Sunday, December 14, 2014

Janet Jans 20% Project for the Collaborating Community Course

Digital Citizenship

When giving instructions for a small group discussion, I have lately found myself asking students to do an important task first:  they need to look around their seating area and invite anyone into their conversation that could benefit from a welcoming comment to join them.  I want to promote the habit of inclusion,  encourage students to be welcoming, and provide an opportunity for them to discuss with students out of their usual comfort level.  
Digital citizenship, or awareness of the effect of our words and actions on ourselves and others, is a habit that can and should be embedded in our everyday use of communication.  Our global community deserves the same intentional and personal communication as our face to face communication.  
My work in building community has been to set up and encourage two levels of community through an online site called Noteflight.  I have asked and received an upgrade called Noteflight Crescendo that allows teachers to set up a musical community with students in a building. For South View, it includes both myself and Ms. Burk's class, which will broaden our learning between sections of classes and teachers within the entire 6th grade.  But Noteflight also allows students to share their compositions globally and hear what other people are creating around the world.
This was a leap for me - both exciting and intimidating.  The practical aspects were initial stumbling blocks. Upon receiving funding from our BATT committee for the upgrade, I reached out to Noteflight online help for specifics, and needed to experiment with the best way to set up the community for our students.  I told students that I was working on this - both to show them that teachers are learning and trying new things like they are, and to have them hold me accountable for the set up.  They already knew the benefits of Noteflight and were excited at the creative additions that Crescendo would give them.  Here is an example of a previous assignment using the original Noteflight.

Part of the teaching of Noteflight Crescendo was to be how to search, listen, learn from, and comment on another student's composition, whether that student is from their own class, Ms Burk's class, or a class in another country.  It was a learning experience for myself and the students, which is a partnership I truly enjoy.  It was also an opportunity to promote healthy and safe digital citizenship habits as a natural process in sharing and communication.  I would want the discussion to be as appropriate and respectful as if it were face to face.  Students know my expectations when I am in the room. Those same expectations need to transfer to our virtual room.  

I found a Twitter resource that resonated with my teaching style while providing a concrete expectation for students to use when commenting on another student's work.  It suggested a process of "3 Cs and a Q":  Compliment, Comment, Connect, and Question.

As of last week, students have logged in to the new EdinaSV Noteflight Crescendo site.  They received an assignment from me and began work on it.  They saved their work to the site, sharing with everyone in the site, and allowed all the opportunity to comment on their work.    This last task was the final check to see if my set up of the site was correct and complete.  The process works!  This next week, students will be finishing their assignments and be using the 3Cs and a Q to comment on the work of someone outside their class.

I must make a confession.  In the past, I have actually discouraged students from browsing and looking at other students work. A few students have found that option and turned in other student's work as their own.  But the opportunity to listen to and learn from another's work is very valid.  I shouldn't deny the learning opportunities for everyone for the sake of the few misguided individuals.  I should educate all students to the expectations of honesty and giving proper credit to others for their work.  Impeding access only delays the mis-intentions of some and does not give them the knowledge of how to handle the freedom and access to someone else's work.

So, this 20% assignment was an interesting one for me.  My learning style deals best with specific instructions and expectations.  But the freedom of this assignment allowed me to work on a project that had long been a wish for me to provide for Edina students.  The framework of digital citizenship added a deeper aspect to the project, giving students parameters for an enduring skill essential to their future.

This project has already taken life outside of my classroom!  Katie Burk, my South View colleague, is using it with her 6th grade students.  It was also discussed with the Valley View World of Music teacher, Ingrid Bakke, at the latest music district meeting in December.  She has pursued funding of the upgrade and will hopefully be online soon in January.  It will be exciting to feed her the easiest steps to set up the program, import assignments, and allow students to get to work more quickly.  I am even more excited to bring Ingrid's creativity into the Crescendo family and gain from all three teachers working on shared formative and summative assessments. 

No comments:

Post a Comment