Course 2/ Unit 5 / #Becoming Contributors with… Hope and Kindness

This unit was very inspiring. I read so many interesting projects of awesome innovative educators around the world, from Joel Beavens and his Travelling Tales project. Even I thought it felt so simple one week ago when I first read the material related to this unit/topic-becoming contributors, it seems more and more complicated when I have to write about it.

The time is flying and even I was thinking so much and felt empowered to take action in my practice as teacher and COETEL-er, planning with enthusiasm the final project, the reality of our life is different. It feels hard to transit back to the “real school”, to finish the end of the school year with the reports, and to fulfill my dreams and vision with COETAL Final Project 2. The pressure feels higher and higher to get all the things done.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find so easily, the document, related to “Responsible/Acceptable Use Agreement/Policy or Social Media Agreement/Policy.” in our school. On our internal website we usually share all those policies and documents for the whole school. I contacted in the meantime the administration to get more information and maybe I could relate later again about this.

However I could gladly respond from the perspective of the action that I have seen in our school taken, about how our school empowered stakeholders to contribute to the global communities.

  • How do your school’s policies/agreements empower stakeholders to make positive contributions to local and global communities?
  • Our school joined last year, the “Friday for Future” Movement, and made a strike in front of the City Hall in Busan, South Korea. (5th Grade students supported by their teachers). This movement was inspired by Greta Thunberg. She is an environmental activist young girl who inspired, empowered, and changed the whole world.
  • This year, two of our students made their PYP Project related to protecting the Earth. They were responsible and took action going to the beach for 10 th times every weekend to collect garbage and clean the beaches around Busan. Other students had chosen endangered animals as a topic and they created drawings, paintings inspired by those animals. Later those were printed as postcards and sold at our school shoop. The money was donated to an animal foundation.
  • My son and other 3 students were working for a project, “Health and Diet” and they were empowered to teach the children about healthy food. They were encouraging the children to post their healthy meals in our school community.
  • How do you/your school share these documents with the school communities? How do you/your school’s actions show that you fully believe in and live these documents?
  • To be honest, I don’t know yet. I am still searching for the document but I think throughout the action that the students and the teachers at our school are doing those documents are alive.
  • What actions will you take to continually improve your own media literacy? Your students and colleagues’?
  • I am researching carefully. I try to get informed as much as possible about this theme. Common Sense website about digital citizenship is one of our good advisers. The teachers in our school had a one-week workshop and PD related to that. The parents were invited also in a workshop one month later and we could be informed about this. I am checking out podcasts and on the internet, on twitter information about that as well. I am sharing with my students and my colleague’s free resources. I am making them aware about the copyrights and the way how they should use the resources/information.
  • Students need to be though to think critically about media use and their role in participatory culture. A very good discussion was brought into my attention in this article (John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation). People should think about these essential questions:

“Consider, for example, the framework for media literacy proposed by Thoman and Jolls (2005):
• Who created the message?
• What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?
• How may different people understand this message differently than me?
• What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in – or omitted from – this
• Why is this message being sent?
There is much to praise in these questions: they understand media as operating within a social and cultural context; they recognize that what we take from a message is different from what the author intended; they focus on interpretation and context as well as motivation; they are not tied up with a language of victimization.”

If they understand this questions then they can contribute in a positive way to the participatory culture.

How do you thrive in our participatory culture?

I think being active lately on Twitter is a way of sharing and exchanging “know-how”. Another big achievement is that recently I become a Seesaw Pioneer and I joined on Facebook in their group community and I tried to be active and supportive with comments there. On the other side at my school, I am so happy to contribute and I shared some files with shortcuts for seesaw for the symbols of some tools, and other information about all the webinars that are on the Seesaw Pioneer learning platform.

  • Writing in my COETAIL blog is a way to feel empowered, responsible, and show my action in participatory culture as well.
  • Some other ways to show my action in participatory culture were to spread kindness and hope in the community from our school.

We created a group of teachers who made activities with children inspired by the movement “# Chase a Rainbow” project and we prepare for virtual learning lessons that encourage the children to be positive and express their hope with a rainbow. I created myself a flag with a rainbow which I hang on the window near my Art Class Studio.

I also designed for few weeks art lessons and activities to create a rainbow and inspired the children with hope. The response was fantastic. The children amazed us with creative ideas about rainbows. The little ones they created even one of the biggest rainbows. Please see the pictures below.

Flag with rainbow made by myself.
Artworks by my students/ Preschool(up)
3rd Grade Student
Artwork from a 5th Grade student
Artwork from a Kindergarten student
  • How did you learn to be empathetic?

During my life I had many ups and downs. I survived the communism system in Romania in my childhood. I emigrated later(when I was 22) from Romania to Germany for my study. I had to have mini-jobs to support myself in Berlin because life was expensive for a student. Then later I moved from Germany to South Korea, different realities and struggles for people around the world. I think the life experience made me understand better the people around me and to appreciate more what I have. Then I could support the others around me when they need my help and be empathetic.

  • How have you supported your students and peers in becoming more empathetic?

I think one of the few good examples is from this week when, I tried to spread Kindness in Lower Elementary School. I designed a few art lessons which had a kindness message.

I invited the children to draw flowers ( a rose, a tulip) and to write a message for their parents, like “Thank you for your help”(during VLE), or “You are so kind” and afterward to offer to their parents, as a sign of gratitude.

When someone had a birthday, I invited the peers to write on a card some birthday wishes and to celebrate them.

Usually if a teacher has a birthday or a trainee is leaving, we organized with their class a huge card in which the students glue their own card to express their feelings.

We had also a Kindness calendar in our staff room and share good thoughts. Last year we had “a secret buddy” and we made us surprises for a week. Everybody was in good spirits and we cheered up.

How about yourself? Is it easy for you to share empathy?

I will end in the tone how I ended my lessons for my students this week: “Remember always to be kind:)”

This is an impressive artwork from one of my student in 2nd Grade, from this week.

# COETAIL#Course2, Unit1#Respecting the Remix

“Respect the Remix”

Luckily, in my first post that I wrote in my Coetail first course, I observed with great happiness that I respected the intellectual property and I cited correctly, putting the names of all the authors, and respecting the copyright etiquette properly. However in this blog, I didn’t use any pictures or videos, so I might need to extend my observation to other posts as well when I use other digital information if the copyright is correct and if I mention the source. 

I must be sincere, sometimes when I use an image of famous artwork to teach my children some knowledge about art history, I consider that for educational purposes I am entitled to use this image. Often I look at sources that are shared and they don’t have strict copyright rules. But I should consider and revise very carefully those rules. 

In my opinion, I think it depends on the purpose of how you use an image. If you would like to reproduce and print 100 times for a commercial purpose, of course, it is illegal. If it is for an educational purpose, to inform people and teach some artistic skills or to refer to it in a context as art history, I think it is different. If I would print or open the information to a public view, it would be not permitted.

How to use digital information in the correct way?

Rosenthal Tolisano, who is an expert in Copyright topic,  said:

“The following infographic chart was developed with an introduction of a New Era of Copyright Consciousness and a suggested simplified flow to follow:

  • create your own media (then you don’t have to worry about infringing on someone else’s copyright) 
  • search for public domain media (then you don’t have to worry about copyright, since it has been voluntarily released or has expired. No worries about giving proper attribution or citing the source either) 
  • search within the Creative Commons domain (make sure you double check requirements under the license: attribution? non-derivative? non-commercial? etc.)
  • determine if your use of the copyrighted material can fall under Fair Use?

His fantastic chart is a perfect guide for the people who are unsure and even for myself gave me so many answers. Please explore it and apply it to your teaching practice.

 Copyright Flowchart (Rosenthal Tolisano).

I am very grateful to my COETAIL instructor, Joel Bevans, who brought this knowledge to our attention.

What is our role, as educators, in respecting the intellectual property of others

Our duty as educators is to teach the students to respect first the ideas of the others and their intellectual property. Always to mention the resources and to try our best to be original, creative and bring something new(new ideas, knowledge). Otherwise, it is stealing and it is not right. 

It is true that in order to create something new you need to inform yourself, get inspired by and create a new reaction in response to what you know. Did you experience that by yourself? Because at least myself, as an artist I always feel so.

But as ISTE Standards for Educators, says

3.c “Educators mentor students in safe, legal and ethical practices with digital tools and the protection of intellectual rights and property.”

How can you inform your students and peers about the importance of respecting the intellectual property of others? 

During my art classes, I encourage them to be original, to respect others’ ideas. I can inform my students about the importance of being original and that if we need to use an image, we must always put the” © “ symbol or mention the resource.

 Do you see this as an issue in your school? 

No, at our school this is not an issue. All the teachers are respecting intellectual property. My students are quite small, elementary students and I have never seen an act of plagiarism in their artworks.  

How do we teach copyright in countries where international copyright law is not clearly defined or followed? 

We try to appeal and refer to common sense and moral values of the people. We teach digital etiquette and how we should be respectful. We give an example and try to imagine how someone would feel to experience such a situation and we appeal to ethics.

What is our obligation as educators?

I think, that our obligation as educators is to teach the students, and people about intellectual property and about their copyrights to be respected. We should “model digital citizenship”(as Rosenthal Tolisano said). And very important is to encourage them to be creative, authentic and remix different knowledge.

What tools do the young children /people need nowadays to be integrated in the media culture?

I have to answer this question citing John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in their article “Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture

Participatory culture shifts the focus of literacy from one of individual expression to community involvement. The new literacies almost all involve social skills developed through collaboration and networking. These skills build on the foundation of traditional literacy, research skills, technical skills, and critical analysis skills taught in the classroom. 

The new skills include: 

Play — the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of problem-solving Performance — the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery 

Simulation — the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes Appropriation — the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content Multitasking — the ability to scan one’s environment and shift focus as needed to salient details.

Distributed Cognition — the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities 

Collective Intelligence — the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal Judgment — the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources 

Transmedia Navigation — the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities 

Networking — the ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information Negotiation — the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms.”

I think those tools and skills should be used by the children in order to mingle and integrate into the media culture.

And now, that we know how to use information and copyright respectfully, and which skills do we need in order to be original and to address our ideas us to the public, we can go and feel free to explore and get inspired by other’s ideas, then mix it with our vision and create our own ideas. As my instructor, Joel Bevans said:

“Remixing leads to innovation.”