I was entertained yesterday when reading the Library of Congress’ post “What did Lincoln Say about Extemporaneous Speaking.” The post had an interesting segment of a letter that Lincoln wrote to his wife Mary Todd, though it wasn’t the content of the letter that intrigued me, it was his salutation. He wrote “Dear Wife.” When sharing this with a colleague this morning, he said, “What if you had the students guess who wrote the letter or who it was to.” What a great idea! It could be a, “Who Wrote It” based on the date, salutation, and as much content as they see. Granted, providing a transcript might be needed, but it would be a fun way to have an authentic mystery to solve. Happy Friday!
This was my first personal experience with a MOOC. After talking to many people who have started, but not finished, them, I was determined to finish the tasks. As our spring break begins at the end of school day tomorrow, I also had a target date to complete the related tasks. I tweeted more for this course than I typically do, and I substantially increased my Facebook time. I also more seriously dusted off my blog, and I hope that this course helps me continue to more actively blog again.
Reflecting on each challenge from this course, I really enjoyed the badging exercise the most. I had never understood the way badges were created, or saw how they could be really useful in the classroom. I still have some questions about them, but I do see them as more valuable now than I did and I certainly have a much deeper understanding of the process for setting requirements for one to earn a badge as well as how to use a badging platform. Interestingly, I also felt that this badging was a big growth point too.
Designing the global collaboration project was probably the most challenging, not because of the design of it, but just coming up with an idea. The examples provided seemed pretty grand-scale and, as this year I am not in the classroom regularly, it took a while to see how to make a relevant (not just hypothetical for the sake of doing it) project. I hope that the framework of what we came up with will actually be used at our school as we design our scope and sequence for digital citizenship curriculum.
Participating in this course helped me think about new ways for digital instruction and collaboration. As a learner, it challenged me to be committed to details, to think about how to interpret asynchronous instructions, and to be diligent even when there weren’t specific due dates or a grade on a transcript. As an instructor, it helped me think about how to deliver engaging asynchronous instruction and coaching. I appreciated the peer-to-peer aspects that came up in units 2 and 4, and appreciated how the sharing via Facebook and Twitter created another dimension to the virtual classroom.
I reached out to a friend with experience teaching digital citizenship to all ages and asked if she would like to partner on this project. Google Meet was a perfect platform for a planning session. We decided to design a learning activity with Google Slides as the platform since the permissions can be opened to allow anyone to edit the slides with or without a Google account. I have done many distance projects and taught many online courses, so I don’t know that this project entailed anything really new, though after looking at the examples provided, coming up with an idea was a little intimidating.
The premise of the collaboration project we designed *is to have high school students (likely experienced social media users) design learning scenarios for younger students, (emerging social media users), have the younger students complete the learning activity, send it back to their “Digital Buddy,” and then have the high school students comment and “coach” the younger students in making wise choices in posting to social media platforms. Both age groups would be studying what makes a positive digital citizen and what quality digital footprints would look like.
* Important to note, the content in the note section and the margins of each slide when in edit mode are critically important to the overall project; if it is only viewed in template mode, context and direction will be lost.
Classroom Management, the 4th Unit of the MOOC I am working through (The Goal Minded Teacher: Challenges to Transform Student Learning) is now complete. Each unit so far has had 2 challenges. This unit’s first challenge was to create a teacher’s “Survival Kit,” the second was to create a digital citizenship/safety resource for the parents of the students we teach.
The most interesting takeaway from the survival kit exercise was looking at the “kits” submitted by other MOOC participants. I love how things can be interpreted and acted upon so differently. For many of the “kits” I reviewed, the teachers included water bottles, post-it notes, physical things that are for the teacher. I took a different approach. I remembered how my past school always required us to have “emergency lesson plans” somewhere in the room and have a buddy who knew the place (my plans almost always included crossword puzzles and maps). And there was a time when I had to leave my classroom without warning and didn’t return for several days; that first absence resulted in my emergency plans being used! So for this exercise, I created a digital “emergency lesson plan,” one that could be used anytime during the first 4/5 if not all of a US Government course. The learning activities involved choice, and resources for them could stand alone, connect to past units of study, or relate to what was being studied at the moment.
For the digital citizenship/safety resource for parents, it was again a good exercise. In my new department, we are looking at what support we can provide to parents so it was helpful to have another potential outlet for the creation. It still amazes me that some parents don’t talk to their children about both digital citizenship and safety (and review those same points for themselves).