Digital Literacy in the Classroom

By April 24, 2017Blog

This is to serve as an update on the current standing of the Professor Garfield digital literacy website. Students from Cohort 2 have joined the students from Cohort 1 to work on the Professor Garfield project and carry it on after Cohort 1 graduates.

This semester, the Professor Garfield teams have implemented design thinking methods to further research digital literacy education and teaching resources needed in the classroom.

The Cohort 1 team updated and added to mid-fidelity prototypes, or computer designed web page renderings, for student lessons and activities, essentially focusing on the student side of Professor Garfield through Play and Create.

The Cohort 2 team, the team that I’m a part of, is focusing on the teacher’s side, working towards answering the question: How might we fully support K-3 educators in their digital literacy instruction efforts, as well as build a global Professor Garfield community of teachers who collaborate
and support one another?

My team has conducted research, interviews with in-service teachers, and case studies of teaching resource apps and websites to further the understanding of instruction within the classroom. The research lead the team to the center of the problem: The lack of opportunities to engage in collaborative learning, with shared expertise and media adapted activities make it difficult for teachers to implement digital literacy instruction in the classroom.

We found three components that affect classroom instruction and are necessary to address in the Professor Garfield website. These components include:

  • All-in-one, one source for lesson plans, activities, and games that meet standards
  • Community Support
  • Access to Technology

The necessary teaching resources are furthered through the need for one online resource that includes a class feed that provides the ability to assign, track progress, collaborate over and grade assignments, a class list, and a teacher community that encourages teacher-to-teacher collaboration. This research provided the team with enough information to brainstorm design ideas and create low-fidelity prototypes or rough sketches of web pages, that were then updated to mid-fidelity prototype renderings for the Professor Garfield website.

These mid-fidelity prototype pages, Teacher’s Home, Class List, and Resources, include:

  • A class feed page for assigning, tracking progress, collaborating over, and grading student assignments
  • A class list page that includes guardian approval, student progress, teacher-student communication, and emailing abilities  
  • A resource page that encourages teacher collaboration and communication through a forum, a teacher chat community, FAQ, and a grant search resource

Both Cohort 1 and Cohort 2 teams presented these mid-fidelity prototypes, along with the second year team’s prototypes, to the Professor Garfield board at Paws, Inc. during an project progress meeting. The teams will continue to conduct research over pre-made lesson plans, work with in-service and pre-service teachers, and brainstorm updates for prototypes to further the progress on the Professor Garfield website for both student and teacher resources.