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.

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!

Welcome everyone! EC&I 832 has officially begun!

Hello everyone,

Well, here we are! EC&I 832 has officially begun! For those of you who do not know me from previous online courses with Alec, my name is Roxanne Leung and I am a teacher with Regina Public Schools. On March 22nd, 2017, my husband and I welcomed a beautiful baby boy into our family and we have never felt so blessed! Since then, I have been on maternity leave while continuing to take courses through the University of Regina. However, I will be returning to work at the end of March and I do not imagine it will be an easy transition after getting to spend every minute of every day with our son, Beau. But, life goes on…right?

Currently, EC&I 832 is my 9th course towards completing my Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. EC&I 832 is also my 5th online course with Alec. I am so grateful for open education as it allows me to connect and collaborate online with all of you fine people, from the comfort of my very own home. Aside from the convenience yet diverse learning experience online courses provide, I really enjoy learning about educational technology. Within today’s digital world, almost everything we do involves some form of technology. It is almost impossible to avoid. Technology is used often within my everyday life. From paying bills, exploring social media and expanding my PLN…technology is present. To be honest, I am dependent upon technology and do not know if I’d be able to function without it.

As an educator and now a parent, learning more about digital citizenship is extremely important to me. My hope for this course is to learn about what is means to be a successful digital citizen, so that I will be able to teach both my students and my child how to navigate through the online world safely and appropriately. I also look forward to connecting and collaborating amongst all of you! I know we have much to learn from one another and I am excited to read all of your blog posts!!

Thanks for stopping by!