For my final project I was really drawn to Nancy Willard's research on creating classroom environments where bullying is not an option. I have been following Joanne Miller who has created Head Over Heels for Teaching on Facebook and her ideas really helped me to connect with Nancy Willard's research. I have really wanted to get the resources to add some of these ideas to my classroom, and with this project now seemed to be the best time to explore. Below are links to different parts of my final project. The red links are all presentation materials and the gray link is to the background research in the form of a short paper.
Essential question: What is the value of teaching media literacy in K-12, and how can media literacy be used to help students understand the nature and effects of fake news?
Erika posted about hearing the phrase “I read it on Google so it must be true.” This is a very common occurrence, and I hear it quite often as well. Sometimes people joke about this but many times they truly believe what they are reading without fact checking. It is crazy how often this happens. It's like they have never considered that what they are reading might not be true. Because the internet has exploded so fast teachers haven't caught up to what essential skills will need to be taught. Even then I wonder where this fits in the curriculum? Sometimes I run across it when I have a project that students are researching and they bring me over to ask about the information they are finding. I will then explain to them that they need to get information from trusted sources, not just any source, and I do a little explaining about what makes a source trusted.
I had a connection to my teaching this week when Sarah posted about manipulation of graphs. I am currently teaching algebra and we just finished a section on misleading data. Student had to identify axes that were off or they had to look at the data itself and see the sample size or how the population sampled could be biased and non-random. They all caught on right away but without being exposed to it they could have easily glimpsed the graphs and made conclusions. It was fun the see the student reactions to misleading data as they all thought it was totally ridiculous that anyone would believe it once the mistakes were pointed out.
For me this week, it really hit home about how fast fake news can spread. Just looking at the gaming website Razer and how people wanted to participate in drinking a substance called v2 that would put nano bugs in their system and would make them better games. I asked myself who would want robot bugs in their body in the first place? It just goes to show how our emotions will get us every time. We want it to be true so badly that we believe anything. I also think about how parents won't vaccinate their children after so many studies have refuted Wakefields study, that has been proven to be falsified on the grounds that his study has yet to be done with similar results. His results were published in 1998, so 20 years later we still cannot produce these results. After all of this parents still believe that the MMR vaccine can cause autism. It is so crazy how when we want this to be the reason for autism we choose to not believe anything else.
As far as doing this in the classroom, I liked Sarah's idea of showing a video and having students write down all of the things that they are questioning. Then they analyze it as a class. I also like Jule's idea of having students create something fake and posting it on social media to see how fast it is spread. This is such a great idea to really hit home with students the power that the internet possesses when we leverage things in the way we want them to be seen. I think I would also like to hang up the infographic in my room to give students ways to evaluate their sources.
Essential question(s): What is cyberbullying, and how should it be approached by our schools?
Josie focused her post on the effects of bullying and what can be done after the fact. I believe that we will always have to look at what we can do after the fact, as we probably won't be able to completely get rid of bullying. Emily Willard advocates for prevention methods, but I believe this will only get us so far. Having strategies to help ameliorate some of the effects of bullying can certainly be helpful for those going through it. I don't ever remember being bullied as a kid but I do remember friends getting bullied. I was too shy at the time to stick up for them. I wish I could've said something, but I was generally afraid of just talking with people I didn't know, let alone trying to confront them. I guess the next best thing is just to stick by them. Letting them know that you still support them and that they aren't alone. Josie pointed out that others such as parents, teachers, and other adults can provide support to help the victim feel less alone. However after the reading this week I would caution adults jumping into the situation. In Nancy Willard's interview, she points out that “The Youth Voice Project, in its survey of students. It found that only 42% of students even report moderate to very severe bullying to school officials. But in only 34% of those reported situations did they say that, after their report, things got better. In 29% of the cases, things got worse after their report and the other times, things stayed the same.” I feel the same as Nancy Willard's research shows in that it usually makes the problem worse, and this is probably amplified at the older grades.
Erika brought up the point that students need to be taught online safety skills so that they can help prevent themselves from a lot of the danger that lurks in the online world. This also made me think about how so many students are not being taught good moral skills at home. Many students come to skill without proper skills on how to interact with others as they are spending so much time in the virtual world and so are their parents. Not to say that there aren't good parents out there but it seems as if more and more students are not coming into the classroom with good people skills, as I would call it. Students are not being taught the value of kindness to themselves and others. Now I don't believe this will completely eliminate bullying but I do think it would help prevent some of it.
This weeks topic really made me think about a 4th grade teacher in Florida that I follow in Facebook. She has a page titled Head Over Heels for Teaching. I have probably only been following her for about a year, but this year especially I have noticed all of her posts about acts of kindness her and her class participate in. She also shows different ways that she recognizes good behavior. Her motto is "in a world where you can be anything, be KIND." I absolutely love this motto and wish I could take credit for it. I have really wanted to implement some of her ideas but have fallen short on time. There is too much going on this year, but I have not forgotten about it and have filed some of her ideas into my brain to use at a later date. One of her recent ideas is to create a group award where one group is recognized for their positive interactions as a group. The group who won the previous day gets the task of awarding this and giving an explanation for their choice. She has other awards like this and has even posted videos of the students explanations. Her students really take pride in this award and give amazing explanations. Even though she does not talk about bullying or cyberbullying, I believe she has ideas that create a classroom environment that prevents bullying. I think this is what Nancy Willard is talking about, creating an environment where bullying just doesn’t happen because it does not get positive recognition from peers.
Essential question: How can educators use the resources of Common Sense Media to help develop, support and augment digital citizenship efforts?
For me this week I spent a lot of time looking at the lesson plans for grades 6-8 on Common Sense. I really liked the lesson titled “identifying high-quality sites.” I absolutely loved the checklist for identify if the site it high-quality! Trying to explain what a good site has sometimes goes in one ear and out the other. This list gives a concrete way for students to evaluate sites. Another struggle is that most students don’t understand that google is not a site and they just take the information Google puts at the top, and cite it as coming from Google. With this checklist I think it would be easier for students to understand that Google isn’t a source because most of the questions on the checklist could not be answered. Plus this checklist could go with any content area. It is really universal!
Gerald pointed out how there is an extensive the parent link is on Common Sense. I like the fact that they have a top picks on this section. Even for those of us who aren't parents, it can be helpful in determining what might be good for different children, as we all probably interact with children at some points. The parent link did not catch my eye as I was too involved in exploring the 6-8 resources this week.
Sarah also talked about a particular lesson with citing sources. It was interesting how almost everyone else was drawn to the reviews. I didn't even notice that until reading all the posts. I was drawn to the lesson on identifying quality sources. When students get to middle school they don't understand that Google isn't a source. There is so much researching across different content areas that really all lessons would be great to incorporate at some point. It is just a little overwhelming so I think picking 1 place to focus on would be a great start.
Pretty much everyone talked about the layout of the site and how nice it is that it is laid out by grade/age level. This makes it super easy as a teacher to go in and use the resources without a lot of modification necessary. Definitely makes me more willing to test out some of the resources.
Essential question(s): How can the complex ideas behind digital citizenship be addressed in simple, effective tools that can help us develop digital citizenship skills with our students, as well as assess their digital citizenship skill levels? What tools and programs currently exist that teachers can use? Of the tools presented in this week’s materials, which were most helpful? If you could develop a new tool, what would look like? If you wanted to engage students in developing new tools in this area, how might you structure that activity?
Here is a list of resources to teach digital citizenship:
This can lead to the idea of how do teachers keep current in digital citizenship. To keep current it is such a great idea to share with other teachers. Josie pointed this out and it really seems like common sense yet I feel like I am not doing this as much as I should. I just don't seem to have the time. It would be so great if there was a weekly time that teachers could get together and collaborate that is not outside the school day.
Another topic that I found interesting was the idea of controlling student devices. I remember student teaching and being able to freeze devices and shut them down. I could also push content to devices and so much more. It was pretty handy. However, I do know that some think that too much control sets kids up for failure in the future. If they don't learn how to navigate all that is out their what will they do when they are able to try things that aren't controlled? It is really something to ponder as I don't think we fully know how this would affect kids. I can see both sides, and I guess I wonder how students feel about teachers controlling what their devices can and cannot do?
One final thought that came up this week was where to fit teaching digital citizenship into the school day?Most teachers have more material to teach than they do time. I liked Gerald's idea of having a class that students must pass in order to graduate. However, I would propose they have to pass it earlier. Since most of these programs are online it would be nice if students were required to complete one before being allowed to use technology at the middle/high school level. Just as many jobs require you to complete programs it would seem like schools would need a similar requirement. I wonder if this would even work, but it would solve the problem of fitting it into the school day.