Creating Collaborative, Creative, and Active Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs)!
"The number one benefit of educational technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative … productive … learn things they didn't think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential." - Steve Ballmer
Our students’ digital behavior influences our learning, language, rituals, values, routines, customs, and communication. What we share, post, like, and comment on impacts us, our peers, and people around the world. Just think, a person took a picture and posted it online with the word, “Selfie!” Many took their own selfies and selfies with others, including the Pope. Selfie was the word of the year for 2013 (Brumfield, 2013). This example illustrates the power of our digital acts and choices. It is important we help our students create meaningful messages and learn to effectively collaborate and respect their peers. Below are slides, resources, and bookmarks to help you get your students to learn effectively on the virtual learning environments (VLEs) you create for them. This way you can facilitate and guide your students to make positive choices when they interact online. Find the Google Doc handout with digital icebreakers like Digital Bingo here.
Get your copy of Hacking Digital Learning, The 30 Goals Challenge, or Learning to Go. Ask me about training your teachers, ShellyTerrell@gmail.com!
- Check out your VLE and see what tools and features already support collaboration and creativity. Does your VLE have forums, offer badges, or allow you to embed?
- If you are deciding on a VLE, consider the following. What are your students’ ages? Some platforms only allow 13+. Will it be private or public? Does it have the ability for synchronous and asynchronous teaching? What is your connection? What is your access and your students’ access outside school? It is frustrating to only have a Learning Management System (LMS) or VLE accessible when you are on campus. You, your students and their parents should be able to access the VLE outside of class. What is your class size? Some platforms will be free for only a certain number of students. Platforms like Moodle require server space.
- Get a foundation in pedagogy and instructional practices that support digital collaboration and literacy. Check out my bookmarks on Digital Blooms, Peeragogy, SAMR, and Connectivism.
- Get students to use digital tools to create interactive mindmaps, multimedia presentations, digital storiesl, comics, games, blogs, scavenger hunts, videos, podcasts, digital fliers, posters, infographics, and more!
- Discover which tools your students already have access to or know how to use by surveying them. Here’s my student Google Survey template to get you started.
- Need the right tool for your project? Check out Edshelf.com and Graphite.org, which are search engines for teacher recommended digital tools.\
- Create a community with digital icebreakers. Find a list of digital icebreakers I’ve created and a presentation here!
- Get students to create avatars and introduce themselves. Younger kids will especially benefit from creating avatars. Find a list of avatar creation tools and ideas here!
- Get students to social bookmark and curate with free tools, like Diigo, Pearltrees, Storify, Pinterest, Livebinders, and Educlipper. Find more resources here!
- Students can create eportfolios with social bookmarking tools and as a final project create eportfolio presentations in which they reflect on the learning for each module/unit. Check out my students’ reflective eportfolio presentations here!
- Post digital writing prompts to get students actively writing in your VLE. Find over 100 digital writing prompts in my bookmarks!
- Pair or group students for projects. In Learning to Go, you’ll find hand-outs for designating roles and permissions.
- Give them learning missions you grade with digital badges. Find out more in this post about learning missions. Check out my bookmarks for creating digital badges. Complete your own mission to transform an assignment, test, quiz, or project into a meaningful mission. When you complete this mission, claim your badge here, Credly.com/claim/21346/F50-B50B-105.
- Hashtags are one of the most important inventions of our digital learning. Hashtags help students and you find the most relevant and updated resources in any field. Hashtags also help you find and connect with subject matter experts (SMEs) in any field. Searching a hashtag on Google will often produce better resources than keywords. You will find hashtags used on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vine, and many other social networks. For more lesson plans and ideas, check out these hashtags- #Edchat, #EduOz, #OzEdchat, #ELearning, #OzTeachers, #AussieEd, #OZprimschchat, and #Edtech. Find more hashtags listed here, Cybraryman.com/edhashtags.html. Create a hashtag for your classes and learners. Check out the hashtag for my course, Twitter.com/hashtag/storytelling_intef!
- You need to get parents on board with your technology integration. Get them to sign Responsible/Acceptable Use policies. Find example templates and other resources for engaging parents in my survival tips for engaging parents!
- Read about the impact of these ideas in my course, Bit.ly/intefshelly.
Brumfield, B. (2013). Selfie named word of the year for 2013. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/19/living/selfie-word-of-the-year/
ENJOYED THESE RESOURCES? GET YOUR COPY OF THE 30 GOALS FOR TEACHERS OR LEARNING TO GO, WHICH HAS DIGITAL AND MOBILE ACTIVITIES AND HANDOUTS.