“Kids are growing up on a digital playground and no one is on recess duty.” This statement is mad by Kevin Honeycutt and quoted in Social Leadia. I would definitely agree with this analogy. I see this with both my own kids and the students I teach. I know that with my own kids we have had many conversations about how they interact and what their experiences in the digital playground have been. I know they are out their exploring and having many digital interactions. They have mostly had positive experiences and we continue to have a safe open dialogue about their online lives. I try to extend this same way of thinking to the classroom. There is tremendous opportunity to learn and grow in this environment. Like the actual playgrounds, it is important to develop trust and instill a sense of responsibility in the digital world. As we navigate through the digital world, here may be some issues and challenges one needs to address. These are learning opportunities that we should have the same approach to in the offline world. An analogy I would use is learning to ride a bike. It can be scary, you might ‘wipe’ out a few times, need to be on the lookout for traffic, know the use the bike and the rules of the road, but in the end we need to have balance and keep on pedaling. So definitely it comes down to establishing relationships with kids and gaining trust. I try to be a positive role model with my own online presence to help students understand the positive influence and learning that is possible online. I will continue to promote and better understand social media opportunities. I will continue to seek opportunities to engage in meaningful movements and projects in my classroom. I will continue to build relationships and foster trust to have positive experiences in the classroom with any medium we use. I look to 21st Century Skills and the SAMR model to try to redefine learning opportunities in my class. I try to do as much research in advanced but ultimately I’m good with taking a risk. I am good with failure and reflection when advancing learning opportunities. I have been exploring the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the world’s largest lesson that comes with it. I did a Minecraft project with classes from around the world and a Data Analysis project where we used this theme to promote and understand these worldwide issues. I will continue follow this opportunity and other. There are many opportunities like this available and you can even create your own. We live in a world where digital interactions are part of our everyday life and we are doing students a disservice not to make it a part of what we do in our classrooms. Being a digital leader is an important part of understanding today’s society and helping prepare our students for the future. I love the concept of digital discipleship. I believe that developing, promoting, and carry out the essence of our faith online leads to positive interactions and creating opportunities for empathy and understanding. Regina Catholic School’s digital discipleship information is a great place to follow one’s faith journey online. I am fortunate to have been using social media as part of my professional development and growth over the past few years. I have found it to be an amazing professional development opportunity. I have developed many friendships and have an outstanding personal learning network. I wish I had this opportunity when I first started teaching, but I am proof it is never to late to take the leap. I have been involved book chats and slow chats before. I always find something to reflect on, share, or get a new idea. The #rcsdconnect book chats this week have been a phenomenal experience. I loved the passion, reflection, and creativity that were on display from all participants. It was inspiring and I’m so proud to work alongside such a dedicated and passionate group of educators. I hope to continue this discussion throughout the year. I will be adding contributing and sharing to the #rcsdconnect as part of my C2PG. Looking forwarding to the journey. Thank you and God Bless.
Dean Vendramin. Educator for over 20 years. Currently Education Leader for Math/Science at Archbishop M.C. O'Neill Catholic High School. Have a passion for all things in education with emphasis on technology integration, assessment, professional development, and 21 Century Education. Posts are articles he has written for the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation monthly newsletter The Bulletin, Saskatchewan Math Teachers' Society The Variable, blog requests from memberships he is a part of, and his own thoughts.