Attending Jeff Utecht’s Digital Classroom presentation in Bettendorf

I attended a workshop at the Bettendorf Center for Performing Arts given by Jeff Utect on the topic of “Digital Classroom Creation.”  I came ready to learn from a master with technology who presents all over the world.  The Bettendorf teachers saw his presentation at ITEC this past fall and were so impressed they brought him close to home so all could learn from his expertise.  I see from his website he has or is presenting in various states throughout the U.S. as well as outside our country in Brazil, England, and Korea.  This afternoon’s sessions are on “Looking for Learning in the Digital Classroom,” “Stages of Technology Use,” and “Communication and E-Folios.”  I decided what better way to learn about technology than to blog as Mr. Utehct makes his presentation.  Let the learning begin.

He began with the big take-away from the morning – refining your search to make it more trustworthy.  He told about one middle school teacher who writes the standard on the whiteboard and tells the students,”You have two weeks to show me you have learned this standard.”  In some classes, the question of the day is posted on the board and they have 15 minutes to find the answer.  Communicating today begins with looking at the workplace in which we live.  The line between our work life and social life has relatively disintegrated.  We are in an “always on” world.  Both are blurring into just what we can refer to as LIFE.  In schools we try to divide social and school life.  We do things to keep that social life out.  That’s not the world they will enter when they graduate.

FACT:  55% of the students text during the day.
FACT:  66% of the text messages a kid gets during the day are from his/her parents.
FACT:  1.3 billion people are on Facebook.

Facebook – Practically everybody is there!  50% of the people who have internet access are on Facebook.  Libraries are using them to update it with books new to the library.  In one school the  dean of students uses an iphone to upload photos from the school activities to post on a Facebook page.  He is using it to create a community around the high school.  The web is about creating communities.  One school has a Compliment Page started by a student where kids can only give compliments to other students.  The manager of this page determines which will be posted.  She remains anonymous which is key for this to work.  Another classroom uses Facebook to post assignments and answer questions.

Twitter – The #hashtag# is everywhere!  Twitter is about community and following groups. Jeff thinks we need to embrace the technology and teach them appropriate use.  The potential use of twitter for teachers is tremendous.  #Edchat – provides many resources for teachers.  #ipaded – provides links to educational use of ipads.  Can use a #hashtag# to set up a community around your classroom.

Foursquare – Can search for various sights in a location.  It is a geolocation ap.

E-Portfolios – This has a chance to significantly change student learning.  In some schools, students have blogs from K-12th grade.  This allows them to have a view of their education throughout the years.  With an e-portfolio, you can build on what they are learning from year to year.

Blogging as a platform –  The portfolio blog is only a container but the user needs to identify what container to use.  Next, you look at how things are laid out.  What categories will you use?  Is there an opportunity for commenting on the content?

Blogging as a genre –  Quality of writing increases because it can be viewed by the world.  It is always reflective.

#Comments4Kids – Teachers and students will leave comments on a link you provide so the creator of the blog can connect with others around the world.

experienceactsofkindness, – made by Bettendorf where they post acts of kindness.

Censorship for the Good of the Kids – Many districts are opening up their internet doors and teaching digital citizenship.  There is fear of the unknown and litigation.

I listened to Jeff’s many interesting ideas, but the explosion in technology can be overwhelming.  I encourage everyone to start with one baby step at a time as we determine best practices when using technology in our classrooms.

Positive publicity for those doing Random Acts of Kindness