Instagram, Social Media, Symbol, Communication, Icon

For my major project of the course, I choose to provide comments on my personal journey of using social media apps as part of me being transformed into a digital citizen. I choose in this blog to provide some in-depth introduction to Instagram.

I am not a social media user. I had Instagram on my mobile a long time ago. It is my habit of downloading every app my kids mention, so I get a sense of how it looks like.  I used Instagram several times over the past two weeks. It is a user-friendly and straightforward app.

What is Instagram?

According to the App store: “Instagram from Facebook, Bringing you closer to the people and things you love. Connect with friends, share what you’re up to, or see what’s new from others all over the world. Explore our community where you can feel free to be yourself and share everything from your daily moments to life’s highlights.”

  • Instagram is the number 1 app in the Photos & Video category
  • It has a rating of 4.7 based on 1.4 million reviews (Wow, that is a lot of reviews!!!)
  • We are in version # 127


  • According to Cindy Liu, a senior forecasting analyst at, “Instagram Is the Fastest-Growing Social Media Platform in Canada.”
  • According to CIRA, Instagram is the third most popular social media network in Canada after Facebook and LinkedIn.

There are many reasons why Children/teens love Instagram? Quoting my kids:

  • Can communicate with friends and family without a phone number (only a small percentage of Canadian kids who have a phone also have a phone subscription)
  • Can share posts and receive likes, comments and more.
  • Can see other people’s posts like your favourite team, favourite sports player and more.
  • Can enter giveaways to earn prizes.
  • Can create and post your own stories and customize it
  • Can be updated of everything happening around the world
  • Can learn various tips and tricks

How you communicate and use Instagram?

Main features on Instagram include:

Home button:

  • I can browse and explore posts from those I follow. I can watch their stories by clicking on their photos above the post. Also, from the top, I can check all of the new stories from people I follow.
  • I can like, share or comment on posts
  • I can bookmark posts and organize them in folders like Pinterest

DM(Direct Messaging): I can send messages privately to people I follow. However, anyone can send me a message (after approving them) even if my account is private. The DM works like Facetime or Messenger. I can use it as a chat tool or make video calls.

Creating Stories: This feature alone has been a very famous addition to some of the social media apps. I can create and post stories by clicking on the camera icon at the top left corner of the app. Instagram works like Snapchat on this part. The story you create only lasts for 24 hours then disappears. I can make the story stay longer than the 24 hours by highlighting it. The limit time of a single story is 15 sec. I can create multiple 15-sec segments to create a lengthy story or use IGTV

IGTV: It can be used to create longer videos. Anyone have full access to IGTV’s content. No parental controls at all and lots of adult content,  which is  quite problematic from parents’ point of view.

Discovery: It allows me to search for videos, posts or photos on Instagram by clicking on the magnification lens. I can see posts from people even if I am not following them.

I find Instagram entertaining and addictive. I kind of understand now why it is so popular among students. Here are a few observations after using it frequently for two weeks.

  • Since I signed up for Instagram, I decided to follow only family and friends. However, I was drawn to follow more people each time I am checking it until I found myself following 120 people [now 318 :-)) as per the picture]. With so much posts, I discovered that I don’t see posts from my family and friends’ as much as before. I couldn’t keep up with all these posts from influencers, fashionistas, chefs, and news outlets. I had to create another account after only two weeks of frequent usage. I created another account to follow things I am interested in and kept my original one for family and friends. I found my daughter did something similar and created what she calls “a spam account” jointly with her best friend.  The definition is worrying me but I am happy I know about it now. This will give me a chance to talk to my daughter on how to protect herself.
  • Instagram is designed to keep you scrolling and scrolling with no clear end. I found this quite distracting and addictive, to say the least (let alone how much time kids spend on it)
  • Hashtags are a very powerful searching method on Instagram. The problem is Instagram is quite visual not like Twitter, so you can expect to see all sorts of visuals when you search for something. This is quite worrying for me as a parent, and I am not sure how to filter these images.
  • Instagram Is now hiding likes counter, which I find a good move to make users focus more on the content and quality of the post, not how many likes the post got.

For my next post, I will focus more on Instagram’s privacy and terms of use and how.

Major project Update

Alec asked us to provide an update of our major project, thinking specifically about how my project relates to one or more elements of digital citizenship. 

With this substantial global penetration of social media and its significant impact on all aspects of our life ( Personal, educational and professional), there is a need for a framework to teach Digital Citizenship to our kids has become essential and crucial.  The nine elements of digital citizenship by Mike Ribble are a great framework and guideline to know what does it mean to be a digital citizen? Common Sense Education describes digital citizenship simply as “the responsible use of technology to learn, create, and participate.” Mike Ribble says that “digital citizenship is more than just a teaching tool; it is a way to prepare students for a society full of technology.” It basically defines how we use technology to engage with our community. Use technology to communicate at work, to buy/ sell online and to participate in online debates to discuss societal/global issues.   Therefore, when thinking of my major project, the following three elements of the nine elements came to my mind:

Social Media, Social, Media, Www, Icons, Icon Communication: This can be defined as “the electronic exchange of information.” Social media has become the primary form of communication among today’s generation. Digital citizens need to learn how to: 

  • Exchange information properly
  • Make appropriate decisions when communicating through social media apps. 
  • Raise the awareness of what to share and how to share it, 
  • Don’t share personal information or direct messages people you don’t know.
  • Know that when they delete a message or a photo, it doesn’t mean that it has been erased forever and that it can still be stored somewhere in the cloud. 
  • Protect themselves from cyberbullying and learn not to bully others. 

Media Literacy, Technology, Digital Citizenship, Candy Fluency/ Literacy: According to Mike Ribble, “it is the process of understanding technology and its use. The better educated or “digitally fluent” students are, the more likely they are to make the right decisions online, like supporting others instead of making negative comments. Digital literacy includes the discussion of media literacy and the ability to discern good information from poor, such as “fake news” from real news.”  Therefore, I am planning to provide information on how to use each app I am reviewing, highlight the main features and elements, how to use the app to our advantage and how to determine the accuracy of the information we access through these apps to make wise choices. With some apps like Instagram, I think I can reflect on the Digital Commerce element.  These are all essential skills that students must be equipped with to be able to compete and live in today’s culture. 

Digital commerce is growing significantly to the point it affects the regular retail industry. Ribble defined this element as “the electronic buying and selling of goods and focuses on the tools and safeguards in place to assist those buying, selling, banking, or using money in any way in the digital space. Career and technical education use the tools of technology to show students the path for their futureMaking a well-informed purchasing decision online is very important these days.  Tips on how to purchase online, what type of payment should we use? How to protect our paying method information? Choose who to buy from? Are all fundamental skills that our students, even adult, should be aware of and learn. 

The updated version of the nine elements of digital citizenship emphasized three guiding principals Safe, Savvy and Social (or S3). I would like to focus on the Safe (Protect yourself.Protect others) part of S3 on my major project by understanding our rules and responsibility while using each app. Read and analyze the terms of use and privacy policy. Moreover, learn how to protect our personal information and data online. 

With all these guidelines and frameworks in mind, I feel like my social media journey will be kind of exploring how to best use each app and how to be a good digital citizen while using it. I am excited as I am starting to look at apps with a different lens than before. I am confident I will learn a lot along my journey. 

“Digital Citizenship is more than just a teaching tool, it is a way to prepare students for a society full of technology.”

Dr. Mike Ribble

Future of Education

In the last class, we discussed the generational, cultural, and societal changes that may happen ahead. 

Generally speaking, “change” is expected in generational characteristics, in job market requirements and in technology and its adoption. Looking at generation Z for example, who has access to the internet and technology since day one “all technology all the time”.  They spend a lot of their daily time on social media. They are used to “On-demand” “Personalized experience” on different aspects of their life. like using Youtube, Netflix to search for what they want to watch. 

 I agree with Adam, the need for technological skills is a necessity for our students to be able to compete in the future. In fact, this is not just about students but the entire generation.   This is due, in part, to the expected 4th industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) and its adoption of the Internet of Things. (other factors include globalization for example) This wave of industrialization will bring even more data-oriented automation that surpasses that brought by the 3rd industrial revolution.   According to the article, “The fourth industrial revolution” “Some advances are ahead of others. Mobile internet and cloud technology are already impacting the way we work. Artificial intelligence, 3D printing and advanced materials are still in their early stages of use, but the pace of change will be fast” In addition, In the 2020 Future Work Skills “Global connectivity, smart machines, and new media are just some of the drivers reshaping how we think about work, what constitutes work, and the skills we will need to be productive contributors in the future.” 

No one can really know the limits of the change that will be caused to our lives. 

  For example,  “65 percent of children entering school today may end up in jobs that have not yet been invented [according to the World Economic Forum the Future of Jobs report” The skills required for such jobs are not known yet, we can make some predictions, but no one knows for sure. This raises a lot of questions about our educational system and how it can keep up with these changes. 


Considering these characteristics and  the 2020 Future Work Skills six drivers of change

Expected Societal Characteristic Skills required
Rise of smart machines and systems:  Workplace automation nudges human workers out of rote, repetitive tasks Sense-Making

Noval and Adaptive Thinking

Social intelligence


Computational world:  Massive increases in sensors and processing power make the world a programmable system 4- New media ecology: New communication tools require new media literacies beyond text Computational thinking

Design Mindset

Cognitive load management

Superstructed organizations:  Social technologies drive new forms of production and value creation Design Mindset

Cross-cultural competence

New-Media Literacy

Cognitive load management

Virtual Collaboration

New media ecology Computational thinking

New-Media Literacy

Cognitive load management

Extreme longevity:  Increasing global lifespans change the nature of careers and learning New-Media Literacy
globally connected world:  Increased global interconnectivity puts diversity and adaptability at the center of organizational operations New-Media Literacy

Virtual Collaboration

Social intelligence

Noval and Adaptive Thinking


Accordingly, educational systems have to change to keep up with these rapid changes (and Transit into Education 4.0).  Educators are on a mission to implement innovative pedagogical approaches to teach their students so they can get the most out of their learning experience.  Some suggestions include

  1. From an early age, students must learn to actively engage with the material through critical analysis and fundamental questioning of existing norms and systems.
  2. Creating learning ecosystems that are personalized and self-paced; accessible and inclusive; problem-based and collaborative; and lifelong- and student-driven can help 
  3. Teaching methods that emphasize cultural awareness and diversity
  4. Technology design and programming  

I think teachers are trying their best to keep up with these constant changes. My kids are already using different types of technology tools in class (Seesaw, Google Classroom, and Kahoot) are some examples. Many of the assignments that my high school daughter gets are project- and research-based requiring lots of problems solving and critical thinking skills conducted by a group of students.

However, there are some cases when teachers aren’t capable to keep up with the students’  interests and characteristics. They still rely on passive learning and memorization. Especially, when there is a big generational gap. To be honest this doesn’t happen often. I think the fact that millennial is starting to get in the workforce is minimizing this gap already.  However, the change has to happen in a faster base in the future as “Change won’t wait for us”. and, as Krysta C mentioned: “If education can’t keep up, then just like every other organization, it won’t survive”

Cypersecurity risks for students

Last week, we had  Mary Beth, author of “Digital Media and Literacy in the Age of the Internet,” as a guest speaker in class. Mary’s presentation was very informative.  Mary touched a lot of hot and interesting topics in her talk. She covered topics like how the Internet works, FOMO, COPPA Act, Cybersecurity, and digital literacy. I like how Adam summarize it all by an excellent title: “Digital Literacy for Dummies.”

Our kids use internet-based technology all the time.   Such technology is part of our life, not only in education but also in politics, socializing, marketing and news source.  As Mary mentioned in her presentation, “there is no edtech any more, it is only an ed.”  Educating kids about how the Internet (and Technology in general) works is very important for digital literacy.

Mary visually explained having a basic knowledge of this allows students to understand privacy, security issues and help them understand how the internet is a global community. Students need to understand how to use technology safely and wisely. It can be a bumpy road if we don’t use it responsibly. We have to make them aware of what is out there and how to protect themselves. 

There is no ‘real world’ and ‘digital world'” flickr photo by OllieBray shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license


Mary focused on cyber safety and security and how we can teach it to our kids. This is a huge concern for everyone. As adults, we give up our data without even noticing. How many of us read terms of use of the software/ apps we use on a daily basis?  Who reads the policies of websites? For example, we all heard of telephone tax scammers and how they were targeting elderly and new immigrants because they aren’t aware of tax laws in Canada. Imagine, then, how much kids’ privacy is exposed with the extensive use of social media apps and software.

There are other means to collect more and more data personalized data.  Audrey Watters, dug deep into this and explained how schools, for example, collect enrollment data, attendance data, graduation data, disciplinary data, standardized test data as it is one of today’s mandate. But as she stated, “There is, however, little evidence that collecting more data improves teaching or learning. Nevertheless, education technology continues to insist that its software and algorithms can identify students who are struggling – academically or emotionally.

Imagine that some schools even collect and use students’ biometric data to solve cheating issues. The schools use software and algorithms to eliminate the need for human oversight in online exams. Audrey Watters, provides many other cases that she explained in her article.  “Education Technology and Data Insecurity,” 

Data collecting and selling is all over the place. Alec shared a website last week called “We sell your Data.” The website is trying to raise awareness of this enormous issue of collecting data from users. The main message is Be smart about who you choose to give your data.”  Mary told us how she got rid of her Alexa, knowing how it can be a spy in her house, along with the smart TV can eavesdropping on our private conversations as per the article Matteo shared with us.  I actually suspect that the Google Mini at our home spies on us and listens to our discussion!!! Or else how did they know how to provide me with very relevant recommendations on my YouTube timeline??

Having appropriate policies to control the shared data is another crucial aspect. Mary mentioned COPPA law and how it is a good framework especially with students younger than 13 years. I agree with Amanda on the importance of the role of school and educators in teaching students how to behave online and how to think critically and ask themselves questions like; who will access their data? How will data be collected? Where will this data be stored? Will their data be shared with another 3rd party? What data should be provided, and what should not? Mary also stressed on teaching them how to validate the information by using Google reverse image search or checking different websites to source the information and seek the truth.  Eventually, they will be able to make the right choices while creating their digital citizenship.

Mary’s presentation motivated me to talk to my kids more about Cybersafety and security and how to make good choices online. We watched, the movie Searching! It provides a good story of what can happen to our kids online.

Major Project idea

I have been thinking a lot about what option to choose for my major project. Like AdamCatherine, Laurie, and many other of my EC&I 832 classmates  I decided to select Option 2: Personal journey into the media.

I am not a heavy user of Social media, and I feel it is about time to learn about different applications. I have four kids’ age ranges from 11 to 18. I need to understand the world they live in and be able to discuss things based on knowledge, not on what I prefer or used to when I was at their age.

For example, I never read the terms of use or privacy policy for any of my apps or software. Is it essential to do so for social media apps?

It is crucial for me at the end of this personal journey to be able to answer some of these few questions

  • What are the benefits of social media for our kids?

  • What are some of the privacy issues those apps have?
  • What they need to know to handle any issues they face using them?
  • How can “parents” keep them safe on social media?
  • How students can digitally collaborate?
  • Understand what is Cyberbullying; how can it happen using the selected apps and how our kids can stand up against it?
  • Can social media be used to help solve national/ international problems?

To be able to answer these questions, I will:

  1. Create accounts on these platforms and use them a fair amount of time
  2. Review each app in details
  3. Check the terms of uses and privacy policy for each app
  4. Highlight the pros and cons.

I hope to develop infographic guidelines at the end of reviewing each app for parents and students that include:

  • How to safely use each app
  • How can  (educational) resources be accessed through apps?
  • Variety of resources to educate students about digital citizenship
  • How to use social media for digital commerce in a cashless society?
  • social media culture and etiquette
  •  rights and responsibilities of users

I asked my kids about the most popular apps nowadays. They mentioned Snapchat, Tiktok and Instagram. I choose Snapchat and Instagram.

They weren’t much of a help for the educational one. I am thinking of starting with Flipgrid. Can you recommend some of the other educational apps you use in the classroom?

Welcome everyone!

Flickr photo, license under (CC BY 2.0)

Hi my EC&I 832 classmates, My name is Nataly Moussa. A wife, mom of four amazing kids and an Assistant instructional designer at the University of Regina. EC&I 832 is my fourth class with Alec, and also my second last class overall towards my Educational Technology certificate.

EC&I 833 was my first one in the program and my learning journey since I completed my Bachelor’s in computer science back in 2000. It was a wonderful learning experience. I was really enjoying it, and I learned a lot.

Writing a blog each week, in my previous courses with Alec, helped me shape my understanding for each topic significantly. I was very interested in every single topic we discussed in the class which made me spend most of my evening time everyday searching, reading and writing about it.

I am very excited to be working with all my classmates throughout this course and to learn more about Digital Citizenship.