I fly out of Sacramento at the crack of dawn on Monday and head to Seattle to join educators from across the nation for Microsoft’s 2012 Partners in Learning US Forum. We total 102, with some presenting on their own and some, like me, presenting as a team. For a glimpse at our projects, visit the Finalists List.
My co-creater/co-curator Natalie Bernasconi and I will be presenting our Digital ID project, a rapidly growing resource for lessons, tips, and strategies for teaching issues of digital citizenship and for actively supporting students in a campaign to “be the change.” I think the two of us are still amazed at our shared journey this year and the power of two to transform an idea into a dynamic collaborative project and international conversation.
In talking to teachers who attended last year’s Partners in Learning US Forum, I already know my three days at Microsoft will be an incredible professional development and networking opportunity. I promise to share the adventure through daily blog posts. Be back on Monday:-)
I’m a huge fan of YouTube. I really appreciate some of the digital citizenship/media literacy videos they’ve created and shared this year, such as Detecting Lies and Staying True. This is one of several that I’ve embedded into the Digital ID project wiki because in 2 minutes it lays out the need for students to question information, an essential (digital) literacy skill.
I was therefore excited to delve into the lessons YouTube just released as part of their free digital citizenship curriculum. The one area of digital citizenship I find teachers are the least comfortable discussing or teaching is the fine line between copyright and fair use. I was hoping that YouTube would have a content-rich, yet straight-forward piece that teachers would feel comfortable using with their students, similar to style of Detecting Lies and Staying True.
Maybe it was a mistake to start with the Fair Use Section of YouTube’s curriculum. But I did – and was frankly, well, disappointed by the lack of content. And the videos are weak. Perhaps the fact that YouTube did not produce either Fair Use & Copyright or Legal Information is part of the problem.
I suspect the bigger problem is that there are not yet enough advocates for fair use for educators jumping in to produce informative, student-friendly guides and videos on the topic….and for a good reason: fair use, unlike copyright, is a little messy to explain. In my current job as a tech integration specialist, I often receive questions from teachers about fair use, generally related to projects their students are working on that will eventually move beyond the walls of the classroom to an authentic audience. I no longer provide teachers with Hall Davidson’s Copyright and Fair Use chart, which, unfortunately, even though the title refers to the chart as “guidelines,” the opening sentence states that the chart “was designed to inform teachers of what they may do under the law.” So it sort of sounds like law, no? (Note: Hall Davidson has since made several videos on fair use. He mentions the misinterpretation of “guidelines” for legal policy.)
Although the chart does eliminate much of the messiness of fair use, it does not provide students with any understanding of the original intent of copyright, as stated in the U.S. Constitution, or their rights to claim fair use, as spelled out in Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976. A much better guide for teachers (and where I learned about Section 107) is the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy (and accompanying slideshow). Thanks to the on-going work and commitment of Renee Hobbs and Kristin Hokanson, more and more educators, including myself, feel confident to help teachers and students understand both their responsibilities and their rights when it comes to using copyrighted materials for school-related projects.
I’ve had the good fortunate over the past few years to participate in several events with Renee and Kristin. I’ve made progress: I’m now to the point where I actually see the “messiness” of fair use as a good thing – as a process that requires critical thinking and promotes media literacy. Kristin’s Reasoning Tool for Fair Use and her scenarios are great starting points for classroom discussions on what constitutes fair use and how to construct an argument, on a case-per-case basis. It is through discussion opportunities on such pertinent, timely topics that students become active, contributing (digital) citizens.
In addition to Renee’s and Kristin’s resources, I’m very grateful to Common Sense Media for stepping beyond the artificial percentages of the Copyright and Fair Use chart and crafting outstanding lessons that align with ISTE NETS, as well as the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy. Check out, for instance, Common Sense Media’s Rework, Reuse, Remix lesson for grades 6-8. The two lead up lessons provide students with the background on copyright issues. They are well-prepared to then head into this lesson and “expand their understanding of fair use, apply it to case studies, and create an original work of fair use.” Thank you, Common Sense Media.
I completely understand that YouTube is constantly having to remove videos that are clearly in copyright violation. But, at the same time, when I re-watch 3 of my favorite long-standing samples of remix + a newcomer (listed below) still, thankfully, hosted by YouTube, I feel the need to speak out and request policies that allow and invite our students to collaborate on a remix….already knowing they will raise the bar on this 21st century genre:
I honestly don’t mean to criticize YouTube. Their venue is an incredible teaching resource, and I very much appreciate their responsiveness to educators. As I mentioned above, YouTube content rightfully occupies a chunk of real estate on the Digital ID wiki. My concern is simply with Fair Use, one tiny piece of their digital citizenship curriculum. But given how many times over the last 72 hours I’ve seen links to their digital citizenship curriculum come into my Twitter feed, my concern is that school districts and sites that are just now waking up to newest CIPA requirements may opt for using – and limiting themselves to – this curriculum since the topics do address the three required CIPA components: Internet safety, appropriate online behavior, and cyberbullying – even though the depth and breadth fall way short of what Common Sense Media offers.
I hope administrators and teachers will create policies that guide students in the ethical use of intellectual property – in ways that do not shut down creativity and innovation. Although legal mandates differ from state to state and country to county, I believe strategies, best practices, and policies for teaching our students respect for intellectual property – including allowances for fair use – are topics worthy of both local and international conversations.
How does your school district educate students about copyright law and restrictions while encouraging them to, as Renee Hobbs puts it, “flex their fair use muscles” ?
I’ve never been to Rwanda. Ever since the 100-day genocide – and after watching Hotel Rwanda – I’ve followed news stories, always hoping to better understand how survivors find the resilience to return to “life as normal.”
At last, I am traveling from California to Rwanda….virtually. Thanks to the vision and determination of my amazing National Writing Project colleague and HEN partner Pam Bodnar, I will be able to join her students as they blog about the sights visited and personal insights experienced. I’ve added the Rwanda Trip 2012 blog to my RSS reader and am really looking forward to joining in the conversations and learning from both Pam’s students and Sacramento USD friend Jeremy Pretko’s students, who are also part of the AfriPeace organization.
But how do you prepare high school students to listen to and experience the first-hand accounts of 100 days of death and destruction as neighbor turned against neighbor in an effort to eliminate an entire group of people? I think back to my college days when on a trip to Munich, Germany, I ventured to the Dachau concentration camp, with little more preparation on the topic of genocide than having read the Diary of Anne Frank as a 7th grader and maybe a page or two about the Holocaust in a college textbook. I was emotionally and physically ill for hours following the tour.
Pam’s students are prepared. Although now in high school, as 8th graders, they studied the Holocaust not only in their U.S. History class, but also as part of Pam’s Peer Mediators Team. They delved into the events that led up to the exclusion, forced removal, and murder of over 6 million Jews and other “undesirables” during World War II. But they did not study the Holocaust as an isolated event on a timeline that happened “then and there.” Instead they researched connections from “then and there” to “here and now.” Events including the genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia, as well as the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. They approached events of the past and recent past as a call to social action. They became “change writers.”
I hope you will join me in following the Rwanda Trip 2012 students in what I already know will be a highlight of the summer and a testimony to the power of youth to make a difference.
Personalization of Learning through Digital Content – Each year that I’ve attended ISTE, I check through the program for Cheryl Lemke, knowing that I’ll leave her session with research that will inform my practice and guide me through the next school year. The session write up from her Metiri group stated that she would “ present a framework for understanding the types of digital content pertinent to schools, approaches to lesson design that leverage digital content; how to curate digital collections for and with students; and policy and digital learning environment considerations. ” She delivered.
The good news is that Cheryl’s session was pre-selected as a an “Executive Summary,” meaning it was recorded and will soon be available on the ISTE website “Cliff Notes style…turning the content from the session into concise, documented, actionable insights” ($.99 for 1; $9.99 for all 15). Cheryl also said she would post the PowerPoint, a great resource for starting district, school, and grade-level discussions on the meaningful integration of technology. “Technology needs to be ubiquitous and necessary.”
Throughout the presentation she shared examples of sites for differentiating and personalizing learning. Here are a few that were new to me:
Copyrights? Teaching Fair Use Reasoning to the Remix Generation – I had the pleasure of joining Kristin Hokanson, Ginger Lewman, Sandy Hayes, and Lisa Parisi as part of this panel discussion.
My interest in “strengthening my fair use muscles” started several ISTE Conventions ago, when I traveled to Philadelphia for the all-day Sunday session with Kristin and Renee Hobbs. I blogged that session, stating that if it were the only session I could attend, I already had my money’s worth.
A year later, I traveled back to Philadelphia to participate in another all day workshop with Renee and Kristin. Having made the switch from the “10% of this; 30 seconds of that” approach to teaching copyright and fair use, I now wanted the background to turn around and help teachers and students in my district make the mind shift to fair use as a case-by-case argument – and a critical component of digital literacy and citizenship.
In the past school year, as I worked on updating my district’s 3-year Technology Plan, I wove Copyright Clarity: How Fair Use Support Digital Learning (Renee’s book) into the plan narration and bibliography. I have also included the book as well as Kristin’s link to Fair Use Reasoning Tools on the Digital ID project.
What a treat to be a part of the ISTE’s Copyrights? Teaching Fair Use Reasoning to the Remix Generation panel! As the hour ended, I left with a renewed commitment to continue teaching this “messy” topic back home in my region and district.
ISTE Unplugged – Digital ID Project - In a couple of weeks, I’ll be joining my project co-curator Natalie Bernasconi on a trip to Redmond, WA, where we will compete in Mirocosoft’s Partners in Learning 2012 US Forum. We’ll be joining 100 other educators from across the US for what I already know will be an extraordinary experience. As part of the event, Natalie and I will be pitching our Digital ID project to a team of judges – in hopes of taking the project one step and location further: the November International Forum in Athens, Greece.
Given the above, when our NWP friend and mentor Paul Oh suggested we sign up to do an Unplugged session, we decided a 15-minute pitch + 5 minutes of Q&A might be an excellent practice run. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Steve Hargadon, pretty much all we had to do was show up. Steve had a screen, projector, microphone, and wireless already set up for the ISTE Unplugged sessions. Now all we have to figure out is how to condense our pitch into 5 minutes for our US Forum pitch;-)
Google in Education – I entered the Exhibition Hall and wondered into the Google booth in time to hear Elizabeth Calhoun’s presentation on Digital Literacy and Citizenship… just as she was referencing the Digital ID project as a great starting point for teachers looking for resources, strategies, and tools for rolling out digital citizenship programs at their school sites. Now this was definitely an ISTE highlight for me and my Digital ID co-curator, Natalie Bernasconi:-) .
Implementing Digital Citizenship: Lessons Learned from the First Year - Common Sense Media’s session, facilitated by Kelly Mendoza, was a great opportunity to hear stories from the trenches from elementary teacher Audrey Stokes and a middle school teacher Jeff Brain. Like everyone in the crowd, I too was there to let Common Sense Media know how much educators appreciate the phenomenal free content posted to their website – with more on its way, such as the soon-to-be-launched Digital Passport Program (for grades 3-5).
Sadly, in order to catch my flight home, I had to leave before hearing the DeforestACTION closing keynote, so I’m hoping others have blogged the session.
Start to finish, ISTE 2012 was a fabulous experience (and only a direct, non-stop flight away;-).
Tuesday Keynote – I had the good sense to arrive early for Tuesday’s keynote with Yong Zhao - Wow! Here’s a keynote worth watching. Entertaining and thought provoking, with gems like “You can’t teach creativity, but you can kill it” and ““I’m for the Common Core, as long as it’s not common, or the core.” In his walk through PISA testing, Zhao made a strong case for the importance of building student confidence, a corner stone for entrepreneurship.
Fusing Library and Technology – A literary approach to digital citizenship – I thoroughly enjoyed the hour with librarians Jenni Voorhees and Angela Smith. I picked this session to learn how other educators are incorporating digital citizenship into the core curriculum (as opposed to a stand-alone curriculum) and I left with a list of suggested literature to help students connect story lines to their own lives.
I’m glad to have the link to Jenni and Angela’s Prezi, which combines research, such as danah boyd’s The Drama! Teen Conflict, Gossip, and Bullying in Networked Publics, combined with teacher/librarian observations – and includes a wonderful video of a 4th grade book talk on Operation Redwood.
Here’s their list of books with digital citizenship connections:
ISTE Ignites – I’m glad I managed to elbow my way into the Tuesday Ignites, which were every bit as energizing as Monday’s sessions. The Highlights and Reactions to the ISTE Ignite Session video will give you a window into why this model of is so popular.
Day 2 of ISTE was not just about attending sessions. The opportunity to connect with friends and colleagues throughout the day and into the evening was a huge bonus. The day included some wonderful f2f meet ups, starting with meeting Anne Murchinson on the morning shuttle ride, sharing a Mexican dinner with Andrea Cascia, connecting with Microsoft 2012 US Forum peeps at the EdTech Karaoke, while listening to MERIT mentor Diane Main rock the rooftop – and continuing “connect the dots” through late night conversations with NWP colleagues Natalie Bernasconi and Sandy Hayes.
My four-day excursion to San Diego for the ISTE 2012 Conference has been jam-packed with awesome sessions, great conversations, and fun! Here are some highlights from Monday:
Ignite sessions- “5 minutes and 20 images to tell your story, share your tool, and inspire an audience of your peers!” Such an energizer and a great model to take back to students, teachers, and administrators! The slideshow, unfortunately, does not include the speaker notes, so I’ve included a short description of each:
Using Music and Images Ethically in Multimedia Writing – NCTE’s Sandy Hayes provided wonderful historical context, resources, and tips for helping students learn to “flex their fair use muscles.” Sandy’s one-page, double-sided handout lists her resources and includes the chart she uses with her 8th graders to help them development their analytical thinking skills.
Partnership for 21st Century Skills Birds of a Feather Session – I went to this session with a small but burning question: Has P21 considered adding a 5th C to their current list (communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity): citizenship……the answer was “yes.” Whoohoo! (Digital) Citizenship will soon be the 5th C…so be on the lookout for a revised P21 poster
Will post highlights from Tuesday and Thursday sessions later today:-)
For California public schools and their 2012-13 budgets, so much depends on November, when voters will have the opportunity to step up and support our schools by approving the governor’s proposed budget. Given the tsunami of teacher bashing still sweeping the country, I hope every district in the state – and nation – will make the effort to broadcast the efforts and accomplishments of talented teachers … teachers who change students’ lives for the better, thus benefiting society as a whole.
I personally have run out of fingers and toes to count the number of times parents and community members have shared with me about teachers in my district who have opened up new worlds of possibilities for a student. Teachers like Sheldon High School’s Shawn Sullivan. But I’ll let David Garibaldi share a first-hand account:
Thank you Edutopia for sharing this inspiring story. My goal for the upcoming school year it to highlight at least once a week an outstanding public school teacher – and I can already tell you that the school year will run out before I’ve barely tapped into my list:-)
I have a folder in my file cabinet marked Teachers Teaching Teachers. In it are notes I’ve jotted down from various Teachers Teaching Teachers shows – snippets of inspiring quotes from teachers across the nation or sometimes the world, titles to insightful books and articles, links to thought-provoking websites, and always, always ideas that prompt me to rethink how to empower students as writers and as (digital) citizens.
The notes are not well organized. Some are in notebooks; some on scraps of paper. I wish I had been a little more systematic about including the dates. But in my defense, more often than not, I’m racing home from the flat lands of Sacramento (where I teach) to the Sierra foothills (where I live) to be online with the TTT group by 6:00 PST, so grabbing a notebook is often secondary to locating my headset or working through connectivity issues.
But so many gems! From the inception of the YouthVoices project (which has included amazing and timely additions, such as Voices from the Gulf project following the BP oil spill) to the recent show on the art and genre of string games, I learn something new from each episode – and log off with an even greater appreciation of this embracing, connected learning community for educators.
This Wednesday TTT celebrates its 300th show, an event made possible by the leadership and commitment of my friend/mentor/National Writing Project colleague Paul Allison. If you’ve not had the pleasure of joining a Teachers Teaching Teachers show, the video below will give you a glimpse into the many ways Paul promotes connected learning for both students and teachers.
Hope to see you in the TTT chat room for Wednesday evening’s 300th episode:-)
Last week I worked with two groups of 8th grade students: one group at a middle school in my district; the other, at a small parochial school “across the tracks.” The project was to help students at both school sites take poetry they had created as part of the I’m American Too project and to catapult their voices beyond the walls of their classrooms and onto the Digital ID wiki, a collaborative project that strives to connect core curriculum with issues of (digital) citizenship.
Right off the bat, the common thread was two outstanding teachers, both teaching at sites that provide rich, nurturing learning environments. But since the two had never met, nor even heard of each other’s schools, I assumed there would be no student connections. I was wrong. While at Pinkerton (my district), when I mentioned I would also be working with 8th graders at St. Patrick’s Succeed Academy, several students immediately called out that they had friends there. And when, two days later, I walked into an 8th grade classroom St. Pat’s, a student enthusiastically waved his hand, wanting to know if I had worked with his friends over at Pinkerton and when could he see their work.
And once again, another common thread became very visible: when students know their projects will be seen by a real audience, including friends at other schools, they are eager to get to work! Pinkerton’s “found poetry” is now posted on the Stepping Up page of the Digital ID wiki. St. Pat’s “poetry in two voices” is there too, although not quite finished – an online work in progress.
It has been my experience that students thrive from connected learning opportunities. Fortunately, making meaningful connections just gets easier as new – and free – technologies become available. I think the A Day in the Life of a Connected Educator: Using Social Media in 21st Century Classrooms infographic below, which came through my Twitter feed this morning, sums it up . The infographic is from Powerful Learning Practice, an online community focused on “turning educators into 21st Century educators.”
Thank you, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, for the the great infographic – and a reminder in the next school year to spend more of the school day supporting teachers in creating connected learning environments.
There was a time when I was not a proponent of students’ having access to technology during class time. Twenty years ago, when we moved from San Francisco to a semi-rural district in the Sierra foothills, I pulled my then 1st grade son out of a 1×1 desktop class he had been assigned to for a little remedial work in English/language arts. I was not OK with his being plugged in for drill all morning. He needed more opportunities to interact, listen, and speak, not multiple-choice exercises done in isolation. Funny how quickly his reading, writing, and speaking skills jumped following his departure from the 1×1 desktop environment.The following year, I was hired at the middle school in the same district. And there, thanks to Scholastic, I came to embrace and advocate for technology as part of my 6th grade humanities program. It started with Scholastic’s Authors Online program. As I handed out Scholastic’s monthly book order form (another great Scholastic product), I noticed an invitation to sign up for an online discussion with author R.L. Stine, a favorite of many of my students. Well, by the time I was able to get my computer hooked to the external box required for an Internet connection at that time (thereby becoming the first classroom in El Dorado County connected to the Internet), R.L. Stine had finished his 2-week session.
We were in time for a two-week round with Paul Zindel, author of Loche. Neither my students nor I were familiar with this author, but, oh my, what an impact he had on a number of them, including a few very, very reluctant readers. As students engaged with Zindel on an interactive writing assignment to change “telling writing” to “showing writing,” I was blown away by both their level of engagement and their earnest desire to write something that was truly “good” (as opposed to “good enough”).
The following year, Scholastic opened the world of current events to my students by connecting them with Zlata Flipovic, young author of Zlata’s Diary, her first-hand accounts of surviving the Bosnian genocide. Thanks to Scholastic, our tiny, semi-rural district no longer seemed as remote and isolated as it once had.
I’m in another district now and working as a technology integration specialist. Although I do not have my own classroom, I often send great Scholastic resources on to teachers, such as: