Sunday, March 15, 2015

Multi-class Digital Citizenship Lesson with Google Hangouts on Air

Integrating digital citizenship curriculum into classrooms can be tricky for a variety of reasons. Two of the main issues for our teachers are time and comfort level with the material. Teachers have never been asked to formally teach digital citizenship and many need to learn the information themselves. Earlier this year I put out the expectation for lessons to be taught and grade levels decided upon specific lessons and put them on a shared calendar.  Still, these lessons went largely untaught this year. I reflected on this in my Share The Mess post in January.

I took this issue to our Educational Technology Committee and they came up with an idea to use technology to teach and model lessons. A few 3rd and 4th grade teachers committed to being a part of the first collaborative lesson and we decided to use Google Hangouts on Air so we could archive it. We chose to do the lesson, "You've Won a Prize!" from Common Sense Media

A week before the lesson, we did a practice Google Hangout so the students could meet each other and learn video call etiquette. We discussed how to mute when others were talking and how to take turns asking questions and sharing ideas.  The practice hangout was pure magic as the students discussed things like what they were learning in math and how many students were in each class. They were beyond excited to see and talk with each other in real time. One of our more rural, small schools was surprised to see how big the other classes were.

For the Hangout on Air we had the awesome +Tracy Campbell deliver the lesson and she asked the other classes to respond to discussion questions, always letting them know that they would be on deck to respond after having time to brainstorm in their table groups. Here is a copy of the lesson outline in case you are interested. You can also watch the full lesson below.

The lesson went amazingly well. Student collaboration and communication were elevated in this real world situation. Students from +Stephanie Disrude's class said they enjoyed 'sharing the workload', but that it was hard to sit still and be quiet during the lesson. They definitely wanted to do it again because 'It was fun!' and 'We learned something!'  Teaching this way directly addresses the ISTE Standards for Students: Communication and Collaboration, 'Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.' (ISTE, 2007)

In the future we would like to conduct more lessons this way so that other classes can view them and we can also use them to show teachers how lessons work with students in the classroom. We are also thinking about doing math or science lesson via Google Hangout on Air. What an amazing tool to bring our classrooms closer together and show us the we are all #bettertogether.