The Why- What is the backstory to your idea?
My story is empathy. I can remember when I first started teaching middle school, and the students were just mean. They spoke to one another with hatred. They would fight on Mondays as if this was normal. Feeling overwhelmed and seeking out information from my Mentor. I finally had a peek into what was happening the two days before Monday. The internet and Social Media. Who knew? Students had lost their way and would comment and post some of the meanest and ugliest things my eyes and heart had heard from young minds and fingertips. I had absolutely no idea. Then the lack of respect would carry over into the school’s very own line of communications.
We would have a discussion post with assignments in our new Learning Management System, Schoology, and let me tell you something. Students had absolutely no shame in using any platform to get their point across. So, after year six of watching and wanting to help create a better understanding of my students and teachers, I found that there was not any right way of modeling certain behaviors. Yes, we had great teachers but not really a plan of action. So, here I am with my BHAG, aka My Big Hairy Audacious Goal, to help cultivate empathy in a digital environment (doing it for the babies and a few adults too). This plan is very relevant to my students, to society, and for that matter, the entire world. Creating a significant learning environment where students can visually see empathy and then create a space for them to display or show ideas of what they consider empty is powerful. They had to actually put it into play. They have to be given sentence stems, something so simple but a role to follow to help create new behaviors.
How-How did you create your work?
My work was created for students that have a need to be better an make wise usage of their digital platforms. I have more than one opportunity for them to show their growth and development with my online course. Students will not only create, but they will collaborate and foster a positive sense of communication to help their peers with the spread of good behavior and treating others with empathy/kindness online. We will use discussion posts and reflective videos to display their understanding and the use of technology. This is what I plan to be a tornado of fair winds that can blow anyone over with the need and the change this course will create.
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