Tag Archives: Digital literacy

‘You and Me, all we want to be is lazy’⤴

from @ Just Trying to be Better Than Yesterday

Of all the things that have begun to happen to me as I get older, increasing claustrophobia is my most concerning. Whenever I’m in a position where I can’t see a way out – whether an exit or an excuse – I start to get anxious and feel my heart rate increasing. More and more , I avoid social occasions, certainly if there is likely to be a large crowd: more recently I’ve begun to dread larger CPD events, especially ones where the ‘presenter’ asks the ‘audience’ to do some work.  I feel the same way when Bruce Springsteen turns his microphone to the audience: ‘No, Springsteen. YOU sing!’

That feeling is probably the reason why online learning appeals to me. I can read things when and where I want: there is no one with flipchart paper or a microphone to put me on the spot. And, to cap it all off, I don’t have to tell anyone who I am or where I’m from or what I hope to get from the day. Seriously? If you’re running a CPD day and have to ask that then there’s a problem. Indeed, if you’re an educational ‘consultant’ and need that reassurance then you really need to up your game. If you’re selling your product you should be clear what it is from the start.

But online learning is much more appealing to me. Sometimes. The comforting delight in knowing that you can give up at any time means that, for the most part, I give up at any time. Never finish things, I dip in to blogs and research papers and find books, and get about half way through them and give in, learning lots of little things along the way. And, knowing I don’t have to ‘feedback during plenary’, it is massively satisfying. But it’s different when you’re an adult. I’m not sure how I would have got on if I had something like ‘Flipped Learning’ when I was at school.

That tendency to give up is probably why these things won’t work for everyone in schools. It is in our nature to be lazy. As Daniel Willingham says in ‘Why Don’t Students Like School?’, ‘Humans don’t think very often because our brains are designed not for thought but for the avoidance of thought.’ Some of my students may love online learning; some may hate it; most, I think, would love the idea but never find the motivation to do it on their own. Flipped learning makes a lot of in correct assumptions about the willingness of children to work in their own time.

So, while crammed classrooms are probably claustrophobic for some kids, it really is the best way for us to teach a class of thirty. It’s not perfect by any means but I’m yet to be convinced that more ‘open’ approaches to learning can work for every child. We have a responsibility to those kids who needs us most, those disadvantaged by background, and new, untested strategies are often vanity projects. Teaching them well, in the best possible way, is our duty. Let’s not take risks with that.


What’s Up, Docs? Digital Technology in English.⤴

from @ Just Trying to be Better Than Yesterday

As  an English teacher I get no greater pleasure when I see a classroom full of children engrossed in a book. Whether that is a focused ten minutes on their own choices or hanging on every word of Macbeth, books are what got me here and books are what it should be about. So when it comes to tech, I’ve always approached with caution. With any new ‘innovation’, I always begin with two questions: will this help reduce my workload rather than increase it and will it genuinely be a better way to teach kids stuff? If the answer to either of those is ‘No’ then I’ll ignore it.

I have real concerns that some of the major international tech firms are looking on at Education in the UK and are rubbing their hands with glee. So much money; so much possibility. The blind swallowing of this thing called ‘21st Century skills’ often disguises the fact that good learning is good learning no matter the tools we have in front of us. But is it incumbent on us all to find out what might work for our classrooms and ourselves? Perhaps. Again, approaching with caution – and a firm eye on the price tag – is key.

Having said that, though, it is our professional responsibility to utilise the best strategies for our classrooms. Using effective tech is already part of what we do in Scotland. The Government issued document ‘Enhancing Learning and Teaching Through the Use of Digital Technology’   states that: Digital technology is already embedded within Scottish education. It has a place within Curriculum for Excellence, Initial Teacher Education and the Professional Standards set by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).’ So, knowing that, I have always tried to use the best resources I could find for my classes. The danger comes, however, when we use tech just because it is there.

I have recently been dabbling with the  ‘Classroom’ suite of tools from a very big tech company. For writing in the senior school I have begun to see it as hugely impressive. Our students have to produce a Folio for Higher and National 5. Using Docs this term has allowed me to follow progress very closely, to mark and assess as they go along, and avoid the chasing up of late bits of paper. It both cuts down on my workload and helps the students to make progress. Sold. I would never use it with younger kids; they need to write accurately with pen or pencil before they should move on to more focused tools but for seniors it works really well.

As teachers we should be able to assess how tech works most effectively. Kids have loads of gadgets but are not as tech savvy as we may be lead to believe. In fact it is often  lazy assumption. They have tools with great power. Whether we can tap into that or not remains to be seen but we should find out of ourselves. Tech, if anything, should allow us to extend the classroom, providing genuine opportunities for learning. If it doesn’t do that the we should leave it alone. And get back to the books.


A Facebook Like⤴

from @ John's World Wide Wall Display

Facebook was the key to the entire campaign, Wigmore explained. A Facebook ‘like’, he said, was their most “potent weapon”. “Because using artificial intelligence, as we did, tells you all sorts of things about that individual and how to convince them with what sort of advert. And you knew there would also be other people in their network who liked what they liked, so you could spread. And then you follow them. The computer never stops learning and it never stops monitoring.”

from: Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media | Politics | The Guardian

Carole Cadwalladr’s article in today’s Observer, is both fascinating and frightening. The technology used by Cambridge Analytics is incredibly  powerful the use it has ben put too worrying. Andy Wigmore, Leave.EU’s comms director in the quote above doesn’t have a Facebook account quoted in the same article:

It is creepy! It’s really creepy! It’s why I’m not on Facebook! I tried it on myself to see what information it had on me and I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ What’s scary is that my kids had put things on Instagram and it picked that up. It knew where my kids went to school.

Featured image on this post created with a wee AppleScript Makes auto complete google search gifs.

Medium

Fake, Fiction or Fact? How can learners be helped to work out what’s true?⤴

from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

There are so many choices for sources of news for learners to find out about what’s going on the world today, whether printed media, online news sites or social media. But how can learners be helped to be able to work out if what they are reading has any substance in fact, how accurate the information is, or what the biases are likely to be?

How can you spot fake news?

howtospotfakenewsinfographicHow to Spot Fake News – the IFLA (the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions), with thanks to www.factcheck.org, created an infographic detailing steps we can all take when trying to work out if what we are reading, hearing or watching is verifiable. This helps teach the skills of critical thinking and media literacy. This describes with visual representation 8 steps to take to help determine the likely authenticity of shared information: to consider the source, to read beyond the headline, the check credibility of the author, to look at linking sources, to check the date to see if current, to research to see if it’s satire, to consider your own biases and the likely ones of the source sharing the information, and to consult fact-checking sites. The infographic is available to download as either an image or in pdf format for printing.

takkfakenewsliteracy

Digital Literacy and “Fake News” – Resources to Help you help your students – many links collated by librarian-turned-technology-specialist Nancy Watson @nancywtech which help teachers guide their learners through ways to spot fake news and techniques to work out the authenticity of the shared information. The links include sites aimed at different age groups, teachers, younger learners, as well as for general public use. They include fact-checking sites as well as tips and advice to determining reliability of what is shared.

nwfakenewsepidemicDigital Literacy and the “Fake News” EpidemicNancy Watson has produced a superb resource for educators sharing a host of advice, tips and resources to support teachers support their learners to better be able to be discerning about the information shared online or in the print media. This includes examples of fake news and outlines the steps anyone can take to determine it to be factually inaccurate.

nprfakeorrealFake or real? How to self-check the news and get the facts – a post by digital news intern Wynne Davis describing the issue of fake news and giving practical advice for all ages about how to help determine whether what you are reading is true or fiction. Tips include checking the domain name (especially similar-sounding names), looking at quotations in the story (and checking up on who they are and anything known about them online), searching the quote itself to see if it properly attributed or taken out of context, check the comments to get a flavour of whether others call out the facts as being untrue and cite sources to back up their claims, reverse image search (right click on an image online and choose to search Google for it to see where else it is used and the context in which it is used).

Internet Archive and Wayback Machine

internetarchiveWouldn’t it be great if, when someone says content has changed on a website, or disappeared completely, that there was a way to look back at what was there beforehand? Well, The Internet Archive saves a huge amount of online content from many sources around the web (several hundred billion webpages!). This relies on the Wayback Machine (which is part of the Internet Archive) trawling on a regular basis for changed content. So if you search for a website and it is no longer available you can pop the weblink into the Wayback Machine (which is part of The Internet Archive) and look back at previous versions just by choosing a specific date. It will only be available for dates on which a trawl was made so is not available for every date but it’s still very impressive to be able to look at a website change over time and to be able to compare and contrast with versions over time.

savepagenowCan you save a web page on Wayback machine so it’s always there for future reference? Yes you can! You can simply capture a web page as it appears now for future use as a trusted citation in the future, or just to ensure it does not disappear when the original website changes or disappears. All you do is paste the weblink when you first find it on the Save Page Now” part of the Internet Archive site.

Fact-checking sites

There are a number of sites which can be used to verify whether stories (particularly those which appear on social media and spread like wildfire) have any basis in fact or whether they are urban myths, or out and out lies or propaganda. These include Politifact, Snopes, and Factcheck.org

Do you think you read with your bias? What bias does the writer have?

biasesaffectingusallBiases which affect us all – an infographic created by Business Insider which lists and describes 20 biases which we can all have when we read, hear or share information. Whether it’s a tendency to have a reliance on the first piece of information we hear, whether we are influenced by hearing the same information shared by a group, whether the information confirms what we already believed, stereotyping, or information which implies cause and effect, or many more – this infographic provides a useful starting point for discussing with learners the range of influences on us all when we all read or hear information.

 

Reverse Digital Literacy⤴

from @ John's World Wide Wall Display

A few years ago I posed about an interesting use of Google reverse image search:

http://johnjohnston.info/blog/google-image-search/

And over the years I’ve read a good few posts about the tool on Alan’s blog (e.g. The Hidden Complexity of Attribution, Reverse Image Search ).

This week I’ve been reading more fascinating uses of the tool: Cleanup Time and Road Trip

I am even more strongly minded that we should be starting to teach these skills from a young age. How easy that will be I don’t know.

A few weeks ago, during the scary clown storm I was hearing about clown stories every day. One pupil was most insistent that there was a clown plague. The pupil presented me with ‘evidence’ from his iPad. This was a photo of a dead clown stretched out shot on a New York street. I took a look with the idea of demonstrating a wee bit of fact checking. On scrolling down below the picture I found the headline explaining that this was a fake photo! No detective work needed.

I am not quite sure where to start with this teaching. Perhaps using the reverse image search to identify things or creatures combined with some work on The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus.

The problem is that the fake stuff is catchy, fun and enables us to grab a quick stance.

Featured image Reversed | Pekka Nikrus | Flickr BY-NC-SA

    Raspberry Pi Code Club Free Training⤴

    from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

    Science Connects is delighted to host The Raspberry Pi Foundation at the University of Glasgow for a Raspberry Pi CPD training workshop based around Code Club. During this session you will learn to understand key programming concepts and apply them using Scratch.

    This introductory workshop is suitable for Primary teachers and Secondary teachers with no prior knowledge of coding.  Upon Completion of this course you will be a “Raspberry Pi certified educator”. 

    This is free CPD course for teachers and STEM Ambassadors and will be held: Glasgow University, 10th January, 5:00 -7:30pm

    To Register please go to the Eventbrite page at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/raspberry-pi-code-club-training-tickets-29741372245

     This is free CPD course for teachers – http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/projects/raspberrypi/

    Digital Curiosity⤴

    from @ John's World Wide Wall Display

    IMG_7485.jpeg

    maybe, in concert with an emphasis on making and collaborating and bug reporting and embracing other values of the open web, individuals can help reorient the cultural attitude toward technology away from entanglement and back to a place of enlightenment.

    The Age of Entanglement – The Atlantic

    Interesting Article. More grist for the ‘why we need to teach digital literacy and curiosity’ mill via @livedtime

    Featured image Qsquare quantum pseudo-telepathy from flickr
    Creative Commons — Attribution 2.0 Generic — CC BY 2.0

      Join the ever growing Computing Science Glow Community⤴

      from @ Education Scotland's Learning Blog

       

      girls-csearly-level-cs

      Computing Science is an incredibly exciting and inspiring area of the curriculum and it is essential that teachers and learners across Scotland benefit from the wealth of opportunities offered by the subject. The Glow Technologies Professional Learning Community provides teachers and learners with anytime, anywhere access to a wealth of contemporary, creative and engaging computing science online materials, resources and presentations.  All materials are tailored to levels within broad general education and senior phase enabling easy and quick access to the most relevant resources.  Watch videos and hear how teachers are enriching their learning experiences through the creative and interdisciplinary use of computing science.  Join this well-established Glow community today!tech-image

      https://glowscotland.sharepoint.com/sites/PLC/technologies/SitePages/Computing%20Science.aspx?WikiPageMode=Edit&InitialTabId=Ribbon.EditingTools.CPEditTab&VisibilityContext=WSSWikiPage

       

       

       

       

      Learners engaging with their learning with Yammer⤴

      from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

      YammerlogoYammer – so what is it and why use in school?

      Yammer is an online discussion/collaboration tool which provides schools with a secure online environment where all pupils in a class can ask questions of their peers, where they can seek answers and help each other, bounce ideas around and deepen their own understanding of what they are learning in class. It is available to all users of Office 365 for Education, meaning all Glow users, pupils and staff, have access to this tool. And it can be accessed by signing in online in a browser or using a mobile device app.

      Yammer provides an ideal tool through which learners can learn about the use of social media, in a protected environment, where the pupils can be guided to model behaviours for use in an online discussion tool, which will apply to any social media tool pupils may meet outwith their schooling. So if a teacher is looking to help pupils learn about safe sharing, and what not to share online, being supportive and respectful of views of others, and a place for pupils to engage in deepening their understanding through questioning and responding to others, then Yammer provides a great environment for a school.

      yammeronwaffleHow do pupils and teachers get started using Yammer?

      1. Glow users simply sign into Glow then navigate to any part of Office 365, such as the tile for Office 365 (School Site) and then click on the 9-square waffle icon to navigate to the range of tools available in Office 365 – and choose the Yammer tile.
      2. The very first time a user clicks on the Yammer tile they will be invited to invite further users – don’t invite others but instead just close that window (click on the greyed-out cross at the top-right or click on the background page behind the invitation panel.
      3. You will be presented with the terms of use of Yammer – read these and then click on the button to acknowledge you agree to abide by them.
      4. You’re then in Yammer and can start browsing some of the Yammer groups open to all users. Or, if a pupil is ready to join the private class Yammer group set up by their teacher, then the first time the pupil simply searches for the class group name, clicks on the link and requests to join by clicking on the “join group” button – that sends a message to the teacher who accepts their pupils into the group.

      Alternatively, rather than go to Glow first, users can search with an online search engine for Yammer or go straight to https://www.yammer.com where they can then simply log in using their Glow/Office 365 email address and password.

      How do you set up a Yammer group just for pupils and teachers in a class?

      1. A class teacher can quickly set up a private class group in Yammer. Click on “+ Create a new group” and then give the group a name – include in the group name something which identifies the school as well as the class name.
      2. Choose “Private – Only approved members” and untick the box which gives the option to “List in Group Directory” – that way only pupils who know what to search for will be able to find a teacher’s Yammer class group, and only pupils who the teachers knows are members of their class will be granted access by the teacher. Setting up that way avoids the teachers having to add a list of usernames – they simply tell their class what to search for, and to click on the “join group” button when they find the group.
      3. A teacher can see the list of pupils waiting to be added to their class yammer group by going into the Yammer group and then clicking on “Members” at the right-hand side. This will show which users have requested access and are pending approval by the teacher.
      4. It would be recommended to have additional teacher colleagues added as joint administrators – beside their name on the list of members just click on the cog icon and select “Make admin” to elevate that teacher to be a joint administrator of that Yammer group.

      What can you do in a Yammer discussion?

      You can ask questions, respond to requests from others, add comments or create polls to garner views of others. Attachments can be added to any discussion post – so pupils can perhaps discuss or share comments about a resource. You can even use the “praise” button to acknowledge the input of other users. A Yammer group provides a place to share resources, and links to related sites elsewhere.

      How are schools using Yammer?

      KirknewtonPSKirknewton Primary School in West Lothian has provided an excellent description of how they are using Yammer with pupils. This blogpost gives screenshots of different aspects to how they use Yammer, as well as the rationale to the choice of tool and the purposes behind it to better support learning and teaching. This has included using Yammer to support collaborative writing. Mrs Anderson, Principal Teacher at the school said “As a teacher and parent I feel that it is very important that we educate children about the safe use of social media – using Yammer has been a fantastic way to do so, in a safe environment. Feedback from parents has been positive.” “The impact on learning and teaching is evident in the content of the group and the enthusiasm of pupils (which is evident in the online interactions).” 

      https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/glowgallery/portfolio/kirknewton-primary-school-sharing-approaches-to-glow-yammer/

      BearsdenPSBearsden Primary School in East Dunbartonshire – teacher Athole McLauchlan describes in at this link about the use of Yammer with pupils in the school https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/glowgallery/portfolio/using-yammer-as-a-social-media-channel-for-learners-and-learning/

       

      What safeguards are in place for Yammer users in Glow?

      Yammer groups can be set up to be private (such as for a class of pupils so that the Yammer group can only be accessed by pupils in that class with their teachers). There are also Yammer groups open to users across Glow and educators within Glow nationally act as Moderators for Yammer users, welcoming new users, helping guide users to use appropriate language in a supportive way.

      Everything in Yammer is identifiable to the individual user. There is a simple “report a concern” option for all users (either use the question mark icon on a page or anywhere you see a “Report a concern” button) which will alert the national Glow administrators to concerns raised, and who will provide the support required to resolve any issues.

      There’s also a filter to ensure inappropriate language can’t accidentally be posted.

      And of course the educational-focussed environment shared between learners and educators means there is a visible supportive environment. Users can set email alerts either to all posts in a specific Yammer group, or to individual posts where alerts would be sent for replies or comments just to that post.

      MobileAppsYammer Mobile App

      Yammer has an app for mobile devices – search on the app store for your device. Then once downloaded simply log in with your Glow/Office 365 email address (that’s where your Glow username has @glow.sch.uk added to the end, after your Glow username). For many users the use of the app will be the most convenient way to access Yammer.

      What help is available?

      Day One Guide for the Glow Yammer Network (accessed using Glow account – but also available as a document download from the public-access site Yammer Guide for Glow Users) – a very helpful guide of do things to do, and things to avoid, as well as guides to getting the most out of Yammer, specially in the early stages of getting used to using Yammer in a school.

      Yammer Guide for Glow Users – a Glow-specific help guide to getting started with the use of Glow. This includes guidance and suggestions for managing Yammer in an educational context.

      So how are you using Yammer in your school?

      Do share in the comments below how Yammer is being used in your school

       

       

      Personalised Learning for Teachers about Digital Technologies for Learning⤴

      from @ ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

      MicrosoftTeacherTrainingBadgesMicrosoft in Education is a site which provides free on-demand personalised learning for teachers in exploring the use of digital technologies to support learning and teaching – learning at a pace which suits each teacher on the topics they find most useful to them, at the time they need it.

      The online hub provides a Training and Professional Development section which is divided into Quick Tip Videos,  Courses (which can be filtered by age range of learners, tools, skills to be developed, etc), and Learning Paths which provide a more in-depth look at use of digital technologies compbing different methods of delivering the information and sharing of skills as well as exemplars.

      There is a wide range of free instant-access online courses. Some of these are short tool-specific how-to guides to learning the basics of getting started using specific digital technologies such as Sway, Skype, OneNote, Powerpoint, Minecraft, Office Mix or many other tools. Some are just short quick-tip videos highlighting a specific feature of a particular piece of software.

      Some courses are longer and look at how digital technologies can best be used to support learning and teaching in different contexts. These combine text guides, video explanations and examples, as well as quizzes to help understanding.

      MicrosoftEducatorCommunityAnd by signing up to the free Microsoft in Education Community a teacher can access a wider range of resources shared by other teachers around the globe, and when working through the range of courses on offer a teacher can gain visual recognition through digital badges of their accomplishments. Working through the online resources, with badges to record progress, can provide an extra degree of motivation when there is a tangible record of what skills have been acquired, and perhaps a spur to just complete another one (and another, and another!!).

      So whether starting out, or just looking for an illustration of a particular application in a classroom setting, reading about how others are using digital technologies to support learning, an online space to discuss with colleagues worldwide what’s worked (or look for advice when you might be looking for a solution to something which has not worked in your situation), or wanting to further explore how to integrate digital technology to best support learners in your school, there is something here for every teacher.

      Sign up for free now at the Microsoft Educator Community at the link below:

      https://education.microsoft.com/