Digital Games in the Library

Children learn best when the content is relevant to them and when they can make connections between new and old material.  Sometimes it can be challenging to make these connections, but using games can help.  Games can help strengthen teacher to student and student to student relationships.  Children like playing games because they can have fun while they are learning.  Teachers like games because they help boost students’ academic confidence and develop their social and problem-solving skills (“Teaching with Games”, n.d.).

Both games and gamification have been used for educational purposes from preschool all the way through higher education.  They are useful because they are engaging and motivate the learners (Young, 2016).  Motivating students to learn, especially in topics that do not initially interest them, can be a challenge for all educators especially for library instructors.   I have yet to meet an elementary student who loves to learn about library skills and research so using games, especially digital games, in my library has many advantages.  

One advantage is that the students are learning through the process of playing a digital game.   Digital games might help a student understand a new library concept or idea such as:

  • ABC order and how fiction books are shelved.
  • The Dewey Decimal system and locating non-fiction books on the shelf.  
  • Parts of a book
  • Literary Genres
  • How to search the library catalog
  • Library Orientation
  • Research Skills
  • Digital Citizenship

Digital games are more engaging for my library students.   From year to year, my students need a lot of review and practice with library skills.  Handing today’s students worksheets on these topics is not very engaging and meaningful.  Because my class is not graded, students are less motivated to complete worksheets, but a lively digital game sparks their interest and the students are more willing to participate.  

Digital games can help students make connections with the library content and form positive memories of their learning.  When activities are fun and interesting, they stand out in students’ memories and can facilitate learning.  The students may recall the information more readily after playing the game.   Some students might remember library vocabulary words after playing certain games, others learn from reading the clues provided in certain games, and other students learn when they hear their classmates call out answers. Using digital games appeals to all different types of learners because they provide a variety of experiences for students. (Stathakis, 2013).

Using digital games with young students is one of the many effective tools that can be used in library instruction.  Effective digital games create a collaborative and enjoyable experience for the students which increases their engagement and motivation resulting in learned material.  When used properly to meet desired objectives, digital games can have a positive impact on a student’s educational experiences.  

Resources:

Stathakis, R. (2013). Five reasons to use games in the classroom. In education world. Retrieved October 19, 2016, from http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/reasons-to-play-games-in-the-classroom.shtml

Teaching with games. (n.d.). In education world. Retrieved October 19, 2016, from   http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/strategy/strategy065.shtml

Young, J. (2016, July 1). Can library research be fun? Using games for information literacy instruction in higher education. Retrieved October 19, 2016, from http://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1973&context=glq

 

Advertisements

Acceptable Use Policies

An Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) is a document constructed by an institution that details the manner in which it would like its members to use technology including the internet. Many schools and districts have Acceptable Use Policies that address both acceptable and unacceptable behaviors for students, faculty, and staff when using technology and the internet.  Prohibited behaviors usually include plagiarism, piracy, cyberbullying, and visiting sites deemed inappropriate by the school.  Acceptable behaviors include being a positive digital citizen, having proper netiquette, and using the internet properly for school purposes (“1-1 Essentials-Acceptable Use Policies”, n.d).

A 2009 article by Education World titled “Getting Started on the Internet: Developing an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP),” states that an Acceptable Use Policy should contain six key elements.  They are “a preamble, a definition section, a policy statement, an acceptable uses section, an unacceptable uses section, and a violations/sanctions section.” The article goes on to explain each section.  The preamble details why the policy was created and the goals of the policy.  Key words in the policy are explained in the definition section.  This ensures that everyone reading the policy understands the terminology.  The policy statement lists what computer, mobile device, and internet services are covered and when the students can use those services.  The acceptable use section breaks down the appropriate use of school technology and the internet.  The unacceptable uses portion must give specific examples of inappropriate student use.  Finally, in the violations/sanctions section students learn how to report violations and the consequences they will receive should they violate the policy.

All schools and districts are different and create Acceptable Use Policies that are relevant to their situation.  The following are excellent examples of Acceptable Use Policies for elementary schools in the United States:

I feel that my school’s Acceptable Use Policy leaves a lot to be desired.  After reading about Acceptable Use Policies and viewing examples from other schools, I would like to initiate a conversation with my principal about revising our policy to make it more detailed and transparent for our faculty, staff, parents, and students.  Our current AUP can be seen by clicking on the following:acceptable-use-policy

We also have a 1:1 iPad program for our sixth through eighth grade students at our school.  The following document is sent home with the students and is signed by the students and parents: ipad-contract-2014I feel that this document is a better example of an Acceptable Use Policy because it incorporates the suggested sections that I mentioned above.  After reviewing both of our school’s policies, I think that the policy we have in place for the iPads should be edited to include all types of technology and the internet and used as the AUP for all our students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade.  Even though our kindergarten through fifth grade students are not 1:1, they do have access to iPads in the classroom and use our school computer lab.  

As educators it is important for schools to provide students with access to the digital world, yet we must do it in a way that protects our students.  An AUP is the first step toward protecting our students as long as it is enforced and supported by all members of the school community.  

References:
1-to-1 essentials – Acceptable use policies. (n.d.). In commonsensemedia. Retrieved October 4, 2016, from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/1to1/aups
Getting started on the internet: Developing an acceptable use policy (aup). (2009). In education world. Retrieved October 4, 2016, from http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr093.shtml

 

The Basic Suite of Software

There are three tools that are part of the basic suite of programs used by both teachers and students.  They are word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software.  These programs offer several benefits including improved productivity, appearance, accuracy, and increased interaction and collaboration (Roblyer, 2016).

Word Processing

Word processing software allows the user to create typed documents with text and graphics.  According to Roblyer (2016), this type of software has become one of the most commonly used in the educational setting.  Because I teach computers, I repeatedly use this tool with all of my students in kindergarten through eighth grade.  Word processing software offers the relative advantages of time, a more polished appearance, materials sharing, collaboration, and the support of student writing and language learning (Roblyer, 2016).  As a teacher, I often use Microsoft Word or Google Docs to create handouts, forms, and documents used in my lessons.  I save anything I create in Word to Dropbox and my Google Docs can be accessed anywhere.  This saves time because I do not have to reinvent the wheel and can alter the documents from year to year as needed.  By using word processing tools, the documents my students and I create are neater and more polished which creates a professional appearance and makes it easier for everyone to read.   More and more, I am creating my documents on Google Docs because of its abilities to easily share my work with my colleagues.  I also use it with my junior high students so that they can share documents with me and each other.  I like the idea of being paperless and the instantaneous ability for us to collaborate and edit documents together.    Word processing tools allow my students to enhance their writing and communication skills as they type papers and reports.  I also like how they use the text translation tools found in the word processing tools when they complete assignments for their Spanish class.

Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets are used to organize, manipulate, and display data (Roblyer, 2016).   There are many relative advantages to using spreadsheets in education including saving time, organizing information, and increasing motivation when working with math computations (Roblyer, 2016).  In my school, we use Google Sheets to keep track of progress monitoring for students in reading and math.  We are able to share and edit this information in real-time with the colleagues in our PLC’s and with our resource teachers in order to determine our students’ educational needs and groupings for RTI. Through the use of formulas, it  is easy to color code who might need additional help, who is understanding the information, and who needs enrichment.  I use spreadsheets in my computer class to keep track of students’ typing test scores and in the library to keep track of students rotation in centers.  Projects that I have completed with my students in the computer lab have covered creating formulas, organizing information into a table, sorting data, creating a budget, and creating bar, line, and pie graphs. I would have to say that they enjoy creating the graphs especially when they can customize the look of the graphs.  My students use this tool the most during science fair time to display the data from their experiments.   

Presentation Software

Presentation software displays text, images, audio, and video in a slide show format (Roblyer, 2016).  It is routinely used in the educational setting.  Presentation software allows the presenter to organize information, break it into smaller parts, and present it in sequential order.  A well designed presentation supplements the speaker’s explanation. Those working on a presentation can collaborate in a variety of ways to the final presentation product (Roblyer, 2016).  Many of the teachers in my school use PowerPoint to help guide their students while taking notes in class.  I usually use it to project information to my students and occasionally for lessons.  I have to admit that I avoid PowerPoint as much as possible because typically the students eyes glaze over as soon as a large presentation is projected on the screen.  The main reason I use presentation software with my students in the computer lab is to increase their ability to create a proper presentation and gain practice in public speaking.  My students in grades 4-6 love creating presentations.  It is often a challenge to get them to condense the amount of information on each slide and limit the amount of transitions and animations.  They love movement on the slide and adding graphics.  I work very hard with them to ensure that their presentation is not too over the top.  They also struggle with being able to present their information rather than read off the slide, and many of the students are more focused on what is on the screen rather than listening to the information their classmate is presenting.  My junior high students are a lot better at presenting their information, but I often try to find something a little more interesting than using Google Slides or PowerPoint because they find it old and boring.  When they are doing presentations, I often have them choose an online tool such as Prezi or VoiceThread  to make it more interesting.

I feel that teachers use the three software tools described above on a daily basis.  It is important for students to work and obtain proficiency with these tools too.  They are widely used in our society and students will need to be familiar with them as they move throughout their educational experiences and into the workforce.  

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching (Seventh ed., pp. 109-136). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

                         

Relative Advantage of Instructional Software in the Classroom

Instructional software is used to deliver instruction or assist with the delivery of instruction on a topic.  Five specific types of instructional software include drill and practice, tutorial, simulations, instructional games, and problem solving.   

Drill and Practice

Drill and Practice software provides exercises where students work examples and receive immediate feedback for their answers.  It includes flash card activities, chart fill-in activities, branching drills, and extensive feedback activities.  Drill and practice is often looked down upon, but it does have its benefits.  Roblyer (2016) states that drill activities provides effective rehearsal for students and allows them to transfer newly learned information into long term memory.  Once students master lower order skills, they can use these skills for higher order thinking activities.   Drill and practice software provides immediate feedback to the students, can increase motivation, and save teacher time. Even though drill and practice software is sometimes criticized for being outdated, teachers should seek the use of this software to meet specific needs for their students (Roblyer, 2016, p. 81).  Quizlet is an example of a drill and practice software that I use in my fourth grade library class.  Quizlet is a website that allows teachers and students to create and share flashcards.  While studying literary genres, students can read and listen to the literary genre terms and definitions. They can use the program as flashcards, take a fill in the blank quiz, practice spelling the terms, and play games that involve the terms and definitions.   Through drill and practice, games, and quizzes, the students will be able to spell the literary genre words and identify the meaning of each genre.

Tutorial

Tutorial software provides instruction on a topic much like a teacher instructing in a classroom.  With tutorial software, students should be able to learn the material without any additional help or materials. There are two types of tutorials, linear and branching. Linear tutorials provide the same instructional sequence regardless of student performance.  Branching tutorials are more sophisticated and lead students along different path based on how they respond to questions and how they show mastery of the material (Roblyer, 2016, p. 83-84). Tutorials are generally used with older students who are able to read and are more popular in military and industrial training.  It can serve the needs of the classroom that use the flipped classroom or screencasting strategies.  Tutorial programs provide a more self paced review for students who need further instruction in a topic area.  They also allow more advanced students to move on to additional learning activities at their own pace when a teacher is not available to present the material (Roblyer, 2016, p. 84-85).  In my fourth grade library class, I use screencast-o-matic to record tutorials for all my research lessons and post them on my classroom website. When researching and completing projects, students work at all kinds of speeds. The screencasts help the slower students go back and review information I already presented and they help the more advanced students work ahead at a faster pace.

Simulations

Simulations are a computerized model of a real or imagined system that is designed to teach how the system works.  There are two main types of simulations. The first type teaches about something.  The second teaches how to do something. Simulations are predominantly used in science. Simulations are best used when a real situation is too time consuming, dangerous, expensive, or unrealistic for a classroom setting (Roblyer, 2016, p. 92).   In the past, I have not used simulation software in my fourth grade library classes, but this year I am working on having centers set up when the students come to class.  I was able to obtain some laptops and iPads for my centers and found PhET to be good quality simulation software. PhET is an interactive simulations project at the University of Colorado Boulder.  It provides free and interactive math and science simulations at all grade levels. Using these simulations in the library would allow my students the ability to further explore and process topics that they have learned in class.   

Instructional Games

Instructional games software adds game-like rules and/or competition to learning activities.  They are often used in the same way as drill and practice games and simulations, but they are considered separately due to their different instructional elements.  Instructional games have rules, an element of competition, and are entertaining for the students.  Schools have been slow to adopt instructional games due to the cost, inadequate hardware to run the games, and good quality software has been hard to find.  Instructional games are beneficial because they provide the element of play and enjoyment for the students.  Teachers can capitalize on this enjoyment and spend more time on a curriculum topic with their students. Educators do have concerns with instructional games.  Some educators worry that students will get caught up in having fun and this will draw attention away from what is to be learned (Roblyer, 2016, p. 92-96).  In my fourth grade library class, I have used Jeopardy games to review library concepts.  It is a fun way to review topics at the end of a unit and circle back on old topics covered throughout the year.  We don’t play the game all the time so the novelty makes it more exciting for the students.  The students work together in teams to answer questions and the game is more engaging than providing review worksheets because we can discuss answers together and clear up any misunderstandings with the material.  

Problem Solving Software

Problem solving software is used to teach problem solving skills.  There are two main approaches used in problem solving software.  They are content-area problem solving skills and content-free problem solving skills.     Content- area problem solving software focuses on teaching skills mainly in math and science.  Content-free problem solving software focuses on teaching general problem-solving abilities.  Effective problem solving software must be clearly linked to cultivating a specific problem solving ability in students.  Problem solving software can be interesting and motivating for students; however, it is important to test the software for its effectiveness in teaching problem solving skills before adopting it with the students.  There is also concern that students will not be able to transfer knowledge they learned using the software to other areas (Roblyer, 2016, p. 97-100).  One example of problem solving software to use in my fourth grade library class would be Kidspiration.  The students at this age are still very new to looking up information, synthesizing and outlining the essential information they need, and using that information to write a well constructed report.  Inspiration provides the logical steps a student would take to perform these functions at their level.  Students can begin with a graphic organizer, then create an outline from the graphic organizer, and finally use the outline to create their report..  Students could work individually or with others.    Using this software might be more time consuming with the students, but the information created might be more coherent for the students to read rather than using paper and pencil.        

There are numerous amounts of instructional software available to deliver instruction in a variety of ways. It is important that educators are careful in selecting these programs to ensure that they provide the best possible educational experience for their students.   All programs have their benefits and limitations, yet can be integrated in a meaningful way.   

References:
Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching (7th ed., pp. 81-100). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Course Reflection for Social Network Learning

When I signed up to take the course Social Network Learning this summer, my initial thoughts were, “How much can one possibly learn from social networks?”  The answer is–more than you can imagine.  Social media is a powerful tool that allows us to connect and develop a network with access to resources and people that we may not otherwise be able to associate with.

Using social media has improved my professional development.  Before this class, I had a Twitter account set up, but I barely accessed it.  Now I have learned how to find hashtags that suit my interests, and I have found a way to organize those hashtags through the use of TweetDeck.  This has been a valuable experience for me.  I have been able to follow prominent people in professional areas that interest me and I have gained a wealth of knowledge and resources.  Through participating in Twitter chats, I have become more comfortable with putting myself out there and sharing my own ideas and knowledge.  I like how Twitter has allowed me to customize my professional development and I plan on sharing  what I have learned and helping my colleagues set up their own accounts during one of our first faculty meetings of our new school year.

Our work on developing a positive digital footprint and managing our online reputation will be beneficial as I guide my students to use social media.  I have always been careful to watch what I post on social media, but these activities have helped me develop ideas on how to convey that knowledge to my students as they begin using social media on their own.

I have never really done much with content curation, but by completing these projects, I learned how to use PearlTrees.  Rather than just clicking on and bookmarking sites, curation allows one to pause and think about whether the information is relevant, credible, and useful for the topic to be curated.  For this project, I curated content on middle school book recommendations.  I have added it to my class website and plan on updating it for my students frequently.  I have never worked on curation with my students, but now I plan on teaching it to my middle schoolers.  I think it will help them as they work on their research projects.  One disappointment I had was that many of the curation tools are free only to a certain extent.  I ended up purchasing a subscription to PearlTrees just so that I could use all the features.  For schools that are cash-strapped, the idea of purchasing subscriptions is not usually met with enthusiasm.

In our study of social media and social media policies, I have learned that is possible to use social media safely and responsibly even with students in the elementary school.  Today’s students have grown up with technology and I think that when they enter a classroom they wish that they would have access to the same level of technology that they encounter in their own world.  They no longer seem interested to sit in rows of desks listening and reading from textbooks.  They want to participate in their learning.  Education is more than just memorization and today’s student demands to be provided with the tools to expand their mind.  Using social media is one of these tools.  If we teach our students how to use social media properly, it will enhance their learning by expanding their access to resources beyond the classroom walls.

Creating social media policies was an invaluable experience.  My school had no prior social media policies besides the few set up by our diocese.  I had to research and come up with social media policies to add to our school acceptable use policy.  I plan on sharing this document with my principal and I hope that we can work together with our technology committee and pastor to develop a more comprehensive policy for our school.

Finally, creating and evaluating another group’s social networked unit was an important learning experience.  It pulled together how a teacher can utilize all forms of social networking tools within a classroom unit, and I enjoyed the opportunity to evaluate my classmate’s unit using a screencast.  I have never evaluated my students using a screencast.  I think it is kind of a lengthy process, but I would definitely consider evaluating group projects in this manner. It makes the evaluation more personal and the evaluator can give more detailed and constructive feedback.

In finishing up this course, I would rate my blog performance as above average.  When composing my posts, I took an extensive amount of time to develop very personal and thoughtful reflections on what I have learned and I have worked to make meaningful connections.  If anyone were to read my posts, they would be able to see what I have learned and they might learn something from me as well. In addition, I carefully considered the tags and categories for each blog post so that it will be easier to revisit my work later on.   Through my blog, I have developed a voice and really worked to show what I am passionate about and what changes I might make as an educator in my classroom and within my school.   With each blog post, I made every effort to put forth my best work to show the knowledge that I have acquired through my participation in this course.  An area that I would improve upon would have been to comment more on my classmates blog posts in order to create more of a dialogue.  I would award myself with the full 75 points for my posts.

Being a member of this class has been an amazing journey and I look forward to sharing all that I have learned with my students and colleagues.

 

 

Social Media Policies

My school has a pretty generic acceptable use policy that was probably created many years ago when we first started using computers in the classroom and our lab.  It does not include any guidelines regarding social media.  Currently, the students and parents sign our acceptable use policy when they first enroll in the school, and it is never re-visited.  Furthermore, we have separate guidelines that are sent home with our junior high students for our 1:1 iPad program.  I’d like for our school to have one acceptable use policy that covers all technology in our school.  It should be listed on our school website with our student handbook, and it should be posted in each of our classrooms. I’d like for the policy to be reviewed and discussed with the teachers and students at the beginning of every school year, and parents, students, and teachers should sign a form stating that they have read and understand the policy annually.    

While working on this document, I combined items from our current acceptable use policy and the policies sent home with our junior high students when they receive their iPads.  I also spent time searching on the internet for the acceptable use policies at other Catholic elementary schools including schools in my diocese.  It was very hard to find any acceptable use policies in my diocese so I branched out to the diocese just north of us, other dioceses in the United States, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  I specifically looked to include guidelines for the use of social media because our current acceptable use policy makes no mention of this topic.  

The document that I put together can be found here or by reading below:

Mary, Queen of Heaven School

USE OF TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Technology is a valuable and real world educational tool.  Mary, Queen of Heaven School is committed to teaching its students, faculty, administrators, staff, and school community to work and to learn effectively with technology and to ensure responsible use of technology.

The internet is a powerful and resourceful tool that connects our students and staff with the rest of the world and vast amounts of information, both good and bad.  As an educational institution, we believe that our students need to learn how to use the internet appropriately.  

The policy outlined below applies to all technology use including but not limited to Internet use. The Acceptable Use Policy for Technology and Social Media applies to all students, faculty, administrators, staff, volunteers, or community members allowed access to school technology resources at Mary, Queen of Heaven.

Scope of Use

The digital world allows anytime, anywhere access. Uses mentioned in this policy apply to inside school use and may in certain instances apply to personal technology use and/or uses outside of school.  When personal outside use of technology causes significant disruption in school,  these activities may be viewed as a violation of the “Acceptable Use Policy” and may be subject to the disciplinary measure listed below. The types of electronic and digital communications referenced in this AUP include, but are not limited to, social networking sites, cell phones, digital cameras, text messaging, email, and chat rooms.

Responsibilities of User

Mary, Queen of Heaven School will make every effort to provide a safe environment for learning with technology including Internet filtering and safeguards. The students, faculty, administrators, staff, and school community are granted the privilege of using the computer hardware and software, and electronic communication tools including the Internet. With this privilege comes the responsibility for appropriate use.

The following are conditions for being a good digital citizen:

  • Respect for Self:
  • Users will select online names that are appropriate
  • Users will consider the information and images that are posted online before they are posted.
  • Respect Others:
  • Users will not use technologies to bully, tease, or harass other people
  • Protect Self and Others:
  • Users will protect themselves and others by reporting abuse and not forwarding inappropriate materials or communications.
  • Respect Intellectual Property:
  • Users will suitably cite any and all use of websites, books, media, etc.
  • Protect Intellectual Property:
  • Users will request to use the software and media others produce and protect license agreements for all software and resources.

Acceptable Use

  • No student will be allowed to use the school technology until he or she completes annual digital citizenship training.
  • All students will be actively supervised by a teacher, librarian/media specialist, designated school aide, or administrator when using online resources.
  • E-mail is restricted for use by junior high students, faculty, and staff. Student email addresses and passwords will be given to the school administrator and technology coordinator.
  • The use of the Internet will be consistent with the educational objectives of the school.
  • When teachers are using a specific website, they will preview it for content before allowing students to access the site.
  • General rules and policies found in the school handbook apply to all students using the internet.
  • No personal information (names, phone numbers, addresses, etc.) will be given out over the internet.
  • Pictures of minors may be posted on websites only with the parent’s permission and with minimal identification.  Minors should not be “tagged” or identified by name in the photograph.   
  • School social media sites will be controlled and monitored by at least two trained adults.  Parents must give consent before pictures of minors are posted.  Any information identifying minors is to be kept to a minimum.  
  • Electronic devices on school property used by students will be monitored by trained adults both while the student is using the device and by IT personnel who control access.

Unacceptable Uses

  • Use technology to harass, threaten, deceive, intimidate, offend, embarrass, or annoy any individual.
  • Post, publish, or display any defamatory, inaccurate, violent, abusive, profane or sexually oriented material.
  • Users must not use obscene, profane, lewd, vulgar, rude or threatening language.
  • Users must not knowingly or recklessly post false information about any persons, students, staff or any other organization.
  • Attempt to circumvent system security or use another individual’s password.
  • Deliberately visit a site known for unacceptable material or any material that is not in support of educational objectives.
  • Students must not access social networking sites or gaming sites, except for educational purposes under teacher direction.
  • Violate license agreements, or copy other protected media.
  • Use technology for any illegal activity.
  • Breach confidentiality obligations of school employees.
  • Harm the goodwill and reputation of the school in the community.
  • Transmit any material in violation of any local, federal and state laws. This includes, but is not limited to: copyrighted material, licensed material and threatening or obscene material.

Use of Social Media

  • When teachers and students use personal or social media sites such as, but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube they may not mention members of the school community without their consent unless the subject is of public concern and the speech falls under applicable constitutional protections.
  • If you are approved to represent the school, unless you are specifically authorized to speak on behalf of the school as a spokesperson, you should state that the views expressed in your postings, etc. are your own. Stick with discussing school-related matters that are within your area of responsibility.
  • Be open about your affiliation with the school and the role/position you hold.
  • Parents must have access to everything provided to their children. For example, parents should be made aware of how social media are being used, be told how to access the sites, and be given the opportunity to be copied on all material sent to their children via social networking.  
  • Friending of current students by teachers and vice versa is forbidden on a teacher’s personal social networking site.
  • Personal posts must use appropriately respectful speech, and refrain from harassing, defamatory, abusive, discriminatory, threatening or other inappropriate communications.
  • Regardless of your privacy settings, assume that all of the information you have shared on your social network is public information.
  • Encourage positive, constructive discussion if allowed to use communicative or collaborative technologies
  • Be responsive to others when conversing online. Provide answers, thank people for their comments, and ask for further feedback, etc.
  • NEVER give out or transmit personal information of students, parents, or school employees. It is also recommended that the “no tagging” option be set for photographs on social networking sites.  
  • Review content on links first before sharing them on social network posts.   

Communications

Electronic and/or Digital communications with students should be conducted for educationally appropriate purposes and employ only school sanctioned means of communication.

The school sanctioned communications methods include:

  • Teacher school web pages, wiki or LMS site like, but not limited to, Ascend.
  • Teacher school email address.
  • Teacher school phone number.
  • Teacher created, educationally focused networking sites.
  • No employee or volunteer is permitted to text message any student and likewise no student is permitted to text message any employee or volunteer.

Electronic and Mobile Devices, Cell phones:

Cell phones or other electronic devices not part of the instructional program are not allowed in classrooms during the regular school day. Students are allowed to keep these devices in their lockers/designated area and must have them turned off. Special permission to carry the devices to and from class may be granted by the principal on a case-by-case basis.

Administrative Rights

The administration of Mary, Queen of Heaven School has the right to monitor both student and employee use of school computers and computer accessed content. Due to the evolving nature of technology, the administration reserves the right to amend or add to this policy at any time without notice.

Policy Violations

Violation of the above rules will be dealt with by the administration of the school. Violation of these rules may result in any or all of the following:

  • Loss of use of the school network, computers and software, iPads, including Internet access.
  • Issuance of referrals /detentions, if applicable.
  • Disciplinary action including, but not limited to, dismissal and/or legal action by the school, civil authorities, or other involved parties.
Resources:
Anderson, S. (2012, May 7). How to create social media guidelines for your school. In edutopia. Retrieved July 17, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/how-to-create-social-media-guidelines-school
Archdiocese of Cincinnati: Social media policy. (2010, May). Retrieved July 17, 2016, from http://www.catholiccincinnati.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/social_media_policy.pdf
Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth: Social media policy. (n.d.). Retrieved July 17, 2016, from http://fwdioc.org/diocese-fw-social-media-policy-english.pdf
Catholic Diocese of Trenton Office of Communications . (2015, November 17). The Catholic Diocese of Trenton social media policy and resource guide. Retrieved from http://www.dioceseoftrenton.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Diocese_of_Trenton_Social_Media_Policy.pdf
Diocese of Covington: Creating a safe environment, policies and procedures for addressing sexual misconduct. (2015, September). Retrieved July 17, 2016, from http://www.covdio.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Policy2015.pdf
Diocese of Salt Lake City Office of Safe Environment. (n.d.). Social media policy. In Social media policy. Retrieved July 17, 2016, from http://www.utahcatholicdiocese.org/images/safe%20environment/Social_Media_Policy.pdf
Mary, Queen of Heaven School. (n.d.). Student handbook. In Mary, Queen of Heaven School. Retrieved July 17, 2016, from http://www.mqhschool.com/images/school-information/StudentHandbook.pdf
Social media guidelines. (2014, June). In United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Retrieved July 17, 2016, from http://www.usccb.org/about/communications/social-media-guidelines.cfm
Wise, J. (n.d.). The ultimate list of social media policies for churches & ministries. In thinkdigital. Retrieved July 17, 2016, from http://justinwise.net/social-media-policies-churches-ministries/

 

Social Media in Learning

Social media is a powerful tool and many teachers use it for personal reasons,  professional development, and communication with our school families, yet the thought of incorporating social media in our classroom seems to continue to be a touchy subject.  I think some worry that students will be distracted and spend more time communicating with each other rather than focusing on the assignment while others worry about cyber-bullying and student privacy and safety.  What I have found after curating website articles about schools using social media in the classroom is that all of these issues can be addressed and the use of social media engages students and extends their learning.  Social media is here to stay, the students are aware of it and use it at home so why not use it in the classroom.  At least then, we as teachers, can be involved in teaching our students the proper and safe way to interact with others on the internet.

I teach in a K-8 grade setting and I have often wondered how to safely incorporate social media in the classroom.  Many of my students are too young to set up accounts and those that are old enough may not be allowed to have them.  What I have found through my reading is that I can set up a classroom account with my younger students and we can work as a class to create posts.  It is also possible to set up individual accounts to blog, text, whiteboard, tag, post links, and create videos even for young students using educational sites like EduBlogs, Edmodo, and Fakebook.  Blogging and posting to social media helps students as young as kindergarten with their reading and writing skills and gives students the ability to share what is going on in the classroom through their eyes.    By using social media, students are able to connect and collaborate with other students in their school, district, state, country, and world.  Not only will students learn from others, but they will contribute to the learning of others and new cultures and knowledge will be brought into the classroom.

Using social media allows us to explore and educate our students on proper digital citizenship.  For example, students will learn the proper way to post and what types of information should be shared in a more controlled environment with teacher guidance.

Social media used in classrooms will not be a waste of time if managed effectively. Teaching students how to properly use social media will help prepare them for the future. After reading these articles, I have more confidence in how I can integrate the use of social medial in my classroom and I plan on incorporating it into my computer classroom in the next school year.

Click below to access my curated articles:

pearltrees for wordpress

Personal Learning Environments

Megan Apgar PLE

 

Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) allow a learner to take control of and manage their learning by “navigating and organizing a stream of information and resources from a variety of different sources” (Ash, 2013, para. 1).  PLEs are created using a variety of technologies and tools that aid an individual in organizing the large amounts of information received daily.  PLEs  are unique to each individual based on interest and need (Ash, 2013, para 3 & 4).

When I started to create a diagram of my Personal Learning Environment, the first thing that I did was list out all the digital resources I use as a student, for personal use, and as an educator.  I knew that I wanted my diagram to be in a circular shape and that all the pieces had to be connected in some way with me in the middle as the central figure to show that it was unique for my needs and learning goals.  I liked the idea of using circles because they are never ending just as building our PLE is never ending and forever changing.  From the list of resources I created, I broke them up into four categories based on how I used them.  My categories include connecting socially and professionally, aggregating and annotating, working collaboratively, and creating content, connecting, and sharing.  Each category fit into a circle and I connected the circles because I feel that many of these tools are intertwined with each other and can be used for more than one purpose.  From creating this diagram, I learned that I use a lot of technological resources in my daily life that have had a great impact on my personal and professional growth.  There are probably more out that I could be using or some that I use that I forgot to list.  I also learned that I must not do a lot of collaborative work because this portion had the least amount of resources listed.

Even though PLEs are unique to each individual, I found some similarities between my diagram and those of my classmates.  The similarities I found are that many of us including Amy, Katie, Scott, and Brian put ourselves in the middle of the diagram and many of us like Amanda, Courtney, and Brian used the concept of a circle in some capacity with each resource interconnected in some way.  We also use many of the same resources and tools for professional, personal, and educational reasons. The amount of differences between our diagrams was greater than the similarities which indicated our uniqueness.  I noticed that our main differences involved our breakdowns of how we categorized our resources.  We all seemed to choose different labels to categorize them.  Courtney represented her resources as professional and personal and Amanda represented hers based on frequency of use. Kimmy seemed to only include social networks as her resources.  Despite our differences, the point of having a PLE is all about making it your own and blending your resources to develop your own personal learning space.

Resources:
Ash, K. (2013, May 20). ‘Personal learning environments’ Focus on the individual. In Education Week. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/05/22/32el-personallearning.h32.html
Personal Learning Environments. (n.d.). In IMAILE. Retrieved from http://www.imaile.eu/ple-personal-learning-environments/