Google Apps & digital literacy

One of the great strengths offered by Google Apps is the opportunity for collaboration and interaction. In many instances, the learning curve is not very steep so teachers and students can be up and running quickly.

Students in particular are quick to grasp the technical aspects but may not necessary have the digital social skills to conduct themselves appropriately. They may need some education around digital citizenship.

“Rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t do or say something in real life, don’t do it online either.”

There are lost of resources and theories around digital literacy. One concept that resonated with me was a poster by Adams12 Five Star Schools that suggested digital literacy consisted of 3 parts:

  1. Technology literacy
  2. Information literacy
  3. Digital citizenship

Often students are confident and jump in with the first but may actually lack skills in the second and third. The poster below “15 Rules of Netiquette for Online Discussion Boards” might specifically be around student forums but a lot of the ideas apply to a wide range of Web 2.0 activities. It’s a great starting point for discussion if you are looking at establishing your own “Code of Conduct” for a Google Apps for Education implementation.

Netiquette in Online Discussion Boards infographic

Thanks to Online Education Blog of Touro College for this graphic.

ePortfolios without tears using Evernote

Okay, so I’m taking a slight detour from the Google highway (although you can get an Evernote web clipper extension for Google Chrome so that kind of counts!)

One of my other favourite bits of software is Evernote. Have you ever seen the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”? If you have, you might remember the Dad used Windex as a cure-all, even healing a pimple on the groom’s face on his wedding day.

Well, Evernote is a bit like the Greek Dad’s Windex. It’s such a blank slate of an app that it can be used for so many purposes. Of course, like any software, Evernote does have its limitations. At the same time, its simplicity and flexibility opens up so many possibilities.

One application is as an eportfolio. I use it to put together a portfolio of my instructional design work and to document my professional development (particular informal learning which is not always easy to capture). I share this with potential employers and clients. It’s also a great tool for curating resources and lesson plans.

I also use it with students to put together protfolios of their work either for personal purposes or for assessment. It can also be shared with other teachers (with the students permission, of course!)

Below is a simple graphic to plant ideas on how Evernote might be used as an eportfolio. My advice is – try it! It’s free and easy to use. Just have a play.