Illustrations of deep learning at YIS

For this week’s post, instead of skimming over numerous topics, I’ve decided to dive deep into two examples of what deep learning looks like at YIS. Hopefully by sharing these examples it will spark some inspiration and dialogue about deep learning and how we can share the successes of these two projects to better enhance learning that is happening in other areas of our school. 

Student-led inquiry in kindergarten

Little FUGU – 河豚 by jim in Flickr

Every time I stop in one of our kindergarten classrooms I’m inspired. I’m inspired because our kindergarten teachers are incredibly passionate and innovative. I’m also inspired because the live the  IB PYP with some of the youngest members of our school community. Most recently I had the chance to support what action looks like in a kindergarten classroom. 

At the end of last year the kindergarten teachers supported a month of student-led inquiry. The students were given Independence to choose a topic of Interest and inquire about it. The students develop their own timetables, they reached out to experts (often relying on the skills and knowledge of others in our school community) and shared their understandings. 

I was given the opportunity during the unit to co-learn with some of the students on topics I knew about or was passionate about. One opportunity was to work with a couple of students on game creation (we used Scratch Jr) while another student wanted my help learning about fugu (Japanese for a poisonous pufferfish often served raw in Japan). While I know quite a bit about kindergarten-level game creation, I had a great opportunity to co-learn with the student who was inquiring into fugu. I supported and activated his inquiry, but I wasn’t an expert – we learned together. 

An example of a student-created schedule for this inquiry

How is this deep learning?

  • The teachers helped students discover and sort out the inquiries that best suit them
  • The students developed relationships with mentors and experts to support their inquiries
  • The teachers took on a role as activators and co-learners

The role of technology in these student-led inquiries

Students document and reflect on their Learning Journal (Seesaw)
  1. Tool to document and reflect. The students used their Learning Journals (Seesaw) to  document and reflect on their learning through the inquiry process.
  2. 1-to-1 iPads. We have a 1-to-1 iPad program in kindergarten which helps support inquires like this. It isn’t so that students are always on a device, but instead so that they can have access to a device when they need it to support their inquiry. Our kindergarten students research with PebbleGo and use their iPads often for documentation and reflection. 

Global Citizen Diploma

Copyright Global Citizen Diploma

The Global Citizen Diploma (GCD) provides a framework for students to actively take small steps leading to a better future. Through intentional reflection, students develop a deeper understanding of who they are and what they value by capturing their individual stories and celebrating their growth. By identifying their passions, each student who earns the GCD becomes more inclined to act in an ethical and responsible way as a global citizen.”

Global Citizen Diploma

Reading that paragraph is powerful, but reading the stories and hearing about who are students really are is even more powerful. The GCD program allows students to develop a common understanding within the GCD framework, but then gives them the flexibility to share reflections that tell their story. As teachers our role is to listen and guide – we read and provide feedback on their learning and share their successes. The GCD is for our high school students, but we have elementary school teachers who have volunteers to develop relationships with these students and listen to their stories. It’s amazing to sit down with a range of teachers and administrators in our school and hear them talk about the amazing stories they learning through the GCD program. 

How is this deep learning?

  • Teachers provide highly effective feedback in the learning process.
  • Students develop relationships with their audience – not just teachers, but parents and peers too. 

The role of technology in the GCD

  1.  Tool for reflection. Each student in grades 9-12 has a Google Site that they use to document their reflections. It’s a public site where they can reach an authentic audience (which currently is our school community – their parents, teachers and peers). 
  2. So much more. It’s hard to summarize this as the students have a wide variety of stories that they share. Some of these stories have in-depth links to technology that are transforming the way they develop as young adults. 
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Evaluating my support of technology integration

This week we took a look at a few different frameworks that help us evaluate technology integration and support teachers to better understand how technology can enhance learning. As a technology learning coach, this is my passion and something that I’m constantly thinking, rethinking and reflecting on. I want to take this blog post to reflect on how I’m approaching an upcoming technology-rich unit with our grade 2 students. 

I’ve decided not to focus on developing the lesson plan, but instead think about an inquiry and how that aligns to The Technology Integration Matrix

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Grade 2 – Weather

Last year I spent quite some time working with our elementary teachers on computational thinking.

Computational thinking is “a way of solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior that draws on concepts fundamental to computer science… a fundamental skill for everyone, not just computer scientists.”

Wing, J. M. (2006). Computational thinking. Communications of the ACM, 49(3), 33-35.
Copyright Harvard University

It was a slow start, but our main objective was to help teachers understand why we should encourage computational thinking and what that might look like in the elementary classroom. Teachers were asked to experiment with computational thinking themselves – we started them off with the phone book challenge “Finding Mike Smith” that we borrowed from Harvard’s CS50 (if you are unfamiliar with this course, check it out. You can enroll for free on edX). Stumbling through the phone book challenge helped them understand the computational thinking problem solving process and helped the teachers draw connections to what they are already teaching. 

After numerous conversations on what computational thinking might look like in our classrooms, I walked away with some great places to start. One of those was our grade 2 How the World Works unit of inquiry. Their central idea is relationships between air, water, heat and land influence weather. 

The tech inquiry

How can working with temperature and pressure in a micro:bit help us understand weather? 

Our students aren’t new to block-based programming, but don’t have much experience with the micro:bit controller. I’m after a way in which the micro:bit controller enhance their inquiry and help to develop a better understanding of what influences weather. All while making it accessible to a grade 2 learner. 

We have a class set of micro:bit and I’ve added in a few SparkFun gator:bits and SparkFun gator:environment accessory board. This accessory board will allow students to inquiry into atmospheric pressure as well as temperature. 

Looking through the lens of The Technology Integration Matrix

I’m very specific in using the term inquiry. I don’t plan to run a step-by-step lesson to show students how to find and display temperature or pressure. I don’t want to steal their inquiry. However, the students are new to micro:bits, so there will need to be some facilitation and support. My vision is to work with small groups and directly support connecting to the device, but then allowing some time for investigation with this guiding questions:

  • What can a micro:bit tell us about the air around us?
  • How can we share the information the micro:bit computes?
  • What can we use this data (information) for?

Looking at The Technology Integration Matrix, I see a lot of adaptation in this inquiry. There is still a lot of support and facilitation, but married with independent inquiry. While the micro:bit is the same, the way they can use the technology is varied based on the student’s individual investigation. 

I’m excited to see what this inquiry looks like to a grade 2 student and what perspectives they will bring. I’m also encouraged by the connections they will be able to draw from what the micro:bit can help us find out and what their other inquiries into weather have taught them. 

I’m also excited to see how the students can construct learning from the use of this technology. Can they connect atmospheric pressure to what the weather looks like? Can they code the micro:bit to tell us if the pressure is H or L without confusing numbers? How can the micro:bit support computational thinking and not just be a replacement for a traditional thermometer?  

I’m meeting with our grade 2 team next week and look forward to sharing my ideas with them and sharing the inquiry on this blog. Stay tuned 🙂

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Course 3 Final Project: PD to support collaboration

As a technology learning coach I often have the opportunity to create professional learning experiences for our teachers. It’s not a huge part of my every day responsibilities, but over a given year I tend to lead 5-6 professional learning experiences. I really like the opportunity to work with a larger number of teachers at the same time, but I’m still developing in how I approach these learning experiences. This is the biggest reason I picked the option to create a professional learning experience – I wanted to push myself in something that I need more experience in completing.

For the section I focused on – the how of collaboration – I followed a structure that I’m familiar with, the Jigsaw Culture of Thinking routine. I really like how it gives an opportunity for the audience to read and hear from experts (via articles, videos, podcasts, etc), but then facilitated rich discussion around it. The how of collaboration was also a very large part of this course, especially week 2. I linked in a Wakelet with the resources for the jigsaw and included a few of our own readings from week 2 (I really enjoyed the Slate article More Talking in Class, Please).

How our group collaborated?

Copyright Slack

Ryan, Alex, Saadia and I used Slack as our primary tool of collaboration throughout the project. I has used Slack multiple times in the past, but not as a tool for co-construction of an experience like this one. It was challenging at times and I do wish we would have taken an opportunity to all video chat together first to come up with a shared vision. Slack is great for working with teams spread across the globe, but I’m not sure it is ideal as the only tool in a group that has never worked together. If I was to make any changes it would be to have a video call a couple of times throughout the project to check-in and see how things are going.

Our PD

Our professional learning experience aimed to introduce teachers to:

  • Why do we collaborate?
  • How do we collaborate?
  • What tools can help us collaborate?

We wanted to provide background knowledge of collaboration (the why and how) in combination with what some tools we can use to support collaboration. The why and how were important in developing a shared understanding of collaboration while the tools gave teachers some concrete ideas that they could try immediately in their classrooms.

Please take a look at our PD. We welcome you to make a copy and try it out with your learning community and if you do, please let us know how it went in the comments.

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The power of student voice

Copyright Flipgrid

This week we used to Flipgrid, an amazing tool for empowering student voice in our classrooms, as we as educators dived into the Cycle of Socialization. Check out how we used the NSRF Text Rendering Protocol to construct meaning, clarify, and expand our thinking on the Cycle of Socialization:

Why Flipgrid?

Well this wasn’t the first opportunity I’ve had to use flip grid, it was a really great way for us to dive into a reading and share within our community our thinking. At YIS our biggest proponents of Flipgrid are our physical education teachers. They love the way that they can use Flipgrid to give students voice and allow students to show their learning through the use of video. Physical education lends itself really well to video and Flipgrid gave those teachers and students an opportunity to upload a video quickly and share that with her peers to enable collaboration and to value a conversation.

I’ve also seen it been used quite extensively in our language classrooms. Understandably, using Flipgrid like this allows our students to use and get feedback on oral language while working at their own pace instead of standing in front of their peers in the classroom. Flipgrid offer tools that allow students to pause, trim or re-record so they have an opportunity to share their learning without the stress of having only one chance.

How I’ve used Flipgrid

Each year I work with our Grade 5 team and a group of passionate student “techies” during the PYP Exhibition. These students have decided that they wanted to share some of their learning through technology and I get to guide and support their design process. One of the most challenging part of this process is the idea brainstorming. By grade 5 our students have had numerous experiences with technology, but they often need inspiration on how they can use technology to share their learning.

This is where Flipgrid comes in… the students can learner so much from hearing from their peers, but sometimes it is logistically challenging to make that happen. Flipgrid allowed our grade 5 students to share their ideas and then listen to their peers ideas to help them grow and to inspire them. It becomes this permanent resource that the students can use throughout the design process.

How about the Cycle of Socialization?

I first started teaching in Jacksonville, Florida right out of university. I taught in a school with a large minority population, many of whom were living below the poverty line. The experience was eye-opening, and while I can’t claim to know all the answers, I did learn a few things. I learned just a small bit of the oppression others feel. I’m a white, middle-class, heterosexual male who was was privileged in my upbringing. I tried to connect with this students, but everyday was a challenge. University didn’t prepare me for this kind of challenge – this was harder than any class I took. I tried to spread love, to break the cycle, but it was hard. I’m sure some things I did helped, but I certainly felt powerless at the time.

Now, a few years later, I realize how much of a role educators have in breaking this cycle of oppression. We are part of an institution that has contact with young people everyday. We can opportunities, we just need to act on them. I have so much to learn, but I hope I can play a small part in a large change.

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Improving the content and design of Learning Journal ‘reflection starters’

A few years ago at YIS we redesigned our approach to elementary school portfolios. We moved away from paper-based portfolios that were sent home twice a year and didn’t really capture the journey of learning that happened in our classes and move to an electronic learning journal powered by Seesaw.

Seesaw is an amazing tool that allows our students to document and share their learning in a way that paper based portfolios could not compete with. However, it’s more than just the sharing of learning our learning journals do, it’s the development of learning conversations with the child’s community and the opportunity for in-depth, honest reflection.

Context: Learning Journals is the term we use at YIS instead of Seesaw as we want to focus on the purpose and not the tool.

Nelle, Mimi, our amazing kindergarten teachers, and I were after a way to further develop what in-depth, honest reflections look like for a kindergarten student. Last year we developed a series of questions to help develop the students ability to reflect on our Learning Journal posts. Not much thought went into the creation of the questions and our design was only the questions with the few sentence starters written on a small whiteboard:

Version 1

Conversations with students

The kindergarten team and I knew we wanted to redevelop it this year with something a bit more permanent that we could refer to as students reflected on their Learning Journals. However, we first decided to chat with a few kindergartners to see what their thoughts were on the previous design. This is what they had to say:

  • “the writing is hard to read”
  • “It’s easy to erase the words on accident”
  • “It’s a little busy”

So, I took these conversations and conversations I had with kindergarten team and used them to redevelop our approach to reflection starters:

Version 2

Nelle and Mimi had some great inspiration for for the reflection starters and I worked to create a large design that could be on permanent display in the kindergarten rooms. I wanted a modular design as we want the display to ‘grow’ as the year progresses and our reflections progress. We envision it growing into a tree of reflection inspiration where students have the agency, yet support, to construct their own refections. 

With that said, we did find a few challenges with version 2:

  • “I made a…” wasn’t perfect for how we use Learning Journals. Nelle summarized it nicely in an email:

I know we said “I made…” but I’m now thinking that could be limiting (thinking of their Taiko experience, or a post about playing a maths game or something, where they’re not actually making). “I did…” doesn’t quite work either, and sounds bad! What about, “I’m showing…”? “I’m showing the creation that I made”, “I’m showing how to play this maths game”, “I’m showing how I played drums at the ICJC”. Not perfect, but maybe more flexible? What do we think?

  • The diagonal stripe in the design was distracting and some of the colors were a bit off. 

So, back to the drawing board for a third version:

Version 3

Finally, we had something we wanted to share, something we felt would help structure and scaffold the student in developing in-depth reflection. 

We’ve already shared it with one class and were very happy with the results. Take a look:

Next steps

As I mentioned, we want this this to grow and develop as our kindergartners grow and develop as learners and reflectors. We have plans to add more reflection starters and draw connections with string – we want students to have choice and agency in how they reflect, but to feel supported in making that happen. 

We also want to support our kindergartens who are still developing their reading skills. We hope to create a reflection starter card that includes these sentences, but also has icons to provide them with some visual aids. My goal is to create that this week and share it out soon!

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Infographic: Reported diving injuries

As I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog before, in addition to being a Technology Learning Coach, I also work with a few of our high school students as the faculty supervisor of YIS Underwater Explorers. YISUE combines service and diving in a way that allows students to be directly involved in aquatic conservation initiatives that require students to be competent and confident scuba divers.

This year our group is comprised of 14 high school student and led by two amazing 12th graders. The group organizes 2-3 local trips and 1 international trip each year to participate in these conservation initiatives. This autumn we are organizing a week-long trip to Malapascua in the Philippines and a weekend local trip to Osezaki, Japan.

For the local weekend trip we’ve decided to run an SDI Rescue Diver Course for the students. Many of the students in the group are advanced certified divers with most having around 30 dives. We wanted to push the students knowledge and understanding further and teach them some skills that will help them grow as conservationists and divers. That led us to the rescue course – a course that takes divers comfortable in diving and grows them so they can use their skills to help and support others.

A rescue diver infographic

One way I like to prepare students for rescue training is to review diving injury statistics and analyze accident reports. To help understand the statistics, I’ve put together this infographic:

Source of my data

The premiere source for medical diving information is Divers Alert Network (DAN). DAN provides emergency assistance, medical information resources, educational opportunities and more to both beginning and experienced divers. DAN receives thousands of calls each year to support diving accidents and injures and forms an annual diving report to share them with the community. I used the DAN Annual Diving Report 2018 Edition as a source for the information shared on this infographic.

How did I create it?

While I’d love to take credit for the general design, I owe it all to a GraphicRiver template that I edited in Adobe Illustrator. GraphicRiver is a great marketplace for design templates that

The icons were either from The Noun Project (check out their discount on NounPro for educators) or created by myself.

I plan to share this with our students next week and will report back on their feedback.

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Facilitating collaboration as we graph

Years past when teaching the basics of graphing I used to collect data with dice rolls. Things have changed and with the introduction of Sphero robots, Flynn and I developed a lesson that linked to ISTE Standard 5b “Students collect data or identify relevant data sets…”. 

Last week we co-taught the lesson that connected computation thinking and graphing while collaborating in teacher-assigned groupings (mixed ability). The task was split into 3  primary investigations:

  1. Inquire into how to make the Sphero change color randomly
  2. Collect data on random color changes and record it
  3. Presented your recorded data in a graph

Developing a plan for collaboration

Flynn introduced the activity by developing ground rules for collaboration and relating them to classroom essential agreements. He separated the discussion into two parts: how can we collaborate and what skills do we need to be successful? It was a rich discussion where students had to investigate how to actually collaborate before investigating into the task. 

Developing a plan for inquiry

Students were placed in groups and developed a plan. They documented ideas of how they might program the Sphero and made tally charts for how they could record their data. 

Don’t steal the inquiry

As a technology learning coach, I’m often asked to help ‘teach’ a new app or tech skill to students. Years back my method would have been to share my screen to the projector and walk through the necessary steps one-by-one. It was painful for me, for the students, for everyone involved. 

For this inquiry, Flynn and I didn’t want to do a guided lesson on how to program the Sphero. Many of our students had previous experience with block-based programming, so they had the foundations in place, they then just needed to draw connections between that prior knowledge and the Sphero programming. 

Watching the students collaborate and work through the challenge was inspiring. Most quickly found the tools they needed and then found a variety of methods to move from one color to the next. 

How students collaborated (or didn’t)

An app that I’ve become fond of recently is Equity Maps. Equity Maps allows you to chart & record the interaction of students to graphically illustrate levels of participation and types of contributions made by each student. I’ve found it incredibly valuable for all kinds of collaborations happening across the school, from elementary to high school. 

During this lesson I sat near one group and I documented their collaboration via Equity Maps. As a non-participating observer, I only needed to click the name of the student who was talking. This information then helped produce some analytics of the conversation. A made a few observations about the analytics it shared:

  • J struggled to join in the conversation, speaking only 2 times
  • The conversation went back and forth between M and N multiple times
  • There wasn’t much silence
  • J was more likely to communicate with N than M (though with only two times speaking it might not be a fair assumption)

J needed more structure to contribute effectively to the conversation. He struggled and needed more opportunities to develop as a communicator. In the future, I think he’d benefit from having a role in the collaboration. 

What did the students come up with?

The inquires resulted in some very awesome color changes:

Recording the data would need to wait for our next lesson as we ran out of time, but I’m predicting  few challenges with deciphering what color the Sphero is displaying. With 16,777,216 different possible colors, if might be hard to create a tally chart to record what colors they see. 

I look forward to seeing how they overcome that challenge and what graphs they produce.

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Enhancing my blog’s ‘curb appeal’

After reviewing this week’s reading I was very keen to make a few changes to my blog to increase the readability and to encourage visitors to view more content and stay on my site longer.

I’ve narrowed my thinking down to 3 small things I can do that will hopefully make a big impact.

Better use of graphics and GIFs

A look at some of my older posts will present you with walls of text and little supporting graphics or GIFs.

Graphics

I’ve just started creating some very simple graphics with my iPad, Apple Pencil and Notability. Check out the introductory image for a rough example of what can be done in just a few minutes. I’m keen to learn more and hope to spend some time during this course thing about how I can use these tools to improve the visual appeal of my blog with user-created graphics. If you have a favorite resources, please share them in the comments!

GIFs

I’m still not sold on reaction GIFs, but I’m starting to use GIF Brewery 3 along with Gifycat to create and share my own GIFs. Check out a few below when I talk about my new logo.

A new logo

My old logo, seen below, was a direct copy of my diving logo (see Matt Broughton Diving). I was a bit lazy and just changed DIVING to COETAIL.

While I’m still like the overall design, I’ve decided to make a few changes:

  • Remove the diver silhouette
  • Add a educational-themed image on the right
  • Make changes to the colors (white on transparent background)

Remove the diver silhouette

This one was easy. Thankfully I kept the Illustrator file so it was only a quick delete from the last revision.

Add a educational-themed image on the right

My first stop when I’m after an icon is The Noun Project. I’m so foud of it that I’ve signed up for the NounPro, which gives me a royalty–free license for any icon I need. It also offers some simple built-in editing features which means I don’t need to open Illustrator to just change a few colors. Educators can sign up for NounPro for half-off the yearly subscription.

I really value the connections that COETAIL offers, so I’ve decided to start off with a connections-inspired icon.

Make changes to the colors

Currently my logo is white on a transparent background. I like using a transparent background as I can just make changes to the header using CSS, however this causes a few issues when COETAIL links to my blog on Facebook.

Facebook automatically pulls the first image on the page for the post preview image. A white logo with a transparent background makes it very hard to see. To fix this I’m going abandon the transparency and just use the background blue on the image.

I wonder if I set a ‘feature image’ if Facebook would pull that image instead of my logo? I’ll try it on this post as a test…

Connections to social media

Flynn and I spoke this week about how to add more dynamic content on our blogs. One idea we came up with was to insert a Twitter widget in the sidebar to allow readers to see a bit more of the day-to-day.

I thought embedding a Twitter widget was going to be easy, but I was very wrong.

Twitter’s Publish tool

I first attempted to use Twitter’s Publish tool that allows you to easily create a script that can be embedded into most websites. This was easy and offered a bit of customization, but unfortunately I can’t embed a script in a ‘Custom HTML’ widget on the WordPress network we are using (which is a bit understandable when try to prevent malicious code off COETAIL sites).

The next idea was to dig into the available plugins on our WordPress install. The Twitter Widget Pro WordPress plugin is available, so I enabled it, found the widget and moved it to my sidebar.

Again, no luck. I headed over to the setting page to add my account when I hit a roadblock – I need access to the Twitter APIs to add my account. To access the APIs, you need a Twitter developer account. So, I’ve signed up (with some interesting answers to some of the questions) and am now waiting for my application to be reviewed and approved.

I need your help

As a reader of my site, I’d be very keen to hear from you about ways I could improve the design of my site. Leave me a comment on what you think would make my site shine!

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Course 2 Final Project: PD that inspires

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Providing professional development, either right now informal development or structured, formal PD, is a large part of my role as a learning coach. That was the primary reason why I chose for the course 2 final project to work to develop a professional development plan that helps teachers better understand the third ISTE Educator Standard – educators inspire students to positively contribute to and responsibly participate in the digital world.

Developing a PD opportunity from afar

Thankfully, Reyna is also a coach who was keen to work together to develop this program. Reyna and I had met briefly earlier this year in Vietnam and has chatted a bit in depth about reporting, so I knew she was passionate and would make a great partner. We started a bit late, but made up for it in our efficient decision making and well-developed planning. Reyna, thankfully, put together a great overview of what the PD could look like and we

For this PD, we broke it up into 4 shorted 30-40 minutes sessions. This made it a bit more manageable from a planning perspective, but also significantly easier for us to actually use. As a learning coach, I don’t often have 2 hour chunks for professional development and often work with shorter, more direct time frames.

Building from course 2

COETAIL course 2 laid the perfect foundation for this PD program. We share a similar structure as we work through the third ISTE Educator Standard and we relied a lot on using various articles and resources to drive discussion. Combining those great articles and resources with valuable Visible Thinking routines and other discussion prompts, created a wonderful way for teachers to learn and develop collaboratively.

Take a look

Please, take a look and let us know what you think. Much of the actual content is in the speaker notes, so please have a read of those to get the best idea of what we were planning. Feel free to adapt and use it in your school!

Relevant PD for the Modern Educator – COETAIL Course 2 Final Project=

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Developing a empowered use policy

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

This week’s resources had me really inspired. After reading a few of the articles mentioned I turned around to Jason Edwards, our Director of Technology, had a rich discussion about the history of responsible use policies at YIS and our vision for the future. Thanks to those who have come before me (Kim Cofino, Clit Hamada and others), YIS was revolutionary in developing the Connected Learning Community (CLC) – a technology support community of learners that focused more on the learning and less on devices. Our CLC was primarily developed in the Middle and High School, but it’s now working its way down to elementary. With this move down to elementary, we’ve dug out the old responsible use agreements.

Our current responsible use agreement for upper elementary students

One challenge I’ve been facing recently is our current responsible use agreement. I say it’s our current one, but in reality no one is using it – it’s just the most recent one we have. It is too wordy, it is a bit too negative for my liking and it would be challenging most of our upper elementary students to digest. Most importantly, our students don’t know it or believe in it.

Take a look at it:

Find the full PDF here

What’s missing?

  1. Simplicity. It’s long and inclusive, but is that necessary for an elementary school student?
  2. Empowerment. It includes way too many “not’s” – It doesn’t empower our students to use technology to be creative and share their creativity.
  3. Trust. Our students want to do the right thing and they are just waiting for us to support that. Of course, sometimes they need some guidance, but they need us to trust them and empower them.

What are some good examples?

A lot of international schools are really pushing forward with their technology agreements and policies and it’s really inspiring to see what others have spent the time putting together. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Scott McLeod’s blog post about implementing an Empowered Use Policy really inspired a lot of my thinking. He was discouraged by the negativity of traditional acceptable use policies and developed an empowered use policy:

When it comes to digital technologies in our [school / district], please…

Be empowered. Do awesome things. Share with us your ideas and what you can do. Amaze us.

Be nice. Help foster a school community that is respectful and kind.

Be smart and be safe. If you are uncertain, talk with us.

Be careful and gentle. Our resources are limited. Help us take care of our devices and networks.

The American School in Japan has a great graphic for their digital media and citizenship program that has a very easy to digest and inspirational message. Check out more about how they learn with technology here.

Copyright The American School in Japan

Next steps

Because of this post, I’ve quickly shifted my priorities so I can spend some time working on an empowered use agreement for elementary school students. I want to create a document that is a living, breathing policy that our students and teachers know and appreciate. I want a document that inspires our students to create and share all of the amazing things that they are doing with technology, not restrict and challenge their creativity.

Creating a new empowered use agreement isn’t something I can just sort out in a couple of days, my vision is to work with a group of students put together a policy that they believe in. I look forward to sharing what I’ve come up with soon.

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