Mystery Skype: Execution Phase

In my last post, I shared my plans to conduct a Mystery Skype session with my students, as part of a Global Collaborative Project. After several failed attempts and a great deal of research and planning, the students successfully participated in their first session. Check out the highlights, challenges, and their (very honest) feedback:

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Mystery Skype: Design Phase

This quarter we are exploring the ISTE Teacher Standards and in order to take that learning to the next level, in knowledge and practice, we are planning and facilitating Global Collaborative Projects (GCP). I introduce the project and give an overview of my plans in a previous post, check it out here. In this post, I outline my design for the project and review the 6 A’s of project design:

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6 A’s of Project Design

Authenticity
My students attend a small non-secular school where they participate in a Hebrew immersion program for half of their school day. I was talking to a student recently and they mentioned that it was hard to do their Hebrew homework because they didn’t have anyone at home that spoke the language and could offer assistance. This lead me to realize that my students are part of a very small community and it would be a great opportunity for them to see that there are other students from around the world, that they have things in common with.

By connecting my students to another Jewish day school, they can learn about another school, while noting the various similarities and differences. This can help them

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ISTE Teacher Standard 5: Create Individualized Opportunities for Professional Development

In my final week of exploring the ISTE Teacher Standards through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University, I examine the fifth standard: Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership. In an effort to move into a coaching and mentorship role, I reflected on the following question: “How can teachers continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources?”

Keep Educating Yourself (1)

I work at a private school where many of the teachers are not formal educators; they come to the school with a strong background in the school’s cultural and religious beliefs, but not in classroom teaching. I have noticed that many of them do not pursue professional development opportunities that could help them advance their skills in classroom management, assessment, or effective teaching. Blogger and widely respected technology integration specialist, Vicki Davis states, “Professional development is a vital part of improving your technique as a teacher. Learning best practices and practicing best practices are both important. You can make a school better by improving its teachers. Effective [professional development] can do that” (2015). With this in the forefront … Read More

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ISTE Teacher Standard 3: Helping Teachers Choose the Best Tech Tools

This week I explore the third ISTE Teacher Standard: Model Digital Age Work and Learning through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University and I try to answer the following question: “How can teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society?”

My classmates, professors and I discussed the idea that this particular standard covers a very broad range of topics and can be hard to digest, therefore, I made sure to pay particularly close attention to the sub-standards this week:

a. Demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations.

b. Collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation.

c. Communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents, and peers using a variety of digital age media and formats.

d. Model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research and learning (Source: ISTE Teacher Standards).

After ruminating on the standards for a bit and looking at my own current workplace challenges, I decided to focus … Read More

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ISTE 4: Using Mind-Maps to Help Conduct Effective Research

Photo Credit: Wesley Fryer
Photo Credit: Wesley Fryer

This week I am diving into the fourth ISTE Student Standard: Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University and am attempting to answer the following question: “What are ways in which students can use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources?”

I recently started teaching sixth and seventh grade students the research process using the Big6™ Research Model, you can read more about that experience in my last blog post. During that lesson, I found that the students’ biggest challenges were some of the skills I thought would be the most simple. The most notable being, the ability to identify keywords that would help them conduct their research. The students were able to formulate several questions related to their science fair topic but when asked to select three to five keywords based on those questions, they struggled. My intended goal for the students was for them to review their questions, determine how those questions were related, and extract a number of succinct terms that will allow them to conduct … Read More

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ISTE 3: Teaching Research Using the Big6 Model

Photo Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers via Carol E. Davis
Photo Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers via Carol E. Davis

This week I am looking at the third ISTE Student Standard: Research and Information Fluency through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University and am attempting to answer the following question: “What are ways in which students can apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information?”

Coincidentally, our middle school science teacher approached me recently, asking if I could guide her students through the research process as they prepare their science fair projects. While I have taught several stand-alone lessons on conducting research, I have never taught those skills as a thoughtful, comprehensive unit. I took to the Web to discover how other educators teach various information literacy skills and through my research, I have discovered that I am not alone; it is not uncommon for librarians to lack confidence in their implementation of research skills in their program. Dr. Michael B. Eisenberg, founder of the Big6™Skills and Janet Murray, well-published and respected school librarian, have indicated that a surprisingly few number of schools have a comprehensive information literacy program. They found that many programs are “irregular, partial, and arbitrary” (Eisenberg, 2011, pg. 10). … Read More

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Talking Technology

I recently sat down with my Head of School to discuss her thoughts on the role of educational technology at our school. Our school puts a great emphasis on a top-down, bottom-up approach towards incorporating technology into the classroom and this conversation illuminated a great deal for us both. Below I share my process, thoughts and findings…


Digital Readiness Project (2)


Questions

  • Based on the link I shared with you earlier this week, can you tell me what you think the term “Digital Citizenship” means? (Provide a copy of the ISTE Citizenship in the Digital Age, if needed).
  • What role do you think technology plays in today’s classroom?
  • Can you tell me your perspective on where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we’re going, in regards to digital citizenship and educational technology? Are you comfortable with the rate at which we are progressing?
  • What challenges do you find that we’re currently facing with educational technology?
  • Do you have any concerns regarding access to the use of technology? Do all families have equal access? Are there concerns regarding families who are resistant to bringing technology into their home? If so, do you have a plan of action you would like to see
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Guiding Principle Three

Create opportunities for project-based learning experiences that incorporate connections that flatten the walls of the classroom.


In my mission statement, I write that I hope to “[Create] authentic experiences that foster a sense of joy for learning” and in the 21st century classroom, one way to make that happen is to encourage project-based learning. Melissa Jacobs-Israel, School Library Journal contributor describes project-based learning as an opportunity where “[students] are learning how to develop intriguing questions for further discovery and research, investigate a topic, construct new meanings, develop opinions and supporting arguments, apply new understandings, create final products, and reflect on what they learned” (Jacobs-Israel, 2013). There could be no better place for this to occur, than in the library. In fact, journalist Suzie Boss argues that librarians should be at the forefront of project-based learning experiences in their school: “A key player to invite into these collaborative conversations is the school librarian or library media specialist. Their understanding of information literacy and digital citizenship can make a difference across the arc of projects. What’s more, librarians may know about students’ out-of-class interests through their reading choices or online interests” (Boss, 2013).

Through project-based learning, students are provided with authentic experiences … Read More

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Guiding Principle Two

Provide students and staff with instruction and resources that reflect current information needs and anticipate changes in technology and education.


In 2009, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) developed a set of guidelines to help “define the future direction of school library programs” (p. 7) and those guidelines were then published in Empowering Learners : Guidelines for School Library Programs. When looking back on my mission statement, I realized there is one passage that I wanted to specifically target and further articulate: “[U]nearth ways to mirror what is happening in the classroom with the outside world” (Todd, 2014). This principle, as written by AASL, exemplifies precisely what I am hoping to convey to my patrons; a library experience that is rich with print and digital information, where both exposure and instruction are equally important.

I recently posted my mission statement on my blog and solicited comments from readers across the globe and one reader provided me with some very insightful feedback: “Could another librarian take your mission statement and would it represent who they are equally well? It’s like the mission statements of libraries or colleges. Many of them sound the same. We all are committed to creating … Read More

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