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Great Opportunities through #TLLP

In February, a colleague and I went to Toronto to the Teacher Learning and Leadership Program 2016 Summit supported through the Ministry of Education.  It is here that we were able to celebrate the end of a learning journey that began in October of 2013 . As it turns out, we realized that it was just the beginning.

Our project, Technology in Kindergarten: Empowering Young Learners through Purposeful Play, was one project among 240 Ontario Educator exhibitors who, like us, had a passion for directing their own learning.  The Summit allowed us to learn from colleagues around the province, share our own journey, make connections and network with other #onted learning leaders.

The creativity, dedication and knowledge demonstrated in these ‘Projects of Passion’ from our Ontario colleagues at this event, left me feeling proud, humbled and ignited all at the same time.  Hearing and seeing evidence of stories of success in student learning, success in teacher capacity building and growth in a shift in Mindsets towards a more innovative approach to learning in schools made me realize that this journey was not over.  In fact, it had just begun!  There is still so much to learn, to create, to challenge ourselves with and I look forward to the opportunity to extend the learning my group has started through the Provincial Knowledge Exchange.

The moral of this anecdote is that if you have an idea and you believe in it, cultivate it, share it and stick with it! As Julia Child said, “Find something you are passionate about and stay tremendously interested in it.” This project of ours started out as a vision of empowering our littlest learners; the path morphed, the platform altered, the team evolved, but the vision remained constant.  Applying for a Teacher Learning and Leadership Program grant gave my team the means to get results through action research, personal learning, collaborative innovation, and knowledge sharing for staff. This, in turn, means better opportunities for kids.

I used SWAY , one of my favourite Microsoft tools, to capture some of the moments from the TLLP Summit day.  Check it out HERE.  Thank you #TLLP2016 and to the staff and students at Lancaster Drive Public School – you are amazing!

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Digital Citizenship in Kindergarten: The First Steps

A powerful question came up the other night at a community evening that has left me thinking. We were discussing digital leadership, digital citizenship, and the importance of a positive online presence with George Couros I know, pretty awesome.   When the floor was opened for questioning, one audience member asked “How do you start teaching digital citizenship in kindergarten?  What does it look like?”

This is something that I have thought about, researched and tried to support teachers with through classroom visits, video tutorials and my iTunesU course.  I believe that at such a young age, we need to start with the mobile camera.  Digital citizenship is really about respecting yourself and others while online.  Teaching little people to respect themselves and those around them through the lens of a camera means putting into practice some very basic rules when using portable device cameras in the classroom, or at home:

  1. Always ask someone before taking their picture.
  2. Show the picture to the person who you took it of, and ask if they are OK with it.
  3. Always take pictures of others ‘at their best’.
  4. And my favourite…the portable device camera can go anywhere – but the bathroom.

As adults, we need to model what appropriate camera use looks like and sounds like (by asking these same questions ourselves – even to our four year olds!)

Ask before we take their photo.

Ask before we share it out.

Capture moments of ourselves or others at our best.

Like all lessons to be learned by young children, taking the time to explicitly teach them how to use the camera (how to focus, crop, zoom, brighten, delete), will empower them to take quality photos that are meaningful, and that will become good conversation starters.  Use the camera roll as an opportunity to sit down with the child and do authentic retells and together, decide if anything should be shared or posted out.  This leads to modelling good practice of social media as the things we share out should reflect our best selves and a positive message.

These are very basic concepts that lay the foundation for positive citizenship, both online and offline.

I hope this helps, in a small way, to answer her question.

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