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Digital Citizenship Fluency

All the 21st Century fluencies are learned within the context of the Digital Citizen, using the guiding principles of leadership, ethics, accountability, fiscal responsibility, environmental awareness, global citizenship and personal responsibility (http://www.fluency21.com/fluencies.cfm).

The first week of school I used a paper magazine produced by the FTC to discuss with the students how to “Live Life Online.” This was a great resource because it includes several articles and short quizzes for the kids on crucial issues that they face almost on a daily basis such as sexting, cyberbullying, online etiquette, and how to analyze advertisements from companies. It also provided several real life dilemmas to the students that I used as bell ringers and also some as closing activities for the end of the hour.

This was truly beneficial because I found out that most of the students were not aware of the legal consequences that accompanied actions of sexting or simply forwarding a message they received by email or text. They were also not aware that typing things in all caps on text, email, or social networking sites is considered to be “online yelling” and they need to make sure they monitor their tone of voice.

These lessons helped me lead into the use of our class edmodo.com page because I first had the students and parents sign a responsible use policy before they were aloud to create a profile on the website.

I approach the global aspect of this fluency by using the CNN Student News in my class at least once a week. This news cast is written on a middle school level but allows the students to have insight on the issues of our country as well as issues that are affecting other nations of the world.

This fluency is critical to Heritage Hall due to the 1:1 movement beginning to take place. Our students will be “connected” on a daily basis while at school and must have the knowledge and skills to effectively navigate and contribute to the online world.

Going beyond the use of technology Heritage Hall is already approaching some aspects of this fluency by adopting a new set of core values; courage, responsibility, kindness, and intellectual purpose.

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Professional Development Thoughts: Part I

Yesterday I attended my first webinar. The topic was using Edmodo (social networking) safely in the classroom. In some ways, attending a webinar seemed similar to a traditional lecture driven professional development session but there were also some differences. Like an “old school” presentation, the presenter talked through a PowerPoint presentation. The presenter was obviously knowledgeable and the presentation was smooth.

Since I was as interested in learning about webinars as I was social networking, I also signed up for the backchannel were audience members kept a running conversation during the presentation. While listening to a traditional session tends to be very passive the webinar was the opposite of that. While I was listening to the presenter, reading the PowerPoint and jotting down notes I was also trying to follow the backchannel conversation and fiddling with the webinar software (not smart). It was a little overwhelming. In the future I will need to be more careful with my attention especially with the backchannel. It can be very interesting but also distracting.

Overall, I think the advantages of webinars over traditional sessions are: some additional choice of topic, a small classroom feel (quite uncharacteristically for me, I even asked a question!) and convenience.