Course 2: Final Project

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Only a decade ago, having people from all over the world working together would require commitment and lots of money but changing technology has made it so easy to collaborate virtually. This course had a rough start with some technical issues but because of that, we were receiving our information via email. Some of us took that opportunity to blast out what options we wanted and who would be interested.  Flynn was also interested in doing some digital citizen lessons for the primary years and it worked out well because he’s based in Japan and I’m based in Shanghai with only a one hour time difference.  I wanted to work on option 1 because we don’t have any kind of digital citizenship lessons at my current school. I have started using the lessons from Common Sense Media in the last few months with one of the lower grades at my school but I thought that by creating this unit, I could gain some more experience and exposure about digital citizenship for the older students. 

The Process

During the process of creating this unit, there weren’t too many challenges.  Flynn and I communicated well with each other and we were open to each other’s ideas.   We felt that it was important to be able to talk and discuss when creating a new unit so our first few meetings were on video calls.  After that, we moved on to discussions within our Google Docs.  We were able to assign tasks, mark things as resolved and make comments and notes directly on the google docs.  Since all of our documents were made in Google Docs, we were able to collaborate on our own time as well as the same time.  I think one of the challenges that I faced is the fact that I haven’t been a classroom teacher in a while.  I didn’t have the same kind of resources that Flynn had like the ladder feedback or folder of design examples or experience using  Interland.  (Although I blame China for my lack of Google knowledge.)  What I wasn’t able to contribute with the classroom lessons, I was able to contribute to the unit planner and the creation of rubrics and checklists to make sure they reflected the goals we had for the students. 

Since we were doing a unit on Digital Citizenship, we chose one of ISTE’s standards based on this area. We chose the following standard:

2b: Students engage in positive, safe, legal and ethical behavior when using technology, including social interactions online or when using networked devices.

We thought this would be too much to cover in this unit and so we focused on positive and ethical behavior because certain ethical actions could possibly cover legal or safe.  For example, if students are giving credit for other people’s work, that could be considered ethical as well as legal. From there, we discussed using online resources such as Interland to help teach students about digital citizenship.  Students would watch videos and interact with Google’s Interland or Common Sense Media Digital Passport games online to gather information on what it means to be a good digital citizen. To be able to demonstrate these behaviors online, we needed to create some space for them to interact and so we thought giving their peers feedback on Seesaw would be a good start. That is how we chose the second standard.

1c: Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.

Then we discussed what kind of product we wanted the students to create and that brought us to our last standard.  We wanted them to create something so they could teach their fellow peers about digital citizenship. Flynn’s class had been making lots of posters recently so that was our first idea but then we opened it up so students had some choices in what they wanted to create.  We had to limit which apps/tools they could use because it needed to be a tool that you can go back and edit but they still had plenty of options. When working with older students, they usually had already learned the technology tool so not much teaching was required into the tool itself.  If there were new students to the school who did not have that experience, they could choose a tool that they felt more comfortable with using.  So we chose the following standard:

6a: Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.

The idea was to have students create a digital artifact based on the information they gathered through the different websites and videos and then give each other feedback via Seesaw. Once they received that feedback, students needed to make appropriate changes before posting their updated work with a reflection. For the older students, we had a google form created so they could complete their self-assessments online. Since there were so many components to the rubrics, we would have the students complete each area as they went along. We created the checklist to help the younger students or those who need extra support so they could address each area in their video/written reflection on Seesaw.

The Unit,  Lesson Plans, Teacher Rubric, Student RubricSelf Assessment, and Checklist

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Collaboration Comparisons

Usually when I plan units, we also start from the big idea or the main goal that you would want students to achieve and usually, there are standards already in place for you.  So even though our main idea was about digital citizenship, we were able to choose other standards that met our needs as we fleshed out our ideas.  It’s very similar to how we started adopting ISTE standards at my school and it makes a lot of sense because technology can support and enhance any unit or subject.  But after we chose our standards and big idea, it was very similar to how I always create a unit.  We kept asking ourselves does this match what we want them to be able to understand and do?  Does this go back to the big idea?  When there was a doubt about what to keep or take away from our unit, we always referred back to our main goal.  Well if it’s in our goal, we gotta figure out how to change it to make it work or this item doesn’t have anything to do with our goal, let’s toss it. 

This learning experience was similar to a lot of learning experiences I’ve created with other teachers over the years.  There’s a lot of technical design aspect that I’ve learned needs to be explicitly taught.  Students can decide which one looks better but when they’re about to make their own work, they can’t say no to both glitter pink font and glitter silver backgrounds.  Their personal preference is what they go with unless they know otherwise. 

Course 2 Conclusions

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Course 2 covered a wide range of ideas from student and teacher privacy, to participatory culture, to social media and empathy and also misinformation online.  I think that this unit ties into many aspects of this course. While students are making their digital artifacts – they can be thinking about media literacy at the same time.  They need to think of their audience, their message and how they want to convey it.  These could be outright lessons on their own but having it be more transdisciplinary and embedded can make it even more powerful.  When giving feedback to their peers, students need to take on the perspective of their peers as well as be empathetic on how they might receive the feedback.  This allows us to use Seesaw to help build a positive online community for the classroom.  Even though this particular unit didn’t address participatory culture directly, there are many areas in the unit that can help.  First, giving students a choice in which medium they used allows them to build up their expertise in an area of their choosing.  Secondly, it also gives them the collective intelligence of the class.  If they need help with a specific app or tool, this unit gave them the knowledge of which students had used this before and with how much success.  Overall, I really enjoyed the topics that were covered in Course 2.  I feel that there’s still so much that I need to learn as a technology educator but this course has brought new excitement to my job and a direction that I want to pursue. 

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