Digital Access and Literacy for All

https://digitalliteracy.gov/resources

Digital literacy and digital access are two important themes in Ribble’s (2017) Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship. The Obama administration established a website dedicated to offering resources to enhance the digital literacy of all citizens. The website is a collaboration by many US agencies including Department of Commerce, Department of Education, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Department of Labor, and others. The site offers resources to educators, job seekers, students, and interested community members. Visitors are also encouraged to offer their own content to enhance the site.

Most interesting to me was the wide variety or materials available to users. Teachers who are looking for resources to teach digital literacy in their classrooms will find prepared lessons provided by other educators, links to videos online, or interactive lessons that are ready to use. If someone unfamiliar with computers wants to learn basic computer skills, he can find easy-to-use tutorials created by highly reputable sources. If a job seeker is looking for resources to enhance her web-based skills, she can find tutorials, websites, and more on digitalliteracy.gov.

As an adult educator, I would utilize the educator resources available on digitalliteracy.gov. There is a link to a great article published by Minnesota State that describes how to use social networking for career advancement. I would ask my students to review the article and establish a proactive plan for developing their professional profile in the social networking arena.

References

Ribble, M. (2017). Nine elements: Nine Themes of digital citizenship. Retrieved from:  http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/nine-elements.html   

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Use Your Manners!

https://www.history.org/history/teaching/enewsletter/june03/techtips.cfm

Digital etiquette is one of Ribble’s (2017) nine themes of digital citizenship and is a common concern for many educators at all levels. The Pew Research Center (2014) found that 73% of adults have witnessed some form of online harassment. But, digital etiquette extends well beyond avoiding harassment. It includes learning appropriate standards of behavior for interacting online.

I came across this great idea on the Colonial Williamsburg website! The site refers to the 110 rules for civility that George Washington wrote as a young man. He describes the behaviors people should enact when in the company of others. The Colonial Williamsburg site offers educators an idea for a lesson that adapts the etiquette ideas of George Washington into the modern digital age.

As an adult educator, I would ask my students to study the 110 rules for civility proposed by George Washington. In a small group discussion, students would identify two or three rules that could apply in our society today. Then I would ask students to find examples of the rule being broken in the online environment and offer a suggestion for how to rectify the infringement.

References

Duggan, M. (2014). Online harassment. Retrieved from: https://www.pewinternet.org/2014/10/22/online-harassment/

Ribble, M. (2017). Nine elements: Nine Themes of digital citizenship. Retrieved from:  http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/nine-elements.html  

Get Creative with OER Commons

https://www.oercommons.org/

Douglas Rushkoff (as cited in Richardson, 2010) uses a phrase “society of authorship” to describe the current knowledge sharing environment that we find ourselves in with the dominance of the Internet. Everyone with internet access has the ability to contribute content to the world and increase the knowledge share. In that spirit, open educational resources (OER) offer anyone the opportunity to share and to access knowledge.

OER Commons is a website designed to host open educational resources contributed by participants. It is essentially a digital library of lessons, simulations, worksheets, activities, textbooks, articles, and much more. Anyone can search the offerings and use the resources without requesting permission or paying a fee. There are more than 50,000 materials on the site and they range from kindergarten to university level. Educators can build their own lessons using OER materials or curate their own collections. If time is limited, educators can select collections of materials that have already been curated for easy use. Finally, educators are encouraged to contribute their own materials to OER Commons to build the knowledge collection on the site.

References

Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. 

Connect with Students

https://www.adobe.com/products/adobeconnect.html

Adobe Connect is a program that many know for its web conferencing abilities. However, it can be much more powerful than just for video conference calls. In an education setting, you can conduct a webinar from just about any device you have at hand and get as creative as you choose. With an Adobe Connect account, you can create your own virtual room that you design with your own color schemes, branding, and layout. Once you’ve established your room, you can invite attendees (students) to watch a live webinar with video, audio, and screen sharing. Students can participate and engage with the instructor and the content through interactive tools such as a raise-hand feature, poll responses, chat windows, and Q&A windows. Additional apps can be integrated to extend the capabilities of your Adobe Connect room. Educators can record the webcast and edit before publishing. Recorded webinars can even be archived for later use.

In my practice as an adult educator, I would use the Adobe Connect program to hold synchronous discussions with students in an online course. As Dr. Michael Simonson (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009) says, distance education will continue to grow especially in the online environments. To be prepared to actively engage with students and retain the important social interaction elements of learning, I will use Adobe Connect to hold synchronous discussions with students.

References

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Distance education: The next generation. Baltimore, MD: Author. 

Start Your Venture with GoVentureWorld

www.goventureworld.com

GoVentureWorld is a massively multiplayer online role-laying game (MMORPG) in which players run a business in competition and collaboration with other players. Players establish a business as a manufacturer or retailer and run all facets of the business through the game including startup, marketing, legal issues, finances, interactions, personnel, or anything a business leader would experience in an authentic situation. The game is accessible on most devices so players can check on their businesses and monitor progress anytime. The ability to monitor progress and receive feedback are critical to the motivation to continue in the game (Willis, 2014) In fact, the game continues (i.e. the business keeps running) even when the player is logged out. A leaderboard tallies the successes of the players providing encouragement to continue. According to Tom Chatfield (TED, 2010), gamers will persist in play when they encounter reward at the right point of uncertainty. GoVentureWorld seems to hit the right spot of uncertainty in players as millions continue to enjoy the game for learning and entertainment. The designers of GoVentureWorld believe the game is so beneficial to players that they should include it in their resumes when job seeking as a testament to their business acumen.

goventureworld.com

GoVentureWorld would be a dynamic addition to any business curriculum. Students could start a business in the game and continue to improve their business skills as they progress through coursework in the class. The business could even be created and ultimately used as a portfolio item at the end of a business program to demonstrate how well the student understood  and applied the concepts taught during the program.

References

TED (Producer). (2010). Tom Chatfield: 7 ways games reward the brain [Video file].  Retrieved from: https://www.ted.com/talks/tom_chatfield_7_ways_games_reward_the_brain

Willis, J. (2011, April 14) A neurologist makes a case for the video game model as a learning tool [Blog post]. Retrieved from: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/neurologist-makes-case-video-game-model-learning-tool


Historical Fun!

https://www.ageofempires.com/

Age of Empires is a reality-based game of strategy set in historical periods. Games are organized by historical periods and regions such as the Stone Age, or Ancient Empires, or Colonization of North America. The game scenarios provide historical data about the relevant geography, economy, politics, culture, and military so players can make informed decisions during play. The site also offers videos and fact sheets describing additional information about the civilization or the scenario in the game. The objective of the game is to lead a civilization through various stages. As the leader, the player must make critical decisions that will advance progress for the people by keeping them safe, feeding them, and providing shelter. Poor decisions result in the decline of the civilization. A stats board tracks the success of players. Finally, Age of Empires provides community forums for players to interact about game play. Steinkuehler and Duncan (2008) found that game forums provide useful avenues for social knowledge construction in which players use evidence to support arguments, persistence to prove a point, and create relationships around shared goals. All of these skills are advantageous to learning!

Age of Empires

Age of Empires could be a fun learning opportunity for students in a history class. If the students are studying the military campaigns of the Romans, they could engage in play on Age of Empires to experience the complex factors that contribute to military efforts in times of war.

Reference

Steinkuehler, C. & Duncan, S. (2008) Scientific habits of mind in virtual worlds. Journal of Science Education & Technology, 17(6), 530-543.