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Appendix Technology Permission Slip

William M. Ferriter Solution Tree Press ePub

Often, teachers and administrators feel uncomfortable about introducing digital tools to students because of Internet safety risks that are widely reported in the media. These fears are completely understandable! In fact, moving forward with digital projects before articulating specific actions that parents, teachers, and students should take to keep safe online would be nothing short of irresponsible. Teaching students strategies for self-protection is a basic requirement for any educator interested in using digital tools to facilitate instruction.

This document outlines both the reasons that digital tools should play a larger role in classroom instruction and the behaviors expected of parents, teachers, and students in 21st century classrooms. It can be used as a permission slip to generate commitment to Internet safety before digital projects are started.

Dear Parents,

Perhaps the greatest challenge facing parents and teachers is preparing students for a future that is rapidly changing yet poorly defined. New content and information is constantly being created, new partnerships developed across global boundaries are becoming commonplace, and new tools are connecting workers who once would have remained isolated.

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Chapter Two Exploring Verbal Persuasion

William M. Ferriter Solution Tree Press ePub

One of the most powerful opportunities afforded by our new media environment is the chance to be heard. While the students of earlier generations felt just as passionately about controversial issues as the students who currently sit in our classrooms, iGeners can use digital tools to easily join together to raise and amplify their voices, gaining a level of influence and awareness equal to (or even greater than) the influence and awareness held by adults.

The challenge is that students are not automatically prepared to be any more influential than peers from earlier generations. While they may have access to tools that allow them to be heard, being heard is only valuable when the messages shared are worth listening to. In a world in which anyone connected to the web has instant access to millions of perspectives, thinkers who do a poor job differentiating their ideas and articulating compelling points of view remain powerless.

As a result, the initial resources presented in this chapter have little to do with technology. Instead, we begin by exploring materials designed to introduce students to the traditional practices that authors use to sway readers. We introduce the characteristics of convincing evidence and share examples of persuasive writing, laying a foundation for effective argument that can translate across any genre for communication. We also provide handouts that can be used to track and evaluate the proof collected for persuasive pieces. Working through these materials can help ensure that your students understand the role that reliable evidence plays in developing credibility.

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3 Developing Professionally Responsible Social Media Practices

William M. Ferriter Solution Tree Press ePub

As we have seen in the first two chapters, using social media to communicate with constituents and connect with colleagues in new digital spaces is gaining traction with a wider audience of school leaders, experts, and educational organizations. Negative stories trumpeted by media outlets, however, continue to slow adoption. It is difficult to expect educators to completely embrace services like Twitter and Facebook when they are constantly surrounded with headlines like, “Teacher Loses Job After Commenting About Students, Parents on Facebook” (Heussner & Fahmy, 2010).

As a result, the majority of schools and districts are overly cautious about the role that digital spaces can play in their own communication and professional development plans. As coauthor Jason Ramsden, chief technology officer for Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, North Carolina, explains, “I understand the excitement and hesitation that comes with conversations about using social media in our schools. In my experience, most educators think social media means social networking on Facebook. While Facebook is certainly one tool that can be used, there are many other tools available, each with its own set of positive and negative factors that need to be considered” (Ramsden, 2009).

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Chapter 2: Microlending as an Example of Doing Work That Matters

William M. Ferriter Solution Tree Press ePub

Chapter 2

Microlending as an Example of Doing Work That Matters

My efforts to give students opportunities to change the world for the better began at the breakfast table on Christmas Day in 2008. My family wasn’t awake, so I was sifting through my Twitter stream, checking up on my digital friends. Hiding in a surprisingly long list of warm holiday messages was a 140-character invitation from Karl Fisch (@karlfisch) to join a new Kiva lending team that he had decided to start. Not knowing a thing about Kiva (www.kiva.org)—a website that pairs willing lenders in the developed world with people trying to improve their lives in the developing world—I clicked through to Karl’s blog to learn more.

Karl’s charge was a simple one. He asked his followers to lend twenty-five dollars to an entrepreneur in a poor country and to purchase two twenty-five-dollar Kiva gift certificates to pass on to members of their own learning networks (Fisch, 2008). Knowing that I wanted to help, I took Karl up on his challenge, lending one hundred dollars to a group of women in Bolivia who wanted to start small businesses selling groceries. And I felt remarkable. Not only had I helped struggling families living halfway around the world with nothing more than a simple click, I’d joined a team of like-minded individuals who cared about global poverty.

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Chapter Five Exploring Collaborative Problem Solving

William M. Ferriter Solution Tree Press ePub

For the students involved in Michael Furdyk’s DeforestACTION initiative (http://dfa.tigweb.org)—an extension of Microsoft’s Asia Pacific Partners in Learning Program designed to empower learners to “take control of the planet that they will inherit” by fighting back against global deforestation—learning is anything but traditional. Instead of working on isolated lessons with small handfuls of individual classmates, participants are mastering required curricular objectives while simultaneously wrestling with a complex real-world problem—a practice that educational expert Michael Fullan (2013) describes as an example of meaningful pedagogy in action:

Over 80,000 students from more than 60 countries are developing as global citizens by collaborating to solve global problems; reviewing and evaluating the causes, impact and politics of deforestation at the local and global levels; analyzing, planning, and organizing by using collaborative technology; preparing and implementing action plans by engaging in interactive activities; and taking part in valuable conversations with peers and mentors. (p. 50)

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