Media Coverage #4, includes interview

Here’s a Digital Journal feature article about me, my platform, and some of my perspectives on TDSB & the Trustee role, written by Andrew Moran.

TDSB Trustee candidate Monica Batac wants to innovate classrooms
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During municipal elections, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Trustee contests usually do not garner much attention from voters or media outlets, but that could change this year as two by-elections are being held in Ward 17 Don Valley East and Ward 20 Scarborough-Agincourt.

Ward 20 voters will have 14 candidates to choose from on Feb. 27, including an exuberant Monica Batac, a classroom teacher who is completing her Master of Teaching degree at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute of Studies in Education. spoke with Batac to find out what makes her qualified to become a school trustee, understand the importance of such a position, what the TDSB can do to improve education and public awareness of trustee elections.

Read full article here.

Social media & digital literacy – what to do?

I’ve heard mixed reviews about teachers’ on-line participation and communication with students.  Specifically, a concern I often hear is that this treads into cyber surveillance. Some think becoming Facebook friends or a Twitter follower of students will require you to be hyper-vigilant in terms of monitoring their after-school or out-of-classroom activity.

However, what are the consequences of simply disregarding and ignoring the realities of the ubiquity of technology and digital media in our students’ lives?  I’ve thought about this quite a bit… who teaches students how to participate in responsible ways on-line?  We may choose to ignore their Facebook requests, but are we guiding them in navigating through and participating in the on-line world?

How do we support our students?

At Edcamp Toronto, I facilitated a conversation regarding this issue. Here was my written prompt:

Social Media use – who teaches our students? Who teaches our teachers? We all saw the Ontario College of Teachers’ advisory on Social Media. With no mandated curriculum for reference, teaching internet safety and social media use aren’t set priorities in our elementary classrooms. Some of us choose to expose, encourage, and teach students about responsible use. Others do not with their own sets of reasons.
Why? Why not? How?
Do teachers even know how to do this? How can we teach this to students when our own personal and professional use is so varied?
Is it up to the parents? Do students learn by trial and error? By experience – by error and consequence?

Is it enough to do a small unit on internet safety? Is it enough to leave it up to the the Teacher Librarian to model responsible use? Do we assume parents are going to do this during evenings/weekends?  Where do teachers fit?

Thoughts?  Let’s continue the conversation.