What are your initial ideas for where you might go in addressing the challenge of creating a resource to influence others and share your knowledge & research based on early readings of Dervin, Baggio and your beginning readings in Clark?
Who isn't my audience? This is one of my struggles as a site administrator, i.e., constantly vacillating on who my audience is at any given moment in time. I am not saying that I am unable to identify an audience, but rather to point out the inevitable contradictions and/or competing interests when meeting the need of an audience - audience in the single sense. As with any people based industry, needs and wants are both fleeting and fickle. This situation lends itself to a level of unsustainable appeasement and/or inaction/stagnancy that fails to truly address the fundamental needs of our end user. Too much of a bird walk?
Back to the real question with an initial bias first. As openly stated in my research paper and in other areas of my career I always approach the notion of "replication" with caution, whether on the receiving or recommending end of it. Knowing the context of any people based situation is unique per the interplay of infinite human and non-human factors, my "research's influence on others" is terribly limited. This is not to absolve myself of research and new learnings, but rather to constantly reflect on how it "fits" within my social and professional paradigm.
In terms of my eventual resource and how it reflects Baggio, Dervin, and Clark I am initially not versed enough to be able to synthesize anything coherent. That said, finding a way to tell a compelling story through visuals that represents a gap being bridged with end user voice with the goal of improving educator instructional capacity sounds fun.
Explain why you might use the tool. Outline the tool's capacity and explain how you use the tool.
We utilize the Blackboard system for improved communication and are in the middle of a district wide pilot and training with new and added features that will create seamless communication that is fed from our Student Information System and that feeds all communication platforms, e.g., website, Twitter, etc. The system allows us to send text, email, and phone messages to families in various languages with the click of a button. Families can establish preferences so they receive communication in their desired format and groups can be established to provide targeted information. Teachers are also able to communicate with families via the automated system, allowing administrators oversight. This tool is advantageous for our small but mighty district that has limited staffing in both tech and PIO.
Please also share (based upon your experiences NOT the product’s website) the strengths and weaknesses of the tool.
Although in the very initial stages, the system is very promising given the feedback we have received from families and based on the various platforms previously employed. By far the strengths include, but are not limited to: district demographic based translation, user based preferences, single platform that feeds multiple sources of information, teacher enabling, Student Information System (Aeries) compatibility, and texting.
I am hard-pressed to state a weakness given my limited experience and knowledge, therefore, I wont.
Be sure to also address the following questions in your post:
We know technology/digital literacy has to be taught (we can’t rely on the theory of the digital native) yet, given your already full curriculum, how will you begin to teach digital literacy?
Although not the hugest fan of EDI, Explicit Direct Instruction, given the abuse it has suffered at that hands of those who interpret it to mean lower DOK level, Depth of Knowledge, questioning and over simplistic curriculum, Dig Lit must be initially overt and then reinforced in other subjects. Far too many times we are forced to bury initiatives and supplemental curriculum into our already jam packed subject matter, only to diffuse the intended impact and meaning of both. It is in these areas in particular where we should be innovative, looking to alternate platforms and the structure of our academic day to meet these competing demands. This is not to absolve teachers of the responsibility to reinforce the tenets of Dig. Lit. as it will not truly be learned if not made relevant through continued utilization. We must also establish plans that consider the needs of our existing student population recognizing that a bulk of us have not fully adopted and articulated the ISTE standards.
“How does the inquiry cycle of your own learning manifest itself in your work setting?
My current work as a long-standing (9 years at current site) administrator is continuously at some point within the inquiry cycle:
TUNING IN: I am solicited for information about various topics on a daily basis where I must either retrieve knowledge from my institutional memory, from another source, or make it up on the spot. Based on the quesitoner and my own longing to know, I am constantly considering was that enough or do I need to know more.
FINDING OUT: Whether due to a love of learning or an attempt to validate my position, this is my strength. Being connected and personable helps in this domain. If I don't have the answer, I will work until I find it from another person or legitimate resource.
SORTING OUT: Another strength. I am good at sorting out what is essential versus what is fluff. Furthermore, I continuously cross reference to other areas of my work with various entities. Although not always wholly satisfied with the depth of my inquiry, I am bound by time and the demands of others.
GOING FURTHER: Establishing coherence my work is a challenge given the number of responsibilities had. Never do I feel finished as I fear complacency.
MAKING CONCLUSIONS: Stick to the knitting. I am constantly looking to identify the main message to our various work and how that message is communicated and received.
TAKING ACTION: Whether a byproduct of my upbringing or the fact that I have many armchair principals, I am constantly reflecting on my performance.
I recognize that this blog lacks synthesis and coherence, this is me reflecting now, but that's ok. Ultimately, I am always in varying states of inquiry, but all are brief and rarely do I/we go through all stages as we are bound by time and limited staff. Excuses aside, we get to the action taking stage one way or another.
The Prompt: Given your students’ grade level and the subject matter you teach, consider how you can teach digital citizenship and specifically digital citizenship as it relates to to digital communication. Please provide 3 specific examples on how you might make learning digital citizenship personal for your students.
As a high school principal we elect to explicitly teach the 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship at the onset of 9th grade as, we believe, couching the elements in subjects has the potential impact of diluting the content and implications of failing to know and recognize the fallout for poor digital citizenship. This is not to say that the themes are not reinforced within subjects, but rather we work to be very upfront about our expectations for the 4 years they are in high school - and beyond.
Specific to the notion of Digital Communication, I fall back to the pre-Instagram notion of audience. Buried within all of us is a level of impurity tempered by the fear of public reprisal, i.e., the reason I don't post my most visceral reactions and beliefs about "things" is because I have an intimate relationship built and molded through context and experience. This is nothing new. What is new is the conflicting message within out society with near complete permissiveness regarding what is socially acceptable countered by fickle notions of appropriateness depending by the viewing eye, a.k.a., audience.
Also, and in regards to constructive communication, there is an old adage that reads, "Great people talk about ideas. Average people talk about things. Small people talk about other people." In an unfettered internet there is no way to dictate the topic du jour and thus we will continue to be on the receiving end of negative outcomes. Hey, maybe ending net neutrality will not be such a bad thing?
So, how do we make it personal (3 ways)?
My mental processes for figuring out what the article was about. What was your meta-cognitive process? What is she trying to teach? : Although I went through a box of Kleenex to wipe the tears rendered by the article's humbling use of vocabulary and meaning packed sentences, I did manage to make sense of sense making. I came to an understanding having related the content to my current position as an administrator and continuous work with our district and community around communication. To that end, I have already regurgitated the mantra of discontinuity and the driving questions of what do they want, what do they get, and what do they think about that. Obstacles of distrust, information gaps, actor based systems, human nature that is fickle and uncooperative, and the existence of the space time continuum ultimately lead to a place where human systems are studied from the observer perspective, i.e., that which is most direct, and that systems use that direct information to respond to users.
My favorite statement came from the final page (81), "Information is not seen as something that describes a given reality in ab absolute and potentially accurate way, which can't be transmitted from source to receiver through channels, which can be counted by external standards and pigeon-holed for all time. Rather, information is constructed. That act of constructing and the act of using that which is constructed is a qualitative act."
BOOM! Drop the mic. My annotation next to the passage was, "Emails and Texting!" We have come to over-rely on hollow sources of information and we need to stop. I want to take Brenda Dervin out for an adult beverage for that one!
As I read it, CBE is akin to mastery learning which seems harmless and idealistic when considering the variety of learning modalities, skills sets, and student preparation that could exist within a single class. That said, my semi-visceral reaction includes a level of caution that I can only attribute to learning and skills being considered something finite, i.e., once one has shown competency, they have theoretically reached a predetermined ceiling of learning. I write this reflecting on the growth of online and distance learning while at the same time acknowledging my very limited understanding of the topic, hence a visceral rather than cerebral reaction. What I like about CBE on face value is the self-progress as nowhere outside of gestation do humans evolve in 9 month intervals. I also appreciate that it reinforces goal setting and an understanding that greater or lesser input begets greater or lesser output. Lastly, CBE seems to provide more immediate gratification which parallels many other societal characteristics and just plain makes sense in this day and age. What I don't like outside of that whole learning being finite thing is the potential to reinforce negative self-image as 10 year-olds surpass 19 year-olds in their perceived competency.
Reflect on the semester - how have you grown? Where did you begin the semester in your thinking, knowledge of technology, comfort, attitudes, etc. AND where are you now. What are you looking forward to learning more about and investigating?
How have I grown? Horizontally. My exercise regimen is in the can right now. Either due to having two young boys and a pregnant wife (due in late Dec), serving as a high school principal, or having recently moved to a property with a fixer upper, my ability to manage has been tested. That said, although I considered bailing on the program, I am glad I picked up the pace and stuck with it. I have really enjoyed the research component despite not having enough time to read everything I would like. All of the readings have served me well in my work situation and I have taken full advantage of the Touro Library to fulfill other aspects of my job. I have not changed that much in terms of my thining, knowledge of tech., etc. as I work in a progressive district with some amazing teachers and as an administrator I have been able to see many teachers and technologies in action. I am looking forward to seeing how some of these learnings pan out in cohort member classrooms. In terms of my own investigation, I am fully vested in finding a balance between qualitative and quantitative measures of student achievement given the current imbalance that exists and what that creates in terms of student mindset.