As part of a continuous collaboration among educators interested in digital learning, Margaret Simon hosts a weekly Digital Learning round-up on her blog: DigiLit Sunday. Stop by Reflections on the Teche (today's link-up) to read, discover, and link.
I think we constantly have to ask ourselves if this practice is empowering children in new ways. If we are just delivering content in the same way, we have missed an opportunity to create spaces that provide information, share resources, encourage interaction and put students in charge of their learning.
One of the greatest gifts of digital spaces is the power to connect. Digital spaces allow us to connect in new ways within, and beyond, our learning community. Digital spaces equalize the voices in our learning community. Everyone can contribute, ask questions, and seek more information. Digital spaces allow learners to not only create and share with others, but to receive and give feedback to other learners in authentic ways.
Learning in digital spaces can create possibilities for students to own their learning in new ways. In digital spaces, students can own the work they are producing and collaborate with other learners. They create content for, not just their teacher, but for a much larger audience. They can choose learning opportunities that match their personal interests and fit their needs. They can find answers and revisit challenging material in digital spaces.
Joining Digital Learning Communities: Slice of Life
|Our Slice of Life Writing Group|
Creating a Hub
Anytime I work with a community of learners, I think it is important to create some type of hub. This is a digital space everyone knows they can visit for links to other spaces, important updates, and other information that becomes useful as we work together. Typically I use Weebly to create hubs with student learners. In the case of Slice of Life, I chose Weebly for my hub as it will allow me to create a page for updates, links, information, insert video, and build a space useful for writers. By adding a page to my Merely Reading website, I can easily bring together our community by putting all information in one space: March Slice of Life Challenge. On our page you'll find:
|Students learn to start at the hub.|
Once students arrive at the site, they can click the blue
button to get our blogging space.
|Buttons will take students directly to the|
blogs of friends participating in the event.
|Here we will grow important links to other|
participating classrooms and build resources for
|The page allows me to continually|
share important information with students
and families. (Yes, snacks are important.)
|I can also create short video tutorials|
to answer questions commonly asked by students.
(I can also post video created by students here as well.)
This year my group of writers are students in grades 1-5. They come from a variety of classrooms, and have a varying amount of knowledge of writing and digital publication. For this reason, I know I will need space to create short video tutorials and share important updates.
Digital spaces allow us grow our learning communities so students can access information outside of our school day. Writers will be able to go to the website from anywhere, at anytime, to get to their digital writing spaces, access important information, receive help, and connect to other writers. These possibilities completely shift the dynamic of learning. No longer are conversations only teacher to student, but instead student to student, student to community, student to world. Digital spaces make new things possible for young learners as they work meaningfully to discover, learn, curate, collaborate, create, and connect in purposeful ways.