In contrast to the technology teachers use in a classroom for their professional use, what is the technology (or digital) footprint of your students?
Why the concern? Technology tools, both on- and offline, abound today in schools. When these tools are effectively integrated in science and math curricula, your classroom will transform your classroom into a learning community.
So what is your students’ technology footprint?
Building a Learning Community
Through optimizing the power of digital footprint in your classroom, students transform from passive to active learners. When incorporating technology within core curriculum, you leverage students’ prior knowledge and experiences (PKE) with content.
By leveraging students’ PKE with technological tools, they are able to build learning communities within and outside the classroom. These communities are known as personal learning networks.
Regardless of term used, when describing this technology, group work has moved into the 21st century.
Digital Foot Print Strategies by Grade Level
The following are examples of how digital tools support student learning:
Elementary – students work collaboratively and share their work or projects with others in and outside their classroom.
Examples include: Skype sessions, blogs, wikis, creating podcasts, digital storytelling, content specific interactive games and programs, VoiceThread, and presentations with Glogster.
Middle School – students work collaboratively and share data with others in or outside their classroom. Includes data and information collected during science and math investigative activities.
Examples include using tools such as Skype, online surveys and polls, Twitter, blogs, wikis, podcasts, presentations using Google Docs and Glogster, digital storytelling, content specific interactive games and programs, VoiceThread, Screencasts, WallWisher, Wolfram Alpha, and web-based learning centers.
High School – students work collaboratively and share data with others in or outside their classroom. Includes data and information collected during science and math investigative activities. Along with Middle School examples, a classroom’s digital footprint needs to include using technology tools for:
- reading content-related blogs to learn what scientists and mathematicians are thinking and doing.
- creating content-related student blogs focused on solving real-time issues and problems.
- creating podcasts for lower grade students designed as “How to’s.” This strategy helps high school students validate solve problems or investigative techniques.
- participating in online discussions and forums, such as Skype, focused on content-related issues. For example global warming, historic issues, data analysis, math challenges, literature, and finding answers for content-related problems.
- using social networks, such as Twitter and VoiceThread, for creating personal learning networks or learning communities. Examples include seeking advice and answers from content experts, reflecting on their learning experiences, and establishing their own digital footprint.
Tools Within a Digital Toolbox
Examples of digital tools may include and are certainly not limited to computers, iPod Touches, iPads, cell phones, online data bases, interactive offline software, productivity software (word processing, spreadsheets and presentation tools) blogs, podcasts, interactive websites, and many other Web 2.0 tools.
Additional benefits for students when optimizing the use of digital media tools, include:
- improving reading and writing skills.
- supporting differentiated learning.
- learning how to build a positive digital footprint of their own. This is an important attribute, because students in general do not understand the ramifications of some material they post on social media.
- working with peers to make connections within and among content concepts.
- building their confidence for learning.
- learning actively as opposed to passive learning.
- being more involved in research projects which stimulate critical thinking skills
- creating a personal learning network.
So if you are considering creating or expanding your classroom’s digital foot print — the time to take action is at hand!