Digital Doors was created as a place for me to blog and share resources that I think would be helpful for teachers integrating technology in meaningful ways in their classroom. My goal would be to write a blog post a week, but with my busy schedule, that doesn't happen. I write when I can and rely on nifty tools to help me share what I am finding when I don't have time to write.

Friday, November 19, 2010

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Digital Literacy news November 19, 2010

Mount Vernon Digital Literacy News

November 19, 2010
Digital Literacy Workshop

Monday, Nov 22

Canceled due to Conferences.  

Monday, Nov. 29
Organizing Resources Online : I will be showing how to use Google Sites to create a resource site for students.  I will also share several other tools that you can also use for creating resource sites such as LiveBinders and ShareTabs.

See a schedule for the year.

Open Lab: 2:30 - 5:00

Resource Instruction: 3:15 - 4:00               
Monday Afternoons, District Office Tech Lab.

Clock  Hours are available.

Links to Explore

Generation Quiz:  Interesting quick quiz that identifies what generation you are in.  Would be an interesting conversation starter with students.

The Family Meal:  Check out this and other great videos at SnagLearning.

BudgetPuzzle:  Can you solve the budget issues?  Give it a try using this puzzle.  Excellent for Business and Economics classes.

Print,Cut,Fold: Technology projects.  Templates for lots of “Dinah Zike like” graphic organizers and learning templates.

Digital Vaults: National Archives resources.  Lots of great Primary Source Information.
The Secrets to a Good Password

How many log ins and passwords do you have?  I’ll bet that I can rival that.  In my position, I try out lots of new web 2.0 tools and almost all of them have a password and log in.  I know that I have hundreds of log ins and passwords to keep up with.  Today, it is impossible to conduct business, do your job, shop, etc, without accumulating a list of log ins and passwords.  

This is true of our students as well.  Just at school, they have a number to key in for lunch, a log in and password for AIMS, a log in and password for logging into the internet and possibly several other log ins for various programs.  These are the times that we live in. As teachers, we tend to cringe at the thought of having students learn yet another log in or password.  In fact, we cringe at having to learn our own user names and passwords.  We might see it as just one more thing taking time away from learning.  

In our district, we have moved to individual log ins for each person accessing the network.  Students K-12 all have a unique log in and set a password.  This provides students with access to their own working space on the network.  Students have a place to save and share their work.  This work is accessible from any computer on the network as long as they are logged in as themselves.  This also allows the district to customize content and access for students and teachers, giving more access to those who need it and protecting students under the FERPA and CIPPA guidelines. This also serves as a protection.  It gives accountability to the person who is logged on for the activities that happen while they are on the computer. 

 All of this to say, there are reasons for log ins and passwords, and passwords and log ins are not going away any time soon.  So, just as it is important to teach kids other life skills like learning their address and phone number, putting their name on their paper, stop, drop and roll, look both ways etc., it is also worth the time to teach and model how to use log ins and create, remember and keep passwords private. We can not just say, my students will never be able to remember their password, we need to teach them the skills to either remember or store passwords in a safe and private place.  It is a bit of a hassle at first.  Kind of like teaching a child how to tie a shoe.  At first, this is pretty time consuming, but as a former Kindergarten teacher, faced with multiple shoes to tie each day, I learned quickly, that taking the time to teach the skill to the child saved everyone much time in the future. 

Here are a few suggestions for teaching and modeling the skill of keeping up with passwords and log ins.

1. When possible use a log in that is familiar and makes sense to you.  (passwords should be more mysterious, but should still make sense to you.)
2. If the log in is given to you, and doesn’t make sense, invent a connection that helps you remember.  
3. Teach students to write their log in and password information down and keep in a safe place. Perhaps in day planners, etc.  
4. With younger students, you might want to have kids write their passwords on a card and keep in the teacher’s password “safe”.  
5. With younger students, give them a category for their passwords to help cue them if they forget.  ex.  favorite animal
6. When all else fails, passwords can usually be reset.  

Please don’t let passwords become a roadblock for student access to new learning tools.

Video of the Week

The 21st Century Learner

Interesting ideas and insights about our students from the MacArthur Foundation. 

Tech Triumphs

I had the opportunity to visit with a teacher involved in the TL21 grant this last week.  She shared that integrating technology into her lessons in creative and innovative ways has brought back her love for teaching.  Technology has helped her push herself to think and be allowed to move beyond the box. She is doing a fabulous job of teaching to the standards but the use of technology has added a bit of fun and creativity that she had been missing.  I believe that we are all happier and do a better job of learning (and teaching) when we feel challenged and affirmed to be creative and innovative. Technology might not be the avenue you take to add creativity and innovation into your teaching, but I would encourage you to look for ways to incorporate new creativity and innovation  throughout your lessons.

Digital Citizenship

This is nice, straight forward video about Digital Citizenship from Would be great to share with kids and then discuss.

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