Friday, August 3, 2012

Tool #11: Self Assessing and Reflecting

I am newly in love with Twitter. Not for social reasons but simply because I am finding the best and most relevant of resources from educators and organizations whose opinions and views I trust. I feel that I am a part of a massive community (obviously) whose goal it is to move our students into the digital age. I intend to use this with my students this year, but I'm still playing around with the logistics. It could be that this year is a practice year, and I can simply use Twitter for class updates. I like the idea of having students Tweet comments as part of a discussion, but that probably wouldn't happen until 2nd semester. Perhaps with Of Mice and Men? Errr, shoot, I can't remember what units are now going to be in 2nd semester...
I still love Dropbox and use it all the time both in school and out of school. I also use Pinterest (not on 11 Tools) quite frequently- I love the app on my phone and have been able to follow several colleagues and educators/organizations (Sir Ken Robinson, iste, TEA, etc.)  See screenshot below.
I haven't had much of a transformation simply because I've had a clear understanding of what I want (and what should be) an integral part of my classroom since I began my preparation to be a teacher. I will probably simply utilize some of these apps now that we actually have technology more readily available to us and the students! (I'm pumped!) 

There weren't really any special surprises within 11 Tools. I will say that I now understand and have seen why and how teachers can be fearful of technology and grow frustrated with it. Because I was a student within the digital age, all of this comes easily to me already, and I suppose I am more grateful of that now and recognize my digital literacy as the valuable skill that it is. 

Tool #10: Digital Citizenship

1. I want my students to understand that the internet can be an incredibly valuable resource, but only if they know how to use it. They jump directly to every time and do not know how to effectively use this resource, which limits what they're actually being shown and are learning.

2. I want my students to be able to recognize when they are (and when they are not) being critical consumers of what they read both on the internet and in life in general. They cannot call themselves information literate if they believe anything they read on the internet and treat it like The Bible.

3. I want my students to understand that there is an etiquette within the cyber world just as in my classroom. It is appalling to hear them talk about the ways that they are using social networking sites- their "transparency" and honesty online will hurt them later.

I began last year's classes with a lesson pulled from Alan November's Information Literacy Resources. The kids responded well and found it intriguing that the internet can "learn" its users and seemed to find it important that we understand how the internet works and how we should be using it. I wish we had used what we'd learned more frequently- perhaps I taught the lesson at an inopportune time. Perhaps it would be better taught during our persuasion unit.

To keep the parents in the loop, I think the easiest way would be to send a letter home. That seems the most direct and sure-fire way to disseminate classroom information.