Modelling is a Powerful Coaching Practice

coaching for iPad use

Modelling is a powerful coaching practice because a demonstration builds a picture that is richer than words alone.  If you have a coaching methodology, you may think that modelling has to be formal, planned in consultation with a teacher, and evaluated/debriefed to pull out the learning points. That is one approach to modelling, as part of a formal coaching process, but it’s not the only way.

Opportunities for Modelling

I’ve noticed that there are many opportunities for modelling when working with teachers. If a teacher asks you to lead a lesson, demonstrate a tool, or co-teach a lesson, you have an opportunity for modelling, and you can find ways for both you and the teacher to learn from the collaboration. Depending on the context, here are 3 activities that you can engage the teacher in:

  • while students explore an app/approach for the first time, brainstorm a list of uses of the app with the teacher
  • get feedback from the teacher about what worked well and what needs improvement from your lesson/demonstration (this only needs to take 5 minutes)
  • discuss the affordances/limitations of the approach or tool that you used (possibly while students are working individually or in groups)

Benefits of Modelling

I think it’s beneficial for students to see their teachers discussing teaching and learning. We want them to engage in this same kind of practice, so that they personalize their own learning. Any collaboration between teachers has the potential to help each teacher improve, and models collaboration and decision-making for students.

I integrated the 3 teacher engagement activities into my work with teachers, to support their technology integration. I noticed that teachers gained confidence in using digital devices independently in the classroom, and started taking more risks with trying new ways of integrating technology. This showed me that modelling has a place in everyday teaching and learning, and it’s important to discuss the demonstration because it enhances teachers’ creativity and confidence.

How do you incorporate modelling as part of your teaching/coaching practice? I’d love to hear your stories.

Save all Your Photos in One Place

As a teacher, you probably take lots of photos of your students in the classroom. You may even have students or assistants act as photographers. It’s useful to save all those photos in one place. This lets you access the photos from any device, makes it easy for you to share photos and albums with everyone including parents, and protects your images from loss if a device breaks or becomes inaccessible. If your device is running out of space, you may also want to save your photos and videos in Google Photos so that you can delete them from your device and free up space. This is especially important if your school uses devices that only have 16 GB of space.

If your school uses G Suite, Google Photos is a good option, as it is included as an app in your G Suite account. Google Photos works on whatever devices your school may be using. To use Google Photos, you need a Google account. Then install Google Photos on your Android or iOS device, or on your Mac or Windows machine, or access Google Photos on the web. Once you have the app installed, you can setup Backup and Sync for Google Photos on your device.

Note that if you set the quality of your photos to high in Google Photos, your uploads do not count towards your available storage limits. This means that you can save an unlimited number of high quality images (up to 16 mega-pixel) and videos (up to 1080p), which is high enough quality for people who mostly access multimedia in digital formats.

What’s New in Google Classroom – August 2017

August 2017 Google Classroom Updates

help in Google ClassroomGoogle Classroom is Google’s learning management system, which was introduced in 2014. Throughout each school year, and over the summer, Google releases new features and updates to Classroom. If you have a suggestion of a feature for Google Classroom, click on Send Update inside Classroom to share you idea.

Google made a number of changes to Classroom over the summer holidays. There are two features that were on my wish list: the ability to display the class code full screen, and new page views where a student or teacher could see all the student’s work for a class, and the status of the work. Other updates include the ability to reorder classes on the home page, to grade quizzes question by question, assign decimal grades for assignments, use the Google bar to quickly switch to other G Suite products, and transfer ownership of a class to another teacher. Google Classroom now integrates with QuizizzEdcite, and Kami. You can get more details about the updates in the blog post from Google.

If you’re new to Google Classroom, or want to improve your use of Google Classroom, check out the Training Center. This hub contains video tutorials, tips and tricks from teachers, guides that you can download, and access links for webinars. If you have other questions (or tips to share), you can also take part in the Help Forum. For more tips, follow the #FirstDayofClassroom hashtag on Twitter.

Teach Digital Citizenship from the Start of the School Year

Phone in the Hands of a Bully

Phone in the Hands of a Bully, License: CC BY-SA 4.0

Digital Citizenship

Digital Citizenship refers to the appropriate behaviors for positive engagement with digital tools and in digital spaces. We can view digital citizenship as an extension of citizenship in the physical world, where we have rights, duties, and obligations depending on our national affiliations. In schools, much of the hidden curriculum is concerned with student behavior as well as interaction between individuals and groups of people. Teachers help students develop team building skills, cooperation, kindness, sharing and other such attributes within the course of classroom and extracurricular activities. These skills are even more important online, where it’s easier to be mean and misunderstandings occur more often without the nuances of speech and body language.

Mark Ribble, in his book Digital Citizenship in Schools, identifies 9 elements of digital citizenship. The elements are Digital Etiquette, Digital Communication, Digital Law, Digital Literacy, Digital Access, Digital Rights and Responsibilities, Digital Health and Wellness, Digital Commerce, and Digital Security.

Teaching Digital Citizenship

Experiences in the physical and virtual worlds work in tandem to create ways of thinking and being. Children have some experiences online before doing so in the physical world. They may also experiment and explore their identity online. Adults can help children unify their online and offline worlds, and help facilitate constructive and positive experiences through intentional conversations and guidance in both spaces. As children experience new situations and problems, and engage in steps to resolve them, they build resilience.

Students develop digital citizenship skills by engaging in online spaces, with appropriate support and guidance. Digital citizenship lessons are best taught within the context of technology use. Just as we can’t teach a child to ride a bike through pen and paper exercises, we can’t teach digital citizenship skills in that way. What we teach about digital citizenship and how we teach it should depend on the age of the child. In every class and subject, it is up to the teacher to highlight any relevant digital citizenship skill that students are using during the course of a lesson. The following essential questions for use with students, derived from Mark Ribble’s work, may help you develop lessons and activities for your classroom:

  • What are my rights and responsibilities in a digital society? (Digital Rights and Responsibilities)
  • How does my use of technology affect other people? (Digital Etiquette)
  • Am I using technology responsibly and appropriately? (Digital Law)
  • Do I communicate appropriately with others when using digital tools? (Digital Communication)
  • What technology can I use to improve my learning? How does technology help me learn? (Digital Literacy)
  • Does everyone have access to the appropriate technology tools when he/she needs them for learning, work, and for local and global collaboration? (Digital Access)
  • How can I protect myself and my equipment from being harmed by my online activities? (Digital Security)
  • What are the physical and psychological dangers of digital technology use? (Digital Health and Wellness)

Start the year with clear agreements with students about their use of technology at school and in the classroom. If your school has a technology use policy, discuss it with students and help them understand its contents and how it applies to their classes. Develop classroom rules that clarify and build upon existing school rules about technology use. Make sure that classroom rules address software installations, changes to computer configuration, and uses of technology devices. During orientation at the beginning of the school year, students in one grade 4 classroom made class agreements on taking photos and videos in the classroom and downloads and purchases on classroom iPads, learned about password strength, and made a list of trusted adults beside their parents/guardians to go for help in the physical world if they have a problem in the virtual world.

Throughout the year, reinforce the agreements, concepts and skills from the start of the year. As you plan your lessons and units, select the essential question relevant to the content area, and to the use of technology by students. Use this essential question to include relevant tasks and conversations in your lessons. Also model digital citizenship skills in your own teaching. Finally, include descriptions of digital citizenship skills that students are learning in your regular communication home.

Teaching digital citizenship in Elementary School

Throughout elementary school, teachers should share reliable, relevant websites with children. One way to do that is through a bulletin board of QR codes that students can quickly use to access websites. Other tools for sharing include social bookmarking tools like Diigo, Google Classroom or other learning management systems, and tools like Chirp. It’s important to emphasize which tools and websites students may use, the process for selecting a new website or tool, and how to identify unsafe situations online.

In lower elementary school, most of the tools used by students at school will be found and shared by the teacher. The major focus of digital citizenship for students should be on finding and using safe, appropriate sites, and on what to do if they find themselves in a new or scary place.  Common Sense Media has a lesson using the analogy of traffic lights for K-2 students where green light sites are those that are appropriate for the child. If you’re an elementary school teacher, you may want to make a poster or bulletin board of green light sites for the classroom. You can involve students in evaluating the sites, and in posting them. You may connect this idea to a QR code bulletin board, for students to quickly access green light sites.

In upper elementary school, students will begin to find more of their own websites to use. They start to make accounts independently and need to learn about strong passwords, and protecting their accounts. It’s important for teachers to help children develop independence in selecting appropriate resources for use in their learning. My favorite lesson for helping children in Grades 3 – 5 recognize the opportunity and responsibility of digital citizenship is Rings of Responsibility from Common Sense Media.This lesson can be done each year, customized to the grade level of the children. It’s also a good idea to send related material home, with ideas for connections at home.

Even though students in Grades 3 – 5 do not meet the requirement for many online sites and tools, many of them have these accounts, with or without their parents’ permission. Discussions of cyberbullying, online civility, and privacy are especially important as children engage more in virtual spaces. As a teacher, you can facilitate conversations with students about their choices and habits when using digital tools. It’s important in this lesson to be a listener, and facilitator, and to guide students’ choices without being bossy.

Teaching Digital Citizenship in Middle and High School

Students in middle and high school generally have much more independence in using their digital devices. They engage in social media and in social networks. It’s important to teach about cyberbullying, time management, and mental and physical health, as topics connect to the digital lives of teens. Common Sense Media has a variety of kits and lessons to help you. Since many students have their own devices at home, issues of Digital Commerce and Digital Security are relevant to them. They should learn about these topics as part of core courses of technology, maths, and other relevant subject areas. Alternatively, some schools organize a digital citizenship bootcamp for students during the first days of school.

Favorite Resources for Teaching Digital Citizenship

I have used many different websites for teaching digital citizenship, but in the past few years, I’ve focused on the following 3 resources:

I’ve recently learned about one more tool, which sounds exciting, the Digital Intelligence Quotient (DQ). The DQ includes 8 digital skills: digital citizen identity, screen time management, cyber bullying management, cyber security management, digital empathy, digital footprints, critical thinking and privacy management. DQ World is an online game with free access for kids ages 9 to 12 to develop their digital citizenship skills. You can create a school/classroom account to use the site in your classroom. If you try it out, please leave me a comment.

Another resource – Tech Time Digital Citizenship wiki based on Mark Ribble’s book

Making Conferences Work for You

Conferences have proven to be an enduring approach to professional learning. Given the one time approach to professional learning, it is important that each participant plan for success when attending a conference. It can be easy to become distracted or overwhelmed at a big conference. Before going to a conference, stop and set an intention for your experience.

Conferences are a great opportunity for informal learning. Take the chance to speak to people between and during sessions to expand your knowledge of what’s happening in education beyond your experience.

Conferences, especially large ones, provide exposure to new technology. Before going to a conference, make a list of the tools/resources that you are dissatisfied with or problems that you have not found a solution for. Visit vendors and demos to find out resources that may meet your needs. Also take the opportunity for hands-on experience with tools that you are curious about or have never encountered before to build your knowledge base. If you’re going to ISTE 2017, check out this guide.

Attend sessions that are connected to your professional development plan. Look at the agenda to decide what value the conference offers you, and whether to attend. It’s okay to sit out a session; this could be a valuable opportunity to process a previous session and make a plan for integrating your new learning into your context. Spend some time looking at the schedule and select sessions that tie into your goals and plans, and that will help you achieve them. Have a focus.

Meet people from your virtual learning network. I’m a big fan of virtual connections but have to remember the importance of connections in the physical work. It adds a new dimension to the connections that you’ve built online when you can meet people in the physical world.

Present something that you’re excited or passionate about. Presenting lets you add the social element to learning which provides motivation and engagement. It also lets you cater to different personality types and learning preferences.

Take time to debrief. Share resources with those who may be interested, write some blog posts to expand and share your thinking, follow up with admin to clarify some goals, and implement some processes related to your own professional growth.

If you have a growth mindset, you can create your own learning experiences in a conference, or reframe the experiences provided to meet your goals and the needs of your role.

What strategies do you apply to grow from participation in conferences? I’d love to know what excites you about them.

 

This post is reformatted and expanded from the original.

Featured Image Source: Pixabay, CC0