When I was reading the recommended resource for Course 2, I was thinking of how I could implement this knowledge in my classroom. I am a WL teacher in elementary school, so we start with basic computer skills. It would be a challenge to start developing digital literacy skills. I can demonstrate an example as a teacher, but incorporate these skills in foreign language teaching will be possible in grades 4 or 5. So, I have decided that PD for teachers would be more relevant for this course.
When I read the final project requirements, I thought it would be interesting to create a workshop to build a common understanding of the concept of students’ privacy and discuss teachers’ responsibilities in this area. We have a school’s security system already in place, and it is operating at a very high standard. But I believe that it is essential to train teachers to examine online resources and incorporate digital literacy skills.
I know the future audience of this PD. I have been working with them for the last ten years. This topic is new for the majority of our teachers. We haven’t had official training on how to protect students’ data privacy and how to check the safety of online educational resources. But lately, we have started to use more and more apps and online programs. Therefore, we have chosen the following standards:
3.b. Establish a learning culture that promotes curiosity and critical examination of online resources and fosters digital literacy and media fluency.
3.d. Model and promote the management of personal data and digital identity and protect student data privacy.
Plan of action was the following:
Contact my colleague and discuss the key features of a workshop.
Create a shared google document and google slides document, on which we were asynchronously working together, developing ideas and concepts, while we were exploring the resources.
Schedule the meetings 2-3 times a week.
Make a list of resources and assign the tasks.
The main challenges were:
Ten hours time difference
Some resources can’t be opened in Google, and I used Opera browser
It is crucial to check every app and online program for safety and privacy.
My responsibility as an educator is to share this knowledge with my colleagues.
My responsibility as a teacher is to incorporate digital literacy skills in my teaching when it is applicable.
Online collaboration is possible when you have clear goals, a lot of resources, a detailed action plan, experienced colleagues, enough time, and a good internet connection.
“By teaching others you will learn yourself.” G.I. Gurdjieff
The young generation is the first generation that can not imagine life without cell phones and social media accounts. They live on the internet communicating with peers, exploring information, and learning new knowledge. Media literacy definitely has its advantages and disadvantages. If your level of digital competence is low, you will be excluded from the labor market and society. On the other hand, if young people are using digital media uncontrolled and not following the ethical rules, it could lead to damaging individuals’ personal relations and spreading misinformation.
How do your school’s policies/agreements empower stakeholders to make positive contributions to local and global communities?
Digital Citizenship Agreement
In our school, we are still working on developing acceptable use (AU) policy for students. Still, we have the system in place to protect students’ privacy and to develop a responsible digital citizen who contributes positively to our school community. The Digital Learning Vision is presented on the school’s website, and the Digital Citizenship Agreement is placed on the back of each I-pad that school provides to students and teachers in elementary school. At the begging of the year, we have a discussion with examples of what it means to be a good digital citizen. If a student does not use a device (I-pad or Chromebook) appropriately, he/she could lose the privilege to use it for a certain time and/or have a conversation with a teacher, admin, or Tech integrationist about the case. All educational apps sites are checked by the Tech integrationist using Common Sense Privacy Evaluations and Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services: Model Terms of Service.
We have a detailed COMPUTER AND INTERNET STAFF ACCEPTABLE USE AGREEMENT for faculty written in Faculty Handbook.
“The School offers electronic communications and network access to all users. Access to the network provides users with Internet access in addition to other resources. All employees, students and visitors are encouraged to use the school wifi or wired internet connections (not to use data from cellular networks). Our goal in providing this service to users is to promote educational excellence by facilitating resource sharing, innovation and communication. While the Internet provides a massive information source to our school, we must also recognize that some material available may not be considered of educational value in a school setting. The responsibility for 35 proper educational use of the network lies with the user. If an AAS user chooses to access resources that are objectionable, adult-oriented, or restricted, the consequence may be withholding or termination of access privileges, depending on the circumstances and intent of the user.”
The main statements of AAS Computer Systems and Internet Use Terms and Conditions:
School computers should be used to support education and research consistent with the learning outcomes.
Network Etiquette – Users are expected to abide by the following rules of network etiquette.
Accuracy of Information.
Security is a high priority, especially since the system involves many users.
Any software installed must be properly licensed and evaluated by AAS IT Department prior to the installation.
“AAS respects the right of employees to use blogs and social media as part of their professional network and as an extension of their personal and professional lives. We do not want to discourage employees from self-publishing and self-expression, but employees are expected to follow the guidelines and policies set forth to provide a clear line between you as the individual and you as the employee in order to preserve the environment that is based on focusing on students at all times.”
What actions will you take to continually improve your own media literacy? Your students’ and colleagues’?
My first step in improving my personal media literacy was joining COETAL courses, and now the more I read, the more questions I have. I started to explore by myself and found a lot of exciting resources. My colleague from Middle school, Irena, and I have decided to create PD for teachers to introduce the issue of Digital Safety and Student Privacy.
I decided to examine the learning engagements and assessments through the lens of media literacy and to find the way to engage students in real-world inquiries that require them to search out information, assess it, and interpret its social and cultural context; connect with other students around the world, and write for authentic audiences.
How have you supported your students and peers in becoming more empathetic?
WHAT IS EMPATHY?
Empathy – “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner” (Merriam-Webster dictionary).
Empathy plays a significant role in the WL classroom. At the beginning of the year, we create the classroom agreement in which we agree that it is important to be caring and respectful, and it is OK to make language mistakes because we are learning.
We have different dialogues and role-plays when students imagine themselves in the other person’s situation, and they have to experience the emotions that the other person could experience and try to understand the feeling and choose the appropriate language structures and intonations, voice volume. So, we are modeling empathy on an everyday basis during language class.
Learning a language without understanding culture is impossible. Language allows expressing thoughts and feelings, sharing knowledge and experience, and it closely connected with values and customs. Some of these values and customs can be different and difficult to understand that is why it is very important to introduce students to them, explain the history and maybe try (food, games, cloths, housing, moves and theater performances, stories and anecdotes, etc.) and develop the empathy to something what is unusual.
I was always careful when I was choosing the authentic materials for students to study (read, watch, discuss), and use the classical ones, not from social media. Now I start thinking about using social media materials, choosing these materials with my students, and modeling how to interpret these materials following the framework for media literacy proposed by Thoman and Jolls (2005):
• Who created the message?
• What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?
• How may different people understand this message differently than me?
• What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in – or omitted from – this message?
• Why is this message being sent?
I really like this video that explains the empathy and how empathy can empower our students.
This question became the main one in our everyday life in the digital age. People can find different information on various informational platforms. How to verify: what is true or what is fake? There are absolutely fake stories and the part-fake story – the event has happened, the date, the place, the participants – are correct, but what happened or interpretations of the event are not true.
News is the hardest thing to define, the early report can be fake, but it is still on social media, and people spread it for different reasons (political, commercial, or just for fun). Pretty often, it is hard to identify the fake news even for the educated grownups. I can imagine how difficult for youth to tell the difference between true and fake information. Social media became a part of their life, and probably, they can not even imagine that what they read on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram could be fake or sponsored.
I remember one story that happened a few years ago. CNN reported that “Russian authorities have ordered the closing of the Anglo-American School in Moscow after the United States imposed major new sanctions on December 29 over Moscow’s meddling in the US election.” It was a Christmas break, my colleagues, friends, and relatives were sending me the screenshot of this news. It was difficult to believe, but CNN is a respectful news-based pay television channel. During one or two days, I do not remember, I was horrified thinking about what I would do in these circumstances. Soon we found out that it was fake news.
OUR ROLE AS EDUCATORS
So, it means that we, as educators, are responsible for introducing and developing the new skills that will support our students to survive in the ocean of new information.
WHAT STEPS CAN BE DONE?
to introduce reliable online sources that are vetted by the school,
to demonstrate how to research online,
to explain that the students need to check a few resources, not trust one,
to study the persuasive writing techniques (ReadWriteThink) and the techniques advertisers use in order to recognize these techniques,
to introduce Ethics of Sharing Information Online (before sharing double-check the resources, think five minutes, be positive, empathetic and responsible, do not try to win, “be aware of your own biases”),
to create a safe learning environment (blog, website, video channel) where students will be able to use their media literacy skills (interact with peers and solve the real problems, post their work (stories, researches, poems, drawings, videos, etc.) for sharing and getting feedback.
The modern digital world sets the rules, and people follow them. In order to survive in the new society, we share our personal information with authorities and different companies and presume they will comply with all applicable privacy and data protection laws. The honest companies are collecting and analyzing their customers’ personal information to improve the marketing of their products and services. But we need to be aware that our personal information can be stolen and misused.
I had a lot of thinking when I was reading the recommended resources.
WHAT IS PRIVACY?
According to this guide Educator Toolkit for Teacher and Student Privacy, “privacy refers to the ability to protect one’s own personal information and control with whom and how the information is shared. It matters because even if you’re not doing anything illegal or feel you have nothing to hide, the standards and norms by which judgments are made about behavior that’s “right” versus “wrong” today could easily change tomorrow.”
I am always trying to divide my personal life from the job. I am using different social media for different purposes; for example, my Facebook is only for communication with my close friends; I opened an Instagram account – for work.
Lately, in Russia, there were a few scandals – parents saw the teachers’ photos in Social media and demanded to fire these teachers because parents started questioning the teachers’ morality and used the photos as the relevant evidence.
What policies does my school have in place to protect student privacy?
As for the privacy of students, I use the Apps that the school buys or recommends to use. I do not post my students’ videos or photos on Social media. We are using Seesaw as an electronic portfolio in elementary school. This program has been vetted by school admin and Elementary Tech Integrationist. And even in Seesaw, I try to protect my students – the parents can see and comment only on their own kids’ work (videos, photos, presentations).
I realized how important to understand our responsibilities for student privacy as educators when we are using online resources. We have to read agreements or terms of service. It should say what data is going to be collected, and how it will be used, how long the agreement will last, and how it can be modified.
A lot of apps use a licensing model, “Click-wrap.” You can sign up by clicking a button or a checkbox to accept the terms of service. It can bring some problems. Many free apps require the term of service (a long text filled in with complicated language). Pressing the button accept, we signed the contract. Before the signing of a free app, we need to talk to IT administrators and/or check the school policy. They will help to review the app and the terms of service to ensure that it won’t affect student privacy. We need to print and save a copy of the terms of service for the records.
Technology in the classroom can improve education, but we should be mindful of the risks they can bring.
I wrote the steps that I should do in order to protect my students’ privacy:
Check the school policy of reviewing the new apps and online programs. Or ask a tech leader.
If it is not approved, ask for approval or find the approved alternatives.
– safety consideration (students should not be able to interact with strangers, the interactions should be monitored or moderated by the vendor, is it possible to disable the feature that allows sharing personal information).
The development of new technologies created a new way of communication if we compare how we were communicating with our friend and how our kids are doing now.
The way people communicate with one another has changed significantly.
Back then, we had to go to see our friends because not everybody had a simple home telephone, and we spend hours to speak and to play together in a real place and real-time. Nowadays the young generation communication transformed from real life to virtual reality, they use different social platforms to communicate, search the news, get new knowledge in a variety of areas (drawing, cooking, fashion, new heroes, new movies, games, news about celebrities, memes, etc.). It has advantages and disadvantaged. Unfortunately, as an ES teacher who is running a Distance learning program now, I could not ask my students about the advantages and disadvantages of social media. But I have a young lady at home who has graduated this year, and we as a family went through positive and negative sides of social media.
ADVANTAGES OF USING SOCIAL MEDIA:
You can reach your friends and other people (it can be a vast audience of people with the same interests) in a timely manner
You can reach people from another country or continent not only from your street
You get access to the enormous database of your interest (learn another language, how to dance, how to take photos and edit the movie)
You can be up to date with the current technology
You can join it for free
You can support each other by giving immediate feedback
DISADVANTAGESOF USING SOCIAL MEDIA:
Cyberbullying – it is easier to bully others through social media than to do it physically. You can get negative response or feedback. You are vulnerable (if you put something that people do not like, the negative comments will be spread across the network quickly as well and stays there)
It is time-consuming (you start and finish your day reading the news and comments, and you need to put new content constantly in order to keep your audience (new photos, comments, etc.), play a game or chat about various things not related to your everyday life and school.
Destroys social skills (you do not know how to approach another person, how to read the facial expressions, what say immediately in a different situation.
How do students learn to communicate in digital spaces in my class?
We are using a variety of educational apps to teach, assess, reflect and report on students’ learning:
Kahoot, Linguascope and Explain EDU – for teaching new vocabulary and develop skills
Book Creator and PuppetPals – for teaching and assessing
Seesaw – for giving the instructions, sharing the evidence and reflecting
Google Doc – to keep the information, write drafts and final assignment, share information
Google Slides – to create final presentations
Google Forms – to create questionnaires, to give/ collect feedbacks
The role of technology in education has been changing accordingly to the nowadays reality; teachers start to explore options on how to bring new technology instead of ordinary classroom materials, to move assignments and projects into the web to make more authentic and meaningful for the students.
Copyright and intellectual property were always a case. Back then, it was difficult to follow and check. Nowadays technology makes the process of identifying plagiarism so easy to check.
Our goal as educators to teach our students how to value other people intellectual property and cite it correctly.
I absolutely agree with the concept of importance to respect and recognize the other people intellectual property, and I was absolutely amazed by the Copyright Flowchart. But I spend some time to figure out the system how it works. According to what I know, when you use somebody’s words you put quotation marks and do the citation. Now with the photos and pictures, we have to figure out to what category of copyright it belongs and use accordingly.
As an elementary school teacher, I am not sure when we should introduce this concept for our students, maybe in grade 4 and 5. I honestly, can’t see how our 6-7 years old can understand this concept.
Do you see this as an issue in your school?
I am sure our school has the policy about copyright and plagiarism.
I asked my daughter about her experience and knowledge in this question. Since she was a student in my school, so I decided to use her as resource to see how it looks like in our school in real life. The first time she learned about plagiarism and citation in middle school (grade 7-8).
What did I find?
The teachers do teach and present to the students on what citation is. Some teachers have created presentation for the students to help them understand what is a citation and what is plagiarism. It is important to inform the students by showing visual examples on how citation should be presented in the piece of writing. It takes time and constant effort from teachers to push this concept. There are different programs that allow students to cite. One of them Research and Citation Resources. It will take time to figure out how to use it.
But I believe that it should be always the balance.
What about elementary school?
As a language teacher I am using a lot of visuals. Now I start to think how our memory cards could look like.
Do I have time to take photos for all learning engagements for 6 grades by myself? Absolutely, No. So, what are the possible solutions:
To search for the pictures that are free and cite them
To pay for the pictures that I need.
My takeaway is that there are different image sharing platforms, such as Flickr and Pixabay. I learned that Flickr has a variety of Creative Commons images, but not all of them are licensed, so I should be careful.
I started my professional life as a coursebook writer. Twenty years ago the goal was clear to teach our students to speak, read and write in a foreign language and also to understand the culture and be able to survive or to study/work in the country. The resources that we had were photos, magazines, videos (cartoons, movies, news, and advertisements). The WL course requires developing the primary skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) and additional or maybe even more crucial nowadays – sociocultural competence that may influence the effectiveness of intercultural communication in a multilingual and multicultural world. The development of technology and the World Web is expending the boundaries of individuals.
While I was reading the recommended resources, I reinforce my thinking about the importance of the shift in education, and I feel this shift as a teacher who is teaching every day. The two terms “constructivism” and “connectivism” attracted my attention.
I believe both of these terms mean to learn while doing, solving, practising.
According to this theory, we are as educators should find the interests of our students and create learning engagements that will be relevant to each student. A very challenging task! I know that the majority of my elementary students would like to play games and do sports. Will I develop the ES WL program base on this? Probably no, but I will take it into consideration while I am planning the learning engagements.
Another challenge for me, as a Russian language teacher is a LANGUAGE. In order to make the learning environment active, the students should have the basic language in order to communicate, to participate actively in the process to ask a question, to discuss and solve the problem.
I believe it was always a case in learning foreign languages at least in the last decade. Our WL students think of a learning goal and steps to achieve it at the beginning of the year. During their learning journey, the students reflect on their achievements. Learning a foreign language develops the ability to recognize patterns and connections, and synthesize them in order to define how it works or simply to understand people who speak this language and carry on the culture.
So, our goal as WL teachers is to prepare our students for life-long learning, develop an understanding that during intercultural communication the partner could have different values, lifestyle, verbal and non-verbal ways to express feelings and thoughts. That is why I try to create an authentic environment for students to understand the main values of the country they are living in now. For example, Victory Day in Russia. Many countries have a holiday that has the same name, but the value is different. We invited the veterans to listen to their stories, to ask questions and to see the photos. Another popular holiday in Russia is Maslenitsa (Butter Week). During this celebration, we organize different stations that our students can participate in various activities (practicing the language, baking the pancakes, playing traditional Russian games).
This approach of teaching has its advantages. I am using new apps in order to reach students’ vocabulary or improve their skills. For example, Kahoot games – the motivation to win is high, and all my six years old students read as fast as they can in order to win. It is so simple, but it does work. The first question my students ask is “Are we going to play Kahoot game today?” I am using the bank of Kahoot games to increase the vocabulary, to improve reading and writing skills, to give sociocultural knowledge.
My grade four students are at the Intermediate Low-Mid level in Russian and I needed to create an authentic environment for students to be able to make connections and comparisons between different school systems and recognize the cultural aspect of each system and encourage students to use different types of technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals.
As a language teacher, I always had in my mind that the main focus is communicative competence, I focused on developing the ability to use language correctly to communicate appropriately and effectively in a variety of social situations. However, nowadays, students are influenced by new media forms that allow them to socialize and learn differently.
It is genuinely intriguing to see how education has been moving forward. A vivid example that comes to my mind is how students use different forms of resources to do their presentations. I remember in the early 2000s, students of my school (Anglo-American School of Moscow) would always submit something unique and creative on paper. They would always ask me or seek resources that would help them. However, everyone would usually work by themselves, or they were not fully engaged in the process. There was also a limit to the resources they could use. I do remember that some students were not fully engaged because they could not come up with something unique or a result that they would be proud of in the end. Nowadays, it is different, since the students mostly use online programs to present their projects. Since there is a variety of online applications, such as Google Slides, PowerPoint, iMovie, etc. It allows them to explore and develop new skills in the process. I can see in my classes that the students are more engaged when it comes to presentations. They are willing to work in groups to create an online presentation or present any other online project. Each project that the students create, I can tell how much effort and dedication they have put into the online projects. Each student can set different IT tools into the online project (such as video, drawing, an activity to engage their audience and many more). What is added through this group work is that each student can create or build their character and perception through the different online projects that are expected from them when learning.
I was amazed by the results. Each of my students shoots a short video advertising our school. They were fully involved in the process, they tried different apps, they helped each other to take a photo, to record the sound.
I was thinking to add criteria to evaluate IT standards as well, but we have the common rubrics as a team. I have realized that it will take some time when I can sell this idea to my colleagues.
Students’ self-reflection improved they started thinking not only about their language competence but also about their IT skills.
In Russia, we have a very good saying: “Man proposes and God disposes”. In English, it is “Man plans, and God laughs”. I did not want to use the second version of this saying because it is not the time for laughing. As coronavirus continues to spread around the world, people’s everyday life has been changing tremendously.
I had my plan of action on how I will learn during Course 1 and implement new ideas and new tools in class. Suddenly, our life became hectic, the plans were changing every day. So, I could not find a minute to sit, read and reflect. Now, after the first week of distance learning, I was ready to come back to my COETAIL learning (on Thursday, I had a few hours to read and think).
BUT on Friday, I started my working day at 06:30 and finished at 23:19. I have only 1 hour break (16:00-17:00), when I actually had my lunch or dinner, I am not sure.
My takeaways from reading Resources were:
Relevant to the students
When I am planning a new unit or think about learning engagements I need to find the topic that is relevant to students today. I am a World Language teacher, and we, as adults and educators always choose the topic, texts, videos that we think would be useful for our students. Probably, it would be interesting to ask students what they want to learn.
I agree that students’ motivation will be increased if they know the audience. When we had a Russian school to communicate with, the students were engaged fully in writing letters, in preparing a presentation about our school because they knew that the real Russian kids would come, and they would give them a tour.
It is challenging to develop a real-world task as well as an age-appropriate task, especially in the lower primary and in a foreign language (in my case). We are teaching skills and knowledge that will allow them first to survive in a country and then maybe to enjoy living in this country. We teach them not only a language, but we also try to give them a taste of culture, explaining some phenomenon, finding similarities and differences, teaching them to be tolerant of things that are different or do not understand.
“How have you planned for tech-rich learning in the past?”
I am a Russian language teacher in Elementary School.
What have I used in the past?
Smart-board games that we were creating as a department.
To teach new vocabulary
To teach how to read and write
The results were incredible. My five years old Russian learners were able to read (recognize?) the main vocabulary and write familiar words, phrases, and sentences in Russian after one-year learning, using these games.
BUT the software was updated, and WE HAD LOST all the games that we have created for the last three years. It was such a pain and discourage.
What tech-rich lesson I am facilitating
Now the school buys different apps such as Linguascope or FluentU that support the learning of vocabulary and structure. The problem is that Linguascope is developed for the total beginners for the Russian language and it can be used for a while and this app does not allow practicing vocabulary in context and does not have different levels for the Russian language.
Another problem that I have was FluentU subscription policy. I can have a subscription as a teacher, but I can not subscribe to my students.
This week and the other 5 weeks is going to be distance learning. All learning engagements will be through Seesaw. This platform is familiar to my students. And so far, the results are incredible.
The week 3 task was to identify my personal goal(s). After reading and watching the provided resources, I had a lot of ideas (how can I help students thinking about identity, privacy on-line, how do I support kids engagements gigging and messing around in WL, what are the strategies to reinforce the students’ IT skills in WL class, what on-line resources I can use to differentiate, reflect on their learning).
As we all know, our plans do not always turn out exactly we plan them.
Once the COVID-19 situation has happened, I have to rethink my professional goals.
My goal will be to learn about the apps that I can implement during distance learning.
My steps will be:
Explore Google Apps (Google Classroom, Google Meet, Screencasify) that are recommended by the school and can be used for distant learning
Organize meetings to share ideas with the colleagues to collect the bank of ideas on how these apps can be used for ES students
Create learning engagements that can be interesting for ES students
Try these learning engagements in class that ES students will be familiar with these activities
Collect feedback from students about these learning engagements
Discuss students’ feedbacks with the colleagues
Make some changes based on feedback and discussion