Saturday, December 9, 2017

Connecting your classroom - part 2

This is my final post based on the book Your Connected Classroom: A Practical Guide for Teachers.   I agreed to review this book by Eduro Press on Amazon, and these blog posts are my initial thoughts before I write a review.  This post deals with Chapters 6 - 8 which are about media literacy, global connections and parent education.

The authors explain that connecting your classroom is a great way to teach media and digital literacy that is both authentic and purposeful.  Our students are often already confident in using technology for social purposes, and it is our job as teachers to help them see the benefits of using it academically.  Students need to build their skills, for example how to read a search result - especially in these days of "fake news".  Chapter 6 addresses the skills needed such as learning about how Google automatically filters our searches based on our previous history.  It also addresses the CARP test for validating the information found.  A connected classroom is also an ideal time for the teaching of digital citizenship:  how to keep personal information secure, how to build a positive digital footprint, online behaviour and how to deal with some of the undesirable behaviours such as cyberbullying, safety and the availability of explicit material.  The final sections of this chapter deal with issues of academic honesty.

Chapter 7 is all about the skills that students will need to be globally competent.  There are many examples of ways to break down classroom walls and connect with the "real-world" such as virtual field trips, Google Expeditions and exploring using Google Earth and Google Maps.  Other options include connecting with "experts" using live video chat such as Skype.  There are other tools that will allow you to connect with people not in your close time-zone, such as VoiceThread and blogging.  Of course blogging and other social media can also allow you to open up your own classroom to the world.  There are pages and pages of tips for getting started with all these projects in this chapter.

Chapter 8 is about reaching out to parents so that they understand your purpose for using technology to create a connected classroom.  Parents need to be made aware of how learning today is very different from the times when they were at school and the ways that they can support their children at home.

I'm very grateful to Kim Cofino for sending me a copy of this book and I'll be condensing my three posts about it into one review within the next few days.

Photo Credit: The Fanboy Flickr via Compfight cc

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