Major project update!

Hey everyone,

I thought I would provide you all with an update regarding the progress of my major digital project. Recently, I completed another detailed lesson plan for the Digital Law element and added it to my Google classroom. For this lesson, its primary focus involves teaching students how to properly cite information they find online and intend to use. The lesson begins with questioning the student’s previous knowledge about citations and the explains why citing information is not only respectful but a necessary skill to learn. Furthermore, it encourages students to think critically by examining the term plagiarism and some of the possible consequences for not sourcing information properly.

 

Within schools, teachers should make every effort to include the use of digital tools within their teaching practices in part of teaching about digital citizenship. Now a days, the majority of research is performed online, rather than by the use of traditional textbooks. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that both teachers and students turn to the internet in order to collect data. In today’s digital world, almost anything can be learned online. Although retrieving information online is quick and convenient, it is important for teachers to educate their students about electronic responsibility. Digital law deals with the ethics of technology within a society and these laws apply to anyone who works or plays online. It is crucial for students to understand this. While it may be easy to claim someone else’s work to be your own, plagiarism is unethical and is considered to be an online crime. As a teacher and an adult learner, I cannot stress this enough!

For me, developing this lesson plan was rather meaningful because within my ten years of teaching experience, I have witnessed plagiarism from students (mainly from students in the middle-years level) on several different occasions. Although I would try my best to explain why it is disrespectful and dishonest, I really felt like I did not have the tools or proper knowledge needed in order to teach my students about digital citizenship and all of its elements. But now, this course has granted me a second chance. By creating a curriculum-based resource for teaching about digital citizenship, it will provide me with the opportunity to teach my future students about the norms of appropriate, responsible behaviour with regard to technology use. Moreover, it will encourage the use of digital tools within my day to day teaching practices.

Thanks for stopping by!

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My digital identity…Past, present and future!

For this week’s post, we were asked to reflect on the idea of digital identity and explain how our past, present and future online practices contributes to who we are as individuals. The way in which we represent ourselves offline and the activities we practice online determines our online reputation and digital identity. Before taking online courses with Alec, my knowledge about digital citizenship and identity was restricted. I suppose you could say, I was aware about the basic “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for practicing online safety, such as not providing private information in online spaces I am unfamiliar with or do not trust. But, establishing a person’s digital identity is so much more than protecting private information or sharing a photo online. It involves the understanding that our past and present online activity and practices will ultimately contribute to how we are showcased or perceived within the digital world.

My Past- Growing up in the 1990’s, the world-wide web was limited in its potential. I do not recall using technology and the internet for entertainment really, more so for doing research for school work. Therefore, my understanding of the internet was that it was only to be used as a secondary resource (next to textbooks) for finding information. The concepts of digital identity and digital footprints were not taught in schools during this time but I was encouraged by my parents to exercise caution while navigating through online spaces. Although my parents might be considered digital immigrants according to today’s digital standards, even with little or no technological experience, they were aware of the many potential online risks. They always paid close attention to my practices online to ensure my safety, even while conducting research for school. I am grateful for my parents as they encouraged me to think critically online, even when establishing these skills were not the focus in schools. Ever since then, I have worked hard to maintain a positive digital identity by being active in online spaces while monitoring my digital footprints closely.

My Present- As an adult learner and educator, having a positive digital identity is extremely important to me. The way I am perceived in online spaces not only reflects my personal reputation, but also professionally. Through the use of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and blogging, I have grown more confident in my ability to make my presence known online as well as share in my learning. Moreover, I have learned that the world-wide web can be a valuable tool and can contribute to our learning in a variety of ways, as long as it is used responsibly and appropriately.

My Future- For my future practices, my goal is to maintain a positive digital identity. Furthermore, I intend to model for my students the many ways we can be active and productive online. I have been very fortunate to have obtained the knowledge and critical thinking skills required in order to protect myself while contributing to digital world. I hope to educate my students about digital identity meanwhile provide them with opportunities to explore open spaces but in a teacher-guided environment.

As educators, it is important that we teach our students about the importance of digital identity. Knowledge is key and without it, our students are at risk for making mistakes which cannot be undone and potentially harm their digital reputation. In partnership with teachers, parents can encourage their children to be responsible and to think before they post as children are more likely to be active in online spaces after school hours. In the article “Teacher’s Guide to Digital Citizenship”, it states “either educators nor parents have the means to completely control how students use technology. That only makes it more important for educators to address digital citizenship in the classroom, so students will have a better idea of what they’re getting into once outside of it”. Therefore, I believe that students may achieve positive digital identities for themselves if they have the tools and critical thinking skills required for navigating responsibly online. As Amy B states in her blog this week, “We need to prepare students for a digital world that doesn’t fully exist yet, we don’t fully comprehend and while it is online it will still impact their daily lives”. I couldn’t agree with you more, Amy B! Our biggest mistake as parents and teachers is to simply assume that our children know what they’re doing, without any guidance. Digital wisdom is not automatically embedded into our brains, it is taught. Together, we can create opportunities for our students to be present in online spaces while steering them on course to maintaining safe and positive digital identities.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

Project update! Take a look!

Hey everyone!

So, for my weekly progress report, I thought I would get a little bit creative and create a vlog! This vlog presents a sneak peak of my major project and informs you about the resources I am using to develop my curriculum-based resource for teaching digital citizenship for the elementary level, specifically grades 3-5. This video is just over nine minutes so if you have some free time amongst your busy schedules, take a look! I hope you enjoy it and I appreciate any feedback you may have to offer! Thanks!

Thanks for stopping by!

Building on digital citizenship, one student at a time!

For this week’s post, we were asked to provide an update of our major project and discuss how it relates to one or more of Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship. Back in January, I made the decision to develop a curriculum-based resource for teaching digital citizenship . Although there were several tempting project ideas to choose from, my decision for developing this resource was purely based on the rationale that I could utilize it upon returning to work. As a few of you already know, I am currently on maternity leave. So, by the time I return to work, my project should be complete and ready to implement with my students.

When I first began to map out the details for my major project, I knew I would be investigating the following resources: Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship, Saskatchewan’s Digital Citizenship Continuum, Saskatchewan’s Digital Citizenship Policy Planning Guide and the Common Sense Education website. By examining these resources in depth, my project will encompass the proper content requirements for teaching digital citizenship as well as include the use of digital tools.

In order to teach students to think critically online and offline, my project will focus on all nine aspects of digital citizenship: Digital Etiquette, Digital Access, Digital Law, Digital Communication, Digital Literacy, Digital Commerce, Digital Rights and Responsibilities, Digital Health and Wellness and Digital Security. Specifically, the goal for my project is to develop a unit plan (grades 3-5) which includes detailed lesson plans to support each element. My plans will consist of effective strategies for educating students about each element and contain interactive activities for both teachers and students to partake in. By including the use of digital tools and social media apps, students will be able to practice appropriate and responsible behaviour but in a supportive environment, guided by the teacher.

My overall goal for my major project is to create opportunities for both teachers and students to positively engage in the online world with confidence and comfortability. Once my project is complete, I am hoping to share this resource with my colleagues so that they may promote the importance of digital citizenship. As educators, it is important to acknowledge that technology plays a large roll in how we learn and communicate. We know that every child is unique and has different needs and technology contributes to our students learning as it provides enrichment and support in many different ways. Therefore, I’m hoping my curriculum-based resource will offer myself and other educators a starting point for incorporating digital citizenship into our teaching practices rather than deny students the use of digital tools because we fear they are not responsible to operate them. Let’s embrace the many advantages technology offers and teach our students how to be positive digital citizens online and offline.

 

Times are changing…but are we ready to?

For this week’s post, we were asked to discuss the topic of technology in regards to the generational, societal, and cultural changes that may lie ahead. In today’s digital world, there is no doubt that technology plays a significant role. As technology continues to adapt to the needs of modern society, its advancements lead to somewhat of a dependency towards technology. Specifically, a person’s day to day activities most likely involve technology in one way or another. Whether it’s paying bills online, participating in open education, or simply communicating with friends and family through social networking, technology is present.

As previously discussed in my post last week, David White’s idea of Digital Residents and Digital Visitors resonated with me. A person’s activity online and the practices they develop may determine where they stand on the continuum, but it does not necessarily establish whether or not they have mastered digital wisdom. Although generational factors might depict one’s natural fluency towards operating technology, digital citizenship involves specific skill sets which are not automatically rooted into our brains, they need to be taught.

As we prepare today’s modern students to be successful digital citizens both online and offline, there are many factors which need to be considered. First and foremost, we must remember that education begins in the home. Therefore, how parents utilize technology drastically influences their children. Parents that allow or are aware that their children have access to technology should most definitely spend time educating their children about the potential dangers that exist online. In the article “Sound, Smart, and Safe: A Plea for Teaching Good Digital Hygiene”, Alissa Sklar explains how “Digital hygiene teaches so much more than just safe, responsible use of digital tools”. Specifically, digital hygiene is instilled by parents who are aware of the “innumerable ways technology has infiltrated every aspect of our kids’ lives”. Therefore, in partnership with teachers, it is essential that parents also model critical thinking skills for their children as it will encourage them to think critically both online and offline.

In the video “What does it mean to be a (digital) citizen”, created by my colleague Kyla Moffatt, she states “It is the responsibility of both parents and teachers to educate young minds and shape digital citizens”. Well Kyla, I could not agree with you more! Teachers recognize the importance of digital citizenship as we make strong efforts to include the use of technology into our daily teaching practices. However, with no fault of their own, some parents lack the knowledge and information for teaching digital citizenship, therefore they struggle to teach their children these skills. Therefore, parents who wish to be informative about this topic are encouraged to seek assistance from their child/children’s teacher(s). Parents may inquire about the many resources available that can assist them with educating their children about digital citizenship. As Kyla states, “We are all in this together”!

In order for today’s youth to be raised as positive digital citizens, there is much that society and schools can do to encourage online responsibility. The first step is acknowledging the potential risks that results with the inappropriate use of technology. The second step is recognizing that technology plays a major role in the way we learn, communicate and gain information. Kelsie accurately explains in her blog that “Schools need to change their pedagogical focus from a one-size-fits-all approach of students sitting in desks in a classroom at a specific time on a specific day to one that meets the needs of individual learners where they are”. Schools need to embrace technology and realize the advantages it provides education and to individual learners. As a society, there is much we can do for our youth. As Dani states, “Knowledge is truly power” and together, we can educate our students about the importance of digital citizenship and hopefully witness our students be successful both online and offline.

Major project is underway!

Well, my major project is finally underway! After spending all last week searching for resources about teaching digital citizenship, I finally feel ready to start developing my curriculum-based resource for the elementary level (Grades 3-5). The primary resources I intend to use in order to develop my project are: Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship, Saskatchewan’s Digital Citizenship Policy Planning Guide, Saskatchewan’s Digital Citizenship Continuum from Kindergarten to Grade 12, Common Sense Education website, and a variety of social media sources (Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, etc…).

As stated in my introductory post, I intend to fashion my curriculum-based resource in the form of a unit plan. This unit will consist of 9 lessons plans. Specifically, 1 lesson plan for each of Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship. The contents of my unit plan will include lesson plans with detailed teaching instructions, activities, assessments, and a variety of resources to support each lesson. Once I narrowed down the structure of my project, next thing on my mind was organization. I thought to myself; Where would I store and organize all of my work?? So, I decided to use a digital platform called Google classroom as a space to store all of the content for my project. Creating a Google classroom was relatively easy for me as I’ve used it in the past with other online courses with Alec. I enjoy working with Google classroom as it is user-friendly and all of my Google documents automatically saves to my Google drive. Basically, everything I need is conveniently stored in one place. Need I say more?

Although the majority of my work will be stored in my Google classroom, I will continue to blog about the developmental process of my major project. So far, I have created a new class in my Google account and labeled it “Major Project for EC&I 832”. I have also created a topic within my Google classroom called “Resources to support Digital Citizenship”. Here, I have attached several resources that may be used while teaching about digital citizenship, such as the Saskatchewan’s Digital Citizenship Policy Planning Guide, Saskatchewan’s Digital Citizenship Continuum, and a variety of informational posters. Within the next week or so, I will attach my first detailed lesson plan.

As soon as my Google Classroom has more content uploaded to it, I will be ready to share the class code you will need in order to join my Google classroom and see the development of my major project for this course. I know I may have technically doubled the work load for myself by decided to use a digital platform. However, I just could not justify posting all of the contents of my major project on my blog while also blogging about it! No one would want to read my posts as they’d be crazy long! Hopefully I made the right choice and my plans for my major project work out! Wish me luck!

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants…Is this a real thing??

For this week’s post, we were asked to select one or more of the weekly readings and reflect on its content as well as share our thoughts. Although each of the weekly readings demonstrated very interesting ideas, there was one in particular that caught my attention. In the video “Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants”, we learn about technology and the influence it has on society. Moreover, we learn what it means to be classified as a digital native or a digital immigrant. These terms were invented by Mark Prensky, an American writer and speaker on education. Prensky defines digital natives as “native speakers of the digital language”. Specifically, “digital natives are defined by the technology they’re familiar with”. Digital immigrants are those who are “not born into the digital world, but later in their lives become fascinated by and adopted many or most aspects of the new technology”.

Like Danielle, I found myself constantly stopping the video and replaying sections of it over and over, as there were many key details. After I finished watching the video, I took a moment to reflect on my exposure to technology and my experiences using it, both past and present. When I was a child, technology was definitely limited. Laptop computers, tablets and smart phones were non-existent. I grew up using dial-up internet, floppy discs and computers assembled with several different parts. But as I grew older, technology evolved exponentially. I suppose you could say that as technology progressed, as did I with its advancements. Therefore, based on my experiences using technology, I would identify myself as a digital immigrant.

As a parent and teacher, I often wonder if technology today does have the ability influence our children/students’ long-term behaviour? If so, is this based upon a dependency of technology or the way in which it is used? In today’s digital world, technology is embedded in almost everything we do. As adults, we rely on technology for many different reasons: Business, education, communication, and for entertainment. Therefore, it is no surprise that technology is embedded in our children/students’ lives too. Although I value technology greatly, I have always made a strong effort to promote technology in moderation for my students. By doing this, my hopes are to create a more balanced approach to technology, demonstrating that technology should be an “add-on or an enhancement”, not a replacement. But with modern technology being so accessible, can we simply assume that our students will be successful problem solvers both online and offline if categorized as a Digital native, because they grew up using technology and therefore have a natural fluency with the web?

David White’s idea of digital residents presents that being immersed in technology from a young age develops a naturally fluency towards it. Moreover, it encourages that modern students may not need to be taught how to navigate through the online world, as they have already experienced it. Digital residents consider the web a series of spaces or places and live a portion of their lives online, therefore leaving a social trace of themselves. A digital resident is familiar with using current social media apps (Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat) whereas a digital visitor would not. Digital visitors leave behind no social trace of themselves because they do not live a portion of their lives online. Usually, digital visitors visit the web with the intent to research information and then apply what they have learned offline. Specifically, their mission is to investigate and apply. Ultimately, the way we choose to engage with the web will define whether we are to be considered as a digital resident or digital visitor.

Therefore, do digital natives and digital immigrants exist? Although the ideas that Mark Prensky puts forward are convincing and relatable, are they true to life? Do we naturally grow to develop a comfortability and natural fluency with technology? As a teacher, I believe in the importance of teaching my students about digital citizenship. Personally, I find it very worrisome to assume that my students do not require guidance and education about media literacy. I feel it is important to remind our students that technology is a privilege which not everyone has access to. Furthermore, technology doesn’t come pre-packaged with the understanding of exploring the online world appropriately. Digital citizenship skills need to be taught, they are not naturally embedded into our brains. Although learning to use a piece of technology may occur naturally for some, digital wisdom is learned. If we want our students and children to be successful digital citizens and digitally literate, then our focus as teachers and parents should be to build a foundation for using the web safely and effectively.

Thanks for stopping by!