May 28, 2010

My PLN (Professional Learning Network)

This diagram is by Alec Couros and  is posted here using Creative Commons share alike license for noncommercial use. How do I know about Creative Commons Licensing? Because for the past four years I have been expanding my professional network beyond the constraints of those whom I have met and worked with to those in the field of technology in education who I can contact via the social networking of the Internet. I have a Twitter network of selected educators who post links to their own work or those of others that they value. I have an iGoogle page of incoming RSS feeds of articles and blog entries I can view to see if I want to read more. Both of these are available on my phone as well so if I don't have my laptop open I can still use moments when I am waiting for an appointment or a friend to check in. I have podcasts that are set to download to iTunes on my computer when I am online. When I plug my phone into my computer the podcasts transfer to my phone so I can listen to them when I am walking or driving.

This network allows my to be in contact with others who have a role like mine in another state or country. We can try ideas out with each other,  put our teachers in contact with each other. While I still value going to conferences like ISTE the immediacy of this network and the professional interactions it creates mean that I can have conference-like interactions with colleagues without traveling or waiting for an annual meeting. I have a much larger network of colleagues and associates available to me through this network than I have ever had in my professional career.

May 20, 2010

Common Sense Student Surveys

I modified the Common Sense Media Survey for student to be more appropriate for 3rd and 4th graders and as part of a group of Internet Safety lessons all classes took the survey in May for a total of 205 responses.

The student reports of the hours they watch TV/movies on a school day were pretty similar to those of their parents. While we don't usually have homework assignments that require the use of the Internet, over 40% of students said that they spend an average of 1 hour or more using the Internet for homework. When asked if an adult knew when they were online, this was what they said:
Also, when asked a list of possible activities students indicated that they are fully participating in the commerce and social aspects of the Internet:

Fewer than half of the students said that they had had conversations with their parents in the last year about media usage. More than half indicated that they had had conversations with their parents about cyber bullying and being careful about other people when they are online.

The student responses to this survey indicate that students are accessing the Internet on their own and are engaging in many preteen activities that they are hearing about from media, friends, siblings and family members. I use the surveys as part of a conversation about Internet uses with students and I am working with the school counselors and other integrators to develop K12 materials and sessions for parents, teachers and students.