Category Archives: EDTC6103

ISTE 3&6 Citizen and Facilitator

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.

Inquiry Question

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?

To be 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.

Safe Environment- A Shield in Digital World; Digital Competency- Being Equipped

Mini-Lessons to Teach How to Search Online Through A Safe Engine and Foster Digital Citizenship

How to 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 environment.

Get Ready to Search with Five Steps

-Clarify

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.

-Search

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.

-Delve

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.

-Evaluate

The flowchart provided by www.kathleenamorris.com explains this step.

-Cite

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.

References:

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

ISTE 5&7-Designer and Analyst

Educators design authentic, learner-driven activities and environments that recognize and accommodate learner variability.

  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
  • Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.

Educators understand and use data to drive their instruction and support students in achieving their learning goals.

  • Provide alternative ways for students to demonstrate competency and reflect on their learning using technology.
  • Use technology to design and implement a variety of formative and summative assessments that accommodate learner needs, provide timely feedback to students and inform instruction.
  • Use assessment data to guide progress and communicate with students, parents and education stakeholders to build student self-direction.

Background

Our school has piloted BYOD initiate for several years. We keep seeking appropriate instructional approaches to foster student competence of independent learning leveraging the digital device (iPad) which is critical to gain the emerging knowledge in the flourishing digital world. Learning is the sole activity in schools. How to learn with digital technology and how to cultivate the ability of autonomous learning is the destination for education in the 21st century. In the BYOD context, the digital device drives students to accommodate to use digital technologies to support independent learning; it also makes more chances and paves the way for meaningful learning to meet student diversity. Our school use iPads as the device for BYOD initiate from 3-7. We want to see more and more students changing from consumers to mature producers and contributors who will be self-efficiency and self-discipline while using iPads on learning and influence peers positively. This journey is tough and full of unknown varieties, but when we have a baby step and go further and further, we can see the fantastic scene never been seen-students can use digital tools to explore valuable, reliable resources to support deep learning to solve authentic problems actively and independently.

Flipped Classroom

Flipped Classrooms-Extend School to Home: Open the door to Independent Learning

In the digital world, as technology becomes handy and flexible, the strategy of flipped classrooms is used by more and more educators. Flipped classrooms provide more time for in-depth discussion and activities rather than receiving instructional content passively in the class. In flipped classrooms mode, students are supposed to get equipped with new knowledge using digital tools autonomously at home during the learning process. They need to watch the related videos which are created by the teachers to construct knowledge before the further in-depth learning practices in the class. Flipped classrooms extend the school to home paving the path for the independent learning and increase engagement, get a higher achievement and better attitudes toward learning and school.

Challenges

Teachers have zero control over what happens at home

When teachers extend the school to home, they gain more time for learning activities in the class, but they also lose control over what happens at home. Teachers cannot guarantee every student keeps the same pace as expected at home and they might spend more time with the student individually who did not finish the flipped learning. Teachers will take more risks and drop confidence when their students have not gotten mature competence of autonomous learning using digital tools yet.

Hardware Requirement

-Stable and compatible digital device

-Consistent and reliable Internet access

-Alternative device or network when something gets broken

-Available VPN access

In-Class Flipped Classrooms Make Up the Challenges and Catalyse Independent Learning in BYOD Context

Considering the challenges and potential risks of traditional flipped classrooms, In-Class Flip bright my eyes which compensates the drawbacks and catalyzes independent learning under teacher’s scaffold. Just like a traditional flip, In-Class Flip is needed the teacher pre-records instruction videos, but instead of having students watch the content at home, the videos will be viewed independently in the class. In the BYOD environment, students will be encouraged to lead individualized learning using their iPads, and they can get support immediately from the teacher to meet diverse needs. It makes it possible for teachers to master each student learning situation in time and control the variabilities to low the risks on flipped learning. Students can review the videos and ask questions without interrupting the entire class and get feedback immediately. In-Class Flip fulfills student differentiae and passes more agency to students to cultivate the manner of independent, meaningful learning and achieve the learning goal eventually. Teachers can use this In-Class Flipped working with other activities to mix independent learning and group learning together to make sure all students understand new concepts from different forms of reflections.

EdPuzzle-Helps to Collect Data from Student Independent Learning and Fulfil the Diversity

EdPuzzle is a tool which can scaffold teachers to modify videos for the flipped classroom to customize the instruction. In the EdPuzzle interface, it provides a searching toolbox which allows teachers to grab videos from many common video sites (YouTube, TED-Ed, etc.) and edit the videos to meet their different teaching goals. Teachers can trim the video, insert audio notes, add voice over and questions in the video for different needs. Students will get a clear understanding from audio notes for emphasized content and have to answer the embedded questions to continue forward. The questions can be Ture/False questions or open-ended response questions. Teachers also can provide feedback for each question after students submitted. EdPuzzle somehow slows the flipped learning by questions which allows students to spend more time to think and build new concepts.  The “Import from Google Classroom” function can save teachers much time on setting up the roster. EdPuzzle has another great function to monitor student learning progress. Teachers can trace and get reports quickly of each student learning status to make sure the independent learning on the track to the destination. EdPuzzle will show teachers if students watched the whole video, and if they re-watched parts of it, and how many time they did so, and their results on the inserted questions. This function is very useful and informative for teachers to analyze their student learning situation and get to know them better. Teachers can emphasize and clear the content in the class which students struggled and confused depending on the reports. Teachers can use the data to enhance their instructional videos to meet diverse needs to promote student learning achievement maximumly. Each student’s report will be different from the beginning to the end of one semester which proves student promotion on independent learning that can be the inspiration to both teachers and students.

In the BYOD (iPad) context, every student has a digital device. Teachers don’t have to consider more about the digital divide in the class which provides more chances for teachers to seek an appropriate approach to scaffold students to leverage device to foster independent learning. The journey to independent learning will be tough and back and forth. So teachers need enough patience and brave to take risks to benefit student lifelong learning for the 21st century. Before students reach maturity phase of autonomous learning, teachers can adopt In-Class Flipped strategy and contribute class time to students on watching videos to learn some certain content or a feature of a digital tool. In this process, teachers can provide immediate support to build student confidence on independent learning with iPads. Students will reflect their understanding in learning activities or a project. While student’s capability is growing up, teachers can pass more agency to students to have them watch videos within more and more new concepts in the class. Teachers can use EdPuzzle to custom-build instructions and design-adjust-modify-redesign the best way to meet diverse needs and cultivate student independence. While students are all making progress and getting closer to the destination, they will need less and less reliance and gain more and more autonomy. Ideally, teachers will transfer In-Class Flipped to the real flipped classroom which happens at home to lead personalized learning with digital technology’s support.

References

Watson, T. (2017, July 6). Flipping the Flipped Classroom. Retrieved March 19, 2018, from https://www.edutopia.org/discussion/flipping-flipped-classroom

Kleij, F. V., Adie, L., & Cumming, J. (2016). Using video technology to enable student voice in assessment feedback. British Journal of Educational Technology,48(5), 1092-1105. doi:10.1111/bjet.12536

Walsh, K. (2016). Add Questions to Videos and Monitor Student Progress, for Free, with EdPuzzle. Retrieved from https://www.emergingedtech.com/2016/02/add-questions-to-videos-monitor-student-progress-free-edpuzzle/

Gonnalez, J. (2014). Modifying the Flipped Classroom: The “In-Class” Version. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/flipped-classroom-in-class-version-jennifer-gonzalez

Carter, N. (2014, August 4).Genius Hour and the 6 Essentials of Personalized Education. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/genius-hour-essentials-personalized-education-nichole-carter

Young, J. R. (2017, March 17). For Online Class Discussions, Instructors Move From Text to Video – EdSurge News. Retrieved March 19, 2018, from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-03-17-for-online-class-discussions-instructors-move-from-text-to-video

ISTE 1&2 Learner and Leader

Learner : Educators continually improve their practice by learning from and with others and exploring proven and promising practices that leverage technology to improve student learning. Educators:

1a. Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.

1b. Pursue professional interests by creating and actively participating in local and global learning networks.

1c. Stay current with research that supports improved student learning outcomes, including findings from the learning sciences.

Leader: Educators seek out opportunities for leadership to support student empowerment and success and to improve teaching and learning. Educators:

2a. Shape, advance and accelerate a shared vision for empowered learning with technology by engaging with education stakeholders.

2b. Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.

2c. Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, evaluation, curation and adoption of new digital resources and tools for learning.

Teacher as a creative profession, need to seek lifelong learning to catch up with the current trend of education. Emerging digital technology brings educational transformation which indicates the significant changes in teaching and learning. Facing the changes, teachers need to be inspired to take the risk to have a deep dive in seeking new ways suitable for the 21st century’s needs to prepare our students for the digital era. In my last blog, I discussed social media as a powerful tool can build a broad network (PLN) connecting worldwide educators to enhance collaboration and inspiration among them. Educators can create their PLN or join PLNs to learn from and learn with others to make the network stronger and more influential. Teachers will always act actively and feel satisfaction when they get empowered in PD relevant to their interests and specific classroom context. Social media and PLNs also provide an alternative platform that provokes them to take the lead in the digital world to contribute their experiences and expertise. Also, enable teachers to spend majority time in informal sustained PD to gain growth and flame their passion on the profession but still have some challenges that need to be focused on.

Challenges
The Obstacle of Starting out
We always talked about the power of social media and PLNs. However, it always being the pain for some teachers who might ask the questions “What is the next step I can do after creating a twitter account? ”, “How can I find like-minded educators in the PLNs?”. For some reason, these teachers are too nervous about using technologies and will get overwhelmed soon if they cannot gain positive energy from other technology enthusiasts. The percentage of this group of teachers should be high. They need more help and direction to reduce the daunting of technologies before they integrate any technology tools into their classes effectively to benefit student learning.

Being Mindful of the Reliability Online
Because of the few gatekeepers and the low costs of participation of social media, anyone can share experiences regardless of qualification or motive. When the educators join a PLN to seek help and collaboration, they will not know the reliability of the members and the resources which needs to be mindful. Some who are holding extreme partisan attitude on educational technologies may or may not have real experiences in teaching practice.

Edcamp is Like the Soil Nourished Teacher-Powered PD to be Stronger and Healthier
Edcamp is recognized as one model of effective PDs which subverts traditional top-down form, supports teachers openly exchange ideas and provides opportunities for collaboration and leadership. It is a grass-roots approach gathering educators together who are holding enthusiasm on teaching and learning in the digital world to pursue new instruction methods to foster student’s skills suitable for the 21st century and the ability to deal with the potential ambiguities and varieties for the future. It has a teacher-driven, inquiry-based structure with which teachers get totally empowered, their ideas are matter, and their voices are heard. In the Edcamp, every teacher will be considered as an equal collaborator to learn from and learn with other educators who have rich experiences or have similar interests and needs. Because of the voluntary nature and face-to-face unconference form of Edcamp, every participant is welcoming and willing to help which shapes a healthy and reliable platform for global educators to interact and inspire each other. Edcamp provides a seedbed for the effective and invigorated PLNs created and shone on teacher’s professional growth. Social media can be used to highlight and continue the work to extend the influence of Edcamp among teachers.

Policymaker’s Support
As the Edcamps can provide a reliable and healthy platform for teacher’s growth, policymakers should consider how to encourage and harness teacher-powered learning instead of setting constrainers on the shapes of PD. If the policymakers can embrace teacher-driven and self-identified PD, teachers will be more active and seek more opportunities for leadership to lead development and revolution in education.

As we always talk about the new requirements for students for the 21st century, who need to foster abilities to leverage technology to support their autonomous learning, facilitate the issues of technology, and select and use digital tools to plan and manage meaningful learning. As educators in the digital era, we always are the learners while getting professional growth. While we are paving the way for cultivating abilities for our students, the abilities also are necessary for us, the life-long learners.

References:

Wake, D., & Mills, M. (2018). Edcamp: Listening to the Voices of Teachers. Issues in Teacher Education, 27(3), 90–106. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.spu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip&db=eric&AN=EJ1193769&site=ehost-live

Carpenter, J. P. (2016). Teachers at the Wheel. Educational Leadership, 73(8), 30–35. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.spu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip&db=eric&AN=EJ1100630&site=ehost-live

The EdCamp Experience: Guest Post. (2019). Retrieved from http://www.edcamptampabay.com/blog/the-edcamp-experience-guest-post

Buteau, C. (2019). My Experience at Edcamp – ESL Blogs. Retrieved from http://blogdev.learnquebec.ca/eslcommunity/archives/687

Carpenter, J. P., & Linton, J. N. (2016). Edcamp unconferences: Educators perspectives on an untraditional professional learning experience. Teaching and Teacher Education,57, 97-108. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2016.03.004

ISTE 4 – Collaborator – for Educators

Educators dedicate time to collaborate with both colleagues and students to improve practice, discover and share resources and ideas, and solve problems. Educators:

4a. Dedicate planning time to collaborate with colleagues to create authentic learning experiences that leverage technology

4b. Collaborate and co-learn with students to discover and use new digital resources and diagnose and troubleshoot technology issues.

4c.  Use collaborative tools to expand students’ authentic, real-world learning experiences by engaging virtually with experts, teams, and students, locally and globally.

4d.  Demonstrate cultural competency when communicating with students, parents, and colleagues and interact with them as co-collaborators in student learning.

Teachers as the most important factor determine students’ success in learning. As digital technology getting involved in education, teachers are facing significant changes in learning and teaching. They need to equip themselves with the latest knowledge and skills to get ongoing professional growth to adapt to the digital world. Since the traditional PD has many drawbacks which cannot satisfy every individual teacher’s needs and interests, seek more collaboration with colleagues is the key to provoke growth of the whole teachers’ needs. Digital tools make collaboration easier and wider which can provide more opportunities to create tight connections among educators to pave a creative path for students to gain the competencies for the 21st century. Moreover, at the same time, teachers can sustain their professional growth on cognition and emotion by supporting, influencing, and inspiring each other to leave the comfort zone to get ready for the future educational journey.

Integrate Social Media to get more collaboration- provoke informal PD andsave the traditional PD from the Death Valley

A failed PD experience

Our school started PD on technology integration one year ago. As the Ed tech person and the teacher for the iPad class, I was asked to lead a workshop to introduce some good iPad Apps which have potential benefits to improve students’ innovative learning. In the two hours of the workshop, I tried to give more time to teachers to pilot these Apps and ask questions. I shared some creative artifacts using these Apps which can inspire teachers to have a brainstorm on their instruction. I can see their enthusiasm and positive attitude on the transformation from technology. I thought this was a successful PD as I extended the time of discussion and brainstorm. However, after the PD, I got feedback from teachers about the obstacles and issues that occurred when they piloted these Apps with students from many different facets. Because of the limitation of time, no continually in-time support, lack of expert’s support, isolated by classrooms, they finally gave up.

The isolation is the key factor caused the failure which brings the traditional PD into a death valley: teachers cannot get ongoing support to meet individual’s needs; they cannot get in-time inspiration when they had a tough journey; they cannot get valuable advice and feedback from who has rich knowledge on different facets. We need collaboration to water the death valley to bring the PD back to the flourishing life. The effective PD is crucial to teachers’ professional growth which needs to be an integral, ongoing part of teachers lives and meet diverse interests and needs in various domains. The digital tools are powerful to make collaboration meaningful and more comprehensive that enable teachers to get worldwide perspectives and support sustainably; Teachers will not be isolated by classrooms, towns, and countries anymore. They are connected to build a robust ecosystem with a positive attitude, professional passion, and inspiration.

PLNs-Make global collaboration possible and provoke informal PD

Teaching is a creative profession which should not be set many constrainers to limit its development. PLNs are transforming PD and teachers’ mindset of PD. With PLNs, PD will change to informal learning driven by teachers without constrainer of time and location. Teachers will get empowered to hold the ownership of their PD to seek helpful resources and collaboration met individual needs and interests related to teaching and learning rather than being a passive receiver. PLNs help to flatten walls among nations to build the connection to thousands of educators from every corner of the world sharing perspectives, discussing and solving problems together. Teachers collaborating with others with the same profession and same needs through PLNs will influence each other on affective, social and cognitive aspects to gain the holistic growth of teachers’ needs. PLNs create a flexible platform through which educators can dedicate time to collaborate with others by real-time interaction or asynchronous discussions to improve teaching practice and share resources and ideas.

Edmodo-the widely used PLN with special features to provide more collaboration

Collaboration among a certain group of teachers

Extend one-shot PD by creating a collaborative group

Although the traditional PD has many drawbacks, we cannot ignore the power it brings to teachers’ professional growth. It can strength teachers’ sense of presence and be taken care of. Edmodo can help to compensate for the shortcomings of traditional PD and sustain ongoing discussion and sharing among teachers. With the Group feature, teachers can build collaboration with a certain group of teachers after the PD for exchanging perspectives, sharing obstacles and transferring energy when they attempt to implement new skills into their teaching practices without the constrainer of time. Teachers can create their digital portfolio for sharing helpful resources, implementing process and experiences in the library to contribute to help others. Through the posting notes and comments, teachers can seek or provide quick or in-time support. With creating collaborative groups, teachers will extend their communication and collaboration without limited by the form of one-shot PD. They are building PLNs while using Edmodo and strengthen connections with the group members to gain more confidence to take risks on changes and also create an active climate for a school or a district to encourage teachers to leave their comfort zone to take challenges which will potentially benefit students’ future learning for the 21st century. While these dynamic groups are getting stronger, the valuable experiences will contribute to the growth of the global healthy educational ecosystem which can light the spark of other educators’ similar journey.

Collaboration between students and teachers

In the Edmodo teachers are allowed to invite students into different classes. These classes can be divided by different topics or projects, as a space for students and teachers to work collaboratively to share ideas and resources to solve authentic problems which can motivate students’ engagement and enhance the skill of communication. With collaboration, teachers will get professional growth from learning with students through discovering and using digital resources and getting through difficulties.

Get global collaboration based on interests and needs

Edmodo provides many topics allowed teachers to follow. Teachers can choose different topics based on interests and needs to join the global collaboration and conversation to seek instant supports or light a spark of ideas from veterans. From the posts, teachers can get more relevant resources, and latest news contributed by other educators from the world. Since teachers get the freedom to choose the topic they are interested in, they will hold much enthusiasm to be immersed in further collaboration to get a bigger leap on professional growth. Everyone’s experiences and artifacts will scaffold the worldwide PLN getting stronger and broader to lead a healthy climate for every educator’s growth.

In the digital world, one teacher’s pace can never catch up the speeding of emerging technologies. So teachers need to break up isolation to build connection and collaboration with the scaffold of digital tools and strategies. For the 21st century’s educators, need to dedicate time to collaborate with colleagues to benefit the whole teachers’ needs ; learn with students collaboratively to get growth together; and build a powerful system strength teachers confidence and the sense of responsibility to take risks to explore new forms of instruction meet the needs of 21st century.

References:

Alberth, Mursalim, Siam, Suardika, I. K., & Ino, L. (2018). Social Media as a Conduit for Teacher Professional Development in the Digital Era: Myths, Promises or Realities? TEFLIN Journal: A Publication on the Teaching and Learning of English, 29(2), 293–306. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.spu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip&db=eric&AN=EJ1186053&site=ehost-live

Trust, T. (2012). Professional Learning Networks Designed for Teacher Learning. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 28(4), 133–138. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.spu.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip&db=eric&AN=EJ972454&site=ehost-live

Requard, A. (2018, February 12). #ObserveMe: Improving Our Practice as Professionals. Retrieved from https://appsolutelyapril.com/2018/02/12/observeme-improving-our-practice-as-professionals/

Office of Educational Technology. Future Ready: Establishing a Professional Learning Ecosystem. (2016, April 05). Retrieved from https://youtu.be/TMbeqn7NlyI

Trust, T., Krutka, D., & Carpenter, J. (2016). “Together we are better”: Professional learning networks for teachers. Computers & Education, 102, 15-34. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2016.06.007

Module 5: Designing Meaningful PD for Teachers – What’s Out There?

Designing Meaningful PD for Teachers – What’s Out There? by James Bettis

From my interpretation of the standards,  ISTE 5 is about how teachers model lifelong learning and engage in learning to benefit their school or community through the use of digital tools. I wanted  to find what districts might do to craft the best PD that they can for teachers who are at all different levels of comfort and proficiency with technology. Additionally if districts develop a successful model for tech PD I think that would give teachers some of the tools they need to lead in their individual schools. When I write about technology I’m referring to technology for professional daily use as well as integrating technology into the learning environment. The reason I want to focus on both professional use and technology integration is because I’ve noticed that the questions I field in my current position deal with both use and instructional integration and I think that a varied approach will serve the most teachers.

First, it is important to acknowledge that there are different levels of learners, and from there I think that districts need to build in means for teachers a varying levels to receive quality professional development. I also think it is important for districts to help buildings to organize their own technology PD in innovative ways. I have a few ideas about what has worked for my building, or some teachers in my building but overall I’m hoping to suggest an approach that might work to help teachers receive high quality and meaningful PD to aid technology integration.

Through the years I’ve attended a number of professional development classes taught by different instructors. From those experiences I’ve tried to distill down what makes for a fulfilling experience in a tech PD. I’ll admit that I’m somewhat confused. Thinking back I know I have been to some great sessions and some that felt less than great. I know that often the learning just has to makes sense for the learner, still I think there has to be some kind of formula or guideline. What makes it click? One experience I’ll highlight worked for me. I went a training on Vodcasting, which is recording a short video for students to use. I’ve always been drawn to video so I had a particular interest in the topic. It was a great combination of something that felt relevant to me and something I could foresee helping my students. In that sense, I think it fit the perfect time scenario. Also it was just beyond my realm of comfort. In order to do the homework required of the class, I had to learn to use iMovie, which I don’t find intuitive at all. That class pushed me, but today 7 years later, I find that I’m still using some skills from that class in my classroom to create math videos. That seems like a relatively successful PD and it doesn’t even fit all of the guidelines that I read about this week. So I can imagine that if PD opportunities were redesigned with best practices in mind to serve the most teachers possible with sustained focus, many more would be meaningful for more teachers.

As a side note, one of my colleagues in the DEL program posted a great overview of what she has been doing in her district, and it is a wonderful meaningful approach for teachers. I would like to link it later with her permission.

Based on my reading I have some good ideas about what could be meaningful for teacher going forward but I wonder how we are affected by past PD experiences? Changing perceptions will take time. No doubt providing a meaningful set of professional development classes for teachers is a struggle districts will continue to have. I hope that through new ideas and strategies all professional development will become more meaningful for more teachers rather than just a signature to say that you have attended, because you had to pick a class, or you had to be there for some other reason. I’m excited that part of my new position will be providing PD regarding technology, I’m excited to learn more about the process and to attempt to provide meaningful and engaging PD.

The ideas below are some of the things that I think might lead to a meaningful transformation in professional development. Of course this is really just scratching the surface in terms of resources that are available. However, I thought I would include them because I found them to be innovative or essential or both and I think they could help to further differentiate the PD that is offered.

Interesting approaches to PD that I came across in my reading:

  • Leveraging Twitter as a district to host chats, showcase work and provide a space PLC just like Twitter is great at doing within district (Raths, 2015)
  • Allowing microcredentials as a way to demonstrate competency (Raths, 2015)
    • If you want to learn more about microcredentials, I came across them when writing a post on ISTE 2 where I learned about Deeper Learning
  • Establishing and maintaining a district repository of tools, videos, screencasts and other resources related to technology PD
  • Establishing a strong team of technology coaches to journey with and guide teachers
  • Provide enough PD for sustained learning (50 hours!) (Crawford, 2014)

To me these are just some of the ways to start changing the PD model from within a school district. Ideally it would be great to see a state get involved in this process to encourage districts to begin to change the way we do PD. I’m excited to have a chance to do this in my district and to support teachers as they continue their journey to meaningful technology integration. If you would like to read more in depth about any of the ideas I’ve presented here, I found a great resource from EdSurge that is cited below. It really seems to be a an amazing guide to how some districts are retooling professional development.

Reflection

This quarter I feel that I have grown quite a lot in my understanding of the ISTE standards for teachers. From the start I had a hard time shifting my focus from students to teachers. At the start I don’t feel that I understood the standards for teacher well. Now through our investigation and blog posts this quarter I feel that I have a much better understanding of these standards and I understand how the connect and link to the student standards. Knowing my own predisposition for rigidity and how I resort to the standard practice I think that my growth in ISTE #1 is the most significant. I also feel that it is an area where I can continue to grow as long as I push my own thinking and remind myself of the myriad of ways there are to learn and to demonstrate learning. Another area for growth for me is in regard to ISTE Standard 5 and Coaching Standard 2. As a technology coach I feel much more prepared to lead other teachers as they strive to use technology in a meaningful way with students, to facilitate assessing students in a formative way and to connect with other teachers across the globe. Through the investigations I have completed during this last quarter and from reading the investigations my colleagues have posted, I feel infinitely more prepared to respond to the needs of teachers. I can’t wait to draw upon the resources and tools I have come across in this course as I assist teacher with the integration of technology into their classes.

Resources

20 Tips for Creating a Professional Learning Network – Getting Smart by Miriam Clifford. (2013, January 17). Retrieved June 4, 2017, from http://www.gettingsmart.com/2013/01/20-tips-for-creating-a-professional-learning-network/

A Blueprint for Personalized Professional Development by Teachers, for Teachers – EdSurge News. (2014, October 22). Retrieved June 5, 2017, from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2014-10-22-a-blueprint-for-personalized-professional-development-by-teachers-for-teachers

A Guide To Crafting The Perfect Next Gen PD Model – EdSurge News. (2015, February 14). Retrieved June 6, 2017, from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2015-02-14-a-guide-to-crafting-the-perfect-next-gen-pd-model

A Guide to Proficiency-Based Professional Development – EdSurge News. (2015, February 22). Retrieved June 7, 2017, from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2015-02-22-a-guide-to-proficiency-based-professional-development

Crawford, A. (2014, December 5). A Farewell to Pointless PD – EdSurge News. Retrieved June 7, 2017, from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2014-12-05-opinion-a-farewell-to-pointless-pd

From Pre-Fab to Personalized: How Districts Are Retooling Professional Development – EdSurge Guides. (2015, January 22). Retrieved June 5, 2017, from https://www.edsurge.com/research/guides/from-pre-fab-to-personalized-how-districts-are-retooling-professional-development

Patterson, M. (2016, April 54). Tips for Transforming Educational Technology through Professional Development and Training [Text]. Retrieved June 4, 2017, from https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2016/04/tips-transforming-educational-technology-through-professional-development-and

Raths, D., & 02/04/15. (n.d.). 5 Tech Tools That Help Personalize PD -. Retrieved June 7, 2017, from https://thejournal.com/articles/2015/02/04/5-tech-tools-that-help-personalize-pd.aspx

Surfing the Wave: Keeping Abreast of the Digital Ed Field in ISTE 5

Riding the Wave This week’s question for EDTC 6103 was pretty straightforward. Given ISTE standard 5, I wanted to focus in on indicator C, which called for teachers to “evaluate and reflect on current research and professional practice on a regular basis to make effective use of existing and emerging digital tools and resources in … Continue reading "Surfing the Wave: Keeping Abreast of the Digital Ed Field in ISTE 5"

EDTC 6103 Module 5 – Professional Growth and Leadership

Engaging in Professional Growth and Leadership

Being an ELL teacher can feel isolating at times. I can’t count the times I’ve been excited about PD days only to look through available workshops and feel none of them really apply to my needs or objectives. We are a minority group of educators.  Our students come from diverse backgrounds, with the majority in the United States attending urban high poverty schools. As specialists, it’s rare to have more than one ELL teacher per building.  So how can we collaborate?

For our final blogpost this quarter, we’ve been asked to reflect on ISTE Teaching Standard #5.  The timing for this seems in sync with end of year reflections at school as well as multiple articles that are advocating for schools to revamp their delivery of professional development.  Looking closely at ISTE Standard 5a, this prompted me to question “How can teachers actively participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning?

With technology rapidly changing the way we teach, it’s no surprise that it’s also changing the way we communicate professionally. Take for example, Miriam Clifford’s post “20 Tips for Creating a Professional Learning Network”. Clifford highlights the advantages of joining PLNs (Professional Learning Networks).  The post written in 2013, shares great examples on how to join and use technology to our advantage as tool to connect and share with others.  Prior to starting this Masters Program at SPU, I would have felt lost in the jargon used in this article and simply moved on to other resources that seemed more relevant or consistent with what I experience in my district.

With these changes however, a PLN can now also refer to Personalized Learning Networks.  Moving beyond localized collaboration in my building and district, Personalized Learning Networks prompt me to expand globally.  Beginning to look more into PLNs, I began to question, how has my understanding of professional development and collaboration changed in the past 5 years?

Five years ago, I’d say 90% of the PD I attended took place in a library, possibly with a video to watch, and time for round table discussions. Lots of poster making, sharing out, but all contributors were physically present in the room.  Then 4 years ago I participated in my first MOOC.  I remember the excitement of connecting with ELL teachers in other states and countries.  We would email responses back and forth. Presently at the building level, we still remain primarily in the library. At the district level, it’s hard to get together in person due to the sheer size of our district, distance people have to commute, method of transportation, varying school hours, and personal lives. Our district has thousands of talented educators, yet I feel limited in my knowledge of how any of them successfully integrate technology in the classroom.

Personalizing Professional Development

This year has been transformational for me in numerous ways.  I cannot overlook the power of networking and global connections.  I had considered blogging before, but didn’t know where or how to start.  This program has helped to take a leap with blogging, using Google HangOut and Twitter.  Reading Mike Patterson’s post “Tips for Transforming Educational Technology through Professional Development and Training” , I realised the problem of inadequate training and understanding is preventing amazing collaboration from occurring in my district.  He sites that 60% of teachers surveyed feel inadequate about implementing technology in the classroom.  Reading this statistic reinforces my realization that my district needs to model how to use technology and this can begin with how they deliver professional development. We need to move beyond the library and offer basic training in how to implement so many of the great strategies in Clifford’s post: Meetups, practice using online communities, tools already available through the district as well as tools popular with experts in our district.

This led to me questioning, how much input do teachers have in the delivery and content of professional development in my district?  After posing this question to several other educators in my building, the general consensus is “not much”.  So how can we change this?  Desiree Alexander recommends surveying staff with a needs assessment, similar to how we evaluate the needs of our students.  In her post, “From Blah to Aha!  Your Guide for Personalizing Professional Development”, Alexander discusses how personalized PDs can showcase educators strengths and interests.

How can schools offer personalized PD? Through technology there are so many options now available for delivery.  For example, MOOCs, webinars, Google HangOuts, creating online videos that teachers can interact with at various times, using folders like Google Drive to store PD resources.  With free online tools, I’m hopeful that my district will begin to offer a range of PD formats in future.  The slides below are examples of how personalized PD can begin with a simple survey.

Finding Learning Communities

Local Communities are perhaps the easiest to define.  It’s the grade level team, content, extra-curricular, region, or even district.  Local communities traditionally met in-person.  So how do we move beyond local and expand our community network globally?  

As I reflect on my global community partners, I’ve used Edmodo, Twitter, Facebook, Schoology, Google+, Podcasts, and joined memberships for online publications. As the only ELL teacher in my region teaching a specific curriculum, it can be daunting at times.  However, with my expanded community of educators, I feel like part of a Tribe with common goals, one of which is support student learning with access to technology.  Every week I feel I have something to contribute to my colleagues, whether it’s something I’ve witnessed first hand in the classroom, or I’ve accessed through social media or video.  Learning online helps reduce my stress and previous notions that I don’t have time for professional development.

Personal Impact from Educational Technology

Now instead of only listening to music while walking my dog, I also listen to EdTech podcasts. When I couldn’t bring an expert to my classroom, we used Google HangOut to allow my students to meet with him virtually, motivated by my new found confidence gained from this year. I find myself scrolling through my Twitter feed in the evening looking for inspirational classroom ideas. I have a new found confidence in promoting alternatives to learning, even if they’re not acted upon at this time.  I know there are great things happening out there and feel like I’m beginning to tap into a new way to both educate and learn. Perhaps the best part of this journey is that I no longer feel alone.  

Resources:

Alexander, D. (2017, May 19). ​From Blah to Aha! Your Guide for Personalizing Professional Development – EdSurge News. Retrieved May 28, 2017, from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2017-05-19-from-blah-to-aha-your-guide-for-personalizing-professional-development

Clifford, M. (2013). 20 tips for creating a professional learning network. Retrieved fromhttp://gettingsmart.com/2013/01/20-tips-for-creating-a-professional-learning-network/

Currie, B. (2015, September 24). What New Teachers Need to Know About PD. Retrieved May 28, 2017, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/new-teachers-need-to-know-pd-brad-currie

EdTech K-12 Magazine. (2016, April 26). Tips for Transforming Educational Technology through Professional Development and Training. Retrieved from http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2016/04/tips-transforming-educational-technology-through-professional-development-and

Zakhareuski, A. (2016, August 22). 10 Modern Ways to Use Technology in ESL Instruction. Retrieved May 28, 2017, from http://busyteacher.org/13732-using-technology-esl-instruction-10-modern-ways.html

ISTE 4: Teachers Who Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Ethical Use – Can We Try Different?

The Standard

ISTE for Teachers Standard 4 states that “teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices” (ISTE 2008). To me that seemed like quite a charge. It’s a huge responsibility for teachers, but it is one that is essential in the 21st century. Initially I was planning on investigating how primary teachers demonstrate to their students that they are ethical users of technology and I wondered how that positively impacted students? When I started researching and thinking about how teachers could be empowered to be responsible and ethical users of technology, I began to realize the vast quest that this standard entails. Like many of our modules in the Digital Education Leadership Program at Seattle Pacific University, I think that is the point of our assignment and our research. We are working toward a M.Ed. but we are also embodying the charge of the school of education at SPU, part of the mission is “to equip educators for service and leadership in schools and communities by developing their professional competence and character, to make a positive impact on learning.” I think that part of the reason we are focusing on standards that are very broad is to prepare us for conversations we will have with teachers and other stakeholders in the future as we become technology leaders in our schools and districts.

Try Different

Maybe we can’t just try harder, maybe we need to try something different?

Technology PD and Teachers

Recently I found myself in a PD for Code.org this week and while listening to the presentation and participating in the PD, I was thinking about the ethical use of technology by teachers and how it relates to how we teach digital citizenship to our students. I had a realization and thought that made sense to me. I don’t think that districts can expect teachers to be examples of ethical users of technology unless they are willing to invest in some kind of PD to encourage teachers to be aware of the lapses, blind spots and disconnects in the ethical use of technology. As users of technology, and teachers we are all over the place in our use and struggle to grasp content in any technology PD. Therefore, I think that slowing down and building in a focus on ethical use to every PD would aid in the process of teachers demonstrating this ethical use to students in the classroom. Are there standards that explain how to demonstrate ethical use in an elementary school? What does this instruction look like in primary versus intermediate grades? I mostly found resources for teaching digital citizenship to students, as expected. There is definitely room for improvement there in my own classroom as well as in my school. Using an LMS as a safe environment that mimics social media is one strategy (Hertz, M.B., 2011). Engaging videos like Follow the Digital Trail with Pause & Think are great for primary students. I guess in my research I came to realize that while teaching digital citizenship is necessary, I struggled to find how we can encourage and empower all teachers to teach it. They have to know that it matters! I think certain groups in every school could help to transmit that message with some slight modifications to common practice.

The Current System, Slightly Modified

Teachers who are motivated and fluent users of technology can be examples for students. It seems that most districts, based on my experience, as well as the experience of colleagues I’ve talked to in this program, expect librarians to be the main instructors responsible with informing students about the expectations for digital citizenship. Therefore, librarians would be the ones who receive PD related to digital citizenship from technology coaches or coordinators. In my building we have a technology team but most of the professional development is actually done by the administrator or the coaches and leadership team members. What if districts invested in these teams and encouraged them to demonstrate ethical use of technology to the rest of the staff? I imagine that doing so might help it to trickle down to students. In my building this seems like it would be a good start. Or, could a technology team at a building level provide the necessary PD yearly to encourage ethical use from teachers? I think it is possible but it would take a district level commitment that I have yet to see or hear about from others. Additionally I think that districts could continue to empower a larger number of students to be ethical users of technology by offering optional technology classes taught by a district level technology employee or a motivated teacher in order to focus on ethical use and integration of technology into learning.

This week I’m also reflecting on my own use of technology. What is my use like at school and at home? How are the two related? Where can I improve to be a better example? What are the primary reasons that I even use technology? I’ll continue to think about those questions and make it a goal to build in new habits when I identify a lapse or blind spot.

My notes from readings:

Other Questions and Conclusion

Is video PD a reliable way to help teachers remain current on ethical use of technology? Thinking about my role as a technology leader in my school I realize that my example in the ethical use of technology matters. I also think that administrators can influence a teacher’s ethical use of technology by becoming an example and referring to ethical use. Teachers are definitely busy, it is a challenge to fit in anything extra, but building in new habits can be a good investment for our own ethical use and examples for students. I think that teams in each school building could start off by being the example for how to do this to the general classroom teachers. Again, as I have said in past posts, I’m really just scratching the surface for ISTE 4. 

A Promising Resource

One resource that I came across really seemed say a lot that resonated with what I know and have learned about technology through my own use and through PD was about preparing teachers for technology integration. I don’t know that it is entirely relevant to this post on ethical use and how teacher promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility, but it is a resource I will likely return to later. The article by Jacobson, Clifford and Friesen makes me excited to see how new teachers will be trained to integrate technology into their teaching, and perhaps with an increased focus in the university, these new teachers will be prime examples of digital citizenship for their students. However, in the meantime this paragraph might fit where we are currently at, and hopefully it motivates reluctant adopters to give it a try:

“Learning and teaching with technology is hard, it can be overwhelming, and the field is always changing. The way in which preservice teachers reacted to the ICT Program of Studies and building web pages is much like the reaction of many class room teachers and faculty members when they grapple with how to integrate technology and the curriculum. It is also the way that experienced technology users venture into an area that is unfamiliar to them. Because the field is changing so quickly, everyone is in some sense a beginner. And everyone has exactly the same starting place where they are, at the moment. While where you are will change with experience and the acquisition of skills and knowledge, there will always be new skills, new knowledge, and new starting places for us all (Jacobson, Clifford, & Friesen, 2002).

I think this is an attitude we should all strive to have in our approach to technology, ethical use and the integration of technology into our classrooms.

Resources:

Follow the Digital Trail. (n.d.). [Clip]. Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/videos/follow-the-digital-trail

Hertz, M. B. (2011, October 12). Teaching digital citizenship in the elementary classroom [Blog]. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/digital-citizenship-mary-beth-hertz

Jacobson, M., Clifford, P., & Friesen, S. (2002). Preparing teachers for technology integration: Creating a culture of inquiry in the context of use. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 2(3). Retrieved from http://www.citejournal.org/volume-2/issue-3-02/current-practice/preparing-teachers-for-technology-integration-creating-a-culture-of-inquiry-in-the-context-of-use/

Ohler, J. (2012). Digital citizenship means character education for the digital edge. Education Digest, 77(8), 14–17. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.spu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip&db=f5h&AN=83515505&site=ehost-live

Ribble, M., & Northern Miller, T. (2013). Educational leadership in an online world: Connecting students to technology responsibly, safely, and ethically. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17(1), 137–145. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1011379.pdf

Seattle Pacific University School of Education. (2017). Retrieved from http://spu.edu/academics/school-of-education/about/four-commitments/conceptual-framework

Simsek, E., & Simsek, A. (2013). New literacies for digital citizenship. Contemporary Education Technology, 4(2), 126–137. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED542213.pdf

Venosdale, K. (2012). Try Different [Digital Print]. Retrieved from https://flic.kr/p/bcXwrr 

Digital Citizenship and the New Digital Divide: ISTE Teacher Standard 4 Indicator B

The Digital Divide The concept of the “digital divide” has been around ever since digital technology has been used in classrooms. Initially, the term applied to students who had access to digital devices and the internet at school and at home versus those who did not. Today, however, that term has come to mean something … Continue reading "Digital Citizenship and the New Digital Divide: ISTE Teacher Standard 4 Indicator B"

EDTC 6103 – How do we promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility?

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This week we were asked to look at ISTE Teaching Standard 4, “Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices.  

Encouraged by Jason Ohler’s article on Digital Citizenship, I set out to see how I could support my school to be more proactive rather than reactive to internet safety. Ohler made several points that resonated with me. His explanation of “character education” allowed me to reflect on my current school, previous school, personal education, and stories I’ve heard from friends.  We can’t wait for our students to navigate the digital world and ask questions, we need to provide guidance to our students as well as their families. In a world that inundates us with media, we need to guide our students through intentional thought processes rather than let them develop their own moral compass over time.  We need to create opportunities for digital education and invest in ethical inventory resources not just tech resources.

Immediately several questions came to mind about my own school district.

  • How does my district support teachers and students to be responsible digital citizens?
  • What training and education is provided for staff and parents?
  • What curriculum / resources are commonly used in the district and at what grade levels?
  • Who are the decision makers?

I first contacted someone from our district IT department who serves schools in my region. Then I reached out to my librarian, who is only at our school part time. I posed these four questions (see above).  The responses were similar on each question.  Our district is so large and digital devices vary greatly both in brand and quantity depending on the school.  With 99 schools, we do not have a unified approach other than librarians infusing some Common Sense Media lessons into their library time. Some schools have been able to fund Technology Instructors in K-5 schools who teach Digital Citizenship, but it varies depending on the school. Our decision makers appear to be our school board, staff at the district level, and admin.  In regards to technology and digital citizenship, it appears that our community, families, and students have little to no input. We do have links on our district website, but only in English.

Finding Resources

My biggest challenge is finding online resources available in other languages.  Common Sense Media has Spanish option, but how do schools such as mine support the other families in understanding internet usage and digital citizenship? We have ¼ of our families that need translation support.  My quest led me to Michael Gorman’s blog, sharing 10 resources for teaching Digital Citizenship.  Gorman provided great resources, with an abundance from Common Sense Media, yet most only appeared to be offered in English.  I can only imagine showing a video to the families at my school and having to pause constantly to allow translation to be shared in 6 or more languages.  There has to be something more efficient!

The one resource Gorman shared that truly came through for me was from Australia. Navigating a few quick clicks I discovered  The Parent’s Guide to Online Safety. The Australian Government provides online safety for parents in 15 different languages.  Although the guide provides contacts in Australia, the bulk of the information applies to strategies to support families with issues such as cyberbullying, sexting, inappropriate content, unwanted contact, social networking, and having children who spend too much time online.  If resources exist like this in other languages in the US, I’ve had a hard time finding them.  Which leads me to believe a lot of the families I serve would also struggle with finding this information.

Supporting Families in Digital Education

Technology is constantly changing, students catch on to trends, explore new websites and share apps way before we catch on.  According to David Andrade’s article earlier this month, more than 75% of teens now own cell phones and more than 90% communicate online.  These facts alone are reason to ensure parents are aware of support systems that exist, parental controls, ways to report abuse, etc.  Take for example a story from Connecticut three years ago.  A new social media app, YikYak, allowed users to post messages anonymously.  Anyone active on the site within a mile and half radius could see the message.  A high school in Westport, CT. became inundated with hateful speech, citing racist, Islamophobic, sexist, and homophobic comments.  By the end of the first day, most of the students with access to cell phones had downloaded the app.  The school staff were in shock.  It is because of the unknown that we need to explicitly teach Digital Citizenship.  We need to be able to educate parents on how to monitor what their children are doing and provide tools for them to have meaningful conversations at home.

With 6,000 ELL students, and nearly 14,000 students from non-English speaking homes, we should provide similar resources to Australia’s Online Safety Guide in the 8 languages we offer translation for.  These should be on our website accessible for families, students, and staff.  At present, schools in my district tend to approach most incidents on a case by case basis. A large percentage of our families do not have internet at home and many parents may be unaware what their children are exposed to.  This does not prevent their children from being protected from cyber bullying, exposure to inappropriate content, or understanding the consequences of sharing on social media.

Reflection

I want to continue advocating for our ELL families and in this particular case, that means helping develop resources that are shared in the top 8 languages.  Having these resources available on our district website accessible for parents and staff is the first step.  Sharing these resources with parents and staff will be the next step.  How can we truly expect parents to model expected behaviour without giving clear expectations, support, and guidelines?  With 55,000 students in our district, I think we can do better.  As educators it’s time we model responsible internet use and promote digital education for families in addition to students.

Resources

  • Andrade, D. (2017, May 15). Teaching Students Digital Civility Goes Hand-in-Hand with Tech Rollouts. Retrieved May 22, 2017, from http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2017/05/teaching-students-digital-civility-goes-hand-hand-tech-rollouts
  • Ernst, A., & Harmoush, V. (2014, June 20). Teaching digital citizenship in a ‘yakking’ world. Retrieved May 22, 2017, from http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/america-tonight/articles/2014/6/20/teaching-digitalcitizenshipinaayyakkingaworld.html
  •  Gorman, M. (2017, February 27). 10 Digital Citizenship Resources – Web in the Classroom Part 3. Retrieved May 22, 2017, from https://www.k12blueprint.com/blog/michael-gorman/10-digital-citizenship-resources-web-classroom-part-3
  • Ohler, J. (2012). Digital citizenship means character education for the digital age. Education Digest. 77(8). pp. 14-17. Digital Citizenship Means Character Education for the Digital Age