BlogWalker

Muddling through the blogosphere

November 25, 2012
by blogwalker
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#UnfollowBullying – Recognizing the Power of Student-Created Content

T-shirt signing at Florin HS

If you are planning to submit nominations for the 2012 Edublogs Awards, I hope you will consider #UnfollowBullying as a candidate for the Best Twitter Hashtag category. #UnfollowBullying, a student-created, student driven initiative, is “in recognition that students are the ones who will lead the charge in their online communities to ensure that all students are treated with respect and kindness.” Past winners in the Best Twitter Hashtag category have (simply) created a stand alone hashtag. One of the many distinguishing features of #UnfollowBullying is that the hashtag comes with a dynamic online student toolkit to help students everywhere stand up, speak out and be the change.

Wall signing at Ed Harris MS

Almost a year ago, NWP colleague Natalie Bernasconi and I began creating and co-curating the Digital ID wiki. Initially a collaborative project for gathering digital citizenship resources and best practices, the project has evolved into a platform and global microphone for student-created content.

This week, we will begin showcasing student content from #UnfollowBullying. Yes, this student-led campaign is from my school district, and in my role as a tech integration specialist, I am supporting the project. But the evolution of this project has been dynamically student-driven and is resulting in some amazing samples of students addressing and crafting the topic of cyberbullying in ways that challenge issues at their own school sites. From T-shirt signing events, to wall signing events, to newscasts, the students are broadcasting across the district and beyond a call to action.

 Note: Be sure to listen to the entire newscast to learn about the many ways Toby Johnson Middle School students are challenging cyberbullying.

What Natalie and I have witnessed over and over through our respective teaching assignments (Natalie, middle school ELA/AVID teacher; Gail, K-12 tech integration specialist) is that, although teachers play a pivotal role in initiating the shared conversations on the ethical use of the Internet and social media, it is students who must lead the charge in confronting cyberbullying.

What makes the #UnfollowBullying campaign so likely to have an impact on how students regard both their rights and  their responsibilities as (digital) citizens is that all sites across my district will be rolling out a digital citizenship curriculum (mainly from Common Sense Media), ensuring that, with teachers joining in, a week-long campaign can continue on throughout the school year, woven in multiple ways into advisory periods, computer lab classes, and, most exciting, into the core curriculum.

As National Writing Project Teacher Consultants, Natalie and I have a deep respect for the model of teachers teaching teachers. In our daily work with students, however, we stand back in awe at the power of students teaching students. It is truly the full circle of digital citizenship.

We hope you will join us in nominating #UnfollowBullying for a 2012 Edublogs Award!

P.S.  For more information about the Digital ID project and ideas on weaving digital citizenship into the curriculum, please visit our 2012 K12Online Conference presentation.

December 28, 2010
by blogwalker
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The $2 Interactive Whiteboard – I’ve seen it in action!

One of my favorite things about the Edublogs Awards is the end product: an amazing compilation of links to innovative, super smart educators, many who are new to me, annually assembled in one convenient location.

Given the current economic crisis in California public schools, I was drawn by its title into the winner of The Most Influential Blog PostThe $2 Interactive Whiteboard. High school physics teacher Frank Noschese’s case for the $2 IWB over the $4,000 front-of-the-room IWB will either confirm or make you rethink how to maximize dwindling technology budgets for the sake of student learning.

In my case, I already had a window into the benefits of the $2 IWB while visiting middle school science teacher Kelli Quan’s classroom. From the video below, I think you’ll understand my excitement in watching Kelli’s students – on the first day of the new term – already collaborating, questioning, and learning from each other. Due to some time constraints, I interviewed Kelli prior to her teaching the lesson – and prior to reading Frank Noschese’s post; therefore, I did not ask about the use of IWBs, mainly because her site lacks funding to jump on the IWB bandwagon.

Thanks to the Edublogs Awards, I am now watching the video with new eyes, struck by the fact that 100% of her students had access to a powerful, affordable technology throughout the lesson as an integral part of their introduction to scientific thinking.

Think I’ll head back to the Awards in search of more low cost/no cost gems to share with teachers.

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