Making A Difference On Line … Using Social Media to Make the World A Better Place for Educators and Students

Just for Today recognize that you can build a positive reputation. Even if you have said or done negative things in the past, start today to be honest, reliable and reputable. You can use social media to make a positive difference or a negative difference. It is all up to YOU.

Digital Citizenship has a place in every school and we need to focus on the positive aspects of the internet as well as the things that concern us.

You might want to ask yourself:

  • What are the creative opportunities on the web?
  • How can I make a positive impact on the world on the web?
  • What are the ethical dilemmas?
  • What are the rewards and the risks of being on line?

As an educator it is important for you to find great examples on the internet of students doing things to not only improve their own opportunities, but to improve the lives of those in their school, communities, and around the world. We also need to encourage students to look for these great examples as well.

I’d like to see schools focus on those students who make a difference on the internet by providing them with a scholarship that recognizes all the good they do online.

I’d also like to see every school teach students and educators about Creative Commons .

As educators we need to create our own digital footprint and model good Digital Citizenship for our students. Taking Care Of Your Digital Self highlights the importance of a positive digital presence.

When teaching Digital Citizenship we need students to recognize that they need to be responsible and learn everything they can about being a good citizen period.

We need to ask students:

  • If I were to look you up online what would I find?
  • What would you want others to find?
  • If your grandmother googled you would she be proud of what she found?
  • What is your digital tattoo? Find out more information at

George Couros discusses the importance of students developing digital leadership skills—positive, proactive connection, cultivation, sharing, and creation of new knowledge and learning to help others.


Be a Digital Citizen

Choose what happens next … a you tube video that is interactive for students

 Alec Couros has an excellent wiki of amazing resources to use :

My livebinder on Digital Citizenship:

My pinterest site on Digital Citizenship:

Check out my Haiku Deck on Digital Identity

Act As If …

If you have any other ideas or resources to share on this topic please do.

The Other 21st Century Skills

I love this post by Jackie Gerstein. She says so many things that are close to my heart. This is a fantastic blog for new school counsellors and those that want to add to their school counselling toolbox.

School Counsellors can model and teach:

  • Adaptability
  • Agility
  • Curiosity
  • Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking
  • Effective oral and written communication
  • Empathy
  • Grit
  • Global Stewartship
  • Hope
  • Imagination
  • Optimism
  • Problem Solving
  • Resilience
  • Self-regulation
  • Vision

Thanks Jackie for writing such a great post to share with school counsellors and other educators.

User Generated Education


Many have attempted to identify the skills important for a learner today in this era of the 21st century (I know it is an overused phrase).  I have an affinity towards the skills identified by Tony Wagner:

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
  • Agility and adaptability
  • Initiative and entrepreneurialism
  • Effective oral and written communication
  • Accessing and analyzing information
  • Curiosity and imagination

Today I viewed a slideshow created by Gallup entitled, The Economics of Human Development: The Path to Winning Again in Education.

Here are some slides from this presentation.


This presentation sparked my thinking about what other skills and attributes would serve the learners (of all ages) in this era of learning.  Some other ones that I believe important based on what I hear at conferences, read via blogs and other social networks include:

  • Perseverance
  • Resilience
  • Hope and Optimism
  • Vision
  • Self-Regulation
  • Empathy and Global…

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Being An Open Educator Is Definitely A Process

Being an Open Educator is definitely a process for me. What does being open mean? Well at this point in my life it means that I am open to learning, open to discovery, open to connecting,  open to inspiration, open to reflection, open to remaining hopeful, open to collaboration and open to finding ways that will assist and impact our students now and in the future. As a school counsellor my role is different, but being open is the same. I am connecting with diverse educators and counsellors who all want the same thing … what is best for our students. They are motivated, caring people who want to impact students in a positive way, wanting them to thrive.  They choose to be in a profession to work with students because they know that students matter and so does being an Open Educator.

Alec Couros began my thinking of being open during ETMOOC. He defines Open Teaching  in the following way:

  “Open teaching is described as the facilitation of learning experiences that are open, transparent, collaborative, and social. Open teachers are advocates of a free and open knowledge society, and support their students in the critical consumption, production, connection, and synthesis of knowledge through the shared development of learning networks.”

Part of being open is helping students and myself understand and use Creative Commons .

I believe I am becoming more open all the time by involving myself in the following:

  • Open Spokes: A fellowship for anyone who is interested in using video for reflecting on the practice of teaching and learning . Check out the following links:

The Fellowship of Open Spokes

Vote for Questions to ask these Vloggers

Become a member of Open Spokes

Here is what my fellow Vlogger  Jas has to say about being open.

My Vlog on being an Open Educator : 

I love what Sheri my fellow Open Spokes friend has to say about being open:

Open is Attitude Open is Hope

Other ways I am being Open …

I am happy to be learning along with such great Open Educators who challenge my thinking and encourage me to be better at what I do. Thanks to all of my PLN. You have helped me in the process of becoming an Open Educator and as a result I know it will positively impact students.

We All Have A Story To Tell

It is important as educators that we remember that each student comes to us with a story and even if we think we know what that story is we may not, but we should always treat that student with dignity and respect.

School Counsellors Connecting With Each Other


At first when I heard about twitter I thought oh no one more thing to do and learn so why bother. I really thought I am too old to learn to use this, so what would be the point. Then everything changed. I went to a workshop by Alec Couros and was about to embark on a professional journey that would change how I connected to school counsellors and educators from around the world. Twitter and the professional network I have developed has ultimately impacted the way I practice as a school counsellor in a positive way.

As a school counsellor little did I know that opening a twitter account two years ago was one of the best ways I could develop professionally and connect with educators and school counsellors who are passionate about what they do.


What is twitter you might ask and why is it so helpful?

Twitter was founded in 2006. It is an online social networking platform that allows us to send and receive messages (140 characters). Within the body of the messages are often links to great resources or blogs or ideas that are just plain helpful. You can follow other educators and people who are associated with the ideas that are the most helpful to you. It is an extremely helpful tool that has impacted my professional life in a positive way linking me to educators who are creative, connected and willing to share ideas and resources. My PLN (personal learning network) helps me to learn almost daily. Today I need to thank @SISQITMAN for teaching me how to use word press in a more effective way. I met Glenn in ETMOOC which I found out about on twitter through @courosa which has been a gift to me as an educator. ALL the people in ETMOOC are always willing to help me as I am new to all this technology, but a most willing learner. Twitter leads to so many positive connections.

What I love about twitter:

  1. Amazing PD tool
  2. A fantastic way to connect with school counsellors and educators from all over the world
  3. A fast easy way to get access to great resources in mental health, psychology , education and school counselling
  4. Easy access to up to date resources in the field of education
  5. A great way to collaborate, connect and curate information
  6. Sharing leads to positive relationships that assist us to grow as school counsellors ( what you give , share on twitter comes back tenfold)

How can I learn more about twitter and how to use it?

  1. Ask your colleagues who are on twitter to help. Hands on lessons are the best.
  2. Go to a workshop on how to use twitter
  3. Sign up for  twitter and play and learn
  4. If you know how to use livebinders there are great resources here: Twitter … Helpful Ideas for School Counsellors
  5. Go to The Complete Manual for Understanding Twitter and learn more.

Who to follow on twitter in the School Counselling Field:

  • @SSpellmanCann            Canada
  • @Michelle0102197          Canada
  • @BoskerttheSC                  Canada
  • @TrentLangdonNL           Canada
  • @EHordyskiLuong            Japan
  • @ecmmason                        US
  • @sch_counselor                 US
  • @rsabella                              US
  • @juliataylor                          US
  • @pmsscounselor                 US
  • @Brian_Zink                  Mexico
  • @kadriblaster                Australia
  • @Teaching_Intl               China

People who resourceful and share great information:

  • @courosa
  • @gcouros
  • @rljessen
  • @karensharon
  • @grammasheri
  • @nobelknits2
  • @verenanz
  • @clhendricksbc
  • @AlisonSemen
  • @folynick
  • @JeffMerrell
  • @bhwilkoff
  • @dendari
  • @mrsdkrebs
  • @gallit_z@v_lees
  • @onewheeljoe
  • @LaEducationista
  • @mbritt

Resources to follow:

  • @haikudeck
  • @scopeistech4scs
  • @psychcentral
  • @LiveBinders
  • @SCResourceCtr
  • @tellagami
  • @heretohelpbc
  • @mindcheck_ca
  • @AnxietyBC
  • @cspyyc
  • @pinterest

Hashtags to follow:

  • #cscchat              Canadian School Counsellor Chat
  • #scchat                School Counselor Chat
  • #edchat               Ed Chat
  • #cdnedchat         Canadian Educators Chat

Once you start tweeting you will love it. Those of us that have stayed with it and learned how to use it effectively absolutely love the benefits to our professional development.   Digital literacy is becoming a required skill that school counselors will benefit from . Who knows where it might lead? You’ll be a techie before you know it.  I would have never dreamed two years ago that I would be blogging, vlogging, sharing in Google hangouts or that I would be part of networks and Google communities that encourage and support each other.

Thanks to Alec Couros @courosa and everyone in ETMOOC who has helped me. I believe I am a better school counsellor with so many more resources than I ever could have dreamed of.

A big thanks also to Erin Mason @ecmmason I am connected in several ways to other school counselors who are always willing to help and point me in the right direction to resources.

Thanks to @HaikuDeck who have allowed me to share with other school counsellors, educators, and a diverse group of connected learners from around the globe who have assisted in making me better at what I do.

Connect with School Counsellors on twitter

Connect with School Counselors on Google plus Communities

Connect with school Counsellors on twitter chats

There is so much for us to learn together. I look forward continuing the journey.