7. Classroom Communities and Family
Building Community in your Classroom
Devices bring the opportunity to engage, enhance, and extend learning beyond the school walls (Check out the Triple E Framework). When you have expectations and routines in place, this learning can be magical. Devices can be leveraged to build community and relationships among teachers and students. Contrary to the notion that students will become introverted and isolated with a device, I have experienced rich and powerful conversations between students who have used the device for problem-solving and investigation. Also, building discussion on a digital platform can enhance voice and conversation from those students who may never speak up in a classroom.
Using a variety of digital, low-tech, and non-tech learning strategies will support all of your learners by providing differentiated ways to access and engage in content, as well as express what they know and understand.
As you build your digital community, it is important to include your families. Creating a strong communication plan with parents will strengthen family engagement and involvement in school experiences. Today, there are multiple ways to reach out to families and share student work and messages. Seesaw, Google Classroom, and learning management systems have built-in communication tools. Your Student Information Systems will also have communication options. I encourage you to find communication tools that provide two-way communication so families have the option to respond or contact staff easily.
Messages in the form of texts seem to have the best response rates with families (and students).
Empowering your Learners
Leveraging digital devices has provided effective and efficient means to personalizing the learning experience for each learner. This means that teachers and students can co-design learning experiences that may be more relevant and meaningful to that student. Digital assessments and surveys can provide immediate insights for both the teachers and learners to plan goals to meet the learning target. Students who have already met the target can proceed to go deeper or father with the content. Students can choose their path to success.
Digital Leaders and Citizens
It is our job to guide, teach, re-teach, and model how to use the devices appropriately and responsibly to our students. We want to build strong leaders who know how to leverage a device for learning, connecting, creating, and communicating. Lessons and guidance for teachers and families for digital citizenship is
found on one of my favorite resources: Common Sense Media
ISTE also has resources that support a proactive approach to digital citizenship: ISTE Learn Digital Citizenship
With all of that said, students will make mistakes while using devices and learning in the depths of the internet. We need to stay consistent with our expectations and create a route to relearn. Some are tempted to take away devices, but this may provide inequities to access the instructional materials. Be prepared with a plan and treat every incident individually. This may be an excellent learning opportunity!Download Complete Playbook
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