Tonight I had the pleasure of participating in a webinar presented by Kathy Cassidy that focused on Digital Citizenship. I love that we have fabulous teachers right in our province doing amazing and innovative things in their classrooms. Thank you to Raelynn Smith for tweeting about the webinar this week on Twitter. In one week of having Twitter I can see how useful it can be as an educator. I have been able to follow some wonderful teachers who have shared some great resources already so far.
From this webinar I was able to get some excellent tips and ideas when I begin to teach Digital Citizenship to my students. During the hour Kathy discussed why it was important and commented that “their world will be digital.” I agree because most students now have access to computers, iPads, iPhones, etc. and they need to be prepared in how to use these tools appropriately. She also discussed that students need to learn that “what goes online…stays online.” I think that is something that people do forget about. There have been cases that old negative comments, pictures, or videos that have been posted online have prevented people from great opportunities later on when they get older. Kathy talked about the importance of students building a positive digital footprint and she poses questions to her students such as “What do people think of you when they see you online? What do you know about that person? Would you want to have this person as your friend? How do you want other people to think about you?” I thought those were excellent questions so students could reflect on their blog page and what other students might think about them by reading their posts and comments. It is important for students to be safe, respectful, and kind to each other when using technology.
Also in the webinar Kathy discussed her classroom blog. Some of the blog apps that she mentioned were the Edublog app, Easy blogger app, and the Easy blogger junior app. Later on Kathy talked about parents need to sign a permission form. In her school division they have a division form that parents must fill out that allows teachers and the school to post students work and pictures online. She also has parents and students sign an acceptable use form. When students blog they use iPads and work together with other students in the classroom. I think that is very powerful because I believe that students learn more through collaboration. I like how Kathy has a rule that students can not publish to their blog or Twitter account without her looking at the posts or tweets first. She mentioned that on her student’s blog pages they do not post any pictures on the individual blogs to avoid names and pictures matching up together. But, she does post pictures of the students onto her classroom blog page. She also showed us a chart that she posts in her room to help remind students how to write good comments when posting on a blog:
- say something you like
- make a connection
- ask a question
- reread the comments
I never thought about all the learning and curricular outcomes that can be reached by having students blog until this webinar. It is great for working on writing skills and self editing. It gives students an audience and a purpose to write. It also provides students the opportunity to reflect on their work and set goals. Kathy discussed that blogs can become a student portfolio and samples of work can be posted on blog by using screencasts, podcasts, or pictures to showcase learning. Students can read each other’s blogs and classroom tweets on Twitter during read to self or read to partner. Blogs can also be opened on the Smartboard then students can read the posts and comments together as a class.
This webinar made me reflect about our Pink Day events that we had last year at our school. We had a presentation that discussed the acronym THINK and that students need to THINK before they talk, text, or write to someone using any form of technology. We have THINK posters hanging up in our school as good reminders to students on how to be kind, respectful, and to fill other people’s buckets instead of being bucket dippers. Here are two different versions of similar posters that we have posted in our school.
Thank you for reading my blog today. I know I wrote a lot, but I did not want to forget everything that Kathy talked about and that I learned from her webinar today. If you ever get the opportunity to hear Kathy Cassidy speak I highly recommend it!! Check out Kathy’s fabulous class blog and you can follow her on Twitter. Now I am excited to start the process in creating my own classroom blog! Let the learning begin!!