Digital Learning Playbook

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There was plenty to take in here. All these stats about interests, abilities, gender gaps, and a funny little chart on similar interests (?) has me thinking about the gap in digital literacy with kids. I have witnessed kids who are at the best end of the spectrum here, where they are online, using school resources, using mobile apps to practice concepts outside of school, and where they are collaborating on Google for projects. However, there is the other end, which is complete disregard for learning, where the student sees this as a loophole; educational time becomes play time. The only reason this becomes a concern to me is that monitoring the students becomes difficult if they are not interacting on some medium where they are able to leave a footprint, such as mobile apps and personal devices. I am also thinking of the younger grades. Grades 3-5 are basically at the level of high schoolers when it comes to laptop access, and are only a 39% chunk away from matching for smartphone use. SMARTPHONE USE.

On a side note about the games aspect, I remember in elementary school how many of us had games we played in school on our big old mac desktops. We had the Oregon Trail, Kid Pix, and this math game where you had to wrangle fish or something. They were fun, they were educational, they were games! Games that expand on empires, Like the Caesar series (which I did a lot of in grade school) were wonderful ways to immerse a student in social studies without saying a word. These days, the games look just as fun, and also more interactive. There is a math game called Sushi Monster for the iPad, and on a number of occasions, I have gotten sucked into watching kids play it/ helping them get to new levels for division, multiplication and so on. Games like this are great uses of time outside the classroom, as well as options for break or indoor recess.

My hope is that teaching digital literacy in the younger grades will cause the levels of self-initiated learning to shoot up. Even now in college, there are so many resources that can make studying and learning so much easier, but we have to be aware of where to look and what to look for. If pushed in with the young early on, it will hopefully lay groundwork for a generation of students that will prove that the classroom is ready to be digitized, and the self-initiated work with become second nature for students. In my classroom, this is going to be a definite part of instruction. Maybe having a lesson on digital literacy altogether would be a good idea, so that if I present information that allows for any responses in digital format, the students will know the expectation and how to create and collaborate online. Even though I am doing a flipped lesson for 5th grade, I would need to see how the kids react to it to know if I was going to do it again. Might be fun finding out. Or a complete nightmare.

Last thing. I don not understand why text messages are a part of this report. They are purely social, and have been a constant issue in school. I guess it is the application, and if a teacher were to find a useful area for them, then that would make much more sense. Under Play #2 in the social media part, I don’t get why text messaging is there; it feels like it has as much business being there as multiplayer gaming. While some games are educational, I doubt such is the case with middle and high schoolers. I don’t see the out of classroom educational value of these categories, unless teacher initiated.

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