The concept of “Digital Volunteers” hit me after listening to a mom talk about how she volunteered in her child’s class every week and I was so jealous my eye started twitching. I have been in education for a long time and yet I was missing a critical opportunity to help out in my two sons’ classrooms. What was standing in the way? Like most parents it isn’t surprising that my work schedule is the number one time conflict. Then I started wondering, why does time and location have to restrict my ability to volunteer with students?
Enter the idea of building a Digital Volunteer program. I am honored to be able to show this next clip of education guru, George Couros, sharing why this kind of a program can benefit our educational system.
Starting a Digital Volunteer program really is as easy as it sounds! You just need innovative teachers who are willing to try something new as they understand teachers are not the only ones who can give effective feedback to students. Meet Kelly Konrad and Dawn Bennet, who are co-teaching 3rd grade at EPiC Elementary and embracing this Digital Volunteer idea.
Konrad and Bennett created a robust classroom website which serves as a landing space for information about the program, including a Volunteer Survey where interested parents could sign-up to learn more. During the Parent Information Evening, we discussed student blogs and how Digital Volunteers would be used to enhance instruction. Next, we created a tutorial (below) to get parents into the blogging environment which they are just now starting to access.
Click HERE to see the entire tutorial.
Over the past two days we have been working with students to write quality blogs and comment posts. Next week they go live and publish for the first time. We are working to create a series of mini-lessons that will be shared with our Digital Volunteers so they feel comfortable and empowered to leave comments that will push our students forward. Our hope with this process? We want to build transferrable skills these students will be able to use throughout their lives, build up school to community connections with meaningful partnerships with our Digital Volunteers, and continue to make connections with other educators as we share the successes and challenges experienced along the way.
Check back next week as we get started with the EPiC 3rd Grade Blog and consider leaving a comment of your own!