Well, it's that time! As we approach our final class this week, it's officially time to write my final blog post for this awesome class. While I learned so much over the past four months in our weekly Zoom classes, I have also really enjoyed having the opportunity to do some learning of my own - in the form of our Major Project. At the beginning of the semester, we were given a few choices for the route we wanted to take with our projects, and while initially I wasn't sure what I wanted to do specifically for the project, I did know that I wanted to complete something that would be useful to me as an educator. After some reflection, I ultimately decided on further exploring Breakout EDU's, specifically, learning how to create my own games that would highlight Ribble's Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship. In addition to using Ribble's work, I also wanted to align my breakout games with the PAA Digital Citizenship Online Course that is offered by my division. While this technically is an online course, I thought it would be beneficial to add a blended component through the addition of summative breakout games that could be utilized in a physical classroom setting.
So...Where did I start?
While I was certainly excited to begin creating my very own breakout game, I knew I had to do some research first. As a result, the first phase of this project was strictly research and I spent hours learning more about:
Once I had finished up with my research, I was finally ready to begin working on my first breakout game. As I mentioned in my Major Project: Breakout Update One post, after settling on a physical breakout experience, the first thing I decided before I began working on the game was what topic I was going to cover. Ultimately, I decided on Digital Security, as it was something that I had learned a lot about during our class that week - specifically Digital Privacy and Terms of Service. Once I had the topic covered, I began working my way through the rest of the game design, and while I learned lots of lessons along the way (more on that later), I honestly had a blast during this stage of my project. I definitely felt a little guilty as I had so much fun creating puzzles and brainstorming stories, that it didn't feel like work to me.
The Final Product
As I mentioned in my initial post, once I finished creating this breakout, I had one final decision to make - where do I put it for people to access? In the end, I decided to utilize both Microsoft Office 365 as well as Google Drive. Microsoft Office 365 was my main choice for sharing with my division as this is the software that we are currently using and the breakout was partially tailored to link to their Digital Citizenship Online Course. I also decided to use Google Drive as many people outside my division have Google Accounts, and also using Google Drive is required if I decide to officially submit my game.
1. Google Drive Version of Game
2. Microsoft Office 365 Version of Game
While I really enjoyed the experience of designing my very own digital citizenship breakout game, I quickly learned that the process involved far more time and organization than I had initially thought. At the end of my blog post, I summarized the following key learning points: from this experience:
As I indicated at the end of my initial update post, during my research phases for Breakouts, I quickly realized that while some user-designed games had interesting themes and topics, without clear facilitator resources, it would be almost impossible to use. With this in mind, I knew that if I wanted other educators to use this game, I needed to create detailed instructions and support documents that would help them facilitate the experience easily within their classrooms. Ultimately I decided to create the two documents that Breakout EDU recommended - a step-by-step guide as well as a summary video. Feel free to check both out below:
Initially, I had planned to do a second physical breakout, but ultimately pivoted my project a little and wanted to explore Digital Breakouts that I had come across earlier in my research. While this would be different - because they took place entirely online -I still felt that many of the lessons I learned in the first part of my project would still apply and I wouldn't be starting from scratch. Just as I had done with my first breakout, I settled on a digital citizenship topic first - Digital Literacy. This turned out to be quite timely as there was (and still is) so much misinformation online regarding the COVID19 crisis.
The Final Product
As I highlighted in my Update Two Post, I didn't need to worry about curating any planning documents or resources because for Digital Breakouts everything is housed on the Breakout EDU website. This was both a positive and a negative, as it's certainly easier to facilitate the game with students simply go to a website to participate, but on the flip side, educators need to have a subscription to Breakout EDU in order to access it. While certain educators would be able to access the game, the vast majority would not - which doesn't fully meet the initial goal I set for this project. However, thanks to Curtis' suggestion, I could also adapt this game in the future into a more accessible game format such as a Google Form Breakout or OneNote Breakout.
Now onto the final result! If you would like to check out the game, I have made a temporary password on the Digital Breakout website for you below. Just click on the link and enter the username and password to access my temporary account. Then click on "Games Library" to play the game.
Digital Literacy Saves the World
Just in case the link is no longer working, here are some screenshots from each aspect of the digital breakout:
Just as I did with the previous breakout, I felt it was important to create a facilitator guide that would help other educators if they wanted to use this game with their students. However, as my second breakout was digital, there really wasn't much planning or prep work that would need to be done. As a result, the document I created was essentially an overview of the game with specific information about how each lock works as well as a detailed explanation for how to solve them. Ultimately this guide can be used by educators as both a summary of what they breakout will entail, as well as a "cheat sheet" to help their students if they are stuck on a lock.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable project as I not only grew more familiar with the Digital Citizenship Continuum but also creating/facilitating breakouts within a classroom. I believe both of these skills will help me to become a better educator, and I look forward to continuing to apply these skills in the future. I would highly recommend that any educator looking to try something different in regards to lesson prep or formative assessment, to give Breakout EDU's a try. Even without a subscription to the full service, many other free games can be utilized, or even better...create your own! Thank you very much for following my journey on this project. As always, please feel free to let me know of any questions or comments you have surrounding my project!
In this week's class, we learned about the moral and ethical use of technology through the lens of an educator. While we did discuss social media usage, professional boundaries, and student empowerment - one thing that stuck with me was the notion of copyright in education, as well as the ethical use of resources. I think it's fair to say that this would be an area that many educators (including myself) are unfamiliar with, and may be breaking copyright law in our daily lessons and activities without knowing it.
Yes, shocking I know! However, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find an educator who is breaking copyright law with malicious intent. So many of these infractions are merely good educators doing the best they can with the limited resources they have, and I'd imagine many aren't even aware that they are breaking any rules. I know this is a boat that I found myself in after our discussion last week. Initially, I viewed myself as very copyright savvy, as ever since my undergrad ECMP 355 class, I've been very aware of using creative commons images in my lessons or side projects. This is also something I've worked to instill in my students teaching them the different usage rights on Google, or using creative commons websites such as Pixabay or Pexels. While this is certainly a step in the right direction, I found myself bucked off my ethical high horse when we learned more about the notion of Fair Dealing in education.
As Curtis highlighted in both his presentation and readings, Fair Dealing is such an important part of the Canadian Copyright Act that does allow for educators to utilize copyrighted materials in their lessons. Phew! Unfortunately as was also highlighted, there is a limit to how much educators are actually able to use in their lessons (cue the Dun Dun Duh sound effect). Yes! This was relatively new to me as I've been a big fan of photocopying, or more recently scanning pages from textbooks, novels, and other sources to include as part of lessons. Unbeknownst to me, for many of these documents, there is a limit of "10 % or One Chapter - whichever comes first" that I am able to use. Mind Blown!
While I certainly understand the need to have policies like Fair Dealings in place, as both Adam and Daniel pointed out in their posts this week, with recent events in mind, it certainly raises some interesting questions as to how to effectively navigate distance learning without "breaking some of the rules". For example, I'm currently struggling with this in my own classroom as before COVID19 hit, my students were participating in a Human Rights Book Club with a specific focus on the Holocaust. We were nearing the end of each book before this occurred, but unfortunately, all books were required to be returned to the library before schools closed. This meant that all my students were left wondering how the books they had become so invested in, ended. This also meant they would be unable to accomplish our cumulative activity on their books that we had planned since the beginning - which could have been completed at home during distance learning.
Although scanning the remaining pages of each book would have been difficult, I was 100% planning to either photocopy or scan these so students would be able to finish reading their books. However, once I checked the Fair Dealings Tool that was shared last week, I discovered that I would only be able to share one chapter. Obviously, this would not suffice as each book had around 5 chapters or 40-50 pages left and I would be unable to do this without breaking the rules. Then the thought struck me! What if I was to simply record myself reading the remaining parts of each book and post these to our classroom OneNote Notebook? After all, this is something that many teachers are already doing in learning platforms such as SeeSaw or Flipgrid, could there really be a problem with this? Once again, the more I looked into it, the results were murky as I found countless stories of teachers who were posting themselves reading to YouTube and it was being removed due to copyright infringement, while others weren't having the same difficulties.
So...where does this leave me? Well, fortunately many authors such as J.K. Rowling have granted an open license for educators to post videos of themselves reading the books in a closed learning management system. While this is only one author, I'm hopeful that more authors and publishers will see this and follow suit during these unprecedented times. As of right now, none of the authors of the books we were reading have granted the open license, so I'm still undecided as to what I would like to do with my own classroom as I can no longer play the "I didn't know card" (Thanks a lot Couros!). However, I'm going to continue looking into this issue as I desperately want to keep my students engaged in these book clubs as it is such an important topic and I would love to give them the satisfaction of completing the books they put so much time and effort into before everything changed. Is anyone else having the same issues? How have you been able to navigate these issues? Any guidance would be greatly appreciated!