It’s Time to Drop a Little Emily Post

Today’s students are not addicted to technology. They just don’t know how to use it appropriately. Maybe its time we drop a little Emily Post and teach appropriate use in addition to use.

* I chose to create a vlog in response to the open mic. With all of this discussion of technology and etiquette I find I am drawn to communicating in person more than ever. I visualize myself talking to my colleagues in a class setting when I make these videos. I realize it is not the same, but in my mind it is the next best thing. This coursework has even influenced me to spend more time making phone calls to and spending time with people who are important to me. I want to connect more deeply and more personally. The last few chapters of Turkle “Alone Together” got under my skin.  Real life should be better than online life.

The Age of Technology (this is a pun)

Technology is ever present in our lives. Babies are born into a world of selfies and senior citizens are on email (59% aged 65+ according to Older Adults and Technology Use).

In my experience, young children are most often using technology to make rote educational activities engaging and for entertainment at home. Adolescents are combining educational and daily life technologies to add a social aspect to every task; educational or not.  Adults use educational technology to obtain college degrees and to fix leaky sinks and in their daily lives to zone out during marathon NetFlix binges.

My concern is that we have not yet developed a driver’s ed course for technology.  Technology is rarely taught. It is expected to be learned on your own from youth, through adolescence, and into adulthood. In Douglas Rushkoff’s article Young Kids and Technology at Home, he communicates kids often know more than we do about technology so “Who are we to tell them how to behave, when to log-off and what not to do?”  We have lost our power. I do not have any answers to this struggle.  I want to teach my students how to use technology. I find myself lecturing in front of the classroom, a student offers insight on the digital tool I don’t have, and I step off of my platform defeated.  They didn’t need that lesson.  Technology adds to our life and creates conflict.  Peer to peer, student to teacher, parent to child power struggles occur over the use of and teaching of technology. 

Please watch my Vlog for more of my ideas on technology across the ages.

Go Noodle article referenced in vlog:

Neuroscience for Teachers: Applying the Research (Part IV)

*I selected a vlog format as I am most comfortable expressing personal opinion and giving personal anecdotes conversationally. I chose to speak from my desk in my classroom as I am speaking as an educator.  I also chose to have the picture of my children in the background as I am speaking as an parent.  I hope learners can connect to my experiences or they may not opt to stay with me for the length of my vlog.  I chose to add the written text to my wordpress to point out the aspects of my vlog that answer the questions posed in the Open Mic assignment. I did not script my entire vlog as I have done in the past.  I worry that I may have missed a vital point but I believe I come across as much more relaxed and human than the robotic reading of content I have been prone to in past vlogs.

Instructing Kids v. Parents

Creating a set of instructions should be cut and dry.  One would imagine instructions do not change regardless of the audience.  Ikea is famous for instructions using minimal pictures and symbols. 

I can not imagine the countless hours that went into creating these abbreviated instructions.  As teachers, we do not have a professional team of advisers and graphic artists creating our instructions.  Teachers must remain very guarded in delivering instruction, as the words we select impact children and our goal is to always have a positive impact.

I created my initial set of instructions for the Kidblog tutorial with students in mind. I wanted to be careful with my appearance.  I wore a cardigan and pulled my hair back to ensure I looked like a professional, but not a salesman; a teacher not a dictator. I wanted to make Kidblog seem easy and interesting to use.  But, I also remembered to link it to content and curriculum because student audiences are never just that.  Anything created as part of a classroom can also be accessed by parents and administration.

Therefore, when I created my parent Kidblog tutorial there are only minor differences.  Instead of mentioning adding pictures to personalize work, I discussed the safety of the platform and understanding how students navigate the tool.  The parent version also took longer and covered less.  I assumed parents are less familiar with Kidblog and learning online and needed their instruction delivered slowly and carefully.  Finally, I also eliminated the onscreen camera.  Parents do not need a visual of me and might be distracted by or judgmental of my appearance.

Overall, technology allows me to quickly change my message based on who my audience is.  This quick change is crucial as one of the most important aspects of being an effective communicator is directing your message to your specific audience.

*I chose to present this information in the form a blog as I was thinking the bulk of the content would be the tutorials.  Blogs are perfect for quickly delivering short bits of written content and embedding video clips.  But in the famous words of Mark Twain, “It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”

Google Classroom Tutorial

Summary of the Tool

Google Classroom is a blended learning platform available to all Dodd Middle School students.  This online classroom is where teachers post homework, class work, class notes, and general reminders.  It is also a platform students can use to safely communicate with one another about courses.  The Classroom allows the creation, distribution and grading of assignments in a paperless format on the cloud  Your student can never forget their homework at school again!

How Classroom Helps Dodd Students & Parents

The pedagogical uses of Google Classroom are endless.  The one that pertains most to parents is our ability to communicate and collaborate.  Classwork announcements will be posted at the start of the school day.  Links to videos, worksheets and class notes can be access from home by students and parents alike.  Assignments, both long term and short term will be posted as well.  You student will show you how to access her/his dashboard this week.  You may then access their assignments and completion rates through the dashboard.  Additionally, if your child is absent from class s/he can access an overview of what occurred and attempt to follow along from home.  Classroom’s cloud based access allows seamless real time communication between school and home.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.6

Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.6

Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and link to and cite sources as well as to interact and collaborate with others, including linking to and citing sources.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.6

Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others. 

How to do it

Now that you have seen a brief overview of the parental uses for Google Classroom, ask your student to shared her/his login credentials with you and try it out yourself.  First type in the URL: www.classroom.google.com and it will bring you to the login page as pictured below.  

Classroom by Google

Select your student’s Cheshire email from the drop down list in the upper right hand corner.  If your student has never logged into your device with her/his Cheshire email you will have to type it in yourself.  Once logged in, you will be brought to the dashboard.  The dashboard shows each Classroom your student is enrolled in.  The dashboard displays the class name and the instructor name and picture.  The folder on the class pictures allows your student to go directly to the Google Drive folder that stores all assignments and worksheets created specifically for this class.  The plus sign in the top right of the screen allows the student to enroll in additional courses as the marking periods change and your student’s schedule changes.   Finally, the three bars in the upper left of the screen allows navigation between course, directly to assignment lists and setting management.

Classroom

Limitations

Google Classroom is   Google classroom is only available to users with a cheshire.k12.ct.us email.  This means that you will need to login using your student’s credentials.  Additionally, though classroom allows access at any time of day or night, students should not expect immediate feedback.  Students must be aware of the human limitations of using blended learning.  Outside of the school day or even while teaching another class, I may not be able to respond to the student’s post.  Additionally, all posts on Classroom are public to the entire class.  If a student or parent has a private question or concern please continue to email me at keelygarden@gmail.com

Conclusion

Google Classroom is an indispensable tool that is revolutionizing parents’ ability to understand their students’ coursework and assignments.  It is a window into the classroom that allows for parents, students and teachers to communicate without sending time consuming emails or making phone calls that interrupt the workday.  Google Classroom is essential in allows our students to make the transition to independent middle schoolers without cutting parents out of the communication loop.  Please use Classroom daily as a springboard for conversations about Dodd with your student.

Revision History/Audit Trail

Created by Keely Garden 8/2015

Updated by Keely Garden 9/2015

Too Tall To Trick or Treat

My daughter's Halloween costume 2015

My daughter’s Halloween costume 2015

Visual profiling sets expectations for students that vary from classroom to classroom.  In a way, students must jump into a costume for each setting in the school.  Please watch my vlog to see more of my ideas on Visual Profiling.

My response is in the form a vlog…again.  I do write out a skeleton script for each of my vlogs, but not having to edit my script for grammar, sentence structure, etc is very freeing for me.  When I stop worrying about how my words will look, I am able to think more deeply and make more connections.  I also wanted to show some of the power poses Amy Cuddy mentions in her Ted Talk and the voices of the professional development videos. Also, I tell myself the vlog allows my classmates to experience my ideas without having to stop everything else.  Feel free to make dinner or wash the dishes while I talk.  I also realize that my spoken word videos may be difficult for learners who prefer written text and that I could work on my verbal presentation skills in an effort to keep my viewers’ attention.

Links to the media I mentioned in my vlog:

The Financial Perks of Being Tall

Mr. Well Dressed

Mr. Scruffy