Thursday, April 14, 2011

Digital Footprints - Do We Scare or Prepare?

This week, I did a parent presentation about learning online with children.  I talked about digital footprints and I shared what parents could do to support online learning and what they can do to protect their children when they are online.  Based on their response, I am not sure if anyone has shared this type of information before or if they had thought about it before.  We need to have this type of conversation more in schools.  

So, when I read this article, Positive Digital Footprints by William Ferriter, the topic resonated with me, based on personal experience in schools.  The ideas shared by Ferriter will increase your understanding of the topic and, I hope, spark an interest for inquiry and conversation in your school or organization.  He keeps it simple and offers ideas for "preparing" students and not "scaring" them about being online.  I hope you will read the article.

In Ferriter's article, he quotes technologist Will Richardson who believes that today's kids will be judged by their digital footprint and the positive ways they learn, share and connect online.  Achieving this is going to take a lot of work educating administrators, teachers, parents, and students.  I have worked with teachers and administrators who fear using Google Docs because someone will find them and who want blogs that no one besides the class can view.  We still have work to do to get educators to support online publishing, e-portfolios and the many other ways students can positively and creatively build their digital footprint.  Can we prepare and support students' development of a positive digital footprint?  What do you think?

If your school or organization promotes developing a positive digital footprint, share your idea in a comment.  

Here is a final thought for today... 

Image licensed under Creative Commons by suburbanbloke:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Google A Day!

Google is promoting a new tool that educators can use to teach research skills.  A Google A Day provides an opportunity to search for the answer to a daily research question. Today's question is:
I like the keep it simple format and you can click to show the answer.  Don't cheat!  Try to get the answer yourself.  If you do give up and see how to get the answer, this is what you will find.  

How to find the answer: Search [country with twice as many sheep as people]. Various results show that the answer is Iceland. Next, search [ferry to Iceland]. The first result will give you the answer: Seyðisfjörður. To be totally sure, check the next several results, which all yield the same answer.

I like the fact that Google allows you to see the step by step process for solving the question.  I hear from many teachers that students don't know how to research and I am not sure how much we actually "teach" students to focus their searches.  So, I think this is a tool that is worth trying with middle and high school students.  The contest-like format should appeal to kids.

You can search the other daily questions by click on the dates at the bottom of the question window. 

Give it a try, model a solution with your students and share a comment on how it works.  Happy researching!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Beautiful Music With NY Philharmonic

 Here is a well developed, engaging website that will teach students about instruments of the orchestra, composers and musicians, allows them to create music, hear music, and play games.  This website supports creativity while teaching students about a variety of musical topics.

 While this website could be used to support a music curriculum, it also supports history, researching, reading, and creativity so more teachers should find it a site to use or share with students.  The site is easy to navigate, as you can see from these screen shots, and offers many engaging opportunities for students. The developers of the site "keep it simple" so even young children will be able to learn on it.  Click to learn about famous composers and hear some of their music.

Kids can take a daily poll on a musical topic and see the poll results.

 Click through the site and see how it might work for your students.  As always, I welcome your comments.