Part One: Your Learning Thing
For my learning thing assignment I decided to do a introductory presentation for teacher about digital literacy and how to use it in a math and physics classroom. Students are using the digital world more than ever. When students don’t understand a concept in math or physics they often times turn to you tube videos to answer their questions.
Digital Literacy and teaching in a modern world
Students are “glued” to their mobile devices. Most parents and teachers don’t like this idea but it is the reality of life. And just like students, most parents and teachers are also “glued” to their devices. As teachers we should embrace this change and teach our lesson plans accordingly and incorporate digital literacy into our theme because we are no longer just teaching the content but also how students find and use that content in the digital world.
To start we need to answer the question What is Digital Literacy? There are different elements that are essential for digital literacy that teachers need to be aware of them. The answer to what is digital literacy as well as the essentials can be found here.
When teaching math and physics we are not only teaching the concepts but the process of learning to problem solve. Students now turn to the web for many of their problem solving questions in every subject. Even in my own family when one of my kids has a question about anything we don’t know the answer we always use the phrase, “Let’s google it”. We are no longer turning to encyclopedias and reference magazines like I did when I was growing up. We also have you tube that is filled with every type of informational video and “how to” video you can imagine.
One of the largest math sites and resources on the web is Khan Academy. I have used this tool and almost every student has been on Khan Academy. Salman Khan himself has talked about how his site can be used in the classroom and the affects it has on students. He walks through the process of how and why he started Khan Academy.
One point that Sal Khan makes is that students prefer to watch videos over a live person. As much as I dislike this idea it seems like it is a reality and when Sal points out why it makes complete sense. Students like the ability to pause and re watch a lecture. Because math and physics are subjects that build upon each other students like the chance to go back and review a concepts they might not have fully grasped.
Sal also states how using Khan academy in the classroom can individualize a students learning as well as free up time for things like simulations, games, robot-building, and experiments. When students work at their own pace teachers can then monitor their students progress and see what each student is understanding and intervene when needed.
Khan Academy is not the only math and science platform teachers can use when exploring digital literacy for students. There are a huge amount of resources available for teachers to choose from. As teachers we need to be able to decide what platform works best within our classroom given our student demographic and learning styles. Some students might prefer more traditional lectures while some might get more excited with the games and more interactive math tools like Prodigy. US Digital Literacy has an excellent list of additional math. Prodigy is geared towards younger users and it might be the stepping stone for students to expand into their digital mathematical experience.
As teachers we need to give the students the resources and the tools they need to navigate through the digital world. We can also use technology to track what our students are interested in and where they are going when they are exploring the digital world in math and science. Just like we do when learning about a topic we connect to links that interest us personally.
Using google docs even in math can expand the way students use technology and interact with each other. Students are so used to communicating online so as teachers we should teach them how to communicate affectingly and collaborate with their peers in a media that they understand.
While teachers are teaching digital literacy we have to be aware of the whole aspect of teaching digitally. Just like content literacy is no longer just the language arts teachers job to teach, digital literacy must be taught by all teachers in every content area. These areas include digital citizenship, technology literacy, and information literacy. We should all be knowledgeable in these areas because that is the way of the world and we need to be teaching our students how to live and be productive citizens within this digital age.
Part Two: Thinking About Your Thinking
My thought about digital citizenship has completely changed over the course of this class. As I stated at the very beginning of this class I did not think much about digital citizenship, or at least in a formal way. I have had a hard grasp and understanding on how to parent in a digital age as well as how to teach once I become a teacher. Despite the fact that I don’t use as much technology as most people, at least I think I don’t, it is a big part of everyone’s lives. Digital citizenship is just as important as old citizenship. Because society uses it as much as we do, we need to be teaching our students how to use correctly just like we teach them how to be good citizens.
I am working towards my masters in education and before this class I had the idea of the traditional way of teaching that involves a lecture, assignment, and a test. That is what I knew and what I thought was the only way to do things. Now that I have taken this course my views on teaching any subject has completely changed. We can’t run away from our digital society so we have to embrace it and use it to our advantages. I have learned about so many good ways that using the digital world in the classroom can expand and nurture the growth in our students, we just have to learn how to use the tools appropriately.
In my own personal life I am not sure how much I will change. I still like to read from a paper book, and I don’t enjoy social media because it is not good for my mental state (I know that about myself). I also tried a digital calendar but can’t seem to get on board and just bought a new paper one for the year. I will of course use it to do research and find new ideas. I will probably always continue to struggle with how to use technology with my children. In the last 3-4 weeks my children have been on devices more than ever and I really do not like the changes that is has on them, especially my six year old son. But now it is easier than ever to let him play a game on the phone when I am busy trying to to get an assignment in for school or get things done around the house. I know I need to teach them how to use technology appropriately but I will probably always struggle with finding a balance.
Part Three: Advice for Future Students
Advice I would give for future students is to have an open mind when learning about digital citizenship. I am at the older spectrum when it comes to students that might be taking this course since this is a career change for me, but I feel if I were stuck in my old ways I would not have been able to learn and take away as much from this course as I did. There is also so much to learn about digital citizenship and I had no idea how much it entailed.
I would also say stay on top of your posts. I was doing okay at getting things posted on time but as the semester progressed I struggled at getting the last collection posted in a timely manner. This made it harder to collaborate with students and really enjoy and take in everything from my fellow student’s posts near the end of the semester. Professor Lott told us to watch deadlines and not get behind for a reason. One of the biggest aspects of this course is learning from fellow students. I have never liked online courses because of the common task of responding to peers posts. Professor Lott however structures this course in such a way that it no longer felt like a chore. I learned a lot and actually felt like I knew my fellow students like we were in a face to face class. So going back to my advice stay on top of things, or this class will not be as easy and enjoyable.