Saturday, November 28, 2015

Major Project Update - Digital Citizenship and the Balanced Approach to Teaching at the High School Level

This past week, Genna and I finished off our presentation for high school teachers who were signed up to take our professional development session on "Digital Citizenship and the Balanced Approach to Teaching at the High School Level".  The purpose of the session was to explore with teachers the digital citizenship continuum, plan lessons integrating digital citizenship into curricular learning, then finally delve deep into the Essential Skills of 21st Century Learning. 
Some of the challenges of this session include helping teachers of curricular areas (ie: Math) find authentic ways of integrating digital citizenship. However, through discussion with these teachers, we noticed that as soon as technology was integrated into the lesson, there were definitely opportunities to explore digital citizenship. One teacher who was designing a math lesson around... (some complicated math concept that used the word "binomials"...) had groups of students record a lesson Khan Academy style for various concepts. After discussion, we realized that not all students would have devices for engaging in the project, so one of the elements that had to be investigated was the essential question, "Does everyone in your school have equal opportunities as far as technology use is concerned?" or "Do all students have the opportunity to be involved in a digital society?" So in this lesson, this teacher had to explore access of technology with the students, yet not in a way that would make any individuals feel embarrassed. 
Teachers had the opportunity to also use our Essential Skills Framework Lesson Template for lesson planning, which most found fairly easy to navigate once it was explained and samples were explored. 

Providing time for teachers to collaborate and build lessons was well received by the teachers. It will be great to have lessons from the high school level as part of our data base of digitally integrated lessons. 
Click on the link to access the presentation if it is not available via Scribd. **Please note that in Scribd, documents sometimes lose formatting, or words move around. Therefore, if you notice format issues, it was fine previous to uploading to Scribd.

Part of afternoon was also a investigation of the Essential Skills and exploring some of the digital tools teachers may wish to utilize in their classroom as part of amplifying learning. In analyzing technology, teachers were encouraged to examine effectiveness with this inverted Bloom's strategy that we devised.

Digital Tool Questions for Analysis

Many of the teachers who attended our session were already integrating technology effectively in the classroom, so our session also became a great opportunity to share ideas and bounce our project's framework off a group who had the tech-savvy knowledge to give honest feedback. The only concern that really seemed to pop up with high school teachers was the time to delve into some ways the curriculum could be leveraged. Many thought that finding other teachers and classrooms to connect with via Skype, could be a bit of a challenge many noted as the class-times in a high school schedule can be quite confining. Time seemed to be the issue even when looking at how to digitally create, as some teachers stated that they felt the pressures of curriculum. So going forward, our job might be helping teachers see the benefits of having students share their understanding beyond paper and pencil or other traditional methods, and move towards other forms of summative assessment.

One final part of the day that I want to share, was that we spent about an hour planning and sharing a few ideas for the Red Cross Pink Day on February 24th, 2016. The different high schools had different visions for how this would unfold, from wearing pink t-shirts and having a tweet-up to potential guest speakers. Some teachers were interested in integrating creating digital artefacts (similar to the Student First Anti-Bullying Project), that would be shared at a division level. 

One of the greatest successes of the day was that all teachers saw the need for integrating digital citizenship on a regular basis into curriculum, but also supported events such as Pink Day to further generate awareness for Anti-Bullying and Digital Citizenship. 

In conclusion, as an update for the Scope and Sequence aspect of our project, Genna and I  are now starting the process of building our webpages on Drupal, as the Scopes and Sequences for the 6 Essential Skills are pretty much completed. We have yet to capture some of the digital stories to help actualize the Essential Skills, but we realize that this will be part of the "work in progress". 

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