Mary Moynagh & Jared Cavagnuolo

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New Literacies and Online Collaborative Inquiry
"We are currently preparing students for jobs that don't yet exist, using technologies that haven't been invented yet, in order to solve problems we don't even know are problems yet." ~ Karl Fisch, Educator
While we may not be able to envision all of the potential jobs and careers that our students will pursue, we can assume that successfully navigating their future workplaces will require a significant degree of collaboration. As new technologies continue to emerge, an increasing amount of that collaboration will take place in online or virtual environments. It is therefore our job as educators to ensure that students leave our classrooms with the knowledge, skills, and confidence necessary to work together using online resources to engage effectively in the inquiry process - seeking out, analyzing, and sharing information for the purpose of accomplishing a specified task or solving a problem.

The task of teaching a new generation of learners to participate appropriately and meaningfully in online collaborative inquiry tasks begins with teaching them to understand and embody what it means to be a good digital citizen. This requires getting students to recognize and think critically about the concept of Web Identity - the online presence and the digital footprint we each create in cyberspace. In effect, critically considering our web identity is, on the one hand, a strategy for managing how others perceive us, but more importantly, it is a means of advancing and promoting our professional goals as teacher leaders striving to prepare students for the classroom and the workplace of the future.

In this session, we will begin by considering what our students' future working environments might look like and the skills needed to succeed in those workplaces. We will then discuss the importance of having a critical perspective on Web Identity and good digital citizenship. Finally, we will look at several options and tools for using online collaborative inquiry in the classroom in order to help students interact online in purposeful and professional ways.

The Workplace of the Future
“We don’t care where and how you get your work done. We care that you get your work done.” ~ Dan Pelino, IBM Health Care / Life Sciences

Digital Citizenship and Web Identity
Digital Citizenship: Using Technology Appropriately

What is your digital footprint?
Search for your digital footprint.
Did you learn anything about yourself?
How might others perceive your online presence and digital footprint? How do you feel about those perceptions?

Article: Positive Digital Footprints by William Ferriter
How can you begin to build your footprint?

Statistics on Students' Use of and Interest in Social Media

Online Collaborative Inquiry in the Borderless 24/7 Classroom
A New Generation of Learners

"20% Time" Projects: Giving students autonomy over task, time, technique and team.

What is Online Collaborative Inquiry?

  • Work with your tablemates to create a definition (using online resources such as dictionaries, Google search, etc. if necessary).

The Classroom of the Future (i.e., September 2012)

The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Classroom: VoiceThread discussion

Article: The Way of the Wiki: Building Online Creativity and Cooperation by Grace Rubenstein

Activity: Online Collaborative Inquiry using Wikis

1. Using information from the Goomoodleikiog video and the Rubenstein article, respond to the Classroom of the Future discussion prompt on our Wiki discussion page. Click the link for your day's session below.

2. Respond to at least one other group's post:
  • What advantages would this group's ideas have for instruction?
  • What challenges might they encounter when attempting to implement their ideas, and how could they overcome those challenges?

Activity: Online Collaborative Inquiry and the New MA Curriculum Framework for ELA & Literacy

1. Your table group will be assigned a strand of the College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards. Copies of the anchor standards are available in PDF and Microsoft Word formats below.

2. Read over your group's standards with your tablemates.

3. Drawing on your own teaching experience and using what you have learned from the resources and activities in this session, work together to answer the following question: How can teachers use tools and resources for online collaborative inquiry to address specific anchor standards?

4. Click on the link for your day's session below to post your group's answer to a Google doc. Your group's answer can be in any form (e.g., paragraph, table, bullets, etc.) as long as it includes specific anchor standards and specific tools and resources that could be used to address them.

MA Curriculum Framework for ELA & Literacy College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards



Speaking & Listening


Want to do an Online Collaborative Project?

If you'd be interested in trying to connect with other teachers from the MNLI to have your classrooms collaborate online, click HERE to share some ideas for potential projects in a discussion on (it's free and doesn't require any sign-up or registration).

Additional Reading & Resources
The Impact of Digital Footprints:
Social-networking sites viewed by admissions officers
Twitter gets you fired in 140 characters or less
How to Lose Your Job on Your Own Time
Google+ causes us to question who owns our digital identity
Online Collaborative Inquiry in the Classroom:
Criteria for Successful Online Collaborative Inquiry
3 Challenges to Wiki Use in Instruction
Goomoodleikiog 4 Students (video)
Example Rubric for Online Discussion
Organizations for Connecting Classrooms:
Global School Net
Required Reading:
Lee, J. K., & Young, C. A. (2010). Building wikis and blogs: Pre-service teacher experiences with web-based collaborative technologies in an interdisciplinary methods course. THEN: The Journal About Technology, Humanities, Education and Narrative. Retrieved from: .
Zawilinski, L. (2010). HOT Blogging: A Framework for Blogging to Promote Higher Order Thinking. To appear in: Reading Teacher..

Download for personal use only.
Evertt-Cacopardo, H. (under review) Classrooms Without Borders: How Online Collaboration Can Connect Adolescents to Literacy and Learning Around the World.