As a part of my graduate program I was tasked to look into my school system to see where we are in digital readiness. One of my partner teachers is in the same program as me so we were able to work together for a lot of the project. We crafted some questions based on Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship and ISTE’s standards for coaching. We made sure our questions included digital citizenship, equity, and responsibilities of staff and students regarding digital learning. Our school district has recently moved to 1:1 devices for grades 5-12 so I was excited to learn the viewpoint of our administration as sometimes what teachers see in the classroom is different than what admin thinks is going on.
From our interview, we found out that there are a lot of plans put in place, but there are still areas of growth. Our district has purchased/signed up for many programs to help our digital teaching go smoothly and to help our students stay safe online. We have programs such as iReady to help differentiate instruction and fill in gaps for students. We have Nearpod to provide structured digital learning to our students, including access to Common Sense Media lesson on digital citizenship. To monitor student activities online we have GoGuardian accounts so that we can keep our students’ safe. Our district has also provided ample training opportunities to teach other staff and teachers about what supports and programs are available in the classroom. We hosted a Google Summit last year, have monthly Tech & Treats trainings at the district office, we have on-site technology coaches, and I run monthly Tech Talks at my school site with specific focuses based on staff needs. With all of these supports we feel like we are going in the right direction. Of course, challenges come with any implementation.
We have a lot of supports available to teachers from the district, but they all seem to be spread around in different places. For some teachers, this can be overwhelming to see all these different apps and programs. They don’t know where to start. Based on the interview and what we have seen in our own classrooms, my partner and I decided our next step was to create a pick up and go unit on digital citizenship that was easy for teachers to understand and engaging for students. I know when I teach, the clearer a lesson plan is the more likely I am to use it. When someone sends me links directly to materials I can use with my students I am much more willing to use it. This is why we decided to create a grab and go unit for teachers in our school. The unit focus question is: “what skills does a 21st century technology user need to have?” From this question, we formed 3 lessons with resources we found on Nearpod. The lessons are ready to go for teachers with links to the resources, materials needed, vocabulary, WICOR strategies, and standards assessed. We still have places where we can improve and continue to add to the unit. I like that about this because needs will change over time, but teachers can use this as a template in order to teach their students about digital citizenship. We shared our unit with our Principal and she loved it. She asked us to send a copy of it to our assistant superintendent. I am so proud of the work we put into this unit and how it will be able to help other teachers in my district.
I am glad that I went through this process because I was able to learn with someone I teach with every day. I was able to work with my administrator and hear her viewpoints on what is going on. It was nice to see all the supports available to teachers and staff. I was also happy to see that a lot of the beliefs shared aligned with my learnings in my graduate program. As I continue to move in my career I hope to be able to find ways to benefit other teachers to make their jobs a little less stressful. I want to be someone who can support those who are a little nervous about all of the new technologies and programs available to them. Like my Principal said, we can’t replace good teachers but we can support them with digital learning.