Technology Update

As you’ve probably noticed, we are embracing and using technology as often as we can in 6Korver. We use technology for several reasons: for engagement, to connect with other students (in class and around the world), and to help us better organize our thoughts and ourselves using different app’s or websites.  Technology is a powerful tool students can use to collaborate with others across the globe and create a deeper understanding of concepts and an awareness of different perspectives. Further, becoming responsible digital citizens prepares our students for the digital world that they live in.

This year, we plan on using the following tools/platforms regularly:

Night Zoo Keeper: To participate in the 100 Word Challenge, we will be creating a class and corresponding individual accounts. The 100 Word Challenge is a weekly program where a writing prompt (a phrase, a picture, etc) is provided to students  and students have 100 words to write a story, paragraph, or a poem on the given topic. The cool thing about 100 Word Challenge is that the creator, Julia Skinner (a now retired school principal), has a crew of current and former teachers (all volunteers!) that then try to read and comment on every student’s post to provide specific feedback. Student’s are also encouraged to read and comment on other students work. Night Zoo Keeper is the platform that we will use to submit our responses.  The logistics: each student will have an account listed under my class. They will use their first names only. The posts will be published through the website, only visible to other teachers/students who have account. No last names will be used.

KidBlog: As we participate in the Global Read Aloud, mystery skypes, and other classroom-to-classroom collaboration projects, students will be blogging via kidblogs. This will be used to display work and create a digital portfolio, help to provide a specific audience for our writing, and act as forum for fellow classmates to provide feedback.  Kidblog is a fantastic “starter blog” program because it allows students the option of who they are publishing each post for: it can be for the teacher only, the class only, or to the wider kidblog community (made up of other classes around the world). Ie. student’s and their families can make the choice that all of their blogs remain private or can decide to publish some posts.  The logistics: students will create a kidblog account using only their first name and under our class account. Parents will, of course, have access to their son/daughters password.  I encourage you to visit your child’s blog and comment as well!

Our class twitter: just like our @wcmsstorm twitter account, our class twitter, @korvers_class , will allow us to communicate and share our thoughts about the Global Read Aloud (using the #GRA15 and #GRAFIAT hashtags) and communicate and share with other classes. Hopefully over the year, we can continue to communicate and follow author’s we enjoy reading and other experts that will help us learn. The logistics: The twitter account will be teacher led by Ms.Korver and she is the only person who will have access to the password and tweeting out students’ thoughts and ideas that we discuss as a class–students will provide input into tweets. Like other accounts, full names will never be used– in fact, first names will also be avoided.

Please be assured that students will be guided through the set up process  and be regularly monitored to make sure that unnecessary personal information is not shared.  Every effort is made to protect students and to teach them proper digital safety as we develop and maintain our online accounts.  Students will never post their full names online and will be referred to only by their first name or a chosen nickname. As a teacher, I will be monitoring and assessing student work on these platforms over the course of the year. As a parent, you can access your child’s account– just ask them for the password.

Please let me know if there are any concerns that you or your child have as we begin to set these accounts up this week. In the case where you or your child do not feel comfortable setting up and maintaining these accounts, we can always provide an alternative way for students to complete these assignments (ie. completing the 100 word challenge or blog posts in their journals). Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.

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