Monday, December 29, 2014

Rexroth - 20% Project: Collaboration & Communicate with Grandma & the World

  • What Would Grandma Think?

    In the first two weeks of class, I have used a three step lesson to try to focus students on paying attention to their online profile and lay the groundwork for our classroom expectations when using digital resources and posting assignments.

    From day one: whenever I introduce an assignment for anything that will be published online or published in class I ask the students to imagine that they are ready to read their post to their Grandma and have to explain it to her.

    Another way to use this litmus test is, “Okay, I am going to take what you have published and read it to your parents over the phone.”  

    So WWGT becomes the code to remind them when they are working on digital publication.

    The second part of this lesson come by classifying two different language usage.  One being “Twitter Style” and the second being “Formal” academic.  As I use several different web 2.0 apps.  Some are limited characters, (twitter,, todaysmeet) this is when it is allowable to use “twitter style” english.  There are also times when I want them to answer short and sweet.  So say they need to communicate the major cause of a war, do it in 140 characters or less. They also need to keep in mind WWGT.

    “Formal” academic language is should be used in all other digital communication.  In the last year I have begun to integrate terms like “published” rather than “hand in”.  This has been reinforced by the ability to use technology that makes it very easy to literally “publish” their works for class, the school, and beyond.

    The third part of the lesson asks them to inventory their “digital footprint”.  First I put out a google form of for all of them to fill out as to who many places they have left their mark in the digital world.  The social media areas are easy for most, but I remind them to list the email accounts, the services they have signed up for, youtube tags, and others.  Also this year I have added another category for the inventory.  The number of areas they have signed up for in the academic world. From google accounts, to, to, the list is every expanding.

    Then comes a reflection on what they find when they google themselves.  How much is you?  Are there others with your name?  Are you surprised by what you find?  

    Then last I have them google my name.  (Their is a Rick Rexroth who graduated from Hopkins High School six years before I did and his mother’s name is the same as mine.  He has had some interesting things happen in his life and has a large digital footprint, so it makes for a good example.)
    Reaching out to the world
    This is an area where I have not done much with, however I have a plan to expand this.
    First, I am working on a collaboration with another AP Euro teacher in Minnesota.  There are two schools that may be good matches as they are both “google schools” so shared docs will/can make it easy to collaborate.  In talking with the other teachers, we plan to start with peer advice, like giving feedback on an essay.  Then move into full blown collaboration where the shared product is submitted to both of us  for both of us for credit.
    Second, I have made contact with an old college friend who teaches science in Norway.  I hope to start a “pen pal” style relationship between his students and mine.  Again, start small with “get to know you” questions, and then expand into education systems, college plans, and other teen cultural areas. This I see the need for creating another step in digital communication.  That is to make students aware of American cultural ideas as well as idiomatic phrases.
    Third, the new frontier of Mystery Skype!  I hope to try this out in early 2015 and find a connection.  I envision the creation of a welcome message” or “first contact” type message to be crafted beforehand, so that can be another extension of the collaboration and communication.

    Remember to always say,

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