Categories
Collaboration Connectivism Course 2 New Media literacies

The flow got me … Creating a revised AUP for Primary School

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 4RsResources, 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.

Link:
AUP for Primary School 

UPDATED VERSION

AUP all Year Groups

Categories
Collaboration Connectivism Course 2 Digital Footprint New Media literacies

Co-dependency between Machines and Human Beings

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
flower
Webgraph of http://www.coetail.com/vzimmer

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.
  • Twitter
    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.
  • Facebook
    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.)
  • LinkedIn
    It is still a little bit neglected by me …
  • Blog
    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!

Categories
Course 2 Digital Footprint New Media literacies Privacy

The chaos of Copy & Paste

Tad not drinking wine

Photo Credit: ekai via Compfight cc

Reading about plagiarism and copyright this week made me realize how huge and important (!) this topic is. You can inquirer into this topic from many different perspectives: location where you are in the world, from the perspective of the students, the teachers, the bloggers, from the perspective of the kind of media (article online, movie, blog, image, comic, … endless).

First of all we as teachers need to know about copyright and plagiarism. Working at a PYP school and not having any books for teaching (which I really like) makes it difficult to have resources and of course we get them through the internet. Wikipedia says about Fair Use:

In United States copyright law, fair use is a doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Examples of fair use include commentary, search engines, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship.

I was happy to read the word teaching, but what about In United States copyright law?  Germany seems to be always kind of stricter. Reading the wording of the law I’m realizing that I’m not a lawyer and I’m not used to read laws. Meaning it is complicated. Said very simple: § 53 Urheberrechtsgesetz (UrhG) allows us to copy for the use during lessons. There are different interpretations (using something during the lesson or saving something on the computer) written on the German website lo-recht (Recht und digitale Medien): Vervielfältigungen für Unterricht und Prüfungen. But … I have to admit that the article is quite old and I still feel quite confused. Therefore – my German colleagues (working at a German school): Please let me know more. How do you handle those issues? Thx. We need to know as teachers, for us and as important for getting the students aware.

At the moment Grade 5 at our school is working on their exhibition topics. In German the students are inquiring into a ecosystem which is related to their Central Idea. Right in time I heard about compfight, a flickr search engine, which gives you the code for attaching the caption. I also realized that Google allows you find pictures with certain usage rights (Advanced Search). Very helpful for the students is as well EasyBib: A Free Automatic Bibliography and Citation Generator.

In the context of the students writing their pieces for their exhibition as well as in the context of myself writing blog entries, the website plagiarism.org was very informative and surprising for me. There are 10 types of plagiarism and I’m wondering now how much remix and mashup my students do?! And what about myself? I’m reading several websites/articles and recently I started to write down the source. Then I try to build my opinion, combine it with my own experience, ask new (or old) questions – what am I doing?

Last but not least the readings this week made me think about licensing own work. It feels good to know more about Flickr and Creative Commons which allows you to license your work easily if you want to share it. I don’t have to share and contribute so much at the moment, but I told a friend about it who is an artist and she was very happy to hear about it. Let’s spread the word! That is also part of all this with Coetail.

And how about 3D plagiarism? Today at the Maker Munich there was a talk about: Piracy hoch drei: Öffnet die 3D-Technologie wirklich die Büchse der Pandora?  – in English something like:

Piracy power three: Does the 3D technology really opens the Pandora’s Box?

I’m living in such a exciting and interesting time!

 

 

Categories
Course 2 Digital Footprint New Media literacies

Digital footprint – AGAIN an eye opener

Common Sense Media: Digital Footprint Intro from Joaquin E. Jutt on Vimeo.

Since I worked for a Software Company (2000-2004 Infopark) I always felt quite aware of my traces I might leave or I want to leave on the Internet. Will Richardson writes about it in his article “Footprints in the Digital Age” and defines it the following:

– the online portfolios of who we are, what we do, and by association, what we know –

Certain email addresses for different use were a must for me and also anonymous names for certain accounts. Googling myself was also something I did on a regular base. During my year of traveling I was writing a blog but again kind of anonymous and only friends and family knew about it. I always thought I’m quite lucky and safe to have a quite common German name – even my sister in law name is Verena Zimmer. It was not that easy to find information about me.

I have to be honest, I never really thought about my digital shadow. Sure I’m booking online, buying online, etc. but using fake names made me feel save. It’s probably even trickier and less controllable than the digital footprint.

My thinking changed for the first time when I spoke with a colleague/friend at my previous school in Seoul few years ago. We both thought about a teacher portfolio but unfortunately we never really made time for it.

My thinking changed even more over the last 8 weeks. I’m still hesitating and I don’t know where this is coming from (it’s out of my comfort zone and a change of my own mindset) but now actually I want to be found now and it’s okay that people find (professional) information about me. The exchange with other people, teachers so far, but hopefully sooner or later with non teachers as well, I highly appreciate.

My big question though is: Are we 100% in control of our digital footprint? 

At the moment it’s this blog, my comments on other blogs; it’s through Twitter, Facebook, Diigo, Google+; in future it will be  …

Digital footprint forever

Photo Credit: blaho_blaho cc

A digital footprint/portfolio gives us the chance to learn, to be inspired by others, to connect and discuss with like-minded people, to share and reflect on experiences and work, to ask questions, to improve, ….

The question whether we should have a digital footprint / teacher portfolio as a teacher is YES. Teaching and learning is a passion and any kind of reflection and exchange helps us to find our own position as well as to promote ourselves. And Vivian made a very good point: If we live an integer life anyways then we don’t need to fear about possible leaving some negative traces.

Future employers get an additional perspective of the applicant. Fair enough – they want the best fit for their school / company. The applicant on the other hand can convince the future employer that she / he is the right one for that particular position.

Maybe a good and productive match is even more likely with those additional information. But how will an application look like in near future? Somebody of Coetail asked this question before but I can’t find the post anymore. Sorry. How would you apply for a new teaching position or maybe even a different kind of work?! Maybe the way schools / employers will choose a new way as well?!

Realizing having a digital footprint has a lot of advantages the logical consequence must be: YES, we have to let our students know about those advantages. YES, to clarify the risk is important too. But even more important is that we as teachers emphasis the advantages and chances. Being online is a great chance for learning and growing, no question.

And it is Will Richardson again who puts it in words. As a teacher I feel we need to support the students to know

  • how to find their own passions
  • how to connect with like minded people
  • how to work, communicate and collaborate
  • how to connect with a variety of different minded people to get a variety of perspectives which pushes learning in different directions
  • how to asks provocative questions to get discussions going and create new thinking
  • how to choose people who are rather inspiring and with good intentions than harmful
  • how to find the balance between being connect online and in real life.

When and how to start? I found several resources on the Internet, f.e. Lesson: Trillion Dollar Footprint (6-8).  It really depends on YOU as a teacher, parent, friend, on the STUDENTS, and the circumstances. We shouldn’t negate and avoid that topic anymore, maybe just because we might feel uncomfortable. Let’s be aware and let’s spread the word.

Categories
Connectivism Course 1 New Media literacies Random Thoughts Self Organized Learning Environment

The Totally Underestimated Network

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.
  • I’m thinking planning of implementing to 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. 😉
Categories
Course 1 New Media literacies Self Organized Learning Environment

How radical / risk-taking do I want to be / can I be?

… to try new things in new ways??

Probably most of you already heart about Sugata Mitra and his great experiments in India. What a smart idea to give children some computer, leave them with a question and see what will happen:

Sugata Mitra – Here a great TED talk:

https://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_build_a_school_in_the_cloud.html

As a result of his experiments over the last 10 years he developed a concept about how to set up his ideas of teaching and learning: SOLE – Self Organized Learning Environment. You get ideas to set up a classroom, to give them good questions to inquire into, you get an idea of the role of the teacher and a student manager as well as some examples of results of the students.

The video and SOLE made me think a lot about Grade 5 (Exhibition) – Sharing the Planet. In German we decided as a team to integrate with Ecosystems, more or less like an own unit. From the beginning I felt hesitation. It’s so hard for me this time to make it meaningful for them. We decided it’s meaningful because Grade 5 haven’t done enough Science before they will move to middle school. Not a good reason in my opinion. The TuningIn was already quite difficult for me and for them as well. Most of them found questions but 2 students mentioned that they know already “everything”. A sign for me?

Again: How radical can I be? I’m tempted to just give them the laptops and few main questions (Lines of Inquiry) regarding ecosystems and follow the idea of a self organized learning environment. I could think about my students and even differentiate the questions depending on their level of German. Although I’m pretty sure that they are able to find answers anyways.
Must – question:
How does a ecosystem look like?! (FORM)
How does a ecosystem work?! (FUNCTION)
Answer at least one question:
How is it connected to other thing? (CONNECTION)
How does it change? (CHANGE)
Present the results which shows your understanding and which you can share with others.
But: Will it be more meaningful for the students? It might become more meaningful because they determine the way of learning, their interests and also pace of learning.
How much do I risk?
How much do I risk if I fail?
How can I explain and justify to my colleagues that I want to try new things in a new way?
Thanks to a train trip from Padova to Munich I had a lot of time to think … and I really would appreciate some thoughts from you! Thanks!
 Update (04.05.2013)
So I took the risk and it was a learning for me and for them. I showed them (Grade 5) the following picture:
N.d. Photograph. Iexperten. Web.
After that they got clear instructions regarding building the groups, the inquiry questions, the links and search engines for information as well as the form of presentation.
They were able to describe that it is their responsibility to take over ownership about their learning.
I observed students who were able to build teams, to work in teams (3/4 of them) and it was a very positive and most of the time productive working atmosphere in the classroom.
The student manager took her job very serious. She documented the team work by taking pictures, how and where students were searching on the internet, how they took notes and what form of presentation they choose. Almost all students went to her if there was any issue. She also is producing a document which shows her reflection. I’ll use this document for reflection.
The students choose different kind of presentation forms which motivated them a lot.
BUT:
I just had a quick reflection on the work starting with the following question:
Was there anything which was difficult during the inquiry? And actually the students confirmed my concerns and my observation:
It was difficult to find the information.
It was difficult to understand the information.
It was difficult to write the notes.
It was difficult to put the understanding in own words (verbal and non-verbal).
My outcome / questions are:
Reading comprehension is a very, very important skill. What are the reading strategies for reading on the internet? Are they different or the same?
At what age should students be able to search on the internet for information?
How does a good framework/scaffolding for becoming a good searcher look like? Does something like this exist already? When to start?
Anybody any experiences to share???
That is enough for the beginning. My mind goes crazy at the moment. On Wednesday I go a step back and I’ll give them a text on paper – let’s see what the outcome will be.
Categories
Connectivism Course 1 New Media literacies Self Organized Learning Environment

I can’t live without it anymore …

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.

 

Categories
Connectivism Course 1 New Media literacies

The Reality of the Youth

It really seems to be the reality – the youth is connected, networked, online, creating (and more and more parents I spoke to confirm this) and we as teacher/parents let the gap getting bigger and bigger and bigger or even create an intergenerational wedge. (Living and Learning with New Media, page 37).

The summery of the The John D. and Catharina T. MacArthur Foundation in (Living and Learning with New Media, p. 35-39) articulate the reality of students in America (any other comparable research of other countries? Germany? Maybe the KIM-Studie? Europe?) very clearly and points out the following:

  • The youth is using networked publics for searching information as well for social and recreational activities online. Students hang out or messing around there, it can be both interest- or friendship-driven, but and it’s the first step to become more creative in a direction in which the youth is passionated for. (page 35)
  • The youth faces economic, institutional, social, and cultural barriers (page 36) which hinders a development from just hanging out to geeking out.
  • The youth is hanging out (friendship-driven) OR they are meeting link-minded people to share and contribute knowledge. Both groups use the networked platforms for developing social norms (without parents and teachers) to develop their identity.
  • The youth get chances of peer-based learning through networked activities whereat peers are important drivers of learning.
  • The youth creates own new media literacies like f.e. norms for being online.

And here it comes my perspective of a teacher:

If we don’t want to create this intergenerational gap, what do the new media literacies mean for us a learners and teachers?
Obviously Henry Jenkins and his team already thought about this few years ago: New Media Literacies.

We need to get trained, even more important train ourselves (Personal Learning Network) and share our knowledge and skills. My personal goal is to share more often and encourage people to be curious and excited about their learning. The make the goal more precise: I want to share here on the blog and our iPad blog at school and I want to share during our staff meeting as much as possible. I’m going to try to connect Primary and Secondary School vertically somehow because there are so many fantastic tools which are rather for teenager than for primary. That’s the beginning, I don’t know yet how to realize this in detail.

A big question for me still is – how do I (who is using technology in learning and teaching already a lot) get to the next step to actually CREATE something for a community? I guess, the unit planner is a start … Let’s see.