Digital Passport is Back!
Digital Passport, the award winning suite of 6 interactive games from Commonsense Media, has been a staple in our school's digital citizenship work, so I was dismayed when it wasn't ready to go at the end of the summer. But, it's back! What's new? The biggest change is that students no longer log in the same way; no student information is collected. This is both positive and negative. The students create their own username. Their work is saved, when a unit is completed- on that computer, on that browser. If they switch computers or use a new browser- out of luck. They can download or print certificates, take screenshots, etc. But, you just know that someone will forget to do this.
One other new feature- you can now choose to play the games in English or in Spanish.
I also kind of wish there was an easier tie in with Google Classroom, but that would of course attach student data. After taking a quick glance at the new Educator Guide- clean, simple and easy to use. I'm looking forward to trying this out soon with our 3rd graders!
Looking for UDL ideas?
When Wikispaces made the difficult decision to close, so many of my favorite websites also went by the wayside or had to find a new home. So happy that my good friend, teacher, and mentor, Karen Janowski spent the time to move her incredible UDL ToolKit to a new space. If you are looking for ideas on how to accomodate students on IEPS, 504 plans, or just about any student you teach- look no further than THE UDL TOOLKIT.
To quote Karen: " My passion is to remove the obstacles to learning for all students and these free tools offer opportunities for struggling learners that promote academic success. When material is digital or electronic, it is flexible and accessible. It is our responsibility as educators to provide materials that promote success. Please encourage all educators to consider using these free tools."
Bookshare Special Collections
I just learned about an amazing tool on Bookshare from @karenjan last week. I never knew they had Special Collections. If you have students on Bookshare- check it out! You can take some of these amazing collated collections and add them as reading lists for your students. For example-
I just wanted to share this info from Shelly Terrell with excellent directions on creating and sending parent newsletters. I embedded her tweet below. Her original post can be found here. Check it out as Shelly shares her templates too!
Join the UMass #30 Day Access Challenge
Some of you may remember that I wrote about this about ayear and a half ago. To be honest, my opinion has not changed... still think it's a buzzword. However, recently when doing a breakoutedu session in second grade I was talking with them about grit, persistence... and the students called it their growth mindset- so it looks like the lingo is sticking. I saw a blog post by Lee Araoz, who made this pretty spectacular collection of growth mindset materials. So- here you go:
Every time I hear about problems around digital citizenship at our school or others, I wonder how, we as educators can possibly think that kids magically know how to use all this emerging tech as tools. We are hard pressed to find examples of civil discourse and good use of social media in the news. Of course students will make mistakes, they are kids. Of course we could/should help them figure it all out, just like we help with all the other facets of education. But we don't. Is it because we think that this is "outside of school"? It isn't. We have seen this in both schools in our district. These actions affect our school communities. Is it because we think that the kids know more about the tools than we do? Yes, in some cases. I'm quite sure that a typical high school student knows way more about snapchat and some of the nasty places online that teens go to pick on one another than I do. But, that's not an excuse not to have a comprehensive digital citizenship program in place. Commonsense media has one... it's free. Mary Alice Curran created digcitkids and ran her own digital citizenship conference down at St. Joe's in CT. Wes Fryer and Marcia Moore created this drawing, showing how all encompassing digital citizenship in today's educational world actually is. EdSurge has an excellent article with some great resources here. Yes, it's one more thing. Yes, it's important. We can see what happens when we don't have a comprehensive program.
More Google Earth
I've been seeing more and more about the new version of Google Earth- almost all positive. I went to the EdTechTeam Geo webinar tonight and they shared the slides and lots of information. You can get thelink to the recording in the slides. If you're really into geography, apply to the Google Geo Institute- this summer- in California and it's free. Google has a new site to help you learn all the ins and outs and how best to use this tool in class. Check it out here.
Simple K12 is offering a free day of workshops on Google Tools- coming up on Saturday May 20. Learn more about it here.