When I discovered that Course 2’s final project required a bit of collaboration, I was both nervous and excited. I was excited for the obvious reason- networking and connecting with other like-minded educators from around the world always ends well! I was nervous because of the same reason a clumsy 13 year old girl gets nervous at recess while teams are made for kick-ball. What if no one chooses me?? I did what any respectable (connected) person would do in this situation- I tweeted out that I was looking for a partner to work with and promised to work super hard. Let me be honest, I’m not as connected as other COETAILers out there, but with the right hashtag, my tweet was retweeted to other networks. I stalked the COETAIL Twitter feed to see if anyone was looking for a partner, and my stalking paid off! I connected with the super amazing Patrick Holt (who taught me that in order to DM someone, you have to be following them on Twitter- complete rookie mistake!) and we decided to work on:

Option 1: In a small group create a Responsible Use Agreement (RUA) for your division level. You may start from scratch or use a framework from some of the resources that are covering in the course or from what your school already has in place.

We took a look at several RUAs from other COETAILers as well as RUAs already in place at other schools. I looked at what my school is currently using, which is fine, but I found it too wordy. The vision was that whatever Patrick and I came up with would be easily usable and posted in the classroom. What happens (and has happened at other schools I’ve worked at) is that the RUA is just more paperwork for students and parents to “read” through at the beginning of the year and bring back signed if they want to use devices like laptops or tablets. We also decided to come up with a visual to go along with the agreement. Patrick and I brainstormed topics and ideas that we wanted to cover in the RUA, and we came up with this: two RUAs- one for middle school and one for elementary.

Regarding the Elementary RUA, we included a section so students can express (through words or pictures) what each part of the RUA means to them- other ways they can show they are responsible, safe, balanced, and respectful users of technology. Ideally, the teacher gives direct, explicit instruction on each part of the RUA, and students discuss in small groups ways that they can be responsible, safe, balanced, and respectful users. After group discussions, students express said discussions in the boxes under each appropriate area. Through this process, students have a little more ownership of the RUA when it comes to the choices they make and the process of deciding what’s responsible and what’s NOT responsible. I added the numbers, but this could be up to teachers and students– how much or how little students should add in each section.

Course 2 Reflection:

Now that I have two COETAIL courses under my belt, I’m finding that this theme of being uncomfortable will probably stick around for awhile. However, the degrees of being uncomfortable are definitely starting to change. YOU GUYS- I found my partner for our final project on Twitter! I put myself out there–searching for a partner, and found one! I’m also starting to realize more and more how important it is that the Internet remain open and accessible, but to give credit where credit is due. I’ve been seeing a lot about Net Neutrality, and I’m afraid when my children grow up (newly married over here. Children are the next step right?) grow up, the Internet will be different for them. I need to do more research because I don’t understand it completely, but, what I have read, scares me! Political affiliations aside, what’s the point of the Internet? Everything that COETAIL has shown me during these two courses is that the Internet is about being connected, building networks, accessing information, SHARING information, crediting where information is found… I feel like I could go on and on. What happens to this idea and way of using the Internet if it’s no longer open?! I think that’s why it’s so important that educators are educating THEMSELVES on authentic and practical tech usage in the classroom (thank you COETAIL!) so that we can then educate our students who will THEN hopefully one day be in a position to make policies that make sense to the general PEOPLE, not a select handful of people. *throws mic on floor* I’m out!