Should website accessibility be part of digital literacy education?

This video produced by the Australian government explains the concept of website accessibility and got me thinking about this as an element of digital literacy and learning for any student working on the web. With more and more of our students creating resources on the web is this a concept and skill we should be teaching.
Even using a blogging tool like Global2 gives you some tools to assist people with disabilities. You can tag photos or diagrams with meaningful descriptions so that screen readers are able to get an idea of what others can see or even a transcript or storyboard of any film created for people with hearing loss. Simple clear language is another important element. Have your audience in mind is critical when presenting online.

Helping everyone get your message is important including people with disabilities, Here are tips on how to edit your images and add captions and descriptions in Global2.

   

 

Great online resources for book lovers

There is often debate which presents books and technology as competitors.

Link to the site

Here are four great resources for book lovers, presenting a united front around great stories and presenting and sharing information.

Inside a Dog is a place for teen and young readers and the home of Inky, the reading wonder-dog. Here you can:

What works for bullying programs

The most commonly accepted definition of bullying is that it is a form of unprovoked,
aggressive behaviour that involves a real or perceived power imbalance and is either
repeated or has the potential to be repeated over time.

This brief synthesise findings from experimental evaluations of 17 bullying
programs for children and/or youth to determine how frequently these programs
work to improve the outcomes of physical and verbal bullying, social and
relational bullying, bullying victimization, attitudes toward bullying, and being
a bystander of bullying. Most of these programs served school-aged children; only
two focused on children age five or younger.

While the relatively small number of bullying program evaluations limits our ability
to draw generalizations and conclusions, our review suggests a number of initial
findings:

  • Programs that involve parents were generally found to be effective.
  • Programs that use a whole-school approach to foster a safe and caring school climate—by training all teachers, administrators, and school counsellors to model and reinforce positive behaviour and anti-bullying messages throughout the school were generally found to be effective.
  • We found mixed results for programs that included social and emotional learning, such as self-awareness, relationship skills, or responsible decision-making. The full paper  by Elizabeth K. Lawner, B.A. and Mary A. Terzian, Ph.D

Googleable vs Non-Googleable Questions

‘Essential questions’ are all too often lower order. And not that essential suggests notosh

The Why

 

Every topic, every bit of learning has content that can be Googled, and we don’t want teachers wasting precious enquiry time lecturing that content. We want students, instead, to be using class time to collaborate and debate around the questions that are Not Googleable, the rich higher order thinking to which neither the textbook nor the teacher know the answers. Keep reading

 

 

Questioning the standards of literacy and numeracy

David Tout and Juliette Mendelovits examine why we receive such differing reports on the literacy and numeracy skills of young Australians.

Australia participates in several large-scale assessment programs that provide information about the knowledge and skills of the population at various points in the lifespan. Each of these programs tells its own story about literacy and numeracy standards in Australia, and some of these stories appear to contradict one another. The 2006 Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey (ALLS) reported that about 50 per cent of Australians between the ages of 15 and 74 are below the minimum required standard of literacy and numeracy. Three years later, the 2009 OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) reported that 15 per cent of Australian 15-year-olds are below a baseline level of proficiency in reading and mathematics. Australia’s National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), on the other hand, reported in 2011 that only six per cent of Year 9 students – who are around 14 years of age – are below the minimum standard of literacy and numeracy. Taken at face value, these results suggest a lot of improvement in a short space of time; however, trends observed over that same period within assessment programs do not support this view.

What, then, can explain these wildly different reports? Are these three assessment programs measuring completely different things? Or do expectations vary about what constitute adequate levels of literacy and numeracy? Or is there something else at play? Further, if the reasons for the variation can be understood, is it possible to represent these standards on a single, coherent continuum of achievement?

Image of student

Explaining the differences

The apparent discrepancies between different measures of literacy and numeracy can be explained by four key factors:

• the definitions of literacy and numeracy used;

• the stated and unstated program purposes;

• the agenda of the stakeholders; and

• the way standards are represented statistically.

Read the full article

How to publish a class e-Book using iTunes

Often teachers want to share the ebooks their students have made with a wider audience, not least parents! It’s such a rewarding experience for the students and the teacher to see a book they’ve created being published and shared beyond the classroom. Thanks to Dan Kemp for spelling out the steps for teachers.

As the developers of Book Creator for iPad, a tool that’s often used in schools to create ebooks, we wanted to share a tutorial for teachers on how to publish a book to the iBookstore.

What You’ll Need

Apple provide an excellent Frequently Asked Questions section on their site to help you get started with these two necessities, so fear not!

You’ll want to make sure you’ve got Apple’s guidance document to hand: Using iTunes Producer 2.9 for Books. It’s the definitive guide and is on the whole quite easy to follow. You may also find the Apple Support Community to be a useful resource.

iTunes Producer is essentially about packaging up the details of the book, the assets, and the metadata to submit to the iBookstore. Full article

A simple guide to Twitter for teachers presented by USC Rossier Online

So what is the big deal about Twitter? Why should a teacher bother?  USC Rossier Online present this great one pager to share with all of the staff at your school. Yes all of them … because there is a twitter community for them to follow and contribute.

One powerful community for every teacher to “Follow” is @LeaLC - the home economics blogger

This is a great starting point for any Home Eco teacher.

Check it out, follow and you have uncovered a “Nest of Knowledge” in the people who follow this Tweeterer (Is that a real word?) The conversation is about teaching, learning and resources for teachers – NOT the technology 

This guide can help clarify terms and best practices that will make the most out of a potential networking experience. We encourage you to download our sheet using the link below and share among your staff. Get them searching for a community that can support them.

The teacher’s quick guide to digital scavenger hunts

A great “Tuning in” idea to introduce a new topic for students. OR an excellent assessment tool for students to design and present their learning.
Jeff Dunn from @edudemic presents a guide to digital scavenger hunts with the tools and process to get started.

Getting students to design their own could be a means by which students could demonstrate their understanding and deeper thinking about any learning area – history, science and even literature studies or narratives. A great way to explore learning. Its more than fun (although fun is never a bad thing in learning) it is actually a complex task that can present a students understanding of what they know.

If you’ve got a smartphone or a tablet in your classroom, you’re ready for the adventure to begin! By adventure I mean digital scavenger hunts.

 Digital scavenger hunts should be carefully prepared so don’t rush into them. They’re fun and, if done properly, will get students excited to do another one. If instead students spend the entire time asking you, the teacher, questions … then it’s not ideal. Instead, make sure the hunt is planned out so that the students can only ask questions of each other. That’s likely the best way to keep the active learning process in high gear. Full article

 

The Australian professional standards for teachers on YouTube

A well constructed video to share at a staff meeting.
If you can’t see the video you will need to add YouTube to your school filtering.
This can be done for teachers only, all of the school including students, or just for a certain time period.
The ability to add and remove websites from the school’s filtering in Victorian Government schools remains within the school.
It involves a login to the schools internet account. A considered process for including sites at your school is highly recommended.
Staff need to ensure that they have included the site for valid educational reasons and ensure that they have clear expectations of how people use the internet and that is well accepted across the community.
This includes not only supervision but explicit teaching about using the internet safely and responsibly.