SMILE - a digital handbook

Jun 17, 2013

Last year I took part in SMILE (Social Media in Education and Learning), a project that I wrote about here. The project was launched by the European Schoolnet (EUN) and funded by a Digital Citizenship Research Grant from Facebook.  About 100 teachers took part in the first part of the project led by Ollie Bray, an outstanding educator and teacher trainer from Scotland and one of the best speakers I've ever heard - and I have heard many! (I've been lucky to have had the opportunity (actually, more than one) to have Ollie as the leader of the PD workshops here and here - he's simply the best!). 

In the second part we formed 6 Communities of Practice in order to highlight trends and best practices of how social media can be used in education. I was the deputy leader of CoP 4 - Social Media for Professional Development and I'm really grateful to all of you who responded to our Facebook survey that we used to measure and improve the use of social media for PD.

And now, a year later, I'm pleased to announce that the results of this praiseworthy project have been published in the form of a digital handbook. You can download this booklet and use its materials, resources, suggestions and recommendations to tackle the following aspects of the use of social media in learning and teaching:

  • Social media - what is it?
  • Social media - school policies
  • Social media - pedagogical principles
  • Social media - professional development (CPD)
  • Social media - internet safety and responsible use
  • Social media - challenges to adoption
And finally, I can't help but copy/paste this practice example from the handbook that shows how to explore digital footprints in a classroom context:

 ‘Last year, we* asked our students to create a digital identity. First we showed them the Lorenzo von Matterhorn video (taken from the How I Met Your Mother television series). Afterwards, we asked our pupils to design a poster which captures their own digital identity. Their response was amazing! Their created over 50 wonderful posters, which we brought together in one photo story slide show.’ 

* Bart and myself in our eTwinning project "Embedded in EU"

Samsung Smart School at my school

Jun 14, 2013

One of my favourite websites that I visit daily is European Schoolnet. Recently I was pleasantly surprised to find the link to one of my blog posts on their Future Classroom Lab Press Review page. The said blog post was about my visit to the FCL back in October 2012. I wrote about a course on iBook Author that I attended and in the post I also lamented about not being able to implement this tool in my school due to the lack of equipment. And I hoped for that "post to be read by a good soul who wants to donate iPads to my school or otherwise I doubt I'll teach with iPads in the near future."

And guess what!!! The good soul appeared in the form of CARNet  - the Croatian Academic and Research Network - who have just been awarded the Euroepan Prize for Innovation in Public Administration for the project Schools 2.0 -  in which I'm proudly taking part as an expert teacher.

Anyway, they invited Sonja and me to pilot the Samsung Smart School program with Galaxy Note 10.1 tablets at our school! Of course we accepted it wholeheartedly and now, six months later, with unreserved support from our principal, Ms Svea Bielen and also from the CARNet and Samsung staff, we're ready to embark on a new journey. To our delight and thanks to the City of Zagreb's donation, we have a new and lively Future Classroom where we'll be piloting the Smart School program.

About 15 teachers from my school are involved in the pilot project and will use technology for teaching in order to see if it really works and if it really does wonders. We'll be comparing and showing the differences on how our students have mastered a certain topic with and without technology. The official launch of the pilot is September 2013. However I was too eager to wait so I did my first lesson in my German class yesterday. My students were absolutely delighted and so was I. Together we were discovering the possibilities that Samsung Smart School offers. There's still a lot for me/us to learn, but I know now that this is just my cup of tea.  So stay tuned for first-hand updates.

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