Workshop Proposal: Giving Quiet Students a Voice with Social Tools

Rationale

Every classroom has them.  Students with great ideas who are just too shy to speak out, while a few dominate the conversation.  Give those students a voice in your classroom with technology tools that let them be heard.  In this workshop, on giving quiet students a voice with digital tools, you will learn about and how to use several different types of forums, polls and interactive assignment tools to increase participation and get those students into class discussions.  Use these tools as pre-cursors to classroom discussions to spark the flow of ideas and empower all students in your class!  This workshop also addresses tips for selecting, evaluating, and managing digital tools so you can feel confident that you are using the best tool for the task!  

This workshop seeks to address the following essential questions:

  1. How can I encourage quiet students to engage in class discussions and activities?
  2. How can I balance class discussions and activities so that more students are participating?
  3. How can I select, evaluate, and manage digital tools?

Workshop Structure

This workshop is best suited for a 90 minute session to allow time for collaboration and for individuals to experiment with the tools. It could easily be shortened, by only covering the presentation (or parts of the presentation), or lengthened, by giving more work time afterwards.  An approximate breakdown of the session is as follows:

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 1.56.26 PM

One point to highlight about this workshop is it’s collaborative learning element.  Creating a collaborative space is essential to experimenting with and troubleshooting digital tools.  As the workshop facilitator, I intend to keep the presentation short to allow time for participants to explore tools in teams and to provide opportunities for trial and error so they are more confident to use the digital tools on their own.  If possible, it would be beneficial to incorporate a flipped learning element where the participants could come prepared with a lesson or learning activity they would like to apply their new learning to.  To foster a collaborative environment, I have created activities on Padlet and Answer Garden which asks participants to reflect on their teaching and share digital tools and ideas relating to the topic.  Additionally, the presentation includes a think-pair-share activity to promote collaborative relationships during the workshop.

Presentation Materials

During the workshop I will share the giving quiet students a voice presentation, included below.  Participants will need computers, tablets, or phones with internet access so they can actively participate with the presentation.  I will need access to a projector, with either a laptop hookup or a designated computer attached that I can use to access the presentation.  If the technology does not come through, the workshop could easily be adapted to focus on discussing the essential questions and planning lessons or brainstorming ways to incorporate digital tools that promote engagement in discussion.

Content Knowledge Needs

The digital tools covered in this workshop can be used in just about any learning environment, regardless of age range or subject. That being the case, the specific student learning standards addressed may vary by task or subject.  However, this workshop topic most holistically addresses Common Core State Standards in English/language arts relating to speaking and listening. By twelfth grade, students are expected to prepare for, participate in, respond to, and evaluate discussions.  Taking advantage of digital tools that increase student engagement directly addresses this standard.

This workshop is also intended to address standards six and seven of the newly released 2016 ISTE Standards for Students.  Standard six requires that students communicate clearly and express themselves creativity through appropriate digital media.  Standard seven asks that students use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning through collaboration.  As already noted, the digital tools featured in this workshop encourage wide participation in discussions and learning opportunities.

Teacher Needs Addressed

This workshop addresses several accessibility needs, including:

  • Rather than having the presentation simply displayed on a screen at the front of the room, participants will also have access to the presentation from their personal devices by using Pear Deck.
  • Participants can access the presentation using a shortened link available on the introductory screen.  They may choose to access it this way if they would prefer it to Pear Deck.
  • Using Pear Deck I can share notes from the presentation with participants once it is finished.  This way, participants can access the information for later reference.
  • The introductory video includes closed captioning for participants with hearing disabilities.
  • The location of the workshop will be accessible to all, regardless of disabilities.  
  • The digital tools highlighted in the presentation were selected because they were all free, available on any device, and easy to use.  They are also all applicable to any subject or age range. They are all web based, so students would need internet access to access the tools at home.

Workshop Proposal

The main points of the workshop are addressed in this post.  The full workshop proposal is included below.

Redesigning Classroom Management Practices in a Digital Environment

Overview:

At the start of next year my district will be fully 1:1 with Chromebooks.  This means that all students above sixth grade will be assigned a Chromebook which they take to and from school during the school year and elementary level students will have access to Chromebooks during the school day.  While this increase in technology accessibility is met with great enthusiasm, many educators are also expressing concern over how to properly manage the technology and student behavior and this new digital atmosphere.  As a classroom teacher I share my colleagues’ concerns and as a technology mentor I have been eager to explore the topic of redefining classroom management in a digital learning environment.  Fortunately, my digital education leadership program through SPU is currently studying ISTE Coaching Standard 3 which states that “technology coaches create and support effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students”.  Components of this standard require that educators model effective classroom management strategies, coach teachers in online and blended learning practices, and expand choices for online professional development (2016).  In consideration of this standard, I have recently been exploring the question, “how must educators redesign both the physical space of the classroom and their classroom management policies to accommodate a digital learning environment?”.

Through my research I have found a melee of resources relating to my question.  Some resources focus on theoretical aspects of the changing learning environment and offer points to consider when designing instruction.  For example, in “Designing for the K-12 Classroom: ten influential elements to consider” contributor Caroline Bone briefly outlines the flipped classroom and blended learning models as potential frameworks for redefining traditional teaching.  She explains that the benefit of such models is that they “allow for more collaborative, group-based learning in class, with the teacher acting as a facilitator rather than the ‘Sage on a Stage’” (Bone, 2014).  These models, which are being used in more and more classrooms, offer greater opportunities for differentiated instruction and rely heavily on embracing digital education.  Many other resources I came across offered more concrete, “do this”-type advice on how to manage a digital learning environment.  One example would be Edutopia’s blog, titled “Visualizing 21st-Century Classroom Design“ in which contributor Mary Wade offers a detailed infographic of a 21st century classroom.  Along with her visual, Wade explains that the key elements of a modern classroom revolve around accessibility, mobility, inspiration, and respect  (Wade, 2016).

With so much information already available relating to my question, I choose to synthesize my learning into the eight main points I came across when considering how to redesign the physical space and classroom management of a digital learning environment.  These points, outlined in the infographic below, were designed in consideration of a classroom that is in a 1:1 setting where the district provides technology to students.  I attempted to keep the tips general enough so that they could still apply to a BYOD or shared-device setting.  Additional information on classroom management in a digital learning environment can be found in the links under “resources”.

Ideas to Consider when Designing and Managing a Digital Learning Environment:

d4d9cfd2-5deb-4bda-8d43-9178c0a7526c (1)

Possible Issues and Future Questions:

  • The “points to consider” that I have outlined are met to address current concerns in my district.  How will the digital learning environment continue to change as more educators embrace the flipped classroom and blended learning models?
  • These resources, while good for any classroom, relate more to secondary level. What different classroom management challenges might an elementary level teacher face in relation to technology integration?
  • As my district provides Chromebooks to students and uses Google Apps, I sometimes focus too heavily on tools and tips that only work for those platforms. What other classroom management policies might educators need to reconsider in a district that uses digital tools I am unfamiliar with?

Resources:

B’s Book Love : Don’t Hate, Integrate: How to use Smartphones in the Classroom. (n.d.). Retrieved July 24, 2016, from http://bsbooklove.blogspot.com/2015/11/dont-hate-integrate-how-to-use.html

Bone, C. (2014, October 7). Designing for the K-12 Digital Classroom: Ten Influential Elements To Consider. Retrieved July 20, 2016, from https://designmind.frogdesign.com/2014/10/designing-k-12-digital-classroom-ten-influential-elements-consider/

ISTE Standards for Coaches. (n.d.). Retrieved July 22, 2016, from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/standards-for-coaches

Johnson, B. (2015, June 17). How to Manage Cell Phones in the Classroom. Retrieved July 24, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/how-manage-cell-phones-classroom-ben-johnson

Wade, M. (2016, March 29). Visualizing 21st-Century Classroom Design. Retrieved July 20, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/visualizing-21st-century-classroom-design-mary-wade