Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century teaching, connected learning, educating digital natives, teaching digital kids

AIMS 2014 Retreat Report #1: Grant Lichtman Presentation

Lichtman graphic
A photo of Lichtman’s title screen. Click to visit his blog.

The 2014 AIMS Technology Retreat is off to a terrific start with Grant Lichtman’s presentation about the challenges inherent in educational innovation and transformation. I’m attending this retreat with 150 tech leaders, librarians, administrators, and teachers representing more than 60 independent schools in the Washington, DC and Baltimore area.

Many of us think a good deal about how our schools might change and innovate. We consider how best to help our students make good use of their 21st Century access to vast amounts of knowledge. Most of us take seriously a new mission that requires us to enable students as they mold themselves into collaborators, dynamic learners, good problem solvers, and experiential learners. We also know that it’s critical to help them become confident enough to learn in a world that continuously changes (and at great speed).

This conversation is actually about becoming better progressive educators.

Continue reading “AIMS 2014 Retreat Report #1: Grant Lichtman Presentation”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, digital citizenship, digital learning, digital learning resources, educating digital natives, online learning

Action Words that Describe Digital World Learning

digital-citizenship Can we teach pre-adolescents and teens to reflect on what’s happening as they use digital world tools and interact with online content? Can we help them understand more about what they are doing when they work and play online?

Educators often provide a checklist or rubric for students to use as they work on assignments or projects. A rubric usually contains editing specifications, project requirements, resource documentation, and expectations — all for students to consider while completing the work.

Now I’ve discovered that Mia MacMeekin over at the An Ethical Island blog offers what I think of as a digital learning graphical rubric. The easy-to-understand graphic features World Wide Web nouns and action verbs that describe the ways people encounter, process, and use online information. MacMeekin thinks of her infographic as a digital citizenship tool, but it’s much more than that. The chart offers educators with opportunities to ask questions as they teach, and more importantly, expect students to answer them.          Continue reading “Action Words that Describe Digital World Learning”

Posted in 21st Century parenting, 21st Century teaching, digital citizenship, digital kids, digital learning, digital parenting, educating digital natives, kids and privacy, parents and technology

Soundbites From Day One of FOSI 2013, Conference Post #2

fosi2013Some of these ideas come from researchers describing the results of various studies. Others come from presenters’ comments. My apologies for not connecting individuals with their comments. 

I am drawing from my 30 pages of actual handwritten notes (handwritten because the seats were not a comfortable height for me to use my iPad).

In the Digital World

  • Six billion people have access to a cell phone in today’s world — more than have access to clean toilets.
  • The enemy of empowerment is fear and lack of expertise.
  • Be the change that you want to see in the world. (a Gandhi quote)
  • Children are using the Internet at younger and younger ages.
  • Surveillance does not create safety — only the illusion of safety.
  • Think less about digital citizenship. The Internet is a huge part of life and we are citizens on and offline.
  • Digital world communication often eliminates a person’s visual and aural signals setting the scene for misunderstanding.

Teens                                             Continue reading “Soundbites From Day One of FOSI 2013, Conference Post #2”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century parenting, digital citizenship, digital kids, digital learning, digital parenting, educating digital natives, parents and technology

Observations from FOSI 2013 – Conference Post #1

fosi2013I am away from school today, attending the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) 2013 conference in Washington, DC. I plan to post several times over the course of the two days, and because I am putting connected-world sharing above almost-perfect prose, I’ll make basic edits as I write but spend more time tonight and tomorrow fine-tuning my posts.

Check out the FOSI Annual Conference Program!
Check out the FOSI Annual Conference Program!

The conference, held in the Ronald Reagan International Trade Conference, features all sorts of digital life movers and shakers who offer information and guidance to parents, children, and educators.

One always has interesting first impressions at the beginning of any conference. Is it easy to get settled? Yes. Is the wifi ready and easy for us to use? Yes, and I am using it now. Are the people friendly and helpful? A definite yes. And finally, does the conference facility have a coat check? Yes! There’s nothing worse than toting around a coat all day during a conference.  It remains to be seen if it will be easy to recharge my laptop when necessary, but I expect that will not be difficult either.

So now I get to excitedly anticipate the FOSI program. I await the panel on new research. I’m eager to hear from danah boyd (lower case intentional), especially about her upcoming book, It’s Complicated. (Editor’s Note: Even when I knew just a few of the many wonderful things about danah I was already a fan just because she attended the same university as my daughter.) Another author I’ll be interested to hear is Catherine Steiner-Adair, whose book, The Big Disconnect, is my current read and featured on the front of this blog.

Continue reading “Observations from FOSI 2013 – Conference Post #1”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, educating digital natives, parents and technology, teaching digital kids, writing

English Teachers: The Skills Students Need for the Future

06 skills for future
English teachers suggest skills for the future.

A new report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, The Impact of Digital Tools on Student Writing and How Writing is Taught in Schools, shares the results of a survey of 2,462 Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers. Data were collected in online and in-person focus groups.

Pew researchers asked educators about the effect of digital tools on their students’ writing skills. They also wanted to gather more information about the digital tools that teachers use in their classrooms and find out whether these tools help students become better writers. Survey participants were also asked to share their views about the skills their 21st Century students’ will need to be successful in their future lives.

A Few of the Pew Findings

  • Many teachers believe that the increasing digital world audience for writers encourages students of all ages to taking writing more seriously.
  • Seventy-nine percent of the educators surveyed agree or strongly agree that digital tools encourage students to collaborate with one another.
Posted in 21st Century Learning, digital citizenship, digital citizenship minute, digital learning, educating digital natives, parents and technology

5 Digital Citizenship Moments: Adult Conversational Digressions for Kids

You have just shared several websites and take a moment to comment to children about digital footprints. Or perhaps you sent an e-mail that you wish you had not sent and you mention that it’s not possible to get something back once it’s sent out electronically. Maybe you open a website of poor quality and point out one or two things that could be improved.

These are moments, each probably less than a minute of conversational digression, that reinforce the digital citizenship habits of children. These comments can be incorporated into any discussion or lesson.

Each time adults comment on digital citizenship issues in the context of daily lessons and classroom life, we model a kind of digital intelligence that students can emulate and embrace, whether they are working or playing.

When educators and parents make time for digital digressions, moments of digital citizenship addressing crucial issues, they informally incorporate  behavioral values that are a part of 21st Century connected learning. More importantly, these moments allow children to observe that just about every digital activity incorporates time-tested values such as careful evaluation, respect, collaboration, and inclusiveness.

Five Digital Citizenship Moments to Incorporate into Any Conversation

1. Pause for a moment whenever you use a web site, and explain one or two things that you like about it (or don’t like). Or explain just how you found the website.

Continue reading “5 Digital Citizenship Moments: Adult Conversational Digressions for Kids”

Posted in 21st Century Learning, Bookmark It!, digital learning resources, educating digital natives, parents and technology

Grammar Girl Podcasts – Listen and Learn!

Just about every day I have a grammar question, despite that in junior high school I was an ace at diagramming sentences. Most commonly I need to figure out how to punctuate something I have written. I search for an answer, and I want to remember the information — if possible — so that I can use it the next time the same question arises. Yes, I could consult The Elements of StyleOn Writing WellThe Chicago Manual of Style, or countless other good grammar books.

grammargirl
Visit Grammar Girl!

These days, however, when I am puzzling over a comma or a particular word, I almost always go online to find a podcast at Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty TipsI listen to the explanation, usually accompanied by music and amusing examples, and even days later I still remember the rule or the spelling or usage — even if the topic has not reappeared in my writing.

If you have not checked out the Grammar Girl podcasts, take some time to do so. They are great fun — two words that I never associated with sentence diagrams.

Continue reading “Grammar Girl Podcasts – Listen and Learn!”