Participate Reflection

The Participate module gave me a wealth of knowledge to prepare me to meet standards C, E, and J for Quality Online Teaching such as learning about:

I feel more prepared where digital learning is involved. Being a Level 2 Google Certified Educator made me think that I knew all there was to know about online learning. I was wrong. I had no idea that so many things went into online Netiquette and just the responsibility of utilizing the internet as a teacher, student, and parent.

I will take away many strategies that I will apply in my teaching. One of the first things I will do is create a digital and print copy of a Netiquette poster. I think this is a good reminder for teachers, students, and parents. Secondly, I will check AUPs more closely and make sure that they are adhered to within the classroom. Thirdly, I will work more diligently to ensure that my students know how to stay safe and secure on the internet.

There were several lessons that I found beneficial.”Collecting Reputable Sources” was beneficial because it is helpful for me and the students. “Digital Resources and Netiquette” was beneficial because it provides myself and students a guide to online activity. “Digital Health” was beneficial because it just isn’t something you think about too often. The most beneficial module was “Digital Safety & Security” because it showed me how to keep myself safe and the students within my classroom.

 

Participate 4- Digital Health

Create: a digital calendar

Calendar

Answer: I modified my technology habits by increasing the amount of movement in my day to day activities, reminding myself to sit up straight, and took two days off on Saturday and Sunday to be tech free. It’s unreal how much time I spend on the computer in my day to day job activities. Putting breaks in intentionally brings it to the forefront of my mind.

I think the most important means of being proactive and keeping a balanced blend of techology and well-being is by taking days off away from technology. This can be almost impossible, but it can be done. I put my cell phone away at dinner time, during meetings, and when I am with a group of people.

Teachers can ensure good digital health for their students by mixing up the types of lessons they are preparing for their students. There needs to be a good mixture of online work and one-on-one discussion with classmates. Students need to learn how to socialize with others.

Participate 4- Digital Safety and Security

Create: 

https://www.smore.com/pefzb

Answer: 

I created the artifact on digital safety with students and a classroom in mind. I kept the information simple. It can easily be turned into a poster for any classroom. For each of the letters on the poster a short mini-lesson could be created to add more details. Some great discussions could be had involving the strategies on the poster. Teachers can use the poster to help students remember important strategies for online safety during the school day and when they go home at night. It could possibly be turned into a bookmark that students can keep with them at all times.

Participate 4- Digital Rights and Responsibilities

AUP logo

Artifact: An educational digital learning community needs to be a safe environment for teachers, students, parents, and any other stakeholders using the internet. As I looked through the resources available throuh the “Digital Rights and Responsibilities” module I found several things to be necessary for a DLC. I found three things to be absolutely necessary within a DLC: an up-to-date AUP, knowledge of copyrights and fair use, and Creative Commons. These things will make up a huge part of a DLC and if handled appropriately will help the community to thrive.

Answer: 

  1. A DLC can protect its members by requiring all members to sign an AUP. The AUP needs to be up-to-date and valid for the DLC it is protecting. If a DLC is geared more toward younger user then the AUP needs to be written in parent/student friendly language that is easy to understand. It needs to be signed by both parent and student. There also needs to be an opportunity for parents and students to ask questions about the AUP if they do not completely understand something found in the agreement. Guidelines for what happens if the AUP is not followed should be discussed prior to signing the AUP. To aid in maintaining a useful AUP, there needs to be resources within the DLC that are easily accessible for users to learn about copyright laws, Fair Use, and Creative Commons. Sometimes laws are broken and the person doing it doesn’t know they have done it in the first place. A huge role of the DLC is to educate users on how to appropriate function within the community.
  2. The best way to maintain a DLC is too regularly monitor the content on the website to make sure that the AUP is being followed. Simply having someone sign a document, whether it be hard copy or digital, is not enough. If content is inappropriate or copyrights are broken contact needs to be made between the creator of the DLC and the party in question. If a person is new to a DLC they will explore the community to get a sense of what is and is not acceptable. If unacceptable things are found then the DLC will dwindle.

 

Participate 3- Accessing Digital Learning Community

Answer: My level of access to digital resources is quite good. First of all, my download speed is 14.61 Mbps and my upload speed is 5.72 Mbps from my home. It is even quicker at my workplace. Using the National Broadband Map I found that our home internet service is the fastest offered in our area. The county I live is ranked 23rd for broadband availability among the other counties in Georgia. Secondly, I have the ability to see, hear, operate a computer, and have the cognitive ability necessary to combine all these things to access digital resources.

I am one of the lucky ones that has no barriers keeping me from digital resources, but not all students are that lucky. Some do not have access due to where they live or the cost of internet. These are things that can be handled through school outreach and other community services.

There are four main categories of disability that can keep students from accessing digital resources:

Visual: blindness, low vision, color-blindness;

Hearing: Deafness and hard of hearing;

Motor: Inability to use a mouse, slow response time, limited fine motor control;

Cognitive: Learning disabilities, distractibility, inability to remember or focus on large amounts of information.

As a teacher there are things that can be done to work around these barriers:

Visual:

  • screen readers

Hearing:

  • closed captioning
  • possibly lip reading or sign language

Motor:

  • Mouth stick
  • Head wand
  • Single-switch access
  • Sip and puff switch
  • Oversized trackball mouse
  • Adaptive keyboard
  • Eye tracking
  • Voice recognition software

Cognitive:

  • How a website is set up
    • structural organization
    • visual organization
    • white space
  • Use clear and simple writing

Participate 2-Collecting Reputable Digital Resources

Research: I reviewed the websites found within the provided Symbaloo list. I had already visited them from the Participate 2- Joining a Digital Learning Community so I moved on to the extra resources found at the bottom of the page. I explored CML, Media Smarts, and NAMLE. I bookmarked all three for future reference labeled as “Media Literacy.”

Artifact: After exploring the extra resources here is what I found:

CML (Center for Media Literacy) contains lots of helpful resources for educators and parents. There is an up to date newsletter and short videos explaining exactly what media literacy is and why it is important. You can find resources on advocating for media literacy and professional development on multiple topics. There is an area to search for best practices, resources, and a place to shop for materials.

Media Smarts: This website was very similar to CML, but I did find it to be organized in a more user friendly fashion for my taste. Digital Media is broken down into three categories: general, media and digital issues. Within these areas you can find games, resources, and materials for media resource week. I like the way there is a section separated for parents and for educators. The parental section is broken down into hot topic issues for today’s students. Within the teacher section you can find lessons, resources, and curriculum. There is also a blog where anyone is free to post comments.

NAMLE (National Association for Media Literacy Education): This site is a good mix between CML and Media Smarts. It is user friendly and content heavy. Core principles are available and a journal with current and archived media literacy texts. I didn’t find this site to be as organized as I would have liked for a parent. I feel it is more geared toward educators than parents.

Answer: The three most important tools I found were all on the Media Smarts website. The first one was the “Digital Issues” section. I have already shared it with the technology teacher within my building because it is broken down into the topics that need to be covered with all students using the internet. The second one was the “Lessons and Resources” section. Here a teacher can do a simple filtered search and located hundreds of lessons on any given topic or media type. The third one was the “Parent Resources” section. It had all the hot button issues that children face online broken down by topic. The texts were easy to read and could easily be shared from parent to student.

Students can be taught to safely locate tools and resources to enhance their learning by simply checking the validity of a URL. Teach them to look for websites ending with the four most common/safe URLs for information: .mil; .gov; .edu; .org  When evaulating a website or source teach students to consider these five things: audience, accuracy, credibility, point of view, and currency. This video posted by Baker University Library is a great example of these five things. The video describes that a student must be the “Sherlock Holmes” of the internet to make sure that a website is valid. Check sources, organization, About Us sections, etc… Do these things on the front end and you will end up with valuable information. The bottomline is students have to put some work into validating their sources.

 

 

 

Particpate 1-Ideal Digital Learning Communities

Answer: 

What would be needed to create an ideal digital learning community?

  1. First and foremost it needs to be easy to access and most importantly FREE. This allows anyone and everyone to be a part of the community.
  2. Stakeholders need to be able to login in quickly, and filter a simple search to find the information they are looking for at the time.
  3. Digital citizenship needs to be enforced for students, parents, and teachers within the community. One must feel safe in order to learn and share.
  4. There needs to be access to peer-reviewed materials and libraries that are easily accessible. It should be clear, concise, and easy.
  5. All members would have something to say! They would post questions and hunger for responses that cause deep thinking.
  6. A variety of subjects and topics should be included: arts and STEM.
  7. Links to other sources outside of the DLC for topics that may not be covered.
  8. It must be kept up-to-date.

What would be needed to bring such a vision to fruition?

One would need a lot of time to bring this type of digital learning community to fruition. Content, materials, and resources would need to kept up-to-date on a day to day basis. The content would be ever changing and would need to be monitored closely to keep all members safe from misuse of the platform. Materials and resources become “out of date” so quickly that they would need reviewed periodically for accuracy. The creator would need to be tech saavy and knowledgeable about the content found within the DLC. This would allow for two-way communication to take place between users and the person(s) maintaining the DLC.

What can one do to make an existing DLC more attractive to and welcoming for students and teachers? 

Many people will judge a book by its cover. To draw students and teachers in, a DLC needs to have an inviting theme and user friendly format. Some things that I look for in an attractive DLC are graphics, videos, simple pull down menus, a “contact me” section, and an “about” section. I always like to check the “about” section for authenticity purposes. I also feel more confident when there is access to a “contact me” section. This lets me know they are willing to answer questions and help if I need it. Seeing graphics and videos tells me that the creators are knowledgeable about using technology. I hate to have to search for what I need so a simple pull down menu that breaks the DLC down for me is a must. , Lastly, the most attractive and welcoming aspect of a DLC is no screaming grammar mistakes.

Participate 1-Joining a DLC