In the end…….Service Learning

How can digital media that enables connection, creation, and collaboration enable us to better fulfill a school/ campus/ organization’s mission/ enact our values?
What are some limitations in the potential of digital media for enacting our mission and values?
The following is the mission statement for my High School.
“Our mission is to create an environment that encourages staff and students to learn and develop academically, emotionally, physically and socially. We strive to instill pride in self and school and to produce independent learners capable of critical thinking and participating in a global community.”
In the end digital media that enables connection, creation and collaboration enables us to better fulfill a school/campus/organization’s mission by empowering teachers and students.
Empowering them because it allows them to learn and connect to the world outside the classroom to participate in the global community. Digital media enhances the interest of students and engages them in educational activities.
For instance, blogs are a great way for the development of creative thinking and writing in students. It provides freedom to students to post whatever they want and comment upon or share each other’s material. Blogging makes students feel responsible for their own learning and they are encouraged to incorporate creativity in their learning through them. Skype and blogs can also be used to reach out to the other side of the world to communicate with other students and teachers and learn from each other. Starting a blog for this class and then introducing my students to blogging has certainly opened up my mind and teaching practices in order to try new things and take risks.
Digital media also promotes creativity and independence, making cartoons, comic strips and using digital story telling are just a few of the ways that students can use technology to be creative. Telling a story is a powerful way to communicate with others. It improves the creative skills of students and helps them explore the meaning of their own work and experience. Students can create their own digital stories or comics with applications like, Story Bird, Powtoons, and Toontastic.
Instructional technologies also provide some students important access to traditional classroom instruction. Students who have physical or learning disabilities can use a variety of assistive technologies in order to be an active member of a mainstreamed class.
In my classroom, I strive to have a cooperative, caring classroom, where children cultivate friendship, sharing, respectfulness, truthfulness, and caring. I think that the use of digital media can help to enact our values in the classroom through the teaching and learning of citizenship and digital citizenship in partnership with how we teach values now. Values are enabled by sharing and collaborating with peers in group activities, just like we did in class with our book circles. Everyone was respectful and communication was enhanced by tweeting and texting each other.
The limitations in the potential of digital media for our missions and values are that of getting teachers up to speed to use the tools that are available so that they can teach students how to use them. The way that teachers and students use the media also presents some limitations as well as the lack of access of digital media for students and families. Student access to computers at home may also cause problems, and varying quality of student electronic devices can create inequity in projects and presentations.


Accomidations Group

During class on the 18th, I was very thankful to be able to work with my group on the Inquiry project. I was especially pleased when we decided to use Weebly to build our website, because I have used it before. My group members are awesome and we fairly quickly figured out what each of our jobs would be and started setting up the site. I am taking care of the High School portion of our project and have been looking at some applications I am familiar with as well as new ones. My classmates told me about the First/Then visual schedule and I plan to try that with a couple of my students. I really wish that my school district was more Apple oriented, because they are more in tune with accomidations for people with disabilities. Our district is going google chrome and they are  really behind Apple in that category. I do have 2 IPads in my classroom that I hope to keep when Chrome comes on board for that reason.


Readings -May 18th

Children learn best by being exposed to new ideas and being taught how to interact with them appropriately. Simply asking them to abstain from trying new things by saying they are unsafe is an open invitation for them to try it out on their own. Taking risks and trying new things is a great opportunity for children to grow and learn. Being educated about the use of Technology promotes higher level thinking and creativitiy. When students are acitivly apart of the making of boundaries,they are more likely to stay within them.
Cyberbullying- interesting article about how cyberbulling is not as prevelent as inperson bullying. Any kind of bullying is very cowardly and hurtful. Unfortunately “Haters gonna Hate”….
Digital Citizenship is an ongoing lesson for students using technology. Education is the key to positive use of technology. I think that it should be taught and re-taught every school year.
Personally, I need to learn the curriculum and teach it to my students better. Before this class I had not had my students reaching out to others with technology,and I was barely teaching digital citizenship. I realize that my students with disabilities need this education even more so because they tend to be especially vulnerable. I am in the middle of planning this curriculum and will share it with my team.
I liked the 9Key Ps of Digital Citizenship and may use some of those ideas. Giving students the experience of investigating scams to cons so that they can learn how to avoid them and share their knowledge with others is great teaching!
Teen Friendships
My daughter started making friends on the internet when she was a teenager through the “deviant art” website and by playing games. She was and is a fabulous artist who is also a bit of an introvert. She made many friendships through this site, some of who she still speaks with today. I think this worked for her because she was able to connect with people with common interests and this easier for her to do through the internet. A young man from the UK and one from Israel are two that she still corresponds with. My daughter will be 29 this year and she has spoken with and had connections with some of these people for 15 years. She calls them her friends. She has met some of them in person and actually met her current boyfriend through another person she met online. (in person, of course) For her, the internet opened her world in many ways…. and it still does.

We be Skypen fools!

This last week for my Service Learning my class skyped with another class which is apart of the Transition Work Program that most of my students will attend after 4 years in my Class. When students have completed four years of high school, they are eligible to participate in the V.O.I.C.E. Program (Vocational Opportunities In Community Experiences). This program is designed for students in the Lifeskills Program who are 18-21 years of age and provides comprehensive instruction and vocational experiences to prepare students for adult life.
To prepare for this Skype session, the students and I brainstormed some questions for the students we would speak with and came up with this list.
– What time do you start school?
– Do you still get to buy lunch?
– What time does school end?
– Do you have reading and math class?
– Where do you work?
– Do you like VOICE?
I had set up the session a few days earlier and my colleague set up an account for his class. We set up a time to connect and I called him. Initially I connected my computer up to the big screen, but when I did that we lost the sound. (GLITCH) So I carried my laptop all around the room for my students to interact with them. We started the session by introducing ourselves to each other and then began asking our questions(each student had one question to ask) My students were very happy to find out that their start time was later than ours and that they could sleep in a bit.(3 in my class will attend the program next year) And I found out that they were actually going to change their times next year to 8-2:30 instead of 9-3:30. (Our school starts at 7:15 AM!)We found out that they can still buy hot lunch, (including Pizza), they do have reading and math class, and found out all the places that the students had jobs (internships). Best of all the teacher of the other class ended the session by saying,”Thanks for reaching out, let’s do this again!”
Aww another connection……next time to set up a camera to capture our images and figure out why the sound is muted when I plug my laptop in…

Blog –Readings May 11th

Privacy Rights
Targeting students as a marketing ploy through their educational websites is on one hand pretty smart, on the other hand extremely invasive. Since my school is going all to chrome books next year, I want to get all the knowledge I can on how to protect my students and how they can use this technology in a productive way without fear. I worry about my students with disabilities because they are often more vulnerable than typical teens and don’t understand the repercussions of sharing information with the world. That is why I believe that teaching digital citizenship is of the utmost importance taught in multiple modalities. I also liked that teaching the parents is mentioned to reinforce the message, I am not so sure that all parents understand the privacy issues either. The more informed the students are, the better they can handle their digital footprint.
We are teaching our students to use technology as a tool for education, not become robots. The use of Technology is not the cure all and have all of education. It is however a very necessary part of our everyday society. Gone are the days of looking at classified ads in the Newspaper for a job or an apartment. One must at least know how to email and internet search to get a job now. In order to get a very good job, people need to know how to use various applications to fill out forms, take tests and communicate with coworkers.
Teachers cannot be replaced by technology. Technology is a valuable tool to help educate students and introduce them to higher levels of thinking and learning.
Teachers are not, and cannot be automatons handing out information to students. They are leaders, guides, facilitators, and mentors. They encourage students when they struggle, and inspire them to set and reach for their goals. They are role models, leading by example and giving direction when necessary. A computer can give information, but a teacher can lend a hand, or an ear, and discern what’s necessary for a student to succeed, and to want to succeed.
A very interesting, yet troubling read about algorithmic bias. The machines are not the bigots, it is the historic system that needs a reboot! The bigotry in society is so deep, invisible, yet right in our faces!

Service Learning 5/8

Because my students have learning disabilites, I have to move slower and repeat myself alot. So even though I keep thinking that I am far behind, I need to remind myself that my kids can only absorb so much at a time. So in other words we have not started blogging yet. It is a process….
This last week I have worked more on my website and set up student accounts that are password protected. I made a faux student site to see how it looked. I added more hyperlinks to learning websites with links using pictures instead of words. I had my students watch a video that explained what a blog is: and put it on my website so that they can watch it again at their leisure.

I showed them the class website on the projector screen. The students thought the site was pretty cool! I next had them to go to our classroom computers(only 4 currently working) and log on, look at the site and save it on their desktops.

They used google chrome as the browser to look at the site, but when they saved the icon to the desktop it was “Explorer”. Another investigation is in order to figure out why it did that!(perhaps a conversation with the school tech guru is in order).

Once they all get into the website, I will have them use the webpage to access the other programs and applications, which is much more organized and user friendly.
I have created a class on for my students and have usernames and passwords for them to start. They simply log into
and enter in the user name and passwords that I have for them and start building their sites. We will have 1:1 chromebooks next year so that we can all access the sites at the same time.

I have also set up a Skyping session with one of the classrooms from the transition program we have in our district. It is the program that my students will attend after their Senior year. It is a vocational program for students who are 18-21. We will compare and contrast our classes via this Skyping session! I will let y’all know how it turns out next week!