Digital Reflection

Connecting Student Reflection, the Curriculum, and the BC Digital Literacy Framework

Welcome Video

Background image: “Ponto Eletrônico” by Erick Fugii, Otavio Nagano is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0


Project Description

The Questions:

The following is a description and the context for our project answering the question, how can we ensure learners are reflecting on their learning and sharing their knowledge in a way that minimizes their digital footprint?

Teachers have been asked to increase digital learning in the classroom and have been provided with tools like Google classroom but now we are starting to see growing concerns with privacy and the monetization of data. How can we increase digital literacy while protecting our learners?  

The Project:

We want to get learners to create a how-to-video to solidify and extend their knowledge by explaining a concept or idea. learners would document their learning in several segments. The first being the creation of initial ideas and the result of narrowing their focus on where to start. Subsequent segments would include a description of steps in building their first version followed by a story of testing their own project and reflecting on how they will modify their design. “learners must be instructed in monitoring their own performance in ways that ensure that reflective self-evaluation becomes an aspect of creation” Kritt, 1993. This documentation or journal piece of the project could be produced as a hand-written journal or as short video clips to be compiled in the final product.

We chose the grade five level because it is a level some of us teach and is in between the grade levels others of us teach. This, we hope, will give everyone within the group a little something that is relevant to their grade level to take away with them from this project to apply to their real life classroom. In addition, according to Flavell and Wellman, “By about fifth grade children begin to have metacognitive ability sufficient to realize when they are not understanding something” (as cited by Kritt, 1993). Also Zuckerman claimed that, “When the elementary school curriculum does not foster reflective development, other habits of intellectual work will be cultivated that later limit learners motivation for and access to self-learning” (2004, p.10).

We chose to begin with the grade five Science curriculum and Applied Design, Skills, and Technologies curriculum (ADST) as it best applied to the Rube Goldberg Machine project we envisioned for the “How-to-video” reflective learning. We chose the Rube Goldberg Machine project because it lends itself well to the curriculum, it is a very tactile and hands-on scientific inquiry that can be visually recorded well, and it is fun! Making, with careful design and scaffolding can be a powerful form of learning that inspires learners to continue researching and building at home (Becker, 2019). We soon realized that we could also incorporate a little English, Math, and Careers curriculum as well.

Background image: “Complex Simplicity” by Jonathan Knowles is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0


Connection to the BC Digital Literacy Framework

Access Inside of the Classroom 


Learners will be introduced to the project slowly by highlighting the use of simple machines in different applications and scaffolding mini lessons. This would allow the learners to gain understanding and develop prior knowledge which they can implement into their Rube Goldburg machine. 

At the outset, learners may be expected to work in groups. The instructor will provide learning objectives, resources, and checklists to create a Rube Goldburg machine and create a how-to-video to show their learning. In the class environment, the teacher would be able to guide the learners and offer hands-on assistance throughout the project.    


The instructor will provide guidance for the learners on what makes an effective Rube Goldberg machine. The instructor could show a few video examples in class to assist the learners in understanding that the goal is to solve a problem repeatedly. An example of a well-explained outline is The instructor will provide in-class support to learners in finding other resources and videos of their own. Additionally, learners can record notes on their sources of initial inspiration and ideas to reference throughout their learning journey in a hand-written or digital journal. 


The instructor will provide some materials at school that can be supplemented with materials from home, if possible. The learners/groups will start planning their project and record ideas and goals followed shortly by a planning session with the teacher to help guide and facilitate realistic goals. Once approved the learners can move forward. 


Learners/groups will start prototyping and constantly analyze their results and make corrections to solve on-going problems. Learners can use different materials and tools to create their project. 


Learners/groups can showcase their learning by presenting their final project to the class or tours of other classes. Learners/groups will record a how-to-video of their final product to explain the functions and decisions of their design, and to demonstrate how their machine works. The learners will record their final thoughts on their machines, what they liked about it and how they could improve it or change if they completed the project again. Finally, the learners can compile their initial brainstorming idea, planning, final project and reflection video recordings into a video to showcase the journey of their Rube Goldberg Project. The video could be shown in class and shared with parents through email, private YouTube Channel, or over an approved e-portfolio site. In order to reduce learners’ digital footprints, online publishing ideally would be restricted to password protected sites that store data in Canada and follow all the FOIPPA guidelines.


Access Outside of the Classroom

Due to the coronavirus, learners are not able to participate in a classroom environment. Adaptations can be used in delivering the curriculum and assessing the learner’s final project while still incorporating the core competencies, digital literacy standards, and science five curriculum. 


Learners can be introduced to the project topic either synchronously or asynchronously with the goals and objectives into completing the project. The digital platform may be designated by the school district or by the instructor. In addition, the learner may need support and guidance from an adult in the home with the hardware and software to engage with online instructions. Having options for learners who may not be present for synchronous meetings can be organized by the instructor through written or phone communication or from an audio/visual recording outlining the learning objectives.


The instructor will provide a video sample of a Rube Goldberg machine, and encourage learners to complete their own research in finding inspiration into creating their project. An example is Alternatively, a synchronous video conference can be used for the learner to interact with the instructor in providing more support and guidance.


Learners will receive instructions for various options for recording their ideas. Learners can create a series of digital documents, photos, and/or videos to record their journey. They will record information about the materials they choose to use or not use. They will give credit to those people, such as parents and siblings, who supported the learner in planning and collecting resources for their Rube Goldberg Machine.


Learners will experiment with various tools and objects in their home for creating their project. Learners can continue to record their journey as to what worked and didn’t work. 

“Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.”

Thomas A. Edison


The learners will record a ‘how to’ video of their final project with a demonstration of how it works. Previous recordings and reflections can be used by the learner in recalling their planning and implementation of creating their project. Learners can use people in their home as a resource in recording their video. Learners will explain their designs, problems, and solutions. Learners must list references for sources where ideas or novel methods were emulated or adapted for their projects. 

The video would need to follow FOIPPA guidelines in which content remains private. Parental consent would be needed to publish the video. Learners can submit their videos for assessment through private email or password protected site such as FreshGrade. An alternative option would be for a learner to present their ‘how to’ video synchronously if concerns surrounding saved video content were applicable.

Digital Literacies and Curriculum Applied:

Below are the digital literacies taken from the BC Digital Literacy Framework (2016)  and curriculum taken from the Grade 5 English, Science, and ADST BC Curriculum (2016). The document demonstrates how the digital literacies and curriculum apply to the grade 5 Rube Goldberg machine project.


EDCI 572 Curriculum Connections

Background image: “Complex Simplicity” by Jonathan Knowles is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0


Barriers, Challenges and Limitations to Project

The following are barriers, challenges and limitations that must be considered when attempting this type of learning project and how to overcome them.

Time Limitations: 

There is only so much time in a school year and spending a week or more getting learners up to speed on the different software / applications available and learning their use may not be feasible or take away from the core content of the course. 

Stress and frustration can be caused by an unfamiliar online learning environment. This in turn can slow down the learning process. This means learners need to be given the tools and scaffolding to become comfortable with the new approach to learning (Couros and Hildebrandt, 2016). Having clear instructions, carefully scaffolded steps, and well-organized materials prepared beforehand will help learners keep their focus and learn more efficiently. Limiting the various apps, programs, and software to be used will also lead to less troubleshooting, downtime, and frustration. With learners in groups, they can split up the work and give learners who may have more experience with the apps/software/programs a chance to share their knowledge with others in their group.

Student Digital Literacy Levels and Access: 

Not all learners are on the same digital knowledge playing field. Some learners may have good foundational experience in digital literacy while others may have very little experience at all. Others may have different digital tools at home than those used at school. Guðmundsdóttir & Hardersen (2012) found large differences in the access to information and communications technology (ICT), in the types of media experiences, and in the digital competence that children acquire at home. This could create a problem for those who are behind in their online and digital knowledge. Furthermore, it could also create an added difficulty for the teacher who will have to help learners “catch up” with their peers. Anderson and Simpson (2007) suggest that online learning continues to struggle to be fully accepted due to cultural and physical resource limitations that act as barriers in some communities. A study by Crump and McIlroy (2003) which offered free easy access to online learning technologies to a New Zealand community demonstrated that non-users did not see the supplied technology resources as a priority in their lives, suggesting a cultural barrier. 

One way to encourage technological adoption is to provide open technological access to individuals strictly for the sole purpose of, as Kral and Schwab (2012) call it, “Mucking around.” This means that individuals can play on computers and explore online, either alone or with friends, at their own pace, focusing on their interests to engage, develop skills, and create without others acting as gatekeepers. This, in turn, could open the doors to learners being more ready and able to take on digital learning in the future. 

Supplying learners with learning technologies will unfortunately not solve the problem in the moment. A possible remedy would be to have the knowledge-holding learners share their experience with other learners. This can make for a lighter teaching load and solidify the knowledge of the teaching student (Cohen, Kulik, & Kulik, 1982). There may be some learners that are extremely far behind in technological literacy and will require direct teacher help. This may require that they practice at home, if possible, or after school. 

Student Privacy:

Respecting learners’ privacy and considering the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) can sometimes put a wrench into online based learning. Some parents may not want their child participating in any online sharing which would eliminate the online sharing aspect of this project and could limit the use of various apps that store their information out of the country. Saving video clips to Google classroom may have privacy issues as data is stored outside Canada (FOIPPA, 1996). Some districts permit the use of Google Classroom and others don’t. It is up to you to find out where your responsibilities lie.  It may be necessary to store video clips on a local drive.

If a parent or student does not want their information online or even the learners’ image to be taken, workarounds will need to be found. This may mean that learners who do not want to take part in the online aspects of the project will need to be grouped together so that their project remains offline. Further, if a student does not want to be recorded it may require a slight change in how the project is approached. The student may choose to be filmed from behind or to take on roles behind the scenes, such as editor or camera operator. 

Projects can be shared in class, instead of online, in order to allow all learners to participate with the community of the project, giving feedback and receiving critiques. Also, a teacher could provide learners with options for both public online interactions such as Twitter or more secure interactions such as email, a closed Facebook group, or a password protected e-portfolio such as FreshGrade. These options could provide learners with opportunities to become more comfortable with online interactions and allow them to practice online networking before sharing with a wider open audience (Couros and Hildebrandt, 2016).

Even if we have permission from guardians and willingness from learners, we still have issues to consider. Regan and Jesse (2019) list six concerns when it comes to educational technology; these are information privacy, anonymity, surveillance, autonomy, non-disrimination, and ownership of information. In order to minimize students’ online exposure, for this project, we may chosen to use applications that are stored on the device/hardware and publish completed video segments to parents in FreshGrade. Users must be aware that the maximum upload size for FreshGrade is 400MB. FreshGrade Privacy Policy, section 5, (n.d.) states that “we store and process your personal information in full compliance with the British Columbia Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), the Canada Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), and provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Acts (FOIPPA).” In addition, “FreshGrade does not own the content or data collected from a district, school board, school, teacher, parent or student. Users own their content and data”. The question is, who is considered the user? According to Cody Henschel, Director of Information Technology at Saanich Schools, “I think it’s a combination. Some data is uploaded to Freshgrade by the District, and some the student or teacher…we need parental permission to delete a whole student profile, which shows they own that particular data” (personal communication, April 15, 2020).

Alternately, the teacher could create a place to access videos such as a private YouTube Channel where the student’s information is not used in creating the account. “ A private YouTube video can only be shared with the specific people you invite to view the video. Even if someone has the link, you must give the person access to the video” (McCabe, 2018). In addition, students could be restricted to using first names only or avoid using their own faces in the video.

Shared devices:   

Some schools have sets of devices that are accessed by learners in multiple classes. If learners are recording multiple clips for their reflection, it would be wise to assign numbered devices so they have access to their video clips in one place over the course of the project. Because there is a danger that content left on the device can be seen, edited, or deleted by others, it may be wise to share clips to the teacher’s device or a local drive at the end of each recording session.

Copyright & Creative Commons: 

It can be tempting to take something from the internet and put it into our own work but it is important that we cite our sources properly and give credit where it is due. People’s work, whether it is pictures, art, documents, music, or other media, is protected from being stolen by others or plagiarized. Creative Commons has been created specifically to address this issue. Creative Commons media is a standardized copyright which gives permission to others to use said work. This work can be copied, distributed, edited, remixed, and built upon by others as long as the work is given proper credit (Creative Commons, 2019).

For the Rube Goldberg Machine project, it will be important for learners to cite any music, video, or images they use that they did not create entirely themselves to properly meet Copyright and Creative Commons guidelines.

Background image: “Complex Simplicity” by Jonathan Knowles is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0


Digital resources and tools

Here are digital resources and tools you can use to support the project with description as to why the digital resources and tools were chosen:

Background image: “Complex Simplicity” by Jonathan Knowles is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 



Anderson, B., & Simpson, M. (2007). Ethical issues in online education. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning: Ethical Issues in Open and Distance Learning, 22(2), 129-138. doi:10.1080/02680510701306673

Becker, S. (2019). Can makerspaces be more than a fad in education?  Education Canada. EdCan Network. Https.//

British Columbia. Ministry of Education. (2016). BC’s digital literacy framework. Victoria, B.C.: Ministry of Education.

British Columbia. Ministry of Education. (2016). Grade 5 Science Curriculum. Victoria, B.C.: Ministry of Education. 

Cohen, P. A., Kulik, J. A., & Kulik, C.-L. C. (1982). Educational Outcomes of Tutoring: A Meta-analysis of Findings. American Educational Research Journal, 19(2), 237–248. doi: 10.3102/00028312019002237

Couros, A., & Hildebrandt, K. (2016). Designing for open and social learning. In G. Veletsianos (Ed.), Emergence and innovation in digital learning: Foundations and applications. Edmonton, Canada: AU Press. Retrieved from:

Creative Commons: About The Licenses. (2019, April 29). Retrieved March 26, 2020, from

Crump, B., & Mcilroy, A. (2003). The digital divide: Why the “dont-want-tos” wont compute: Lessons from a New Zealand ICT project. First Monday, 8(12). doi: 10.5210/fm.v8i12.1106

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. (1996). Retrieved March 21, 2020, from

FreshGrade. (n.d.). Privacy Policy | FreshGrade. Retrieved April 11, 2020, from

Kral, I. & Schwab, R.G. (2012). Chapter 4: Design Principles for Indigenous Learning Spaces. Safe Learning Spaces. Youth, Literacy and New Media in Remote Indigenous Australia. ANU Press.  Retrieved from:

Kritt, D. (1993). Authenticity, reflection, and self-evaluation in alternative assessment. Middle School Journal, 25(2), 43-45. JSTOR.

McCabe, K. (2018, November). What Does Unlisted Mean on YouTube? (Private vs Unlisted: Who REALLY Sees Your YouTube Video).

Regan, P. M., & Jesse, J. (2019). Ethical challenges of edtech, big data and personalized learning: Twenty-first century student sorting and tracking. Ethics and Information Technology, 21(3), 167–179.

Zuckerman, G. (2004). Development of reflection through learning activity. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 19(1), 9–18. JSTOR.


Background image: “Ponto Eletrônico” by Erick Fugii, Otavio Nagano is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0