On Being an Innovator

Dear Teachers,

I’ve applied (again) to the Google Innovator program. This will be the third time I’ve applied to be an Innovator, although I don’t feel like my first attempt should really even count. My submission that time wasn’t especially innovative, and my dream has evolved quite a bit since that first try. When I submitted the second time, I thought at the time that my application was pretty solid, but in retrospect I can see where there were some big problems with my approach. On that try, I kept everything to myself and didn’t tell anyone I was applying, nor did I ask for any feedback. In hindsight that was a big mistake.Continue reading “On Being an Innovator”

Getting Sneaky About Digital Citizenship

Dear Teachers,

I met with a librarian friend of mine today to brainstorm ways to get digital citizenship embedded in lots of different areas of her school. She confided to me that she wanted to INFILTRATE her school with her digital citizenship efforts. Isn’t that a great word? I mean, seriously: unless you are leading a secret double life as a spy, how many times have you gotten to use that word lately? And how often have you been able to DO it? My librarian friend gave the example of when you add something to your email signature line, people just sort of absorb it over time until it becomes known as a part of who you are, sort of the way a sponge gradually soaks things up.  Think of all the potential sponges in your organization that could be soaking up your drops of digital citizenship wisdom over the course of a school year!Continue reading “Getting Sneaky About Digital Citizenship”

Digital Literacy and the “Fake News” Epidemic

Dear Teachers,

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the “fake news” phenomenon. Maybe it’s because I’m a [former] librarian; maybe it’s just because I’m obsessed with the whole digital literacy thing, but I don’t think it’s only because fake news is in the headlines a lot lately. A friend recently told me she thought the term “fake news” was completely inane, as what that really means is simply “lies.”  Digital literacy – and its fairly large subset, media literacy – is a crucial set of skills and attitudes that are necessary now more than ever before to impart to today’s learners. And it takes a huge amount of pretty sophisticated critical thinking, digital skills, and an understanding of our online behavior to even start to understand how complex the action of website evaluation is.Continue reading “Digital Literacy and the “Fake News” Epidemic”

Action Research: Measuring the Plan

Dear Teachers,

Yes, here it is again: another update in my plan to take over the world improve digital literacy in as many places as I can. The most recent class in my grad program has been about designing a plan for measuring the results of our respective innovation plans. For this leg of the journey, I’ve been focusing more on teacher professional development plans than on the website of student-created content. (But in your spare time, hop on over and take a look at how CLICK is developing – and I’ve recently received 17 additional student-made videos that I’ll be posting in the next few days!)

In creating this action research plan for a digital literacy course for teachers, I also taught myself the NEW Google Sites – sooo cool and user friendly! Click the image to see the plan!


Expanding on the Grand Plan for Digital Literacy

Media literacy. Website evaluation. Digital vocabulary. Reputation management. Digital self-control. Basic troubleshooting strategies. These are all important skills and concepts- along with many others – that students need to know in order to be successful in today’s digital world. Some students may learn these skills through trial and error, or because they have parents or teachers who are good digital coaches and role models, but often these skills slip through the cracks.

In order for teachers to feel more comfortable about helping their students understand digital fluency and digital citizenship, I’ve been working on developing a course that will be offered in my district. This course will help teachers think about the reasons for teaching digital skills, the critical thinking skills that are required of students in an online environment, and how teachers can successfully weave these skills into what they already teach without feeling like they now have “one more thing to do.”

Although I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, I’ll be completely honest here and say that I’m not a big “data person.” I recognize that that confession perhaps puts me in an unpopular minority. I do understand that data is important; I know I need to pay attention to data; I get that measurement shows us where we need to improve; etc., etc. But we are in a profession that is focused on other human beings, and I hope NEVER to forget that kids (and teachers) are so much more than a bunch of discrete data points.

However, my current grad class is all about assessing digital learning initiatives, and I’m definitely happy to be pushed out of my comfort zone to consider measuring the impact of my crazy schemes to take over the world improve digital literacy. Click the image or the link below to see an outline of what that might look like for the Digital Literacy course I’m cooking up: