BlogWalker

Muddling through the blogosphere

May 26, 2012
by blogwalker
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Connected Learning – A huge Web 2.0 benefit

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.”

 

Infographic from http://plpnetwork.com/

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.

 

May 1, 2012
by blogwalker
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Four Days Left for Digital Citizenship PSA Challenge

If you’re looking for opportunities to take your students’ videos to beyond the classroom, check out this contest from the Digital ID project. But act fast – entries are due this Friday, May 4, at midnight:

Digital Citizenship PSA Contest

Tell us/show us, as a (digital) citizen, how you exercise your rights and act responsibly.

To help make your declaration public, we’ve created an online opportunity. Check it out!

(Up to) 90-Second Video Contribution
All students in grades 4-12 are warmly invited to contribute a video to our Digital Citizenship PSA Challenge Contest. Teachers may submit up to 3 student-generated videos. The rules are simple:

  • Video must address authentic issues relevant to digital citizenship (cyberbullying, intellectual property, digital footprint, protecting privacy)
  • Video must be appropriate for a mixed audience (from grade level to school board)
  • Video must follow appropriate copyright guidelines

For more information on the contest, along with guidelines to help building an award-winning PSA, visit the Digital ID – PSA Challenge page.

Winning entries will be showcased on both the Digital ID wiki and this blog.

If you know of other PSA opportunities for students to share their thoughts on topics of digital citizenship, please leave a comment.

March 18, 2012
by blogwalker
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Digital ID Project – An invitation for collaboration

Bringing digital citizenship into the core curriculum

I just returned from a 4-day trip to the fabulous CUE Conference in fabulous Palm Springs, California. In addition to joining some outstanding speakers and sessions (which I’ll blog separately later today), the conference was also the first time my National Writing Project/MERIT colleague Natalie Bernasconi and I were able to co-present our Digital ID project.

We were fortunate to have a wonderful group of teachers and administrators, ranging from elementary through high school, joining us for the session – with a several jumping right in to join the wiki and add to the resources.

The goal of the Digital ID project is to collectively and collaboratively- in one online location – provide students, teachers, and parents with the resources and strategies to make digital citizenship an integral part of the core curriculum – while addressing the legal requirements of current legislation such a AB 307 and the Broadband Data Improvement Act.

Natalie and I warmly invite you to download, tweak, share, and contribute to our growing bank of resources. We especially want to draw your attention to our Digital Citizenship PSA Challenge. We would love to showcase your students’ projects!

 

February 20, 2012
by blogwalker
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Wrapping up MERIT – PD that works!

Next month I wrap up my year-long participation in the MERIT program, by far the best professional development program and PLN experience I’ve had to date – bar none.

The impact of MERIT really hit me last week when I was sharing with a colleague  some gems I took away from last week’s amazing Saturday session with Ramsey Musallam. I started to explain that I met Ramsey while down at Foothill College. She immediately added, “Oh, the MERIT program, right?”  That’s when I realized that throughout the school year, I regularly reference speakers, resources, and ideas gleaned from my MERIT experience.

So why is it that the MERIT program has been so meaningful to me, both in my work (technology integration specialist for a large k-12 school district) and as a life-long learner? Let’s see if I can nail it down in a few bullets:

  • “Earn while you learn” – That was the original name of the MERIT program.  What’s the difference, besides $$$, in being paid or having to pay for PD?  Somehow with a stipend I feel more valued as a contributor to the MERIT community.  I also feel energized, supported, and empowered to spread great resources and best practices back in my district and region.
  • 2 week summer institute – Having a concentrated chunk of hands-on time to learn about new tools while engaging in conversations on how these tools can improve teaching and learning boosts the likelihood of implementing them as part of my teaching toolkit. Two weeks to explore tools and concepts such as: UJam,  Diane Mein’s introduction to geocaching and QR codes,  magic fill and look up options for Google Docs, Meg Ormainsky’s models for well-designed Prezis (that don’t bring on motion sickness), MIT’s Scratch, and so much more!!!
  • Inspiring leadership – Between Rushton Hurley’s ability to motivate a crowd (and not just because of the super cool swag available to those who arrive early for each session;-), his ability to recognize tools that can make a difference to students, and his ever present sense of humor; the outstanding MERIT co-leaders and student assistants; and the Krause Center for Innovation (Gay Krause & Steve McGriff) – I’m pretty sure that 100% of my MERIT colleagues also feel fortunate to be part of the program.
  • Teaming possibilities – Priority is given to teachers applying as a team. Through our involvement in the National Writing Project, my MERIT teammate Natalie Bernasconi and I have known each other for a number of years.  Many times we have said how it would be great to partner on a project.  MERIT transformed that idea into a reality. Six months after our summer institute, I stand back in awe of where our MERIT-ignited collaboration has taken us. Next month we head to the CUE Conference where we will present our digital citizenship wiki and project: Digital ID – a project that will continue to grow, even as our MERIT year draws to an end.

If you applied for the 2012 MERIT program, I wish you luck. If you are accepted, I guarantee you too will soon be widely broadcasting its benefits.  If you did not apply this year, I encourage you to think about 2013.  And the good news is that MERIT is open to teachers across the nation and world. For a glimpse of the depth, breadth, and possibilities of the program, the community, and the multiple “ah ha” moments, checkout the video below from the 2010 MERIT team:

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