Saturday, November 24, 2018

Critical Digital Literacy: Persona & Citizenship

Digital Persona & Digital Citizenship

Your digital persona is the way others view you throughout the digital spaces you participate in. Much like people create opinions about you in the real world as a result of the things you say and actions you take, people also will view you in different ways based on your digital presence. I have learned that my digital presence is currently quite limited as searching my name on Google, for example, does not produce almost any results that are actually related to myself. As a result of these findings, I now am aware that building a professional persona in digital spaces would be beneficial to my future as a teacher to allow others to access my ideas and reach out to me, as well as to network with teaching professionals myself. 

Digital citizenship on the other hand, is the specific actions you take when participating in digital spaces, rather than simply how you are viewed. I have discovered that being a good digital citizen is much like being a good citizen in real life. It requires one to be respectful, safe, and cognizant of their surroundings. This is a concept that I believe is important to teach our students as they will enter the school system with a vast array of digital technologies available to them and it would be valuable for each student to learn appropriate ways to use these technologies from the very beginning.

Both digital persona and digital citizenship are concepts that will follow a person with them throughout life, as a connected piece of their identity when others look at them. Because of this, when we create in digital spaces, it is important to analyze what we are doing, understand exactly how we are using the space, and agree with the meaning behind whatever we are posting publicly.

This Week's Creative Makes

For my creative makes this week, I first created a Mindomo map about the important topics and concepts I have come to discover in my learning of critical digital literacy. I compiles all of the main sections that fall under the digital literacy and then included subtopics that impacted myself throughout my learning. This Mindomo map is a true depiction of the lessons that resonated with me and I find the most important to share with others learning about critical digital literacy in the classroom, but also on a professional and personal level.

I also created another meme this week to highlight the end of my time in this course about critical digital literacy. As the semester is coming to an end, this meme displays the thoughts of many students looking forward to the holidays and leaving the semester in their past. Now let’s just hope that all of the knowledge we have all gained follows us into Christmas break and our future endeavours, and is not left in our past!

Awareness of Persona & Citizenship: My Progress

My knowledge of digital persona and citizenship has impacted my progress in the use of all the digital tools I have recently tried because I now consciously think about the impact I am going to have from my participation with these tools and how I myself am going to be viewed based on the things I create. Thus, with my creations this week, I aimed to display my personal understanding of critical digital literacy from the beginning to the end and highlight what I deemed most important. I also created my fun meme for the class to present an exciting and not too serious image that can be related to by many. This was done with the ultimate goal of keeping learning fun and presenting a positive persona while accomplishing educational goals.

Resources Used to Establish Persona and Model Citizenship

The resources I used to first establish my persona were mainly social media accounts and google searches. Once I realized that my presence on these digital spaces was minimal, I focused on using new digital tools that could be included in my blog, as can be seen with my Mindomo map and meme this week, to begin creating a more prevalent persona. I am continuing to use my blog to model citizenship by sharing information with others and create a positive atmosphere. Additionally though, I am also using my social media accounts to model good citizenship in the digital world on a more personal level now that I have discovered its importance and value.

Reflecting on Critical Digital Literacy

Learning about critical digital literacy has opened up my views on the impact and use of digital spaces in the everyday world as well as the classroom. Using digital technologies can have so many positive effects on young children as they are learning to navigate new spaces and this will be highlighted in my teaching practice as I am looking forward to employing the digital world into many assignments and lessons. It will be a number one goal of mine to teach my students the fun and usefulness of technology, but also to teach them how to use it appropriately, safely, and effectively.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Critical Digital Literacy: Analysing

Insights: Using, Analysing, and Creating in Digital Spaces

I have discovered over the past three weeks that using, analysing, and creating in digital spaces are concepts that are all intertwined with each other. A person, as I have experienced myself, must be able to use a digital space—in a basic manner at the very least—in order to appropriately analyze that space or the content it holds. Once this is achieved, and analyzing has occurred, then I have found that the task of creating in that digital space myself, if much simpler because I understand the meaning and purpose of the space I am using.

Image result for instagram icon no background

For example, I mentioned in my class discussion post this week that I had a bias and reservations towards the social network of Instagram before I began to use it. Due to creating this bias before experimenting with the space personally, I prevented myself from being able to effectively analyze the space and create accurate judgments. However, once I began to use Instagram on my own, I learned the basic operations of the network, which allowed me to deconstruct the content that I discovered and re-evaluate my conclusions about this space. Ultimately, I learned that the purpose Instagram employs, of sharing through image posts, allows people to gather information about many different ideas, may they be for businesses, hobbies, education, or sharing personal events; and this is a digital space that unites people based on their connections in various ways.

Wordle and My Awareness of Analysing

(Hinrichsen & Coombs, 2014)

Throughout my creative ‘make’ tinkering this week, I tried an application called Wordle, to create a textual image that incorporates all of the words I have found to relate to the concept of analysing, in the context of digital spaces. The words that I chose to conclude summarize the process of analysing as illustrated by Hinrichsen and Coombs (2014). They break analysing down into three steps; deconstructing, selecting, and interrogating, which can be seen in the figure I have included here. Based on this idea, I created this Wordle to highlight the major themes of analysing that can especially be used in a classroom setting to teach students. 

Students must be able to make informed decisions in digital spaces. This includes applying “critical, aesthetic, and ethical perspectives to the production and consumption of digitised material” (Hinrichsen & Coombs, 2014). This all comes down to the ability to analyse. As I was made aware of the importance of analysing this week, I used this concept in my Wordle creation. To determine the words I would include, I analysed the information presented to me and chose appropriate terms that accurately captured the theme.


Wordle is a resource that teachers can use in their classrooms for any subject or topic to help students analyse the information they are given. It requires students to decipher important terms from the rest of a text and also allows for creativity and the use of a digital space while doing this. Incorporation of these skills into one activity is an effective way to enhance the analysing skills of students while teaching other subjects as well.

Resources I Used This Week

In this one blog post, I have used numerous resources to help with using, analysing, and creating in digital spaces. As mentioned, I used Wordle to create my visual image that is included here. I also used Instagram as a resource that highlights my own personal experience in the digital world of analysing. Finally, I used my course webpage and discussion board to access information presented to me by my classmates and professor about this week’s topic: analysing!


Hinrichsen, Juliet & Coombs, Antony. (2014). The five resources of critical digital literacy: 
A framework for curriculum integration. Research in Learning Technology. 21. 10.3402/rlt.v21.21334.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Critical Digital Literacy: Code Breaking and Meaning Making

The Impact of Code Breaking and Meaning Making

Code breaking and meaning making are two concepts that, although I am sure have done constantly throughout my lifetime experience with the digital world, I have now become fully aware of whenever I am using technology. 

Code breaking in my understanding, is the ability to learn how to use new digital spaces effectively. In the past two weeks, my work has required code breaking a lot! In class, I was assigned the task of using Flipgrid to create a video post and discussion. This is a website that I had never seen until now and I am also not familiar with the creation of video discussions, as I am used to written text. Therefore, I broke the code of this digital space as I worked through the creation of my personal video. 

When I think about meaning making, in the context of digital literacies, I believe that it encompasses the idea of using digital spaces to create content that is useful to not only to myself, but also to my digital peers, in order to enable collaboration and discussion. In my work these past weeks, I have thought about the meaning making first, when I created my discussion post for my classmates on Desire 2 Learn. As I wrote, it was important to me that I presented my thoughts in a way that would entice my classmates to respond, by providing examples and personal ideas.

My Creative Makes

For this blog post, I have tried two new creative ‘makes’. The first creative make I used was the website Mindomo. With this digital space, I created my own concept map for, The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies, as they were described by Doug Belshaw in the video (Belshaw, 2012). 

In this video, I found that the speaker explained digital literacy in terms of the past and present. The past focused on elegant consumption, however, he explains that now, we should move beyond elegant consumption and encourage people to remix ideas. As I used Mindomo to create this map, I was required to code break the website as it is another new space to me. Being newly aware of the code breaking concept, I first tinkered with the website functions to learn how to use everything, and then proceeded to complete my map. While I completed the actual content of the map, I thought about meaning making and created it in a manner that I believe to be visually appealing and simple to understand from an outside perspective. I even added the images, as can be seen, to aid understanding of the map’s meaning even more.

The second creative make that I tried was creating my own meme, which is pictured to the left. Doug Belshaw uses memes throughout his entire talk about digital literacies, and so I found it appropriate to attempt to create one of my own. To do this, I used a Meme Generator online. I participated in breaking the code, once again, while doing this as I clicked the different picture options for my meme to discover what was available. Then, when I added my own text to the meme, I thought about the meaning it would give to, specifically, my professor and fellow classmates who would be viewing the meme. I ensure it will give them a giggle!

Resources That Helped Me

The number one resource that I believe helped in both my code breaking and meaning making in the many new digital spaces I have encountered, is practice. Practicing with the tools of the new spaces and tinkering with the different options was the most effective means for me to fully understand how the spaces work and how I can use them to contribute meaningfully to those around me. To briefly give an example, when creating my Flipgrid video, I first watched the videos of some classmates to gather an idea of how to position myself in front of the camera and the way I should structure my discussion. Then, I practiced using the video tools by creating a short welcome video. This gave me the sense of what to expect when recording a longer discussion video next.


Belshaw, D. (2012). The essential elements of digital literacies: Doug Belshaw at TEDxWarwick [Video]. Retrieved from 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Critical Digital Literacy: Definitions & Frameworks

What Is Critical Digital Literacy?

I believe that the term ‘critical digital literacy’ is one that allows for numerous definitions depending on the perspective and understanding of the concepts it encompasses. Based on my current understandings, I have created my own definition:

Critical digital literacy is the necessary skills needed to enable a person to interact with society through the use, understanding, and creation of digital media.

The capability to effectively use technology is crucial to accurately understanding their content and appropriately participating, oneself in digital spaces. This is especially clear to myself because much of the information around me is transmitted through digital technology.

Shaping My Learning

In EDUC3910, critical digital literacy is the topic of concern and my beginning knowledge of what this term means will shape my learning in this course. In order to be successful in this course which takes place completely online, it is a requirement that I become proficient in the digital world. This will allow me to effectively communicate with my classmates and professor on a continuous basis. For me to be able to do this, I aim to learn new and creative ways to display information digitally on this blog. I will also use a critical mindset as I research information and become familiar with various digital media. This will ensure that I receive new and accurate knowledge in my digital explorations and do not fall victim to accepting information at face value simply due to visual appeal. These digital skills will hopefully improve throughout this course and enable me to use the digital world in more proficient and effective ways in additional courses of study.

(Tree Octopus, 2018)
In my upcoming professional teaching, critical digital literacy will be a topic that I include in every subject that I teach my students. As it is especially important in today’s society that students learn to use digital spaces and participate in them safely and effectively, I believe it should be incorporated into their daily learning. This is one reason that digital literacy truly is ‘critical’. As well, student must learn to be critical of what they encounter through digital media to determine whether the information they are viewing is fact or fiction. The necessity for students to develop this skill is exemplified by a fellow classmate of mine. She provided me with a link to a fictional website about a “tree octopus” that a classroom of grade four students were shown one day. The students were to complete a research project on an animal and the lesson was used to teach students that not all information found digitally is factual, while many students believed it to be, simply by seeing the webpage. I found that this was a fantastic example of why every person needs to learn to be critical towards the digital world early.


There are two frameworks I have examined that express critical digital literacy in ways that I found effective and understandable.

Ontario Education, Competencies for 21stCentury Skills (2016), provides various technologies and connects them with the learning practices they can be used to teach and the skills in which this will develop. 

As the form of technology I am using right now is a blog, I will use it to provide an example of how this is done. This framework expresses blogs as a technology in the category of social and collaboration. Thus, a blog can be used to teach concepts such as student voice and choice or inquiry-based learning. As a result, students will develop communication, collaboration, and critical thinking competencies (21st Century Competencies, 2016).

eCampus Ontario Extend, 21stCentury Educators, displays the teacher as a teacher for learning, curator, technologist, collaborator, scholar, and experimenter ("Home | Ontario Extend", n.d.)Connecting this to digital literacy, it is clear that a teacher must approach the topic from a variety of viewpoints to reach the students and better inform themselves as well.

(21st Century Educators, n.d.)
When I explained the “tree octopus” above, this framework was shown in a practical example. In this scenario, the teacher had to become an experimenter and test whether the students would believe that the website provided factual information or not. The results of the experiment then showed that the students required more skill development in critically analyzing their digital world.

Teaching & Learning Practices Using Frameworks

My current teaching and learning practices ‘fit in’ to the first framework, specifically in the category of hybrid and mobile technologies because I personally use a laptop to access the majority of my information on a daily basis and through my exploration I engage in self-directed learning. 

In terms of the second framework mentioned, this is the framework I aim to apply in every lesson I teach in the future. Applying different perspectives will better allow the students to understand new messages in full. A teacher cannot teach from one distinct viewpoint and expect all of their students to understand.

In regard to my future teaching, however, the eCampus Ontario Extend, 21stCentury Educators framework does make me ask: Can all of the different perspectives be applied to every type of subject or lesson? Or do they only apply in certain circumstances? This is something I will consider as I continue my learning of critical digital literacy.


21st Century Competencies. (2016). [Ebook] (p. 36). Retrieved from 

21st Century Educators. [Image]. Retrieved from

Home | Ontario Extend. Retrieved from

Tree Octopus. (2018). [Image]. Retrieved from

Monday, September 10, 2018


Welcome to the "Tales of a Blogging Teacher"! 

My name is Rachael and I look forward to blogging along with everyone as I provide details about myself and my teaching goals, all tied into a fun space to connect and share ideas for all of us future teachers out there! 

The main coverage of this blog will relate to one of my current university education courses, EDUC3910: Critical Digital Literacy. In each blog I will be talking about the concept of 'critical digital literacy' and its use in learning and teaching.