Tuesday, September 19, 2017

My First Fail #DigCit

One of the things about starting a new job with new expectations is that I will be encountering tasks for the first time. Not only that, I will be trying to navigate a great new community and try to make sure everyone is supported. As much as I would love to just share my success on this site, that is not realistic. As a reflection tool, this site is supposed to help me look at the good AND the bad. My first big failure was last week and I finally have some time to write about what has been running around in my head.

Part of my job as the Technology Coordinator is to run the Digital Citizenship for grades 6-8. I was left resources from Common Sense Media by the amazing lady who had the job before me. A schedule was established before I arrived that would have me working with each grade 6 times for 45 minutes over the first two and a half months. My goal was to use the resources provided to me and try to recreate what had been done in the past. What a rookie mistake.

I worked hard going over all of the materials and made copies of the handouts from the previous year, I made a presentation and felt super ready to go from my meeting with the 7th grade. Nope. I had a room filled with 40 seventh graders and I tried talking to them about what the digital world around them looks like today. I had support of another teacher in the room and it helped keep the students focused, but it was still a mess. I know I can be hard on myself, but it was a mess because I was trying to do something that is not who I am. Any teacher that is not authentic to who they are, will be eaten alive.

It was embarrassing to give a presentation to students with a peer watching that falls flat. Well, it was beyond flat. It fell through the ground into the lower mantle of the Earth's crust. That embarrassment was a great motivator for me to reassess how I plan to move forward. I'm supposed to give the same presentation to the sixth and 8th grade in a week. I felt like I did not have the time to really process my next steps because I was preparing for the Eighth grade Leadership Days. It was this event that ultimately inspired me to make the changes I think will be most positive.

The teachers spent the time with the Eighth graders talking about taking ownership of their school year and being leaders for the rest of the Middle School. This was something I loved about the event. As we talked more and more about Leadership and Ownership, it struck me; students should be in charge of their Digital Citizenship. Instead of talking to students about Internet Safety, I can work with students who are exploring Dig Cit to present to other students. This is the Project Based Learning approach I used in the classroom and it should be able to work outside of the classroom as well.

One of the cool things about University Liggett School is that the Middle School has a Morning Meeting. The entire Middle School comes together to hear announcements and see varied presentations that are designed by a different Advisory (think homeroom) each week. A captive audience each day for 10 minutes would be a perfect time to share a Dig Cit tip each morning. The students will be more engaged if the tip comes from their peers. It seems so obvious now, but I was too stuck in trying to recreate what someone else had done.

I've got some work to do as I look to provide the Advisory classes with some info on the topics to tackle for the their Morning Meetings, but I'm excited about working with students as they explore Digital Citizenship instead of just talking at them. Updates to come as I put this together.

Hugs and High Fives,

NP