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ND teacher, speaking at Twitter headquarters, talks about using technology in classrooms

MAPLETON, N.D. -- Students in Kayla Delzer's third-grade classroom here experienced a sunrise over Paris on Thursday, Nov. 10. The virtual field trip was possible thanks to an augmented-reality app they're beta-testing called Aug That.

Kyle Hodenfield moves his iPad in all directions as he walks around with it as the Mapleton Elementary School third grade class uses them to view different locations through augmented and virtual reality. The image on screen moves in the direction of the viewer. In this class, the students could walk through a street scene in Paris or view the ocean floor as if they were scuba diving.Dave Wallis / The Forum
Kyle Hodenfield moves his iPad in all directions as he walks around with it as the Mapleton Elementary School third grade class uses them to view different locations through augmented and virtual reality. The image on screen moves in the direction of the viewer. In this class, the students could walk through a street scene in Paris or view the ocean floor as if they were scuba diving. Dave Wallis / The Forum
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MAPLETON, N.D. - Students in Kayla Delzer's third-grade classroom here experienced a sunrise over Paris on Thursday, Nov. 10. The virtual field trip was possible thanks to an augmented-reality app they're beta-testing called Aug That.

Ryley Hanson sent Brad Waid, Aug That's augmented reality officer, a message about his experience.

"New AR, VR app @AUGTHAT ! Just trying it out. Awesome experience for me. Really Cool!!! @TechBradWaid by Ryley," he tweeted, along with a photo of Delzer and fellow students using the app.

Waid later tweeted back a few words of appreciation and encouragement.

This was a pretty typical day for Delzer and her class. Students rotated between four work stations with their iPads. In addition to the Aug That creative writing assignment, they also wrote computer code, read books on Epic and provided constructive feedback on their classmate's digital portfolios through an app called Seesaw.

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Delzer is well-known for integrating technology and social media in the classroom. She writes about it in her blog, Top Dog Teaching, and is a frequent contributor at local and national professional development seminars. For a tech junkie, she hit the big time last month when she was asked to speak at a Digital Citizenship Summit at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco.

"Sixty-five percent of today's schoolchildren will be employed in jobs that have not yet been created," Delzer told the crowd of educators, administrators, industry professionals, parents and students. "My job as a third-grade teacher now is completely different than what a third-grade teacher was doing 20 years ago. We're not now preparing students to be veterinarians or teachers or doctors. We are preparing kids for jobs that don't exist yet with technology that has not yet been created."

At the core of her speech was Delzer's belief in the importance of elevating her students' voices.

"My message was about how every student has a voice and it's our obligation or our job now to make sure that we're amplifying that voice and giving students a platform," she said. "I always say students will do their worst work when it's only just for the teacher or an audience of one. So giving them that network of thousands of followers, they're going to do their best job."

Summit organizer David Polgar said Delzer's speech resonated.

"Kayla's talk struck at the heart of the issue. We should be empowering students in order to maximize the benefits of social media and tech, not merely treat it as a danger. We have to be mindful of the risks while aiming to capture the rewards," he said.

Digital citizenship

Delzer takes digital citizenship very seriously. Her students are not allowed to use the class social media accounts until they have passed her Seven Levels of Digital Citizenship Bootcamp.

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One of her lessons is about what private information is. Delzer said kids are rewarded for memorizing their address and telephone number and are often surprised those are the things they should never give out online.

"They don't know it's private information until you teach them that," Delzer said.

Delzer also provides a social media bootcamp for parents. She shows them how to follow the class social media accounts in order to see what their children are learning. It's also a good way to open the dialogue between parents and students about the importance of good digital citizenship.

Delzer tells parents, "Ninety-three percent of employers are going to use social media to hire their employees, so if your student has a poor digital footprint or a neutral digital footprint, they're not going to be employed."

The Essential 55

Not all of Delzer's lessons are technology-based. She also devotes a great deal of time to what is known as the Essential 55, based on a book written by education guru Ron Clark.

Student Ryley Goodman explained them as "55 rules of how to be a better person." He said he demonstrated this week's lesson of Random Acts of Kindness by offering to loan his iPad to a fellow student while his was getting fixed.

"I tell kids I don't care how smart you are, if you're not a kind, good human, that doesn't matter," Delzer said. "It's something we work and work and work so hard on."

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Online

Twitter: @TopDogKids

Instagram: topdogkids

Blog: www.topdogteaching.com

Related Topics: EDUCATION
Angie Wieck is the business editor for The Forum. Email her at awieck@forumcomm.com
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