Tuesday, August 14, 2012

#DigiFoot12 -- Cyberbullying and Bill Belsey

Here I am back from a vacation where I got to sit on the side of a beautiful lake and also play a ton of Minecraft. Tomorrow, some of the technology people from my district will be meeting to talk about Digital Citizenship and Internet Safety to revisit our efforts on these two fronts in the last two years. 

So I am finally listening to an awesome Blackboard Collaborate session with Cyberbullying guru Bill Belsey.  A link to it can currently be found on the DigiFoot Wiki as a part of the 6 week MOOC course that ends tomorrow.  Bill Belsey is an educator who became concerned with the problem of bullying and.founded Bullying.org as a way of allowing students to share their experiences.  An off-shoot of this Web site is Cyberbullying.org.

Some of the things that I picked up from this very pragmatic 8th grade teacher are that most cyberbullying happens away from school but that schools and teachers wind up picking up many of the pieces after a cyberbullying incident has happened.  Kids often normalize this bullying by calling it just regular teen drama. 

He admits that the solution is not easy and that he feels that the key is to focus on prevention.  Helping kids realize that protecting themselves is their job.  He suggests reminding them not to share their passwords and private information and to use netiquette.

Another point that he made is that teachers can't plan for the technology because that will always be changing.

All good points.

This year I'm hoping to continue to refine our efforts to help students to be mindful of their own digital behavior.  I'm planning on talking about them about what they want their "online brand" to look like.  I'm hoping to use both popular company brands (like Nike and Coca-Cola) as well as famous people (like Justin Bieber) to draw some interesting connections about online reputations. 

I'm hoping to help students reflect on their digital footprint by creating some sort of infographic that shows where they've left a trail online.  I'm thinking of using a word cloud generator like Wordle or Tagxedo to help us do that. 

I'd love to help teachers give our intermediate students a chance to use social media in a more sheltered way.   This could be through using Moodle more effectively in the classroom or exploring the use of Edmoto. 

It's going to be a good year.

Friday, August 3, 2012

#DigiFoot12 and 3D GameLab

I'm making the most of TWO professional development opportunities now!

Here I am at the virtual opening session of 3D Game Lab Teacher Camp listening to Shallow, one of the founders, talk about how quest-based learning will re-invent education.

A few of us learned how to fly on that day.  I completed a lot of quests and tried to learn how to play Minecraft.

And I'm continuing on with week 5 of #DigiFoot12!  This MOOC is on Week 5 and celebrates student voices on the Web.  Our homework was to find a student blog, comment on it and tweet about it.  I found UK student Veg's "Never Seconds" blog on Blogspot.com 

She started her blog in order to give photos and reviews of her school's "dinners." Intriguingly, her school attempted to shut down her blog, which has lead to greater notoriety.  Since then, other students have been e-mailing her pictures and information about their own lunches.  Her latest post was in August and featured a very attractive Bento Box.

Imitaz Mujeed's talk earlier this week about his own path towards entrepreneurship has stuck with me and I've been musing on it ever since.  He found what he was passionate about and had the abilities to make his goals a reality.  I wish to help support all of my students towards their goal but I sometimes wonder if self starters like Imitaz just need school to move out of their way.   I think that its great when a teacher can figure out how to best support very capable students so that they get the help that they need and the time to pursue their own path.

I was thrilled to be mentioned in Verena's daily #Digifoot12 newsletter!  Thanks Verena!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

#Digifoot12 -- Students take Control and 3D Game Lab Quest Learning

Today is the start of "Teacher Camp" for 3D Game Lab, which is a new portal for quest based learning.  It is in beta right now and I've joined the beta along with two colleagues at my school.  Part of learning how to set up quests is to be reflective on helping students to think about their online reputation.  Here's one video that the creators of this initial quest suggested that we watch. 

Common Craft "Protecting Reputations Online" video