So Much To Think About

My head is so full of ideas and thoughts it is literally spinning and I don’t think it is because my time table won’t work out.  Ok, maybe that is part of it, but it is mostly because I decided it would be a good idea to sign up for @DCMOOC.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a great idea, but there is so much to think about.

On Monday I had the opportunity to list to Eric Sheninger, @NMHS_Principal talk about digital leadership.  I had read Eric’s new book, Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times at some point over the long winter and was very motivated by many parts of it, but especially about the idea of telling our own story. We have so many ways to craft our own message and get that positive message out to our stakeholders and communities.  As I participated and listened to his bonus session on Digital Citizenship for Administrators he once again stressed the idea of telling our positive stories.  As a school administrator it is my job to practice what I envision for our school and students.  I cannot expect students to be good digital citizens, if I am not willing to model what that looks like for them.  Leaders in our digital age need to share and be transparent.

Today I listened to another bonus session offered by Dean Shareski @shareski as he talked about how learning is social.  Well of course it is! It is way past time for us to give up some of our control and trust our students to be in charge of some of their learning. We need to provide spaces for them to share and collaborate.  Who knows?  We might even be able to learn right along with them.

Digital citizenship is such a broad term with so many directions to go.  Once again though, I feel that we should not separate the idea of good digital citizenship from good authentic learning any more than we should treat technology as it is a separate entity.  It is all one thing after all.  We would not want to teach without the vast opportunities for collaboration and sharing the web provides us, or at least I certainly wouldn’t.  In order for me to take the best advantage of those opportunities and share with my students I need to practice existing in the digital world in an acceptable and well mannered way, just as I had to learn to be a good citizen in general.

The importance of us not necessarily “teaching” our students to be good digital citizens, but modeling and providing opportunities for them to do so should go without saying.

Any thoughts?

Diving into @DCMOOC

I have enthusiastically signed up for a  (massive open online course) on digital citizenship offered by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education and facilitated by Alec Couros, JoAnn Sanders and Katia Hildibrant. The course was set up as part of Saskatchewan’s action plan to address bullying and cyber bullying.  As I was attending the first session last week I was having flash backs to the first open education course I took from Alec when I was completing my Masters Degree.  I remembered feeling totally like a fish out of water.  I could not get it all figured out and it seemed to be happening so fast.  I was hopeless at keeping up with the back channel and paying attention to the speaker.

Once I calmed myself down and realized I could enter at my own pace and begin from where I was at, I felt a lot better.  I started to feel like I was not being judged for my lack of ability, but rather welcomed by a community of learners that I had never been exposed to before.

I have advanced quite a bit in my online journey since then and now feel quite comfortable participating in online communities.  The opportunity to participate in @DCMOOC was right along my alley.  I thrive on the feeling of being on the edge and not quite knowing where each experience is going to take me.

My father taught me to be a life long learner and has modeled that for me my entire life and continues to model it to this day at the young age of 79.  He tries to keep up with the changes in our learning world and technology has not left him behind.  The only thing he refuses to try is texting, despite my continued desire for him to do so.  I am grateful to him for teaching me I always have something to learn so I should seek it out.

Many things have changed since that first open education course that changed my outlook on education and the way we meet the needs of our students in our ever-changing world.  To me the best thing about the changes we have witnessed is the ease and convenience we are able to communicate and share.  I am a huge twitter fan for that very reason.  I am able to set up my learning network to be just the way I want it to be and I am able to access information, help and ideas from my network at any time I am wanting it to happen.

Being connected is by far the best form of professional development I have been a part of in my entire teaching career thus far.

Being connected in a safe and responsible way is something I also want for my students as well.  Joining  #DCMOOC and a community of learners sharing ideas about digital citizenship seemed like the perfect place to be.   Developing good citizens has been a long-standing goal of education, so does it not make sense that developing good digital citizens need to be a part of the educational goals of today.  Terry Heick in his post about digital citizenship defines it as “the self-monitored habits that sustain and improve the digital communities you enjoy or depend on.”

Our students spend much of their time in digital communities and will need us to help them become self-monitoring; to develop the habits needed to be safe and  participate confidently in the communities they enjoy.

I can’t wait to see what I learn in @DCMOOC from my ever-expanding learning network and what I can pass on to my students and staff.  Hopefully we can all develop good habits that will help us sustain improve our digital communities.