Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Digital Citizenship Presentation Review

I held my digital citizenship presentation on Friday May 2nd and it went really well. I presented the page on my wikispace to my staff and went through as much as I could. I was slotted to have a half hour but ended up taking a full hour, and did not even have sleepy eyes from my audience when I was done! ha ha!

I started off showing the "help desk" video and it was a big hit! We all loved the video and laughed - so the presentation started off big and it kept up that way throughout. We discussed a lot of the different aspects involved in web 2.0 and how these different changes can improve our teaching and enhance students skills for the future. We discussed resources and they were happy to see that there were a lot of them available for both teachers and parents. As many teachers are also parents they were happy to have some ways of checking on their kids and on themselves!

Allison's quote I used was useful - we talked about how the difference between face-to-face interactions and items that are discussed online are a lot of times dangerous for students because they tend to forget (or not realize) the issues of how they speak or share information online. How yes we need to teach/tell the students, but that we cannot always show them because of safety issues - for example - me taking students on a facebook account and showing them all the bad things that they could do - would not be the smartest thing I could do! Rather, just discuss these things and hopefully they can realize why it is unsafe and a lot of times inappropriate. From this I lead into Internet Safety. This issues was one we talked about a lot, although it was not supposed to be my main focus it seemed that many people on staff wanted to discuss this because of the policy we made for Internet use. It was fine with me because as I have been saying, it is best to have everyone on the same page.

They really liked the Ad Council's short videos (Talent Show and Kitchen) and also the Think Before You Post video. They are extremely powerful and I lead into it saying how disturbing you may find these but that it is important to understand the concept behind it and why this is such an issue - although it may be kept hidden by many of our students. I did not get a chance to show them all of the articles on "Be Safe" because I wanted to do a jigsaw with the staff and did not have the chance - but now they know where the articles are if they are interested.

After much discussion of cyberbullying I gave a change of pace - I moved onto policies. Since I have talked and talked and talked about the school's policy; I just put a link in my wikispace. I chose to quickly discuss the fact that our current Computer Use Policy for the division is completely outdated and that this is the new draft policy for the division. I discussed in overview of what it is about and where the division is heading. I also discussed how it is going to affect teaching in all areas, especially if you use technology of any sort in your classroom.

The last part of my presentation really focused on digital citizenship and this is where I wanted to end off because of how important it was, for us to come to an understanding of what it is and what it entails. I showed a few videos, one made by a group of students in Alaska, and another with professionals talking about Web 2.0 and how it is impacting the world and specifically education. The staff were surprised to see how much information there is available on this topic and how current/relevant it is to their teaching.

In not so many words I told them that "Incorporating technology can be scary, but it is important that your classroom teaching is diversified. This will allow your students so many opportunities that they deserve. It will enhance their quality of education they receive from you and build on your growth as an individual life-long learner."

All in all the response was great. They actually want me to present a shortened version to the students - we'll see how much I can slim it down... They were still talking about it days later and I was happy to have had yet another successful workshop on technology. Reflecting back I seem to think that my enthusiasm and knowledge about the subject has a lot to do with my good responses from staff members. I show how exciting it can be, talk about all the possibilities and give them real life examples from people they know that are using technology in their classrooms; this is what gets them believing that it is possible to accomplish these things and how easy it may just be to diversify their learning strategies.

One of our goals as a staff this year was to keep track of different teaching strategies that we use throughout the year and if not for anything else, it is to keep track of our own teaching - to ensure that we are reaching all students by varying our teaching strategies. I wonder how many teachers in my school are using technology based assignments, or varying their teaching methods by using technology in some way? I hope to have an answer to that by the end of the year. I know this year has been a lot of running around and figuring things out (my first year teaching computers and being tech admin. and being on the new committee) but I think hopefully I have pushed some more staff members towards the technology route. Definitely next year I will give a bigger push and be able to offer more in-class supports now that I know more myself. :-)