Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Going Blog, stage 2

Maintaining a reflective blog is a new graduation requirement for our incoming Grade 9 class.

Stage 1 was to agree that we wanted our students to use reflective blogs to document and introspect (is that a verb?) on their growth relative to our school SLRs. We ran a pilot group through one of the counseling seminar classes, where the teacher/counselor could see how motivated the kids were to maintain blogs and begin to explore the realities of addressing the SLRs reflectively. I had a group of tech-savvy kids keep blogs so I could start to organize the logistical end: find a location for an index of blogs, determine where training would be necessary, etc.

Yesterday, we introduced the idea to our faculty leadership team, who had some legitimate concerns and developing insights. Some of the important things they are bringing to the table include:
-should we make these blogs public or private? Or should we consider having them private until the kids get the training wheels off, then make them public?  
-who will provide structured time for the kids to blog, and can it be successful if we DON'T do this? 
-how will they be assessed? Who will assess them? Will they be assessed intermittently, or just at graduation? 
-who is ultimately responsible for this process...the kids (not likely), the counselors (that might offload this entire thing to one group), humanities teachers (already the standard carrier for far too many things), the HR teachers (varying degrees of investment and skill with such a thing), the faculty in general (what belongs to everyone belongs to no one)? 
-should these blogs be dedicated solely to the SLRs, or can they incorporate other class content? Can they incorporate recreational content?

All these things have yet to be determined, but the process of raising these questions and the discussion that ensues is a healthy way to get buy-in from faculty and to create a good product. I think it's essential that the teachers have first-hand experience as both consumers and producers of blogs, so I plan on helping them all set up a google.reader page so they can subscribe to blogs of personal and professional interest, and hopefully get many of them blogging themselves. As the hyperbole and mystery of blogs disappears, I think we will design a very powerful and useful tool.

If anyone out there has any insights or anecdotes to share, the 'comment' button is just down there...

Monday, May 7, 2012

What does it mean to be....

Copied from another blog:

What does it mean to be:

    • A digital learner wants media, multimedia, audio, video and images
    • A digital learner seeks to integrate media into “school” and “life”
    • A digital learner works within a circle of friends
    • A digital learner uses social media to connect, find resources, and interact (ask and answer questions)
    • A digital learner uses MORE technology to accomplish tasks
    • A digital learner uses technology DIFFERENTLY to accomplish tasks
    • A digital learner multi-tasks with multiple technologies or applications
    • A digital learner is a social learner
    • A digital learner is an active learner
    • A digital learner is a consumer, producer and creator of learning, and learning resources
    • A digital learner is learner focused and learning centered
    • A digital teacher uses technology to extend, expand, and enrich learning
    • A digital teacher provides multimedia to explore “lecture” topics
    • A digital teacher connects with students through technology
    • A digital teacher provides or creates technological alternatives
    • A digital teacher creates a social space for learning
    • A digital teacher uses and participates in social learning
    • A digital teacher is learning focused and learning centered
    • A digital classroom is dynamic
    • A digital classroom supports collaboration, locally as well as globally
    • A digital classroom encourages inquiry
    • A digital classroom provides access to technology
    • A digital classroom can be easily reconfigured
    • A digital classroom is more of an environment or space than a fixed classroom
    • A digital classroom supports and encourages social learning
    • A digital classroom is learner centered