Week 2 of the Empowered Digital Leaders course focused on learning and sharing learning.
Connecting with Experts
First we considered the role of experts in supporting learning and how we could connect our students with experts by using technology. I reflected on my time teaching P1 (4-5 year olds) about Island Life using Katie Morag by Mairi Hedderwick as a stimulus. I was looking into skype chats with his old primary school but the timings didn’t work out. By chance, there was a teacher in the school who had just moved over from a similar, small, Scottish Island so she came in and spoke to the kids, showing photos of her previous school. The kids loved it and it was such a great experience (albeit not virtual but I think it would have been just as powerful virtually). My colleagues made use of Skype for Education to connect with scientists during remote teaching to enhance learning about Natural Disasters. Not sure who enjoyed it more, the teachers or the learners!
One of the course facilitators, Adam Hill (@AdamHillEDU) shared his experience of connecting with experts in a wide range of fields to support his learners’ Genius Hour projects. Through his class Twitter account, he shared a collaborative doc listing all the projects and was able to find experts from around the world. I’ve shared my class’ work related to a class novel on Twitter and the kids were so excited when the author replied and retweeted it. I like the idea of the open doc to facilitate mentoring but would doubt my social media reach. I imagine I’d be pleasantly surprised if even just the school account and council (district) retweeted it. Something to consider as I’d really like to try Genius Hour, this year.
The Media Triangle
In November 2019, Stanford University published their findings that 96% of High Schoolers couldn’t tell what was a credible source, emphasizing the need for teaching digital literacy. Stanford, 2019
This is an increasingly important area to learn about in upper primary as more and more children are engaging with social media accounts. During remote learning, we included some lessons around fake news and used the BBC Bitesize resource as a support: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/articles/zjykkmn and https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/articles/z63wwty
Jenn (@JCasaTodd) introduced us to the media triangle where we consider media in three ways:
– Media Text – when engaging with a media text, it is important to consider the decisions made by the creator. The media text will be developed through the lens of the creator. I really like the idea that by creating their own media texts, our learners will better understand that decisions were made in the creation of media texts they are consuming. We should also remember that all media has a value message. When you create something, you value it, it’s important to you. Therefore, when we consume media, the text speaks to the value of the person who created it.
– Audience – we need to be mindful that everyone interprets media messages based on their own experiences, and sometimes their own biases.
– Production – It is also important to consider the platform chosen as it is usually selected to match what the creator is trying to achieve in a media text, eg. tik tok is different from youtube is different from a blog post. We need to teach children the difference. At this point, we could also teach the monetary implications of social media, such as Youtube, as well as what Clickbait is.
Class Social Media Accounts
The last learning topic, this week, focused on the use of class social media accounts. The discussion amongst other course participants was really interesting for this topic as everyone has quite different experiences. As I mentioned in my last blog post, I think it’s important to be clear of the purpose of an account and the learners could be involved in making this decision. Do you want to connect with authors, other classes, parents? Once the purpose is clear, this should inform which platform is used. How will you find out where most of your parents / community are? Lots of educators are using Twitter, but are parents? During the course, Jenn raised the point that whilst our learners might not be using Twitter, for example, that could work to our advantage. Teaching about social media use on a platform that they are not immediately comfortable with, could allow rich discussion about the purpose and use of other social media that they are comfortable with. Digital citizenship lessons could involve the learners co-creating guiding principles for responsible use, not just acceptable use. Teaching learners the different value of likes and comments is so important and I like the idea of using Twitter as a teaching tool for that.
There were interesting suggestions for how the learners could have ownership over posting to the account, something I am mindful of as I also think that teacher time is a barrier to class social media use. Someone suggested a PR committee, responsible for creating the posts which the teacher then shares to the account. This would also create accountability for the teacher to keep the account up-to-date!
Lastly, Jenn shared a fabulous resource for creating authentic digital portfolios, The Whole Child, Whole Story, Daniel Whitt (@WhittMister), Mollie Bounds (@MollieBounds), and Natalia Dooley (@dooley_natalia). This year, I am fortunate to have a day out of my own class each week where I am providing digital skills cover to other classes across the school. This week, I used these resources to encourage the children to really think about their own identity as we plan for their digital portfolios. The children are so excited to get going with these are really enjoyed considering their interests and who their potential audience might be. I wasn’t sure which platform to use as we use Google across the school, but I liked the idea of learners commenting on each others’ portfolios if they were on something like WordPress. I’ve decided to stick with Google Sites and will ask the learners to post a link to our Google Classroom whenever they update their site. This way their classmates can comment on the Google Classroom post and teachers are able to support learners in their digital skills as well as their constructive commenting skills!
Looking forward to seeing what the next week brings. If you’d like to be notified when I share another blog post, please follow me on Twitter, @ClareAnnePirie.