Community and Urban Planning – Project Based Learning and Minecraft

The following pictures/slides provide some information about how we are using PROJECT BASED LEARNING, INQUIRY and MINECRAFT in the classroom.

Recently, a reporter asked me, “So what have you learned through this project?”

 

I’ve learned that I need to step back and trust my students.

I need to provide time, support and facilitate the groups and activities and allow them to discover for themselves the different possibilities, avenues and perspective of an issue.

I learned how important it is to use tools that they themselves are familiar with and to explicitly provide situations where they can be leaders and facilitators themselves.

The Barton and Tiffany area in Hamilton remains vacant. These students, while their concept plans may never get to play out in the real world, have had their voices heard.

Will we value the skills associated with Social Media like we do traditional literacies?

Children are using social media. Who is teaching them?

As a parent,  I see my own children (9,11) communicating online with anonymous friends during their Mindcraft episodes, Wii and Kinect games, Mathelectics and online forums. Often, I observe the server chats trying to picture who is on the other end, wondering if they are aware of networking safety, wondering if their parent, or teacher talks to them about network safety, about how to talk online vs. in private. 

 

While I am thrilled that we are having these discussions online and within our PLN, it continues to concern me greatly that our districts and public education policies continue to put very little emphasis on the teaching of social media as part of a literacy program. While it is discussed and modeled in various capacities around the districts, it continues to be done as extra or optional, rather then as a required aspect of our children’s learning, like we do with reading, writing and math. And yet-  it is the only literacy medium that can have serious personal safety consequences if it is used inappropriately.

I ask  – how is it possible that educators and leaders are addressing the skills associated with social media with students authentically, when so many of them are not trained to use it themselves?  Why is Social Media  NOT a required PD in most schools  (experienced teachers and leaders)  and why is it not mandatory (rather then optional) in many Pre-Service training colleges? 

As part of a media literacy presentation social media in primary classroom pdf that I am facilitating this week, I am discussing a few simple classroom strategies/lessons that address at least some of the skills associated with social media and communication.  My intention is to demonstrate that we do not need to be tech experts, nor do we need to have high end equipment.  In fact, some of the examples demonstrate that we can teach the skill (communication, audience, perspective, online participation, discussion, commenting, blogging, reacting) without the equipment.  Let’s help our colleagues, our leaders, our students (and parents) understand the impact of their digital footprints.

  1.   Paper Tweets to teach Social Media:  This post describes ways to engage students in various topics using tags through paper tweets. The intent is to model, encourage and practice using appropriate dialogue, addressing audience, voice and appropriate vocabulary in simple, clear sentences.
  2. Paper Blogging -Thanks to Rodd Lucier for his discussion on the use of Paper blogging. I think this strategy could be done in any school classroom or hallway, and especially to encourage Parents and community to contribute.  Take it even further and integrate VOICE notes on the bulletin board using Livescribe
  3. Interactive bulletin board – Social Media is about communication. Why not ask for input on classroom bulletin boards?  Make your room talk! Incorporate QR codes and have your boards change and adapt as you change the links.
  4. Creation of a FaceboardAt home, students create a poster of themselves, including information that they would be comfortable sharing publicly.  My son had this for an assignment during his Third Grade. Interestingly, several parents complained, flagging the assignment as “inappropriate”.
  5. Audience is Everything –  Have students write down a comment about a particular topic (ie: the movie they saw, something fun at recess……) and then have them change how they would state/phrase their comment depending on who can see the comment and who it is intended for (parent, friend, teacher, public…). This strategy could work for students in all grades (even adults).
  6. Storytelling (My Favourite example that I first learned from @dougpete and @mrspal) “A walk down Memory Lane” Students and parent go online to GOOGLE maps. Parent tells the child a story about his/her childhood by looking at the map. Child can retell the story to classmates. This could be tiered to different levels. Giving student/parent information on how to make a tiny url, students can mark down the URL, bring to school, and teacher prints off the place. Student writes down the story he/she was told from family member as if it were a blog post.
  7. Skype   @msolomonteacher suggests using Skype to help students learn social media skills. If internet is available, use Skype to meet another class, connect with other students across the country or the world.  Why not have students practice skype calls, oral language skills and presentation skills (online video conferencing can be intimidating!)
  8. BACK-CHANNELING @susan_watt  suggests using todaysmeet.com chat. Have the children make one comment (to start) about a read-aloud or a video.  Part 2 – take the words from the chat and make a Wordle from them! http://www.wordle.net
  9. @susan_watt suggests TypewithMe – another great way to use social media and practice communication in a moderated, supervised environment (http://typewith.me) pad. Create a creative thinking brainstorming challenge (e.g. What are all the things you could do with an empty pop can? – or something like that) and ask the students to add their ideas.
  10. WEB 2.O TOOLS: Bitstrips , Glogster, Voicethread are all examples of Web 2.0 tools that encourage interaction.  All of these programs are interactive allowing students and parents to comment and discuss within the program (social media) – and its moderated and supervised.
  11. COMMENTING: Storybird also encourages commenting within the program. @kathycassidy
  12. Have an Author’s Night at school. Students read their “published” work aloud to all parents. Then, have parents write comments on the last page of each student’s “book”. Thanks @kathycassidy for the suggestion!
  13. @kathycassidy notes that students can also comment on the work of their classmates in #11. What a great way for authentic communication in the online environment with a well trained educator to assist!
  14. RECORD IT! Another great idea from @kathycassidy – Record students reading or reading their writing or describing some other type of learning. Also record comments of classmates.

ANYMORE SUGGESTIONS? Consider adding to this collaborative document: Here

Ontario Social Media Advisory (Part Two)

I attended the last of several information sessions about the recent Social Media Advisory published by the Ontario College of Teachers and I am very glad that I did. In an earlier post, I discuss this social media use in education and I present some questions to think about.
Consider the following:-
1. Why are some teachers and schools making decisions to use social media tools into their instructional practice without district policy or guidelines?
2. Has the growth in cloud based instructional tools and individual use of social media forced districts to develop related policies?
3. Are teachers putting themselves and their students at risk by using tools and strategies that are not addressed by policy?
4. Finally, is it possible to create a policy about social media when the tools and programs are changing at exponential rates?

I strongly urge you to listen to the following PENCAST. The information presented was done so as ADVICE only. As you listen to the pencast you will notice that the dominant themes about using social media in the classroom was:
* MODEL safe use
* MODEL educational use
* USE good judgment
* LEARN and BE AWARE and ASK QUESTIONS
Page ONE –

Page TWO –

Page THREE –

For more information, more questions and more reflections, visit the following blog, which provides some excellent additional links:
http://markcarbone.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/the-oct-advisory-my-view/
http://www.thecleversheep.com/

Educon Conversation – Learning Spaces of Tomorrow

Learning Spaces of Tomorrow This past weekend, I had the opportunity to facilitate a conversation at #educon23 in Philidealphia with Rodd Lucier (thecleversheep).

Because we were presenting during the last time slot of the conference, Rodd and I felt is was necessary to give participants a chance to apply the knowledge gained throughout the weekend to our session. Ultimately to make the session, their culminating activity.

Performance Task: Capturing the Conference

We used a Livescribe Pen, a tool that records in both ink and audio we asked the participants to literally design a learning space using the themes and principles of Educon itself.

The results of the Pencasts are quite remarkable really and captured those conversations that don’t normally get the attention – the small groups and 1:1 discussions. The groups themselves consisted of a variety of stakeholders in education: principals, teachers, consultants, students, academics, writers, and designers.

These pencast also provide an example of another way to present and share information – not just the transcript or text but can hear the passion in the voices themselves. Take a listen.

n)

AND THE ONLINE FOLKS CREATED MAGIC: