Connected Learning and Web Literacy Training for NYC DOE Educators
Hive NYC just wrapped up a series of professional development trainings with teachers, librarians, administrators and technology coaches representing different public schools across the five boroughs of NYC. These educators are participating in the New York City Department of Education’s Innovative Partner Professional Development (IPPD) program, which connects them with “best practices for using technology tools as well as resources for teaching and learning.”  Through this program hundreds of DOE educators have the opportunity to choose from training sessions offered by organizations and companies that specialize in technology and/or digital literacy.
Hive NYC offered two training sessions to IPPD participants. Webmaker Institute lead by MOUSE and Hive NYC HQ and Connected Learning Educator, lead by Bank Street College, The LAMP and Iridescent Learning. Webmaker Institute familiarized participants with Web Literacy and ways to align Mozilla’s Web Literacy skills with a chosen subject area. Connected Learning Educator familiarized participants with the design principles and practices of Connected Learning (CL) and how to use them as a guide to create dynamic content for classrooms and schools.
Planning for IPPD started in July 2014. DOE’s Division of Instructional and Information Technology (DIIT) helped us prepare a description and a brief agenda for the IPPD application that launched In September. During the enrollment period, MOUSE, Hive HQ, Bank Street College, Iridescent Learning, and The LAMP held several meetings to plan the agenda for each training session. Our goal was to provide an in-person, engaging, hands-on experience that would guide participants and inspire them to integrate Web Literacy and Connected Learning into their teaching practices. We used a collaborative text editor called Etherpad as the main documentation platform for each training session. This is how we exchanged information with participants before and during the session. A detailed archive is available for both Webmaker Institute and Connected Learning Educator.
A total of 47 people signed up for the training sessions. Webmaker Institute took place at Hive NYC headquarters located in Dumbo. Connected Learning Educator took place at Iridescent Learning, located in The Bronx. Both sessions ran from 10am – 3pm. Hive NYC HQ provided breakfast and lunch for all participants and facilitators.
Webmaker Institute started with a fun activity for participants to share names, subject areas and school locations. Facilitators from Hive NYC and MOUSE gave brief introductions to each organization and how to get involved. After introductions, MOUSE lead a series of activities to introduce fundamental web literacy skills such as Composing for the Web, Coding/Scripting, Remixing, Credibility and Navigation. The activities included a high-energy game about HTML syntax, a newspaper remix activity and a web source credibility activity. A full description of these activities and more are available in this Webmaking with MOUSE Teaching Kit. Participants were asked to reflect on the activities and think about possible ways to integrate them into their classrooms. Everyone started by writing responses to a series of questions in the Etherpad.
This resulted in a diverse collection of usable information that enabled participants to learn from one another in real time. Using their shared knowledge, participants were asked to form groups and spend 40 minutes building an idea, activity or lesson around a specific Web Literacy skill. They had the option of remixing a MOUSE activity or creating a new one. Groups were not required to finish or execute these concepts. The intention was to seed ideas that participants could continue to work on after the training session ended. In this way, educators were not only introduced to specific ideas and practices but also received first-hand experience working in the kind of open, collaborative environment that characterizes Hive NYC’s unique learning laboratory approach. Explore early idea and concept here.
Connected Learning Educator
Connected Learning Educator started with the Yarn Web activity where participants introduced themselves by name and school. After connecting around shared interests, Bank Street College and The LAMP facilitated a conversation about powerful learning, which helped participants understand themselves as learners. Everyone recalled a memory from some point in their lives when learning occurred. They wrote brief responses to specific questions about the experience. Then, participants took turns sharing their experiences aloud and discussing how they align to Connected Learning principles and core educational values.
The next activity was done in pairs. Participants were asked to use a Connected Learning assessment rubric to analyze one example of successful learning from their careers as educators or one example of successful learning they hope to do in the future. Bank Street and The LAMP concluded with a group discussion focusing on what interest-powered, peer-supported and academically-oriented learning principles look like in action. Each pair shared results from the activity and pointed out how the the rubric could help them strengthen their short term and long term goals. For the second half of the training Iridescent Learning demonstrated how to put Connected Learning into action using their new, free engineering design platform Curiosity Machine. They started with a quick writing exercise to define pedagogical terms like hands-on learning and digital literacy. Next, dividing into teams of two or more, each group was given 30 minutes to Engineer a Balloon Helicopter that could fly at least three feet from the ground. Instructional videos and resources were provided, but groups were challenged to design from scratch.
Participants discussed the design and ideation process and their different approaches. Iridescent explained how important trial and error is to learning and how Curiosity Machine has been designed to help teachers and learners learn by doing. Iridescent demonstrated how youth can use the platform to document their work, ask mentors for help and access guides. Participants created accounts and uploaded content. Everyone agreed Curiosity Machine is something they definitely plan on exploring with students.
Iridescent Learning ended the training session by sharing a collection of free resources. While more resources will become available as the Curiosity Machine platform develops, but to start they provide lesson plans, workbooks, Next Generation Science Standards alignment and curriculum support through these fun and inspiring engineering design units.
Hive NYC HQ created an online community to stay connected to the participants now that the training sessions are over. This enables Hive NYC, MOUSE, Iridescent Learning, Bank Street College and The LAMP to continue to not only model Hive’s peer-supported learning community in action but also provide an online space for educators to share and get feedback on what they are doing in their classrooms. In April, the participants and the facilitators will reconvene in an informal gathering to debrief, share outcomes and award awesome swag and awards. By this time participants will have completed the following requirements.
“I am excited about using the Web Literacy resources to showcase our school’s Middle School Core Content. After using commonsensemedia.org, everfi.com code.org and scratch.mit.edu. These new tools will allow me to engage the students on a much deeper level. Now they can begin to build their content.” – Webmaker Institute attendee
“I felt very welcome, the workshop was wonderful. The atmosphere you created was conducive to learning and collaboration. I even like your choice of music! I learned a lot about this resource, but I also learned how to run a fun and effective workshop. Thank you!” – Webmaker Institute attendee
“I learned that students need to explore and tap into other areas of technology…creating not just consuming.” – Webmaker Institute attendee
“The LAMP activity, while drawn out, highlighted and clarified many guiding principles on the inclusion of technology moving forward.” – Connected Learning Educator attendee
“The Iridescent build dovetailed with my school’s push to the NGSS and our collaboration with Urban Advantage, a DOE science opportunity.” – Connected Learning Educator attendee
“I liked the Connected Learning Principles that were addressed. Most lesson plans contain some of these elements but not all precisely identified. I will use this list of principles when planning future lessons.” – Connected Learning Educator attendee