Tech-empowered learners, requires ongoing opportunities to learn and practice in a safe environment where mistakes are encouraged.
However, we know that students will not master collaboration skills in simple, one-and-done lessons. Above all, they will need your guidance and support on this learning journey.
Use this four-step process to help design repeated learning opportunities that will empower your students with the critical life skill of confidently being an "Internet Awesome" citizen.
4 STEP Steps to Empowered Citizens
Internet Awesome REsources
Self-described as “not techy,” Stephanie Flynn is one of the top Book Creator users in Jeffco Public Schools.
How did Stephanie get to be one of the top users? She has been using Book Creator for the past three years at Vanderhoof Elementary School. After learning about the digital tool from an Ed Tech specialist, she was given time to explore the tool. She and her fourth grade team realized the platform would be a great way to publish and present student work.
Digital Citizen- Best Practices
Stephanie presented the tool to her own students. “Kids know what to do. Show them the tool. Give them parameters to use it, and they will figure it out more than you.” She planned out the lesson, set expectations for students and parameters for a new tool’s “best practice.”
TIPS From Stephanie for behavior management in a digital age:
Empowered Learner- Teach the Teacher
Students were given time to explore the tool and dig into its resources with a clear question in mind:
How could we use this tool for our own learning?
While we typically pair digital tools with content, sometimes the learning should be about the tool and its potential uses. This provided Stephanie’s students with the WOW factor and engagement. Exploring also gave Stephanie’s 4th graders not only the confidence to navigate the tool themselves, but a platform to construct their own ideas of how Book Creator could support their learning. Stephanie reflected that her students ended up “teaching the teacher” about the tool and felt confident moving forward with this new tool.
Knowledge Constructor - 4th Grade Natural Disasters Unit
At first, they used Book Creator to publish writing. Students conducted research from books and websites to hand write their drafts before publishing with Book Creator.
The 4th grade team team created a mentor text/exemplar for students to follow.
Creative Communicator - Book Creator Evolved during Remote Learning
During Covid, the students shifted from a publishing tool to a creation tool. Students created Word Work notebooks to take notes on different figures of speech. Stephanie kept track of their work through the Book Creator dashboard and provided timely feedback to her students.
In another unit, students conducted a research project. They were paired up to teach a younger class and recorded their voices to provide support for younger students. Not only did their younger students learn, but Stephanie learned about the students’ fluency skills.
Student Use of the Tool Changed during Covid
Students needed a way to present their learning to parents. Using Book Creator, the students created a “Learning Portfolio” for the year including;
Empowered Learner- Resistant Writers
“This tool is very motivating for resistant writers.”
One student of hers was a twice exceptional student who refused to write in class. This student was so engaged with the tool, they “produced more with Book Creator than they ever did on paper.” It gave them a platform to not only type but also use speech to text and recordings to share their thinking. In addition, the photos and pictures feature gave them more motivation to write. After experiencing a newly-found interest in writing, Stephanie’s student realized that they have the capability to write, but needed a platform that allowed them to reach their potential.
After COVID, Stephanie sees the potential that Book Creator has to continue elevating her students’ learning. Upcoming projects planned:
Up your Book Creator Game
As we begin thinking about next month’s parent teacher conferences, things will probably look different. Virtual conferences will be a probable solution to safety concerns as well as being convenient for busy families. Most likely schools will be offering a virtual option for conferences this year. Below, you’ll find guidelines for parent-teacher conferences during remote learning, tips for getting students involved, and more!
Getting students involved
With district provided tools available to all students, put them to work. When students are involved in sharing their own work in parent teacher conferences, it encourages them to take responsibility and ownership of their learning. Family and teacher conversations become more rich and transparent when students have had time to prepare material and reflect on their own learning. Teachers can set the criteria for what is to be presented to parents. Students can then choose a tool that helps communicate their learning. Here are some tools with samples and ideas.
Students can use Google Slides to share work exemplars, content from multiple subject areas, MAP & other assessment data, and any other creative ideas that teachers have empowered the students to share. Here is an example from the 5th grade team from Deane Elementary.
Wevideo has powerful communication opportunities for students. Students can upload images of their work, slides they have created, pictures of class projects and so much more into a video that they can narrate (with or without sentence stems). See this powerful blog on using WeVideo for student voice in Conferences.
Google Meet platform has made some changes over the past few months. Getting familiar with this tool will help make conferences more effective. Here is a help guide for creating a Meet link just for conferences, preparing families, and other helpful tips. As always, you can reach out to your EdTech specialist for additional support and resources.
A Learning Management System (LMS) is a structure to provide consistent access to instruction and resources. It provides a pathway for students, families and teachers to access the learning and feedback at all times. Many teachers and families had their first experiences with an LMS in response to Covid-19. However, a Learning Management System, whether it be Schoology, Google Classroom, or Seesaw has a purpose and a place far beyond a pandemic.
In a world where all educators are working to guide students to become Global Collaborators, Creative Communicators, Knowledge Constructors, Empowered Learners, and engaged Digital Citizens we need to provide the structures and spaces that authentically deliver these opportunities on a daily basis. A well organized and thoughtfully implemented LMS is the foundation to this work.
Access to a Learning Management System provides students:
For Our Families
Use of a consistent LMS means that caretakers will have peace of mind knowing their students have access to all the resources listed above. It also means that families will:
Learning Management Systems in jeffco