Are you considering student data & privacy when selecting #edtech tools?

Whenever you sign up to use a new web tool, you are often asked to accept the Terms of Service of that site. If you are like me, you probably just hit “I accept” without reading all of that fine print. As part of the ISTE Certification I am pursuing, I’ve had to consider the implications of this when it comes to choosing web tools to use, especially for use with students. The ISTE Standards for Educators Digital Citizen Standard 3d, asks educators to “model and promote management of personal data and digital identity and protect student data privacy.” I’ve realized that this is a crucial step I was missing when I evaluate edtech tools.

For instance, consider these two coding sites for students: CodeCombat and Code.org. Both have engaging coding activities for students, but when you look closer at their Terms of Service and Privacy Policies, as Common Sense Education did, there are clearly differences.

commonsensecoding

It’s helpful to have a resource like Common Sense’s Privacy Evaluations because evaluating privacy policies can be tedious, confusing and time consuming. Yet, it’s up to us an educators to do our due diligence to ensure we are protecting our students online. If you don’t think this a concern, I urge you to consider Barbara Kurshan’s Forbes article,
“The Elephant in the Room With EdTech Data Privacy,” which raises concerns with #edtech giants like GSuiteEdu and PowerSchool.

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In the St. Louis area, one school district that has been a real leader in this area is Mehlville. Last September, Alicia Landers,  Director of Curriculum Technology, shared the work they’ve been doing in the district to protect student privacy at an Education Technology Association of St. Louis meeting. Alicia said, “We take every precaution to protect our students in the physical world; we should also do everything we can to protect them in the virtual world, too.”

When they adopted Google seven years ago, they started considering the data privacy issue. It is Mehlville Board policy that any teacher teaching with internet will teach digital citizenship. Alicia created a cheat sheet checklist for herself for evaluating an app, web tool or site before adopting it for their district. Non-negotiables included collecting and selling data and the inability to access, edit and delete data that has been collected.

_FERPACOPPA Cheat Sheet
They also developed a flowchart for teacher-use only or student-use, but it turned out to be too complicated, so they wanted to streamline the process, but evaluating sites was so time-consuming, that they actually went to an outside source for doing this work, Education Framework. They are a startup that will review apps for you for FERPA & COPPA compliance for a per student price. One really great feature is the “request for improvement” button where it will send an email on behalf of you to contact the company. ABCya actually is now FERPA & COPPA compliant now thanks to this process. In fact, as of September 2017, 27 out of about 100 companies Alicia contacted this way have actually responded and improved their compliance.

When they rolled this out to staff, there were some who mourned the loss of some tools, but teachers ultimately understood that student safety is foremost. Tech staff gave the teaching staff list of approved tools/not approved tools with explanations. Teachers can still use apps that are not on the approved list as long as they are not creating student log ins or sharing personally identifiable information of students. They also created a Google form for teachers to ask for new tools to be approved (usually a 2-day turnaround from Education Framework). They’ve also done work to teach staff about privacy issues and to
provide ideas on how to teach digital citizenship including small, teachable moments.
Mehlville changed their Acceptable Use Policy for students and teachers, with a link to approved apps. Washington, MO schools, where Alicia’s husband works, have also been working with Mehlville in this process. Alicia would love to get with other like-minded folks to continue work in this area including digital citizen ideas. You can connect with her on Twitter @AliciaAjl.

If you liked to know more about protecting student data privacy, Alicia recommends these resources:

https://tech.ed.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Student-Privacy-and-Online-Educational-Services-February-2014.pdf

https://studentprivacy.ed.gov/sites/default/files/resource_document/file/TOS_Guidance_Mar2016.pdf

https://studentprivacy.ed.gov/resources/protecting-student-privacy-while-using-online-educational-services-model-terms-service

https://ferpasherpa.org/educators/

 

 

Hey, #FutureReadyLibs, new #AASLstandards show #makerspace not a fad

Copy of #FutureReadyLibs Take on AASL MakerspaceIf you’ve been in education as long as me (Um…wow…20+ years), you’ve surely seen educational trends come and go and watched the pendulum swing on what are considered educational priorities. So, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that some librarians are sitting back and waiting to see if the library makerspace trend is going to go out of style.

For much of my English teaching career (before I became a librarian), reading and writing across the curriculum was all the rage, and my expertise in these areas was appreciated by teachers across the content areas, who were all of the sudden expected to be teachers of reading and writing on top of their own content. Yet, the pendulum has swung in recent years, and now STEM and STEAM are everything. (Those smarties in Art got in on the acronym action early, and now we are left to awkwardly try to slip in an R for reading, to make it STREAM,).

If you aren’t teaching “design thinking” or “novel engineering,” you are behind the times, dear literacy-loving friends. And, while I do believe Humanities will get their due again eventually (at least I hope so– especially given the way modern life seems to resemble more and more those dystopian novels that fly off the shelves in my library), I have to tell you–having taken a deep dive into the new AASL Standards this semester–I truly believe that this new “makerspace mindset” is not just a passing fad.

If you don’t believe me, then just take a look at these competencies from the shared foundation, Explore:

  • V.B.1. Learners construct new knowledge by problem solving through cycles of design, implementation, and reflection.
  • V.B.2. Learners construct new knowledge by persisting through self-directed pursuits by tinkering and making.
  • V.C.3. Learners engage with the learning community by collaboratively identifying innovative solutions to a challenge or problem.
  • V.D.1. Learners develop through experience and reflection by iteratively responding to challenges.

While Explore, with its key commitment to “discover and innovate in a growth mindset developed through experience and reflection,” encompasses more than just making, it is pretty clear that the language in this shared foundation encourages it. According to Chapter 9 of the new standards book, learners benefit from “opportunities to cultivate creative pursuits by making and experimenting with hands-on activities within the library space” (emphasis mine), and they advance “by tackling challenges that build skill through multiple opportunities to engage in problem-solving and critical-thinking processes.”

I’ll admit right now, I have been slow to get on board with incorporating makerspace in my library and not because I think it’s going to go out of style. Because I serve a student population that is behind in reading (75% of our incoming 6th graders read 2-3 grade levels below where they should be), the focus of my middle school library program is always going to be on reading. But, I also realize that if I do not provide opportunities to make and iterate, my high-poverty students may not be exposed to it elsewhere.

This is why an METC STEAM Summer Institute session on makerspace activities tied to state-award nominated picture books I attended last summer was so appealing to me. The idea of tying the makerspace to literacy seemed like the perfect fit. I blogged about that session here, and I set out this school year to figure out how I could take the idea and make it work for my secondary students.

fins

One of elementary librarian, Carolyn Allen’s terrific ideas that inspired me last summer.

My first thought was to book talk a Truman or Gateway book, read a quick excerpt and then have the students complete a related makerspace activity during their regularly scheduled library visits. Yet, incorporating anything but the simplest, quickest makerspace activities turned out to be hard to manage given the limited time I see secondary students, so I had to get a little more creative and reach out to teaching partners who could collaborate.

As it turns out, our middle school science teachers were looking for enrichment activities for their intervention time, and they were more than willing to have me come in and share about an award book. Then, I could leave, and they took care of the related STEM activity. We were able to incorporate maker activities this way, and it also ended up leading to a broader STEM-Literacy partnership.  For instance, I read an excerpt from Red Queen to 6th grade science students at the start of a unit on blood types, which incorporated inquiry as well as a more traditional lab. The collaboration has me so excited, that I am thinking about reaching out to other departments, like art, social studies and math!

red queen

6th graders learn about real blood types and read about red & silver bloods.

Another idea we have in the works, is putting together some Family STEM-Literacy take-home kits, where we’ll send home two copies of the award book, along with an accompanying nonfiction title, discussion guides and maker activities and materials. We’re writing a grant this month in hopes of funding this idea and our continued partnership!

beneath

I really hope we can fund these kits!

For my high schoolers, I decided to focus on Gina Seymour-inspired “makercare” activities, where the projects were tied to community service. I introduced this through my monthly Teen Library Council lunch meetings, and then students could come in during their free time to participate in making  with the added incentive of getting to go on a field trip to deliver the items we made that were meant for outside the school. Here is a link to the Donor’s Choose project I did to fund the supplies for this idea.

bright

An easy “makercare” project you can do in school.

 

So, while there are a lot of Future Ready Librarians who are trendier than me and a lot farther along when it comes to their library makerspaces, I hope you find a little inspiration here. Plus, I hope you will join in on these collaborative documents (MASL Makers 2017-2018 & MASL Makers 2018-2019) where we are sharing our maker ideas for the MASL award-nominated books (even if you are not from Missouri!).

 

 

A #FutureReadyLibs take on #DigCit in the new #AASLStandards

At #METC18 (Midwest Education Technology Conference) I was fortunate to attend several sessions with Dr. Kristen Mattson (@DrKMattson), including a 3-hour preconference session, “Digital Citizenship: Moving Beyond Personal Responsibility.” Dr. Mattson, who started the Future Ready Librarians Facebook group, had a book  published recently by ISTE , Digital Citizenship in Action: Empowering Students to Engage in Online Communities. Her sessions really got me thinking about the way we approach digital citizenship with our students, and I decided to see what the new AASL National School Library Standards had to say about the librarian’s role in teaching digital citizenship.

While the phrase “digital citizenship” does not appear by name in the Standards Frameworks, nor is it indexed in the standards book, digital citizenship is definitely a big part of the new school library standards. As is no surprise, the librarian’s role in teaching students to ethically gather and use information is prominent. The key commitment for shared foundation Engage states that learners will “demonstrate safe, legal, and ethical creating and sharing of knowledge products while engaging in a community of practice and an interconnected world.” However, it’s also not surprising that the competencies enumerated in this shared foundation focus much more on the “safe, legal and ethical” use of knowledge (what we traditionally view as digital citizenship) rather than the latter part of the commitment, where we help learners navigate within “a community of practice and an interconnected world.”

digcit

In her book and her presentations, Dr. Mattson argues that our digital citizenship lessons need to move beyond “personal responsibility so that [we] can create opportunities for students to become participatory citizens, actively engaging in multiple levels of community and developing relationships based on mutual trust and understanding with others in these spaces.” Dr. Mattson further states, “As citizens, we have a responsibility to give back to the community and to work toward social justice and equity. Digital citizenship curricula should strive to show students possibilities over problems, opportunities over risks and community successes over personal gain.”

This expanded view of our responsibility in teaching our students to be good digital citizens is reflected in two of the other shared foundations in the standards: Include and Collaborate. Consider some of the following competencies and what we as librarians can do to guide our students:

  • II.A.3. Learners contribute to a balanced perspective when participating in a learning community by describing their understanding of cultural relevancy and placement within the global learning community.
  • II.C.I. Learners exhibit empathy with and tolerance for diverse ideas by engaging in informed conversation and active debate.
  • III.B.1. Learners participate in personal, social, and intellectual networks by using a variety of communication tools and resources.
  • III.D.2. Learners actively participate with others in learning situations by recognizing learning as a social responsibility.

Dr. Mattson believes that we should take a “participatory citizen” approach where equity and social justice are emphasized as we acknowledge student voice in digital spaces, help students understand their roles in digital communities, give them opportunities to participate respectful discourse, show them how to make meaningful connections through networking, and encourage them to make contributions that matter.

According to the Future Ready Librarians Framework, teaching digital citizenship should be part of the instructional partnerships that we build with other educators, and Dr. Mattson suggests that we help our instructional partners add a layer of digital citizenship to lessons they are already doing. For instance, a free speech discussion in Civics class could include consideration of digital speech, or a history lesson could ask students to consider how the sinking of the Titanic would be different if cell phones always existed.

For more practical ideas about teaching digital citizenship, check out Dr. Mattson’s website, view the #METCTV recording of her session, Beyond the Hashtags: What Can Social Media Do for Social Justice, and definitely consider picking up a copy of her book.

 

 

Getting Started with the #AASLstandards for Busy #FutureReadyLibs

Getting started with #AASLstandards for busy #futurereadylibs

Here’s a quick round up of resources available to help you get started with the new AASL Standards as well as an overview of key vocabulary related to the standards.

5 Resources for Getting Started with the Standards:

The standards: Aside from purchasing the book, The Framework for Learners is available for free here. To access all 3 frameworks (Learner, School Librarian & School Library), you can download the app for $12.99, but hurry because Jennisen Lucas said the price is increasing to $19.99 on February 15. One nice thing about the app is it allows you to create a profile where you can take notes.

The AASL Standards website: More resources are being added weekly to http://standards.aasl.org, including Where do I start?, How to Read the Standards, discussion forums, one pagers for admins, teachers & parents, and more.

Twitter chats: @AASL is hosting Twitter chats about the standards. Don’t worry if you missed the first one because they are being archived. Here is the Archive of Jan. 25th Chat. The next chat (Wednesday, Feb. 7 6pm CST. #AASLstandards) is for supervisors, but all school librarians are welcome, and most of the questions seem applicable to all.

Webinars: There have already been several webinars. I recommend Wyoming State Library’s webinar series, where AASL Affiliate Jennisen Lucas gives an overview of the standards, and then goes in depth with the shared foundations, starting with “Inquire,” where she walks us through deconstructing the competencies across grade levels.

#NotatAASL LiveBinders: Curated resources from #AASL17 and #NOTATAASL hashtags before, during and after the National Conference for the American Association of School Librarians, Nov. 8-11, 2017, Phoenix AZ include a section with AASL Standards Resources.

5 Key AASL Standards Vocabulary Terms:

Shared Foundations: the six core educational concepts that anchor the standards are I. Inquire, II. Include, III. Collaborate, IV. Curate, V. Explore and VI. Engage.

Key Commitments: Each of the shared foundations has a brief description called a key commitment located along the top of the standards. For example, the key commitment for Engage is “Demonstrate safe, legal and ethical creating and sharing of knowledge products independently while engaging in a community of practice and an interconnected world.”

Domains: The knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to enact the standards are developed in the learning categories of A. Think, B. Create, C. Share and DGrow.

Competencies:  The measurable statements within the standards for learners and librarians are the competencies. For instance, learner competency IV.B.4. states that “Learners gather information appropriate to the task by organizing information by priority, topic or other systematic scheme.” We label it IV.B.4 because it is the fourth competency for learners listed under the Shared Foundation of IV. Curate in the Domain B. Create.

Alignments: For school libraries, the competencies are called alignments.

A #FutureReadyLibs take on The New @AASL Standards 6 Common Beliefs

#FutureReadyLibs Take on AASL 6 Common BeliefsThis semester I’ll be taking a deep dive into the new National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians and School Libraries and exploring how those fit into my role as  Future Ready Librarian.

To begin, I’d like to take a look at the Six Common Beliefs or guiding assumptions upon which the standards are based.

For a great overview of how these updated belief statements compare to the nine Common Beliefs of the previous standards, see Hilda Weisberg’s blog post.

1. The school library is a unique and essential part of a learning community.

A key statement within this belief is “By providing access to an array of well-managed resources and technology, school libraries enable academic knowledge to be linked to deeper, personalized learning.” Personalized student learning is at the center of the Future Ready framework, and this belief statement recognizes the library’s role in providing an environment for this learning. A Future Ready Librarian “designs collaborative space” and “curates digital resources” to “empower students as creators.”

I want my library to be the “hub of the school.” Empowering students as creators has been of great importance to me, not only in terms of the resources available at the library for students but in helping this to become an Academy priority. I want my students to be creators and not just consumers of technology, and I advocate for this with the staff in my role facilitating teacher technology goals within their professional learning plans.

2. Qualified school librarians lead effective school libraries.

According to this belief, “Qualified school librarians perform interlinked, interdisciplinary, and cross-cutting roles as instructional leaders, program administrators, educators, collaborative partners and information specialists.” This guiding principle recognizes the Future Ready Librarian’s role not only as a collaborative partner in curriculum and instruction but as instructional leader who “facilitates professional learning” and is well positioned to “lead beyond the library.”

Juggling the many roles of the librarian can be a challenge, but I think leading beyond the library is important. I serve as Academy Technology Committee Chair and Future Ready Project Manager. My responsibilities include mentoring staff in their technology professional learning goals and planning Academy technology professional development. I stay current on ed tech by maintaining a strong PLN on Twitter and serving as a Board member and active participant of the Education Technology Association of St. Louis.

3. Learners should be prepared for college, career, and life.

This belief stems from the idea that “the purpose of learners’ education is to empower learners to pursue academic and personal success, whether in inquiry, advanced study, emotionally and intellectually rewarding professional work, or community readiness.” This aligns with the mission of The Alliance for Excellent Education, the organization behind the Future Ready movement. The Alliance is dedicated to ensuring that all students “graduate from high school ready for success in college, work and citizenship.” The Future Ready Schools initiative is based upon the idea that implementing “personalized, research-based digital learning strategies” will help students achieve their full potential.

This year our Academy began our back-to-school professional development considering what makes an ideal graduate and what we do as educators to develop this. This began an Academy-wide focus on adopting the essential elements of Project Based Learning. This shift to inquiry-based learning has been a opportunity for me as the information specialist to serve as a resource to staff and students.

4. Reading is the core of personal and academic competency.

Along with utilizing “motivational reading initiatives” and using “story and personal narrative to engage learners,” this guiding principle also recognizes the role of the Future Ready Librarian to ensure “up-to-date technology and digital and print materials that include curated open education resources.” OER is a big push within the Future Ready movement.

Meeting the independent reading needs of my students and fostering their love of reading is a major focus of my library and our LFLA Reads program. I have not been as focused on OER, but I know that the #GoOpen Missouri Education Initiative has some great resources.

5. Intellectual freedom is every learner’s right.

A key statement within this belief is “Learners are expected to develop the ability to think clearly, critically, and creatively about their choices [in what they will read, view or hear], rather than allowing others to control their access to ideas and information.” This relates to the Future Ready Librarians role not only in providing access to information, but in guiding students to be informed, digital citizens. Future Ready Librarians also serve as “advocates for student privacy.”

I am excited to be attending Dr. Kristen Mattson’s METC18 preconference session “Digital Citizenship: Moving Beyond Personal Responsibility,” which will be focused on empowering students as members of digital communities.

6. Information technologies must be appropriately integrated and equitably available.

According to this guiding principle, “Education leaders and policymakers should strive to provide sufficient  access to up-to-date, robust technology and connectivity. An effective school library plays a crucial role in bridging digital and socioeconomic divides.”  According to the FRL framework, a Future Ready Librarian “ensures equitable digital access.”

At my high poverty, Title I school, this is a huge issue. Since I came to the Academy as Library Media Specialist six years ago, I have been an advocate for improving our infrastructure, technology support, the number of devices and the quality of technology professional development. We now participate in E-Rate, have increased technology support from 10 hours per week to 30, have more devices thanks to switching from laptops to less expensive Chromebooks, have adopted Google Suite for Education, and use the SAMR (substitution, augmentation, modification, redefinition) model as a framework to improve technology integration. Yet, my students still experience barriers to access at home. In a recent survey of our high school students only 37% have a computer at home with reliable internet service, creating a “homework gap.” I am currently working on a partnership for next year that will bring Chromebooks to the library that are available for students to checkout overnight.

 

 

 

 

Protocols for Effective Student Feedback in @GoogleDocs

During Plan Smarter, Not Harder with Edu-Protocols, Jon Corippo (@jcorippo) shared lesson design advice as part of #DitchSummit, a free digital conference from Matt Miller (@jmattmiller) author of Ditch That Textbook. One of the things Matt and Jon discussed was protocols for helping students become stronger writers. Having been an English teacher before I became a librarian, this is a topic near to my heart, and I believe using Google Docs effectively is one of the best ways to grow writers. In fact, it’s something I often present at conferences, so I thought I would turn my presentation into an infographic to describe what I think are the best workflows. Enjoy!

 

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I’m recommitting to my #gratitude180 #happinesshabit thanks to #DitchSummit Day 2

I started this school year with a simple idea. Inspired by a TED Talk from Shawn Achor (), The Happy Secret to Better Work, I worked to retrain my brain to scan for the positive by tweeting out 3 things every work day for which I was grateful. I used the hashtag #gratitude180 because there are roughly 180 days in a school year, and I liked the connotation that one could do a 180 degree turnaround in attitude by focusing on the positive.

I tweeted faithfully for 21 days. And, I will say, it was the most positive start to a school year I can remember. But, then I quit. And, I’d been feeling bad about it ever since.

That is, until I watched the Day 2 video for #DitchSummit, a free, online conference.  Matt Miller (@jmattmiller) author of Ditch That Textbook interviewed Kim Strobel (@strobeled), education consultant and happiness coach about The Science of Happiness for Teachers and Students.

As I watched Kim talk about the science behind happiness, it felt like I had been on the right track. So, where did I go wrong? Then, as Kim was talking about perfection, it hit me. I realized that tweeting everyday had become more about keeping up a perfect record of gratitude tweets than the gratitude itself. As Kim pointed out in her #DitchSummit talk, “social media magnifies the pressure of being everything to everyone.” I needed to give myself permission to be imperfect. Kim suggested a technique from Brene Brown (@BreneBrown), author of The Gifts of Imperfection. Brene says you should write yourself a permission slip on a post-it, giving yourself permission to be imperfect in whatever way you need.

So, here’s mine.

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I also realized that I might need to take my gratitude journal a little more private. This was part of why I had been feeling bad. I had run into a former colleague who made a comment about how much I tweet, and I had started to worry that I was clogging up my followers’ Twitter feeds with gratitude tweets that were probably only meaningful to me.

According to Kim, “The human brain has 50,000-70,000 thoughts a day and on average 80% are negative. 95% of the negative thoughts are on repeat throughout the day. We
need to find ways to break this cycle.”

I had let a negative comment about my tweeting play on repeat in my head and suddenly #gratitude180 was backfiring. I was letting cynical win.

So, I’m recommitting today to my #happinesshabit.

To Achor’s original suggestions–

  • Make a list of three positive things from your workday
  • Journal about one of those things in order to relive the memory
  • Start your day off the next day by writing a thank you email or note expressing your gratitude to someone

I’m adding some of Kim’s ideas–

  • Write yourself imperfection permission slips on post-its
  • Have a phrase or mantra that affirms your values (could also be on a post-it) that you go back to throughout the day
  • Take 10-15 minutes of uninterrupted time in your day that is just for you
  • Be mindful to keep your cup overflowing and only give away “the excess” so you don’t deplete yourself
  • Scale back and play more

I’m also going to start using the hashtag #gratitude180 again, but this time I will use it a little more selectively.  I’ll share my progress in my journey toward a #happinesshabit and share great ideas I hear to extend the gratitude. I invite you to join me! And, I encourage you to checkout #DitchSummit for more info about this topic and the rest of the great PJ PD you’ll find!