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September 4, 2012 / tasha cowdy

A new communication tool

As part of our inquiry into personal learning journeys, the children have been thinking about what they would like to learn in Kindergarten. They recorded their ideas by drawing pictures. Today we introduced the children to a new tool called VoiceThread. We began by looking at a VoiceThread made by the last KC class. Then I showed the children how I had added photographs of their self portraits to use as their identities. We talked about on-line safety and protecting one’s identity.

I showed the children the VoiceThread I had made using photographs of their reflection drawings. The children have had opportunities to read and leave comments through twitter and our class blog. Today each child dictated a comment on someone else’s work. Over the next weeks the children will learn how to leave voice comments, which will empower them to leave comments independently, without the need for a scribe. We will talk about the purpose of leaving comments and what makes a good comment. This will provide the context for our next step towards collectively constructing an understanding of digital citizenship.

Click here to view the VoiceThread with the children’s dictated and verbal comments.

I want the children to begin to see the possibilities that VoiceThread offers for collaboration and sharing. Having spent time building a sense of class and school community, I would really like to start developing our class learning network. I enlist the help of the children’s pre-kindergarten teachers and of our principal, curriculum coordinator, IT facilitator, school counselor and Head of Academics, all of whom are regular visitors to our classroom, and ask them to leave some voice comments.

The next step is to get parents on board. Over the two years that I have been using digital technology to support teaching and learning in our early childhood classroom I have noticed that many parents are not familiar with the web 2.0 tools we are using. They are not aware of the issues concerning digital citizen ship and haven’t really thought about digital footprints. I see that although most of my five year olds have access to mobile devices, parents are often not aware of how to use them; they are only just one step ahead of their five year old. This must change if these parents are to support their children and share in their learning journeys. I have talked with our IT facilitator about how we might do this. We have decided to make parent digital education one of our goals.

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2 Comments

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  1. Julie Balen / Sep 9 2012 20:55

    I hope you will share with us, those that follow you, how you approach the parent digital education gap and what activity or communication received the best response.

    • Tasha Cowdy / Sep 11 2012 19:42

      Hi Julie! Our first step is to talk to parents about the importance of keeping up with their techie 5 year olds at back to school night (tomorrow night) and then following that up with a series of workshops for parents. I’ll let you know how they go -hopefully through a blog post! I’d love to hear if others have similar experiences and how they are going about supporting parents.

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