My online bookmarks are a mess. The only thing that irritates me more than the fact that they aren’t doing me any good in their jumbled mess of folders is that they aren’t doing anyone else any good there either.
Fixing that today with this little graphic of resources, strategies, and ideas that I couldn’t help but bookmark over the years (even though I knew it meant adding to the mess). It also links to a few of my posts that included many of those bookmarks to further help me organize my favorite resources/strategies.
As you browse, please remember that innovative ideas will only make an impact when wielded by innovative teachers–individuals committed to thinking outside the box, encouraging student empowerment, and cultivating a personal growth-mindset. Also know that they aren’t intended as a silver bullet for classrooms everywhere; some might be more/less useful than others to you and your circumstances.
But I hope that you will be able to find something new, useful, and/or inspiring from this graphic!
I decided to frame the entire thing around the 4 C’s of 21st century education (I wanted to use the ISTE standards for students, but it proved too much for the visual I intended, but if you check those out, you’ll see a lot of parallels anyway). Please let me know what you found most useful, or if you have additional ideas to share! Enjoy!
Last week, I shared an inquiry into tech use provocation that teachers can use with their students to consider its effects on them as individuals, as families, as communities, and as a world.
I also spent part of last Monday running some PD sessions at my old school (one on inquiry, and two on tech use).
The most rewarding moment during my tech sessions was when teacher told me as she left, “You made me think differently about Twitter!” Mission accomplished!
Of course, Twitter is just one piece in the puzzle of effective and innovative edtech, but there really is something special about it when it comes to becoming global citizens as teachers and students! So this week’s provocation is going to consist of examples of how Twitter can impact student learning, a worthwhile possible investigation for both teachers and students…
Example 1: These 3rd graders found this animal skeleton on their campus. Study “Approach C” for their Twitter use example.
Example 2: 7th grade teacher, Pernille Ripp, searching for refugees to Skype with her students. See the breathtaking results of that Tweet here.
I am looking for people who are willing to share their experiences as refugees or working with refugees in a skype call with my students
This was pure gold. Not only did it completely make my daughter’s day, but it reinforced to me the value of Twitter (and other social platforms) for our children and students everywhere. The way it creates possibilities for real, meaningful connection. The way it brings to life faraway names and places. The way it globally amplifies a voice, and then brings audiences back down to a personal scale.
It also reminds me of all the other wonderful examples of this that I’ve seen recently, many of which I shared on Monday with the staff at my old school as I ran a few PD sessions:
My daughter and these other young children can’t yet navigate these platforms independently. But they are already starting to catch a glimpse of the digital world and their place and power in it. And I rejoice for such positive and meaningful introductions. I wonder what would happen if students everywhere had similar experiences…
Digital empowerment through digital citizenship. This will be the main focus of my upcoming professional development training sessions I’ll have the opportunity to conduct at my old school.
Inspired by the idea of providing differentiation in PD, I decided to run one K-2 session and one 3-5 session. Hopefully that will resolve the issue we encountered during last year’s technology PD when teachers of younger students voiced concern over applying more complex resources to their students.
As I reflect on my personal journey with classroom tech application, the good, the bad, and the ugly come back to mind:
Like that time I required every student in my class to create a Prezi for a unit summative assignment. And then we watched them all.
Or when we decided to collaborate on Google Docs by having everyone revise others’ writing pieces and parts kept getting accidentally deleted. (this was before I was aware of the “See Revision History” feature…
Or when I introduced students to Storybird and they created beautiful digitally illustrated fantasy stories.
The list goes on and on. But now that I have had time away from the classroom to reflect and research, I’ve gained a couple of key perspectives that I believe will make a big impact on how I use technology with future students:
Digital citizenship is about leveraging our opportunities to enhance connections.
Digital citizenship is more about empowerment than caution.
We teach about identity theft, cyberbullying, and password security. And with good reason. But there is much more to the conversation on what it means to be a digital citizen! As George Couros often preaches, we must “find the awesome, create the awesome.” A Twitter exchange with Edna Sackson further illuminated the idea:
Just as in citizenship in general, the opportunities for good are too overwhelming to wallow in excessive hesitation and fear for what might happen. We are empowered when we are encouraged to see what’s possible, to take ownership over our available resources, and to collaborate positively with other learners throughout the world.
I think one of my favorite aspects of our students developing a strong self-identity as digital citizens is that we can’t fathom what they will do with it. With the exponential nature of tech resources and access, if we give them confidence to explore, create, and contribute, the possibilities are truly boundless.
Given the sheer number of platforms and products, it’s not surprising when teachers despair at thought of seeking out a new #edtech resource. But once we establish some groundwork for what we adopt, it may make the entire decision-making process run more smoothly. Thus the creation of this infographic of 6 important questions to ask yourself when you consider new edtech!
What are other questions you consider? Please share in the comments!
The day my school decided to move science fair to sixth grade instead of fifth, we all cheered–students, teachers, and parents alike. Years later, I’m reflecting on the root of our mutual animosity toward the project. And it seems to come down to three problems–and solutions!
Lack of Teacher Modeling
We ask students to dig deep. To ask questions that don’t have an answer yet. In short, to go beyond comparing popcorn brands. But how often do we model how we develop our own original questions? Share our honest, raw wonderings? Demonstrate our process of Googling to refine an idea?
A7: Research trends in science to create your own q’s that have not been answered. Can you google the answer? If so, dig deeper #mogtchat
Creativity and innovation are skills, and science fair projects are an advanced exercise of these skills. If we expect our students to suddenly showcase skills we’ve never helped them cultivate (or worse, that we’ve never cultivated ourselves), we are setting them up for failure–or just another diaper absorbency project.
SOLUTION → Teach questioning: If you want students to ask “measureable questions,” teach them how to do so long before introducing science fair. Strategies like frequent use of Visible Thinking protocols trains students how to develop and refine their questions. (see also Tubric).
Lack of Existing Student-Driven Project-Based Learning
The science fair should not be an isolated experience of students taking ownership over and driving their own learning process. If it is, it’s unlikely that many will rise to the freedom in ways that will fuel their passion and motivation.
SOLUTION → Project-Based Learning: Make it your next weekend project to create one new PBL opportunity. Guides like this one found on Edutopia can help you get started.
SOLUTION → Student Voice & Choice: Mindfully consider your students’ choice and voice in their day-to-day learning. When we gradually let go of control and allow our students to steer the learning, they will grow in confidence and self-understanding.
Lack of Engaged and Authentic Audience
Even if students do manage to find a passion-driven project, how often does their work ever go beyond a cardboard trifold display in the gymnasium (unless they happen to move on to regionals)? Too often, we only allow our students small sips from locally limited audiences–when we could lead them to the very fountain of global conversation with our fingertips. It’s time to throw open the floodgates and watch what happens when our students swap ideas with peers, scientists, and experts across the world.
SOLUTION → Student Blogging: Encourage your students to blog not only the final presentation, but their entire process along the way. Then, teach them how to ask for feedback to fine-tune their ideas.
SOLUTION → The Wonderment: This is an especially wonderful platform for younger students to collaborate safely online. They can upload photos, videos, and text, asking questions and getting inspiration from kids around the world (see other excellent blogging alternatives here).
Let’s break the mold of hating science fair this year. What are some of your strategies to do so?
An authentic and global audience of peers and professionals–what could be more exciting when it comes to students pursuing meaningful collaboration? Yet in the name of safety, many schools still choose to keep student blogs private, viewable only to students and their families. And while safety is an essential priority, these schools must understand the importance of digital citizenship, and its role in enhancing students’ online safety.
Meanwhile, for those teaching under such restrictions, the good news is that there are a growing number of alternatives available to still foster global connections. Here are four we’re sure your students will love!
Meet the digital version of pen pals. This is a great compromise with an administration that is wary of public blogging–ask for permission to connect with just 3 other classes so they can learn about their peers in other places. Your class will become part of a Quad of four classes. You each take week-long turns as the focus class, meaning the other 3 classes visit and comment on your students’ blogs. The year I did this with my fifth graders, our quad included fifth grade classes from the U.S., the U.K., and China, and our students couldn’t get enough of seeing comments on their work from their quad friends across the globe.
The Wonderment is a new creativity-sharing platform that makes me want to be a kid again. It allows students to share and connect with kids around the world using their WonderBots. Students can share their work, participate in creative challenges, and participate in discussions with other kids–all while filling up a WonderMeter that opens up the Wonderment to new locations in the world. “When we create things together, good things happen.”
Twitter allows teachers to easily share snippets of student learning throughout the day in just 140 characters. A group just brainstormed phenomenal questions for a project? Just snap a photo and share on your classroom Twitter account with hashtags that will help their ideas reach beyond just the walls of your classroom (ie, #comments4kids, grade level chat like #5thchat, etc.). Invite parents to follow your class account to give them a window into your classroom, too! To see it this in action, check out Mrs. Cassidy’s first grade class account. (For more inspiration, check out “Unlocking Twitter’s Classroom Potential“).
Can your class guess the location of another over Skype? Not only does MysterySkype give your students an opportunity to connect with kids around the world, but it allows them to cultivate communication, problem solving, collaboration, and organization. Before you launch a session, be sure to check out how other teachers have set it up, like fifth grade teacher, Paul Solarz.