For the past two weeks we have been exploring Digital Literacies in etmooc. Other than the forced disconnection for my Teacher’s Convention last week; I have been really busy connecting, tweeting and learning on-line. I have several posts started about my notes and thoughts about sessions that I have participated in or research that I am doing, and at least twenty tabs open on my browser than I need to explore.
But they will have to wait because other things are crowding them out in the front of my brain right now:
The privacy of our students and children
The #etmchat Twitter Chat on Tuesday had me thinking a lot about our digital footprints, and those that we help create for our students and our children. While writing this post I went back and reviewed the posts in the #etmchat. And then I created my first Storify collection about the chat as a way to process my thoughts, check it out.
Right after the chat, Shuana Niessen posted a story in the etmooc Google+ Community about her daughter not wanting to record her future plans in the planning tool that the school uses. First I was happy to hear that Shauna’s daughter has learned enough about digital citizenship to not only realize that she has data that she might not want to share but to realize that she should get to choose what she wants to share. Yea teachers!
Then I started thinking about ePortfolios. I have been researching tools for ePortfolios for a few years now. However since I have been researching project-based learning (and problem-based learning and inquiry) for the past few months I have really started to believe that ePortfolios that are platform independent, or at least could follow students throughout their educational careers, would be a great tool for students to document their learning and have somewhere to review how they have changed as a learner. (I’ll share what I have collected about PBL and ePortfolios in future posts.)
Shauna’s post and some of the tweets about creating our students/children’s digital footprints for them has stopped me in my tracks. I am going to need some time to work through my thoughts on this. I think that having an digital archive is useful for students, and I believe it is important to teach our students the meta-cognitive skills to assess and comment on their learning as it evolves over time. Is it possible to do that in a way that doesn’t infringe on their privacy? What if they don’t want information from their grade 8 CTF project out there on the web for the rest of time? I am going to have to mull this over for a while.
Storytelling, Communities and Moocs
I have enjoyed reading Christina Hendricks posts about not being that into digital storytelling, teachers as storytellers and her thoughts on creating a mooc for her philosophy classes. Her world seems so far removed from mine, philosophy vs. media, post-secondary vs. junior high, maybe that is why I enjoy reading her posts. Plus she has been posting more than I have and I am jealous of that.
Lately I have been talking about the power of social media for making connections, developing communities, and personal learning networks (PLNs) at work. Then, on Wednesday we got a rough draft of a research report which supports the work that we are doing with the Career and Technology Foundations curriculum. Not only did it reinforce the value of project-based learning, it also highlighted the power of PLNs and suggested that students should be encouraged to develop their own PLNs.
Now that I am not the only talking about it, it seems to have more relevance. My boss, Dave, is now very interested in PLNs and social media. Today I have signed both of us up for two moocs: Social Media and Leading Strategic Innovation in Organizations. We are a little late starting the Social Media class. I am not that concerned, I drank the KoolAid a few years ago and think that the course will just be a refresher (hope these don’t turn out to be famous last words, especially since I just downloaded a 500 page book that I have to read.) Both courses sounded interesting, and I do have more free time this year. It will be interesting to take the courses with Dave and get his take on things. Plus they should help us be strategic about using social media to connect with CTF teachers.
Teacher as Cyborg, Life as Dinner Theatre
I read a great post by Bonnie Stewart called hybrids & subversives: the cyborg as teacher which talks about the teacher and networked identities as cyborg. I intend to comment on it but I am still about it and my thoughts aren’t yet fully formed. It made me think of Amy Burvall’s post about life as dinner theatre. Not because the topics are related, but because they both had me thinking about them days after I read them.
Yesterday a link to a video by Nicole Sullivan from Fluent 2012 called “Don’t Feed The Trolls” passed through my Twitter feed. In it she describes her attitude towards trolls, the different ways that she categorizes trolls, and suggests ways to respond to them. I participated in my first discussion in my new mooc Social Media which was about trolling; how serendipitous. I haven’t really given trolls much thought (sorry trolls!) but watching Nicole’s video made me think about gender, technology and trolls. I wonder if Nicole faces more troll-y behaviour because she is a woman working in technology?
Finally I am thinking about Pat Lockley’s ruschagram. He shared it at the end of the #etmchat about digital literacies and I thought it was a cool way to get people interacting with photos. The kids and I played with it for quite a while. Turns out that it is intended as a tribute to Ed Ruscha, who I know nothing about. Funny how much we miss when we don’t have the background. (A lesson to all of us teachers.) I Hope Pat won’t mind if I just think about it as a cool toy. Check it out!