Digital Learning Inventory

Taking a Digital Learning Environment Inventory allows an educator to assess and analyze her school district’s available digital resources. This provides further clarity in what can currently be accomplished, as well as future steps for digital growth.

Create a Digital Learning Environment Inventory by assessing the following items available in your classroom, school, and/or district.

  • Tools
  • Websites
  • Technology for learning
  • Global e-learning sites
  • Colleague sites and tools
  • Evaluating student technology literacy
  • Suggestions from students for integrating technology into learning
  • What tools that are not presently available, would help to achieve district objectives?

An Example: My Digital Learning Environment Inventory:

  1. Tools: 9th grade English/Reading classroom: three classroom computers with MS Office. My access to Windows MovieMaker was in 2011 after the IT folks reimaged the computers. I am currently attempting to get that back since it’s a free download. However, the school tech person has to do the downloading and since the beginning of the school year is so crazy for him, I have to wait until after first quarter. After he does the download, I have to email the district tech folk and ask them to install the driver for my headsets that allow students to record their voices. I also have three FlipCameras (and now the Bloggie!) and headphone/microphone combinations. Our school district currently locks down all social networking sites (including blogs and wikis), but I am continuing to work for more open access, especially in light of the requirements of Common Core.
  2. Websites: Websites are pretty static in our district, used for the dissemination of information. I maintain a website for the three 9th grade teachers since we’ve traditionally provided the same assignments. This website serves as a place where students can download handouts, directions, packets, or worksheets. I am only allowed to upload .pdf files, which is something of a problem. I have used a class wiki since 2009 but suddenly in the middle of last year, my wiki was shut down since pbworks.com became a non-accessible website for students.
  3. Technology for learning: Students have many options for embedding technology into their assignments. I’ve used blogs and wikis successfully (even though they’re blocked by the district) for all students, and provide options such as website development, digital stories, and public service announcements for projects.
  4. Global e-learning sites: Last Friday, the district unblocked the teacher computer for almost all sites. Thus, while student accounts are still blocked, as a teacher I can access these sites, with the exception of Skype.
    1. Skype    www.skype.com
    2. iEARN   www. iearn.org
    3. ConnectAllSchools   http://www.connectallschools.org
    4. Peace Corps Speakers Match   http://wws.peacecorps.gov/wws/speakersmatch/
    5. ePals  http://www.epals.com
    6. Global Nomads Group www.gng.org
    7. Omprakash  http://www.omprakash.org/about
    8. Primary Source   www.primarysource.org
    9. Edutopia  http://www.edutopia.org
    10. Outreach World http://www.outreachworld.org
    11. The UN Works  http://www.un.org/works/
    12. Global Education Conference  http://www.globaleducationconference.com
    13. Online Newspapers  http://www.onlinenewspapers.com
  5. Colleague sites and tools: guuru.org; discovery education, scout.lili.org
  6. Evaluating student technology literacy: This is the first year that we have been required to offer students tech safety courses. This really isn’t tech literacy, but it is along the same lines. We will be doing our pre-assessment soon – so I don’t have an answer on this yet.
  7. Suggestions from students for integrating technology into learning:
  • Give every student a laptop; ipad;
  • Let students use their cell phones, especially cameras and video capabilities;
  • Let students create their own newspaper; blog; twitter account
  • Read textbooks online;
  • Complete and hand in assignments online; GoogleDocs; DropBox
  • Download videos, songs, pictures that are relevant to topic.
  • Wireless capabilities;
  • One-to-one computing devices;
  • Software: MovieMaker, GarageBand, iMovie, Audacity
  • Unblock Internet Access for Students: social networking sites like wikis, blogs, Skype, etc.
  1. What tools that are not presently available, would help to achieve district objectives?
    • Wireless capabilities;
    • One-to-one computing devices;
    • Software: MovieMaker, GarageBand, iMovie, Audacity
    • Unblock Internet Access for Students: social networking sites like wikis, blogs, Skype, etc.

 

    • Customized improvement to my circumstance and curriculum: At first, as I reviewed my DLE inventory, this task felt overwhelming in nature. Then, thinking about how to integrate technology into a globalized lesson plan, I remembered Heidi Hayes Jacob’s admonition to produce one change in one unit. A major focus that I’ve chosen for this semester and year involves concentrating on consequentialism, cosmopolitanism, and constructivism as I craft lessons, units, and interactions. Integrating technology into this is natural, an organic process (if technology & organic can coexist in the same sentence).
      1. Creation and Implementation of One Change: In order to introduce The Odyssey, I created a Wordle of Book I. I wanted the anticipatory set to be something that engaged students, allowed multiple perspectives to be heard, and prompted students to both produce answers and ask questions. I wanted to be the facilitator and I wanted students to be actively involved in the conversation. Therefore, I asked students to answer the following questions in their Writer’s Notebooks. After they spent several minutes responding to the first question, I had them share with a neighbor, and then we shared out perspectives from the class. This provided a baseline of information that students already knew (or thought they knew) regarding Odysseus and his Odyssey. After this, I had students silently write down their questions, share w/ their neighbors, and then, once again, we shared out with the class. At this point, we recorded the questions on chart paper, so that we would be able to return to these questions throughout Book I.
        1. What 3 facts or pieces of information regarding The Odyssey can you draw from this Wordle?
        2. What 3 questions do you have about The Odyssey?

Evaluating What I Learned: Perhaps the most valuable thing that I learned was that creating and implementing one change is far less intimidating that I thought it might be. In the past, whenever I brought technology into the class, it was a major project, something that was monumental in nature and something that required a great deal from both me and the students (e.g. digital stories, class wiki, etc). While it was always worth it, it was also exhausting and deeply demanding. This exercise helped me to realize that I can easily and effortlessly embed technology into my lessons if I focus on 1) the overarching purpose, first; 2) pedagogical practices, second; and 3) small pieces that will eventually build upon one another so that larger projects are easier and prepped for.

Obviously, embedding a Wordle into class is meaningless without the purpose of transforming students into active participants, prompting multiple perspectives, and activating students’ existing knowledge base. It’s also meaningless without the pedagogical strategies of prompting students to brainstorm what they already know (as prompted by the Wordle), sharing with peers, and sharing out with the class – and then returning to the Wordle to dig into and explore for questions they might have. These questions then guide exploration of the text, providing meaning for reading that might not have been there otherwise.

Implementing was effortless, as well. Students were responsive and participated enthusiastically. It was very revealing to hear responses from some of the boys who hadn’t been previously engaged in sharing their perspectives in class. They had familiarity with the text and were able to provide quite a few facts about Odysseus (his name is Ulysses in Latin!) from the pieces in the Wordle. Whenever they shared information that was not in the Wordle, I would gently redirect – where did you find that in the text? – and then explain that we were all “reading” this same text and that we didn’t want to bring in sources outside of this text quite yet. A couple of times students provided conflicting information and that went onto our Question List. I felt like this easy and relatively quick activity sparked students’ interest, prompted them to participate, and provided a set of questions and fierce wonderings to draw us through the upcoming text of The Odyssey.