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Digigogy Designing A Framework For CHANGE

Issuu One Where Teachers Begin with Technology Upgrading Assessments Digital Learning Networks ...and MORE...

What is DIGIGOGY? Digigogy is a paradigm shift. It is about designing a new framework for change in the future of instruction. It is a new Digital Pedagogy, with an emphasis on content and skills, now with a technology frame. The new way of learning is a complete tear down and rebuild of traditional teaching, where learning is a joint effort and roles are reborn. Beyond the desks... beyond the walls...beyond the school. The new classroom is orbital, and scenic, and here.


Published with:

February 2010

Welcome | 3 Building Your Circle of Wisdom | 4 Upgrading Assessments | 7 Teacher’s Toolbox: | 8 Tagged Field Trips Moving At The Speed of YOU Fun Links Don’t Lose Your Web Content | 9 Where Teachers Begin With Technology | 10 Cover image from Flickr user “mnapoleon” at This page computer image from Flickr user “izzymunchted” at


Welcome to


Every Friday on Twitter, many folks tag several Twitterers with # FF or # FollowFriday as important contributors/members of their networks. I thought I would expand that here with some suggestions of some great educators to follow:

@amandacdykes @angelamaiers @BeckyFisher73 @bethstill @bri12580 @carawolf @ChipBuckwell @cohend @CParker_LMC @cristama @datadiva @edtechsteve @ehelfant @ejulez @elizabethfisher @HeidiHayesJacob @Janet_Hale @jennyluca @JohnMikulski @kchichester @kditzler @kellyhines

@kyteacher @linda704 @mcarls @mrpotter @mspry71 @msstewart @nnorris @oswego98 @paulawhite @plugusin @ransomtech @rcurrin @robkmil @smithdebby @tamurray @theresagray @waughb @web20classroom and me: @fisher1000

Welcome to the Inaugural Issuu of Digigogy magazine. Note that “Issuu” is spelled the way that the Web tool I’m publishing it on is spelled, and that “Digigogy” is a combination of “Digital” and “Pedagogy.” The contents of the magazine are a collection of articles I’ve published over the course of the last few months, collated together here in a magazine format to make reading them easier. All of this content is still available in its originally published places such as websites I’ve created or my blog, but this keeps you from having to dig around to find it all! What I hope you’ll find in these pages is information to help you bring a technology frame to what you are already doing in the classroom. I’m not talking about adding something new for the sake of adding something new—I’m talking about new tools or processes to fit the tasks you are already doing. What happens in the classroom still boils down to what kids should know and be able to do, it’s just that in the 21st Century—we can expand their toolboxes beyond anything we could have imagined, even ten years ago. Everything about education is changing, and what is coming is wonderful, and collaborative, and really cool. It is no longer about information, it’s about thinking. It is not about covering material, it’s about “UNCOVERING” it. It is not about the “sage on the stage,” it’s about collective experience. We all have something to learn, we all bring something to the table, we just have to be willing to value those opportunities, and take risks that weren’t possible in yesterday’s classrooms. I hope you find something valuable here. Michael Fisher


Building Your Circle of Wisdom: Expanding Your Professional Learning Network with 21st Century Tools by Kathleen M. Ellis and Michael L. Fisher It's no secret that many teachers operate as islands, in a world filled with students operating as interconnected continents. We must recognize that isolationist teaching in a collaborative era is undoing modern educational initiatives. Our world is demanding a new digital pedagogy, where we train kids for jobs that may not have even been invented yet. An essential part of the Middle School experience is the collegiality and teaming aspect that affects overall student achievement. When teachers develop consistency in vision and focus and share resources, they move beyond the “isolationist or island” mentality and become part of a “continent” of facilitators and learners that are directed at doing what’s best for kids. It's important to remember that "the challenge of ensuring success for all students requires teachers and school leaders to work and learn collaboratively, reflect on their practice, and continually expand their knowledge and skills" (Darling-Hammond, 1997). Middle School teachers, by nature, often work in grade level teams, sharing information and collaborating at the school level. Sometimes they are able to meet across grade levels or with multiple content areas to have further discussions around curriculum resources and ideas. Sadly, though, for many the “continent” stops there. Technology is making it easier and easier to “bridge the gaps” between teachers and making geographical location inconsequential to the ability to share, collaborate, organize, create, and network. When one speaks of their go-to group for


enhancing their professional practice, they often refer to that group as a Personal or Professional Learning Network, or PLN. These groups, however, are usually face-to-face and may extend only as far as the school or district level. With technology, we can expand that PLN into a Digital Professional Learning Network or DLN / DPLN that includes a worldwide audience. The DLN capitalizes on the many available networking tools to connect educational professionals in ways that have never happened before. When you decide that you want to maximize your impact on student achievement, collaboration is the key. What you do alone may be good, but team efforts always yield a greater harvest. Additionally, developing your own Digital Learning Network directly aligns to the components three and five of ISTE's National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS) that describe modeling digital age work and learning as well as using technology to engage in professional growth and learning. (ISTE, 2008). The first step is to build your "Circle of Wisdom." This is where you move beyond your box, your zone, your comfort space. You move into cyberspace and begin interacting. You share with a larger group. You both give and receive support. You create content, you respond to others' creations, you find a niche, a place to belong and feel welcome, and you expand your capacity and abilities by creating and growing your Professional Learning Network into the Digital Realm! The evolution of your face-to-face network into the digital realm can be accomplished in a series of steps to increase your transparency on the web, which not only powers up your own connections but also allows others to connect to you. The only limitations are your comfort levels with technology in general and deciding whether you want to wade into the pool or dive into the deep-end head first. To power up your digital network, you don't have to do everything at once. Doing just one thing will make a huge difference in the way you discover resources and will have a huge impact on stu-

As former classroom teachers who are now in administration and staff development, we cannot tell you how important our PLN and DLN have been to us in regards to our professional growth. We started with just one thing; we were introduced to Twitter in mid-2008 and it has proved to be our go-to spot for instant help, links, and ideas. We use Twitter daily to find support from our networks of teaching professionals, to ask advice, and to get instant links to things we are currently working on. In one week alone, we've added over 100 links to our social bookmarking accounts through Twitter. How can posting a comment or question of 140 characters be so useful? Here's an example: a member of our DLN, an instructional coach, was asked by a group of teachers to help them come up with some alternatives to book reports. She logged onto Twitter and asked if anyone had ideas and, well, she was pleasantly surprised by the number of links, ideas, and suggestions she received. When we saw the post on Twitter, we posted the link to our "BookReportAlternatives" bookmarks. Not only did our friend get the link, but all those who follow us on Twitter did too. This "virtual" colleague was able to use the information she garnered from her Twitter network to build a wiki with resources to share with other teachers. In our experiences, our DLN, thanks mainly to Twitter, includes educators from not only our local area of Western New York but also incredibly talented and reflective practitioners from Michigan, Kansas, Massachusetts, Illinois, Montana,

Utah, North Carolina, Canada, England, and Australia to name just a few. Imagine how powerful your circle of influence could be if you had such participants and perspectives to rely on! Naturally, our local Twitter members are the most powerful people in our network because we share the common bond of NYS assessments and struggle with the same initiatives, but our out of state connections have proven to be as much if not more helpful in providing perspectives and approaches to addressing school initiatives such as assessment strategies, instructional coaching, and curriculum mapping that we have not been exposed to as of yet. We've mentioned several different modes of connectivity so far, but we're going to go through them one by one in this section so that it creates a virtual menu of options for creating your DLN. We are in a new era—a digital era that demands a new digital pedagogy. Remember, you don’t have to be an expert. All it takes is doing just one thing. The main tool you'll want to consider using is Twitter. Twitter is a microblogging platform based on brevity and connectivity. You can follow people that are doing similar things to you and have an infinite resource for discovering new methods, websites, lesson plans, or just dialogue with like-minded colleagues around the world. We liken it to 24-7 professional development that is focused solely on us and our needs, while fitting in with the needs of others in a giant PD puzzle! Another tool we use regularly in our DLN is Wikispaces for educators. Wikis are basically free websites that you build yourself or in groups and are very easy to use.


precious time in the process. One thing you'll want to consider on the outset is how you'll keep up with many different applications. We use one of the popular Google Tools called iGoogle. iGoogle is a personal portal page, or personal home page that allows you to create a page full of content, nested in modules or "gadgets" that you choose yourself. This way, all of your online activities can be housed in one spot making your digital footprint that much easier to follow. You can add gadgets for each of the tools we've mentioned here in addition to gadgets for your email, other interests you may have, and other Google applications such as Google Reader, which gives you a daily feed of blogs that you subscribe to without having to visit any single site directly. Once all of this is set up, the last thing you'll want to do is jump in and get involved. Post your own messages, write your own blog thoughts, create a wiki, add links to your social bookmarks and invite others to see them. From there, become more deeply entrenched in your network by commenting on other's blogs, continuing a conversation on Twitter or Facebook, contributing to someone's wiki, and continuously searching for professionals to bring into your network, inyou think you can use, save them to your own creasing its power with every addition. When bookmarks and "tag" them with key phrases so that you can find them quickly. Rather than cre- you are looking for resources or help, your network may be able to provide you with just the ating a never-ending line of favorites on your opportunity you need at just the right time! desktop, use a social bookmarking site to tag these favorites, write a brief description of the Resources and References: usefulness of the site, and, most importantly, keep your favorites categorized, organized, and easier to find. Why waste time doing a traditional internet search and getting over a million hits when we can go straight to our Social Book- marking sites and find focused results that an other educator has already found useful? In addition, when you find someone's book• Darling-Hammond, L. (1997). The right to learn: A bluemarks helpful, become a "fan" by clicking on print for creating schools that work. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass. their username or befriending them, depending • Fisher, Michael (2009). Circle of Wisdom Wordle. Reon the service. In this way your network begins trieved March 08, 2009, from WORDLE growing and you begin sharing links with other Web site: like-minded professionals. Don't forget to wrdl/640775/Building_Your_Circle_of_Wisdom give back; once you have an account estab• Fisher, Michael (2009). Twitter Mosaic. Retrieved March lished, teach a colleague how to do the same 08, 2009, from Twitter Mosaic Web site: thing and then add each other to your net• ISTE, (2008). International Society for Technology in Eduworks. Now you're sharing bookmarks, building cation. Retrieved February 11, 2009, an enormous database of resources for unit from ISTE | Home Web site: building in your classroom, and saving yourself 6 You can upload videos, files, documents, insert links, and utilize the discussion tab to foster engaging conversations about the work we do as educators, leaders, instructional coaches, and curriculum specialists. These wikis are active, living websites that allow collaboration, sharing, communication, discussion, and collegiality on a level most have never seen before. By using social bookmarking sites, teachers can cut their internet resource "hunting" time nearly in half and find some innovative, engaging, and powerful ways to challenge their students by providing them with an endless collection of resources. Go to Delicious or Diigo, set up a free account with an email address, and start searching for "tags" or phrases of the content you are working on. When you find good sites that

Rather than a traditional paper and pencil final exam, these math teachers brainstormed other ways to have their students provide evidence that learning has taken place. We talked about embedding technology and ’ve been working with a local school diswhat pieces of content were important. trict here in Western New York on updating and Through the brainstorm, we were able to identify skills and content pieces that will ultimately revising their curriculum maps. Much of our become new components on the map. (See conversation centered around mapping lanPics…) We were also able to articulate how this guage, evolution of the maps, and how the would be assessed, some activities to be emmaps were reflective of both horizontal and bedded within the task, and resources the stuvertical conversations. dents would need to be successful. The picWithin our conversations we talked tures represent all of our ideas, from which we about upgrading the assessments to include drilled into the essential information to create technology resources many students are already using. We talked about how these tools the frame for the project design. What they ultimately came up with was can provide just as clear evidence as paper and pencil tests where students DO something a project where students, in groups, will visually with their learning and prove that the learning represent what they’ve learned in a movie format using video functions on cameras or some is enduring and ready to be utilized for their of the school’s new Flip cams. They can use next academic task. both pictures and video, along with narration, I wanted to share what one group of to create a movie about their chosen topic, 7th grade Math teachers came up with as a technology integrated product. Note that they which is to be one of the six major content pieces taught during the school year. are still in the planning phase, but I wanted to The teachers have wikis and each share their frame of learning, as what they group will be given access to their own page were talking about doing with their students where they will embed their video and give was exciting to me—and I knew that their stusome sort of textual support for what they’ve dents will be thrilled with this: done visually. Additionally, they will learn to use a “fun” web application such as Glogster, Animoto, xTranormal, etc. to enhance their wiki page. The project will involve a presentation piece where they present what they’ve done to the rest of the class, reinforcing the learning for all. They will also participate in a peer review process by using the “Discussion” tab within the wiki to answer essential questions and have ongoing dialogue about what they created. They are going to be graded with a rubric that evaluates not only their performance and understanding collectively, but also their individual contribution to the group. I was really proud of what these teachers have decided to do as it exemplifies the notion of “doing what’s best for students,” “creating learning events” rather than rote and traditional lessons, and it does all of this within a solid curricular frame that provides powerful evidence of student learning. Their students are the ultimate beneficiaries here—not to mention the fact that they are going to really enjoy this learning opportunity!


An xTranormal example from Math Teacher Ryan Graham in North Carolina:



My father-in-law was telling a story recently about getting an assembly line machinist job in an engine manufacturing company when he was 16, in England. In order to get the job, he had to answer several questions, including one about how many engines his team of 10 could make in an hour if 2 of the guys were new, and 8 were the fastest in the company. He guessed, and said they could do 10 an hour. The supervisor said that number was a little high, taking into consideration that even the fastest guys in the company were limited to the speed of the new guys. In order to ensure quality, the speed of the line would be decreased until everyone’s collective expertise moved the line faster. “In essence,” the supervisor said, “we will move at the speed of you.” My father-in-law continued to talk about how, over the course of the following few weeks, they would check on him periodically to see how he was. The guys on his team would offer tips and tricks to make his practice better, and after a brief period, he was working at a great rate, holding his own with the experienced workers. While my father-in-law was just relaying a story from his youth, I thought this story spoke volumes about teaching and learning, both with students in the classroom and with adults in professional development. How often have we been in learning situations where the teacher or staff developer moved at the speed of “themselves?” How often do we REALLY support each other to ensure quality for all? How often do we share our tips and tricks at a level that brings everyone to a collective expertise? How often do we facilitate that level of support in our students, enabling them to help and guide each other? As someone who is in schools often working with teachers, I thought that this story underscored the importance of positivity, collegiality, and generosity. To tell someone that we will “move at the speed of YOU” is huge. It’s a relationship and trust building practice that helps to sustain the work we do for the long haul. It benefits everybody, most importantly, our students.


Recently saved to • • • •—Just in time online training for K-12 teachers based on the NETS-T standards. - Google Tools for Teachers - Embrace the backchannel and connect with your audience. Get all my Diigo bookmarks at: user/mikefisher821




Image from Flickr user: KaCey97007 at:

When you use the tagging features of the major social bookmarking sites, you can easily create a list of relevant links for anyone to surf. For instance, if you are wanting to learn about VOLCANOES, you could find and add sites to your bookmarks that deal with volcanoes, but adding an additional tag of "classvolcanoes" or "period1volcanoes." This way, you can click on the unique tag and have one page with a unique web address that you can use in classes, to give your students to explore for homework, or just as an online resource for their research. Many teachers in the past have spent hours creating "Virtual Field Trips" which not only involve finding relevant links, but also the creation of a web page and directions for using the different sites. With Social Bookmarking, you can save notes along with your tags and label websites with specific information that your students can see, whether it's a description, a direction, or just your reasoning for choosing a particular website. In this way, you can very easily build a specific web listing of the sites you want to visit without the rigmarole of going through the entire Virtual Field Trip process!

It's been coming up more and more often lately that some of the web tools we depend on may not be there in the near future. Due to a number of issues, and most likely in the wake of our unstable economy, we've lost Lookybook, Mixwit, Switchpod, and more this past year. Because we are increasingly becoming creators of content rather than consumers, this is not good. Even worse, when we use these tools with kids and all of our work disappears, sometimes without notice, what do we have to show for all of the hard work that was done? Early last week, I got a Facebook message from a teacher who was using Etherpad with his students. Etherpad had gone down and the students' work was inaccessible. Luckily, Etherpad was just having a moment, and was soon back and fully functional. Some of you will remember several weeks ago when Etherpad seemingly shut down operation, as they were bought by Google. Pads that were already created were to be accessible through May 2010, but a Twitter backlash changed the course of their implementation plan for the time being. This little scare got me thinking: What if my wiki services, or blogs, or other sites I depend on suddenly went belly up? I started thinking about the necessity of saving my information elsewhere besides the services I'm using and I wanted to share what I've done here--in the hopes that should anything happen down the road, we all are prepared!

Up features. You may need to do a little Copying and Pasting (to a Word Doc) in order to save Critical Information. Youtube videos can be backed up and saved with "KickYouTube" or "" In Etherpad, you must use the Import/Export tab to export your work either as a PDF, a Word Doc, an RTF file, an HTML file, or an Open Doc File. If you export as a Word/RTF file, it is still editable, just no longer collaborative, unless you upload it/import it into another collaborative service such as Google Docs. For your Blogs, Skype Conversations, and even TodaysMeet interactions, your best bet may just be copying and pasting to a Word doc. (Additionally, with TodaysMeet, you can scroll to the bottom of the conversation, click on "READ ONLY" and view the whole conversation, making it easier to copy and paste to save it.) For Twitter, there are several ways to save important information. I don't think Twitter's going anywhere, anytime soon, but just to be on the safe side-there are a couple of things you can do. For one, you can just copy and paste a favorite tweet and save in Word. You can also take screen shots of favorite tweets and save them as a jpeg image. To do this, click on the time stamp underneath the tweet in the regular web version of Twitter. That will isolate the single tweet so that you can grab a screen shot in whatever way you normally do that, and save the image to your computer. If you want to save an entire conversation, consider using a hashtag so that your conversation is easily searchable through Twitter, or another service such as Tweetdeck or Tweetgrid. Additionally, there are other web SAVE! SAVE! SAVE! tools that let you thread a single conversation that started To begin with, DROPBOX offers 2 GB of online storage for you to save your files online. With some of what I am with a particular tweet, such as Twickie. All of these will allow you, in one way or another, to collect the tweets you about to describe, you may want to consider it a good want so that you can copy and paste them into a Word backup choice for the things you save and also as an opprocessing document. portunity to save the files you use online so that you have Google Docs allows exports and saving offline from anywhere, anytime access to them! the "FILE" menu. Animoto, Slideshare, MyPlick, and other Most of my wikis are created in Wikispaces, which offers an "EXPORT" function. Under "Manage Wiki," EXPORT- web services allow downloads and exports of their hosted ING is an available option under "Tools." The resulting saved content, though you may have to pay a premium fee to do webpage may lose some of its formatting, but the content so. The bottom line is that many of us are creating tons is still there. of content online at this point, and it would be a real shame In PBWORKS, "Backing Up" your page is available to lose what we've created, especially as it relates to stufrom the "Pages and Files" link in the upper right hand cordent work. The number of web tools that are out there now ner, then the "Settings" tab. The "Back Up" link then appears is staggering, and unfortunately, many are ephemeral. I on the left side menu, but note that backing up your space hope this gives you at least a few ideas about saving your is a premium feature that a user has to pay for. valuable content and underscores the need to save what For Ning Pages, right now it looks like one can export you've done outside of the internet "cloud." the list of members and their associated information to a . CSV file. This is done through the "MANAGE" settings, then Michael Fisher clicking on "Members," and scrolling to bottom for link to "Export." Other than that, I don't see any other Export/Back 9


did a recent workshop with Policy Board

members for a local teacher’s center. As part of the workshop, I surveyed them to gauge their interests to make what I did as meaningful for them as possible. One of the questions I asked on the survey was, “What is one thing teachers need to know about using technology in their classrooms?”

They should know enough to be able to understand what their students are working with or involved with in technology. They should also be knowledgeable enough to be able to use a variety of technology strategies to offer a more varied way of teaching academic materials. how to communicate effectively.

What I gleaned from the survey and from our subsequent conversation is underscoring the fact that students have already arrived, and the teachers are now playing catch up. In Heidi Hayes Jacobs’ new book Curriculum21, she talks These are a sampling of their responses: about how students go through a “time warp” at school. In their own lives, they live and breathe and communicate and interact in a • how to EFFECTIVELY use it. 21st Century environment. Then many go to • It's hard for me to say since I am overschool and go BACK IN TIME! For many students, whelmed already...I don't know anything about them except how to work in word pro- 21st Century skills are not being used or reingrams and not very effectively either I might forced during the time they are at school and so the learning that happens is nowhere near what add. it could be. • How to teach using technology to supplement their teaching. The landscape of what is available is incredibly • Their students will always know more so let overwhelming, especially considering the fact them go… • I think that they need to be comfortable with that most teachers are digital immigrants—they trying new technology; but the districts need are coming into technology without growing up with it permeating their everyday lives from birth, to be comfortable with opening up new technologies without thinking that the Inter- the way kids today are. net is "bad." The more technology a teacher uses the more relevant their lessons will be... most students are techies and they need that connection. We can't afford to ignore technology. • They should embrace technology - it isn't going away.

So what can teachers do about it? To begin with, they can just take a deep breath. You don’t have to learn the entire scope of what’s available on the Internet by tomorrow. But, there are starting points: •

Know that it’s not about the tool as much as it is about the task. I told the teachers in this workshop yesterday that although the plumber has some pretty cool tools, they wouldn’t be very helpful to the roofer. It would be better to develop a “toolbox” of web tools so that you can choose the right tool for the task, rather than trying to fit a task to a particular tool. Don’t be afraid to take risks. It’s true, the students may be far ahead of you technologically, and it’s okay to give up the “sage on the stage,” “sit and get” mentalities. You don’t always have to be the teacher— there’s a lot of value in being the learner sometimes. Let the kids teach you something. Find out what other colleagues are using in their classrooms and ask if you can either observe how they do it, or at least explain how they use different technologies. If you are investigating a particular web tool, program, or gadget that those around you are already proficient with, then you have “goto” people to help if you need it! Ask the students what they would like to use and let that be your framework for learning something new. Check out Clif Mim’s “Just One Thing” series on his blog to help you focus on a starting point. Start with what you know. If you are already proficient with Microsoft Word, for instance, perhaps a good technology starting place would be to investigate online, collaborative word processing environments like Google Docs or Etherpad. Both use a Word-like interface, but have the added benefit of being able to be manipulated by a group of people rather than just one at a time. Go slow. There is nothing to be gained for you or your students if you are overwhelmed. There’s too much out there at this

point and it’s too easy to drown in what’s available. Extend your comfort a little bit at a time and build those knowledge bases. Do what you would have your students do! Let what you learn inform where you’ll go! Over time, especially with web tools and applications, you’ll begin to see that many of them have similar functions or use similar operational skills, and once you get the hang of a few of them, new ones will be that much easier to learn and integrate! Make one small change. Do it today. What one new thing can you learn that will help make a difference in the way you teach or the way your students learn? In Heidi’s book, she talks about starting with assessment. Perhaps that would be a good place for you as well? Rather than paper and pencil traditions—what if your students were given the option of turning in a new type of evidence of learning that involved technology? They could create a video, they could tell a digital story, they could create a website, a weblog, or other online multimedia content. They don’t need you to show them how to do it, they just need the opportunity of choice. (See the article in this ISSUU about Upgrading Assessments!)

The time has come to embrace all of this technology in some way. You don’t have to be an expert, you just have to be willing and invitational.

Resources: • • • •

Clif Mim’s Blog Series, “Just One Thing:” iPod image from Flickr user “Americo Nunes” at: americonunes/2392496850/


Thank you for reading this first ISSUU of Digigogy Magazine. I hope to expand it in the next edition and will be discussing a new Digital Framework for Bloom’s Taxonomy, ways that Mentors can support Intern Teachers with 21st Century tools as well as interviews, guest columns, and more features related to reframing current pedagogies with digital ones!

Michael Fisher

Digigogy Issuu One — February 2010

Digigogy - Issuu One  

A Magazine for Teachers to help them bring a technology frame to what they are already doing in the classroom.

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