Tech Grant Updates
Welcome to our Newsletter! I want to take this opportunity and thank you for your support! Our goal is to offer relevant information regarding the Tech Grant, digital resources and strategies that can help agencies continue to build digital literacy among staff and students. Please take a moment today and share the newsletter with your fellow colleagues and help us spread the word on all the opportunities available in CT. Please read the list below to see this month's updates related to the website and the deliverables.
The DRAW EdTech Maker Space with World Education launched its Digital Skills Library website on March 18th, 2022. The Digital Skills Library is an open repository of free learning resources designed to help all adult learners develop the digital skills needed to achieve their personal, civic, educational, and career goals. I helped contribute resources for different skills in their website and in their new Language Lab, which provides digital resources in other languages. The languages currently available are English, Spanish, Arabic and Hungarian.
The On-Demand Video App from Digital ATDN will update later today with 31 additional videos! This brings the total number to 167 videos! In addition, the bookmark feature syncs across devices, allowing users to save videos found on their phone and access them in the bookmark tab on the computer and vice versa. This app is not available in the Google Play store or Apple Appstore. To install the app on your phone, use the link below:
We have 3 additional resources added to the Resources page. Look for the NEW to find these great resources! Click here to view the resources!
Digital Skills Library
Social Media TestDrive
We have an upcoming PD on Monday, April 4, 2022 titled Nearpod 2 with Ratosha McBride from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM. Click here to register
We have updated our Upcoming Sessions. Click here to access the Upcoming Webinars page for more information.
Social Media TestDrive
Social Media TestDrive is a website that provides a simulated social media environment to prepare users for the online world. The website offers 12 modules that cover a variety of simulated experiences that involve realistic digital dilemmas and scenarios that you can encounter. They cover key concepts and provide strategies on how to navigate through the scenarios.
I evaluated most of the modules as part of the EdTech collaboration. It is very intuitive, includes voice over, and segments the content to help learners focus on the current activity. Although the modules were created for a middle school audience, they can definitely be used as content for students participating in either a High School Completion or ESL program. The website also includes an educator's guide that goes over implementation, learning objectives and other useful information.
I highly recommend going over the different modules, but here are a few that I really enjoyed:
Responding to Breaking News! Learn how to react to breaking news on social media and practice strategies for identifying reliable news online. Click here to start the module.
News in Social Media. Understand why fake news exists and how to identify the telltale signs of fake news on social media. Click here to start the module.
Bridge the Digital Gap with Soft Skills used in Social Media
When we talk about soft skills or transferable skills, we think about the set of skills that can be applied in different jobs and settings. The interesting fact about these "set of skills" is that we do not always realize when we can use them. How many times have you found yourself experiencing a "sudden realization" that you could of used a specific skill AFTER the task was completed? The same can be said with the use of technology. In order to be able to transfer the skills, you need to be "aware" of what is the task you need to do in order to know the skill you need to use.
This process is more challenging for adult learners to consciously identify the what, when and how to use these skills. There are many reasons as to why this is the case: adults may be unfamiliar with the context presented, they may not understand the terminology or they may have other learning gaps that need to be addressed prior to the transfer of skill. Recognizing how to bring over soft skills and how to apply them is a skill that involves analysis of the situation and problem solving. In any case, here are three ways you can create opportunities for students to practice the transfer of skill and rely on what they already know when using technology in the classroom.
Focus on making connections. Adult learners know more than they realize. They may not know the terminology, but they know how it works. Smartphone users are exposed to a variety of online environments on a daily basis. According to Forbes, Americans spent on average 1,300 hours on social media in 2020. Sometimes, what it takes to bridge the gap is to share relatable experiences under other contexts that require the same skills. This month's Resource Spotlight, Social Media TestDrive, uses this approach and can be an invaluable tool to connect students to practice what skills they use in social media, like navigating content in their newsfeeds, and bring it over to their digital toolbox in the classroom.
Support students through tutorials and videos. Think about what you will experience going downtown in a Ford Focus and parking the car. Now go through the same scenario but instead of a Ford Focus, it's a Dodge Ram. How are both experiences similar? How are both experiences different? While we can point out many similarities, we also find ourselves pointing just as many differences. Students may know how to navigate a website on their phone but can experience difficulty on navigating the same website on a laptop. Never assume it's the same experience for students. Instead, create a center (Wakelet is a great tool for this) where they can find how to navigate the tool or how to complete the required task. We want our students to focus their energy in using and refining their digital skills instead of trying to figure out where to go and what to do. Also, this offers an opportunity to address any gaps that are not allowing them to transfer their skill.
Organize activities that build on the skills your students know. Administer a survey to identify what platforms your students use when on the Internet. Even users that focus on news media have an option to create an account that allows them to save, like and comment. Users that opt out of creating an account still need to navigate through ads, scams and other content online. Understanding where your learners spend their time online can give you insight on what skills they use and, in return, will allow you to meet students where they are in their digital literacy skills.
Feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information on implementing tech tool routines in your classroom.