Digital Learning Best Practices. That’s a pretty broad topic and can revolve around many aspects of the digital learning environment like teaching, materials, infrastructure, and professional development. For teachers, the focus should be on what do we want students to know and be able to do and how do digital tools help facilitate that. The tools we use exist to support us in instruction and are not the end in themselves. Still, this is a new path for many of us and the question may remain, what are digital learning best practices?
When considering digital teaching and learning best practices, you might want to ask:
There is a digital solution to meet your needs, have you discovered it?
See the “Digital Tool Checklist” in our Google Drive folder for guidance in choosing a tool.
Remember, if you’re using a tool that requires students to create an account (even if it’s free), please follow student privacy guidelines. This applies to clubs and sports, too.
The digital world is a fast-paced world that our students often navigate more fluidly than we do. How do we keep up with our students and what they’re exploring while protecting ourselves? Here are some ideas:
Whenever we go online, we leave a mark, a footprint. How do we control that mark and protect our privacy? How do we help our students create a positive footprint and maintain their privacy? This is a very involved topic, but we can look at some beginnings here.
InCtrl suggests the following questions to ask when working online, desktop or iPad: what’s the message you want to convey, what’s the best tool for doing it, what are the best techniques to use in creating that message, who is your audience. We explored some of these same questions in our Fall discussions exploring the “How” and how to choose a tool.
Protecting privacy is important for our students and ourselves. When you sign up for a reward program or an email lists, use a separate email from your personal one. Always logout of sites. Vary your passwords; there are apps and tools to help maintain your passwords or even create random ones for you. When you use any app or site that requires a student account, send me that information.
Have you googled yourself lately? Do you want to know how to affect your search results, how to have some control in what appears? Check and adjust your privacy settings on all of your personal social media accounts. On anything more public, like Twitter, LinkedIn or your website, make regular intentional posts. These regular updates will soon show up at the top of your Google search. Encourage your students to do the same and “clean up” their accounts. Colleges and employers are looking at their social media accounts! Having a positive social media presence can make a difference!
Our freshmen are learning about this in our Computer Apps classes. As we continue our journey as a School of Innovative Learning and Technology, as we learn and grow in this process, these practices will become our norm and part of our best practices.
It’s a busy time and many of us want to focus our attention on those students that are about to walk through our classroom doors. That can make it difficult to connect with the Professional Learning that happens right before that moment. That’s understandable.
Pine Creek’s Professional Learning Program provides our community with ongoing opportunities for learning, not solely isolated ones. It provides us a shared experience to expand our skills and work collaboratively. We learn how to leverage new tools and we work together towards building and department goals. It is rooted in a belief in the value of continuous learning, growth and improvement.
I encourage you to embrace your Professional Learning experience as an opportunity to work toward our building’s shared vision and not a moment away from planning. Base your session choices not only on need and expectation, but curiosity and instructional potential. We have a staff full of rich experiences that they are looking forward to sharing with you. Those experiences are designed according to feedback from you, so please continue to provide that feedback.
But Our Journey is Just Beginning
This year marks the end of our pilot program. Next year Pine Creek will be a full 1:1 iPad school.
During these past three years, we have tried a lot, learned a great deal, succeeded in new endeavors, and failed at others. We started this year introducing the staff to basic iPad skills and core apps. We moved onto workflow in the classroom, managing those day-to-day tasks. We dipped our feet into Digital Citizenship and started to see the power of creation with the device.
We have a good foundation from which to build a school where digital learning, in all its forms, is transformative and is integral to what makes Pine Creek such an excellent school. This is our journey.
Almost every month I say this and I mean it - digital learning takes many forms throughout our school. Students and teachers are partnering to create, innovate, collaborate and demonstrate learning. Share your stories with each other (and with me). Talk in the pods. Visit each other’s classrooms. There are so many amazing things being done with our students. Let’s celebrate these moments!
I am a Digital Learning Coach by title, but lifelong learner by practice. An Apple Teacher, Google Certified Educator and Microsoft Innovative Educator, my goal is to assist educators in investigating, exploring, and investigating resources to embed in their instruction. I also hope to be a part of their journey toward an innovative and transformative practice that empowers learners and strengthens their own craftsmanship. I spends my free time with my family, my dogs and a good cup of coffee.