Saturday, June 4, 2016

A 50,000 Foot View

Dear Teachers,
Today was a great day in terms of  verifying the power of Twitter and other online PLN opportunities. It's just amazing to me how much I can learn and how much support I feel from colleagues I've never even met.

Let me back up just a minute and tell you about the class I'm in right now for the M.Ed. in Digital Learning and Leading that I'm pursuing. The current class is titled "Disruptive Innovation in Education." The main goal of the class is to create/develop an innovation plan for something significant in your work situation that you hope to change. It's referred to as a "50,000 foot plan" to indicate that it is big and seen from a wide angle lens. If you follow my blog or know me even a little bit, you can probably guess that the subject of my disruptive innovation plan is to find a way to address digital literacy and digital citizenship  in the curriculum from Pre-K through graduation, without teachers' seeing that as "oh great - one MORE thing I have to cover!"

This brings me back to the amazing Twitter PLN that I was in contact with today. Many of us will be attending ISTE at the end of June, and we were experimenting today with Declara. Through Declara and some private Twitter messages, I "met" William Jenkins and Kristen Mattson. William is from Scotland and Kristen is from Illinois, according to their respective Twitter profiles. How would I ever have run across either of these people without the connectivity power of Twitter?! William sent me a couple of articles on disruptive innovation, without even really knowing that I'm in a class on that topic right now! He's written some terrific blog posts that were very helpful and encouraged my thinking about my 50,000 foot plan. Kristen was astoundingly generous in sharing much of the work she's already done researching digital citizenship curricula. Two people who, at 8:00 this morning were complete strangers, are now stellar professional connections, and hopefully will grow into something even more.

Both of my new Twitter BFFs unwittingly encouraged me in my 50,000 foot plan. A wonderful teacher friend also confirmed that my idea might have some legs. The problem, as I see it, is that children need to own the skills of digital literacy in the same way they own  math facts or reading comprehension skills. Teachers, unfortunately, either don't know these skills well enough to teach them themselves, or are just too darned busy with curricular content that is mandated, so children learn digital literacy skills haphazardly, if at all. I want to create a mechanism for students to create and share brief videos that explain the digital skills they possess. The students who create the videos solidify their understanding of the concept, and students who access the videos have an opportunity to learn skills that they might not learn otherwise.

My hope is that these student-created videos might be used by other students (either older or younger), parents, teachers, and other staff members. Because the videos will be very brief, featuring easy tips and tricks like navigating a website, capturing a URL, using shortcut keys, or being sure to paraphrase information found online, watching (or creating) the videos will not require the teacher to take precious time out of the instructional day to address the skills. The students will essentially own the learning and convey it to other students.

I have plenty of questions about this idea right now. My main ones: what will motivate students to want to visit a website like this? How will they find out about it? What would entice them to come back to the website? What would entice them to create videos that other students would learn from? As I'm typing this out, I'm thinking some kind of gamification could be layered on top of it - either badges or some other way of "leveling up" to show an attainment of knowledge.

This project is ongoing and I will be making many iterations along the way. Feel free to tweet any suggestions to me @nancywtech or reply in the comments section below. I mentioned, didn't I, that my PLN is phenomenal?! That means YOU! Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Fondly,

Nancy






22 comments:

  1. For the course, did you have to read C. Christiansen's Disruptive Innovation? If not, it is possible the book provides guidelines to the questions you ask, and that might help you structure your research. To your question re motivation, badges are quite 'hot' right now but public acknowledgement is loved by kids and adults alike :-) Perhaps you can you include peer evaluation and let the kids evaluate the contributions with thumbs up or like .....

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    1. Not that book per se, but many references to that book. The text is Blended by Michael Horn. I love the idea of "voting up" the contributions with thumbs or likes. Thanks so much for weighing in! <3

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  2. Hey Nancy! This idea is fabulous!! I can speak from my own experience as a facilitator at an extremely learner-centered campus, that kids would love this type of thing. One of my teammates did an "Academy Experts" thing where the kids were able to sign up for and then present over a topic of their choosing during a learning session once a week. There were tons of signups and they loved the sessions both as presenters and audience members. One thing I have noticed, is that the kids are obsessed with getting followers, subscribers, view hits, retweets, Snap "points" and all that. If there were a way for them to know how many people are viewing their videos/posts, that would go a long way towards encouraging more participation. If this is something you are serious about testing out, we can most certainly serve as beta testers at the Academy!!

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    1. Again, your feedback is so valuable to me. I will definitely look at points, view counts, etc. as I go forward - so hoping I can make this work! Wouldn't it be cool for younger students to see the work of Academy kids - and vice versa?

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  3. Thank you for inviting me to enjoy the view with you up here! I love your idea of student-created content! It reminds me of mathtrain.tv. I think the motivation to create is intrinsic with kiddos (although I can also envision a badge system or something similar that gives info about the contributor). I wonder if you may want to explore the notion of various media categories that students can contribute in addition to videos...blog posts, infographics, guides, graphics, interviews, etc. You've got my creative juices flowing! I'll let you know if I think of anything else or if any good questions come to mind. Great job, Nancy! Proud to have you in my PLN!

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    1. Different media is a GREAT idea - then they wouldn't have to be limited in any way. Thank you SO much for your affirmation - it means a LOT to me!

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  4. So glad my work could help your ideas, Nancy! I recently read a blog post about a woman who was going to a Google event with an idea to have a library of the same types of videos you are talking about accessible for teacher to share via Google Classroom. She envisioned the how-to videos being built by kids, curated around topics, and then easy for teachers and librarians to grab and share. If I can find her post, I will definitely send it your way!

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    1. Great! Thank you, Kristen! I am over the moon happy with what's going on in that #ISTE16Pirate group. Powerful and motivating stuff!

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  5. Student created videos are the way to go most definitely. The journalism kiddos (or who ever would like to participate) could create a series of videos to be shown as part of the first day/week of school and then follow up throughout the year to encourage positive classroom habits when using tech. We used Zaption to facilitate classroom discussion and all the teacher had to do was click on the link. Hope this helps

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    1. Zaption is a great idea - invites conversation! Thank you, friend! (Counting down FOUR days till your arrival!)

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  6. Hey Nancy, I don't have the technology background that a lot of other people do, but I am around kids all day, and I certainly agree that they love to create videos and have their peers watch them. So many kids (even elementary age) have a variety of social media accounts and are constantly sending out material. So, I think they would love something like this. As a librarian, I have weekly access to every student in the school, and I am more than willing to talk this up to the students (and the teachers). If I'm excited about it, they get excited about it. Whatever you do, you know that you have my full support.

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  7. Kendra, thank you as always for your encouraging comments! I appreciate you more than you will ever know!

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  8. Nancy,

    What a fabulous idea! I love the added bonus of earning badges. Not only does this type of activity fall high on the bloom taxonomy; but then you add in student recognition-an effective Marzano strategy-wow! A powerhouse! I also love what this models to teachers. NO more powerpoints, is my new mantra.

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    1. Sara, thanks so much for your encouragement. I imagine I will be calling on you as my project progresses, and it's wonderful to know that I have some principal support!

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  9. This sounds like a great class! I agree that digital citizenship & digital literacy skills are lacking in our students. Having students create the videos is a great idea for so many reasons (direct application of knowledge, creating instead of consuming, etc) and I think they will be well received by other students. Housing them on a YouTube channel would make it easy to access them. They could be assigned or could be accessed as needed. Jennifer Reed @libraryreeder had her students use Voki to create digital citizenship lessons for peers. They then connected through Google Hangout to share with others. She would be a great one to add to your PLN if you haven't already. :) Good luck!

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    1. Thanks so much for your thoughts, Shawna! I am hoping that we might finally get YouTube unblocked for students this year. :-/ That would obviously be the best way to go for video creation & storage. I really like my colleague Belinda's ideas to have other types of media available too so selecting the right platform to house all the projects will be important. Already following Jennifer Reed and will ask for her thoughts on Voki. Thank you again for taking the time to read & comment. xoxo

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  10. Hi Nancy! What a great class and a great project. I think your student might do well to learn by teaching. I would use Scrible to have them collect information on the skills then use Edpuzzle to teach the content to others. Edpuzzle allows you to create videos with tasks or questions embedded into the video. That would make it more interactive for the students who are learning from the video content. Just some ideas! Good luck friend!

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    1. Thank you, Nancy Jo! Scrible is a great idea, and you are the second person to suggest interactive videos (another colleague said Zaption) so I am definitely going to consider how those could be incorporated. I really appreciate your taking the time to read & comment. I'll keep you posted on how it's going!

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  11. Love this idea! It could have a club feel- like The Digital Safety Squad. I like the idea of badges too. What if they enlisted a random adult in the school to award prizes to kids they see exhibiting the safety tip of the week- like 'Random Acts of Kindness' but w digital citizenship/safety?

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    1. Or maybe "Digital Smarts Squad" - because it's not only safety tips I have in mind, but the kind of "ooh, how did you do that?!" questions. I wonder if there could be a student-created award for "tip of the week" based on the number of likes/votes the submission earned... thanks so much for weighing in, Amy! You've given me another idea! :-)

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  12. Nancy, you know I love this idea!! I have been thinking of all the unlimited benefits and possibilities! Interactive videos, blogs, a tech team of students, etc. Kids love watching their peers and I know they will learn a lot! I cannot wait to see where this goes!!

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    1. Aww, thanks Cheryl! I'm hoping your kiddos' creations will be among the first submissions! I so appreciate your buy-in. :-)

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