What professional learning strategies can be used by teachers to model appropriate use of digital technologies for students?
I think having social media accounts, and using them to collaborate in our teaching is an effective way to model for students. If we are able to answer questions and find solutions to problems through the use of social media and the technologies at our disposal we are helping students to realize the potential of digital technology. In doing this we add purpose to the devices that many students hold, and perhaps that can decrease any negative tendencies with these devices!
What are the best tools and strategies to develop students’ digital portfolios?
In my role as a TL I work with many grade levels for many purposes at any given time. I don’t know that there is any ‘right’ program for any project- in my mind that is the beauty of working with technology because it is always evolving and creating new things. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t drawn to WordPress and Wikispaces (to name a couple) but that has more to do with my knowledge and experience with these platforms. For me these are easiest, but they aren’t going to work in every case for every person. I think the more things we ‘play with’ online, the more our cache fills up, which will ultimately help us to pair the best tool with the right person. After all, if we aren’t sharing choices with our students to fulfill their purpose, are we doing the ‘best’ we can for our learners?
What policies and practices exist in your school or district, or that you know of? How might these policies be used or improved to support digital citizenship?
After some searching of our website, I located some policies in regards to the use of technology and the internet within ours schools. My interpretation of the policy is: the use of technology is apparent in our world, and therefore teachers are responsible to find a way to integrate its use into their teaching of the curriculum with appropriate and thoughtful means. It also states that any mis-use of technology (failure to follow the netiquette rules outlined) will result in the loss of technology.
Also noteworthy, is that our division has begun holding ‘edcamps’ for our teachers, the day is open to discovering and learning about different tech tools through those who have experience with the tools.
As far as the policies that are used and how they can be improved to promote digital citizenship, I think we need to ensure that we are not restricting “BYOD” within our schools, the first step to showing students how to use technology without forbidding it, trust them to use what they have for a purpose, and model now it can be done. Have students sign a contract that outlines netiquette and expectations, make sure parents know the parameters and expectations for these devices. We can empower our students with the devices most of them bring to our schools daily.
I expect that kids are going to make mistakes along the way, they are kids, when you have guidelines, you can use these mistakes as teachable moments, and implement consequences if/when necessary.