Digital Life Skills

In recent years, the digital age has transformed the education environment entirely. We started from merely integrating elements of technology into teaching, to completely relying on technology as a platform to deliver education as well as teach it. On the market, there are devices and apps designed to teach toddlers how to code—which really paints a picture as to how early technology is penetrating the lives of our children today. As a result, educators need to be at the forefront of introducing as well as teaching digital media to students. This will equip them to be better suited and competitive amongst their peers, and also learn things that are practical in today’s world. Educators can help students understand the independence, ownership, and individual value they can bring in their work through digital media.

Despite the ubiquitous nature of digital media, there still lie many challenges and considerations ahead to crafting a new brand of education tied in with digital media. Students need to understand both the potential and limitations to this wealth of information from their use of digital media. For instance, this world introduces a new branch of safety issues such as cybersecurity, which was never thought of as a threat that might affect children. There are so many other unexplored territories and models of education with digital media. Educators need to themselves be equipped to provide these lessons. There also needs to be proper metrics to assure that the quality of the digital education model is adequate to match the needs of the students.

Twitter Chats!

The two twitter chats I participated in were #edtechbridge and #teacherpowered. This was my first time joining a twitter chat, so I was a little confused at first. I kept thinking I had to join a chatroom because that is all I know from my AIM (aol instant messenger) days. Soon, I discovered all I had to do was click the hashtag and go to the ‘latest’ tab. For both chats I participated in, the pace of the conversation was fast and hard to keep up with. It was also difficult to keep up with questions or comments that were directed at my tweets. Even so, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience because it was a great opportunity to hear about what educators are implementing in their classroom. The participants also tweeted many inspirational quotes that belong on bumper stickers! I’m definitely interested in joining more Twitter chats in the future. I’m wondering how I can be better informed of twitter chats that pertain to the topics I am interested in?

Educational Standards and Real Life

“Each time a teacher tells a student that what they care about the most, what makes them curious and passionate outside of school, does not belong In the classroom, that teacher also delivers another message: What teachers care about and what is mandated by educational standards have little or nothing to do with learners’ activities once the school bell rings.” (Jenkins, 2012)

This quote was particularly jarring as it made me think back to the moments when I have confiscated items or stopped students from talking about video games or tv shows. I think it is natural for an educator to remove distractions so students can focus on their work. I have never considered how our actions may unknowingly send the message that what we teach in school has nothing to do with real life experiences. When writing all about books during our non-fiction unit, I instructed students to stay away from Pokemon Go and Minecraft. I feared that they would be too distracted by the topic and made this decision intending to ensure they wouldn’t get too carried away with content and forget about structure. Now I am beginning to see how this would have been a great opportunity to make a connection between educational standards and real life. I am reminded of an educator’s responsibility to create opportunities for real-life connections, which will increase engagement and motivation.

Weekly Play!

This shortform video shares the process of how my 2nd graders participate in rug club conversations! Students take turns sharing their books with their group members. Listeners must make it on the “board” by asking questions and sharing ideas. Once they ask a question and share, they can put their name down. This activity teaches into participation and hopefully can build foundational skills needed in a digital participatory environment.

Mediated Writing

For my mediated writing project, I decided to write an informational how-to piece on creating intentional anchor charts. This was my first time using sway and probably won’t be the last!

Sway was relatively easy to use though it took some time to figure out how to add pictures and additional boxes. I had some difficulties at first when I chose the Portfolio design template. Portfolio puts more emphasis on the picture rather than the text which was not what I wanted for my project. After inputting half of my pictures and texts into Portfolio, I saw that my text did not fit very well. I decided to switch to the Blog design template instead. I struggled with replacing pictures the templates already had and ended up deleting their image box and creating a new image box where I could drag my own pictures. Overall I had a good experience using Sway and will be using it more in the future!

Using technology in Japan

My first two days in Japan have been a blur of good food, overwhelming sights, and so much technology! From hi-tech heated toilets to vending machines that provide hot coffee in a bottle (how??), Japan truly lives up to their reputation of being one of the most developed countries with a very advanced tech industry. As I’m fiddling with all their cool gadgets and devices, I am facing many challenges because everything is in Japanese but also because I have no prior knowledge of how to use their fancy machines. One of the popular methods of ordering food at a restaurant in Tokyo is by inputting your choice into a vending machine before you take your seat. Thankfully, the pictures and prices help with making our decision but the process of getting our ticket was difficult to figure out. My friends and I didn’t know whether to make our selections or put our money in first so our initial attempt was a disaster and we failed miserably, causing a commotion as we tried to communicate with the owner who did not speak any English. This experience has helped me to understand how important it is for individuals to be equipped with the basic skills and prior knowledge when it comes to using technology. Even more motivation for me to provide my students with the knowledge they need to succeed!

Enthusiastic Networkers

When reflecting upon Rheingold’s point of using ICT’s enthusiastically and nimbly, I was immediately reminded of those in my life who have also progressed through the process of becoming media-literate. Those from the previous generations are often hesitant when it comes to using internet and mobile technologies because of the overwhelming unknowns they must face. Rheingold mentions, “Evidence suggests that people do well as networkers if they are not timid about technology. Although diving into this world may be challenging at first, I have personally witnessed how becoming media-literate can provide an individual with the ability to find information, assess it, and react to it. My mom is the perfect example as one who had no technology or computer skills, in addition to limited English proficiency. Soon we realized neither of these reasons were reasonable in holding her back from being an avid media user. Once she jumped into the world of Wechat and Facebook, her enthusiasm to broaden her networks increased and motivated her to explore new digital tools. She became a participant in the many diverse networks and can now function independently when participating in her networks.

Bound to Technology

The mad influx of phone calls, text messages, and emails throughout a single day is often overwhelming but as seen through Justine Yu’s process of communication in Networked, it is clear that social organizing is now completely reliant on the interplay of mobile and online interactions. Similar to Justine, I hardly think twice about the process of coordinating and planning around a social event. The exchange of emails, texts, and phone calls have become so habitual that I don’t realize how my everyday life is heavily bound with technology. When analyzing my reliance on the internet to help with coordinating and making decisions, it is clear that my face-to-face interactions with others is completely dependent on mobile and online technologies that connect me to other people.

Challenge for 2017: Plan one event without using my phone or computer!

How does this apply to second grade?

When going through the coursework for this class, I have been constantly asking myself, “How does this apply to second grade?” It has been a struggle to implement concepts and integrate what we have been learning into my world of 7 and 8 year olds who have just begun learning how to type. As I reflect and ponder on “My Question” I am beginning to see how the many skills and habits necessary to be a participant in the digital world are practiced and developed long before students are exposed to Twitter or Facebook. As I was reading about collaboration and cooperation, the correlation between the activities we participate in BEDUC 476 and my classroom is apparent. Rheingold (2012) mentions regarding collaboration, “Collaborators develop and agree on common goals, share responsibility and work together to achieve those goals, and contribute resources to the effort.” 2nd grade book clubs require the same kind of collaboration where students come together and exchange information as they read through the same book. They share their ideas to build on one another and work together in creating a poster that gives a comprehensive summary of the book. 2nd graders cannot be direct participants in the digital world quite yet, but they have definitely begun developing the foundational skills needed to thrive in a social-digital environment.