Since I’m using Twitter, other social media and tools like Flipboard for professional development and I’m experiencing the amazing benefits of it for my professional life I wish to use Twitter in school with/for students and the whole school community as well. Somebody said that the focus at school isn’t only content and concepts it’s more and more the fact that we are living in a connected world. Twitter, other social media, and so many other tools allow us to connect and collaborate with others in order to learn, to create, to invent, so solve problems, to support each other and a lot more.
The quote I read in Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age
The pipe is more important than the content within in the pipe.
sticks to my mind since I started to read about Connectivism.
How do my pipes look like?
I’m still amazed by the fact that we decide what to learn, where to learn, when to learn, how to learn, and from who to learn. Recently I attended several sessions and listened to keynotes at the Global Education Conference. It was totally my decision what information and knowledge I want to get. It took place all over the world and definitely enhanced my learning through the diversity of people who presented and shared something. It was also my decision how I want to learn. Depending on the topic I sometimes was just a listener but if possible I tried to contribute to the learning experience within that specific setting.
But the pipe always has two directions, right? While attending one session called Students as Creators or Makers: Tools to foster Higher-order Thinking Skills I thought, next year I could give it a try as well. I’m getting there …
The more familiar pipes for me are of course blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Google+. To many people I try to explain it and compare it to an old fashioned post box. You are interested in something; you subscribe it and the mailman brings the mail to you.
But: Too often it goes only one direction, right?
A great experience on Twitter was for me when I first time had a question and I got answers. Or there was a question and I could contribute to it. There is the flow in the other direction. Vivian (@chezVivian) describes on her blog a professional conversation about assessment on Twitter. The knowledge is flowing back and forth through the pipe therefore it’s a really good learning experience. #pypchat – I’ll join you very soon.
Facebook more than Google+ but they are both platforms for me to get inspiring input and to share worth reading articles, blog posts or ideas. Collaboration and creating together with other educators and experts doesn’t happen yet to the extent that I imagine it to happen. One idea would be to connect with other German teachers at international schools in Germany. Let’s get together.
The wish to collaborate and connect more with other teachers led me to the question: Did a job description change? How? What kind of teacher I would like to work with if I had the chance to hire somebody?
Inspired by Ceci’s blog post Ceci 2.0 as well as by the table in What Is Web 3.0 And How Will It Change Education I wondered how a job description for a teacher could look like. I haven’t seen any since my mind shift regarding education has started. I’m not in the position of hiring people but I asked myself what kind of teacher I would like to be and what kind of teacher I would like to work with. Experiences and knowledge are important but not the most important anymore. In my opinion, one very important part is how much somebody is connected to get the flow of knowledge and information in both directions and within the whole community of learners.
The following pictures (on thinglink.com) shows my first thinking about it. A colleague brought up the ISTE standards to add. Sure. What would you add?
Beginning of March 2013 I set myself several goals regarding educational technology. I had started the Coetail Course beginning of February and realized that there is so much out there to explore. 2013 will be my year of getting into educational technology. So far I’m not disappointed at all. Opposite is the case: It’s learning without ending. It’s inspiring, exciting and enriching. Some things I already tried in school.
One goal from March was:
I played a little bit here and there with different Google Apps but I felt that is not enough to get an overview. Therefore I signed up for the Gafe Class – Google Apps For Education Online Course.
If you know Jeff you can imagine that he recommends us to use Chrome. I got introduced to Chrome couple of years ago. A friend (Ben @ombd – I highly appreciate his tips) of mine said: Nobody is using Firefox anymore. Chrome is the new browser, faster and securer. It seems to be a Battle of the best browsers: IE vs. Chrome vs. Firefox vs. Safari.
I discovered the Chrome Web Store a while ago and they are indeed awesome. You get any imaginable application which is integrated in Chrome and allows you a faster access as well as additional functionalities. The apps are also a never ending story. I can get lost in that store. Exciting and dangerous at the same time. Here just a quick overview what I use for my productivity online. Unfortunately I haven’t gotten a lot of chances to use Google Apps with my students yet. In future …
I am using so far:
- Google Drive, Gmail, Gmail Offline
- AdBlock – Blocks advertisements on all websites.
- Evernote Web – Usually I use Evernote which is installed on my computer. Evernote Web is useful, but gives me only access to synchronized notebooks which makes sense.
- Evernote Web Clipper – This app allows me to save a website (whole page, an article, just the URL or as pdf) directly into Evernote.
- Tweetdeck – best tool to organize Twitter.
- Feedly – RSS Reader – best tool to get all news of blogs and websites
- Readium – Allows me to read eBooks (epub) in the browser.
With/for the students:
- Timer – timer countdown, alarm clock, stopwatch
- iSpeech – For my students who have difficulties with reading. Text is read aloud for them.
- Evernote Clearly – Converts articles on the web into a easy, readable and printable look.
- Connected Mind – Tool to create a mind map. Haven’t had a chance with the students yet though.
Check out the Chrome Web Store! What apps are using using for teaching and learning! Thx.
To be honest – at the beginning of course 2 I had no idea what an AUP (Acceptable User Policy) is. During the four years at a German School I never got in contact with something similar. Probably I signed an AUP for teachers when I started teaching at an international school. I thought the reason for not knowing about it might me the fact that I’m new in this international environment and struggle with all those acronyms anyways. Another reason might be the fact that I’m a single subject teacher. Homeroom teachers might have given it to the students at the beginning of the school year. And six weeks later with the help and collaboration of Vivian Chow, Donovan Hall, Mark Villaflor and Carlene Hamley and all the wonderful resources out there on the Internet I revised and
wrote remixed an AUP for the Primary School. How awesome is this! I even felt a flow of creating …
We were asked to collaborate with other cohort members. It reminded me of a blog post of Edna Sackson – What does collaboration look like? and what is the difference to working together? The main outcome for me is: If you collaborate you share a vision. She created a nice visualisation:
By Edna Sackson
My vision in this context is to make sure that the students get knowledgeable to be safe on the Internet and with the use of technology.
One person commented on the above mentioned post and asked: What about goals? Do we need to share goals as well? Do the individual goals of collaboration lead to more effect collaborating?
During the course collaboration took place in many different ways. Quite at the beginning of course 2 somebody created a hashtag called #CoetailAUP. I was lucky to find a great group quite easy. We had the chance to get to know each other through a Google Hangout. We shared existing AUPs on Google Drive, experiences and ideas. Giving a feedback and commenting on each other’s work was the easiest job with Google Docs. Vivian took the time and effort to summarize our Hangouts and she also wrote the first draft of an AUP, which I’m still very thankful for because my part of the AUP is based on her thinking and putting it in words. I also collaborated with colleagues at our school. From the beginning it was my goal to create something, which is meaningful for our Primary School. I had a lot of support of my ICT colleague and also a reception teacher. I believe that we are all sharing a similar vision but I realized that our personal goals were different. Nothing wrong with that I realized, because it enriched our collaboration. You get different knowledge, a lot of experiences, a huge a variety of skills, great motivation, backgrounds, different learning types, … thinking – what do I want to ask for more?
The experience let me think about group work/collaboration in my classroom as well and especially about grouping my students. I always have been torn how to group them. Is it more important that they choose the partner(s) they want to work with or do I as a teacher make up the groups with the knowledge of their prior knowledge, abilities, learning types, types of learning, etc. and why do I want them to collaborate? I feel like I have to think about it more in depth. Later.
The following AUP is created/remixed with the help of the resources on the Internet and through the collaboration with great educators. Thanks again for that.
I really liked the idea of the 4Rs – Resources, Right, Respect, Responsibility. Hopefully it is a good way to promote the AUP within the whole school community as well as to develop a common language at school.
Three stakeholders will sign the AUP: the student – the parent – the teacher. We all share the responsibility to make sure we are safe on the Internet and when using technology for learning.
It is still a draft regarding the detailed layout (logo, pictures, etc). For me the wording was more important in a first row. The layout will come next with the heIp of my students (great idea Donovan & Carlene).
I have to admit that citing was a challenge. You work on something for weeks, you read about it on so many different websites, you speak to others and get the ideas – honestly, I lost track.
My goal is to get this AUP for the Primary School implemented. My colleague wants to create a Digital Citizenship Program combined with it. I’m excited to see what will happen in the next few weeks and after the summer vacation.
AUP for Primary School
During the last 3 month I realized that connections, connectedness (does this word really exist?), connectivity on the Internet are possible in endless ways. The main two streams though are:
- connections through human beings
- connections through machines
Through Webpages as a graph (works only with Firefox) you get a visualisation of your website and in particular also of your hyperlinks. It looks beautiful!
The blue dots are actually the important ones because they show me the hyperlinks on the blog. To understand the graph fully you need to know at least a little bit of HTML which is the language to create webpages. That reminds me that I – maybe 7-8 years ago – created a website for a friend. Unfortunately it doesn’t exist anymore and also archive.org didn’t take a snapshot (probably I put the robot.txt to avoid spam – do I mix up something?). In this context I thought about how to optimize the search engine result and – here it comes – hyperlinks. Google obviously looks at both links – to and from your website. To have an impact on your page rank the links to your website are important. You can imagine, suddenly I was curious about my page rank. There are several ways to check and in the end the chrome apps are the most convient one. The app I really liked is PageRank Status. A screenshot of part of it says: Hmm, does it really means that I’m the first on the search results? How can this be? I’m sure that not that many people linked to my blog. The reason probably is the connection to the Coetail website itself. Please, other cohort follower, please correct me if I’m wrong. I try to understand.
Anyways, my point is if we make sure (somehow) that there are enough hyperlinks from other sides to our than the ranking goes up. We need to set the links but the machine does the rest.
There are other ways to connect on the Internet – again driven by human beings but the machines do the rest, f.e. by suggesting people we might know or suggesting website, groups or people to follow. Recently I intensified it by using f.e. various social website:
- Google, Gmail, Google Drive, Google+, Google Hangouts
All those tools gave me possibility to connect to other likeminded people from all over the world. It is exciting and inspiring and not frightening at all. Maybe Vivian is right that Coetail keeps us for the beginning in a bubble, but it also depends on us how much we put us out there. I’m enjoying the collaborative work by using Google Drive and meeting through Google Hangouts.
I am following more people now and I explored Tweetdeck wich helps me to orgnise the tweets, to have conversations with other people – to create my own Personal Learning Network. Sometimes I tweet something, ask a questions, comment on something, … but I definitely still see room for improvement. Like so often – it takes time. I will.
Another tool to connect. Fortunately a lot of organisations I’m interested in are on Facebook. It is great to follow them (Still lurking? Well, I started to comment way more often.)
It is still a little bit neglected by me …
Of course the blog is also a way to connect. People comment and I try to comment as much as possible. For the kids I really like the #comments4kids on twitter.
And, and, and … To be honest, I still wish to create and contribute more. This experience here with Coetail helps me to connect with other people and how to use the Internet in a less consuming way. Let’s create, contribute and share! It’s worth!
When I checked the verbs “to mob” (mobbing) and “to bully” in a online dictionary, I got very strong verbs in German that I haven’t used for years in my active vocabulary: belästigen, anpöbeln, tyrannisieren, schikanieren, einschüchtern, piesacken, drangsalieren, etc. Thinking about those verbs and about my experiences as a teacher, the connection to the article “Bullying” Has Little Resonance with Teenagers came in my mind and the following quote of a person who commented:
Technology is not to blame. Bullying has been in existence since there was civilization. Technology has escalated and changed how bullying occurs.
I agree bullying happened / is happening in the offline world as much as it is happening in the online world – then called cyberbullying (German / English). You can observe the same kind of actions (to bully – belästigen, anpöbeln, tyrannisieren, schikanieren, einschüchtern, piesacken, drangsalieren), just in different environments and with different impacts.
This week’s questions were:
Who’s responsibility is it to teach students to be safe online? Who’s job is it to teach these skills? When and where should we be having these conversations with students? Are we taking this seriously?
Cyberbullying has to be taught but in my opinion it doesn’t start with kindergarten or school and in the first row it doesn’t have anything to do with “cyber/being online”.
I had a situation in Grade 3 last week. There is student A who is always late. When he came in the classroom, another student B said: “Finally!” with a very derogative voice. There it starts already. I asked student B to think about what he just said and how student A might feel to hear something like that. Children no matter what age need to get aware and be aware that words and actions can hurt another person. As adults, as parents, as friends, as teachers we need to model how to feel empathy for somebody. (“Bullying” Has Little Resonance with Teenagers)
It also reminded me of a unit in Grade 1 called “Use your words” where the students learn a strategy to deal with conflicts. It’s called STOP – TALK – WALK – HELP and gives children a tool to say NO to something, to ask WHY somebody is doing something, to have the courage to walk away and to ask for help. And again children no matter what age need to get the self confidence to stand for their own whenever they feel to be in a wrong situation. As adults, as parents, as friends, as teachers we need to get involved into strategies so we can again model for the children.
Does the strategy STOP – TALK – WALK – HELP would help for cyberbullying as well? Will a teenager be able to say STOP when he or she gets bombarded with mean or even worse text messages? Will he or she be confident enough to ask for reasons? Will he or she be strong enough to ignore or ask for help? It’s probably something you can learn no matter what age but the earlier the better. And again – as adults, as parents, as friends, as teachers we need to encourage our children.
Growing up in a small village, being a daughter of an unpopular teacher, being a teenager at that time let me experience how it is to live with gossip around me (and our family). Students of my father talked behind my back and in a very direct way as well. Since then I hate gossiping and it’s hard for me to stand people who a big gossiper. And again, the article “Bullying” Has Little Resonance with Teenagers came in my mind, because it says:
I hear teens’ dramas reflected in their stories about how their parents fight – with each other, with their friends and family and colleagues, and with them. What teens are doing is more coarse, more direct, and more explicit. But they’re witnessing adult dramas all around them and what they tend to see isn’t pretty. Parents talking smack about work colleagues or bosses. Parents fighting with each other or ostracizing their family members over disagreements. And it’s not just parents…Teens are seeing fights and dramas all over the media. Celebrity fights and dramas aren’t just in their face; they’re glorified! And even if MTV comments on domestic abuse after airing Jersey Shore, the way that the housemates treat each other sets a standard for what’s societally acceptable. Teens are seeing drama everywhere – they’re seeing it as a legitimate part of adult society that can often lead to notoriety.
Using technology for teaching has always been a goal for me. First it’s my personal passion since I can think of and second it is, it will be the future of the children I teach. Last but not least it is motivating for the children and gives them the chance to be an independent and creative learner.
It’s the second time my students of Grade 4 create a Wikipedia about a brain. As a German language teacher the focus last year was writing, only writing. It was less about being connected, creating and sharing knowledge and learning from other. That is probably part of the Coetail Effect. Thanks to everybody, it’s so important. My mind works already differently. As you can see in my planner, of course it is still about language. Most of the students in class are native German speakers and the few Germans as an Additional language speakers could get differentiated support to improve their written language skills.
To support the students I produced for the first time some instructional videos in advance. I wanted them to use the help instead of asking me constantly. As differentiation few students got the chance to produce an additional video by themselves. It was a great possibility to create and contribute something for the help section.
The post of Beth Queeney Dressler: Tapping into Collaboration made me think about using the Wikipedia in class. She questioned whether it is doing old things in a new way.
But I agree – what will be the follow up? Will the wiki die now? For me it would be already a lot if they understand the purpose of a wikipedia. And who knows, maybe one day, sooner or later somebody will be an editor on one of the countless wikis that exist online. Or they will start commenting on each others blog (portfolios). It is/was about getting them aware …
When I for first time read about “online collaborative projects” this week I was reminded of a conference (European 1-1 Learning Institute) last November at the FIS (Frankfurt International School). One of the keynote speakers was Ian Jukes. He spoke of a new book and mentioned that he wrote that book with two other people who he has never met in person. The whole process took place online as a collaborative project. I was impressed and I remember thinking: Probably that is the future.
It is not the future – it’s already happening. Last week I asked around mostly non-teacher curious about whether they are working somehow collaborative online. Several examples in a business or programming environment came up and I was confirmed that it’s already happening. Additionally my mother sent me by old-fashion mail an article Die Ungeduldigen. Eine Geschichte über Neugier und Fragesteller (in English: The Impatient. A Story about curiosity and questioner). The article describes three young teenagers who are already involved in programming projects. The author also ask what impact it has for teaching (Yeah, also in Germany is a mind-shift going on!) And guess how they are working: online and collaborating through their network. It’s already happening.
Of course I was curious what is going on in education:
- How are teachers involved in online collaborative projects?
So far I know about two groups of teachers at our school. Both collaborative projects are happening within their professional development. They are inquiring into new concepts, exchanging their findings, their opinions and conclusions, their learning as a group at school but then also and as much as important online on a specific platform. It’s already happing.
- How can we involve students in online collaborative projects?
It’s also already happening. There seems to be endless websites already to create projects and to find projects. Teachers and classrooms from all over the world create, inquirer, find out, exchange and a lot more. Here are some websites: CIESE, theteacherscorner.net, Kidlink, … There are tons of projects already going on. I even don’t know whether those links are the most popular amongst all options. So please feel free to add links you explored and you want to share.
So how is technology changing the learning landscape and global education?
Using technology for online collaborative projects gives students the possibility to get meaningful and authentic learning and live experiences. It allows sharing knowledge and experiences with other students from all over the world. Automatically they are having an audience that is like-minded and driven by the same interest. Learning doesn’t happen exclusively in the classroom anymore – it’s global. And it should be global because we have to solve global issues locally. Students get the chance to be involved in something. It will be the start for being active and creative for a network, for a community or for the whole society. If students/people get to know each other, if they know from each other their way of living, the obvious and the hidden part of culture (The Cultural Iceberg), we can take responsibilty together for our world like Plant for the Planet.
I definitely see myself being involved with one of my classes in an online collaborative project. It’s just a matter of time and opportunity. I will make it happen.
Inspired by the fact that I’m working at an international school, by the video Where is home?, by the phenomena of TCK (Third Culture Kids) and a project called Where do I live? I could imagine a project called Who am I? to let the students get to know each other and themselves better, to get a deeper understanding of their family background and their own identity.
The next question came up immediately: What tools are already out there? There is a List of collaborative software, collaborative plattforms, and a List of Wiki Software … but that goes to far for me at the moment …
It’s amazing and I can’t describe how thankful I am how the network works and how much I am learning. It seems to come all together at the same time. Just a few examples:
- All the reading difficulties my German – and German as a Additional Language – speaker have led to a conversation with my ICT colleague about our Reading Curriculum and how reading on the internet is integrated. At the same time Jeff asked: “What are the strategies for reading on the web? Are we teaching these to our students?” So important. And we want to pay more attention to it.
thinkingplanning of implementingto implement a Tech Tuesday at our school and then Katy Jean Vance posted about her setting and her experiences. Thanks again!
- It’s my goal to explore Google for professional use with colleagues or/and other networks as well as in classroom more often and this morning I got the chance to experience a shared google document with an very interesting article called 5 examples of how the languages we speak can affect the way we think. Following I had a long discussion with my colleague. Thanks Lissa Layman.
And there are more examples … I couldn’t ask for more …And Jeff … the Coetail Effect … I had to check what “to wordsmith” actually means … 😉For me it is about getting aware what is possible. Yes, I observe, I try, I realize that it works, I try old things in a new way and hopefully sooner or later new things in a new way …. I’m getting encouraged and more courageous. There are more chances and possibilities than we think which gets me highly motivated.And now I would love to get more into “Online collaborative projects” and other technology innovations (The Horizon Report) but today is my computer-off-evening … Tomorrow. No, I still have some reading time during my commute home. 😉
How did using technology change my learning and me as learner?
Technology gave me and gives me the chance …
… to be an independed learner. I have ownership about what I want to learn, how and when I want to learn and who I want to follow and listen to as well as my improvement and development.
… to learn with my own pace and depending on what kind of learner I am.
… to view beyond my local learning environment – colleagues and also in Germany – by using Twitter to follow people who I’m interested in, by using a RSS Reader to channel all the interesting and inspiring thoughts which are out there, etc.
But since I’m with Coetail there is even more. I have the possibility …
… to learn through the exchange (connect, collaborations) with like-minded people.
… go a step further and do action (following the Inquiry Cycle by Kathy Murdoch) by writing a blog, commenting on blog entries of others to reflect and asking questions as well as by sharing experiences face to face to encourage others. Once I created a cycle as a reflection for the job application (Reflection – PYP Verena Zimmer). It’s time for a new one …
In future I vision myself as a learner who …
… creates and contributes to the network in a confident way – even though this is still a little bit undefined for me how this will look like in my case. I’m getting there. Just explored a little bit code.org – there will never be boredom.
By the way I hope to improve my writing skills in general, my English as a second language, my deeper thinking skills as well as how to demonstrate my thinking.
How did using technology change my teaching?
Since 6 month Evernote is helping me immensely to organize my planning, my observations, my assessments, organizing my different areas of professional development, etc. I don’t use it to it’s fully extend yet, f.e. sharing notebooks, web clipper, sending an email to a notebook – is there a possibility to integrate an RSS Reader? I’ll google it later.
Using new tools gives the students the possibility to show their understanding and learning by CREATING. Here are some examples:
- iMovie / Garageband (Grade 5 – Students create a advertisement jingle for their products during the “Shop until drop” unit)
- Apps for StoryTelling (Grade 1 – Students show their imagination by telling a story on StoryWheel focussing on details.)
- iStopMotion (Grade 5 – Students show their understanding of “Der Zauberlehrling” of Goethe)
- App Book Creator (Grade 3 – Students create a simple Picture Dictionary.)
- Storybird / ComicLife for creating stories
- Filming with the iPad for Reflection purpose
- Producing an instructional video (Grade 4 – Producing a video which explains how to insert a picture)
PARTICIPATING / CONNECTING to others allows them to experience learning as meaningful and authentic. Again few examples:
- Students publish their PSA (public service announcement) on Voicethread to the Humankind about inventions, students reflect on each other
- Wikipedia (Students write for a wikipedia about “Our brain”.)
- Writing blog entries together with the students.
- Skype Interview with an expert (Thanks mum!)
Okay, above I just listed few examples of using technology during my last 1 1/2 years. I realized I still do a lot of new things in an old way but my focus was always that the students create something. Just consuming has never felt right. Searching skills have to get way more attention. As a language teacher I got only once the chance on how to find good search words. The internet provides endless resources and allows me to tailor them depending on student questions / each student, there is no need for following a book anymore. Regarding resources and apps for the iPad the German market seems to be not so developed yet. Hopefully the learning gets more meaningful for the students. Often through using technology I realized that there is an audience for student’s learning and it becomes more authentic. I really want to avoid creating a gap between time in school and time outside of school. There is a huge difference regarding documentation of formative and summative assessments compared to few years ago. Documented assessments and observations allow me to tailer the instructions and the learning even more. It also gives students a better way to reflect on their own learning. Students can overtake ownership for their own learning.
If I want the students to be independent and self organized life-long learner I still have to figure out and be a risk-taker what using new things in new ways in teaching exactly means and how it looks like. That’s why I’m here. I’m getting there sooner or later.