Our OPS Mobile Learning Unit just finished up her first two weeks of programming with students and parents. Yes, it's a "her." The model name "Blue Bird" is spelled out right on the front of the bus, so our students decided it had to be her name. I think we have a couple kids working on a mascot design as well. What great ownership already!
During these first couple weeks of programming, Blue Bird made it to Kennedy Elementary and Wakonda Elementary a couple times each week. We were able to work with the after-school directors to plan for multiple rotations of student groups to experience it for the first time. (Shout-out to Mr. Q and Mr. Raymone- you guys are great to work with!) We had some great visitors on the bus as well- check out our #OPSDrivesChange hashtag on Twitter and Rob Dickson's Blog to learn more!
We had a couple specific topics to focus on with students, varying a bit with grade level. Like any other classroom teacher, we had to introduce ourselves and go over rules and expectations together. Students brainstormed ideas on our whiteboard walls about staying safe on the bus, as well as staying safe online. Some comments that came up in multiple groups were: "No food or drink on the bus," "No running or jumping in the bus," "Don't give away personal information online," and of course "Don't bring your pets on the bus." Ha! This was really a formative assessment technique for myself to get an idea of what students already knew about digital citizenship.
Our K-2 grades took a "virtual field trip" to the San Diego Zoo on the bus. We watched a video from Common Sense Education's digital citizenship curriculum about going places safely online and in real life. It's never too early to begin making connections between the real world and online world for students- they are growing up as digital natives in our schools, and as these two worlds quickly become one in the same for them, it is important to have conversations about what that should look like.
Our 3-5 grades discussed staying safe online as well, just in a little more detail. I wanted to get some feedback from this older group regarding future programming on the Mobile Learning Unit. As we begin to plan for more in-depth digital literacy sessions, I wanted to know what their interests were and what they were most excited about. I gave students a few choices to pick from in a Microsoft Form, and a space to add in their own thoughts and questions.
We had the great opportunity to work with Wakonda's PTO this past week. Keegan Korf, our OPS Lead Teacher of Digital Citizenship, led parents through the registration process on the Common Sense Media website and directed them to the family resources, including reviews and ratings, device-free dinner information, as well as a whole Latino section. It is wonderful to have her knowledge and expertise in the area of digital citizenship to answer parent questions, provide resources, and plan future parent activities. As we move into National Digital Citizenship Week (October 16-20th), we are planning on utilizing the Common Sense Education resources to celebrate and spread awareness.
Rebecca Chambers serves as an Instructional Technology Coach for the Omaha Public Schools by supporting the district’s Turnaround buildings in their instructional technology initiatives, including the first Mobile Learning Unit which serves the North Omaha community.