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 5, 2010

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Digital Literacy News Novemeber 5, 2010

Mount Vernon Digital Literacy News

November 5, 2010
Digital Literacy Workshop

Monday, November  8:  
Web 2.0 Wows:  I find new tools and resources every week.  Join me as I share a many of my favorite finds.  Some new finds and some of my old favorites.  Come with a few of your own favorites to share if you’d like. This is going to be a fun session, with prizes and games.  Come and join the fun and learn about some great resources.

Upcoming Digital Literacy Workshop: Monday, Nov 22
Organizing Resources Online : Using tools such as LiveBinder and ShareTab, you can create great lists of resources to share with students.

Note:  There will be no Digital Literacy Workshop on November 15th of 29th due to time conflicts.

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

Math Open Reference:  Animated glossary of math definitions and explanations.

YouTube Time Machine:  Travel through time with You Tube videos from different years.

The Best Sites for Cooperative Learning Resources List of research and resources.

Google Tutorials for Teachers

TargetMap Create customized data maps.
Cooperative Learning in the Digital World

This week I worked with secondary teachers on the High Yield Teaching Strategy of Cooperative Learning.  Cooperative Learning is not a new term or concept for any of us.  We have been dabbling in it for years.  When done right, cooperative learning is a very powerful way for students to learn.  As I worked with teachers this week, I had on my Digital Literacy Specialist hat and was thinking of how cooperative learning fits in the digital world. A growing body of research demonstrates that students learn more deeply if they have engaged in activities that require applying classroom-gathered knowledge to real-world problems. I am wondering how to extend this idea of  “classroom-gathered knowledge” to “flat classroom-gathered knowledge.”  Meaning that my classroom might not just be the students in my room, but students in other classrooms in the same district, state, country or even students across the globe.  If I plan on extending the definition of cooperative learning in this way, I need to take a look at the 5 Key elements of Cooperative Learning and see if they fit my broader view of classroom.  

  • Positive interdependence : This is the sink or swim idea.  All students are working together.  Each student has a part in making the learning successful.  Each student also has a responsibility for making sure that everyone in the group is successful.  
  • Individual accountability: Students have specific tasks and information that they are responsible for.  They have a product or understanding that they are accountable for as individuals.
  • Structures that promote face-to-face interaction: The work should not just be group work where everyone has a separate task that they complete on their own, to create a product.  Students must be actively interacting with each other to learn from each other, not just complete tasks together.  This face to face piece is the one that gets me questioning whether digital learning can also be cooperative learning.  My thought is yes, while students may not be face to face if they are working on a learning project that involves students who are not in close proximity to each other, the growing need for learning how to effectively learn and communicate with others in digital ways is a 21st Century skill that has great merit.  We all have had experiences where we have been misunderstood in an email or other digital message.  Teaching skills that help students interact better in these ways, is a powerful skill.  Face to face is still very important and as with any teaching strategy, you should use the appropriate strategy for the learning activity.  But expanding your classroom to the world while keeping in mind the elements of cooperative learning is, I think, doable and powerful.
  • Social skills: As I talked with teachers about cooperative learning this week.  Many of the questions teachers had were around how to get students to work well together.  It is imperative that we teach social skills when using Cooperative Learning.  We can not just throw students into a task without first teaching norms that will help students work well together.  
  • Group processing:  Being able to reflect on the learning process is an important part of cooperative learning.  Students need to not only reflect on the content learning that occurred, but also what worked for them as a learner, what they would do differently next time.  This builds stronger learning skills for all students and helps the groups to be more efficient and effective in the future.

There are a growing number of digital tools that help to facilitate collaborative and cooperative learning in both face to face and virtual settings.  These tools include products such as the Google Docs Suite where many students can be working on the same document or presentation at the same time, adding comments, having discussions etc.  Other tools such as let students work together on charts, and build webs collaboratively.  Wikis are websites that are created collaboratively, with different students adding different pieces of information.  Tools such as provide virtual post it notes for group planning and collaboration.  Sites like put students into cooperative groups to work on project based learning activities.  The list of digital tools for cooperative learning grows daily as  this type of collaboration becomes a more important part in the way work gets done and problems solved in the real world.

Take Aways from Cooperative Learning:

  • Students learn more deeply when they can apply classroom-gathered knowledge to real-world problems, and when they take part in projects that require sustained engagement and collaboration.
  • Active-learning practices have a more significant impact on student performance than any other variable, including student background and prior achievement.
  • Students are most successful when they are taught how to learn as well as what to learn.

Video of the Week

Neat idea for summarizing a lesson for students.  Great for student review. What kind of ideas do you have for using this idea in your classroom?

Tech Triumphs

Triumphing over Treasures! I am so impressed with our Elementary teachers as they work hard to learn a new reading curriculum and really even new reading philosophy and implement this in their classrooms. Many resources for this program are available only in digital format.  Teachers are doing a great job of problem solving, exploring and innovating to make things work.  There are still issues with making the tech work and kudos to our technicians who are also doing some great work to make things work that the vendor said wouldn’t work.  What great examples of persistence and problem solving all the way around.  Do you think our students are learning from us as we model our new learning?  

Digital Citizenship

NetBullies:  This site has many resources to help work with students on the subject of CyberBullying.  

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