Students sit in the test-taking room, with full access to computers and wireless connections. As they work on national exams, they can be seen accessing the internet from time to time. Are the results from this testing going to be corrupted because these test-takers are not isolated from global information resources? Cheating — or high-tech cheating, as it is called today — what is that exactly? And is it really a problem? Do our old-school definitions of cheating need rethinking?
It was magical learning about a place my students had never before heard of and will probably never see for themselves. Learning that was totally led by the students and their interest in that classroom in Greece. And that learning will continue. The children in Greece, too, have questions for us to answer. More magic. More serendipity. I love my connected classroom.
My teaching mission is simple yet absolutely necessary to helping my students prepare for their futures. I began this school year with a list of questions that could help me envision, plan, reflect and maintain focus on where my students and I needed to be when the last bell rings in late May. Out of my personal questioning and reflection came what would be the essential question for my 11th grade social studies students during our time together: “What does it mean to be a citizen nationally, globally and digitally?”
A great many of our students today can count on communicating at a global level throughout their adult lives. It’s our responsibility as educators of 21st century learners to help them become very aware of and sensitive to the cultural and behavioral differences that are inevitable when communication can take place instantaneously from any two or more points across the planet Earth.
Edmodo is a social networking tool for schools. It is especially designed to be a safe, Facebook-style community where students can communicate and share. Unlike Facebook, Edmodo is highly secure. A teacher can set up a class and obtain a group code for students to use to join the private class group. I’ve been using Edmodo with my students for almost a year now and it has had a big impact on learning and collaboration.
Is it possible for primary and secondary students in two very different countries like Lesotho and Norway to collaborate using technology? What can we learn from each other and how would we even attempt to start such a project? Based on written applications, four high school students from Norway were chosen to accompany me to Lesotho and stay for 4 days. Our goal was to help a primary school with technology and teach the students how to use laptops to make presentations for a joint project with our school. It was an amazing experience!