Introducing Final COETAIL project: CARP Jr (Week 1 Progress)

For my final COETAIL project I have designed a 6-week unit on visual literacy elements aimed at lower primary (KG-G2).I was particularly interested in how lower primary students can access the complex language of the CARP design principles. I decided to remix Keri-Lee Beasley‘s model into an interactive Google Presentation, as shown below. My previous COETAIL post, CARP Jr, details why I chose this project as well as outlines the 6 week unit.

The first week of introducing the CARP acronym went well! In my role as EdTech Coach, the G1 classroom teacher and I agreed to team-teach this lesson. This allowed me to present and introduce the terminology (using the above Google Presentation) as well as make some connections for students. Meanwhile, the classroom teacher observed, and then took over after the group activities to make deeper connections to other learning.

Week 1: What is C.A.R.P?

We started the lesson looking at the examples (printed on paper) of “I Love My Dog Bingo”. Students needed to come up with something they liked and something they thought could be improved. It was difficult for them to come up with vocabulary to describe it. However many of them noticed that it was hard to see some of the writing, and that the pictures didn’t represent what the text said.

Then, we went through the CARP presentation together (above Google Presentation) and learned the terminology using kinesthetics (clapping out the syllables) and enunciating the parts of each word. I carefully crafted each poster to reinforce the meaning of each word:

Some students were able to make connections to words like Repetition, as they had learned this word in music. It was an excellent opportunity to apply reading strategies and the classroom teacher helped make links with certain words they were learning. One clear example was when they were sounding out Alignment, they kept getting stuck on the ‘g’. The teacher made a connection to their Science unit on Light and Sound and they quickly made the connection to the ‘silent g’ in light and were able to sound out Alignment more or less independently. It helped that the CARP poster I created for Alignment also had lines on it:

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After the initial tuning-in to the language of C.A.R.P, students had the opportunity to revisit the “I love my dog Bingo” posters. In groups, they tried to find one area (from CARP) that could be changed to improve the poster. For most of the students, they were able to explain what was wrong but had trouble remembering the exact term. Referring to the CARP posters above the SmartBoard helped them make connections to the words. Each group presented their poster and shared which element of design would improve the layout.

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A group of 4 students had examined this poster together. Since we are not permitted to release videos of certain students, an example of some of the dialogue between the teacher and student is as follows:

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Student A (pointing to the grey text): “We need to change the colour.”

Teacher: “Would changing the colour be Contrast, Proximity, Alignment or Repetition?”

Student A: “Hmmm…I think Contrast…”

Teacher: “Yes, ‘Contrast’ so it pops out…remember ‘C-Colour’ begins with a ‘C’ and ‘C-Contrast’ begins with a ‘C'”

The classroom teacher helped to reinforce the vocabulary making connections to what the students were saying. The visuals on the poster were also helpful when students were trying to be precise about the terminology, though since a majority of the class have some ESL needs, most will need to hear these new words many more times to remember them.

Next we will be unpacking each word in more detail, doing some hands-on activities to see what Contrast looks like and having a go at modifying some digital media with better Contrast.

CARP Jr for KG-G2: Course 4 Final Project UbD

It dawned on me while I was introducing the CARP design principles to a grade 3 class that many students are unaware of visual literacy elements until the middle of elementary school. Yet, we expect them to design and create visual texts from as young as Kindergarten.

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Classic example of student council poster (G2-G5 students). Which CARP elements are NOT missing??

 

I wondered… why do we wait so long to teach these principles? It’s clear from the student council poster above that even by grade 5, design principles haven’t been transferred to every day creations of visual texts. I decided to investigate ways to implement design into the younger years, starting with grade 1.

I first learned about CARP through Keri-Lee Beasley‘s Design Secrets Revealed, which I described in my previous post: Looks Like CRAP. Her eBook is one that I’ve led workshops on, and am constantly referring to when planning and working with teachers and students.  I’ve also promoted it in our staffroom as a resource all teachers in G3 and up should be using in their classrooms.

Since I work primarily with Early Years to Grade 1, I wanted to bring visual literacy and elements of design into the younger years. While the eBook is extremely engaging and differentiated with videos, definitions, external links and photos, I knew I would only be able to use some parts of it with a younger audience. For this reason, I decided to modify the principles from this eBook into a simple interactive Google Presentation that could be led with students as young as KG-G2.

I worked closely with one grade 1 teacher who has a small class of 10 students. We planned some lessons together and team-taught most of the sessions. We’ve noticed a huge improvement in the students’ design thinking. After this experience, I realised how beneficial it was to student learning to be introduced to these terms early on. For this reason, I’d like to extend this unit and collaborate with the other G1 teachers to implement this Visual Literacy Unit in their classrooms.

Some of the lessons I’ve developed in collaboration with the G1 teacher include:

  • Tuning-In: CARP Jr. Google Presentation ~ slides act as discussion point and students have a chance to share their thoughts and ideas to improve texts. We explored each term and looked at examples.
  • Individual/Paired Visual Text Exploration: focusing on each term at a time (what does Contrast look like? What does Alignment look like? etc)
  • Students re-design/improve a visual text they created by hand, implementing the CARP principles.
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G1 students look at ways to improve the text so there is better CONTRAST.
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Grade 1 students took the same poorly designed image and focused on one term from the CARP acronym.

 

My Final Project will be a 6 week unit on Visual Literacy in Early Elementary (KG-G2). During these 6 weeks I will work closely with a G1 classroom teacher to embed these design elements meaningfully into the students’ learning. What I learned from trialling it in the smaller class was that 6 year olds move much more slowly, and need a lot of practice and repetition. I’m hoping that through different learning engagements and purposeful practice, students will be able to transfer the skills acquired through thoughtful design to their every day work and visual text creations.

Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?

Developing visual literacy awareness in students is essential to building strong design skills. As I mentioned in my previous post visual literacy is one of the necessary elements of 21st century multi-literacies students need to be well-versed in. It’s also an area of learning at our school that is often neglected. It is evident in student-created posters and publications that design is an area all students would benefit learning more about. I also noticed that there are very few design resources accessible to early readers. I wanted to design a unit that other KG -G2 teachers could modify and improve for their own learning contexts.

What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?

One concern is the complex terminology and the high level of EAL (English as Additional Language) learners. I will need to monitor their progress and make modifications as we progress through the unit.

I have a strong professional relationship with the G1 team and one teacher has agreed to let me implement the unit in her classroom. We will develop and team teach the unit together so it aligns with their Unit of Inquiry (in January-March).

I would like to modify the unit for KG and G2 classes as well but will need to first trial it in the G1 classroom. It would be ideal to embed the CARP principles as part of the curriculum (KG-G2) so that students are well versed in the terminology and have had lots of practice implementing these concepts by the time they reach grade 3. However, that is a ‘big picture’ decision that needs to be made by the curriculum coordinators. So for now, we just need to address it in the classrooms and make sure students are achieving an understanding of design.

What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?

I will need to really think carefully about the students developmental levels and English ability and tailor the lessons to suit their needs. Current resources for teaching design principles are aimed at students who can already read, write and work independently. I will need to modify the activities for shorter attention spans, and embed some kinesthetics and music/rhymes to help teach the basic principles of design. Also, students will need a lot more visuals to grasp the complex terminology. The focus will also be more on exposure to these new terms, with some opportunities to practice basic implementation of these concepts. It’s a process and not all students will be developmentally ready to produce visual texts that meet all CARP principles.

What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?

Students will be using their observation skills, communication skills and will develop spatial-awareness as they look at different visual texts and how the page is organised. They will also become more reflective and thoughtful about their work as they carefully plan out their visual texts. Students will also develop appreciation for the aesthetic and become open-minded to different perspectives as they develop a personal style using the CARP principles in their design.

Here is my final UBD Project:

Implementation vs. Integration

Should schools be implementing or integrating technology?

This question was first presented to me by a member of the IBO at the 2015 ECIS Tech Conference in Munich. What do these words mean and how do we define them?During this conference, I had the privilege of working with fellow Coetail Coach @chezvivian who documented the IBO’s presentation on her personal blog. Vivian eloquently synthesises the IBO’s stance and the implications of confusing these two similar terms:

Just like in Coetail, the IB wants us to start with the question, “What is the learning?”. Then we need to plan for the learning.  The plan for the learning should drive the question of what hardware and software.  Not the other way around. We wouldn’t want our curriculum to be driven by transitory things like what devices we’ve bought and what apps they support.  The devices and apps will be obsolete in a few years time.  The learning we want for our students should last for a lifetime. During the session, this importance was discussed when we differentiated the Integration of Technology from the Implementation of Technology i.e. hardware & software  (ibid p.14).  The integration of technology should always drive the implementation of technology and not the other way around.  This is something that we’ve always discussed as part of Coetail. (Chez Vivian)

I’ve been pondering these terms ever since, as I feel many schools are definitely doing one, but not creating the support needed for the other. It’s easy for a school to decide on a budget, purchase devices and software, and say the word “integrate” to teachers. But is there a shared understanding of what that looks like? And if not, who is responsible for developing this vision?

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As with any vision, it needs to be understood at the top level. George Couros, the Principal of Change, writes:

Sometimes in education, there are shifts in what we have done and what we need to do, to support our students.  There are a lot of things that will never go away in education (like the importance of relationships in learning), but there are shifts in our world that mean education will have to a) be a part of the shift, b) lead the shift, or c) be left behind. 

The shift is happening now, and schools are at risk of being left behind. Or worse, leading their students down a path where the focus is on the flashy hardware, rather than on the learning. It is more important than ever that schools reflect on where they are, and where they want to go. Technology is evolving at an even quicker pace and many schools are simply buying new tech without considering why. Furthermore, simply hiring EdTech coaches to ‘tick the box’ won’t necessarily promote school-wide change with tech integration; there needs to be a school vision for tech integration to guide coaches too.

Edutopia recently published an article titled An Open Letter to Principals: 5 Leadership Strategies for the New Year 

These 5 strategies are fantastic guidelines for any school trying to fine-tune its vision for tech integration:

Strategy 1: Make No Excuses

Strategy 2: Model a Vision for Excellence

Strategy 3: Embrace 21st Century Pedagogy and Curriculum

Strategy 4: Breathe Life Into Professional Development

Strategy 5: Stay Connected

This fifth strategy is most important for leadership to remember. To properly integrate technology in classrooms, admin need to understand and be a part of the connectEdness of online professional learning networks.

If we are to expect school-wide changes with technology, school leadership needs to understand the difference between implementation of tech devices, verses integration using such frameworks as SAMR and TPACK.

I am waiting for the Big Shift to be led, not simply haphazardly participated in. I am looking to contribute to a culture of learning that begins at the top with school leadership and trickles down to the teachers and students. I’m hoping for action to replace reaction. As Edutopia author,Eric Sheninger, concludes with this powerful point:

Change begins with a no-excuse mentality. Don’t waste one more minute pondering what could be. There is a revolution going on right now in learning, and it is up to us to lead the way. (Edutopia)

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SAMR = SMART

What is the best way to encourage teachers to extend themselves from task enhancement to task transformation using the SAMR model?

This is a question I ask myself every day in my role as EdTech Coach. I think the best way to encourage teachers to extend towards Redefining tasks with technology is to help them understand that certain literacy skills can only be taught through technology.

Recently I delivered a Digital Literacy PD session which addressed using the SAMR model to better deliver Digital Literacy skills in the classroom. The PD focused on breaking down Digital Literacy into Six Multi-Literacy Strands. I used MediaSmarts as a resource for defining these six strands further and created this visual to showcase the importance of preparing students for a networked, media-rich world:

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Created by Jocelyn Sutherland. Symbols from CC Google Image Search. Inspired by MediaSmarts.ca definition of Digital Literacy

 

I used the CommonSense Media video on the SAMR model which does a brilliant job of extending beyond the Substitution and Augmentation phase:

In my role, I am less concerned with my own implementation of SAMR and more concerned with how I can coach teachers to adopt this model of thinking in their own classrooms. In theory, SAMR makes sense, but in practice it takes a lot more planning and thinking outside the box. As part of the PD session I led, I developed this planning guide for teachers to use to transform a unit using the SAMR model (PDF here):

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I hoped that by making a link between the Multi-Literacies in a Digital Age and SAMR, teachers would see how important it is to teach these literacies using technological devices and platforms. For example, it’s necessary for students to be exposed to networking on social media in order to learn and practice social literacy. Furthermore, information literacy now encompasses the scope of researching on the internet, therefore students must have access to digital sources in order to decipher which sources are reliable. According to MediaSmarts, media literacy is defined as:

“… ‘text’ that includes images, audio and digital media, media literacy is closely associated with digital literacy. Media literacy reflects our ability to access, analyze, evaluate and produce media through understanding and appreciation of:

  • the art, meaning and messaging of various forms of media texts
  • the impact and influence of mass media and popular culture
  • how media texts are constructed and why they are produced
  • how media can be used to communicate our own ideas effectively”  MediaSmarts.ca

This definition further supports the need for students to produce media in order to understand it. Since most media is visual and multi-modal, technological devices such as iPads, laptops, or even cameras are necessary tools to redefine the task of producing media texts. I hope the above planning sheet helps teachers see the importance of making connections between Literacy, Digital Literacy and Technology Integration and that none are mutually exclusive anymore.

This statement by MediaSmarts further highlights the pedagogical shift that needs to happen in schools:

“Technology has shifted the traditional classroom paradigm that positions the teacher as the expert. This can be hard for many educators to accept, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. In our quickly evolving technological world, we are all learners, and teachers who are willing to share responsibility with students are more likely to be comfortable – and effective – in a networked classroom.” MediaSmarts.ca

If I were to use the SAMR Model to define my coaching I would showcase it in the following way (my first attempt at Piktochart…lots to learn!):

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50% of my role is Redefinition: helping teachers and student rethink learning through iPads, laptops and online platforms. Connecting with other EdTech coaches through online PD like Coetail & Eduro. Showcasing learning using blogs and sharing & connecting on Twitter. Engaging teachers and classrooms in global eLearning through projects like Hour of CodeIf You Learned Here and the Travelling Teddybear Project.

30% of my role is Modification: working with teachers to enhance tasks using iPads; Introducing Blogs and ePortfolio platforms. Using Professional Development workshops to introduce and model ways to embed technology in the curriculum. Technology has modified my delivery of PD as I can have teachers learn apps by using them as part of the workshop. Using Infographics (like above) to summarise my role. Using QR codes on posters to encourage teachers to use their devices.

15% of my role is Augmentation: pushing in to classrooms and helping students and teachers become more technologically literate. This may involve workshop on logging in to GAFE environment and using collaborative GAFE tools, instead of desktop tools.

5% of my role is Substitution: working with teachers to better communicate over email; and substituting paper communication (posters, newsletters) with digital communication via email, GAFE or Schoology platform.

Drawing For Dummies

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Students learn about visual note-taking and RSA-style drawings

 

I prefer pictures over print. Always have, always will.

Yes, I do love a good book/article/blog post too, but since I was a child I was always drawn more to pictures and images than to printed text. I’ll never forget the used book sale at my school, when I was in 6th grade…lining up behind my peers…I looked at their collection of chapter books and noticed the large collection of picture books and comics I’d chosen for myself. It’s not that I couldn’t read…it’s that I felt there was so much more to be said by an image than words.

That’s why I wish I’d been introduced to concept of Visual Note-taking when I was in school. I first heard about it at the Apple Distinguished Educator’s Institute in Bali (2013), when I met Nicki Hambleton. She shared some of the amazing drawings she and her students created on Adobe Ideas and I was sold. I brought this back to my own classroom and had my EAL students use this form of communication to develop their ideas for oral presentations. We shared their migration stories (in conjunction with their G5 UOI on Migration) using an RSA-styled visual notetaking ‘story’ of how their family came to Indonesia. Since English was their second language, I wanted to see if they could articulate their story more thoroughly through pictures. Below is an example from one student:

This step-by-step project is outlined on my professional blog here: RSA-Style Animation with EAL Students

Below is a quick pictorial retell of some of the steps:

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We read a story about a girl moving from Vietnam to USA. Students noted the different steps in her story.
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Students documented the girl’s story, then below they made connections to themselves.
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The students started by mapping out their visual migration stories in writing first, then progressed to illustrating the different parts. They used the text to help guide them as they retold their migration stories in an iMovie voiceover.
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Students had practice using Stop-Motion HD app on the iPad to record their drawings.
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Students edited their personal migration stories in iMovie, using voiceover, transitions and themes to enhance their storytelling.

 

Since it was everyone’s first attempt at RSA-style drawings and Visual Note-taking, there were (and still are) multiple areas for improvement. However, it was a project the students really enjoyed because it allowed them to think more critically about ways to represent their story in pictures, and also allowed them to be creative with their hands and digitally.

In our upcoming October PD with staff, I’ve decided to focus one of my sessions on Visual Literacy and Visual-Note-taking. The goal is to help teachers see the connection to Visual Literacy across all grades and subject areas, and also to introduce a form of note-taking that enhances creativity and strengthens connections and understanding.

Our school has very few outcomes for Visual Literacy but teachers have access to First Steps Resources, including the Viewing & Presenting Map of Development. My Google Presentation (at the end of this post) outlines some elements from the map of development so teachers can be guided in their teaching of digital literacy.

During my research for this workshop, I came across Brandy Agerbeck‘s website who has several great resources and videos explaining the benefits of visual note-taking and thinking in the classroom and beyond.

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Screenshot of homepage from loosetooth.com

 

I particularly liked her free copy of the BrandyfestoHer quirky, visually-rich manifesto provides examples on how to adopt and practice visual notetaking and how to use it in your own profession.

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Screenshot from The Brandyfesto p.15

 

During her TedX Talk “Shape Your Thinking” she describes the importance of addressing the majority of visual thinkers. This infographic she drew was included to demonstrate how the majority of people are visual-spatial learners rather than auditory-sequential.

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I will use this infographic and her TedX talk as part of my workshop for teachers on Visual Literacy and Visual Note-taking. Below is a copy of the (nearly finished) Google Presentation I’ve developed so far. You will notice a lot of visuals, and very little text, keeping in line with CARP design principles.

Of course, visual note-taking is only one way of representing data and information in a creative and visual way. Infographics are another way to quickly summarise paragraphs and pages of data into one, clever image.

Infographics are an area of visual literacy I have not had much opportunity to explore and create with my students. I think it’s a hidden area of visual literacy few teachers think of explicitly teaching to students, but one that could link directly to visual literacy outcomes. This recent Edutopia Article highlights the benefits of creating infographics with students: Inventing Infographics: Visual Literacy Meets Written Content

The author, Brett Vogelsinger, writes:

“As texts compete for attention with soundbites, scrolling headlines, tweets, and vines, writers and readers alike are seeing the value of text that uses visual design features to organize ideas, provide background, and emphasize key facts in ways that make it easier for readers to engage a topic thoughtfully. “

The same way we may have taught students how to shorten lengthy pieces of text into a succinct ‘precis’, we now need to modify this skill for the 21st century and include visual elements. There are numerous tools for creating infographics with or for students and this recent post from creativebloq highlights the top 10.

Our edtech team will be leading another Tech Parent Workshop in November, and in my research for effective videos and data to share, I found this summary of how different popular social media tools are used:

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Screenshot From Leverage New Age Media: https://leveragenewagemedia.com/blog/social-media-infographic/

 

This infographic succinctly showcases some facts and data about social media use across the globe. I think it also highlights the different purposes for social media and helps parents gauge their own use of different platforms, and how naturally their own children may be inclined to use specific platforms. We will also be surveying students over the next few weeks and presenting data using Google Forms. When the survey is complete, I would like to create a school-focused infographic to showcase social media tools and popularity within our particular community.

The motto K.I.S.S( ‘keep it simple stupid’) never had more weight than it does today – an age where we are constantly looking for quicker, faster ways to capture an audience’s attention. For many years, I also believed that, as Vogelsinger writes, “writing better equaled writing longer”…equally reading longer equaled reader better. I experienced this growing up as a student in the 80s and 90s, where the longer your book was, the better ‘reader’ you were. The fact that we are now making more of a push for understanding and making meaning of visuals is not just ironic and contradicting, but vindicating in many ways. How many students (like myself) have gone through their schooling feeling like ‘the dummy’ because they preferred picture books, or enjoyed doodling while they took notes? At last students who are visual-spatial learners have a place at the literary table, and at last they will have the opportunity to surpass traditionally strong ‘readers’ and be leaders in a visual world.

Drawing for Dummies: RSA-Style w/Paul Bogush

The excerpt below is from the post that inspired me to try a step-by-step approach RSA-style animation with my EAL students. I love his example on how he helped his students gain confidence in their drawing skills.

 

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SUCCESs is the key to ZEN

Few things can be more rewarding than connecting with someone, with teaching something new, or sharing that which you feel is very important with others. ~ Garr Reynolds

"Sketch Zen" by tico_24 CC image from Flickr
“Sketch Zen” by tico_24 CC image from Flickr

This week we are delivering a presentation to parents about Digital Citizenship and Responsible Use. I was in charge of developing the slides for our EdTech team (there are 3 of us plus our EdTech Director).

Last year, there were few visuals provided for parents and I often felt that parents got lost in the discussions. Since we’ve been reviewing visual literacy in Coetail I though it was the perfect opportunity to apply my learning and understanding of these design elements.

This is the first parent session of the year so we want to set a precedent for future sessions. We’ve decided to begin each session with discussions and inquiry into the theme. We are also trying to empower parents at home, by giving suggestions on useful websites and resources to reinforce digital citizenship and mindfulness about intellectual property.

I tried to choose a theme that would compliment some of the visuals we were displaying. Following the SUCCESs model from Presentation Zen, I feel this presentation addresses the some of following points in the SUCCESs acronym. It’s difficult to address all since it’s a factual information-sharing session where we’ll be presenting the platforms to parents, rather than trying to convey an opinion or idea to them. Some ideas, we will try to convey in a more concrete way.

Simple. “For your presentation, what’s the key point? What’s the core? Why does (should) it matter? For your visuals the mantra is: Maximum effect, minimum means.” ~G.Reynolds

We’ve used simple images, just one or two per slide to complement what we are describing about the various platforms in our school. During our conversation about Digital Citizenship, we have the images from the websites, so parents can see clearly what the resources look like at Common Sense Media.

Unexpectedness. “You can get people’s interest by violating their expectations. Surprise people. Surprise will get their interest. But to sustain their interest you have to stimulate their curiosity…Make the audience aware that they have a gap in their knowledge and then fill that gap with the answers to the puzzle…”  ~G.Reynolds

My original complementing image for the workshop overview seemed to literally explain what Digital Citizenship meant. I thought it was appropriate because it gave parents a visual representation of what we would discover over the course of the workshop. However, it felt unsatisfying to look at..whether because the colour scheme clashed (it did) or whether it was too obvious (it was).

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After revisiting the SUCCESs elements of Presentation Zen I decided to create a visual that was more unexpected, and perhaps got parents thinking about the content and ideas that would come up during the workshop. It was really difficult to find the right Creative Commons image to illustrate what I wanted…so I had to build this image myself using 4 different CC image searches on Google Slides: Thief + Copyright + Computer + Images. I think this image conveys something more powerful, and will hopefully have parents making connections between the “Copyright” logo, the thief and the images on the computer.

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 Concrete. “Use natural speech and give real examples with real things, not abstractions. Speak of concrete images not of vague notions.”~G.Reynolds

To me this rule is more appropriate for complex ideas and themes. Our presentation is quite straight-forward, but we will still be mindful of how we discuss “Digital Citizenship” so that parents have a concrete definition they can come away with.

Credible.  “There are many ways to establish credibility, a quote from a client or the press may help, for example. But a long-winded account of your company’s history won’t help.”~G.Reynolds

To properly define what a Digital Citizen is and the elements we will teach, I’ve made sure that we are referencing the Common Sense Media platform as our primary resource. Eventually, it would be great if we could have our own Scope & Sequence and definition as a school, but until then we need credible sources that parents can refer back to.

Emotional. “People are emotional beings. It is not enough to take people through a laundry list of talking points and information on your slides, you must make them feel something.”~G.Reynolds

We are using several images and videos to drive home the points about teaching digital citizenship in the classroom. I’ve tried to include at least one video for each of the 3 sections, so we are using the Common Sense Media videos to illustrate how even children as young as 5 can be taught about Digital Citizenship by exploring an ‘Online Neighbourhood’.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUO7t92k4Xg[/youtube]

Stories. “Great ideas and great presentations have an element of story to them.”

Even though this is a fact-sharing session, we can still use examples (in a narrative format) of situations where students were confused about their proper or improper use of technology. We are hoping that through these stories/examples, parents will see how easily it is for children to put themselves at risk, or hurt others. I also think narrative stories are a great way to put the problem back in the parents’ court, for them to make a decision on how it could/should be handled. The story may sounds something like this:

A student came to me last week and told me that she’d been skyping some children at home on the weekend. There were five of them having a skype conference call, and one student started talking about a student from their grade level. The conversation started innocently enough, but before long all five students were making fun of this child, without the child being present to defend him/herself. This particular student feels it was unfair but is unsure how to proceed. How might this situation be resolved? Is it a school or home issue? Does it have to do with the technology or citizenship or both? Should the teacher and/or parent get involved? 

Discussion from this would allow teachers, admin and parents to have a common understanding of the shared role we play in helping children become Digital Citizens.

Presentation Zen is a fantastic resource which has concrete examples and provides guidance for anyone about to step out in front of an audience. It covers the basics of storytelling as well as design elements to create a SUCCESsful presentation. I’ll report back on the success of our parent presentation tomorrow…hopefully they are receptive to this modified version of a slideshow presentation.

 

Visual-e-Literate

This past week I introduced Creative Commons to several different grade levels. To peak their interest, rather than working off the suggested worksheets put out by Common Sense Media (PDF Whose is it anyway?), I created a Google Slides Presentation to engage them and model CARP design principles.

While the slides and images are simple, they follow basic Presentation Zen elements such as a ‘hook’ and very little text on the page. So far I’ve used this presentation in Grades 2 and Grades 5.

Using ‘Minions’ as an example, I tried to hook the audience (my G2-5 students) as we uncovered the meaning of ‘credit’ and creative ownership. I showed them the image of minions and said, “What do you think of my drawing? I came up with these characters all on my own”. Naturally, they all protested that I didn’t create those, and we discussed credit and acknowledgement for the original artists. Next I shared a drawing I did create of the Minions, and an interesting discussion ensued on whether copying an image was breaking copyright laws or not. Based on my previous research and exploration in my post “CC=Common Courtesy“, I think it falls under Fair Use for educational purposes, but I am interested in others COETAILers opinions.

In the older grades (4-5) where individual student blogs will be used to document learning, I shared this video from Common Sense Media. Hearing a fellow student discuss the importance of crediting her work, and other authors, really hit home for the students.  I found the images using the simple search feature on Google Slides, where all images are automatically listed as ‘labeled for noncommercial reuse and modification’ (I love this new feature for students, but wish we didn’t have to click the link to find the CREDIT information):

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Screenshot of ‘Insert Image’ feature on Google Slides

 

I was also trying to model CARP design elements for students in my presentation, by keeping text consistent (repetition), using contrasting colours, aligning images and text and grouping images and text (proximity).

In a follow up lesson with grade 5s, we reviewed CC ‘best practice’ for citing and modelled this format for students:

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Sample CC Sourcing for G5 Students collecting images for Recount Writing

 

I’ll be revisiting these classrooms over the next few weeks as they begin to create a layout for their blogs and posts, and we’ll examine the CARP Principals in more detail.

In general, since I was first introduced to Presentation Zen and CARP design principals a few years back, I really try to keep them in mind for any audience, be it students, colleagues, or conference audience. Haiku Deck is one resource I like to use as it generates CC image search based on key words, and the layouts force you to minimise text on the slide. Below are a few examples of presentations I’ve created that have addressed different audiences:

Topic: Design Principles (2014 Workshop) Audience: PYP & MYP teachers

Topic: Enhancing Early Years (ECIS 2015) Audience: ECIS Participants (Munich)

Topic: Genius Hour Club Intro  Audience: Grades 4 & 5 Students [Slides built using Haiku Deck]

Looks like CRAP

The first time I heard about CRAP (Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, Proximity) was from another Apple Distinguished Educator in the ADE Asia network, Keri-Lee Beasley. However, this memorable acronym was slightly rearranged and took on a much more visually appealing mnemonic of CARP.

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Free download of CARP posters here

Her iBook “Design Secrets Revealed” has been a staple in my list of recommended eBooks for teachers to add to their personal libraries.

download

What I love most about this simple acronym (the fish-version in particular) is how accessible it is to students of all ages. It was brand new to teachers last year, and several implemented it with students as young as six and up through middle school.

Her iBook has student examples, simple text for readers of all ages, and a catchy intro video that all teachers could definitely relate to.

Screenshots from Design Secrets Revealed, with permission from the author.

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Sample of before/after student work with suggested sites for Creative Commons images

 

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End of chapter Quiz

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Sample page layout with video example of each design principle.

I actually used her iBook in conjunction with Presentation Zen principles in a teacher workshop I led for Primary and Middle school teachers. The workshop was titled “Keys to Keynote” :

The goal of the workshop was to introduce teachers to the multiple functions of presentation software like keynote (posters, newsletters, video-slideshows, game-based learning) while also introducing the Design Principles, which were new to the majority who attended. Teachers were thrilled to finally have something concrete to refer to when introducing these principles to students.

Until I was introduced to these resources, I really struggled to encourage students to produce quality work that met any kind of design standard. It was easy to just attribute it to their age, their inexperience, and not necessarily see the problem as something that needed to be explicitly taught. Even after I set up rubrics with some of my own teacher-created expectations, they were not effective as implementing the principles outlined by CARP (or CRAP).  I know I’m not alone in having thought this. We can only model so much until we have a clear set of ‘rules’ that we can share with students. As Keri-Lee explained in her video:

Students, like many teachers, are unaware that designers use a set of guiding principles in their work. When these principles are explicitly taught, it’s like a set of secrets have been revealed to them, and they tend to make use of the techniques in their work. ~ Keri-Lee Beasley

When I introduced it last year to my after-school Genius Hour Club, there was noticeable improvement in the layout of their presentations, and students were able to give feedback using explicit Design Principles language to guide each other.

During our first conversation, I shared an example from a former 4th grade student, and they all complimented the many different colours, the multiple fonts and the visuals.

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For some reason, these are very important design elements to most elementary students. When I asked them if they could tell me what the focus and purpose of the poster was, they realised it wasn’t really clear. One student mentioned that it could be about  “Levers” since that is one of the largest words. Then they realised that it may in fact be about Simple Machines since numerous other examples were shown. I then asked if there were any images that seemed out of place or irrelevant, and they quickly picked up on the star. Before long, we’d identified several elements that made it confusing for the reader. When we discussed again why their first reaction was so positive, they all agreed that as the designer it’s fun to play with different fonts, colours, backgrounds, but it only adds confusion to the intended audience.

Ultimately, CRAP (or CARP) is a memorable way for both students and teachers to assess their own designs.

Course 2 Final Project: ISTE-inspired Responsible Use Agreement

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Image Credit: The Daring Librarian via Compfight cc

These past few weeks I had the privilege of collaborating with Claire Wachowiak. We both felt that our schools would benefit from revamped Responsible Use Agreements and embarked on a collaborative journey to improve and redefine this form for the 21st Century School. In my previous blog posts I’ve revisited the idea that something needs to change in the curriculum and/or the school’s technological vision to ensure teachers are providing space for students to understand and practice both Connectivism and Digital Citizenship. I’ve also explored the importance of properly defining ‘screen time’ so we can avoid Device Blaming & App Shaming and get on with using technology as a tool, not a replacement for the teacher. However, rather than wait for this much needed change to begin, we decided to see how we could embed some of these key networked and digital literacy outcomes (based on ISTE standards) within our revised Responsible Use Agreement.

Both of our schools have developed fairly standard Responsible Use Agreements, which address expected behaviours regarding the device and its content. However, I felt they failed to really define other important elements of the whole digital citizen. To go back to an important point in Jeff Utecht’s Reach: the line between Digital and Networked Literacies is a fine one. If we are to properly prepare students for the future, we need to ensure that students, parents and teachers are aware of Networked Literacies and the responsibility of becoming network literate as a digital citizen. As Jeff Utecht puts it: Networked Literacy is about understanding connections. In order to understand connections, we need to ensure EdTech is being used to facilitate these connections in the first place.

Extension.org is an excelent place to begin understanding more about Network Literacy.

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Image: Screenshot from eXtension.org definition Network Literacy

The example below of an existing Responsible Use Agreement demonstrates the breadth of ‘responsibility’. It really focuses solely on information, images and personal details, but completely ignores the positive expectations for using technology for connectivism.

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Futhermore, it’s easy for parents and students to sign and return, but they still may not be clear on the purpose of EdTech devices in schools and at home. Many parents simply tick the box that they will monitor their students’ use of devices at home, yet several incidents emerged this year that proved they had not followed these guidelines. Often, it is then left to the schools to educate and resolve issues that occur using school devices or platforms, outside school hours.

I understand this school’s choice to cover a wide breadth of expected User behaviours online and using the device. However, it focuses solely on the respect and property side of EdTech use, rather than encompassing all aspects of networked and digital literacy. Furthermore, we felt only including the parents and students in this agreement demonstrated an incomplete representation of all stakeholders in the child’s relationship with EdTech. Therefore, we also added a third and fourth stakeholder in the Responsible Use Agreement: The Teachers and Administrators.

Many teachers presume since the device is in the classroom, it will lend itself to autonomously teaching the children, and thus they will (through osmosis) become digital citizens. This is not the purpose of having iPads in the classroom…they are meant to be used as a tool, not as a teacher. If we expect the students to be using the devices responsibly, the teachers and admin need to be accountable for how the devices are being used, and ensuring they are being used as a tool to create and/or to practice specific networked or digital literacies. Common Sense Media provides a plethora of activities, iBooks, videos etc to engage students in these conversations as well as practice digital citizenship. Meanwhile, the ISTE standards provide excellent guidelines and benchmarks for students, teachers, admin and coaches to to practice, model and advocate for digital citizenship throughout the school community.  It is also up to admin to be aware of the purpose of devices so they can remain consistent when issues arise.

We believe if all stakeholders sign the same document, while also referring to the ISTE standards, then a common language and common vision for EdTech use can be fostered within a school.

Here is our final Revised Responsible Use Agreement with ISTE Standards

CC = Common Courtesy

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Photo Credit: Sojourner in a Strange Land via Compfight cc

“Start copying what you love. Copy copy copy copy. At the end of the copy you will find your self.”
~ Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

I think there is some real truth to the statement above. While copying in theory may appear to be the ‘easy’ way out, most creative people build on other people’s ideas. This recent article from Time has a fantastic quote that echoes this idea:

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it; they just saw something and connected the dots. It seemed obvious to them after a while.” ~ Steve Jobs

There seems to be a large gap in understanding from both students and teachers on copyright infringement when using images for posters or presentations. This is an area we should be expecting teachers to honour, just as they are expected to honour MLA format in high school, and basic ‘sourcing’ using a bibliography or other format in primary school.

Now more than ever, teachers have access to other teacher’s shared material, but many of us are not giving credit to the original creators. And not because we don’t want to, but because we don’t know how. I’ve been working on introducing Creative Commons image banks to the whole school community for this very reason. We should be, and could be, modelling daily CC sourcing methods in our own classrooms.

I recently came across a fantastic website that breaks down Copyright in Schools. For any student or educator looking to quickly find information about what is deemed ‘safe’ and ‘legal’ when using different media. As this website mentions, there is a lot of misinformation about copyright and what’s permitted or not in the digital sphere. Often this misinformation “discourages kids and teens from following their natural inclination to be innovative and inquisitive. The innovators, artists and voters of tomorrow need to know that copyright law restricts many activities but also permits many others.”

There is an abundance of information for teachers to integrate Copyright and CC education into the curriculum, but unfortunately not enough demand at the top level (admin, policy and curriculum designers) for it to be common practice. Many curriculum frameworks, such as the International Baccalaureate Organisation, are still playing catch-up to the shifting digital age, so that they can encourage and foster more digital citizenship in IB schools. But what can teachers do in the meantime, to stay current themselves and pass on accurate information and useful Creative Commons (CC) resources for students?

Resources such as Teaching Copyright and Common Sense Media fill the missing gaps in curriculum and should be a common tool for all students and educators.

Earlier this year I helped co-teach a few lessons on Creative Commons Search practice and Copyright law for the G3 Digital Citizenship unit at our school. To tune them into the idea of Copyright, we watched this video and discussed the many ways they may have been unknowingly breaking copyright law.

As soon as students made the connection that the artists behind the photos, art and music they’d been ‘stealing’ were created by common people, like themselves, they were very passionate about using proper search methods and crediting all art they used. Students were thrilled to learn new tricks to filter google image searches as well as gain access to new image search engines like compfight and Creative Commons Search.

As Tricia Friedman mentions in her Coetail post The Teacher DJ , remixing content is an important part of furthering the creative process. Furthermore, she writes “Copyright laws are their very own collection of blurred lines.  This case opens a door to an authentic conversation around artistry, remix culture and law.  Teachers need to take these opportunities…As we find ways to invite creativity into our classrooms, it makes sense to promote the Creative Commons culture.”

From my experience, students want to execute creative play in the digital age, and we have a responsibility to explore and model Creative Commons practice. Online access to useful websites makes it easy for teachers to access information on ‘best practice’, so let’s show the artists the courtesy they deserve and credit their hard work.