|3g. Use digital communication and collaboration tools to communicate locally and globally with students, parents, peers, and the larger community.|
The concept of digital collaboration in our district is not widely accepted or used quite yet. We use Canvas in the classroom primarily at the secondary level and parents have access to observe their student. This enables them to see what is happening in the classroom, at least what is posted on Canvas, and view their student’s grades and assignments. The more wide spread adoption of Canvas by teachers has been partially pushed by students and parents wanting to have access to materials and resources online and being able to have a window into the classroom. This transparency has been eagerly embraced by some teachers and there are some teachers who are still hesitant but I think the tipping point will be coming soon at the secondary level as the teacher who is not using Canvas will be the odd man out.
We have started to use video conferencing for meetings and professional development on small scales. I wrote about one meeting I hosted earlier in the year in my post, PLNs: Throwing a Stone in the Water. I think the use of video conferencing will become more widely used as a time saver for meetings as people become more comfortable seeing themselves on video. It will give people a way to still have face to face conversations even from a distance. I am excited about the possibility of teachers who have unique courses or small departments at one high school being able to collaborate with their job alike partner at the other high school. They do not often get the chance to collaborate or support one another.
Some teachers in our district have been doing Mystery Skypes and I have one teacher Skyping with NASA regularly as a part of a competition her students are participating in. It has been amazing for those students to have access to actual scientists and engineers as they worked on their project proposals. As part of one of my DEL classes I hosted a local collaborative project called the Landmark Games between four 6th grade classes in 3 different buildings. The students’ had a great time working together by video conference with other students’ to solve the clues to identify each other’s landmark.
I think there is more to be done around involving parents in the community in this type of out reach. One possibility would be to offer some webinars for parents in the evenings where they could tune in to learn more about the tools their students are using and how they could best help support their child. It would also be a way for us to talk about digital citizenship and answer questions for parents. It is something to put on the to do list for the future.