting Reconciliation in Saskatchewan Schools.

The purpose of this online organization is was to support educational professionals to work together to expand their understanding of truth and reconciliation as well as the legacy of residential schools. We decided that this site would house tools and learning resources that would help to facilitate truth and reconciliation conversations amongst school staff. By using our provincial LMS, we could also provide a collaborative online space for educational professionals to engage in province-wide discussions and to work on joint-initiatives that support reconciliation. We also wanted to start collecting provincial stories on reconciliation and created a section to highlight Saskatchewan-made resources and projects to help inspire others to act.

Here is a walk-through of the site:

I hope that this site will help teachers and communities start the important conversation about reconciliation. This will be a long journey that we all must embark on together. The intent is to have this site grow and evolve overtime so I hope you will be willing to join the organization and begin to contribute to the discussion.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

2016 Saskatchewan IT Summit

Over the past two days, I have had the pleasure of meeting with a number of educators and other professionals at the Saskatchewan IT Summit. Seeing all of the great work that is taking place across the province in the area of educational technology is really inspiring. I'm very thankful that so many people have been will to share their practice at the conference.

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to present a concurrent session bout supporting digital citizenship instruction in the classroom.  My presentation "What's in your Digital Citizenship Toolkit", explored the many K-12 learning resources available to support the integrated instruction of the nine elements of digital citizenship.

I also enjoyed hosting the conference closing panel, Supporting our Students to Become Responsible Digital Citizens: A Sharing of Provincial Perspectives. Panelists from different school divisions shared their experiences, resources and ideas for supporting the integration of digital citizenship into your classroom, school and school division. It was a great discussion.

It was also great to see Living Sky School Division students hosting an online radio show during the IT Summit. They interviewed many of the presenters and general conference participants.  I had the opportunity to speak about SaskTel's I Am Stronger campaign and encourage students to apply for community grants.  Have you applied for one yet? If not, what are you waiting for?!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Meet CBC Saskatchewan Future 40 winner Joanna Sanders

It has been a very exciting week. I am truly humbled to have been named one of CBC Saskatchewan's 2016 Future 40 for my leadership on digital literacy and digital citizenship in the province.  
As part of the prize for this honour, I got the privilege of attending a reception with all of the winners in Saskatoon. To get to spend a few hours meeting and talking with the 39 other amazing young leaders in our province was truly inspiring. Thank you to my nominator and to the CBC for selecting me for this honour. 

Please check out the other 2016 Future 40 winners on CBC Saskatchewan's website. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

2015 Student First Anti-Bullying Forum

This past week was a very exciting event. It was the third provincial student anti-bullying forum held in Saskatchewan.  The most exciting part for me was the fact that we were able to host the forum completely online and managed to have over 9,000 students participate.

As part of Saskatchewan's Action Plan to Address Bullying and Cyberbullying, the Ministry of Education hosted the third Student First Anti-Bullying Forum on the theme, "Stand Up to Bullying: Activating the Bystander." 
This free online forum was open to students in grades 6 to 12.  It was designed to foster responsible online behaviour and encourage young people to engage in positive, collaborative activities to build safe, caring, inclusive and accepting communities, both in school and online. 

The week-long event featured a live broadcast in English and that included a keynote by Dr. Alec Couros from the University of Regina.  You can watch the full broadcast in English here. We also hosted a live chat later in the week using Twitter and a conference app called LiveCube that added a gamefication component to the event. 
 It was amazing to work with Dr. Couros and Katia Hildebrandt to organize such an engaging and exciting week for Saskatchewan students. 

To help ensure we met the needs of our French students in the province, I was able to offer a similar keynote in French as well as help to support a live chat. It was so great to have the opportunity to present to students again, especially on such an important topic. Here is the video of my presentation to French students on the topic of digital citizenship:

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Learning About Becoming Good Digital Citizens

Over the past 18 months, I have had the opportunity to work with others around the province to put together a new document to support school divisions work with schools and educators to help students build a better understanding of how to participate safely and responsibly in an online world.

Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools was created  in response to the Saskatchewan Action Plan to Address Bullying and Cyberbullying recommendation that the Government of Saskatchewan work with school divisions to provide teacher instructional supports and student resources to teach appropriate and responsible online behaviour to all Kindergarten through Grade 12 students.

The guide, as well as supporting documents and resources, can be downloaded on the I Am Stronger website.  There are versions in both English and French.

The guide offers:
  • a roadmap for developing division wide digital citizenship policies and school-specific digital citizenship guidelines and procedures; 
  • tools and resources to support digital citizenship education; and 
  • a digital citizenship continuum for Kindergarten through Grade 12 students. 

The guide was developed based on the work of Dr. Mike Ribble and his 9 elements of digital citizenship.  A great resource to learn more about this topic is his book, Digital Citizenship in Schools. It has been a favourite of mine since it was first published in 2007 and is now in its 3rd edition.

One of the most popular supports in this document is the Digital Citizenship Continuum from Kindergarten to Grade 12 that was created to support professionals as they infuse these concepts and skills into their teaching.

I encourage you to check out this document and share how you are supporting your students to become more responsible digital citizens. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

IT Summit 2015 Ignite Session

Rules of the presentation: Each speaker gets 15 slides shown for 15 seconds each on an automatic rotation for a total of five minutes of fame to share the newest, latest and greatest technology in this fast paced event.

Presenters: Vicki Davis, Jim Swan, Dean Shareski, Carlene Walter

Ideas shared during the session:

Dean's message: Creativity

  • Bad selfies and silly pictures = creativity come from being silly
  • We live in a remix culture where we play with images to make powerful products
  • Creativity can make us create powerful things such as posting where earthquakes happen on Twitter.
  • Teachers work with scraps that others would throw out and then work with students to create something beautiful
  • "Adults need to have fun so that children will want to grow up."
Carlene's message: Digital Fluency - our students need a toolkit to help them work and play
Jim's Message: 10 year report card on technology 
  • piloting social media
  • teachers are important and they just use the tech to teach
  • why isn't every day Friday?
  • How do we personalize learning?
  • Using tech to re-watch a lesson
  • Students want to direct their own learning
  • The new tech alphabet
  • Learing needs to be = personalized, learner-driven, applied, cost-effective
Vicky's Message: Choose Your Habits Change Your Life
  • 40% don't change habit choose them
  • done manage your time you spend it how ill you spend your habits?
  • most people don't know what their ideal work looks like
  • create launch routines - 30-30 app to help make important things happen routinely
  • miracle morning pavers - start my day right
  • mud puddle principle - can share your habits
  • habit stacking - add a habit that you already have
  • 20 second rule - more likely to do it 
  • keep calms and make your bed
  • every 90 minutes you need to move
  • what you do during your break - take a mental break
  • set alarms - a personal attitude check twice a day
  • exercise - every little bit helps
  • joy journal - you will be happier if you write down every day something you are joyful about
  • signature strength - you will be happier if you use it every day
  • reading/learning habit - read in the field that you want to be the best at
  • get rid of gossip - makes you poor and makes you worse
  • watch less TV
  • you don't accidentally climb Mt. Everest - you choose to

Monday, April 27, 2015

2015 IT Summit Presentation: A Preview of the Saskatchewan Digital Citizenship Guide

Today I had the opportunity to talk about the soon to be released digital citizenship guide for Saskatchewan schools and school divisions during a presentation to the Saskatchewan IT Summit. I'm glad it was so well received. Here is a link to the presentation. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

2015 RCSSD EdCamp Smackdown & App Smash

During today's RCSSD EdCamp, Katia Hildebrant, Kelly Christopherson, and I closed the morning's learning and sharing by presenting an "App Smash Smackdown".  Here's a list of apps we shared:

Joanna's Apps:

IFTTT (IF This Then That):

DIY (for Kids)
  • A safe place for kids to learn and share in a monitored social network that allows for parent and educator access. Earn badges for skills mastered.
  • Platforms: iOS, Web
  • Link to find it: DIY Website
  • Classroom Connections: DIY for Kids - Do Challenges, Earn Skills
ChatterPix and ChatterPix Kids
  • Students can record themselves speaking using pictures of their choice.  Make an inanimate object have a voice or make your pet talk.  Might help reluctant talkers to express themselves through the talking picture.
  • Platforms: iOS
  • Link to find it: ChatterPix Website
  • Classroom Connection: Kids Create Talking Pictures with CatterPix Kids

Katia's Apps:

  • This app allows you to record a short video and then layer interactive widgets over it to integrate live socialmedia streams, photos, maps, and other multimedia.  The person watching the video can interact with the widgets while still remaining in the video.
  • Platforms: iOS, Windows
  • Link to find it: TouchCast Website
  • Ideas to get started: Add Interactive Elements to Videos with Touchcast

  • Make augmented reality work for you. Scan your picture come to life on your device.
  • Platform: iOS, Android
  • Link to find it: Aurasma Website


  • Build online portfolios to showcase student learning and reflection.
  • Platform: iOS, Website
  • Link to find it: FreshGrade Website

Kelly's Apps:


  • Curation and annotation tool for mixing and sharing your work and anything from the web.
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, Web
  • Link to find it: Pearltrees Website
  • Classroom Connections: Kelly's Pearltrees
  • Communicate with others via voice and text anywhere on any device.
  • Platforms: iOS/Android
  • Link to find it: Voxer Website 
Bonus apps:


  • Pre-write your tweets and live tweet during a presentation or event. Great for ensuring links and other information is correct without having to do it on the fly.
  • Platform: iOS
  • Link to find it: Backdraft on iTunes and Purdue's News about Backdraft 

  • Manage and monitor your social media presence across more than 35 popular social networks in one dashboard.
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, Web
  • Link to find it: Hootsuite Website
  • A simple app that allows you to record voice-over whiteboard tutorials and share them online. Can be used by students to demonstrate understanding and can be used by teachers to create flipped lessons.
  • Platforms: iOS
  • Link to find it: ShowMe Website
  • A productivity app that allows you to organize all of your projects in one place. From writing lists and notes, to curating resources, to recording audio to sharing your work on the fly through presentations, Evernote is a multi-platform tool to keep you organized.
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, Window, Mac, Web
  • Link to find it: Evernote website
  • Classroom Connections: 6 Uses for Evernote in the Classroom
  • A photo editing app that works with your Evernote account. This app allows you draw and write on your pictures which can be handy if you are trying to annotate a screenshot and give instructions to students.
  • Platforms: iOS, Mac, Windows
  • Link to find it: Skitch Website
  • Classroom Connections: Protect Student Privacy by Using Skitch

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Edcamp Model Flourishing in Saskatchewan

Image Source:
Over the past few years, the Edcamp model has become a popular way for educators around the world to take control of their own professional development.

The model's vision is simple:
We are all self-directed learners, developing and sharing our expertise with the world.
Essentially, this model empowers professionals to share their expertise with each other.  Unlike structured conferences, edcamps do not have official schedules for sessions.  Participants come, free of charge, and ask questions about what they would like to learn or about problems they would like to solve.  Others offer up their expertise and share in an informal setting where dialogue and sharing creates a rich learning experience for all involved.

Image Source: @mmatp
Although this model lends itself to sharing best practice in educational technology, I find that there is more being shared then just how people are using the newest online tool, app or gadget in their classroom. Typically, even if the session starts out by sharing the best new tool that someone has discovered, the conversation quickly evolves into a discussion about best practice and how students can learn or work in a new way using the tool.  This makes me happy because one of the main messages I try to communicate is that technology is just a tool and we should be focused on the teaching, not the tool.  We wouldn't give a session on "Hey, check out this great pencil and how I use it in my classroom!" so why would we do the same with an app? The purpose behind why we are using the tool to enhance student learning should be the reason for sharing the latest tool or app, not the cool factor of the tool itself.

My first experience with the "unconference" model was when I was attending the Google Teacher Academy (GTA) in Seattle in 2011.  Even though I had spent two days of structured learning from Google and YouTube, my third day of GTA was much more informal and followed the Edcamp model of asking questions, sharing experiences and solving problems in small groups.  This experience really enriched my learning that had taken place while at GTA because I was able to reflect, question and discuss many of the ideas, concepts and tools that I had heard about during the more formal part of the experience.  I hoped to be able to see this informal learning model take place in my home province one day.

A couple of years later, I was thrilled to hear that a group of educators in Regina were organizing an Edcamp in Regina. It was called EdcampYQR.  This learning opportunity was very successful and a group of hard-working volunteers from Regina Public School have since organized a couple more.

What impresses me most about this model is that the Edcamps in Regina typically take place when teachers have other things to do. To participate, they have to give up their own Saturday morning or contracted planning time to attend.  This to me demonstrates the wonderful commitment many educators in our province have to sharing and learning from each other in order to become better at their profession.

This model has caught on in our province and now there are a number of upcoming Edcamps being organized over the coming weeks.  If you have never attended one of these learning opportunities before, I encourage you to try one out.

To date, I have heard of three upcoming Edcamps being organized in the Regina area:
I have also heard that there may be one organized in Saskatoon in April, but I haven't seen any details online to share at this time.  If the readers of this post know of others being organized, please let me know and I would be happy to add them to my list.  Thank you to everyone volunteering their time to organize these wonderful learning experiences.

I am hoping to attend all of the upcoming Edcamps in the province that I can fit into my schedule. Don't be shy, come out to share and learn with your fellow teachers. It may be the best professional development you get all year!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Why #ChefMovie is the perfect film to watch and reflect upon #DCMOOC

After rain ruined what was intended to be a celebration of the end of #DCMOOC, a relaxing weekend camping expedition to Moose Mountain Provincial Park, we ventured out to see a movie we thought would be about good food and following your dreams. When we read the initial reviews of John Favereau's film "Chef", we expected to see a feel good movie that would help alleviate the disappointing letdown of not camping this weekend.  To my surprise, I ended up spending the movie reflecting on a number of items covered in #DCMOOC and being inspired to write this blog post about it so that others who have followed this massive open online course would be encouraged to see it.

If you haven't seen the trailer for Chef, you can watch it here:

In the movie, Chef Carl Casper learns about the pitfalls of social media when he unknowingly sends a public tweet to a food critic that he thought was a private message and starts a Twitter feud. After publicly loosing his cool with the critic and having the numerous spectator videos of the incident go viral, his reputation is ruined as he discovers that he can't get the video offline. Unemployable and depressed, Chef Casper ends up in Miami where he gets a food truck and travels back across the country to Los Angeles with his friend and 11 year old son, Percy.

Now why would a movie about food be relevant to digital citizenship? Well, here are a few reasons why this movie is so much more than a quirky independent film about food and really a lesson about the impact of a good digital presence, regardless of age. It is also a lesson that with a little work, you can overcome a problem with your less than perfect digital footprint.

Lesson #1:  Even young kids have smart phones, social media accounts and can teach their parents how to use them.  This can sometimes be problematic.

In the movie, Chef Carl learns about Twitter from his young son, who he discovers has been given a cell phone by his mother and has numerous social media accounts, even though he is really too young to have any of them based on his age. Carl asks his son to sign him up for Twitter and has him teach him how to tweet. What his son doesn't tell him is that his tweets are actually public and aren't really the private messages that are exchanged when sending text messages. This gets Chef Carl into trouble when he sends his first tweet and is re-tweeted numerous times.

Lesson #2: In the age of smart phones and cameras, everything we do in public can be documented and shared for everyone to see.

The problem with losing your cool in public is that there is likely someone there that is probably going to film it before they would intervene in an incident. They can then upload it and share it with the world in the hopes to either profit or gain notoriety as the person that captures the incident. When Chef Carl loses his cool with the restaurant critic, it is captured and shared online for all to see. He become famous, not for his cooking, but for telling off a famous critic. Not something that any chef would want on his permanent digital record. The worst part, he discovers, it that there is no way to have the video taken down as there are too many different copies on a variety of cell phones and it has gone viral.

Lesson #3: Even with a damaged digital reputation, you can recover and move on to have a successful life.

When Chef Carl starts selling his famous Cuban sandwiches out of his food truck, his son and patrons begin sharing his location online and the popularity of his restaurant on wheels grows. Not only does Chef Carl learn that his young son been using Facebook, Vine, Twitter and Instagram to document their road trip and publicize his food, he discovers that his son has also been quite astute at using these tools to use geotagging and video editing to promote the food truck. His online reputation is repaired and social media is now a positive in his life rather than a negative.

Lesson #4: Young people just seem to know how to use these social media tools, however they don't always know their impact on people's lives. Sometimes they discover it by accident.

Chef Carl's young son not only introduces him to Twitter and gets him signed up, but turns his food wagon into a social media success by the way he uses the online tools to promote his food.  The chef's lack of knowledge and even lack of what to ask his son about how Twitter actually worked got him into trouble. This to me demonstrates what a lot of parents are likely experiencing today. Their children can show them how to sign up and post a social media message, but they aren't knowledgeable enough to go to the next level in the conversation with their parents and the parents aren't knowledgeable enough about the tools to ask the right questions. The only thing that would have made this movie perfect, from a digital citizenship point of view, would have a been a conversation between the chef and his son about the impact of social media, the good, the bad and the ugly and what they had all learned from the experience.

So as #DCMOOC winds up, I encourage all of its participants to go to this movie and reflect on what they learned during the course. If nothing else, you will enjoy the movie and hopefully cement a little bit of what you learned over the past few weeks.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Excitement over #DCMOOC - Kicking off a Massive Open Online Course on Digital Citizenship

As part of my work on Saskatchewan's Action Plan to Address Bullying and Cyberbullying, I have been charged with leading the implementation of the recommendations related to the digital side of bullying, specifically how to ensure our students learn how to behave appropriately and responsibly online. The following slides from a recent presentation outline the sections of the action plan that pertain to this:


One part of this work is helping to ensure all educators in the province are supported with the professional development they need to teach digital citizenship.  As part of this plan, I have been lucky enough to work with Dr. Alec Couros and Katia Hildebrandt from the University of Regina in the development and delivery of #DCMOOC

This Massive Open Online Course on Digital Citizenship helps to ensure equal access to all educators in the province. Being limited in time and budget, delivering this professional development opportunity online allows anyone who is interested in this topic the opportunity to learn on this own time, to the degree and depth that interests them the most. Participants either have the chance to participate in a synchronous scenario by attending the sessions "live" at their scheduled time or at a time that is convenient for them through an a-synchronous version where they watch archived sessions.

To better understand what a MOOC is, watch this video by Dave Cormier: What is a MOOC?

We first shared publicly that this professional opportunity would be offered during a presentation  on April 1st. By the time DCMOOC started on May 11th, we had over 800 people registered. Here is an infographic to learn more about who has signed up so far to participate in #DCMOOC:

As we kick off the first week of #DCMOOC, I am excited to learn from the community that has gathered to discuss this important topic. Thanks to everyone who signed up and who are taking the time to contribute to the learning community. Everyone's contribution is important.