Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Podcasts in the Classroom

Tune Into the Power of Podcasting

From: gpoli,
3 weeks ago

Explore new ways to locate and use educational podcasts to enhance teaching and learning by integrating them in the classroom. Obtain instructional step-by-step guides for creating podcast and student examples for practical use.

SlideShare Link

Ipods in the classroom

An iPod in Your Classroom Toolbox

From: gpoli,
1 month ago

An iPod in Your Classroom Toolbox
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: ade ucboe)

An iPod in Your Classroom Toolbox - resources, tips and more on how iPods are being used in all content areas

SlideShare Link

Monday, December 15, 2008

Digital Footprints

Is there anyway that we can disappear from the digital world once we are there? I say NO. No matter what we do on line, there are remnants of what we do somewhere, on some server that someone can access!

I try and teach my students and my teachers who work with them about the effects a digital footprint can have. Whether it is a picture we post, a comment we make, a file we send it is out there.

In my career the last week has been inundated with issues over what people are doing on line. Whether it is posting their full name, not making a social networking page private, or as bad as saying something mean or hurtful about another person. No matter which it is, all of these lapses in judgment can have far reaching implications. The one common factor among young people is the lack of understanding that they show about these implications. If you are a news junkie like myself you have even read how even our president elect's team is not immune! Here we can see how members of Obama's staff are impacted by their own digital footprint.

Will Richardson writes, "It's a consequence of the new Web 2.0 world that these digital footprints—the online portfolios of who we are, what we do, and by association, what we know—are becoming increasingly woven into the fabric of almost every aspect of our lives. In all likelihood, you, your school, your teachers, or your students are already being Googled on a regular basis, with information surfacing from news articles, blog posts, YouTube videos, Flickr photos, and Facebook groups. Some of it may be good, some may be bad, and most is beyond your control. Your personal footprint—and to some extent your school's—is most likely being written without you, thanks to the billions of us worldwide who now have our own printing presses and can publish what we want when we want to."

You might ask, what is a digital footprint. Defined simply, a digital footprint is the mark we leave on the digital world. The point we need to make with students is that there is no such thing as treading lightly. Once you step down you have left a permanent mark. You might have removed the footprint on your end, but someone else might have a copy, and someone might get a copy of their copy and so on. We need to make students aware of this permanence. On the flip side, we need to allow students to guide themselves through the digital age. Educational Leadership has a great article that addresses the issue of empowering students and the mark in the digital world they can and will make. According to Richardon, "On the surface, that's an unsettling thought—but it doesn't have to be. In fact, if we are willing to embrace the moment rather than recoil from it, we may find opportunities to empower students to learn deeply and continually in ways that we could scarcely have imagined just a decade ago." We as educators need to remember to embrace the moment and make sure that we prepare students for what they will encounter rather than to avoid what cannot be avoided any longer.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Citizenship in the REAL virtual world

Today I was faced with a dilemma, how can adults who cannot tangibly conceive the virtual world, effectively teach digital citizenship. In order for one to be a good citizen in life, one has to believe that ones actions can impact society. However if one does not believe that society is real, how can you teach the beliefs that make that society a safe place.

What I am talking about is the perception of the virtual world by digital natives as a real place. One that his theirs. This place is where they go to be with people like them. Friends are not necessarily people you have ever met in person and may never meet. So as an educator I am faced with the following dilemma: How does a teacher who does not see the digital world as real teach citizenship for such a place and on the other side is how do students understand the need for citizenship in a place that is about as far removed from the social constructs of the physical world? The reality is that we as technology educators need to find the place where these two worlds meet, where the residents of the physical world and the virtual world can meet and see eye to eye if you will.

The part of the Dilemma that I am most interested in is of course what do I need to pass onto the digital natives that will serve them best in both worlds. As I said yesterday, I have been doing much reading on the topic of Digital Citizenship and came across an article in ISTE's Leading and Learning Magazine that gets right to the point. It is authored by Mike Ribble, an expert on the subject.

In the article Ribble speaks about the 9 themes of Digital Citizenship and how they not only guide students on proper technology use, but as Ribble says, "They also begin to set the stage for how we work with each other in a global, digital society. These nine elements create a foundation for helping to educate children on the issues that face them in an increasingly technological world."

Ribble speaks about how this is not just a problem for student use on computers, but rather a larger picture that crosses the boundaries between home and school, home and work, virtual and physical old and young. There is no one that will be immune in the ever increasing world of technology. Ribble concludes with a rather prophetic message:

There needs to be a common language between our schools and homes that clearly outlines what we expect our children (as well as ourselves) to know and follow. Digital citizenship can begin to bridge these groups so that when we talk about how we expect our students to act, we have some common ground on which to begin. Digital citizenship is not a culmination of how to work with technology but a beginning of a process. If we start this journey at the same place, both educators and parents can work together to prepare our children to become global digital citizens.

Must See Video

This video is a real picture of the state of the "digital native". Listen carefully, this is "real life" for many of our students.

Digital Natives

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Digital Citizenship...what does this mean?

The term digital citizenship is being thrown around almost as much as the term 21st century learner, or 21st century classroom. However, the term digital citizenship is just as amorphous as the other terms. What is digital citizenship? When the term was first coined, there were as many different definitions as there were people saying the words. But with this type of varied perception, comes a problem what is it really? and more relevant to me, how do we teach it?

In doing some research and reading it seems that the Ed-Tech community has come to consensus on what digital citizenship is and the components that comprise it. Now we just need to come to consensus on how to teach it.

Common to many schools of thought, there are 9 Themes of Digital Citizenship that we should all be aware of and needless to say that we should be teaching our students. Some would say that teaching these topics should be as common as teaching the golden rule, due to the fact that the generations now known as digital natives have social networks, friends, groups, cliques and other types of acquaintances that they interact with on-line and therefore there needs to be rules, common courtesies that we all should abide by when interacting in virtual society. I digress... The nine themes:

1. Digital Etiquette: electronic standards of conduct or procedure .

2. Digital Communication : electronic exchange of information.

3. Digital Literacy: process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology.

4. Digital Access: full electronic participation in society .

5. Digital Commerce: electronic buying and selling of goods.

6. Digital Law : electronic responsibility for actions and deeds

7. Digital Rights & Responsibilities: those freedoms extended to everyone in a digital world .

8. Digital Health & Wellness : physical and psychological well-being in a digital technology world .

9. Digital Security (self-protection): electronic precautions to guarantee safety.

These are very broad topics and the list of resources are long and involved. But there are a few starting points worth mentioning.

Kansas State University has a great website all about Digital Citizenship.

One writer in an article in Technology and Learning On-Line posted 20 questions that students asked in an article titled, "What is Digital Citizenship?"

Last, but not least is a website named Digital Citizenship This website is authored by one of the professors at Kansas State University.

All of the materials are there, but the question that I am left to ask is how do we make all of this etiquette part of our daily life? How can teachers who don't even use technology effectively in their classrooms, let alone in their lives, be expected to teach how to properly interact in a place they fear to visit? What are the next steps for K-12 educators? How can professionals who many are not even qualified as Digital Immigrants teach how to act as a proper Digital Native? Is this something like an american teaching other americans how to interact in a Muslim villiage in the Middle East?

Monday, December 8, 2008

New Learners

"Education -- at school and on the job -- needs to be revamped to cater to young people who have grown up digital."

This quote, in the conclusion of this article is a conclusion that have come to in my life as well! Teaching is the one profession where it is NOT always mandatory to improve one's self regularly. Especially in the area of technology. In the article referenced earlier, the author talks about the need for a paradigm shift from the sage on the stage model of teaching. I could not agree more, but I seem to see the most resistance to this type of change!

Another article talks about how new technologies might be actually re-wiring the pathways in the brain and the ways that we learn. Could this be true? Should it really matter to educators? I guess on a scientific level it matters, but the reality of it is, that no matter the reason, we have generations of new learners coming through our doors. The second article likens what is happening now with the information revolution to the one that Socrates predicted with the introduction of the written word. The education world was no more ready for this revolution than it seems to be for the one we are in the midst of right now.

More than ever information is being published that talks of how digital natives learn differently, yet educators seem to be divided as to whether or not this is a real issue! How can those that promote education turn a blind eye to progress? Throughout history we have seen, mocked and lamented at how short sighted those in prominent positions in education were in the past with forward thinkers, yet there are still so many of us (educators)who still don't embrace change! It seems contradictory to me.

There is a new breed of learners out there and we as educators are obligated to change the paradigm along with these learners. We need to rise to the challenge and show that as learned individuals we are ready and able to accomodate new learners.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

How-To....that is the question!

How do I...? That is the question most heard by technology educators in schools. While this is not the only dilemma we face it is a huge hurdle. How can one, ed-tech professional know everything? We cant! The greater, more important question is; can we find the resources to get the question answered?

As a Technology Educator for over 10 years, I have always strived to keep my knowledge of new technology up to speed, but alas, it is impossible to know everything about everything in our technological society. The use of Technology in education is moving just as fast as the technology industry itself and in order to reach all of the people who need us, we need to be able to both understand the students and teachers. We have students, who are now being seen as new types of learners, so we have to refine and redefine our pedegogy. We also have teachers, many of whom are seasoned veterans who don't necisarrily understand what these new learners are all about.

With this in mind, we have to address two problems, one what will be effective with our new learners, but in my opinion, even more important, is how do we teach our teachers to effectively use the new tools.

Usually, when a teacher asks, "how do I do this?" it ends up being translated as "can you do this for me?" While this may not be intentional, teachers are sometimes resistant to change. As a technology-educator, I have to be a teacher for teachers and both model the behaviors that are most effective and also have a working knowledge of what they need to make the most effective use of time. In order to do this we need resources, and there are plenty out there. While the most common is to find the answer on the internet, and read/practice what we need, but there is a more tangible answer to be found. There are a plethora of resources out there in the form of other people and professionals. I am a member of several social networks (Ning, Diigo, wikis, etc) that give me access to websites and people who can guide me and most imporantly, PREVENT ME FROM RECREATING THE WHEEL!

Here are a few websites to start the journey:

Article: 15 tutorial sites

Atomic Learning

Free Computer Tutorials

Amazing research tools

Cool Websites and Tools

What do you use? How do you best meet teacher's needs?