Ideas for Promoting Digital Diversity

Photo by Shermeee, Flic.kr/p/6211rAFor the next week, I will be participating in many events to support gender and cultural diversity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. Below find a list of these events and ideas for promoting digital diversity.

Research points to low percentages of females and minorities pursuing STEM degrees and professions. The National Association of Women in Technology reported 26% of the computing workforce in 2013 were women (5% Asian women, 3% African American women, and 2% Hispanic women) and there was a 64% decline in the number of first-year undergraduate women interested in majoring in Computer Science between 2000 and 2012. Additionally, females worldwide have higher quit rates in STEM professions. The Center for Talent Innovation reported the female quit rate was 45% in the US, 29% in Brazil, and 50% in China. The Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings conducted a survey in 2015 of 557 women in STEM and interviewed 60 minority women in STEM. 100% of the women interviewed reported gender bias.

Upcoming Events

Ideas for Supporting Digital Diversity

Cori Coburn-Shiflett, Rafranz Davis, Sarah Thomas, and I are sharing resources to help you promote Digital Diversity on our site. Below are some of these ideas to help you promote digital diversity in your classes and schools.

  • Update your materials to include innovators, developers, and visionaries of diverse backgrounds, genders, and ages.
  • Invite STEM innovators of diverse backgrounds to inspire your students as guest speakers.
  • Ask local STEM professionals to conduct experiments with your students.
    • In the past, local experts have worked with my students to examine the microorganisms in our river water, search for fossils, explore caves, build adobe structures, create shoes and materials with local plants, act as meteorologists, and much more.
    • Find STEM professionals through museums, companies, Toast Masters, universities, the chamber of commerce, trade associations, or speakers bureaus.
  • Ask local STEM professionals to mentor your students.
  • Get students to interview STEM innovators virtually.
    • Students can host a Google Hangout or Skype with the guest speaker.
    • Students can host a Twitter chat with the guest speaker.
    • Find more ideas and resources in my presentation, Inspire Learners with Guest Speakers.
  • Rethink how you teach STEM. STEM isn’t learned solely from a textbook. Most of your lessons should get students to investigate the world around them with math, science, and technology. Get students to experiment, explore, problem-solve, invent, create, and code.
  • Help all students to believe in their abilities to learn math, science and technology. Our students often come to us believing they aren’t good at math, science, technology, etc. In my book, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, I talk about the need to help students destroy these labels so that they truly engage with our content.
  • Introduce your students to the realities of their lifelong learning journeys. The best learning is a journey full of challenging obstacles that get us to step out of our comfort zones. Only through undergoing this journey do we discover our strengths and skills.

Challenge:

Actively support diversity in STEM!

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics.

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Ways to Get Technology into Your Classrooms

Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar with a new idea each day!

I’ve been quite blessed to travel to over 20 countries and help teachers integrate technology even in places with very little funding. You can watch a video of me helping students in Ogulin, Croatia to get an idea of what this looks like in action. Often, we are not fortunate to work in schools that provide us with the budget to get the technology we want. If you have a passion for teaching with tablets, Chromebooks, or setting up a digital station then you have many ways to afford that dream. Don’t give up! Below, are ways to fund your vision whether it be a maker station, 3D printer, or other project. Don’t forget to check out my previous post, on getting your students to create digital books to help others. Students have the ability to publish and sell their digital books online. The proceeds can go towards getting computers, laptops, tablets, better wifi, a technology cart, or other digital tools.

Ideas

Find the ideas below in the bookmarks that follow or click on this link, Tech Funding.

Make a wish list or a project plan that you can share with students, parents, universities, local businesses, or other audiences to help you reach your goals. Often, you can get universities, churches, or businesses to donate their old technology to you when they make updates or get new inventory. This benefits them, especially when they can write it off for taxes.

Crowdfunding- Many sites will allow you to raise funds for a project by asking people around the world for small donations. Try DonorsChoose, DigitalWish, AdoptaClassroom, ClassWish, Indigogo, or KickStart.

Grants- You can apply for grants specifically meant for your topic. Try WeAreTeachers, GrantGopher, or NaNoWrimo.

Pilot programs- Often big companies like MicroSoft or Verizon will want to run pilot programs worldwide and provide your school with tons of their devices.

Develop an app that helps the community in some way or develop a game on an app. A group of kindergarten students created drawings for a version of MouthOff. Other schools have worked with developers to get their students to create an app. Find resources and places below to make an app easily. AppShed is a great tool for making apps.

Think of creative ways to fundraise! I have been part of celebrity dinners where students dressed as famous characters and served tables dinner. We also did a coffee and talent night with students reading poetry or playing music. You can discover tons of ideas in the bookmarks below.

Challenge:

Come up with a plan or project for your class and try one of these ideas to fund it.

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

Links

Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar! Scroll the image below and each day discover free web tools, apps, and resources.

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31 Days of Digital Goodies

Included in the Digital Ideas Advent Calendar

One way to engage students is to create interactive digital calendars. December is the month for advent calendars, so I’ve created the Digital Ideas 2014 Advent Calendar to give you a hands-on example of how this works. Throughout December, you will discover free web tools, apps, and resources by clicking on each day in the calendar below. You will also be given a challenge so that you are motivated to try out these ideas. Keep reading to find out how to make your own interactive digital calendar. Check out the 2013 Digital Ideas Advent Calendar for more great ideas!

Create Your Own

Create your own interactive digital calendar with Google Docs and Thinglink, a free tool and app to make clickable images. Feel free to use my Google template to make it quick and easy. To create your own:

  1. Copy/download my Google Calendar template so that you can edit as you like. Click FILE then MAKE A COPY and it will open in your Google Drive or Click FILE then DOWNLOAD AS to save as a Word Document.
  2. Edit the calendar or have students create their own.
  3. Take a screenshot of your calendar. I recommend Awesome Screenshot if you don’t know how to do this.
  4. Upload this image to ThingLink. You can create a free Thinglink account. The educator plan allows you to add your students as contributors without them having to create an account. Thinglink also has an awesome app for Android and iOS devices.
  5. Add links, a video, an audio clip, an image, or a reflection each day.

Ideas

With my Google Calendar template  you can easily create a calendar for any month by right clicking the first numbered cell and changing the date. The calendar will automatically update to that month. Here are a few ways to implement this:

  • Kindness calendar- each student creates their own calendar in which they add an act of kindness they did and a reflection. Get them to do this for a series of days. They can add pictures, videos, or audio clips to illustrate their actions.
  • Game, learning app, or web tool recommendation calendar
  • Is It True calendar- post a fact about your subject and have students search the web to determine if this was made up or actually happened.
  • Who Said It and Why calendar- post a quote and challenge students to determine who said it and the reason behind the quote. 
  • Parent events calendar- share free community events and activities with parents.
  • Writing prompts calendar- students check the calendar to find a writing prompt for their journals or blogs. You can find awesome writing prompts created by other teachers in this post.
  • Wacky experiments calendar- post quick science experiments they can try out
  • Math tricks calendar 
  • Brainteaser, word scramble, Sudoku, riddle or optical illusion calendar
  • Solve a mystery calendar- reveal a new clue each day
  • Joke or meme calendar- you can find tons of jokes and memes for math, science, etc and have them reflect on the concept, theory, or knowledge illustrated.
  • Goals calendar- each day students mark progress on their goals or a quote, song, or video to help them focus on their goals.
  • Mission & digital badge calendar- add a learning mission for students to accomplish each day and have a digital badge they will receive if they succeed. Find a video about this here and the slides, Meaningful Learning with Missions and Badges.

Challenge:

Create your own interactive digital calendar.

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics. Subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

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Byte-sized Potential: Can Compassion & Citizenship Go Viral?

Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 4.44.59 PMPart of the category, Byte-sized Potential

The number one benefit of educational technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn’t think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential. – Steve Ballmer

A thousand years ago, books were accessible to a select few. Often, you needed to be part of a certain social class, ethnicity, and profession. Knowledge was not available to the majority of the world. I feel incredibly blessed to live at a time when technological developments continue to strive to provide access to the entire world. The most powerful learning and communication tools are in the hands of millions worldwide. Individuals can take classes from MIT professors or connect with the greatest minds, like Neil Degrasse Tyson, through social media.

Byte-sized Potential

In addition to having access to incredible learning, we have the potential to impact the world through social media. Each tweet, Instagram image, Vine/Youtube video, and status update has the potential to go viral. It will be shared. It will spread. If our messages and digital behavior have an audience, then we need to make them matter. What will our students do with this potential? We need to get our students to realize their byte-size potential and feel the weight of this potential. They need to realize the responsibilities that come with their digital actions and also realize they are privileged to live in a world of access where they can truly pursue their passions and make a meaningful impact.

What are learners currently doing with their access? 

Anyone, anywhere in the world has the potential to be viral. They can be the next Idol, X-Factor, Youtuber, Viner, Meme, gif, trend, or hashtag. Kids and teens already use their access to impact millions with the messages they spread. They have the power to incite their followers to action. For example, the most popular Viner is 16 year-old, Nash Grier, with over 7 million followers.

The education system has failed them. Even now as they craft their next 6-second video, tweet, snap, post, status update, hashtag, and meme they won’t carry the weight or compassion of their privilege and position to be the first generation able to create viral action and messages. The movements they incite have the potential to heal, inspire, or destroy people. We will feel this as another cyberbullying incident or sexting scandal arises. Teachers have the ability to change these behaviors by teaching citizenship daily. We can inspire our students daily to publish, post, and spread in meaningful ways.

Join my movement with these free resources

I realize many teachers face barriers when teaching citizenship. They may not be allowed to teach with technology, have proper training, lack a digital literacy and citizenship curriculum, and be short on time. My goal this year is to help teachers inspire their learners to make their digital behavior matter. Currently, I am working on a book with 50 ways to get our students to spread compassion, caring, and kindness on the web. The book is based on Ed Lorenz’s Butterfly Effect and also my 30 Goals Challenge for Educators experience. Right now I’m sharing these ideas in various ways. Find them in my recent Reinvent the Classroom Keynote: Byte-Size Potential. Below are the slides to download and a Youtube video of the keynote. You can also access the recent Twitter Chat transcript for the #Edtechchat I hosted, which is full of resources from over 400 teachers. I also have created a new category on this blog, Byte-sized Potential, full of ideas on how to get our students using their access responsibly. You will find free digital citizenship and literacy resources as well as ideas like teaching with Vine, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Will you join me this year in getting our students to help spread compassion and citizenship?

Video Recording of the Keynote

Edtechchat Transcript
Special thanks to all #Edtechchat moderators and participants for a lively conversation this past Monday, May 5th. Join #Edtechchat every Monday at 8pmET.

Challenge:

Join me in giving our students the mission to spread compassion and citizenship.

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Digital Poets! Web Tools, Apps, & Lesson Ideas

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 5.10.45 PM“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” by Robert Frost

April is National Poetry month. I invite you to consider the possibilities of teaching with poetry. Poetry makes content come alive, because the poet has a deep connection with the subject matter. Poems can help students see what they consider a boring or tedious topic in a different light. Imagine students walking into math class and the teacher introducing long division with Bob Grumman’s long division Christmas poem. Imagine students learning about the food chain by hearing a reading of “Damselfly, Trout, Heron” by John Engels. Digital tools and apps can encourage our students to animate poetry and bring words to life with video, images, sound, and more. In the slide presentation and bookmarks below, I share ideas and resources for getting students to learn through poetry.

Lesson Ideas

Here are a few lesson ideas I talked about during my presentation. Students can:

Resources

Here are a few more resources:

More Resources and Lesson Plans

Find many more ideas in my Pearltree bookmarks below. Click on the circle to make that resource appear.

Teaching Poetry in Vday Resources / Holidays & Events / ELT 2 / English Language Teaching

Cultivate your interests with Pearltrees for Android

Challenge:

Try one of these tools or apps to get students interested in creating their own poems.

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates or subscribe to the Teacher Reboot Camp free  eNewsletter to receive resources like these and updates on free professional development events!

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