This is the fourth in my series of blog posts regarding the NETS for Teachers. I am going to explore NETS-T 1d, which recommends that teachers Model collaborative knowledge construction by engaging in learning with students, colleagues, and others in face-to-face and virtual environments.
I am going to list the technology tool and how it models collaborative knowledge construction because there were so many ways that I see educators exhibiting this standard.
I know that I have not listed everything, but I hope that you realize that there are quite a few ways to model collaborative knowledge construction. I encourage every educator to find new ways to learn by collaborating with others.
This is the third in my series of blog posts regarding the NETS for Teachers. Today we are continuing with the first area of Student Learning and Creativity, which encourages teachers to utilize technology in various ways that excites students and enhances their imaginativeness. I am going to explore NETS-T 1c, which recommends that teachers Promote student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students’ conceptual understanding and thinking, planning, and creative processes.
Promoting student reflection with technology can be very easy with the right technology tools. Google Docs is tool that is accessible to our 5th - 12th graders with their school Google accounts. A Google Document can be shared with an entire class or just a small group of students as part of a discussion about something in class. There are other ways to hold a discussion, but while class is going on, with a Backchannel, like Today's Meet. Here is a great resource that lists 27 different online tools that you could use with your students in the classroom, Top 27 Free Tools to Collaborate, Hold Discussions, and BackChannel with Students. You will definitely find something that fits your needs in this list of 27 free resources.
Another great technology tool for collaboration is blogging. This is a tool that can be used with students of all grade levels. I found a video that describes how students as early as 1st grade can blog, Blogging in the Elementary Classroom. By incorporating book talks, elementary students can easily use blogging to share what they have learned.
Graphic Organizers are another tool that allows students to show understanding, thinking, planning, and the creative processes. There are some online graphic organizers that allow students to collaborate, they are listed in this article by the Connected Classroom, on Graphic Organizers.
Here are some more links to resources on Digital Collaboration and Digital Class Discussions and Digital Tools that Promote and Support Creative Thinking.
Take some time to promote digital collaboration in your classroom today. You will find that it is worth the time and effort when you can actually see what your students know through their digital collaboration.
I am going to take a short break from my NETS blog series to discuss Badges in the Classroom. Badges are becoming a popular option for many teachers when it comes to assessment. Here is an article from Common Sense Media on How Open Badges Could Change Teaching and Assessment.
So why are teachers using Badges in their classrooms? Edudemic offers a Teacher's Guide to Badges in Education which explains that badges are a different motivation tool for teachers to use to show student completion of various tasks. I, myself, was a bit skeptical of the notion that a badge would motivate someone. But after being reminded in this article that many video games use Badges to motivate players, I started to re-think Badges. My big "Ah Ha" moment was on Christmas Break, when I was entering my Star Codes for Starbucks. I earned my Badge for 30 stars! I was actually excited because I had accomplished something. So, I guess, I was motivated to buy lots of coffee to earn my Gold Starbucks Badge. Edudemic also mentions that many children work for badges when they are in Boy/Girl Scouts.
So how could you use Badges in your classroom? Elementary teachers might want to consider the ClassDojo App or ClassBadges. Here is a guest post by Terri Eichholz on how she uses ClassDojo. Secondary teachers will find that some Course Management Systems, like Schoology and Edmodo, have Badges built into their system.
I encourage you to "re-think" badges, just as I have. They might help you to motivate your students more than you think.