Posts Tagged first five days
This is Day 5 of a series of posts this week to provide strategies for the first week of school in a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) classroom. These ideas are my suggestions for developing a learning community during the first five days of school. Hopefully, this sense of community will lead to an effective BYOT implementation for the rest of the year as students learn and practice the digital age skills of communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. Please modify these activities to better suit the needs, interests, and abilities of your students.
Scenario: This week the students have begun to construct an online presence through their collaborative work in Wikispaces, Edmodo, and Edublogs with the combined use of school, home, and personal technology tools. By designing their online profiles in these digital habitats, they have personalized their learning experiences. By discovering and recognizing the abilities, interests, and strengths of themselves and of the other members of their learning community, they are positioned to develop a brand, reputation, and digital footprint that can lead to future academic success and someday maybe even to new career opportunities. Rather than to deliver a standardized curriculum that is assessed with traditional multiple choice tests, the vital role of the teacher is to guide the development of these individual and collaborative pursuits and passions.
Activity – Spark a Passion
This week, Shelly Terrell wrote a post entitled 10 Kids Transforming their World through Social Media. That well-written post describe the efforts of 10 children and teens who are making a difference with the use of digital skills and tools about their particular passions. One young teen, Adora Svitak gave a Ted Talk called What Adults Can Learn from Kids; she is an author who has written books, maintains a website, and speaks at educational conferences. According to her website, “Adora believes that everyone deserves the opportunity that comes with literacy and a good education.” In her efforts to accomplish this endeavor, she believes that learning with teachers and children should be “reciprocal,” and a major feature of this learning environment is “trust.”
Likewise, trust has to be a focal element in the BYOT classroom. There really is no way that a teacher cannot empower students to learn with so many different devices and use so many web tools without developing a learning community that is founded on trust for everyone in the group. As the students begin to explore and develop new interests and practice digital age skills, the teacher should model high expectations that sustain trust in the learning community.
Here are some ways to model high expectations:
- Celebrate diversity. Appreciate the differences among your students and recognize that those differences are important to the strength of the learning community as everyone has the potential to add something unique.
- Challenge everyone. A way of increasing rigor in the classroom is to expect everyone to achieve and complete high quality work that includes in-depth reflection and practice.
- Believe students want to do the right thing. This is a big issue. Some teachers are suspicious that their students want to break rules or view inappropriate content. Engage your students in their learning by empowering them to make choices and use their devices as needed.
- Follow the teachable moment. Don’t get so attached to your lesson plans and standards that you miss great teaching opportunities. Many of the best lessons in the BYOT classroom happen just in time at the moment they’re needed.
- Share your interests with the students. The students will be more willing to share and discuss their passions when they realize that their teacher is a real person with personal interests and aspirations.
Steps to spark a passion:
Share the stories of the students given in Shelly Terrell’s post and have them listen to Adora Svitak’s Ted Talk. As students get older, they often get more accustomed to being told what to do, and they need to understand that they are expected to get involved and make choices. Hearing about what other young people are able to achieve through their passion and dedication can be motivating.
Another great post to motivate students is Caine’s Arcade – What Happened During a Summer Freed From Texts, Tests, & Teachers coauthored by Lisa Nielsen and Lisa Cooley. That post relates the story of Caine who followed his passion and utilized his creativity to accomplish something amazing!
The following activity was inspired by a suggestion by Jeremy Angoff. Have students brainstorm ideas about current issues or events that they think should be addressed. Use one of the community’s online spaces for this discussion. An option is to use the short answer question in Socrative to generate responses and then host the discussion within Edmodo. Another student could accumulate all of the different options in one page in the class wiki in Wikispaces. The page could be called, Issues that Concern Us or Ways We Can Make a Difference.
Students can work independently or in groups to choose and research an issue. This is a good time to discuss safe searching, and what type of search engine to use depending on the age of the students. Have the students draft what they learn about that issue or concern in their student blogs in Edublogs. This activity also provides an opportunity to explain how to provide credit various online sources of information. The students should then reflect on what they could do to make a difference regarding their issue and develop a plan in their blogs for putting their ideas into action.
Homework (Post this assignment in Edmodo.)
Now that you are empowered with your personal technology tools in BYOT, social networking tools, and an idea you are passionate about, begin putting your plan into action. Document your strategies and activities in your blog so that you can share them with the rest of your learning community.
This is Day 4 of a series of posts this week to provide strategies for the first week of school in a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) classroom. These ideas are my suggestions for developing a learning community during the first five days of school. Hopefully, this sense of community will lead to an effective BYOT implementation for the rest of the year as students learn and practice the digital age skills of communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. Please modify these activities to better suit the needs, interests, and abilities of your students.
Scenario: Throughout this week students have been empowered to utilize their own technology tools for a variety of instructional uses. A synergy is developing between their online collaborative activities and their face-to-face classwork. As they work together more online, the more they collaborate and communicate in the face-to-face classroom. One fear of many teachers is that they feel as if they are losing control of their classes when students experience the agency to use their devices as needed and begin to share their ideas with each other so readily. However, this shift represents the students taking ownership of their learning experiences, and it should be encouraged.
Activity – Nurture Communication
There are many ways that the digital age skill of communication can be facilitated in the BYOT classroom. This week, it has been practiced through the use of Wikispaces, Edmodo, and Socrative, yet another way to promote further communication is through blogging. A blog provides students with the opportunity to reflect on their learning, share ideas and responses with others, and highlight their academic successes. Blogging enables students to develop their own personal portfolios as they post and document the artifacts of their learning – their writing and projects. Although there are many types of blogging tools, my district has subscribed to Edublogs for all of its students and teachers.
Edublogsoffers free blogging for students, and this use of social networking is an authentic way to teach and practice responsible use. There is an Edublogs app for iOS devices, or students can use other devices to participate in blogging. Students are able to begin drafts of their writing within their blogs and when the draft is finished, they can easily publish each post. This week, the students completed their profiles within the other web tools at home. After the students have signed up for their blogs, they should complete their profiles and customize their blogs in class. I advise students to use the same photo or avatar for each of their profiles in order to develop an online presence in the class that represents them and their personal strengths and interests. Edublogs offers several themes so that students can choose designs that complement their profiles.
The following list explains just a few reasons why I think that it is essential for students (and teachers) to blog:
- Blogging causes students to make connections to what they are learning as they reflect.
- Blogging stimulates critical thinking as students take a stand on an issue and explain supportive reasons for that stand.
- Blogging provides opportunities for on-going debate and discussion as students respond to each other’s posts.
- Blogging showcases and documents student work and creativity.
- Blogging helps students discover their strengths and share their expertise with others.
Branding through Blogging
Throughout the year in the BYOT classroom, the students will continue to develop and practice digital age skills, and this authentic work can lead to an appreciation for individual differences and strengths. This recognition is influenced by several factors. First, the students already have personal interests, and they have the agency with their devices to further refine and perfect those capabilities. Second, BYOT can be the great differentiator in the classroom, Students who have mastered particular skills and concepts can move ahead more easily, and students who need additional practice can receive that support with the use of their own technology tools. Third, when students are empowered to make choices and encouraged to work collaboratively on relevant topics, diverse sets of skills are needed by the learning community for it to be successful. Finally, since the teacher is unable to know every device or every online tool, they have to learn alongside students, and this transformation helps everyone to assume the role of a learner.
As students discover their talents, they can offer advice and support to other members of the learning community. They are often branded as the student you can go to when you need an effective speaker, a videographer, an artist, or a technician. Through blogging, students are able to highlight their individual areas of expertise and this brand becomes further aligned to their personal identities.
When students have finished personalizing their blogs, have them write autobiographical drafts that will be posted in their blogs. There is usually an “About” or “Bio” tab in the blog’s theme where the students can write this information. The teacher will need to review with the students the importance of maintaining online privacy, so the students will need to use critical thinking (along with the guidance of their teacher) to determine what types of information is appropriate for publishing on the web. They should not include actual photos of themselves; provide their last names; or give other identifying information (address, teams, or neighborhood). This will become their first post, so they need to begin thinking about the possibilities of their brand!
Homework (Post these assignments in Edmodo.)
- Publish your first post. Today you completed an autobiographical post that included some of your strengths and interests. Share that post with your parents. What do they think about what you have shared? What qualities do they think you should include? Revise your post if necessary and publish it.
- Discuss in Edmodo. What other ways do you think we could learn with blogging this year? Discuss this question in Edmodo by posting your suggestions as a “Note.”
This is Day 3 of a series of posts to provide strategies for the first week of school in a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) classroom. These ideas are my suggestions for developing a learning community during the first five days of school that can hopefully lead to an effective BYOT implementation for the rest of the year. Please modify these activities to better suit the needs, interests, and abilities of your students.
Scenario: Through consistent collaborative work with their technology tools, students are learning and practicing new uses for their devices. Even though it is still early in the year, they are developing into a community with a common vocabulary regarding expectations for online communication and for the responsible use of technology. Although every student may not have a device, the school’s technology resources are being used more than ever to facilitate instruction. However, the students still need to learn additional ways to scaffold the use of their tools for a variety of learning activities.
Activity – Encourage Participation
On Day 1 of this week, the students began a wiki page about ways they could learn with their devices. Continue to add to this list by having the students brainstorm specific activities they could complete each day with their devices. For this brainstorming activity, have students use the Socrative Student app (iOS, Android) to encourage the participation of all the students.
Socrative is a student response system that works on all web-enabled devices (including many e-readers), and students can download the free app for both iOS and Android devices. At this time, teachers can sign up for a free account, and with the free teacher app (iOS, Android), they can lead the student response activity from their teacher laptop/desktop or from their handheld devices. Socrative enables teachers to pose multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions. The other activities that teachers can conduct are pre-made quizzes, exit ticket activity, and a space race game where students can engage, either individually or collaboratively in a game using a pre-made quiz. Teachers can also manage and share their quizzes with other colleagues.
Students do not need accounts to use Socrative; they just select the link (on the Internet) or the app on their handheld devices. Then they enter the room number that the teacher provides them from the teacher account and then join the room. They are directed to wait until the teacher begins the activity (by asking a question or starting a quiz), and then they enter their names and begin.
For this activity, log into Socrative and select a Short Answer quiz. Ask the students what ways that they can use their devices at school to complete tasks they already do without technology. Instead of raising their hands to answer the question, have students submit their suggestions using Socrative and their devices. If they do not have a device, they can use the Internet-based Socrative application from a school technology resource, or they can collaborate with a peer and submit an answer with one device.
Using Socrative is a more effective way to encourage participation than just raising hands because this models the expectation that all students have valuable insights to be shared rather than only the students who are more comfortable with speaking in front of the group. After the students submit their suggestions, Socrative enables the teacher to have the students vote on the answers. This polling can help to generate further discussion. Another student can also be involved by entering all of these suggestions in Wikispaces within the class wiki page – Ways to Learn with Our Devices.
Here are some possible ideas for additional ways that students can use their devices to enter into the class wiki page:
- Solve math problems with a calculator app
- Use an online thesaurus or app during writing assignments
- Define unfamiliar vocabulary words
- Take notes during lessons
- Enter due dates on a calendar
- Research new concepts
- Read eBooks
- Participate in online discussions
Another suggestion for using Socrative is to have students submit their own questions (using the Short Answer option) that the teacher can then use in pre-made quizzes or as follow-up questions. These questions can be based on new content or topics, and they encourage the students to think about what they are learning. Try this activity by having the students submit questions about Responsible Use and then pose those questions to the class. Their questions and answers can also be uploaded to the class wiki page – Our Responsible Use Guidelines – if additional recommendations are generated.
Homework (Post these assignments in Edmodo.)
- Develop your Wikispaces profile. Yesterday, you created your profile in Edmodo. Tonight, you should also develop your profile in Wikispaces. Again, this personalizes the experience of working within a social network. As part of your profile, you should upload an appropriate photo or avatar that represents you. As always, if you do not have a computer at home to complete this assignment, you will be provided time to complete it at school. Try to come to school tomorrow with a completed profile in Wikispaces.
- Download these apps: Research and download apps that help you complete the different class activities listed in our class wiki. Recommend these apps to the other members of the class in our Edmodo group.
This is Day 1 of a series of posts this week to provide strategies for the first week of school in a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) classroom. In order to begin this series, I made three assumptions:
- The principal supports BYOT (see 5 Leadership Strategies for Implementing BYOT).
- Some background communication has occurred with parents and community members to achieve support for BYOT in the school.
- The school has some type of wireless infrastructure and access for supporting BYOT or permits students to bring their own data plans.
Scenario: The students are entering the classroom, and some of them are bringing devices to school. They have already visited the class during Open House, and learned about becoming a BYOT school, and the reality is that, as Jill Hobson, Director of Instructional Technology for Forsyth County Schools, has stated, “You’re already BYOT, but you won’t admit it.” Therefore, many students already have devices in their pockets and backpacks and just need to know how to use them in new ways to facilitate their learning experiences.
Activity – Build a Community
In any strong community, members know the rules and expectations for how they should learn and work together. Educators and schools often just give students the list of rules for students to follow, but BYOT provides greater opportunities for student participation. Expectations for responsible use will be more meaningful to students if they help create them. This process increases student buy in by make the guidelines relevant.
- Discuss Responsible Use. Have students provide examples of how devices should be used appropriately at school and what could happen when devices are used irresponsibly. I would begin this as a class discussion because although many students know how to use their devices, I wouldn’t assume that they know how to use them appropriately within a school setting. Remember, many students are self-taught or peer-taught in how technology should be used.
- Facilitate the Discussion. Guidelines for responsible use need to address the following issues: Netiquette, Cyberbullying, Plagiarism, Security, Maintenance of Devices, Privacy, Passwords, Appropriate Content, and Safe Online Searches. As the moderator of the class discussion, the teacher can help to ensure that these topics come up during the discussion. There may also be some additional issues that should be discussed that are relevant within your particular learning community.
- Share Out about Devices. Have students take out their devices and share them with each other by discussing with a small group or the whole class how they already use their technology. There are several reasons why this sharing is important:
- It acknowledges the expertise of students in their technology tools, and it shows that you trust them to be responsible with them at school.
- Students are usually eager to share what they know about their devices, and this time to share helps them to make connections between personal uses of technology and educational purposes.
- It helps students express the excitement of bringing their technology to school so that they are able to focus and work with their devices more constructively in later activities.
- It allows you and the other students to help distinguish between all of the different devices so that everyone can assist with securing the technology and finding the experts on particular devices.
- It helps you and the students to learn more about all of the different capabilities of the technology available within the classroom.
- It is sometimes easier to talk about your technology tools in a new group than it is to talk about yourself, so it is a good way to begin communicating with others.
- Begin a Wiki. Go to Wikispaces, and sign up to begin a new wiki for your class. I like this tool because the wiki is free, and I can add students into it even if they don’t have email addresses. It is really easy to use, and it tracks each change that is made to a wiki. If a student accidentally deletes too much content, I can revert the wiki back to an earlier edition. Wikis encourage collaboration by empowering all of the students to produce and edit content that can be shared with the entire class.In your class wiki, develop two pages:
1. Our Responsible Use Guidelines
Have students use their own technology tools or school technology resources or work with a partner to add to this page within the wiki. Based on the earlier discussion on responsible use, have students develop the guidelines and expectations for how they should use their devices at school. They should at least address all of the topics that were suggested regarding responsible use.
2. Ways to Learn with Our Devices
Have students use their own technology tools or school technology resources or work with a partner to add to this page within the wiki. From the sharing of devices, they should explain how the tools can be used at school for learning about new things, and students may even share new ideas and strategies through the wiki that they did not express during the discussion.
These pages can be revisited throughout the school year as often as needed. Students are continually upgrading and getting new devices, and the wiki can be a source of good collective information.
- Have students share the wiki with their parents. It encourages good home/school communication, and it is reassuring to parents that their child is learning responsible use.
- Have students download these apps: Edmodo, Socrative-Student, Comic Touch Lite (these links are for iOS devices – iPads/iPhones). Some of these same apps are also available with Android devices, and encourage students to look for them with their parents. For a more comprehensive list of apps look at this list: Apps for Mobile Devices. If students do not have a device, reassure them that they can use the school’s technology resources, and many of these activities can also be completed with a variety of technology tools.
I recently wrote a post called the First Five Days of School with BYOT that was inspired by the challenge of Alan November’s First Five Day’s project to use the first five days of school to set the stage for further success. That post was focused on the big picture or vision of Bring Your Own Technology to build learning communities and to make learning more relevant by connecting instruction to students’ personal technology devices.
The post was well-received, yet in thinking about teachers dealing with the day-to-day challenges involved in working with students, especially at the beginning of the year, I decided that a more hands-on, practical approach would be appreciated. However, one post that specified strategies and activities that a teacher could conduct each day for the first week of school could be overwhelming.
Therefore, during this week, I wrote a daily post for each day of implementing BYOT within the classroom for the first week of school. I tied to provide advice about the types of tools and strategies that I would employ during the week to address the needs of my students as well as develop a learning community in my classroom that could support learning for the rest of the year.
Since there are so many subject areas and grade levels involved in K-12 education, I generally tried to address particular tools and strategies. I welcome teachers to customize my suggestions to their classroom communities and curricula. Please share your insights to assist other teachers with the implementation of BYOT by responding to the daily posts.
I hope you find these posts useful to your BYOT implementation. All of the daily posts and the goals for those days are listed below…
I recently read an article by Dennis Pierce in eSchool News that discussed Alan November’s “First Five Days” project. November announced this project at his Building Learning Communities conference in Boston in July 2012 with the goal being to make the most out of the beginning of the school year in order to set the stage for nurturing further success.
From my conversations with teachers around the country, many educators are returning to schools with new policies aimed at encouraging students to Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) to facilitate learning experiences. In thinking about the first five days in a BYOT classroom, what kinds of things should happen to successfully begin this transformational implementation?
I brainstormed my own list and tried to organize it chronologically according to each of the five days. However, I again realized that in the BYOT classroom, many things have to happen just in time (or simultaneously), and a sequential list of orderly items was impossible (for me). As Anne Collier explained in her blog at NetFamilyNews.Org, all kinds of learning [happens] all at once with BYOT. Instead, I’ve enumerated a simple list of five strategies for the first five days of BYOT and provided links to additional resources whenever possible.
Construct a learning community. You will need an online space to house your learning community. Wenger, White, and Smith referred to this online space as a digital habitat, and the teacher becomes the steward or facilitator of that habitat. That space could be a blog, website, wiki, LMS, etc, and this is the environment where you and your students can learn more about each other, participate in on-going discussions, and practice digital age skills. As you decide what type of space you should use, think about the needs of your students. This may include the accessibility they have to various types of technologies; their ages, interests and capabilities; and your goals for interaction. For more information, review these strategies for designing an online learning community.
Discuss responsible use. Empower your students to talk about the appropriate ways to use their technology tools at home and school. Students need time to share their devices with each other and to demonstrate how they use them. They can also provide scenarios regarding technology use that illustrate the importance of using them responsibly. When is the right time to utilize technology tools, and when should they be put down in order to be “present in the moment” as suggested by Jen LaMaster in her blog of Ed Tech Reflections? Encourage your students to develop these group norms for behavior in your learning community along with your input, and provide them with multiple opportunities to practice and reflect on responsible use during the first five days of school.
Model your expectations. It isn’t sufficient to just say that you have high expectations for every student. Show the students that you trust them to do the right things with their technology devices. For example, every student can participate in a class wiki to develop guidelines for responsible use so that everyone contributes to the body of knowledge of the learning community. Students are actually smarter in the appropriate use of technology, than most people think (see here). A free class wiki can be organized in Wikispaces to ensure the input of all students.
Practice the 4 C’s of Digital Age Learning – Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking. Begin a week long project that supports inquiry and the use of the students’ technology devices. If some students do not bring technology devices, encourage collaboration through sharing and maximize the use of the school’s technology resources. Projects need to engage students in higher level thinking and authentic work. Bernajean Porter explained different uses of technology: Literacy, Adapting, and Transforming in her Grappling’s Technology and Learning Spectrum, and in the first five days, the students will have to participate in some literacy and adapting activities. However, the ultimate goal should be to achieve transforming uses of technology in that students become producers, rather than solely consumers in their learning, and the implementation of BYOT can lead to greater student agency and empowerment within the learning community.
Be patient. Understand that students will occasionally make mistakes with their technology devices, but these mistakes are essential during this learning process. Use these situations to reinforce the appropriate ways to use technology at school as well as to learn new technical skills. Although they may know how to use these for entertainment and communication, they don’t always know how to learn with them as members of a community. If you don’t know how to resolve a situation, be willing to learn alongside and from your student experts. Consistently challenge students to do their best work and look forward to an outstanding school year!
Can you think of some additional strategies for BYOT in the first five days of school?