Where the Intersection between Talk and Courage Meet

We’ve been working and editing our Digital Citizenship (curriculum dare I say) for a bit now (squeezed in between all the other projects). And I’ve returned to the same conclusion I had at the beginning of this journey. The only thing that is really different is that we access an online environment (switching back and forth like a dynamo). If we dig a bit deeper, we’d see the beliefs are nothing more than the values we already have in our face-to-face world. Values like we respect each other, we respect ourselves and because of that, our actions show it in how we treat both ourselves and others.

The online world has something that our face-to-face world doesn’t have – the ability to communicate and collaborate worldwide in a matter of seconds. This is what social media is all about. Immediacy of connections. And that is where some of the issues may pop up. Once that little publish button, tweet, text or Instagram is posted, it cannot be pulled back. The danger lies in the immediacy – no thinking required. Thinking happened when you were writing (or perhaps not). This leads some to say, just block the tools. However, by using technology to block is to give away teachable moments. A powerful opportunity exists to teach students the ‘what, why, how, where’ of digital citizenship, before, during and after such events. socialmediaguidelinesThese interactions help build the ‘realness’ of online behaviours and attitudes. In essence, they showcase the true values of each of us. What do we really believe? How do we reflect that in our voice, in our actions, in our learning and growing over time? Are there places where our students can learn and practice these skills?
We synthesized these down to four areas – Be safe, Be nice, Be empowered, Be Careful.

You can find the full document here

Social media is here to stay. Digital interactions will increase as people find more uses for it in our daily lives. What we do to answer the questions posed and how we support the digital social learning process is paramount. It is not about the tool. Perhaps the better filter is not an automated one, but one where the student thoughtfully asks: who do I want to be to this global world?

I’d be interested in any thoughts you may have on how you’re negotiating this world with your students or staffs.

Engage in the Experience – Professional Learning

As we organize our teaching/learning environments, it is important to hold time to learn ourselves – to challenge ourselves to engage with new ideas, to seek out new opportunities in professional learning, and to reflect how they relate with personal beliefs.  This is about connecting to what is important.  Only then can we bring powerful experiences for our students.
Here are some possibilities that might lead you to engage on different levels (contact any of our Learning Technologies team for more information or check out the sections in our blog):

blogBlog or other online platform – Why? It’s all about communication and sharing your story, engaging the world (whether it is with parents or to a wider audience) in a dialogue of learning.  Consider how Literature Circles, writing, interactive posters, audio radio shows, portfolios can all tell a story beyond paper and pencil. Start a positive digital footprint for students here.

razkids Raz-Kids – Why? Reading fluency is foundational to solid reading practice. Students need to listen to good text  and practice reading to gain proficiency. The ability to record personal readings multiple times, listen to hear  themselves gives opportunities to self assess their own achievement.

googledocs_logoGAFE (Google Apps for Education) – Why? What’s the one thing that creates great writing – articulated revision comments in writing pieces (and lots of them over time). Google docs provides a seamless environment that connect comments to support the student writer as they grow in their ability to communicate in written forms. The collaborative nature of the application lends itself to focused writing and research projects.

digifootprint_ed Digital Citizenship – Why? Our students are growing up in a world where ‘digital’ is the norm. To some it is as ubiquitous as air. How do we harness this environment for learning? What added things do we need to consider in this world? While the ideals of citizenship and social responsibility are similar in both face-to-face and online environments, the online nature creates new challenges in understanding communication.

Fast Forword-brain-puzzleFast ForWord – Why? Too often we try so hard to support our students who find reading incredibly challenging due to a host of reasons and we see minimal gains. Based on neuroscience and brain plasticity, Fast ForWord and Reading Asistant has offered significant learning success for these students. More information on this process can be found on our Fast ForWord blog.


October is “Connected Educator Month”
.  How is this information connecting to your understandings? Please join us in the ongoing conversation and share with your staffs (send this link to them).

Voice and Choice – Teachers & Students Ring Out

From time to time we continue our focus on sharing  practices in SD41 that create community and build connected stories using our blogs.

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On the Cariboo side of the city, resides Armstrong teacher, Jude Comeau. Her blog called Division 11’s Class Blog-Learning One Byte At A Time,  is a hive of connected learning.  Her purposes are multi-fold; informing the parent community of targeted lessons and activities, student blogging as authentic writing on a digital platform, student e-portfolio of writing process over time, student voice and choice.  From a glance at the student work, I can see the negotiation of language as they get better and better at articulating their story.

Here’s a student piece on “important from heart”:

THE SECRET PROJECT
We are very busy with our project. I hope it turns out amazing for everyone! I have seen some of your illustrations! They look amazing! I have seen Alyssa’s illustrations and they look like an artist drew it because she is an artist! Good for you! I hope your Moms will like it because you worked very very very very hard on it! We have to thank Mrs. Comeau for buying the tea, the cookies, the juice and more ! You are the best teacher in the world!!! For Mothers day this is my Mom’s third time going to it! First my brother was in her class three years ago! Second my sister had a mothers day tea in preschool with the same mugs. They borrowed it from Mrs.Comeau. So this is her third time going! Hopefully my sister is in her class! Then she will have four!  I hope this turns out great for everyone! Thank you Mrs. Comeau!

From …

Can you feel this grade 3 student’s energy and spark as she writes – I do. blog_comeau2

Oral language is showcased through the use of a talking avatar, Tellagami  (iPad app) where they share their best books. These were so convincing as salespeople that I wanted to hop over and read the books myself.  And they discovered the power of polls. The latest one provided another opportunity to gather information as well as discuss the results. Since the topic was Mothers’ Day, I’m wondering just how the conversation went.

blog_hintzl

 

Over on the North side, is Aubrey French teacher, Laura Hintz. Her blog named Division 7 – notre coin de communication, is another example of story sharing.  She uses her camera to capture work done on the whiteboard and posts them as snapshots of learning. This is powerful for both students as a review and for parents to glean a window into school.  Using the blog in this manner offers more class time for collaborative dialogue rather than having students spend the time in copying down notes.

Her students have been granted ids to share their voice online.  An ecclectic set of posts (written in French) connected to each student writer is showcased providing an e-portfolio of sorts into their learning.  Comments from peers are a part of the journey of writing to support and grow the community of writers. Students experienced multiple times the power of crafting comments that “lift the writer”.

None of the posts are perfect and this should not be the goal. A blog is always a work in progress offering space and time for sharing, reflection and reworking of ideas. Writing takes practice, a lot of practice is required to craft focused powerful communication.  Great writing requires a lot of reading and synthesizing to inform thinking.  The journey of both classes of student bloggers and teacher storytellers also shows courage.  Courage to put ideas out there and courage to receive feedback.  In doing so, they not only share their story but give courage to the rest of us to share ours.

Our Learning Technologies team is always available if you would like move along this direction – providing opportunities for students to live and experience digital citizenship.
How are you sharing your story?