Line app.. an app with potential?

Line app was one of the apps used by a few of the participants in my survey. I downloaded it to see what it was all about. Reading about it, I thought.. this is just a chat.. what is new about Line app. Why do people want *another* messaging app?

As I got started.. I realized it actually had some pretty cool capabilities.

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Flickr: Bhupinder Nayyar

  1. You can chat (obviously!) with groups or individuals. Inside of that you can send photos and location. You can add friends with QR codes, shaking/tapping your phone or searching.
  2. There is a timeline, this can be your own comments/photos otherwise it is news updates or other “official accounts”. It sort of appears to be like Snapchat in that it gives you an update and you can a follow another area eg (CNN-style)
  3. You can call your contacts.
  4. It also includes in app purchases and games.

This Line app seems to be a combination of WhatsApp, Skype and Snapchat all in one.

Line: We’re A Social Entertainment Platform, Not Just A Free Calls Messaging App also gave me some good info about Line App. I hadn’t realized it launched in 2011 and has over 100 million users. It appears to be big in Asia, will the same happen in Canada and the US?

My EC&I 831 Summary..

Hi everyone,

Here is my Summary of Learning. Am I happy with my product? Yes! I was beaming ear to ear when it was all complete. I hope you enjoy it as well  🙂

The Summary of Learning itself:

As I created it I was totally 100% focused (crazy, right?). I was interested in Powtoon and didn’t realize the extent that it could be used. I had used similar programs and welcomed my students doing that as well for presentations. One day, I even spent 12 full hours working on it and only moved to grab a drink or run to the washroom. It didn’t take long to understand how it worked but I did head back into work to complete it with my double screens and mouse. It was way easier that way. Even after it was uploaded onto YouTube I had to figure out how to change the thumbnail– thanks to this video for helping me out!

What am I most proud of?

A few things.. here they are:

  1. That I used voiceover. Initially when I read the assignment that needed to include live audio/video, I was immediately nervous. I hate hearing my own voice! (Haha, anyone who knows me might laugh at that one). Voiceover was out of my comfort zone, but I figured, this class is all about trying something new and experimenting with technology. I didn’t quite master the art of voiceover. The sound wasn’t great. I realized I had to talk quietly and then I turned down the music as low as I could. Not perfect but I’m still happy with my product.
  2.  Using Creative Commons images right in the program. Super easy to use and you could even show different images inside of icons within the program. Cool!
  3. Sharing as public, not even listed or private on YouTube! I’m more of a private or listed type of person when it comes to posting anything online but I’ve really tried to focus on sharing my work over the last few months. I think we all need to do our part when it comes to sharing our learning and facilitating learning with others. Even if they view your work, get a few more ideas or want to edit something of theirs from watching yours and seeing something they like (or even something of yours they would like to improve on theirs). This point is the whole idea of Social Media/Open Education. How can we broaden our knowledge and the knowledge of others?

What could I have improved on my final project?

  1.  I didn’t realize my maximum amount of time as 5 minutes. I needed probably at least one more minute as there was a lot to read on some slides. Not ideal, but you are able to pause if need be. I did read the most important portions of the slide for that reason.
  2. My photos were found on Creative Commons inside of Powtoon but I wasn’t sure if attribution was given appropriately. On my video page on Powtoon, not all the images I used were included in the Creative Commons attribution page. I’m not sure why all the photos weren’t there, as they were all taken the same way. Sorry! I wasn’t able to edit as my Premium Trial ended and the video couldn’t be exported after being edited.

What’s my biggest personal gain in this course? An increased amount of confidence. I’m willing to try something that is out of my comfort zone. For example, tweeting someone I don’t know for help in a certain area. And as I said earlier, I’m proud of myself for my final project!

Now onto the course in general..

Which articles/videos/ etc had the most impact on me this semester? 

Here are my TOP 10:

  1. During week 3: Pocket is one of my new favourite apps. I love the ability to organize readings and even view offline. I was also happy to start using Google + communities. That would be an awesome way to collaborate with others! Using Zoom was also an awesome experience. My favourite part of this week? Joining #FGChat and #spedchat. #Spedchat is a fantastic chat/ community for those interested.
  2. Week 4: Learning from  Dave Cormier this week and discussing Rhizomatic learning! Reflection: How do we change our teaching to meet our digital learners? professional challenge: start with one class and have them develop their own PLE (personal learning environment)
  3. Week 6/7, my language is expanding: Content Curation.
  4. That same week, Why Even the Worst Bloggers Are Making Us Smarter
    “Ory Okolloh may not have thought she wanted to write a book, but in a sense, she already had.” Inspirational, Motivational – Our words have power. Truly Amazing.
    What does this mean for our students Blogging?
  5. Top 3 take-aways from this week:
    1) Teenagers are self-trolling. I had no idea. Cyber self-harm?
    2) Yik Yak app. Do we teach digital citizenship effectively in schools?
    3) trends in technology use can be attributed to S.E.S and Race.
  6. Week 8: Lessig : “Using digital technology to say things differently”, “tools of creativity, tools of speech” Boyd : Moving from traditional academic publishing (paper) to digital, open-access journals.
  7.  Week 9: Maggie’s Digital Content Farm: what are we having our students contribute to online?
  8. Week 10: Net neutrality: a “new to me” concept. Without net neutrality, a negative impact for smaller companies and the education system.
  9.  The week of videos and articles surrounding harassment online. Words to desribe the readings: shocking, disappointing and a reality of online harassment for women online. How can we make a difference? How can law enforcement support?
  10. Livesteaming Apps to Promote Justice– Are we keeping people safe, highlighting social injustice, or infringing on the privacy rights of others?

My Learning Project reflection:

Collaborative Tools in Schools for Teachers
I wanted to know:
What does collaboration look like today?
Has technology shaped collaboration?
How do people network professionally?
What should I check out? Slack, Voxer, FB?
What are my school divisions plans of resource sharing?
How is it different from Elementary to Highschool?
Does Interprofessional collaboration look different?
What does collaboration look like world wide?
How can I use Twitter to collaborate?

What did I do to accomplish my goal:

I connected with teachers in Thailand, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, Malaysia, US and England on how they collaborate. I did this with email, FaceTime, Google Forms and Facebook Messenger. All shared different perspectives on how their students and staff work together.
I connected with educators via Facebook groups. I tested out Voxer, Slack, viewed TED Talks and even did my own Screencast (totally out of my comfort zone!). There are a lot more websites to see, apps to test and reviews/articles to read!
I reviewed what my division offers for teacher collaboration, spoke with teachers and observed how kids collaborate and what they use to do so using their own devices, school laptops and Ipads.

My last note.. Thank you to Alec and Katia for providing a deliberately open class with engaging reading material and a self-directed component. As this was my first Master’s class I appreciated Alec’s willingness to help and Katia’s stalking skills (haha!). At times, especially after the Midterm feedback I was feeling overwhelmed but the feedback led to me to improve myself and my ways of learning. Thank you. 


Collaboration Abroad

I love using most anything offered by Google. Previously, I used Google Docs/Sheets but this semester I have familiarized myself with Google Drive, Google Forms and Google +.

I sent out a survey using Google Forms to 11 friends/acquaintances and a few of those passed the survey on to others. In the end, I had 11 responses, including my own. Generally speaking, I wanted a very brief idea of what collaboration looks like abroad.

Thank you to all those who have taken part in my learning! 

Here are my results:

Out of those asked. Teachers taught in:

England 4
South Korea 3
United Arab Emirates 1
Taiwan 1
Thailand 2
Malaysia 1 (with Korea)
Looking at *full staff* collaboration, how often did you meet for staff meetings?
Once a week 45.5%
Twice a month 45.5%
Twice a month or less 9.1%
Did you meet with Grade like, or subject like colleagues in scheduled meetings?
91% of participants did.

Did you spend your own time meeting with colleagues to plan or share resources?
100% of participants did. Two comments were made around having a shared resource drive.
Did your school have “shared resources” for classes taught?
No- 18.2%
Yes- but minimal or outdated 36.4%
Here are a few comments around the use of any specific apps to collaborate professionally:
  • Five participants said they did not use any.

  • More in person. Apps don’t have faces. Collaboration on Twitter every now and then. Skype as well.
  • We did not have iPads or laptops in the school. Students had access to computers once a week and that was it for technology
  • Two comments were made about the staff using Line App for communication about school-related activities (otherwise but the internet connection was very hit and miss at the school so we rarely used websites) While teaching kindergarten, however, we used Pinterest for crafting ideas.

Apps used for students: Jolly Phonics was huge over there so we used this lots in class, their website has fantastic games.

Did your school offer anything “special” for collaboration? (eg: Health education program with Social Workers, health workers, etc)
  • 8 participants answered no, one due to language barrier and cultural expectations.
  • The school had an integrated health center which focused on all aspects of health. It often had teachers, counselors, social workers, health professionals (doctors and nurses), as well as community based programs offering support.
  • Once a week grade alike teachers had a full afternoon of prep to plan for the following week
  • The school had a “scouts” like program where each student participates to learn how to do basic skills such as navigation or knot tying. In addition, monks often came into the school to give blessings or participate in ceremonies.

Did students collaborate? If so, how? Comments:

  • Did not witness a great deal of project based collaboration, but did an exceptional job on offering relevant extra-curricular activities.
  • Blogs, Skype calls, physical letters. All driven by the kids.
  • They were in groups very similar to Daily 5 groups that we do here
  • Yes, I was based in a PreK class so they were collaborating on everything all the time.
  • Group work, cross-curricular projects/groups. (when required)
  • Within the class room in group work settings (depending on teaching style) sometimes among similar grade levels (there were multiple classes of the same grade) but it would be very limited. For example in Dubai we had 4 grade 2 classes. 2 taught by Canadian teachers and 2 by Lebanese. Being familiar with this the two Canadian teachers often got classes together but the others didn’t,
  • Thailand has a culture where it is taught to help one another whenever it is needed. Therefore, students are almost always working together– even when you do not want them too!
  • No. Students almost exclusively worked out of an outdated textbook. Technology was not integrated into the school at all. Due to pressures to complete 70-90% of the textbook, there was little time for group projects, etc. (2 comments)
What is the view/perspective/culture of collaboration at your designated school abroad? (eg: irrelevant, too time consuming, necessary, etc)
  • Collaboration was expected. You attend a Monday Morning Meeting then a one subject based meeting a week.
  • Viewed as a nuisance during planning. Viewed as cutting edge when underway.
  • I found the afternoon of prep each week very beneficial because you had to hand in your plan for the following week so it allowed you to be prepared and organized. You were able to collaborate with another teacher that taught the same grade as well
  • Necessary-we met every Monday to go over the week. English teachers met with academic director, Korean teachers met with school director. Collaborated with like grades almost daily to have assignments remain consistent
  • It was necessary and a very good use of time.
  • There are 6 English teachers at my school and we all share an office and work together to collaborate and give each other ideas. We also share as many resources and possible to help each other with lessons.
  • I think they viewed it as necessary but lacked the skills or knowledge to allow of authentic collaboration among teachers who taught the same students. For example I rarely spoke with the teachers who taught my students Arabic, French, Phys Ed, and art. They mainly focused on English teachers meeting with the English teachers, Arabic with Arabic, etc. I think a language and cultural barrier has the most to do with this.
  • Our school is large and there are many classes of each grade level. As a result, teachers communicate with grade partners often to plan out their learning activities and discuss student progress. Our school also requires us to create a weekly plan to send to parents, all of which must look the same. We are to collaborate in making these documents.
  • Irrelevant for students, helpful for teachers but within certain parameters (ie. Mostly limited to crafting as technology and access to photocopiers/laminators/supplies was regulated and difficult to gain access to). (2 comments)
How does this differ from staff collaboration you have experienced in Canada?
  • Collaboration was expected, not encouraged.
  • Kids are more engaged. Learning feels more authentic. Collaboration I did at home fizzled quickly and had less longevity.
  • You are given shorter preps throughout the day and you are not always able to collaborate if your prep times do not match. My co teacher and I work very well together and still collaborate if our preps do not match.
  • I feel it wasn’t as frequent when meeting as a whole. Collaboration among grades/subjects would be comparable.
  • I found that abroad they collaborated more often with their matching grade grouping which was nice because then you knew you were both moving at the same pace in certain areas.
  • There is more resource sharing here and more support for tasks that take a lot of time but don’t benefit students. There is not as much full staff collaboration as I saw in my school in Canada though.
  • I only collaborate with 5 other people because they are the only ones who speak my language. I do not work along side any administration or with any learning resource teachers. In Canada we worked with LRTs and speech pathologists and teachers aids, etc.
  • Teaching in a middle school last year with multiple classes of the same grade we had much much more collaboration time and support. We met once a cycle with subject and grade alike groups and continually communicated with all teachers who taught our students.
  • Collaboration is valued
  • In Canada I found the collaboration to be more extensive in terms of who you collaborate with. In Thailand there are no paraprofessionals or professionals such as speech therapists, special education teachers, etc. Therefore, although we collaborate closely and frequently with other teachers in our grade level, we do not collaborate with many others in the school or outside community. Language barriers also prevent collaboration. Our school has both Thai and English teachers. I have a Thai homeroom teacher for my two classrooms. However, we cannot work together to establish behaviour management plans, learning strategies, etc. because it’s almost impossible to communicate unless a translator is sought (this is not always available and makes the process very inconvenient).
  • Every staff member has a computer and email account, we have full access to all supplies and machines (i.e.photocopiers), we have apps on the computer such as Skype for communicating, and my division is built upon collaboration and open communication in regards to students.

 Final comments:

  • The school had a large number of staff in comparison to schools in SK. Teachers were encouraged to use the shared lessons and adapt as necessary.
  • I feel a lot of teachers are collaborating more as they are taking a “team teach” approach to have more consistency. This also lessens the work load as teachers are planning together and sharing more and more resources.
  • When teaching overseas, in relation to collaboration, there is a cultural and language barrier. Different views of education and behaviour are also a factor which could benefit students but often times (in my experience) without proper structure and support just makes communication difficult.
  • Overall our school is good at collaborating with other English teachers in the school community. Collaboration seems to stop here, though.
  • The cultural and language barriers that existed at my school (and probably at lots of schools in Asia) made many things difficult but the Thai staff was very friendly and would help you as much as they knew how.

My reflection:
Generally speaking, there are a lot of similarities from what I have observed/experienced in Canadian schools. Collaboration is expected of you and necessary. I was surprised that 100% of participants collaborated. I had been expecting a lower number due to being in a different country and lack of personal/professional connections (I was wrong!). I’m also surprised that some of these schools didn’t offer anything “special” for collaboration. I was expecting something new and innovative with all these wonderful teachers who have taken the leap and taught overseas. 🙂 
One comment I would like to make is around grade-like teachers working together, there seems to be a great number of individuals whom take part in that. In a small rural school, that isn’t possible within the building, although it would be possible within a school division. The benefit of that may be sharing resources, instead of ensuring students are all learning at a similar pace. 
Honestly, I hadn’t *really* considered the lack of technology in many of these locations, nor had I truly considered the potential language barriers for collaboration as well as lack of additional professionals working together on a common goal. 
I will also need to check out the Line app! 

My first #Slack experience

Slack was one of the websites I wanted to check out for collaboration. I started off by reading a few articles and seeing what I was getting myself into.

Give Teachers Some Slack: A Tool for Connecting Educators

No Slacking Off! How Savvy Teachers Are Turning to Trello and Slack

What was I expecting you ask? It was nothing like I had imagined. The website itself was trendy and appeared fairly minimalist. I was hoping to find a channel (as Slack calls it) and get involved with the conversation. You’ll see in my screen cast, figuring out how to find a channel actually wasn’t that simple. I was confused throughout my entire 12 minute screen cast. I’m somewhat (I thought anyways) tech savy but I couldn’t even figure out how to join a channel. I had to pause the video a few times and Google my questions.

Here is my first 12 minutes of Slack:

Once I ended my screen cast, I felt I needed a tutorial for myself:

What was the coolest part of this tutorial? Using Slack channels as units for a class. I can see how it is similar to other websites, but Slack is extremely interactive and I believe students would find it super engaging.

Once I understand this better I will do another blog post.

Are you a #slacker? Can you help me get started?

Online Activism or Slacktivism? You decide.

This weeks readings are around the idea of Online Activism. There are two predominant views on online activism, one being that online activism reaches a greater audience and is making a difference in the world via social media. Whereas the second perspective is that online activism, termed “slavitivism” is supporting a cause but putting little time or effort into the cause, such as signing a petition.

The Death of Slacktivism looked at the use of hashtags and the ability go viral, the article has described some of the viral sensations as trendy and shallow. Although, I did find it somewhat ironic that the author titled the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge as ASL Ice Bucket Challenge incorrectly. Especially after calling the phenomenon shallow. Forget what the Ice Bucket Challenge was about? Read about it here14929011085_3d3b3d9fd3_z

Photo by: University of Central Arkanasa

Looking at different viral sensations, social media was the reason these topics took off. Another app that made this happen was Yik Yak, which has been discussed in a previous blog post. People used Yik Yak to communicate in a geographical location and share informtion. This was similiar, but less involved than How We Can Use Livestreaming Apps to Promote Justice which shared live video on a wide range of issues, eg protests.

But why is this relevant to education? Here is one reason. Look at the experience of Trayvon Martin. I had a student a few years ago who was following the event and was incredibly engaged. Even ten years ago, would this student have had this ability to stay current with the event? This specific event may not have even been  brought to light if it wasn’t for social media and those “slacktivists”. I say “slacktivists” because I do believe online activism has a place in our highly digital world. The part of the article I appreciated the most was “Think globally, act locally”. That speaks to me because I also agree with that notion of being able to look at social justice issues on a global scale, while ensuring you continue to act on a local scale. Social media has proven to be beneficial to online activism.

Slacktivism is having a powerful real-world impact, new research shows offers a new term, arm chair activism.  Have you heard that one? I haven’t. This short, but persuasive article adopts the idea that the power of online activism lies in the large scale of individuals who are engaged.

Photo Credit: @OccupyWallStNYC

Instead of reviewing the article, here is what I found most powerful:

This research builds on a 2012 study by researchers at Georgetown University, who found that those who support movements online are actually more likely to engage in activism in real life.

Combined, the findings of these studies suggest we have entered an age of increased activism, both on the ground and online.

The findings I appreciate, as they align with my thoughts about online activism.

Here is another article of support:

I Get It: You Don’t Like Slacktivism. Now Shut Up. Only Don’t.  What this article had me reflecting on what we all do as individuals to take part in activism. I agree that in many cases it takes more than a hashtag, like or share to support a cause. But, we do what we can at that point in our lives. We all support different causes in different ways. Some causes, I “like”, “share” or “retweet”, one example around mental illness, Bell Let’s Talk. Another example, Alzheimer’s, I donate money and walk with my family. Another example, Bright Eyes Dog Rescue, I run their Twitter and Instagram. Some I do daily, some sporadically and some annually. We should be proud of what we are doing, and what we are doing to encourage younger generations to make a difference.

Now, here is a brief description of some conflicting thoughts:

The problem with #slactivism ran on the basis that, online activism is actually hindering “real” activism  as people feel they have already done their part by “liking” or wearing blue, etc. They are less likely to donate funds or donate time because dopamine and endorphins have  been released to reward us for your good behaviour? But what about Movember, that donates money as well. Nope, still not quite good enough, still is it a narcissistic idea and men are only donating for their own benefit: to sport sketchy facial hair.

Slacktivism? Nah, I’m still going with online activism. 

Voxer- voice, text and photo

One of the suggested apps that was recommended for my project was Voxer. Voxer was completely new to me.


According to its Google Play description, Voxer is a “free app that combines the best of voice, text and photo messages with walkie talkies for a powerful, modern personal and group messaging tool.”

Taken from  it’s website. Voxer’s key features are:

Live and Recorded Audio

You can hear messages as people speak, or listen later if you are unavailable.


Alongside voice, send text, photos and share your location.

Large Group Chats

Broadcast messages to up to 500 individuals or team contacts.

Pick Your Device

Use your iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 8 or desktop to communicate.

Walkie Talkie Mode

Pick a chat to listen and respond to live voice without being in the app.

Headset Integrations

Hook up your wired or Bluetooth headsets to respond back hands-free.

Extreme Notifications

Turn on loud, repetitive alerts for messages when you’re in noisy environments.

Voxer for Web

When you are at your desk, listen and respond to your contacts from a desktop.

Use Any Data Network

Talk across countries, wireless carriers, or data networks at no additional charge.


Military-Grade Security
Data is sent through encrypted connections and stored in a secure cloud.

In Educator Explains Why Voxer Strengthens Teaching, they describe the app as life altering. You are able to communicate in private groups of up to 15 in the free version. You know the chat is private, which makes all individuals feel safe and in a space where they can share.

Ways You Can Use Voxer in Your Schools describes three best uses for Voxer in schools:

  1. Collaboration
  2. Staff connection
  3. District Connection

What is special about those three uses for Voxer? I would say the district connection, the ability to continue to “chat” with someone while away from work is useful. Already using a messenger system at work, this would be nothing new to communicate at work using, but it could be used to continue the converstion.

My review:

Would I go so far as to say that Voxer is life-altering? Probably not. I can see it would have its uses for ccollaboration, but I don’t necessarily see it as a -need to use- product.

It may also have cool learning opportunities for students. But, does it offer something totally new, not really. The walkie talkie option is cool and allows the speaker to be timed which is neat.

A few of my friends and colleagues do use Voxer, mostly for leisure. After inquiring with those who do use Voxer, they do not use it daily or feel like it is a necessary app to have in their repertoire.



The Nasty Side of Social Media

Looking at the videos from this week, both provided a controversial but, necessary conversation about the negative side of social media. It is somewhat worrisome that online threats aren’t always taken as seriously as threats made in person. It was disappointing for me that the police force was unaware and demonstated a lack of understanding of social media, more specifically regarding Twitter. I was completed shocked to read that a woman would have to have approximately $15,000 to fight for her rights online. As said in the video, who has $15,000 (shoe box of money) stored away to fit a similar battle? The woman interviewed expressed suicidal thoughts after her photos were posted online. This would relate to children, also feeling like they are helpless. To note, the woman in the interview received little support on the issue due to a lack of understanding. Victim blame is found often in our society and mainstream culture, which desperately needs to change.

Online harassment occurs at much higher rates than expected and some would argue it is an established norm in our digital society. I found it interesting that Facebook has *support* for those who are at a perceived risk of suicide. I would question that type of criteria is needed, or this will simply “reporting”someone. Instagram from my understanding also has similar regulations about suicide, self harm, disordered eating, etc. Since many youths are using online forums to express themselves I am pleased to see the Kids Help Phone has created an app for children and youth to use instead of a phone call. 

Our reading around online comments had me reflecting on the new regulations by CBC  which were recently changed. Multiple unacceptable comments were posted with articles which CBC did not support therefore prompting the change. 


What are you revealing online?

Our class article Don’t Post About Me On Social Media Children Say, rang true to me for many reasons.  First and foremost, I know I’m not a child but… my dad just got Facebook and he really struggles. It is like a totally new social zone for him, doing tons of things that are some might say, off key. It’s the typical things, liking his own stuff, over “sharing” someone’s posts and posting totally unflattering pictures of his children (25 and 32). Although I guess by me writing about it, it is also sort of socially inappropriate. I think he will forgive me. Now onto the reading, children felt they didn’t want their parents posting about them online for a variety of reasons, whereas parents felt it was OK to post about their children. Even over the last decade, you can see a whole shift on what parents are posting about their children. This could even be seen through Humans of New York, microfashion. The bigger picture is definitely the children’s privacy rights, which would need to be a new post.

This article reminded me of the topic we’ve covered lately, what are you sharing online?

I started off by reading  What are you revealing online? Much more than you think and watched both of the TED Talks (see below). I was amazed when looking at language analysis- what could they find out about me via my social media identity? Am I the things I think I am, or are some other traits coming up more frequently? That would be so interesting to took at this in a Psychology class when you discuss personality (I think that is somewhere in the curriculum?). What are we contributing to these websites research without even knowing, I would say without our consent, but that wouldn’t necessarily be accurate. This absolutely reminded me of our reading last week on Maggie’s farm.

As I’m reading the article, I obviously stop on Take This Lollipop, now I encourage each and everyone of you to do that activity, or share with your students. I most definitely woke up at 4:40 am thinking about the horror. I don’t want to give you any hints….

Back to the TED Talks. I was astonished this the data collected by Target and that they sent a pregnant teen coupons before she told her parents she was expecting. This is a must see! It was definitely interesting looking at the curly fry phenomenon and that what we “like” is unrelated to the content, but to the attributes shared by others. Highly recommend!

You can find them both below:


Net-neutrality, is what?

This week’s set of readings provided me with a great deal of new learning. It kind of reminded me of the use of KWL in classes. Lots of teachers start off a unit or a class and ask these questions: What do you already know? What do you want to know? Then, what have you learned? Now there is a shift to using OWL and other methods to discuss these questions. The reason why I am mentioning this now is because this is a topic which for me is new, I had not a clue that net-neutrality (did or did not) exist. I hadn’t even considered a digital divide which was discussed in one of our readings this week.

John Oliver is correct; I hardly ever think about encryption. Actually, almost never. The only time I think about it when I am logging into banking or using WiFi while travelling. But, what an important piece to dialogue around. Should Apple unlock the phone of criminals to release information to the supervising authorities- that is the question. Although this example is fairly extreme, it would indeed set a precedent for all other police services on unlocking phones and searching for information. Apple has still continued to be cooperative as said in the video and has shared Cloud info. I don’t believe this battle is over nor will this have an “easy” answer.

John Oliver makes any topic engaging and educational, including Net Neutrality.

Initially when I started this video I was of the understanding it was regarding the sale of different internet speeds with service providers, then of course within 13 minutes I had a new understanding of Net Neutrality. I can understand that service providers are competing for clients (by fast speeds and great customer service), but I hadn’t considered the same for companies. The example discussed was Netflix and their ability to purchase faster internet speeds, where as smaller companies would not have that ability.Our next article on Why Net Neutrality Matters to Education was able to explain the implications for Education and what that means for our classrooms or learning in general. Again, the example provided was Netflix paying for better access for their clients and how that would negatively impact education in a variety of ways. The ways discussed was:

  1. Free/open source web tools
  2. Open source textbooks
  3. Wikis and other collaborative sites
  4. school libraries

I can understand why this would indeed put education at risk, but isn’t this already an issue to a degree? Working in a rural school, we have a certain bandwidth based on elementary/highschool and number of students. I don’t know if all schools in SK have similar restrictions or not. The internet is already slowed down when too many people are accessing it, or that we are encouraged not to use the internet during online streamed courses. Another reason why a gap still exists when it comes to technology is that all youth don’t own technology, have technology at home or are still using poor internet services. But, I suppose these still remain two different issues at hand. This ties in seamlessly with the article around bringing internet to the developing world, and doing so with Facebook. It was one giant, “hmmm…” for me when reading. Facebook wants to make their services free, but then it creates a gap between Facebook and other sites. It would directly benefit Facebook and not others. It remains that all parties involved continue to share a common goal: helping people. Would Facebook consider supporting free internet in general, not just their own website?

Looking at digital divide, I hadn’t explicitly considered “the poor” when it came to digital privacy rights. I had considered all people to have similar rights as individuals, where as perhaps corporations may have additional privacy.The argument placed in the article was logical, those individuals with a lower socio-economic status are at a greater disadvantage because of their purchased brand of technology, they may be unaware of their digital rights and they may be fearful of law enforcement. But, where do we go from here, is it unreasonable to want “an equal playing field” as mentioned in the article?

Inclusive Technology Prize Winners

If you had read my previous posts on the Nesta Inclusive Technology Prize, you will know that my sister and her colleagues were in the running for £50,000 to support with their new app.

The winner was announced today and AzuleJoe has won!

What is it?

Free software that helps give a voice to people with communication difficulties. AzuleJoe displays a set of icons that represent words, which a user can look through to find the word they want to express and, once selected, their device will say this word for them.

Photo of AzuleJoe software open on a tablet device.

How does it work?

AzuleJoe is the first open source assistive communication software that is free at the point of delivery.

The software enables users to generate Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices by uploading a pageset – a template for communication aids which users look through to choose the words they want to say. It offers the option to customise devices with personal stories and jokes. “You can store your whole life in a device,” says Joe.

AzuleJoe makes use of many other people’s APIs, giving greater flexibility than many other existing programs. And it can run on a variety of platforms, from iPads to laptops to Kindles, without a complex setup or installation.

All the code is online on GitHub and volunteers from around the world contribute to its development.

– See more at:

AAC devices already exist across the world, but what makes AzuleJoe different is that it is free. I have been in contact with a few colleagues (Speech and Language Pathologists) around AAC technology here in Saskatchewan. I am interested to know if there is already free and well made programs already in existence.

I am very happy for AzuleJoe,  but if the greatest reason for their win is because it is accessible, does that demonstrate a higher degree of creativity and originality, or is it a outdated system which needs a general overhaul in accessbility? This reminds me of the dialogue around academic publishing, which is the way of the future?

As for How do I?, they may not have won *the* prize but they received a £15,000 Special Recognition Award. Congratulations!