Mrs. Cook’s Corner

Context Matters

Standards:

  • ISTE Coaching Standard 4: Professional Development and Program Evaluation, indicator b: Design, develop, and implement technology rich learning programs that model principles of adult learning and promote digital age best practices in teaching, learning, and assessment.
  • ISTE Student Standard 2: Digital Citizen, indicator a: Students cultivate and manage their digital identity and reputation and are aware of the permanence of their actions in the digital world.
  • ISTE Teacher Standard 4: Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility, indicator c: Promote and model digital etiquette and responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information

This week’s QUEST has led me to think about ways that I can use ed tech to enhance my professional development. This quarter my focus will be evaluating our Digital Citizenship Program. In my job, I am evaluating an ed tech tool that we are piloting. In reflecting on my project, I decided to combine the two, How can I incorporate Digital Citizenship lessons when giving professional development on our district’s new learning management system?

Retrieved from: https://www.istockphoto.com/vector/three-kids-working-on-computers-doing-homework-gm1150836150-311677221

My district is piloting Microsoft Teams this year. Ten teachers volunteered at the beginning of the school year to use Teams in their classrooms. They were given an professional development opportunity to introduce them to the platform and were promised an additional training prior to the end of the pilot. I have been tasked to visit the classrooms participating in the program to observe the teachers and students and give feedback to the district on how the pilot is going.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a chat-based work space that allows people to collaborate and communicate with each other. Teachers can create teams for their students, schools can create teams for their staff, and teams can be created for PLC’s at your building or throughout your district. Our district has moved all of its curriculum to a team for educators to access. The goal is that students will be able to access their ELA curriculum through a Class Notebook that is housed in teams. Because this is very new to our district and people don’t always embrace change, we have a lot of work to do to teach educators how to effectively use this tool.

3rd grade using Teams

One of the classes that I visit in the pilot is a 3rd grade class. The teacher put the students into learning teams for language arts. These groups are differentiated by reading levels and discreet skill acquisition. While the teacher is working with a group in person, students are in their teams accomplishing learning tasks. The students are not placed in physical groups, rather they are spaced around the room. One thing that surprised me was that students were not getting up and talking to each other or going up to the teacher to interrupt her learning group. If they had a question, they would use the chat feature and ask their group for help. If a student was having difficulty reading the prompts, then they used the immersive reader function to have the material read to them. This class has several newcomers and they had access to the translator if needed. This class was working independently on their tasks and the groups were getting much needed small group time with their teacher. I was in awe!

6th grade Science Team

In all of the classes that I have visited, I have enjoyed the variety of learning activities that were being accomplished using Teams. One of the 6th grade classes that I observed used teams to send his students their science content. He would send them a link to an article and then have the students work collaboratively on a presentation that they would share with other groups. Unlike the 3rd grade group, these students were not allowed to use the chat feature. In the beginning, it was activated but the students abused it by chatting to each other rather than completing work. The students were aware of this and were hopeful that someday they would earn the ability to chat again.

5th grade ELA

This class was one of the last classes that I visited in my pilot rounds. The teacher used teams every now and again, and had changed what he was going to do on paper and adapted it to teams to let me observe his class using the platform. He was using a carousel protocol to get kids to respond to prompts about the text they were reading about rain forests. I thought this was a fantastic idea! I immediately thought about bring this to a PD session to show teachers how they could use teams in a really inventive way. In talking to the students about their experience using teams, I found out that the chat feature was their favorite. In probing deeper the students told me that they use the video chat from home to talk to each other. The kids told me that sometimes the content was not always appropriate. This information really alarmed me. I could just imagine what could happen if kids were not using this tool for good!

As I was filling out my observation forms, and reflecting on all of my visits with the classes, I realized that the district not only has a responsibility to offer professional development to teach teachers about this new tool, they need to offer PD on Digital Citizenship specifically targeting the way students communicate with each other.

So that is where I am now. I have discussed this with my boss and we are working on creating new PD specifically around this topic. In our district, the librarians teach digital citizenship lessons to the students. It is not enough. I think that since teachers are going to be the ones using the LMS with the students, we can’t just rely on the librarians. Digital Citizenship must be taught in context (Culatta, 2017) Teachers, librarians, and parents should be partnering with each other to reinforce the topics taught in school.

I am really excited about this quarter. We are going to do a Program Evaluation. I have chosen to evaluate our Digital Citizenship program. By thinking of DigCit in the context of Teams, this is going to help me develop stronger professional development.

Sources:

  • Crompton, H. (2015, August 7). Know the ISTE Standards for Coaches: PD and program evaluation. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/explore/ISTE-Standards-in-Action/Know-the-ISTE-Standards-for-Coaches:-PD-and-program-evaluation
  • The ISTE Standards. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/standards
  • Digital Citizenship. (2019, October 21). Retrieved from https://www.commonsense.org/education/digital-citizenship
  • Zepeda, S. J. (2019). Professional development: what works. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
  • Richard Culatta Keynote ISTE (2017). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9bDwuQC394
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1 thought on “Context Matters

  1. Great post, Melissa. It is great to hear about the different successes and challenges within each grade level. A new phrase I have been liking is – 2 needs with 1 deed and it is great that you are able to do this by combining Digital Citizenship PD with Tech Tool LMS exploration. I am so excited to learn from you as you share how it is going!

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