CLICK: The First Year

Dear Teachers,

My plot to take over the world innovation project, CLICK, is a website of student-created technology tips, and honestly, I couldn’t be more proud of the progress it’s made over the past year. I started with just a glimmer of wanting to do “something” about what I saw as tremendous gaps in digital literacy skills, particularly in many of our teachers. I would literally wake up in the middle of the night worrying about kids who don’t have a lot of technology or technology role models in their homes, who might spend a year or more with teachers who don’t teach digital skills. I would hear from teachers lamenting the fact that many of their high school students did not know how to format a document or log in to Google Classroom – or even understand the significance of blue underlined text! At the same time, I knew that there were kids who did fit the stereotype of the “digital native” who seem to be able to just look at a screen and know what to do. How could I put those two types of students in touch with each other? Student-created technology tips definitely seemed like it might provide an answer.

I am one of those weird nerds who actually enjoyed the literature reviews we’ve had to do, because I was researching something I was so genuinely passionate about. I discovered only a couple of other efforts to use student-created artifacts to teach other students (Mathtrain and Next Vista), but none that specifically had technology as the focus. The research also bears out that teachers often overestimate students’ technology abilities, that students in lower socioeconomic groups do not have the same opportunities for using technology for creation purposes, and that the digital divide is growing in many places. I had a poster session at ISTE that was very popular and CLICK was received enthusiastically. CLICK was even mentioned during one of the pre-keynote Ignite speeches. And my article about CLICK was recently published on the ISTE blog!

In March I learned that CLICK had been accepted as a Google Innovator project, and I was fortunate enough to go to the Google offices in London to learn about applying the design thinking process to move my project along. (One of these days I might even get that credit card paid off…) I also have the support of the Innovator community over the next year – h/t to my mentor Mike Filipetti – for when I have questions or need encouragement.

I’ve always wanted CLICK to become a more student-focused and student-driven project, and the principal at our PBL high school put me in touch with a couple of seniors who were in search of a capstone project. These young men have been amazing advocates for CLICK already. They created graphics and launched a re-branding effort, and are working to hand-code a new searchable website. They came and did a presentation at our district’s annual technology integration professional learning event, and the teachers ate it up. (See reactions on Twitter here, here, here, and here.) These students are also in big demand now for presentations to elementary students – I think younger students seeing “the big kids” promoting CLICK will make a big impact on them.

Biggest lesson learned: teachers and librarians are enthusiastic about the project and its goals, but it is unbelievably difficult for them to find time in their day to carve out time to help their students create content. I am so appreciative of all my librarian friends who have stayed after school to work with students, to the teachers who included content creation as part of an assignment, and to those friends who sincerely wanted to help but just couldn’t swing it – you know who you are; please know how grateful I am to you for helping to get my idea off the ground. I am optimistic for the future and am hopeful that with my new student colleagues, CLICK will explode with popularity this year.

Click to the image below to see the infographic I made detailing CLICK’s first year:

Screenshot 2017-09-11 at 9.15.21 PM

Do you have any ideas for improving CLICK? You know I’d love to hear them!

Fondly,

Nancy

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