ISTE, #AISQ8chat, #AfricaEd & Digital Citizenship

As my MEd with UKSTL winds down, I’m disappointed in my lack of reflecting on this blog. At it’s core, my blog is a place for me to reflect on my learning and practice. Unfortunately I’ve realized that a full-time job and Masters at the same time leaves little time for writing. Or I haven’t made the time. My goal is to start putting things on ‘paper’ that have been swimming around in my head for the last year. Starting today!

This week’s #AISQ8 slow chat is all about Digital Citizenship. When Ryan asked if we could do a joint #AfricaEd & #AISQ8chat this week, we were on board. Today we’re reaching more people than we’ve been able to in the past. The power of a hashtag! As we started discussing what digital citizenship is and its role in our connected world, I got to thinking about the ISTE Standards. Each of them (Students, Teachers, Coaches, Admin, Computer Science Educators) mention digital citizenship. But I wanted to compare them. So I quickly threw together this spreadsheet in order to visualize all 5 at the same time. Would love any feedback ūüôā

MYP Design/Art final project…another installment

[See all my final project posts. Always open to input!]

The more I think about the unit we’re creating the more ideas I get and the more excited I get. I’m just nervous to get my hopes up and not have it turn out as awesome as I’m hoping!

I did some brainstorming with Lindsay (MYP art teacher) last week. Note to self: always brainstorm with an art teacher!

MYP Next Chapter: Our school is slowly switching over to the Next Chapter of MYP so we’ve been given the freedom to start incorporating the new guide in our unit planning. Instead of having a unit question, we’ll have a statement of inquiry {The Medium is the Message}. We will also have a key concept, at least 1 related concept and a global context. After perusing the new guide for Art, my thoughts are: key concept=communication, related concept=audience (& expression?), global context=personal and cultural expression. Based on talking to our MYP coordinator, we will probably have to make our statement of inquiry a little more detailed to better incorporate the concepts & context. We will also need a few inquiry questions to “give shape and scope to the unit.” This might be something that we can work on with students throughout the unit (according to the Developing MYP units pre-publication).

We had originally thought we’d use Community and Service as our Area of Interaction. However AOIs are disappearing in the new unit planner. We need to decide how deep we want to get into the new unit planner. Either way, we also need to decide which Approches to Learning (ATLs) we will focus on.

Design Cycle:¬†Although we will be experimenting with incorporating some of the Next Chapter guide into the Art part of the unit, we won’t be using the new guide for Design. However I will still be trying to ‘redefine’ how Design is done at our school. After a couple months of integrating the design cycle into French and Art, I just read the entire (old) MYP Technology guide last week. Wow. So much information. And it seems so many things that need to be tweeked at our school. The main thing I’d like to focus on changing for this unit are the rubrics. We currently use the year 5 exit rubric for all students grades 6 through 10. We also don’t (or rarely) use task-specific rubrics. I could use some help in this area! I don’t really have any idea how to rewrite/tweek the rubrics for year 2 students or how to create task-specific rubrics. Help! ūüėČ

The other area we’re still developing is the problem. I want the students to launch a social media campaign about a relevant problem in Kuwait. I don’t want to leave it too open because they are grade 7 students. But I don’t want to limit them either. My original idea was to allow them to choose between littering (an enormous amount in Kuwait) and tourism (almost none in Kuwait). A littering campaign might focus on the negative aspects of Kuwait and convincing people in the country to make a difference. A tourism campaign might focus on the positive aspects of Kuwait and convincing people outside the country to visit. I still don’t know if these two problems are too different from each other and if we will need to have a more streamlined focus throughout the unit. Thoughts??

Design Folder: The design folder is another thing I’m working on ‘redefining.’ We currently use packets. Our design technology classes complete them digitally (they are in computer labs) however most of the elective classes that we are integrating the design cycle into complete hard copies. The packets are long and boring and students hate them. Here is an example from one of the French classes.

Although this won’t be a group project, I want students to be able to learn from each other giving attribution where necessary. One of my favorite aspects of being a connected educator is all the new ideas I get to ‘steal’ and adapt from other educators around the world. Why not teach our students how to do the same thing?

I’d like students to use Tumblr to create their design folder in order to document the process they go through (and easily share it with classmates). I chose Tumblr because it is simple and the focus is often on photos. My guess is that many students already have Tumblrs. This will be an opportunity to discuss separating school life and personal life online.

In order to help guide students through the design folder, I have created a sample Tumblr blog that I will share with students. I have put relevant information for students and also created [Your Turn] posts to guide students as they document the process. I have organized the posts using hashtags. This is still a work in progress! I’m currently working through Julie’s templates¬†to see how I can make my posts more helpful for the students. I will also have to change a few things as I adapt the rubrics. Creating the design folder in Tumblr has completely transformed our packets. What do you think??

Digital Citizenship:¬†We will have to teach our students to learn from and with each other…not just simply plagiarize. My biggest concern with Tumblr is that it makes it so easy for students to copy & paste and then pass off other students’ work as their own. We will need to incorporate digital citizenship into the unit. The main takeaway I want students to come away with is that they can use and build on other people’s ideas with attribution. We can use¬†Common Sense Media to teach a couple digital citizenship lessons and then hold students accountable with our Acceptable Use Agreement. Many of our students have school iPads so the free iBooks textbooks and workbooks might be an option (if we can get them loaded on their iPads).

I’d also like to familiarize students with Creative Commons licenses. Students will need to choose an appropriate license for their design folders and display the license on their Tumblr blogs.

Photography: This unit started as a photography unit and is morphing into something much bigger. If all goes as planned, I think we will be able to ‘redefine’ the unit through the use of technology. I’m envisioning the students using their photography to make a change in the world through a social media campaign. I think that “the medium is the message” does a great job of encompassing what we’re hoping to accomplish. I wish that the Kuwait Grand Photography Contest was just a month or two later…then we’d have even greater potential for the students to feel invested.

Expert Advice: This is where we’re struggling the most right now. I’d love to find a social media activist/expert who can Skype/Hangout with the class to talk about using (social) media to impact people’s decisions/actions. We can show this video and introduce them Witness.org but I think it’d be much more meaningful to actually have a real person. Someone who uses pictures/videos and social media to affect how people act and the way they think would be perfect. Ideas??

Small Details: Lindsay is on board for a pre-assessment (√† la Julie) where students spend a class period taking pictures around the school. This will give Lindsay an idea of their technical skills and get the students thinking about the message of their pictures. I’d also like to incorporate a lesson on ‘powerful images.’

I’d love any input from anyone! We’re still very much in the planning stages so I’m hoping to crowd-course this a little in order to refine my ideas and make sure that they will actually work! Thank you ūüôā

Course 2 Final Project: 20 Questions

Another one bites the dust! We’re 2/5 of the way done with COETAIL. I’ll finish up my 4th year teaching (1st year international) and head back to the States for the summer in 22 days. Then it’ll start all over again in just over 3 months (plus I’ll be adding on courses for my M.Ed. in School Tech Leadership)!

Christina, Janette and Karen did a revamp of our school’s AUP last year for their course 2 final project. An edited version has been adapted at AIS so I chose to create a UbD lesson plan. Kelsey and I connected on Twitter¬†and then invited Jeff to join us. It was an interesting experience to be working with 1 person in a different country and another person with whom I share an office. Although Google Docs worked well, it was sometimes a challenge to avoid miscommunications and ensure that the three of us were on the same page. I imagine these challenges would be present if we were in the same place but collaborating¬†solely¬†through a GDoc with limited real-time chatting may have exacerbated them.

I think our lesson has definite promise. It would probably be ideal for grades 7-9 and would take several class periods to complete. I do not currently have a classroom but would love to hear from anyone that uses/adapts our lesson plan with their students!

Many thanks to Jeff and Kelsey for being great partners ūüôā

Thoughts on Digital Safety – Nothing Revolutionary

Thank you to everyone who helped me last week by answering my questions about Technology Coaches. My PLN is awesome!

Student safety and cyber-bullying has been the focus of a lot of press lately. As educators, we need to be aware that just because students know how to use devices (tablet, computer, etc), they don’t know how to behave when they’re using them. Behaving appropriately online is not an innate ability that students are born with. Instead it is something that must be taught. Who and how is the golden question!

This responsibility of teaching kids digital etiquette needs to be shared by both school and home. Parents can start from a young age at home. Common Sense Media has lots of great resources and parent agreements to support parents. Although I’m not a parent, I think it is parents’ job to help students understand how to appropriately use technology instead of banning it. If your kids are inappropriately using the technology that you gave them, help them learn what they should do differently instead of simply taking it away. Am I a crazy no-kid lady?

Unfortunately, not all adults understand how to behave online. This is where schools should come in to support and educate parents. Once students start school, teachers should be incorporating digital citizenship into their lessons on a daily basis. In 2013 most people own multiple devices, these type of lessons do not need to be an “extra.”

Parents and teachers also need to be living what they preach – if you don’t want your child to text during dinner, parents shouldn’t either; if you don’t want your students to text during class, teachers shouldn’t either. We need to be constantly modeling digital etiquette for our students.

Parents and schools should be working together to help students harness technology for good. Bullying and students being disrespectful to each other is nothing new. Unfortunately, however, technology can exacerbate¬†the situation. Many students around the world are doing amazing things with technology (even if the media focuses on the negative). Scott McLeod‘s keynote, Powerful Technologies Powerful Youth, at the NESA Spring Educators Conference in Bangkok last month highlighted some of these students.

It is important that both children and adults are aware of the power of technology (good and bad). Explicitly and implicitly teaching students how to behave online is the job of the community, not the individual.

Community Garden Work Day

This post doesn’t seem revolutionary or original to me. But I’m glad I had the opportunity to find some good resources and get my thoughts down on “paper.” ūüėČ

Breaking the law is easy

While at the NESA Spring Educators Conference in Bangkok 2 weeks ago I heard about the University of Kentucky School¬†Technology¬†Leadership Masters. The more I talked to Scott McLeod, Dana Watts and Jayson Richardson about the program, the more I knew it was something I needed to do. Since then I’ve been reading my Google Reader through leadership-tinted glasses. After writing my post a couple days ago about digital footprints in education, I had another thought today. My post focused on how administrators judge potential hires based on their online activity…but what about vice versa? There are several connected¬†administrators¬†that I would love to work for (Eric Sheninger, George Couros, Chris Lehmann, & Steven Anderson to name a few). When I’m job-searching &¬†interviewing¬†in several years I will be looking at THEIR digital footprints…the superintendents, the principals, the school, etc. Connected teachers need to turn the tables and actively pursue jobs that we want with admin we want to work for!

On to some copyright laws…
Easy on the I's (eyes)
Forgetting about copyright is just too easy. It’s no wonder that laws are broken on a daily basis – other people’s work is constantly at the tip of our fingertips. It’s senseless and relatively guilt-free (read: anonymous). It takes a lot of effort to find Creative Commons images instead of just Google searching and using the first one you like. So how do we teach this idea to kids? I think it’s a difficult concept to teach in the US, let alone in the rest of the world.

As far as I know there are few (copyright) laws in Kuwait. We have DVD guys that sell ‘pirated’ copies of TV shows & movies, stores that will jailbreak your iPad…and so much more (…was I supposed to say that?!). As we roll out our 1:1 program with iPads, I consistently witness students breaking copyright “laws.” Usually it has to do with music and/or images. It’s just too dang easy to save pictures and rip audio/video. Kids don’t even think twice about using other people’s work and most¬†definitely¬†don’t consider it plagiarism. So I guess that’s my solution – get them thinking. Ask them how they would feel if someone else stole their work (and didn’t give them credit). Help them understand Copyright and¬†Creative Commons¬†and the difference between the two. [I really like Doug Johnson‘s idea to change the focus to what is permitted, not forbidden.] Encourage students to share their work using Creative Commons licenses. Know the answers to their questions. Encourage students to create their own material (music, photos, images, etc). If students absolutely must use other people’s music & images, make sure that they have the right tools to find content and cite it. Integrate digital citizenship into your curriculum. Be role models (this might just be the hardest one).

Personal and Professional Collide Online

Surfers almost collide at Morro Rock, Morro Bay, CA

I have to disagree with hiring and firing based on profile photographs. Shouldn‚Äôt your personal life be left at the door? A person working five days a week deserves a little down time on the weekends. What a person does on his or her own time on days off should not be used to judge work ethic because that person may be serious and hard-working when they enter the workplace. Employers know that Facebook is popular and that our generation is utilizing it, but business and personal lives should not coincide. ~Samantha MacConnell, Don’t overestimate privacy of online information

Samantha has a great idea. And in an ideal world personal and professional lives wouldn’t intersect. However that’s not the world we live in. Everything we do online affects our lives. ESPECIALLY as educators.

I attempt to keep my personal and professional lives separate by using privacy controls and choosing how I use social media. My Facebook is personal – I have high privacy settings, stay up to date on any privacy changes and don’t talk (much) about my professional life. My Twitter is professional – I have it completely open to leave a positive digital footprint and rarely talk about my personal life.

I currently have 3 blogs – two professional and one personal. All three blogs are completely open and searchable on the web. Living in Kuwait, we are very careful about what we put on our travel blog. Anything questionable either goes on Facebook (high privacy!) or doesn’t get posted.

All that said…if a student or employer manages to find me on Facebook, I’m not worried. I don’t live my life in a way that would get me fired. And if I did, I would understand that there could be consequences for making my actions “public.” Although I value privacy and attempt to have a certain amount of it, I know there really isn’t any such thing on the internet.

[I love Google products…but I didn’t even attempt to go there re: privacy.]

 

The Digital-Education Disconnect

Rural Disconnect

As an advisory teacher for a group of seniors last year, we spent one 20 minute lesson talking about their “digital footprint” (I’m not even sure we used that phrase). I barely remember the lesson so I’m sure my students remember it even less (I wish I would have known about this lesson!). Adults love to TALK about how what kids do online now will impact their future, but do we walk the walk? How many adults in education are actively concerned about their digital footprint? How many of us know that what we do online can hurt (AND help) our chances of getting jobs? Yes – I¬†believe¬†that as (international) educators we should have a digital footprint that helps demonstrate what we can bring to an organization.

A theme often talked about among¬†connected¬†educators on Twitter & #edchat is how to get more educators involved in the conversation. In a US system where many teachers stay in the same position/district for their entire careers, will they ever see the benefit of a positive digital footprint? Teachers who never change jobs would rarely think about if their employers are looking for a positive footprint. International teachers are in a different boat. From my (limited) experience, it seems that we change jobs much more often – some people as often as every 2 years. Our digital footprints may be closer to the forefront of our minds however I think it’s still quite common to focus on the negative effects of social media and not how it can actually help us grow in our practice. That said, how many people know the ins and outs of their privacy settings on Facebook, Twitter, etc?

And then there’s the administration. How many administrators that are actively hiring are looking at applicants’ digital footprints (positive or negative)? What do admin actually KNOW about the people they hire (besides what’s on their beefed up resumes and what their references say)? A simple google search provides a plethora of professional evidence. I wonder if any of my administrators during the last 4 years have bothered to see what I’ve put online.

A couple months ago I watched the beginning of a keynote by George Couros during Calgary Educational Partnership Foundation‘s Online Safety Week. He talked to the students about how everything they do online (even during grade school) will affect their job prospects later. Ironically students had already been tweeting (using the hashtag) about how they didn’t want to be there and other not so nice things. Little did they know George was online watching them!

Kids don’t understand the gravity of their actions online (specifically social media) nor how to harness their power for good. But who’s teaching them? There aren’t many adults out there with the skills to do so. This mix will lead to a very¬†interesting¬†future for all of us!