This essential piece of reading about the differences and similarities of ICT in the home and at school highlights a major part of my ICT ethos: "What can be done at school ICT can be done at home and the two should be interlinked"
This report describes the connections and discontinuities between children’s digital literacy practices at home and in school in two primary and two secondary schools. It provides a brief introduction to the research, presents and explores findings from the research, drawing out some common themes and discussing challenges and opportunities for connecting children’s digital literacy between home and school.
Worthy reading from Futurelab as always - link, save and spend 20 mins reading for introduction to your gaming professional development.
I have been using edmodo now for a while and find that it's very simple to use and a real hit with the children. The most common remark being " it's just like Facebook". Not quite.
The children love it and are on there daily sharing their links links to games (mostly Sploder.com links to their home made games) and chatting in a safe environment- the language being used is excellent if a little short.
We have tried to encourage the use of proper grammar and not use this: !!!!!! or ????????? or "what the..." which is a commmon phrase here in Asia schools (they know the word that comes after it so they should not be using the phrase at all!
We currently have a Moodle setup at our school that is really never used and pretty defunct - this seems the perfect ticket. I just hope that Edmodo's business plan incorporates importing iCal (and others) to their systems or some kind of 3rd party cross app ingenuity that will really get the party moving.
If you're wondering what is going on here then look at the comments from Simon Haughton about it too.
This helping guide should be pretty helpful too. The below embed is in HTML 5 so hit the link if you can't see it.
As much as I like Edmodo I kind of feel that there isn't much in the way of expansion in an education context. Moodle, as we know is a little clunky and filled a void of affordable LMS, Edmodo fills a void that is NOW using a Facebook skin but out of our (general) control (ICT folk baulk at this).
Please, don't get me wrong, I like the whole premise but am waiting for the day when the money pot is dry leaving us high and dry - and those who have advocated its merits - even higher as we've pushed it as a LMS to our devoted colleages.
Personally, my staff enjoy the links and guidance I give them, but this could be too much should Edmodo one day say (a la delicious.com) "Yeah, we love your enthusiasm but we're done; so and so has bought us for 140 gadrillion Dollars" = Angry teachers. The knock-on effect would mean that our teachers would think twice about hitting the link I give them.
So, in summary, I am going to make this plain and clear to our teachers and maintain that should they want to stay with Google Apps then all is good - just make sure that parents know which platform you're going with.
From the beginning of this month we have running a month's worth of internet safety lessons from Year 1 to Year 6. At first I was a little apprehensive about going as young as Year 1 due to the general abstractness of the Internet as a whole. Sometimes I think that the children don't really understand how this all works. I know that they see things in a different light to us adults and that sometimes these kind of boundaries are simply eschewed but, the idea of chatting, gaming, SMS-ing, chatting in games, Facebook, Skype and that thiscomputer is the portal to an ethereal life also, sometimes, escapes them.
When we discuss the handing out of personal information online many children still think this is acceptable. Why? Because they see it as making friends in a truly honest type of way. The conversations with children as young as 5 (because they Facebook their friends usually with an older sibling) they think that adding a friend is simply just that. What we have to do now is kind of unravel this honesty and make them stop and think.
The videos posted below and the image right (from a series of animations for 5-7 yr olds ) are from the CEOP Think You Know? Campaign from the UK Police force. The noce way this taps into young minds is the general feel of the animation. It's not like the help videos of old where some minor sporting celebrity would tell the kids to stay safe, instead it's a lot more in tune with both age group and context. The website, you think you know is well stocked with catchy ideas for age groups 5-7, 8-10 and 11-16 and games to keep the younger ones thinking about how to behave in a responsible way.
There is an element to a child's online life that is often over looked because sometimes adults either feel that they don't know enough or that using a computer is embarrassing in front of their children. The issue is the sharing of information with the child and vice versa. The fact that many parents don't know what their children are doing online is a serious cause for condern. As an ICT teacher I have access to the lives of many children and their computing habits. It interesting to find out just how many children of 9 and under have a computer in their bedrooms. Many, though don't but the content they're viewing is also borderlining a worry.
I mentioned above the 5 year old users of Facebook and what they do on there. They told me that they play games on there. Fine. But, I would hazzard a gues that the people they invite are people that they don't know. This was the key element of the beginning of the internet safety month: Sharing information online. BrainPop gladly shares their online safety for free. Thank you Brainpop.
The knock on from this is chat based element of Facebook is chatting during an online bout of Call of Duty MW2 (Mature 17+ and kids as young at 9 playing it) or similar Xbox 360/ PS3 type game. What was difficult again for the kids to understand is that they could be playing some 30Yr old man from Colorado while we're here in Asia. The discussion went further with children telling me that they don't chat with them during gaming time as it's too difficult. Again, they miss the point of befriending someone that they wouldn't in real life.Would male friends with a bunch of men playing football on the field because they like football? "No!" they cried. So..
There is some kind of synaptic element to it all where the understanding of the internet is perceived as an extension to everyday life. Was TV the same as this? I don't think so. Could it be the video site revolutionthat allows every body into your living/bed/study room (as the video below suggests) that makes it more like real life.
As the kids get nearer Year 6 (10 ro 11Yrs) they're already versed in commenting on YouTube (one of the more immediate ways to gain an angle on cyberbullying) so the CEOP have made a set of rather poignant videos similar in impact to the recent drink-drive campaigns.The video at the bottom is for parents.
For those parents who've got teenage children or your're reading this and Year 6 and over.
A final video. The key part of this is that you should find out the options of privacy first. Can you only allow friends, friends of friends or the whole world to view your profile? Children should be allowed online as long as they know how to change the settings and only befriend those they know in real life.
This video is from the same agency in the UK. It is very hard hitting.