3 Reasons Why You Should Share and 3 Things You can Do to Start Sharing

by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, cross posted to the Langwitches Blog

soapbox

I am back on my soapbox…

  • …because I continue to see great things happening in classrooms, but get blank stares, when I ask, if these things are being shared beyond the school building.
  • …because I watch as administrators feel the need to “protect” their faculty from “one more thing to do”.
  • …because I continue to hear fear of transparency, competition, privacy and technology skills and tech phobia.

share4 Setting up my soapbox to raise awareness of the “moral imperative of sharing” for teachers (Dean Shareski) goes back to his keynote in 2010 at the K-12 Online Conference. Since then I have stepped on that soapbox via my blog and at conferences advocating for the IMPORTANCE and NECESSITY of sharing.

George Couros, recently published 4 Reasons People Don’t Blog, which are in essence the same reasons why people don’t share (just substitute “blogging” for “sharing”)

  1. Blogging is useless
  2. I have no time
  3. I’m a private person
  4. No one cares what I have to say

He closes his blog post by pointing out the importance of sharing as an integral component of learning as well as underline “the willingness of others”

I have learned a ton not only from my own blog, but from benefitting from others that have been willing to share their teaching and learning with me, and because of that, as Dean Shareski stated, I am better off for the willingness of others to share.

shareI DO want to understand WHY it seems so hard for some many educators to share…but only in order to build an airtight argument that SHARING best practices, reflections and documentation of learning is the essential fabric of education and the building block of networking, growing and moving forward.

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We need to stop looking at all the reasons why educators DON’T SHARE and start looking at and DOING all the things WHY we NEED TO SHARE.

So here is my list: 3 Things Why You (as an Educator) Should Share

1. The shift of a culture of consumers to producers is built on sharing and disseminating.
Our world, and in particular the world of our students, is build on the culture of sharing. Ex. Sharing your status on facebook, adding a book review on Amazon, leaving a comment on a product you purchased online, photos on Instagram and videos on Snapchat and YouTube. Educators need to acknowledge the shift outside of the classroom and take advantage of the shift for learning with our students.

2. Painting the picture of teaching and learning in your school
Too many other people (non-educators, policy makers, politicians, media, etc.) are painting a grim picture of the teaching profession, teaching in general, schools and student learning. It is time to become our own storytellers. Sharing student successes and teachers’ professional and continuous learning MUST overshadow and outnumber the negative press and reputation that has been building up.

3. The future of learning is social and build on and around Professional Learning Networks.
Networking is built on a concept of sharing. Networking is defined by the Merriam_Webster dictionary as “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions”. In order for an exchange to take place, someone has to step up to SHARE. Without sharing there is no network. Someone has to give and someone has to take, without giving the machinery of how a network works will not function. In our Information Age, where information is being generated at exponential speed, we need to rely on a network to filter quality and relevant information for us. It is our responsibility to be the filter and curator for others as well.

sharingSo from 3 reasons WHY you should share… on to 3 Things you can do to start sharing…

share63 Things What You (as an Educator) Can Do to Start Sharing

1. Stop resisting change
We need educators, in particular administrators, to stop resisting change, take a deeper look at the world around them and LEAD by modeling! Sharing is and needs to be a method, a strategy and a technique to improve teaching and learning practices, benefiting an entire school learning community.

2. Create a workflow to document teaching and learning
Great things are happening in your classroom and in your schools. Learn to embed documenting best practices, student learning and action research in a digital form to be able to easily disseminate via a blog, twitter, photo or video sharing site.

3. Start small.
Add a comment on a blog you read, share a resource, a link, a book or an article you have learned from on Twitter. Let students take over in documenting learning in their classroom. Use your cell phone to take photos of learning in action, write a descriptive comment under the photo and share on a blog, Instagram, a classroom site, blog, Twitter or Facebook account.

share3You can start sharing right here by adding your reasons WHY educators should share and WHAT you can DO to start sharing?

Against Technology (the word)

by Heidi Hayes Jacobs

Heidi-3-c-croppedUbiquitous in every sphere of education; the word “technology” is splattered loosely. No subliminal messaging here, the term is to mean that schools with wifi, tablets, one to one laptop programs, and smart boards are preparing students for the future. Simply having a computer doesn’t mean that the curriculum and instruction are contemporary and relevant. Students can be using the internet to research irrelevant and dated content. A word processor does not ensure quality writing competence. When a group of middle school students runs around campus with flip cameras, it is unlikely they will produce a first rate documentary. Perhaps there is some kind of magical thinking, that digital tools will prompt innovative outcomes.I share this concern as a firmly committed advocate for the modernization of learning opportunities.

laptopsMost telling is our current obsession with dated assessment forms. Teachers are not encouraged to innovate when their institutions are pushing time traveling to the past. Although mission statements are packed with phrases like “tomorrow’s school” and “careers of the future” and “global preparedness”, the truth is that all fifty states in my country value assessments that are basically identical in format to those used thirty years ago.Multiple choice, short answer essay prompts to de-contextualized paragraphs are the raison de vivre. Some national publishers are creating on-line testing, but the items are still the same type as those used when standardized testing first was developed. Certainly our learners need ACCESS to the global portals and dynamic applications available through digital media in order to become literate and connected, but access is insufficient.

We should pay attention to school faculties, leaders, and individual teachers who are actively and boldly upgrading curriculum content to reflect timely issues and problems and crafting modern assessments such as digital-media-global project based learning opportunities. Website curation, app design, global network research, and video/audio production are indicative of modern learning environments not only for students but for their teachers as well. What might happen if in our discourse we replace the loose use of the word technology with the phrase contemporary learning environments?

Cross-Posted to ASCD edge.

Copyright Flowchart: Can I Use It? Yes? No? If This… Then…

Cross posted to the Langwitches Blog by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

It is the responsibility of all educators to model good digital citizenship for their students. Especially when it comes to copyright, plagiarism and intellectual property. The waters are murky. Not being familiar with online digital rights and responsibilities (hey, teachers did not grow up with the Internet being around), educators are wading through uncharted waters (hey, I did not know that I could not just google an image to use. If someone puts it up online it is free for the taking). That does not mean they can close their eyes and pretend life is the same or that the same rules apply to online versus offline use of copyrighted material with their students.

It is every educator’s responsibility to become familiar , observe and model for their students! It is also every educator’s responsibility to not lump in all educational use of copyrighted material under the claim of Fair Use (hey, I am using it in school, I am not making money off of it…) . It is not that simple…

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I have written about copyright on this blog many time. Some highlighted posts are:

The waters are murky, it is not an easy topic. While there are some clear cut rules about copyrighted material, Creative Commons and Public Domain content, Fair Use in Education are supported by GUIDELINES, not clear cut rules!

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Together with the Academic Technology Team at Graded- The American School of São Paulo, the importance of developing a school policy in regards to copyright was discussed. It was not just about developing a policy, but also about:

  • raising awareness of copyright issues in a digital world
  • bringing relevance to classroom teacher at all levels and subject areas in understanding copyright in digital education spaces and seeing it not just as part of the domain of a ‘technology person”
  • helping teachers shift from previous practices regarding copyrighted material in an analog world
  • internalize ethical behavior regarding intellectual property available in an online environment

We did our due diligence in researching and gain a better understanding of how other educational organizations were dealing with copyright policy creation, teacher education and support.

Meryl Zeidenberg, the school’s library coordinator, and I started working on taking the gathered research to inform the development, articulation and design of an “If this… Then that…”type flowchart to better support teachers in making decision when using different types of media in teaching, blogging, presentations or projects.

flowchart4

We have ubiquitous digital access, ease of duplication and distribution of information. We encourage students and faculty alike to write, record, and film for global audiences, thus ushering in a new era of copyright consciousness.

The following infographic chart was developed with an introduction of a New Era of Copyright Consciousness and a suggested simplified flow to follow:

  • create your own media (then you don’t have to worry about infringing on someone else’s copyright)
  • search for public domain media (then you don’t have to worry about copyright, since it has been voluntarily released or has expired. No worries about giving proper attribution or citing the source either)
  • search within the Creative Commons domain (make sure you double check requirements under the license: attribution?, non-derivative? non-commercial? etc.)
  • determine if your use of the copyrighted material can fall under Fair Use?

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[The flowchart is an attempt in creating a clear route to follow to something that is not as clear cut in nature. If you choose to use it, please do so in the spirit of such disclaimer.]

Copyright Flowchart