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Visual Literacy for effective communication: Reflection on Course 3

Visual literacy, is the ability to interpret, negotiate, and make meaning from information presented in the form of an image.  The term “visual literacy” is credited to John Debes, co-founder of the International Visual Literacy Association.  Information cited from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_literacy

 


The video shares with us the empowerment associated with visual imagery in the field of Education.

As the term and the video indicates that the visual media strengthens the message being communicated to the audience.  There has been immense development in my interpretation of visuals, through this course.  Having learnt newer methods of current trends of presentations: Infograph, Pecha Kucha, Presentation Zen, Digital storytelling and more….., I realize there are such wider choices to select from.  I am beginning to feel as though I have become screen literate.  As Kelvin Kelly suggests, “When technology shifts, it bends the culture.” in the article Becoming Screen Literate. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/23/magazine/23wwln-future-t.html?pagewanted=all

Being able to create an Infograph by self and having used it successfully with my classes, has been a great learning outcome.  My students never appreciated the warm up process as much as they refreshed their knowledge from the Infograph I created as a part of this course!  The digital storytelling project helped me nurture my creative potential to a maximum.  It has been an exciting journey of transformation and evolution through this course.  I will like to delve into this deeper and continue to create projects I can use in PE classes with my students. Having created Yoga presentation based on Presentation Zen style, 21st century web tools for PE Teachers: Pecha Kucha  and Practice makes PE perfect: Digital story during this course, I am definitely assured that effective visuals communicate effectively.  I have used these creations/ visual projects with my students and observed the positive impact it lays on their mind.  It just fascinates me deeply.

I am super excited about creating wordles/ word clouds using http://www.wordle.net, and am considering myself more and more tech savvy.  I have learnt that presentations can be made more effective by using the “rule of thirds”, where instead of placing the images in the center, they should be placed towards the “power points”, to create a deeper impact.  I feel prosperous with technology around to help me and support my student needs.  I feel accomplished that the projects I shared with my students have made them deep thinkers about the issues they have been exposed to.

Prior to this course, I had restricted myself to using and creating PowerPoint presentations, since I had been most comfortable with their use over the years.  As a learning outcome of this course, I feel it is worth coming out of my comfort zone and exploring newer teaching practices by using Web 2.0 tools to develop my teaching potential further.  I am eager to review and revisit my lessons and presentations, created using traditional methods over the years and replace them with the latest teaching modules suited to our 21st century learner needs, appropriate as per their abilities.

In Physical Education area, since students prefer to be physically active, it becomes a challenge to have them seated and involve them in class discussions.  However, a visual presentation/ a catchy story can capture their mind, and communicate the message across to them at the same time.  By viewing movies/ pictures of students in action, they anticipate themselves to be a part of the action and are better affected.  This course has been the most practical one for me due to its applicablility in Physical Education, in terms of its implementation and visual approach.  I am eager to use the learnings from this course, for the immense benefit of my students.  I am confident that effective use of visual approach can communicate the message to our students in the right tone/ voice.

Teaching in an international school, one does face the challenge of teaching students with limited English language skills.  In Physical Education, we have some students who have very limited understanding of the vocabulary.  I feel the strength of visuals plays such an important role here, since images speak for themselves.  These students get a fair opportunity with the presentations of visuals that convey the message across without words.  I would like to take advantage of this aspect from this course, and reach out to my ESL students as well along with the rest of my students.

Image 0.jpg   Website: wn.com   Source Google Images

Image 0.jpg Website: wn.com Source Google Images

I have thereby decided that I must begin working on creating more visually designed projects for my upcoming units.  This will enable me to continue to tread on the digital and the visual path.  Truly, visual literacy is a boon.  Regular readings have supplemented and strengthened my thinking process.  I am thinking OUT of the box now, with due thanks to this course and heartfelt gratitude for my instructors.  I find myself better equipped and prepared to play around with images, am able to manipulate and support them with sounds to create visuals that will lay a deep impact on the brain of my students, and foster effective communication.

The article, Brain Rules: Vision by John Medina, touched my heart and brain the most, since it resonates and affirms with my belief in the need of physical activity to get your brain working at its best. It also suggests that exercise improves cognition, according to the Rule 1: Exercise boosts brain power. http://www.brainrules.net/vision.

As my next first step, I plan to use this information, and research more relevant information to create a visual project and share it with my students to highlight the benefits of exercise, besides the other evident reasons. Of course, I will remember to give due credit to the author of this book and others in the attribution section.

123574250_ee72f8cd62_m.jpg

123574250_ee72f8cd62_m.jpg jurisdynamics.blogspot.com Source Google images

Digital Photostory: Practice makes PE Perfect

The digital story highlights the importance of taking practice sessions seriously for better performance in games.

As a part of this course assignment, the task assigned was to create a digital story.  This task directed my thinking process in various directions. Aspects like inclusion of high quality images, effective visuals, sounds, narration, duration to be kept between two to five minutes, and all of these with the theme to be kept in mind for the audience, i.e. appropriate for the students to be ALL taken care of!  Wow, it seemed like a humongous task.  I sheepishly began working on it taking the step by step approach.  Now, when I relook at the resultant product, I feel so happy with the creation.

Digital storytelling has become my favorite project as a result of this course.  Playing with images and videos to create a story, adding music and voice to it, to ensure precision and accuracy that match the visuals to the sounds, and ensuring all this is coordinated with the theme is like solving a puzzle.  I am in love with this.

My thoughts about digital story are similar to as stated in the article, Questioning Video, Film, Advertising and Propaganda: Deconstructing Media Messages by Jamie McKenzie.  He rightly says, “Layers of visual and audio refinement are added over a crude outline of the motion, the mix constantly in flux, always changeable.  As moving images become easier to create, easier to store, easier to annotate and easier to combine into complex narratives, they also become easier to be remanipulated by the audience.  This gives images a liquidity similar to words.http://questioning.org/jun09/video.html

My digital story is created for the students to communicate the message of practicing well before games.

Elementary school students love to play games all the time in Physical Education classes.  For them, focused skill practice can become boring.  Not all the students are mature enough to understand that the brain and body must work in conjunction and co-ordination for them to deliver better performance.  It has usually been a task for me as a PE Teacher to have my students practice their skills and drills, prior to a unit that they participate in.  For them, the moment they come in, they must get the ball, get to know the team they are ON and start off with the game right away.  There is no place/ scope/ time for individual tasks/ partner work/ group drills in their plan.  Sadly, they foresee it as a “waste of time.”  Keeping my elementary students in my mind, I decided to create a digital story project on highlighting how important the practice sessions could be.  I have used Windows Live Movie Maker to create this digital story.

It has been a learning journey while creating my first digital story telling project.  During the Pre-production stage of the creation of this story, the following steps were involved:

Story Title: Practice makes PE perfect.

Outline: Practice leads to perfection in PE.  The digital story highlights the importance of taking practice sessions seriously for better performance in games.  While creating this digital story, I kept in mind my audience, i.e, my students, so that I could motivate them to participate in PE with enthusiasm and their best effort at everything, including practice sessions.  The process involved writing of a script to be followed by creation of a storyboard. ( The link is pasted below in the blog.)

I thought about various ways I could present my idea.  I wrote down the key points I wanted to include in my story.  I had to emphasize on the fact that one must practice hard, so that they learn their skills and get better at the games.  I wrote and then re-wrote the script a few times, before it was finalized.  The lines that matched with my theme message of consistent practice,were to be used for narration in my story.  I read them out aloud a few times. I had to edit it and rephrase them to match with the visuals.

I clicked pictures, and shot videos of my students in action, then selected the ones that matched my theme.  Organizing them in the form of a story, and placing the photos and videos in a sequential manner was my next step.  My story turned out to be longer than I had expected. Trimming videos to keep the parts that matched with the story has been a creative process.  I do understand now, why in movies scenes are shot and reshot many, many times, and why so many retakes are needed.  It is so true, that one understands and learns better by doing.

Once the scenes were placed in the order as thought, I had to record my voice to add as the narration.  I choice lively music that acted as a trigger in matching my story, and placed it with slides that needed sound tracks.  I coordinated my voice narration with the video clips and photos. It was worthy use of time to get the scenes aligned with the voice clips.

It was interesting to note that changes were being made in getting the right finished product till the last minute. I can say that hours were spent creating this digital story in having it attain the current form and I feel satisfied and accomplished with my first attempt at digital storytelling. The script and the storyboard for the story can be found detailed in the link below.

Digital story: Script and storyboard

I shared my digital story project with my students, and gathered the following responses:
*Don’t give up.
*Think you can do it, and you will be able to.
*To become good at something, practice more and more.
*Try, try again until you succeed.
*When teachers are telling you to do something, listen very closely and follow.
*If you don’t practice, you would not learn , so how would you get better.
*Practice to get perfect. Don’t think you know everything. There is always more to learn, and steps to go higher.
*When you learn something new, try your best.
*Even if you are bad at something, try so you may get better.
*If you practice many times, you will be able to do it.
*If you do not waste your time, and do your best, you can do a great job.
*Practice makes perfect.
*Getting better with practice and age is visible.
*Enjoy your practice.
*Practice is for your benefit.
*Always try your best.
*Believe in yourself. You can do it.

I have been able to effectively use this with my students, and they are able to understand the depth and importance of practicing better.  Now, they are not reluctant about practicing, rather they enjoy it due to their understanding about the benefits associated.  I felt the message that I was trying to convey, reached them right across by using the visual medium.

storytelling‑diagram.png     blogs.ubc.ca   Source Google Images

storytelling‑diagram.png blogs.ubc.ca Source Google Images

I am elated with the impact a visual medium like a digital story can have on the students. Thanks to the COETAIL course 3, due to which I have been acquainted with the immense benefits of visual literacy.

Google Image.   Website: mguhlin.org   File name: 20090227-gx95bn841jbgpdp24xyuferbfc.png

21st century Technology tools in Physical Education: Pecha Kucha Presentation.

It has been a wonderful learning experience researching the 21st century technolgy tools which are used in the field of Physical Education to aid and upgrade the learning continuum. The tools have been presented in the Pecha Kucha presentation below.  It was very helpful to have notes for every slide, already rehearsed and timed for 20 seconds.

During this course, learning various styles of presentations has been a worthy as well as a  joyous experience. I am positive that I will be more confident now, while facing an audience and delivering a presentation. Exploring newer styles of presentations has made me better prepared, and I am super impressed by the abundance of ways that are available for creating presentations. I learnt a lot while researching the techology tools/ apps, that are so beneficially used in Physical education. I am looking forward to using them with my students.

I found the following presentation by Richard Riche very useful.

Presentation Zen concept: Yoga

YOGA PRESENTATION

 

I have always been a Powerpoint freak.  Presentation Zen is a very impressive concept to beautify and present to our audience.  I am fascinated by Matt Helmke’s video, “Presentation Zen: An Overview” where  he shares with us  information on Garr Reynold’s book, “Presentation Zen” .  It has helped me to make my presentation more effective. I have tried to use the “rule of thirds” as much as possible, to make the powerpoint more effective and powerful. Instead of placing the images in the center, I have added them towards the “power points”, to be able to create a deeper impact.

Presentation Zen: An overview By Matt Helmke

I used my presentation on Yoga with Grade 5 students. While creating the presentation, I did keep in mind that my audience are Grade 5 students who are about 10-11 years old. I found them to be completely engaged, and they participated with complete enthusiasm.  I have tried to convey to them the benefits of Yoga through my presentation using the STICKY IDEAS from this video. Sticky ideas have elements of these six key attributes: Simplicity, Unexpectedness, Concreteness, Credibility, Emotions, and Stories which make the acronym SUCCESS.  I found all these elements together have made my attempt successful in conveying to my students that Yoga is a great unit, and they were encouraged to give it their best participation and effort. The immense benefits my students have derived from this presentation in the Yoga unit have been appreciated by my students and their parents.  It will be worth sharing that the same students who delivered their best in this unit, were most reluctant to do a unit on Yoga when they first came to know about it. I feel supported with technology around to help me and support my student needs. I feel accomplished sharing that the unit turned out to be a great hit with the students.

I wish to share my presentation in two formats. One is a powerpoint presentation in the pptx format ( embedded at the top of my blog ), and the other one is the same presentation imported and created using the site Prezi.com. It is my first experience with Prezi, even though I am just not satisfied with the result at the moment. I will work more on it to understand this better. I have liked the simplicity and the linked paths in this format of presentation.

The images have been taken from Google Images, sensational-yoga-poses.comsensational-yoga-poses.comsensational-yoga-poses.com, and some are from my class with students or self in action.

I have liked viewing the following video on Dan Pink’s blog.

My Favorite Tools, Episode 1: Ginormous Stickies from Daniel Pink on Vimeo.

I am convinced that the Presentation Zen concepts will make future presentations more effective and powerful.  could see a positive impact of the presentation on my students, and am happy with the product.

To Warm up or not before exercise: Infographic

Warm up Infograph

As a part of the COETAIL Session 3, Assignment one, the task assigned was to create an infographic to be used in the class.  I thought about creating one on the topics/ units usually taught in a Physical Education class through the year.  Then, I realized that an infographic on warm up will be of most use to the students, as my first attempt.  Primarily, it will help develop student interest in warming up their body prior to the activity, which they try and skip. Secondary reason, that warm up is needed throughout the year, and is used for all the units.

I am very happy with the creation of an Infographic on Warm up. In Elementary Physical Education classes, the students are usually not too excited about executing a Warm up routine.  They feel instead of warm up, they should get started with playing games right away.  They are not aware of the importance of warm up, and and hence undermine the value of warming up.  They take it as a waste of time due to this underestimation.

This infographic – a visual presentation will help them understand, and value warm up better since the images lay a deeper impact on the brain of an individual.  The information will help them become aware about its need.  I was always very fascinated by the wordle/ word clouds, I had seen in various presentations by some elite trainers.  Having created a few myself now using http://www.wordle.net, after the first class of this course, I am super excited, and am considering myself tech savvy.  Even though there are numerous wordles on the internet, I feel proud that I have used the wordle created by me in my Infograph.

I am positive that the students will find this infographic on warm up informative and knowledge enhancing.  It is effective and I will be able to use it with all my students, and help them to take warming up phase seriously.  This visual tool helps them understand a serious concept in a fun manner.  I like it.

To make myself better acquainted with how to create an infograph, I explored the following links, and found them of great help.

http://dailyinfographic.com/map-of-online-communities-infographic

http://spyrestudios.com/the-anatomy-of-an-infographic-5-steps-to-create-a-powerful-visual/

A Two-Level Deep Infographic is a more advanced infographic. It encompasses the 3 core parts of the design but delves in deeper. Within the realm of Visuals, the infographic has the thematic defining graphics of the design. In addition it has reference icons to condense and compact a lot of data visually. Color coding becomes a must in this type of infographics because visually separating content via color becomes key in relaying information.  It presents factual data.

http://vector.tutsplus.com/tutorials/designing/how-to-create-outstanding-modern-infographics/

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=1036

I am thankful to Google images for being my resource of images for the infographic.

Final Project: UbD Basketball Unit Plan

Basketball

The link to the Understanding by Design Basketball unit for Grade 5 has been attached. It is also available on the Atlas Rubicon website.

This unit focuses on the integration of technology with the fundamental Basketball skills and strategies.

basketball‑978.gif  Google Image, Picture source is free-extras.com

basketball‑978.gif Google Image, Picture source is free-extras.com

The objective is for the students to be able to transfer their technological awareness in collaboration with the knowledge and understanding gained from Basketball unit to newer situation in other invasion games/ outside of PE classes. This will exhibit their ability to transfer their learning.

They will collaborate with peers, and create a presentation using technology and have it played for the spectators during, “The celebration of learning”, besides the physical demonstration of the game play.

The topics covered in this unit are:

  • Unique fundamental skills and strategies required to be competent in Basketball.
  • Emphasis on practicing the correct form to lead to mastery of a new skill.
  • Thoughtful decisions and positive team support leads to success.
  • Team activities provide opportunities for enjoyment, social interaction and are superior to individual contributions.
  • Thoughtful and ethical usage of web resources are our responsibility.
  • Collaborative group work, a need of the 21st century learners can help create effective presentations.
  • Basic Copyright laws, student safety are to be enforced and Cyber bullying  is to be avoided.

A description of lessons in brief.

  • The students will be introduced to the basic skills and rules of the game. Students will be asked to play half-court game using the skills taught.
  • The students will be taught the skills of decision making and support to use in the game situations. The class will be divided into teams to play the game.
  • The students will be given time to click pictures, incorporate clipart/ work collaboratively to come up with presentation ideas.
  • They will share their learning experience through the blog, and constructively comment on each other.
  • The teacher will go over the Blogs, and guide them with the presentations, so that ALL could feel successful and accomplished. Share strategies with the students, and encourage them to incorporate them.
  • The students showcase their learning for the performance task. They exhibit themselves as worthy team members, and use the skills they have developed in game play, and their proud technological presentations.

I decided to include decision making and support, very important traits in every unit/ situation so that students practice it in game play, as well as work collaboratively in their groups, make good decisions, while respecting Copyright laws and supporting each other in creating their technological creation.

My goal was to help my students understand that attribution/acknowledging  credit to the source the information is derived from is a moral and ethical responsibility. I wanted to observe them develop in thrir understanding of the Golden rule, “Treat others the way you want others to treat you” applicable in game situations, as well as relevant to Cybersafety. While commenting on each other’s blog, cyberbullying was to be avoided strictly, and positive/ constructive feedback was encouraged.

The learning plan of this unit is tailored to suit the needs of the students. It is organized and sequenced since there is gradual progression of load.

The students develop in their understanding of being worthy decision makers and a positive support to their team, not only in terms of physical game situation, but also, sharing ideas, integrating thoughts, and collaboratively creating their group’s original presentations. The details of the unit have been outlined elaborately in the Unit planner attacheed.

I am excited with this unit, and am sure the students will benefit a great deal. The students understand that it is essential to celebrate personal successes and achievements and those of others.It will be an opportunity for me to develop myself in this aspect of integrating technology in the PE curriculum.

For the understanding of the UbD, I have referred to the textbook, Understanding By Design, co-authored by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe , Expanded second edition, 2005 by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Association.

 

Reflection on Learnings from COETAIL Course 2

‘Whatever you can dream, begin to do it. Boldness has the power and magic in it.’ Goethe

candle20ani.gif  Picture taken from Google Images. Web source: zerotips.com

candle20ani.gif Picture taken from Google Images. Web source: zerotips.com

I feel great that I made the correct decision to do the COETAIL course 2. It just affirms my belief in my philosophy of Education, i.e: “Learning never ends.” Learning and Teaching are life-long processes; both get better with effort and experience. My teaching for student outcomes is meaningful, intentional and purposeful for achievement to occur. I realize in this digital age I must keep learning and have been doing it regularly as a practice.

I understand that there is a lot to explore out there with new technology and advancements taking place with giant leaps. I would like to keep learning and developing myself further. The suggested readings from the course were informative, thought provoking and insightful.

The course has helped me build and develop further the learning’s from COETAIL course one. I respect the importance of citing the resource from where information has been taken, and will always remember to give credit to the author, as a learning outcome from this course. This course has educated me about the copyright laws that must be followed and infringements avoided. It is our ethical and moral duty to follow that either we or our students do not break these rules and misuse the creations or intellectual property of others. Teaching the students the importance of citing references, so that they are not involved in Plagiarism is the responsibility of us as educators.

I must admit, that the terms, “”Digital footprint,” and “Digital Shadow,” were new for me, and getting acquainted with them has been informative. A digital profile and a positive digital footprint have immense implications for the students. I understand that it is my responsibility as an educator to show my students, the right path and guide them in the direction that will help them today and in the future. Being a PE Teacher is no excuse of not including technology in my curriculum. I have to be well-versed with the latest, to be able to meet the needs of my 21st century learners.

I learned ways to be able to teach and enlighten our students about issues of privacy online. I am now enlightened as to how to protect my creations/ intellectual property with Creative Commons, and it is worth sharing with the students.  I acquired information about the burning issues like cybersafety, cyberbullying, copyright laws and protecting personal information. I will have to continue to keep myself updated on this digital path, and once am sure of the authentic information, I am obligated to share it with my students. Discussing these issues with our students will make them aware about the possibilities that could happen with anyone. It is definitely not intended to scare them, rather prepare them for unforeseen situations that might happen.

In today’s times, children are exposed to media and internet so explicitly, that they are endangered of confronting Cyber bullying, be it at home or in school. I am now aware that it is a collaborative responsibility of parents, educators and administrators to ensure that the students learn to be safe online.

Creating a movie and embedding it in my blog has been my first experience, and I enjoyed it much. I would like to refine my movie making skills further, and use it for the benefit of my learners. I feel I could use this particularly while they are performing skills or participating in games, and then give them an instant feedback by recording my voice, and giving them viewing and reflection time.

I learned that Web is so powerful that it can help collaborate with peers not only in your school and approachable vicinity, rather worldwide.

http://www.edutopia.org/collaboration-age-technology-will-richardson

World Without Walls: Learning Well with Others – How to teach when learning is everywhere by Will Richardson “Collaboration in these times requires our students to be able to seek out and connect with learning partners, in the process perhaps navigating cultures, time zones, and technologies. It requires that they have a vetting process for those they come into contact with: Who is this person? What are her passions? What are her credentials? What can I learn from her?

Likewise, we must make sure others can locate and vet us. The process of collaboration begins with our willingness to share our work and our passions publicly — a frontier that traditional schools have rarely crossed.”

I further like what Will suggests, “Anyone with a passion for something can connect to others with that same passion — and begin to co-create and colearn the same way many of our students already do.

I believe that is what educators must do now. We must engage with these new technologies and their potential to expand our own understanding and methods in this vastly different landscape. We must know for ourselves how to create, grow, and navigate these collaborative spaces in safe, effective, and ethical ways. And we must be able to model those shifts for our students and counsel them effectively when they run across problems with these tools.” (Will Richardson is author of the blog weblogged, learner in chief at the Connective Learning Group, cofounder of Powerful Learning Practice, and a member of The George Lucas Educational Foundation’s National Advisory Council.)

garfield2dld.jpg  Pictureis a Google Image. Web source is wwrsd.org

field2dld.jpg Picture is a Google Image. Web source is wwrsd.org

I have faith in the Four Looks of Life, which collaboratively make the teaching, learning and assessment process, more meaningful. http://xnys.blogspot.in/2011/07/four-looks-of-life.html

Look Back – Gives Experience! Look Forward – Gives Hope! Look Around – Gives Reality! Look Within – Gives Confidence! No matter what happens in life, wherever you are, knowledge or the learning once attained will not be lost. As an educator, you can teach your learning wherever you are, any time, to anyone. Of course the willingness to learn,practice and teach is essential. So, I am prepared to carry ahead the learnings from this course and am eagerly looking forward to COETAIL Course 3.

 

 

Moving ahead with collaboration

What is one way you could collaborate with your professional peers or students?

Collaboration for the benefit of our students and professional peers adds to the advantage of ALL. Collaboration in the digital world is user-friendly, quick, economical and helps to unite the world as a single unit/ global nation. There are so many numerous ways of collaborating with peers/ students, however, one important way in today’s time is collaboration and making connections through the web.

Sharing of ideas, thoughts, strategies, games-skills, drills, lesson plans with peers is very beneficial for educators. Using Google Docs and allowing access to the stakeholders is a very useful means of collaboration in Physical Education. At the Elementary school, we use the Google docs for various purposes. An example is Fun and Games day document where all the elementary PE teachers share games and activity description, along with creating an equipment list, set up lay out plan and other details for the event. Such a collaborative feature in the digital world, helps save a lot of time emailing the attachment back and forth to each other. I am very impressed with the newness of this method of sharing in the digital world, and admire the utility behind the process whole heartedly.

Working on Understanding By Design Units in the Atlas Rubicon, our department works collaboratively while working on various units we teach during the year. We have common assessments, where we need to work jointly. Color coding thoughts or adding teacher names within parentheses to identify ownership is a good idea and works well for our team.

The SPARK PE website is a great site, and they share webinars, PE strategies. They offer free membership. I find their mails and website very useful. Any information, I find worthwhile, I share it with our team. Our Department meetings are yet another effective evidence of collaboration. We share with each other whatever works best, issues that need to be addressed, plans that need to be modified/ revisited, all in the best interest of our students: in terms of curriculum, assessment and instruction, that can be imagined to be the three legs of a table.

three‑legged_stool.jpg

three‑legged_stool.jpg

Image taken from Google Images. Website is transformed.com

Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment are like a three legged table. These are inter-connected, since to stay balanced, all have to work in collaboration with each other. These should not be considered to be written/ set in stone. Educators must have the flexibility of using the above in the best interest of the development of the learners. As an educator we have big responsibilities on our shoulders, and collaborating with each other works as an asset.

Sharing of pictures of students in action during PE classes in our shared folder is exciting, and a great way of sharing the student learning with each other. The pictures along with a brief description of the unit, serves as a positive mode of communicating with the community, about the activities being learnt in PE classes. We are able to share our thoughts with each other.

I appreciate the idea of writing blogs and reflections and peers or students being able to comment on it, and learn from each other.

I am super impressed with the technological collaboration for various reasons, as listed above. Besides those, I feel that the collaborative documents and other work in progress files, may serve as a great resource for new teachers to join our department. The COETAIL site is yet another avenue of collaboration. While reading through the blogs and ideas of other educators, one comes across strategies that might be useful in their school set up, and they might wish to try. I feel by giving due credit to them for their work, appreciating them and commenting on their blog, seeking their permission to try out their project, it will serve as a way of building up the learning process further, rather than reinventing the wheel each time.

Ultimately, learning is a dynamic process of progressive change from little or no knowledge to increased understanding and knowledge. The educational environment and atmosphere should be supportive, relaxed, caring and comfortable, so that the nurturing in learning and teaching takes place at its best is my conviction. Positive and constructive collaboration amongst professional peers is motivating and helps achieve better performance.

comprtnrs324875.jpg   The picture is a Google Image, Source is website carecentric.com

comprtnrs324875.jpg The picture is a Google Image, Source is website carecentric.com

Besides the suggested readings, I found the following links on the internet useful for educators.

http://vocserve.berkeley.edu/centerfocus/cf2.html This link shares with us the below information:

Teacher collegiality avoids the sink-or-swim, trial-and-error mode that beginning teachers usually face. It brings experienced and beginning teachers closer together to reinforce the competence and confidence of the beginners. Schools benefit from teacher collaboration in several ways:

  • Through formal and informal training sessions, study groups, and conversations about teaching, teachers and administrators get the opportunity to get smarter together.
  • Teachers are better prepared to support one another’s strengths and accommodate weaknesses. Working together, they reduce their individual planning time while greatly increasing the available pool of ideas and materials.
  • Schools become better prepared and organized to examine new ideas, methods, and materials. The faculty becomes adaptable and self-reliant.
  • Teachers are organized to ease the strain of staff turnover, both by providing systematic professional assistance to beginners and by explicitly socializing all newcomers, including veteran teachers, to staff values, traditions, and resources.

Digital collaboration tools for teachers worldwide, http://www.zdnet.com/blog/education/digital-collaboration-tools-for-teachers-worldwide/782   “Teachers Without Borders rolls out easy to use, open source software to facilitate open courseware, content authoring and collaboration. Collecting and disseminating information is often the province of developed countries, but Teachers Without Borders hopes to bridge the Digital Divide by allowing educators worldwide to share information and teaching materials, reports All American Patriots.”

grade20120clipart.jpg  The picture is a Google Image, Source is mssheehan1.wordpress.

grade20120clipart.jpg The picture is a Google Image, Source is mssheehan1.wordpress.

I am hoping through collaboration amongst professional peers and our students, there will not only be growth in academic learning and achievement levels going up higher, but, the world also will become a better and a more peaceful place to live in. Let’s ALL collaborate.

 

Stop it by not starting: Cyberbullying.

Cyber‑Bullying‑blog‑title.png

Cyber‑Bullying‑blog‑title.png

Taken from Google images.

Who’s job is it to teach these skills? In schools, when and where should we be having these conversations with students?

In today’s times, children are exposed to media and internet so explicitly, that they are endangered of confronting Cyber bullying, be it at home or in school. Thus, it becomes a collaborative responsibility of parents, educators, student counsellors and administrators to guide and oversee that the students learn to be safe online.

Parents must step in to ensure that the children are provided with a safe and a secure environment. They should be extra cautious when allowing their children access to internet usage. The children should not be left unsupervised while accessing the social networking/ other websites. Some parents misconstrue technology as a status symbol, and hence allow their children to drift away with the latest. Sometimes, the students lose their focus and aimlessly get lost in cyberspace, and are exposed to the dangers of Cyber bullying. This is not wanted, and is avoidable with firm and vigilant guidance, just as the father in the article, When Dad Banned Text Messaging by Debbie Geiger, took firm action to ensure that his daughter does not continue to text in an uncontrollable fashion, and hence, be misled by the digital gadget. I also appreciate the lesson this article silently provides us, i.e, when dad banned the text messaging of the child, the mother despite not agreeing with him whole heartedly, did not disagree with the father in front of the kids. Hence, it  tells us that we must respect each other, and abide by what is decided by either of the parents. This way, the children will be more respectful, and follow what is expected of them.

National Crime Prevention Council,  http://www.ncpc.org/cyberbullying suggests certain measures to prevent Cyber bullying. Parents and educators can share these with the students, so that they are aware of the issues they might come across. “Online bullying, called cyberbullying, happens when teens use the Internet, cell phones, or other devices to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person. Cyberbullying is a problem that affects almost half of all American teens.

How Can I Prevent Cyberbullying?

• Refuse to pass along cyberbullying messages • Tell friends to stop cyberbullying • Block communication with cyberbullies • Report cyberbullying to a trusted adult • Speaking with other students, as well as teachers and school administrators, to develop rules against cyberbullying • Raising awareness of the cyberbullying problem in your community by holding an assembly and creating fliers to give to younger kids or parents • Sharing NCPC’s anti-cyberbullying message with friends • Never post or share your personal information online  or your friends’ personal information. • Never share your Internet passwords with anyone, except your parents. • Never meet anyone face-to-face whom you only know online. • Talk to your parents about what you do online.”

Another article, Perspective: When cyberbullying hits teens By Eric J. Sinrod suggests the following on:

http://news.cnet.com/When-cyberbullying-hits-teens/2010-1030_3-6201365.html

“About one-third of teenagers on the Internet report that they have been targets of “menacing” online activities, such as receiving threatening messages, having their private e-mails or instant and text messages forwarded without consent, having an embarrassing photo posted without permission, or having rumors spread about them online. On top of this, girls are more likely than boys to be targets. The best advice for teens here is that they should not say anything in their electronic communications that they would not want the whole world to see. Easier said than done, of course. Moreover, teens who use social-network sites such as MySpace.com and Facebook and teens who use the Internet on a daily basis also are more likely to be victims of cyberbullying. Because social-networking teens tend to experience more cyberbullying, teens could be advised not to participate in social-networking sites. However, such sites really have become a standard communications medium for teens and they may feel socially excluded if they do not participate. Thus, if they do participate, they should take best steps to protect their privacy–such as interacting only with true, known “friends”–by not disclosing much personally identifiable information, and by not joining general groups.”

In schools, there is responsible internet usage and fair play policy in place. It must be strictly adhered to. It becomes the responsibility of educators to spend ample amount of time, energy and effort to instill the understanding and value of online safety. They student counselors can expect online safety issues and other queries coming up from teenagers, and must be prepared to answer them. The new generation students are far more grown up and digitally well versed, and the educators must be in sync The administrators must supervise and ensure that all the above are in place. Despite the adults taking care of their individual roles, I still doubt the surety of kids being provided with a completely safe environment, where they do not undergo cyber bullying. Since, the students today are so attuned to technology, it is not difficult for them to address and handle the problems they come across and other safety issues. I would be more confident, if our students take up the responsibility on their own shoulders and deal with such issues in a mature manner. Just like we teach our students Restitution to become responsible from within, similarly, students must be taught to self-restitute themselves, if safety issues online are at stake. They must know how to address the problem and fix it either by themselves or through adult intervention.

In schools, these conversations should primarily be a part of technology classes. Apart from this, all curricular areas can stress upon the online safety and bullying issues, to ensure that the importance of these topics are not overlooked by the students. In Physical Education classes, we are increasingly adding the usage of technology to aid student learning. Online safety and bullying can be touched upon while discussing the pros and cons of Cyber space. I am reminded of the three monkeys of Mahatma Gandhi, that remind us of , ” Hear no evil, See no evil and speak no evil”. I feel we can use these as an attempt to stop Cyberbullying, in an effective manner.

gandhi+3+monkeys+realityviews.jpg

realityviews.blogspot.com

Protect your Privacy Online

How do you view privacy online and what are your own personal feelings about privacy?

funmusicforbeginners.com We are committed to protecting your privacy online. Taken from Google images.

I find it a bit witty, when we refer to the term privacy online. It is truly an Oxymoron, since both the words seem to be contradictory to each other. It does not seem that privacy and online are words that go hand in hand at present. In my view, when some information is posted online, it is available and accessible for public viewing. Even if there are privacy terms and responsible user agreements that we carefully read and accept, I feel the information can be hacked by illegal misusers.

With the fast paced developments in digital technology and daily upgradation, I would love to hope and believe that in the future, we could be confident that online privacy will be like two sides of the same coin, and we would not be reluctant disclosing our information and posting it with pride in ourselves, and all fears left behind that the pictures/ personal information could be misused.

I have liked the article, How much is too much? When it comes to sharing personal information online, less is more. “When it comes to sharing personal information online, less is more. The less you share, the more you can protect your privacy and minimize the chances of becoming a victim.”

Further, exploring privacy online, I came across the following interesting readings, I’d like to share, Family as ‘friends’: Microsoft, AARP report shows more families stay connected with social networks, “Kids, don’t be surprised if your grandparents send you an email or post a message on your Facebook wall the next time your birthday rolls around. Online communication and social networking are bridging the generation gap and bringing families closer together.” According to a new report from Microsoft (an NCSA Board Member company) and AARP. National Cyber Security Alliance Blog.

All you need to know about Google’s ‘Good To Know’, “Eric Davis is Google’s Global Public Policy Manager and an NCSA Board Member. Recently, Google launched “Good To Know,” a campaign to educate people and raise awareness about privacy and security. Eric tells us about “Good To Know,” and the steps people can take to stay safe online this Data Privacy Day and throughout the year.”

The above links are posted on the website http://staysafeonline.org/ as it elaborates on Privacy online.

  • How do you navigate the line between private vs. public online?

It is interesting to note that people today want to maintain a clear distinction between private and public online. Professionals today maintain a personal email account and a different one for professional usage. While, there is Facebook to get connected with family and friends, there is Linked in network to get connected with professional acquaintances. Again, it is doubtful, whether the information shared on any of the sites, is completely confidential. It seems once the personal information has been posted online, it is available and accessible for varied usage and purposes. It is further confirmed that information shared online is vulnerable and accessible, as suggested in the reading article, Beware the Internet Could Own Your Future by Husna Najand. “Despite all of my privacy settings, there are probably several pictures of me floating around in cyberspace unbeknownst to me. In the age of Facebook where our private lives are flaunted in a public arena on a daily basis, our typical notion of privacy has become outdated. Privacy no longer means having control over who has access to pictures and information. Staying vigilant about the changing nature of such terms is one way of securing our privacy, as demonstrated by the random Facebook user who tipped off The Consumerist. However, changing our mentality is even more important. We have come to a point where Internet privacy rights are eroding while simultaneously, the line between our private lives and the public persona are blurring. The image you project in a proper business suit to potential employers is one thing and your Facebook profile picture may reveal something else. Facebook started out as a network for college students. Now our bosses, co-workers and parents are creating accounts.”

Another blog comment which suggests that Internet is safe and disclosing personal information is not misused, is found on, How Dangerous Is the Internet for Children? – New York Times , where Jeff Utecht is quoted as “One of the biggest surprises in making this film was the discovery that the threat of online predators is misunderstood and overblown. The data shows that giving out personal information over the Internet makes absolutely no difference when it comes to a child’s vulnerability to predation.” (That one blew my mind, because every single Internet-safety Web site and pamphlet hammers repeatedly on this point: never, ever give out your personal information online.)

I am not too sure, as to how one can navigate between personal and public online, however, I feel with conscious and responsible usage, one can be safe and enjoy the immense benefits of internet and technology, rather than being scared of it and not taking the plunge into the ocean of web, simply because of the fear of drowning.

  • How do we best teach students about issues of privacy online?

As educators, we must explore ways to be able to teach and enlighten our students about issues of privacy online. I feel, we have taken the initial step by attending the COETAIL courses that are making us aware of such burning issues like cybersafety, cyberbullying, copyright laws and protecting personal information. We will have to continue to keep ourselves updated on this digital path, and once we are sure of the authentic information, we must share it with our students. I would like to share here that getting introduced to “digital footprint” and “digital shadow” through this course impressed me a great deal, and I shared this with my 13 year old son, and he immediately began to think deeply about this topic. Discussing these issues with our students will make them aware about the possibilities that could happen with anyone. It is definitely not intended to scare them, rather prepare them for unforeseen situations that might happen.

We should allow our students to be aware of the plusses and deltas associated with sharing personal information, data and pictures online. Once they have been made aware of the same, it is upto them to make responsible choices that will be helpful for them in the future.

The link, http://www.safebeekeeping.com/privacy-policy/ suggests, “Personally Identifiable Information” refers to any information that identifies or can be used to identify, contact, or locate the person to whom such information pertains, including, but not limited to, name, address, phone number, fax number, email address, financial profiles, social security number, and credit card information.”

Some privacy tips that may help if shared with our students, taken from the website:http://www.truste.com/privacy_seals_and_services/consumer_privacy/privacy_tips

Do Some New Year’s (Data) House Cleaning:

  • Get New Passwords: Use different, strong passwords for each of your online accounts so if one is compromised the rest are safe. Strong passwords contains letters, numbers, different cases, and symbols. Check your password’s strength here.
  • Close Old Online Accounts: Unused online accounts are a liability. Hackers could use them to infiltrate your more important accounts . Get rid of them. If you can’t remember where you have old accounts search your email inbox with queries like “registered”, “confirm” or “your account” to find email records of old accounts.
  • Cull Your Friends List: You put a lot of information about yourself on social networks. Would you want that friend of a friend you met once, two years ago to be carrying around a physical copy of all that information? Probably not. Keep the people you know and trust. Delete the rest.
  • Go Paperless: Still receiving bank statements and doctors’ invoices by mail? You don’t need your Social Security number floating around in your trash can on the curb outside. Call your bank, doctor, credit card company etc. to find out if you can go paperless and manage your records via a secure online portal. You’ll save a tree and protect your privacy.
  • Shred Sensitive Documents: Those credit card and health savings account statements you don’t need that have been sitting in that folder in your desk?

Email Privacy

1. Use a secondary, “spam” email address

2. Use email service providers with strong security and spam filters

3. Exercise caution when opening emails

4. Recognize that email is evolving towards openness and interconnectivity

5. Use strong passwords and remember to sign-out

Best Online Privacy Practices

1. Minimize personal information sharing

2. Look for trustmarks on websites and verify their authenticity

3. Consider temporary credit card numbers when shopping online

4. Use strong passwords and remember to sign-out

5. Use anti-virus and anti-spyware protection

6. Take advantage of browser privacy enhancing capabilities and options

burlingtonfreepress.com Image taken from Google images.

I sincerely hope we will be able to protect our privacy online by using the above privacy tips.

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