Improving teaching and learning in my work

I want to improve teaching and learning in my work by collaborating with and supporting students to improve their digital literacy and citizenship skills.  The students I’ve worked with use many forms of technology (laptops, social media, online forums, digital photography, presentation software, online games, etc.) in their programs and the guidelines for technology use only apply to behavior in the program since the programs are not necessarily focused on teaching digital literacy and citizenship.  I also want to be able to support instructors (or teachers) who are using technology with students to be able to cultivate an awareness and practice of digital responsibility with their learners.  With the rapid changes in technology and its use in our daily lives, students need to develop skills and attitudes that can help them decide how to use technology appropriately in various real-life situations.   They need to be able to understand the impact of their technology use not just on others but also on themselves; and not just the impact they make but the implications of their actions, whether it will lead to positive or negative change or consequences.  Rather than telling students what is appropriate use and enforcing rules, I want to be able to teach them skills and strategies to make those decisions for themselves based on the technology they use, their intent, and the context of the situation or environment.

Collaborating with others can help me understand how best to improve my skills and practice, what students expect and want or need from me as an instructor, and to identify effective and appropriate resources.  I want to get better in my practice and I know that collaborating with others can help me to recognize my blind spots and areas of growth that I can improve upon.  Modeling what I teach is important, but partnering with students can help me to understand how best to meet their needs as learners and as digital citizens.  Participating in a peer learning network can also help me to learn about what other teachers use in their practice, what has worked for their students, and how I can build my knowledge and skills in similar ways.

Some resources that I have been exploring this week:

9 thoughts on “Improving teaching and learning in my work

  1. I am not a fan of the term digital citizenship. It comes from a place that kids are inherently bad and we moral adults must fix this behavior and train well behaved cogs.

    Good behavior is the same no matter the contexts. Yes as boyd points out issues arise when different online audience point out but I do not think deceny requires a special curriculum.

    That being said great resources. I just cone more from connected learning than digital citizenship. You may also want to add webmaker.org.

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    1. Thank you for your comments, you highlight why I was interested in this topic; many years ago I moved away from classroom teaching and into out-of-school time programming because I struggled with the traditional classroom setup with the teacher as a keeper of knowledge and students who are trained to behave and think “correctly”. I am also a huge fan of the Mozilla Project and you reminded me that I need to think about the terms I was using to describe what I wanted to improve in my work. I’m trying to narrow down on a specific research topic in this course, but I think that connected learning is more of an accurate term to describe what I am hoping to explore. Thank you for the feedback!

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  2. A teacher in my building, who is piloting a 1-1 iPad program, has been working with her 3rd/4th grade students on responsible practices when using technology. She was, and still is, really nervous about using this technology with such young students, but I think they’ve been learning some really important things through their projects. For instance, she had them all take “selfies” and then practice writing up non-identifying profile-type information about themselves, rather than what we so often see online (from adults, nonetheless) disclosing way too much personal information about themselves online for the whole world to see. The project that’s hanging up in the halls right now is a Comic Life printout where they took pictures of themselves and classmates working at the computers or iPads, and then came up with a little storyline about being cyberbullied. I think this is really good practice for the students and am happy that she’s addressing these real issues early on with them.

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  3. I’m not really sure what digital citizenship entails, can you elaborate on that term? Is it about like evaluating sources…? Or is there more to it than that?

    For the second part of your post, about teacher collabortating, I love the metaphor “recognizing blind spots,” what a perfect way to explain how other colleagues can help us!

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    1. Digital citizenship is basically using technology appropriately and responsibly; for my purposes, I’m interested in how this happens in and across classrooms. I am specifically interested in how student interactions can be effectively facilitated in an open online game.

      What I’m trying to focus my research on is how teachers can effectively moderate or facilitate student interactions in our upcoming MinecraftEdu MOOC in my other courses (EDET 637 & 674). I was part of a team designing the experience last fall and we had a community agreement but the game evolved so quickly each day that it became difficult to moderate. I’m hoping to focus my research on the teachers participating this semester so we can figure out what are best practices. Anyway, hope that answers your question!

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  4. Teaching digital citizenship and Internet safety are extremely important in education today. Just as we model and teach how we should be citizens in our school, community, and country, there needs to be a focus on what our behavior, duties, and obligations are as World Wide Web citizens. Because of the exponential change in the technology realm, this can seem, to some, an impossible task. Just because it is difficult topic, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be occurring in our classrooms. I think one way to tackle this problem could be to focus on specific themes surrounding digital citizenship such as: Safety, Ethics, and Security. I would also argue that more practice and instruction in problem solving is vital in our classrooms today. If we can teach students about underlying themes with technology and teach them how to think critically, then perhaps we will be providing them the tools to keep up with the exponential change in the technology landscape.

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  5. “… students need to develop skills and attitudes that can help them decide how to use technology in various real-life situations.” I like this. Students need exposure to numerous forms of technology available to them, as well as using it in real-life situations. As I sit here, I think of Prezi.com for presentations, quizlet.com for vocabulary, and even google.com for searching information. I know these programs exists for my real-life situations, but do the students? As an adult, I automatically send up my own red flags when something does not seem right when the vast world of the internet introduces something inappropriate to my computer. But do the students send up their red flags? Or does curiosity keep the flag flying low? How do students learn to make these decisions for themselves without experiencing the results personally?

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