As a technology coach, one of my responsibilities is to “Advocate for policies, procedures… to support implementation of the shared vision represented in…technology plans and guidelines,” according to the ISTE Coaching Standards, (ISTE, 2017).
I had an opportunity to contribute to the shared vision and future planning of my department during the second year of my masters studies. My department was undergoing a revision in departmental goals and program outcomes. Our director asked faculty to evaluate what was important for our students to learn and/or demonstrate prior to leaving the university. Understanding that 21st century skills are an integral part of the future workforce, I suggested we included elements of digital citizenship.
This contribution was influenced by an informal assessment I had conducted of our department digital citizenship readiness where it was identified that digital communication was an area of improvement for our students. Therefore, as part of new our digital citizenship goal, each program made a commitment to hold students accountable to digital etiquette. Figure 1.1 highlights the outcome of that commitment.
I worked with the instructor of the introductory FCS course to build the evidence of mastery for this departmental goal using posts from this learning portfolio and modules I have previously created in Canvas (learning management system). Implementation of these assignment are currently taking place. We will evaluate the assignments to compare outcomes to our benchmarks at the end of the quarter.
Educators inspire students to positively contribute to and responsibly participate in the digital world.
3a. Create experiences for learners to make positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online that build relationships and community.
3b. Establish a learning culture that promotes curiosity and critical examination of online resources and fosters digital literacy and media fluency.
3c. Mentor students in safe, legal and ethical practices with digital tools and the protection of intellectual rights and property.
3d. Model and promote management of personal data and digital identity and protect student data privacy.
Educators facilitate learning with technology to support student achievement of the ISTE Standards for Students.
6a. Foster a culture where students take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes in both independent and group settings.
6b. Manage the use of technology and student learning strategies in digital platforms, virtual environments, hands-on makerspaces or in the field.
6c. Create learning opportunities that challenge students to use a design process and computational thinking to innovate and solve problems.
6d. Model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections.
How can teachers pass more agency to inspire younger students to lead student-centered learning with digital technology and foster their digital citizenship in the learning process?
Warriors without Worries
In our school, we pilot BYOD initiate in K-5. Since we extend this program down to Elementary and Kindergarten, the most concern from both teachers and parents is how to protect students from the negative sides of digital technologies, such as potential harmful online resources, the risks of low self-regulation and low self-efficiency. Instead of worries, we need to seek appropriate approaches to equip younger students with critical thinking, and digital competencies in authentic ways to practice these skills and develop a mature mindset for the 21st century. Teachers should scaffold and motivate younger students to leverage digital technology to lead student-centered learning independently or collaboratively and foster digital citizenship authentically rather than abstractly which will benefit students to be lifelong learners and good citizens in the digital world.
Environment- A Shield in Digital World; Digital Competency- Being Equipped
to Teach How to Search Online Through A Safe Engine and Foster Digital
search online will be the essential skills and the threshold for younger
students to lead empowered learning using digital tools and is also a sign for
teachers to pass more or less agency depending on whether students master and
improve the ability. Teachers can break down the research skills into small
acceptable, practical mini-lessons integrated into regular classes to lead
authentic learning and build students confidence at the same time. For the
younger students, they cannot grasp solid skills until they connect the
knowledge with the real world and practice by small steps. The kid-friendly
search engine will be the best starting, which is designed for children as a
firewall protects students from inappropriate content. Like Kidzsearch, it is
powered by Google that emphasizes safety for kids and provides videos, and
image sections, which are a handy tool to provide younger students with a safe
Get Ready to Search with Five Steps
This is a
brainstorming step which needs students to think what information they want to
look for in their searches. Teachers can have students discuss keywords,
alternative phrases, and generating questions.
This is a
practice step which needs students to transfer their ideas into reality.
Students will see different search terms cause different results and find out
which are closer to their expectation to foster computational thinking.
In this step, teachers need to have students delve whether the results are reliable or not from the URL. Also, have students to build a good habit to verify the sources before open the links.
The flowchart provided by www.kathleenamorris.com explains this step.
It always is excited that students find what they need from thousands of results for their work. Now we need to bring up the copyright and plagiarism. This is also an essential step to foster digital citizenship from a young age. Students need to understand and respect the rights of using and sharing others’ work. Kathy Schrock’s PDF document can give ideas on how to progressively teach citation from grades 1 to 6 (and beyond). It provides some clear examples that you could adapt for classroom use.
When the teachers provide mini-lessons on research online, they also can embed Digital Passport into regular classes to foster digital citizenship, which is provided by Common Sense.
The mini-lessons as a win-win mode will help students to build good habits and mature mindset when they explore online information for learning goals and also can be integrated into classes seamlessly. Students will improve the digital skills and digital citizenship from authentic learning by small steps and make connections between the digital world and the real world to develop brain growth to transfer cognition. The mini-lessons are paving the path for teachers to pass more agency to younger students on empowered learning.
Kidblog-A Safe Platform to Track Students Growth and Build Self-Regulation
Kidblog is a safe digital space for younger students to foster digital citizenship and build confidence in student-centered learning under the teacher’s scaffolding. It allows younger students to blog with various formats such as videos, images, and audios to reflect learning outcomes which will be posted privately only visible by teachers firstly. Students will grow their audience sharing work after get approved by the teacher with classmates, other classes, or across the world and learn from others. It is the same process as the comments with which students will foster digital citizenship and learn how to contribute and give credit to others to build a healthy digital community. The built-in portfolios as the showcase help to track self-regulation and digital citizenship growth for each student to inspire and motivate them to have a high level of self-efficiency on learning with digital tools.
For the younger students, the necessary digital skills and safe environment tools are paving the path for them to achieve learning outcomes through digital technology when they get empowered. But in the process, the teacher’s role as supervisor and facilitator are also crucial for keeping younger students on the track to be good citizens in the digital world and develop digital competencies and cognition. As educators for younger students, we need to seek age-appropriate ways to equip them. Since younger students have limited ability to handle the concept of abstracts, the teacher needs to provide more opportunities and agency to practice digital citizenship and skills in authentic and tangible ways.
Ferlazzo, L. (2016, September 24). Response: ‘Freedom to Fail’ Creates a Positive Learning Environment. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/classroom_qa_with_larry_ferlazzo/2016/09/response_freedom_to_fail_creates_a_positive_learning_environment.html
Morris, K. (2018, February 23). 5 Tips For Teaching Students How To Research Online And Filter Information (Free eBook And Posters). Retrieved from http://www.kathleenamorris.com/2018/02/23/research-filter/
Poth, R. (2018, April 18). A better way to track growth and promote reflection. Retrieved from https://kidblog.org/home/a-better-way-to-track-growth-and-promote-reflection/
Fingal, D. (2017, December 14). Infographic: Citizenship in the digital age. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/explore/articleDetail?articleid=192
This quarter as part of Seattle Pacific University’s EDTC 6103 Teaching, Learning, and Assessment 2 course, I investigated the question: “How can we use Skype Collaborations to connect us with others both locally and globally to solve real-world problems?” My goal was to find information on Skype Collaborations as well as answer questions I had about creating a Global Collaborative Project. Through research, my focus for this investigation was to cover the following ISTE Educator Standard:
4c: Use collaborative tools to expand students’ authentic, real-world learning experiences by engaging virtually with experts, teams and students, locally and globally.
What are the benefits of Global Collaboration?
Renewed Sense of Purpose:
“Students see the real effects that their creation can have on others” (Ripp, 2016)
Renewed Sense of Community
“Students yearn to see where they fit into the world” (Ripp, 2016)
Renewed Understanding of the Digital Footprint: “Engaging Students in global collaborative projects means that they see the footprint creation as well as the effect their online interactions can have on other people” (Ripp, 2016)
Before Creating a Global Collaborative Project
Questions to Think About
In Pernille Ripp’s book, “Reimagining Literacy Through Global Collaboration: Create Globally Literate K 12 Classrooms”, he recommends thinking about the following questions before creating your Global Collaborative Project:
Which subject areas will this project influence?
How much time can you devote to this project?
What are your preferred digital or analog tools?
Do students have a say in what you share?
What are you hoping to accomplish from participating in this global project?
Tips to be Successful
Ripp also give the 10 following tips to a successful Global Collaborative Project:
Make sure the idea is easily translatable
Don’t make too many rules
Invite others to contribute ideas
Don’t get stuck in a rut
Use technology tools for the right reason
Create a community
Trust other people
Make it fun!
Using Skype Collaborations as a Collaborative Tool
One tool I found while researching Global Collaboration Projects was Skype Collaborations. I found many projects that were available that I could join that varied on subject area and grade (age). It was enlightening to see other projects and get a grasp of what a real Global Collaborative Project should look like. Here is an example of one:
With the video above and the available global projects available with Skype Collaborations, I was able to see some examples of successful Global Collaborative Projects, The next question that came in mind is if this type of tool would be suitable for the younger ages (Pre-K and Kindergarten). I was pleasantly surprised on the amount of projects that were suitable for little learners! Karina Bailey, who is a Kindergarten teacher from Georgia, even shares some of her favorite collaborations she does with her class:
One document I found in my research on Skype Collaborations was a guide to help answer some questions you may be having about using Skype Collaborations in the classroom. Here are a few that helped me:
“How can I find the right Skype Collaboration for my classroom?”
Browse through or use the filter to view available Skype Collaborations by:
Dates and times available
“How long does a Skype Collaboration session last?”
“As Skype Collaborations are run by teachers, it can vary, and depends on the nature of the Collaboration- whether it’s a one-off call or a longer-term project you’ll be working on together. Usually Skype sessions are between 30 minutes to an hour to fit in with the school lesson timings.”
“How do we get connected on Skype?”
“The host will normally send you a contact request via Skype before the session. If the host has provided you with their Skype ID, please go ahead and add them as a contact on Skype and wait for them to accept the request. If this is your first call, we recommend having a test call- either with the host, or if they are not available with another contact (even a teacher in another room!)”
“What age range are Skype Collaborations suitable for?”
“We have options for all age ranges- use the filter to find those available for your students ages. You can also include some information in your message to the host as to your students needs and what they hope to gain from the session. Generally as you’ll be working with another class, the students on both sides are usually around the same age.”
This quarter as part of Seattle Pacific University’s MEd in Digital Education Leadership, our cohort practiced using the Understanding by Design Model of teaching. We were asked to create a lesson plan that consists of student standards, digital citizenship elements, and the use of technology however when planning the lesson we were also asked to use the backwards design process.
This blog post will showcase a Kindergarten lesson I designed for my students using the Understanding by Design Model as well as my reflection on using the backwards design process.
The activity I will be using for this project is a collaborative project in which my students and I will be building a digital classroom E book. We have recently been learning about 3D shapes and I wanted them to begin seeing these shapes in the environments around them. For this project students will take digital photographs of 3D shapes around our school and I will upload them into our classroom computer. Next, the students and I will look at the photographs we took of the 3D shapes and use positional words to make sentences for our book. For example, one page of the book might be a picture of a ball at recess. We would look at the photo and using positional words come up with a sentence like, “The ball is on the grass.”
Kindergarten Concepts -3D shapes -Positional words
Digital Citizenship Opportunity -Go over copyright. We took these images of our school and explain how it would be unfair for someone to use our images without our permission or consent. Remember that when we use images online that other people have taken that we must give credit to them.
Creating the Lesson
The Six Facets of Understanding
For my lesson shown above I showed evidence of the six facets of understanding through the following:
Students would be able to explain the steps and process of making a classroom E-book and understand why making an E-Book can help others in our school/community.
Students needed to interpret what a 3D shape is and properties of each shape to successfully find shapes around the school.
Students would apply their knowledge of 3D shapes and Positional Words to create a Digital Page for our Classroom E-book.
Students would use their perspective to chose pictures they find best represents 3D shapes as well as a picture they would be able to write a sentence using a positional word with.
When reflecting upon making the 3D shape E-Book, students would learn about how our E-Book could be shared with others. They would also learn how to empathize with other classrooms who do not have access to such technologies to create their own.
Students would also learn the importance of Copyright and how to empathize when others use their photos without giving them credit for taking them.
Students would provide self-knowledge about 3D shapes at the beginning of the lesson when asked to identify shapes they see around their community.
ISTE Student Standard 2C: Students demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property.
In my lesson I incorporated digital citizenship using the experience of photo-taking to discuss basic copyright rules with my young learners. Most of my learners are new to technology and I wanted to find a way to relate a digital citizenship element to something they did during the lesson. I felt teaching them to give credit to photos and documents we read/use online would be a great lesson to pair with their performance task. I felt that discussing respect and rules of sharing online resources while students were feeling proud and invested in the photos they had taken would be more meaningful to the students and hopefully have a bigger impact in teaching them to be responsible digital citizens.
I felt this project taught me the importance of keeping the end in mind when planning lessons. Many times it can be easy to come up with ideas and projects for students, but you can struggle to find standards or objectives that are relevant to what they should be learning. Using the backwards design ensures that the standards are being met, I am collecting appropriate assessment data, and that my lesson is relevant to what the students should be learning.
One area I would like to continue to improve on is finding age appropriate apps and programs I can use in lessons that allow my young learners to begin exploring technology and learning how to be responsible digital citizens. Luckily for me I am in a program with many voices to provide guidance and suggestions.
As part of the Teaching, Learning, and Assessment class in Seattle Pacific University’s Digital Education Leadership Program, we are learning about ISTE student standard 7- Global Collaborator. For this standard I wanted to investigate what ways I can build diversity in my classroom by introducing my students to global communication and collaboration. My goal was to find programs, activities, and ideas I can use in my classroom to allow my students to connect with others from around the world as well as around their community. Through research, my focus for this investigation was to cover the following standard indicators:
7a: Students use digital tools to connect with learners from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, engaging with them in ways that broaden mutual understanding and learning.
7b: Students use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.
Skype in the Classroom
Soon after beginning my research, I found that many articles and educators referred back to the communication tool known as Skype. I have heard of this application before and have even used it to make personal calls to home when on vacation, but why was this tool getting so much hype in educational blogs and research articles? I decided to change direction a bit with my research and look more into the ways Skype is being used in the classroom, and I am glad I did! Skype is a Microsoft communication application that has recently created a live opportunity of learning that they call “Skype in the Classroom” for creating global experiences for students including: “Virtual Field Trips, talks from Guest Speakers, classroom to classroom connections, and live collaboration projects. ” In this blog post I will be exploring three of the ways Skype in the Classroom can bring global communication and collaboration into your classroom.
Virtual Field Trips
A Digital Alternative to Traditional Field Trips
Every teacher knows the hassle of putting together a field trip, (making sure permission slips are signed, finding chaperones, funding transportation and so on) but what if allowing students to explore their community or even the world wasn’t so difficult? These days technology has allowed us to see the world in a completely new point of view. We are able to see structures in real time and speak to experts from around the world. Companies like Skype are now encouraging an alternative to the traditional field trip design called Virtual Field Trips. Skype describes Virtual Field Trips as “live experiences that allow educators to let their students experience the world.” Skype also provides benefits to such experiences as being:
“Another level of connecting students to the real world.”
“A way to deepen students understanding and learning as they can be tied to each classroom’s curriculum. “
“Customized by the host so as to meet your students’ needs and your teaching goals.”
“The ability to travel around the world without a passport, experience different cultures, and have fun at the same time. “
Imagine doing a book study on an author, your students have questions about why the author made a certain character act the way he/she did or even what inspired the author to write the story, but these are questions that you may not have the answer to. Skype in the classroom has connected with guest speakers around the world including authors that allows your students to meet and ask questions they may have directly to the source. This experience allows students to recognize how what they are learning in the classroom connects to the world around them. Imagine the possibilities, students could meet:
Access to these types of connections can inspire students for what they want to do with their futures and being able to ask the questions they are curious about will help them gain the information they need in order to get there.
A Fun Interactive Way to Explore Different Cultures
“Mystery Skype is an educational game (invented by teachers) played by two classrooms on Skype. The aim of the game is to build cultural awareness, critical thinking skills, and geography skills by guessing the location of the other classroom through a series of yes/no questions. It is suitable for all age groups, from kindergarten through university students, and can be adapted for any subject area. ” Mystery Skype also teaches other 21st century skills such as:
What Technology Skills Are Students Demonstrating When Using Skype in the Classroom?
In an article written by Matt Bower he explains the importance of collaborating in web-conferencing environments. He goes on to relate the learning students gain from these types of experiences to ISTE standard skills such as:
● “Use technology effectively and productively” ● “Communicate and collaborate” ● “Conduct research and use information” ● “Think critically, solve problems, and make decisions” ● “Demonstrate creativity and innovation” ● “Be ethical digital citizens”
Reflection, Six Facets of Understanding, ISTE-2 Digital Citizen
In my deep memory, I had 12 years of learning experiences from elementary to
high school anchored on thousands of tests. The aim of learning is for the
expectation of a high score in the final university entry examination but not
for understanding. Coverage-focused teaching is the universal instructional
design in the Chinese schools where teachers have to follow a set of fixed
teaching standard for every lesson; thousands of students must meet the same
standard by a set of continuous assessments. School is more like a factory keep
manufacturing billions of artifacts (students) within the same characters.
Something different will treated as bad or odd in which opinion the precious
stuff is getting lost: curiosity, creativity. If you ask me “What did you learn
from the 12 years?” My answer is “I am a good student on the test but not a
As an educator now, I need to ask myself a vital question “What is the purpose of instruction?” In my heart, the purpose is understanding. We need to turn our view back on how much content students understand, did they have a deep understanding rather than I know it, or I got it, did the instruction has any intellectual impacts. As the educator, we must seek a way to develop students’ understanding, and explore evidence of understanding. From the book “Understanding by Design,” I learned the backward design providing a habit of mind focused on students’ understanding through every element of design as content-delivery, learning activities, and assessment. The template of UbD is like a map with a designed route pointed to the achievement of understanding. After learning the UbD, I started to pilot the backward design for a secondary photography class on the panorama unit. (Figure 1.1-1.3) The book presents that when the six facets of understanding are all completely developed, mature and deep understanding happens. So the six facets need to be considered in each stage of design. Let us make the whole instructional design (Panorama unit) into small pieces to see how powerful the UbD is.
Knock the door
With the essential questions, students will get motivated on the panorama and move to deep-dive learning with curiosity and explicit purpose. The first activity of taking a non-panorama photo of the whole classroom will cause failure which can provoke students’ questions and think. Have them splice the pieces of printed photos to make one completed big panorama photo aimed to improve them in the understanding of how the panorama works. The students will discuss by the group and post a reflection on this activity to explain what panorama is in their mind and what caused the failure-Explanation. With this self-assessment, students understand more about panorama with tangible puzzle activity and teacher can provide support on any misunderstanding of panorama concept from students’ post. Students also need to aware of digital citizenship from considering if their reflection is understandable, credible to others.
Cross the threshold
After knocking the door of panorama’s world, students need to master the basic skills of taking panorama photos from a smartphone. With teacher’s coach, students will have different experiences through the practice. They will choose one of their works no matter the one that is successful or failed to share with the class to exchange the ideas of the tips-Explanation. Each group will create an illustrated chart collaboratively based on the sharing and summarized them to prepare for teaching younger students (The performance task). In the Let’s Panorama task, students will leap understanding by teaching younger students how to take successful panorama photos-Interpretation and Application. Based on the teacher’s discussion questions, each group needs to think over if their illustration includes empathy and post the revised vision on the group blog. Students will engage in a positive peer-assessment to give comments depending on the facets of empathic, understandable, and practical. Students will cultivate and manage their digital identity and reputation which is essential to create a healthy climate in the digital world by the awareness of their digital actions. Also, students will foster digital etiquette and show respects on others’ work during social interaction online.
-Master Key Knowledge
The teacher needs to deliver the knowledge on panorama’s composition such as “C,” “Triangle”，and “Curve.” Students need to understand how the composition helps the photographer to express his big idea. Moreover, students need to have a deeper understanding that the successful panorama photo has to include empathy between the photographer and audiences, appropriate composition, and creative elements. In the A Photo Critic performance task, each group will find a good panorama photo from online and articulate the reason why they choose it to demonstrate their understanding of the key factors of a successful panorama photo and reveal their own critical and insightful points of view-Perspective. Students will share their perspectives and provide feedbacks using the blog to present digital citizenship. They will cultivate a respectful attitude and give credit to others when they are using and sharing online resources.
With the understanding of the factors of a successful panorama photo, students will create a panorama photo permeating the four factors to express their big idea. The photos will be posted in the hallway and students can choose the favorite one to narrate the reason anchored by the four factors to dive into a deep understanding of the soul of panorama photos-Application, Empathy
Innovation- Mature Understanding
The big idea of this unit is to design innovative panorama photos through effective collaboration and communication. The teacher will show some supernatural photos and have students discuss and try to imitate them. In this part of learning (imitation, reproducing), the teacher needs to introduce the knowledge of the copyright to promote students’ understanding of the respect for the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property in the digital world to reinforce their awareness of digital citizenship and demonstrate it when they work on the innovative task (Brainstorm). Each group will post their design script of the scene and share with others through blogs, revise after getting feedbacks and create the final artifacts based on the design. Students will have a divisional role in this collaborative learning and demonstrate the full understandings of the panorama from different dimensions to make up each other’s blind spots to leap to the mature understanding.-Self-knowledge
An additional task on online interaction
Digital citizenship is not an isolated curriculum and also needs ongoing
practices. It can be embedded into different curriculums, different lessons.
Digital citizenship will be fostered and developed as a habit of mindset when
students understand how important it is in the digital world.
In this panorama class, students will use the blog to present learning achievements and reflections and interact with others. In the digital world, students need to understand the indispensable of building digital identities and reputation by ethical and positive behavior which is paralleled with the real world. They need to present respect and credit of using, sharing, and commenting on others’ online works to demonstrate digital citizenship. The teacher can implement a continual task to help students understand digital citizenship when they interact online. The task is “Chart It.” This paper provides a lesson plan. “https://d1e2bohyu2u2w9.cloudfront.net/education/sites/default/files/uploads/classroom-curriculum/6-8-library-chartit.pdf”(Common Sense Media, 2012)
I suggest teachers re-create different Chart It Scenarios and student-assessment which are relevant to the specific lessons including unintentional hurtful scenarios, intentional helpful scenarios, and intentional hurtful scenarios…Each group needs to stand on the class-sized grid (Figure 2)which is combined with X Axis = “Hurtful” (left) and “Helpful” (right); Y Axis = “Intentional” (top) and “Unintentional” (bottom) in the same spot that they marked on their grid of each scenario. Students need to explain their positions and rethink their online communication if they are intentional helpful, positive and benefit others, feeling of others to lead a deeper understanding of digital citizenship-Explanation, Empathy.Teachers can reproduce the scenarios as a form of an ongoing task to cultivate the awareness and mindset of digital citizenship. I create a Chart it Scenarios for the panorama class (Figure 3)
Using the UbD to design pilot instruction for the photography class, I can
find the power of the UbD in both teaching and learning. It scaffolds teacher
permeates any six facets of understanding into different forms of learning
activities and assessments and move forward to the completed understanding as
the outcome. Students will transfer their understanding to abilities and build
interconnection to benefit their future learning. With the emerging digital
tools coming out, I choose the blog as the platform for interaction and
demonstration which will engage students to build a healthy digital community
to become good digital citizens within digital etiquettes and ethics in mind. A
good instructional design will evolve into a great design over time. It will
come through from iterative revises. We need to change some elements of the
design depended on the students’ reflections and outcomes. UbD will always
provide the right direction of the design with an explicit purpose of
Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design, expanded 2nd edition. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.spu.edu
Common Sence Media. (2012). Chart It. Retrieved from https://d1e2bohyu2u2w9.cloudfront.net/education/sites/default/files/uploads/classroom-curriculum/6-8-library-chartit.pdf
Q: What are tools, technology and curriculum that we can use to teach K-5 students how to use, understand and leverage technology to set goals, monitor and reflect on their learning in a way that makes sense for them developmentally?
One digital platform that I had heard about and then researched further in order to answer this question was Seesaw – a student driven digital portfolio. In an article I read from TechCrunch, “How Seesaw Accidentally Became a Teacher’s Pet at ¼ of U.S. Schools”, it became clear that Seesaw could be a great way to ease students into using technology to learn goal setting, share and reflect on their work and others, and that this could be done with students in the early grades. Some key details that got me initially excited about Seesaw were that students can use a QR code to sign in easily, it is free (a paid subscription is available), it connects families to the classroom and can be a way for shy students to showcase their learning in a more comfortable way (Constine, 2016). There is also a potential for connecting Social/Emotional Learning curriculum within it also.
One frustration that I have had as an educator is that many of the digital education platforms being used in education are too complex for the younger years and so they are not getting familiar with technology early on in an educational way. Instead, they are often using technology purely for games which can lead to not taking tools and technology seriously as a learning platform. In the article, “Supporting Autonomy in the Classroom: Ways Teachers Encourage Student Decision Making and Ownership”, they talk about the idea of ‘Catch’ and ‘Hold’. Catch is the bells and whistles in instruction used to attract attention and the hold is where we can then engage students in meaningful academic tasks (Stefanou, Candice R., Perencevich, Kathleen C., DiCintio, Matthew, & Turner, Julianne C., 2004, p.105). Often, technology platforms excel in the ‘Catch’ portion of this but the ‘Hold’ is sacrificed because it becomes a game to students instead of a tool for learning. When I connect this to the ISTE standard around Digital Citizenship, this is a key area where digital education leaders can think about better serving students by explicitly teaching them at a young age that learning is happening on these tools and goal setting, reflections and seeing their growth and peers growth is a fantastic way to do this. With Seesaw, the simplicity of the design and input from students, allows students and educators to focus on the ‘Hold’ not the ‘Catch’ of winning tokens, currency, points, stickers or the many ways that apps and platforms ‘catch’ young learners.
Finally, Seesaw connects to the importance of high cognitive autonomy being the essential ingredient in which motivation and engagement can be maximized (Stefanou, et a.l (2004)). When we choose to use platforms that ask students to take the time to think deeply about their learning, what they are doing and, even more essential, WHY they are doing it, the connection to autonomy is greater. It is not about autonomy based on the choice of organization or procedures within learning but instead active engagement in better understanding of how to explain their own learning, misunderstandings and how/why they think what they think. If students can start engaging with digital technologies in this way early on, just imagine how they may approach learning later on in middle and high school settings! Instead of compliance around doing what the teacher says, they can be interacting with educators and education in a way that transfers to all content, contexts and disciplines every step of the way from elementary school to college to real life situations.
All of the above connects deeply to ISTE Student Standards 1a and 1c because of the focus on student involvement in both use of the platform and personal articulation being documented on Seesaw. If we as educators want student commitment, involvement and autonomy which provides a motivation for taking hold of their own learning, then so far, it seems as if Seesaw could be a solution to starting this process in the early years for our youngest learners. Yet, since I have not personally tried Seesaw, I leave many questions on the table still around equity, engagement, and reality of ‘boots on the ground’ when using this technology in the classroom and with the school community (parents, administration, etc). I look forward to reporting back here to reflect on my own learning after I launch into using it.
Stefanou, Candice R., Perencevich, Kathleen C., DiCintio, Matthew, & Turner, Julianne C. (2004). Supporting Autonomy in the Classroom: Ways Teachers Encourage Student Decision Making and Ownership. Educational Psychologist,39(2), 97-110.
As a Digital Education Leader my mission is to provide students with the digital tools and knowledge for them to become successful digital citizens in modern day society.
As a teacher, it is my responsibility to provide students with the skills necessary to be able to successfully explore, research, and connect in a safe and meaningful manner, both online and offline. A successful student should be able to explore the internet and identify safe and credible websites, give credit to creators and authors of research they use, and connect with others around the world in a safe, legal, and ethical fashion while showing respect and kindness. Learning in the 21st century is quite different than what it used to be; and how we teach students to use technology now will determine how technology is used in the future. I have created three guiding principles that align with the ISTE Digital Citizenship Standards to help shape my practice as a Digital Education Leader.
Principle 1: Providing Access to Students and Modeling Digital Etiquette
Model and promote strategies for achieving equitable access to digital tools and resources and technology-related best practices for all students and teachers.
Providing access to technology paves the way for student exploration, global communication, and a multitude of research materials. With technology students have the opportunity to create, connect, and collaborate with the world around them. Some argue that technology is and will continue to cause more harm than good. (Pew Research, 2018) If looked at as a tool, technology is only as good as the person using it. If we choose to use technology irresponsibly and without a purpose, then technology will do more harm than good. However, if we choose to educate the younger generations on proper digital etiquette and model how to use technology meaningfully, then technology can and will be looked at as more helpful than harmful.
Technology has the potential to bring people together and allow individuals to find, evaluate, identify, and use information. (Common Sense Media) However, without the ability to access such opportunities we are no closer to bridging the Digital Divide. Providing individuals access to digital devices and information is a goal every community should have. Some challenges communities seem to be facing is access to internet, maintaining hardware, training teachers, and device management. (Wiley Handbook, 2016) As a Digital Education Leader in my school my goal is to help provide access to both information and devices to my students as well as teach fellow teachers how to teach with technology and help support digital citizenship within their students.
Principle 2: Reflecting on Digital Well-Being and Using the Internet in a Purposeful Manner
Model and facilitate safe, healthy, legal, and ethical uses of digital information and technologies.
Technology can benefit our lives in many ways, but there are many potential risks when not using technology in a purposeful manner. One of those risks is Digital Addiction, which David S.H. Rosenthal describes as a result of the digital economy competing for humans’ attention. (Pew Research, 2018) David Levy emphasizes that “When we are mindful, we choose to pay attention to what is explicitly important to us; being mindful begins to reveal our values in a way wandering lost through the digital landscape can never do.” (Paulus, 2018) It is clear the importance attention has on our well-being, but that does not stop creators of online websites such as Facebook or Twitter from making it harder to focus online.
As an Educator and as a Digital Leader within my school it is important to teach students how to use the internet in a safe, healthy, legal, and ethical way. The first step to this is to identify where we are putting our attention; making sure when we are online that we are using this tool in a meaningful way. Rheingold reminds us to reflect on why we tend to choose certain media and why we avoid others. (Rheingold, 2012) If you are easily distracted than the internet can be a dangerous place. It is very easy to get “sucked into” checking your emails, watching videos online, or scrolling through Facebook.(Digital Zion 2014) When you get in the habit of mindlessly using electronic devices or searching online then you continue feeding your digital addiction. One of my goals is to help teach students how to use the internet for a purpose and how to stay away from distractions to prevent procrastination.
After identifying where your attention is being put, you can find a way to practice using what Sherry Turkle refers to as “Deep Attention”. (Turkle, 2015) Unlike hyper attention where your brain is on constant multitasking mode, deep attention allows you to focus on a subject when you desire to. (Turkle, 2015). In teaching, we can see our students using their hyper attention easily, but I have had many times where students struggle with the ability to focus on the work in front of them. We live in a fast pace world where kids are used to seeing things done in a quick and convenient manner. Teaching kids to slow down and focus their attention on what it is they are being asked to do in that moment will help them practice summoning their deep attention. This is also true when going online, it is very easy to get online for a specific purpose and get distracted and begin to allow hyper attention to take over. The goal is to know what it is you need to do online and focus on completing that task without getting side tracked. As a digital leader it is my job to help teach students, and other community members, the importance of going online with a purpose. Knowing what you are doing online and staying focused on completing that task helps eliminate the possibility of getting “sucked in”.
Principle 3: Encouraging Digital Participation and Collaboration
Model and promote diversity, cultural understanding,and global awareness by using digital age communication and collaboration tools to interact locally and globally with students, peers, parents, and the larger community.
Rheingold describes participation as, “a kind of power that only works if you share it with others.” (Rheingold, 2012) More participation online helps provide more cultural awareness to communities. Instead of getting a one-sided view from the Media on their version of cultures and events, we digitally have the opportunity to see and hear multiple perspectives and opinions from a variety of people and cultures. Being able to communicate and learn from people around the world is an opportunity that I want my students to explore and be able to connect with. How we write, read, and communicate ideas is now faster and more available to many more eyes than ever before. (Rheingold, 2012)
With so many eyes however comes the responsibility of being careful of what you share and how you act online. It is very important to teach students that they must continue to treat others with kindness and respect even when they are online. Your digital self and your reality self are the same person and you are expected to continue treating others the way you would like to be treated both on and offline. Mike Ribble explains, “As many educators know, most students want to do the right thing — and will, if they know what that is,”. (Fingal, 2017) By incorporating digital citizenship standards into curriculums world-wide we are providing an expectation of how to use digital tools and communications in a purposeful and meaningful way. Mike Ribble also states that 88% of teens who use social media have witnessed other people being cruel online.”(Fingal, 2017) If we teach children at a young age the expectations of their behavior online, we could potentially begin to eliminate the cyber bullying epidemic that has become very evident within online communities.
The goal is for individuals to be able to go online without the fear of cyber bullying or getting tricked into false information. If we teach kids how to communicate responsibly, know the signs of a potential scam, create a strong password, set an example of kind behavior, and encourage conversations with adults about internet questions they may have, then we are building a smarter and stronger online community both locally and globally. (Be Internet Awesome) My goal is not only to teach students these skills that will help provide a global change in communication and collaboration, but to also help teach parents, peers, and other teachers how to inspire the change in their own classrooms and homes. Kids look up to their parents and teachers which makes modeling these strategies very important for the younger generation to see.
“Be Internet Awesome.” Google, beinternetawesome.withgoogle.com/en_us.
“The Future of Well-Being in a Tech-Saturated World,” Pew Research Center, April 17,2018
“What is digital literacy?” Common Sense Media
Diana Fingal, “Infographic: Citizenship in the Digital Age,” ISTE, December 14, 2017
ISTE Standards for Coaches. http://www.iste.org/standards/for-coaches
Julia Ticona and Chad Wellmon, “Uneasy in Digital Zion,” The Hedgehog Review 17:1(2015): 58-71
Marshall Jones and Rebecca Bridges, “Equity, Access, and the Digital Divide in Learning Technologies: Historical Antecedents, Current Issues, and Future Trends,” in The Wiley Handbook of Learning Technology, 327-47
Michael Paulus, “Attention, Reality, and Truth,” Patheos, March 21, 2018
Rheingold, Howard (2014). Net smart: How to thrive online. MIT Press
Sherry Turkle, “How to Teach in an Age of Distraction,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 2, 2015
To holistically merge digital and real life experiences through education by promoting digital citizenship with an awareness of individual agency, ethics, mindfulness and digital wisdom.
As a Digital Education Leader, my mission is bridge how we learn to merge our digital lives with our real lives. To do this, I want to approach digital citizenship with a holistic, global and creative educational framework. My goal as a digital education leader would be to model and teach mindfulness in determining the appropriate context for the application of the digital tools we are working with. This framework would then help inform best practices regarding the use of technology for our students, ourselves and our community.
Guiding Principles Post:
3 Values that will shape my practice as a digital education leader
Principle #1: Attention to Use, Agency and Balance
ISTE 5a ~ Model and promote strategies for achieving equitable access to digital tools and resources and technology-related best practices for all students and teachers.
Technology related best practices in response to digital tools and resources has changed drastically since 2000 and continues to change at a rapid pace with access meaning different things depending on perspective (Marshall Jones and Rebecca Bridges, 2016). There is a difference between ‘access to information vs. access to devices’ and fortunately, the access to devices has increased remarkably. Yet, this increase in access has not always led to an increase in how to best access the information these tools provide us with. As a digital education leader, I would like to focus on how to provide equitable access in learning HOW to maintain balance and individual agency as we sift through the overwhelming amount of information out there to find the best way to improve our capabilities as human beings. Digital tools and resources have the capability of enhancing and extending our innate abilities (Prensky, 2013). Yet, effective deployment and use of tech can compensate for unequal access and bridge the gap when we are talking about the digital divide and how to overcome it. (Marshall Jones and Rebecca Bridges, 2016). I believe there will always be an issue around access and equity but that striving toward bridging it falls on better use of the access that is provided.
In order to best harness this collaboration between humans and technology, it is important to learn strategies to help us interrupt reflexive responses to stimuli and maintain a higher level of attention toward the purpose of why and how we are participating in using technology and digital resources. (Paulus, 2018). This connection to mindfulness gives me hope in that if explicitly taught, this strategy will help create and inspire equitable access for students, teachers and society. Instead of the tool being used as a way to commodify attention, society will demand that developers create platforms that build this collaboration instead of creating distance between society. Individual Agency and reflection on tempering our own negatives tendencies when it comes to balance of technology is essential in moving toward equitable use when it comes to access – using it to deepen knowledge not waste time. “Control is not just time spent online but rather mastery of an ethical space, of the way we live within our socio-technological environment.” (Ticona and Wellmon, 2015)
While attending an EDCamp conference, there was a lot of discussion about how intermediate students will come into an education setting seeming to know so much about technology and the digital world. They quickly know how to use a tool, an app, a game but can not do basic word documents or know how to best seek out information they need for a research paper efficiently, patiently and with awareness of what is a good source. Educating students (everyone, really) to dismiss the distractions of the digital world and instead knowing how to be purposeful, productive and engaged with the information being gathering and applied means even if you have less access, you will have better use of the access you have.
Principle #2: Merging online and offline morality and ethics
ISTE 5b ~ Model and facilitate safe, healthy, legal and ethical uses of digital information and technologies.
Opening students eyes to the realities – both positive and negative – of using digital information and technologies throughout our daily lives is crucial to providing a safe space for use. The ethical foundations of who we are in real life and online life need to be taught as coinciding narratives. The ‘thinking gaps’ that Carrie James discussed in her book, Disconnected: Youth, the New Media, and the Ethics Gaps, bring a stark reality to the blindspots and disconnects that can occur when people treat online morality and ethics differently than in real life. How we engage in using technology and the behaviors and choices that are made result in a direct statement about who we are as a whole person in this information age. It is imperative that we teach and model using digital platforms in a safe, healthy, legal and ethical way so that we do not turn into the detached spectators that can result from having access to everything but committing to nothing. (Dryfus, 1999).
Modeling is an essential first step as an educator, parent and adult because this is where the youngest students/kids first see others using digital tools and resources. This then becomes how they first experience and try out becoming digital citizens and consumers. Moral development starts in the lives of children immediately and digital morality development needs to be now thought of as an essential development phase in a child’s life. As a digital educator, my goal is to provide strong identity growth that naturally morphs into our interconnected digital and real lives so that students inherently know that there is no longer a separation of who you represent yourself as within our local and global community and our digital communities. There is currently a mentorship gap because of how technology has developed so quickly and educating ALL in a way that does not incite fear and judgment but instead cultivates conscientious connectivity (James, 2014).
Principle #3: Importance of being Digitally wise and reflecting on the global possibilities of our digital world
ISTE 5c ~ Model and promote diversity, cultural understanding and global awareness by using digital age communication and collaboration tools to interact locally and globally with students, peers, parents and the larger community.
Diversity, cultural understanding and global awareness are positive outcomes of living in a technology driven age. The ability to engage in far-reaching communication deepens our understanding and appreciation for others. Digital wisdom supports a global vision and the more we teach about mindfulness, awareness, reflection and temperance the closer we get to seeing our digital selves as part of the global digital community.
One of the most concrete ways that would inspire growth in a global community is to have the ISTE standards be taught right along side core curriculum in schools. The REP (Respect, Educate, Protect) protocol and guidelines coupled with the C4 model of learning (Collaboration, Creativity, Communication, Transformative Content) gives a pathway to achieving success despite the multi-faceted perspectives that can sometimes confuse and distract us from modeling empathy, connection and purpose. (Mike Ribble and Tessa Northern Miller, 2013) With resources such as Open Educational Resources (OER) and Common Sense Media, we can better collaborate and connect with a wide variety of people and perspectives as well as learn about tools and programs that have been successful in meeting educational technology standards. Using the resources mentioned, the connections are endless – from a neighborhood across town to a country across the world.
Yet, being digitally wise is crucial to understanding global awareness and different perspectives and approaches. It means making wiser decisions by using enhanced technology but distinguishing between real and ethical issues versus preferences or prejudices. (Prensky, 2013) As digital educators, if we can bridge the ethical/empathetic gap between our physical and digital selves then we have made great progress toward a more compassionate global society.
Brainstormed list of possible ways to start accomplishing these ideas:
Innovative Professional Development for educators
School community and public classes around a holistic approach that focuses on the fundamentals of awareness and mindfulness – balance.
Creating relationships between developers, educators and consumers
Having conversations about mindfulness and attention with the people around us to have these ideas branch out and inspire more discussions about digital addiction and positive use of digital platforms and tools
Computer science focus – the creation and bones of the tools and programs we use
Combining the ‘old way’ with the ‘new way’ – don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater
Mentorship programs for youth and adults to help spread the word on healthy and safe technology use
Digital Citizenship programs – certificates you can earn that focus on creating global citizen ambassadors
K-12 digital education curriculum and funding for digital education leaders in every school – cross pollination with core curriculum
and more…the ideas are exciting and endless…now, to sift out what is best for our global society and to grow and learn with all the new tools and resources being developed!
James, C. (2014). Disconnected: Youth, the new media, and the ethics gap. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Hubert Dreyfus, “Anonymity versus Commitment: The Dangers of Education on the Internet,” Philosophy of Technology, 641-47
Marshall Jones and Rebecca Bridges, “Equity, Access, and the Digital Divide in Learning Technologies: Historical Antecedents, Current Issues, and Future Trends,” in The Wiley Handbook of Learning Technology, 327-47
For my Digital Readiness Project through the SPU Digital Education Leadership (DEL) program, I was able to connect and collaborate with the librarian and digital leader at the school I work with. I proposed a set of questions for her to answer and then communicated my thinking in response to her answers. From there, we used a new digital platform for both of us as a way to house our thoughts and continue our reflections as the school year progress. Throughout this project, it became very clear that this was a collaboration that will continue from this year and beyond. She is a digital education leader in training for the school district and after connecting over this project, she invited me to a Professional Development Training later in the year. This has been a unique and special opportunity to connect in a way that would not have occurred as quickly considering I am new at the school and she is only there part-time. This project initiated an opportunity to have conversation around a topic we are both passionate about and very much aligned with in regards to philosophy and vision yet may not have had the time to discover as early on with the hectic nature of public school education. Below you will see the image I created that shows the ideas we fill most important as digital educators and future leaders. In addition, there is a picture of our on-going collaboration via the stormboard tool that is available online.
It is very exciting to know that this project will live on in a very real and collaborative way as I continue my journey into learning about about digital education and having a collaborative partner within my school environment will be inspiring and motiving.
SPU’s Digital Education Leadership graduate program is inquiry-based. Students "play"and ask questions about emerging technologies, building real-world products for digital teaching and learning.