I feel a bit guilty that I have not investigated Nings before. I have heard of them but never had a specific reason to be part of one. Ning is a platform for the creation of social networks or communities around a common interest. Ning has been been around for more than ten years.
I am a member of The Global Teacher Librarian Network but I am a lurker and not a participant. The Ning contains special interest groups, a forum, Twitter feeds, videos, photos blog posts and more. Currently they are promoting The Library 2.016 Worldwide Virtual Conference on October 6. INF532 assignment 2 and the time zone will prevent me from following this conference live but I will be accessing the recordings in the coming weeks.
I can see enormous potential for becoming more involved in this network. I am adding this Ning to my personal learning network and will endeavour to participate and contribute to the global community. I have made a start by sharing my INF532 artefact to the video section.
As a Teacher Librarian I have always taken an interest in digital literacy and digital citizenship by reading and curating relevant articles for my own personal learning and to share with my colleagues. I understood the definition of digital citizenship to be the safe, responsible and ethical use of information and technology and the Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship confirmed my thinking.
After exploring other models of digital citizenship it became clear to me that I had underestimated the complexities of digital citizenship. Using network technology in a global world involves technical, individual, social, cultural and global awareness as illustrated in the Enlightened Digital Citizenship model.
Before starting this subject I had not given much thought to the relationship digital citizenship had with digital learning environments. I reflected on my own digital learning environment and the literacies and skills required to use them effectively. I actively embrace and play with mobile technology, social media and a plethora of digital tools in a responsible manner but some of my colleagues are not as aware or lack confidence. Some of the tools I use for personal reasons are now becoming part of the school’s evolving digital learning environment and placing new demands on teachers and students. The visual representation of my personal learning network (PLN) in my blog post illustrates the role technology plays in my learning and the importance I place on lifelong learning. I reiterated this by commenting in forum 2.2 that it is imperative that I am a connected educator to meet current and future digital fluency needs and to model lifelong learning within my school community.
Assignment one was a living, breathing example of a participatory digital learning environment in action. As team member Heather said in her reflective blog post,
It was clear from the assessment rubric and online class meeting that this assignment was as much about learning about and through collaboration as it was about the particular aspect of digital citizenship we had elected to focus on.
Working collaboratively, team 5.2 created a learning module hosted on a wiki using a variety of communication and collaboration tools that Donald Tapscott refers to as “weapons of mass collaboration” (Richardson, 2008, para. 20). Digital citizenship theory was put into practice using an authentic learning task that visibly revealed our digital footprints, use of digital tools and collaborative efforts. The value of learning by doing was made very clear to me through this assignment. Teachers can apply similar methods by flattening their classrooms or lowering the walls so that students can learn by collaborating locally or globally (Lindsay, 2013), however as discussed in the forums, some challenges and barriers need to be overcome.
Given suitable digital infrastructure we can “learn whatever we want, wherever we want from whomever we want” in today’s digital ecology (Richardson, 2008). The tools that students use outside of school and increasingly at school, allow them to connect, collaborate, communicate and create. These are examples of twenty-first century skills and capabilities that along with critical thinking and digital citizenship are being encouraged by education systems around the world. Wherever possible teacher librarians weave digital citizenship and digital literacy into classes to spread the message, however I have learnt through this subject that embedding digital citizenship into the curriculum is best practice. The entire school community must develop common ground to educate students in a proactive rather than reactive way (Hollandsworth, Dowdy & Donovan, 2011).
I have learnt an enormous amount about digital citizenship in schools by engaging with the module content, participating in lively discussions in the forums, connecting on Twitter and meeting virtually with Julie Lindsay and my fellow class members. It is now up to me to show my school community what effective digital citizenship practice is through my own actions.
Hollandsworth, R., Dowdy, L., & Donovan, J. (2011). Digital Citizenship in K-12: It Takes a Village. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(4), 37-47. doi:10.1007/s11528-011-0510-z
Lindsay, J. (2013). Leadership for a global future. In E-Learning journeys.
Today I wanted to learn more about the new Victorian Curriculum for years Foundation to ten. I knew that there had been a conference conducted recently by the School Library Association of Victoria so I checked their homepage and found a Storify of the tweets from the conference. Thanks to those at the conference who were willing to share their learning using the hashtag #slavconf, the tweets gave me a good overview of the conference and some additional resources to explore.
Twitter chats are another source of learning that I would like to get more involved in. On Sunday evenings #AussieED is frequented by some of my fellow CSU class mates. By following @aussieED you learn about other global Twitter chats too. If the time difference is a problem you can follow the chat hashtag at a more convenient time and connect asynchronously.
Students at my senior secondary school could use Twitter in a similar way to either follow hashtags or participate in a teacher organised chat with other students locally or globally. I know that the Politics teacher has already made Twitter part of her class’ digital learning environment. The class shares resources and insights with each other and their teacher but they could extend their learning further by connecting globally with other students.
As a distance education student learning without walls is not a new concept to me. The learning modules provide readings, videos and resources from around the world and we discuss them asynchronously in forums and via social media. We also have the opportunity to engage synchronously with the subject coordinator and other students with online meetings using Adobe Connect. I can search and read library resources anywhere that I have an internet connection and at anytime. Now that I am up to my fifth subject, I feel pretty comfortable in my CSU digital learning environment (DLE). I have also brought other tools such as Evernote, Twitter and Diigo into this environment that help me to learn.
Initially I was apprehensive about my first group work assignment via distance learning. My initial fears were soon put to rest as part of Group 5.2. Group 5.2 worked collaboratively and without walls by using a variety of communication and collaboration tools to produce a digital citizenship learning module that we could be proud of Donald Tapscott calls these kinds of tools “weapons of mass collaboration” (Richardson, 2008, para. 20):
We shared tools and resources, offered technical guidance and expertise to each other and provided feedback. Team members felt safe enough to discuss the trials and tribulations of the tools they used (or attempted to use) to create their individual artefacts and asked for advice when necessary. We even introduced each other to our pets on Skype!
Although we all came from far afield suburbs in Melbourne we were very fortunate to be able to meet face to face during the school holidays. The wifi wasn’t sufficient in the cafe but we were able to hotspot using our mobile phones to stay connected. With sufficient infrastructure learning really can happen anywhere and at anytime.
I really enjoyed the experience of assignment 1. Group 5.2 supported each other and put into practice much of what we had been learning in the ETL523 modules about digital citizenship.
The tools and/or platforms that contribute to the school’s “official” digital learning environment may be different to the tools that students and teachers use outside of school. Teachers need support to integrate these tools into their teaching practices because the technology alone will not transform learning (Kemker, 2005). Professional learning delivered by the school and individuals developing their own personal learning networks (with an emphasis on lifelong learning) is necessary.
Rightly or wrongly people will judge you based on your use of social media and the internet.
Nothing can be totally deleted so students need to be aware of their digital footprint
Passwords and using security settings are essential to managing your digital life
Make sure your social media presence is positive
Impact and consequences of cyberbullying
Laws related to sexually explicit material
Impact and consequences nude pictures sent as messages can have
Predators and grooming
Susan expanded on these areas with anecdotes, examples and visuals. She used humour and the latest colloquial terms to engage the teenage audience. While the nasty side of the internet was addressed, Susan provided strategies that students could use to avoid, limit or take action with. I was pleased to see her focus on the importance of positive behaviour and action rather than dwelling on the negatives. She concluded by telling students to look after themselves online and to look after others too.
A one off seminar by a former police officer is far from ideal compared to a holistic school wide approach. Judging by questions raised by students at the end of the seminar at least Susan made an impression and had got them thinking. It concerns me that the cybersafety seminar ticks a box, it has been done for the year, and then is not followed up in any meaningful way.
K-12 Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum from the United States of America has units aimed at different year levels, K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. I focussed on the resources for years 9-12. The aim of the curriculum is to empower children in a world of media and technology in a positive way. The core curriculum is based on research by Dr Howard Gardner and the GoodPlay Project at Harvard School of Graduate Education.
The curriculum offers three different ways of delivering the curriculum using downloadable PDFs, Nearpod lessons and an iBook textbook. There are four units that cover different areas of digital citizenship with five separate lesson plans. The lesson plans are very detailed and include relevant multimedia, worksheets, activities, discussion points, assessment tools and background information. Teachers with limited knowledge of digital citizenship are well supported by the lesson plans and additional support material on the website. Flexibility in how lessons are delivered is provided by the different formats, the Creative Commons licensing and the ability to pick and choose topics within the four units. Common to all lessons is that students are learning by doing and there is room for discussion. The real world scenarios and media rich activities make the curriculum worthwhile considering however some adaptations would be necessary for an Australian audience.
Our Space: Being a responsible citizen of the digital world from the United States of America is a collaboration of the GoodPlay Project and Project New Media Literacies. It is aimed at years 9-12 but some aspects could be used at years 7-8 to promote social skills and cultural competencies required to engage with participatory culture. They have taken a low-tech approach so that lessons can be used in classrooms without an internet connection. Supplementary material allows for a more high-tech approach if required. Our Space is a set of resources for educators and adults to use with young people to discuss digital ethics. Educators can pick and choose from lessons and are free to remix them using Creative Commons Licensing. Most lessons involve reflective exercises, role playing activities and small group discussion using realistic scenarios. Teachers are not expected to be frequent users of social media or Web 2.0 technologies to deliver the lessons. The facilitators guide and detailed lesson plans provide adequate support for educators. While realistic scenarios are used, the pen and paper approach may fail to engage some students. The involvement of Harvard Project Zero would be well received at my school. The American context would require changes to be made to lessons, such as those dealing with copyright, for it to be suitable for Australia.
While acknowledging the challenges and negative aspects the internet can bring, the above resources take a positive approach to digital citizenship and can be embedded into the curriculum or used for just in time lessons.
My existing definition of digital citizenship includes the descriptors that Greenhow (2010) presents from her brief study amongst teenagers. A good digital citizen should use digital communication technologies in a safe, legal, ethical and responsible manner. However after reading Greenhow (2010), I feel that I need to expand my definition to include positive participation in a globalised digital environment.
I believe digital citizenship is important and that I should model it for my students and colleagues. At this early stage of ETL523, the nine elements of digital citizenship by Ribble, Bailey and Ross that Greenhow (2010) lists would contribute to an informed, publicly engaged digital citizen. The nine elements are: digital etiquette, digital communication, digital access, digital literacy, digital commerce, digital law, digital rights and responsibilities, digital health and wellness and digital security. The nine elements are described in more detail here
Up until now the direction that I have taken personally and professionally is rudimentary and tends to translate behaviours from the physical library and school environment to the digital environment. At school the focus is on acknowledging sources in bibliographies, avoiding plagiarism, the importance of copyright and cybersafety.
This word cloud contains terminology related to digital citizenship from the reading so far.
My definition of a digital learning environment utilises technology to provide digital access to digital resources and spaces for learning that are not limited to a physical realm. Digital learning environments can take on different forms but usually consist of a variety of tools and technologies and are increasingly mobile and social.
At my school the digital learning environment is made possible by the network infrastructure that provides network, internet and wi-fi access to desktop computers and iPads. A learning management system has recently been implemented so teachers and students are transitioning to this new space. Email is heavily relied on for sharing and communicating and the use of Google Drive has been encouraged. A recently upgraded library management system offers new digital possibilities for interaction with the school community for me as a teacher librarian. Within the library I utilise a combination of tools for curation, screencasting and sharing.
My personal digital learning environment is vast and always changing. It is an important component to my PLN as represented below.
As an educator I have to be aware of changes created by our digital lifestyle. I believe my personal learning network and my studies are integral in keeping me informed and aware of technological changes and the impact they may have. By actively participating and collaborating with others using social networking, I feel more confident in transferring my skills to new digital environments. Academic and 21st century skills need to be developed (Kemker, 2005) at school so that students can navigate their digital world.
Social networking has impacted on teaching and learning by providing informal learning opportunities for students. Teachers are no longer the gatekeepers of knowledge. Students can learn from their peers or other experts using social networks and YouTube (Richardson, 2008). The video below outlines research into informal learning.
Kemker, K. (2005). The digital learning environment: What the research tells us. Apple White Paper.
Richardson, W. (2008, December 3). World without walls: Learning well with others. Edutopia. Retrieved fromhttp://www.edutopia.org/collaboration-age-technology-will-richardson.