Digital citizenship…a teacher’s guide!

Throughout this course, the focus of my major project has been geared towards developing a curriculum-based resource that supports digital citizenship and media literacies within schools. As an educator, teaching my students about digital citizenship is crucial as technology plays a huge role in shaping the way our students communicate, learn, and create. Within today’s digital world, students are highly exposed to a wide assortment of different technologies and as technology continues to advance, they are left to adjust at a fast rate. The effects of technology on children are complicated, demonstrating both pros and cons. But, as to whether technology actually helps or hurts in the development of our children’s thinking, it depends on the specific way it is used, their activity in online spaces and the frequency it is used at.

As parents and teachers, it is important to recognize that technology is here to stay and that our children and students will continue to have exposure to it, as it is used often within our home and in schools. Rather than resisting it, we are left to educate ourselves about the distinct difference between being digitally/media literate and computer literate. In today’s digital society, children are being raised to operate a variety of technological devices at a young age. However, learning how to play games on a computer, tablet or smart phone is very different from comprehending how to act appropriately and responsibly in online spaces. Therefore, it is crucial for today’s modern youth to understand the ethics of technology associated to anyone who works or plays online.

We also need to educate our children and students about the importance of practicing digital safety and security when in online spaces. Disclosing personal and private information is often a mistake many children/students make as they do not understand the unfortunate consequences that may follow these actions. As responsible digital citizens, we are aware of the potential risks that exist within the digital society, however we would be naive to assume that our children and students possess the same awareness. The fact is, digital wisdom is simply not embedded into our brains, it needs to be taught. Furthermore, the expanding digital communication options have changed because people are able to keep in constant communication with their friends and family. Aside from email and text messaging, social media produces a wide assortment of apps that are usually free and offer instant messaging options. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that our children and students are spending so much of their time social networking. Although these digital tools offer quick and convenient communication options, they also open new doors to a range of potential risks. So, it is important that we educate our children and students to practice caution while making their presence known in the online world.

In conclusion, learning about digital citizenship and media literacies this semester has been extremely valuable! As a frequent technology user, this project and course has inspired me to monitor my digital footprint closely, contribute to the digital society in a positive manner, create equal opportunities for technology use, and to share the knowledge I have gained from this course to educate my students and co-workers about the importance of digital citizenship and media literacies. I would also like to express my extreme gratitude to Alec and Katia for creating the Saskatchewan’s Digital Citizenship Policy Planning Guide as it proved to be a very helpful resource in the development of my major project. Also, I’d like to thank the Common Sense Education website for offering a variety of effective resources for supporting digital citizenship as well as for creating interactive activities that are designed for both educators and students. Last but definitely not least, I would like to thank all of my EC&I 832 colleagues for sharing in my learning and demonstrating such support in the development of my curriculum-based resource. Your positive comments/feedback made all this happen! Now, I present to you the classroom code you will need in order to join my Google classroom to view the contents of my major project! The code is x0ak8x. Enjoy!

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Digital citizenship has never been more inspiring!

Hey, everyone!

My major project has been going well, and I have enjoyed creating a curriculum-based resource for supporting digital citizenship and literacy in the classroom. So far, I have created six detailed lesson plans surrounding the elements of Digital Communication, Digital Access, Digital Law, Digital Literacy, Digital Rights & Responsibilities and Digital Safety & Security. Each lesson plan includes essential questions, learning outcomes, lesson overview, detailed teaching instructions as well as additional resources you may include to support digital citizenship in the classroom. The contents of my major project are organized and posted within the Google classroom I created, specifically for this course.

Shortly after the Easter Break, I returned to work from my maternity leave. Although I did not feel fully prepared for this transition (as I imagine most mothers are not), I was excited to meet my students and prepared to incorporate my curriculum-based resource that I have been working so hard to develop! In fact, it did not take more than a day of teaching before I began to speak about this resource with some of my colleagues! When I mentioned I was creating a curriculum-based resource to support digital citizenship education within schools, you would not believe the reactions I received! Not only were teachers asking if I could share my resource with them, but some of them even offered to help me create the remaining lessons I have not yet completed, as they were very interested and wanted to get involved! I was completely blown away by my colleagues positive comments and their desire to contribute to my project! After all, isn’t that what this project and course are about? Creating awareness and encouraging other professionals to support digital citizenship along with media literacies?

Therefore, after much contemplation, I decided to sit down and collaborate with several of my colleagues during our common preparation times and during the noon hour to plan out the three remaining elements needed in order to complete my curriculum-based resource for the elementary level. The remaining elements are: Digital Commerce, Digital Etiquette and Digital Health & Wellness. Together, we will thoroughly examine these three elements and design interactive activities that will demonstrate each concept.

Now, I understand how this change of plan may appear in regards to the overall completion of my major project. However, after receiving such positive feedback and eagerness to become involved, I felt compelled to accept my colleagues support! As educators, it is extremely important for our students to learn about appropriate and responsible behaviour with regard to technology use, just as we are encouraged to incorporate a variety of digital tools to be used in our teaching practices. Moreover, as life-long leaners, we understand the value of technology and its contribution to our learning.

With that being said, my final blog post for my major project will include the class code you will require in order to access this resource. During that time, you may only see six detailed lesson plans posted by me, but soon will have access to all nine lessons as soon as my colleagues and I finish collaborating and post the remaining lesson plans. I hope you enjoy this resource and find it useful!

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Digital citizenship and assessment

Since the beginning of this course, I have been working towards developing a curriculum-based resource to support digital citizenship, for the elementary level. So, I thought it would be a good idea to talk a little bit about how I plan to incorporate assessments and the use of digital tools to support it.

As educators, we understand the value of assessment as it provides us with a clear description of what our students have learned. Furthermore, it helps to improve students’ learning and indicates areas where improvement is needed. Both students and teachers can use the information gained from assessments to determine their next teaching and learning steps. It is important to note that assessment for learning is an ongoing process, therefore what makes assessment for learning effective is based upon how well the information is delivered and used.

Seeing as I am developing a curriculum-based resource that pertains to teaching about digital citizenship and all of its elements, I thought it be more effective to include the use of online tools to document student learning throughout this unit, as opposed to using the traditional printed forms of assessment. The majority of the assessment throughout this unit will be received in the form of formative assessment, specifically by students responding to questions related to each element of digital citizenship and sharing their learning using an online journal, student portfolio, or by blogging. As for the type of online tool, this is open to interpretation and is not specified within this resource. Purposefully, I have left the decision up to the teacher to select an online tool that is effective for them as well as their students. However, if I can make a suggestion, I recommend classroom teachers use Seesaw, Google Classroom/Google Documents or WordPress. Each of these online tools are user-friendly, easy to access, and provides students with the opportunity to showcase their work. Moreover, student portfolios and blogging “empowers students to independently document their learning with built-in creative tools, and provides an authentic for their work”.

At this point in time, I do not see myself developing a final summative assessment piece for my curriculum-based resource. Why? Well, because there are non-traditional ways to use summative assessments to enhance the learning process. Effective digital citizenship education shouldn’t be taught primarily in lecture form. It involves hands-on practice within a safe and monitored environment, guided by the classroom teacher. Therefore, my goal for assessment with this resource is to offer different options beyond summative assessments by allowing students the opportunity to explain material in a way they feel comfortable with and to examine their knowledge in real-world applications as opposed to paper, pencils and multiple choice questions. With that being said, my decision for not creating a final assessment piece for this curriculum-based unit is not based on the fact that I do not agree with summative assessments, as summative assessments have a lot of advantages. But, when educating students about digital citizenship, the evidence to support their understanding should be based more so through active participation while using a variety of digital tools.

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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.

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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!

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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!

 

Major Project: Developing a curriculum-based resource for digital citizenship.

Well, after a week of much reflection and debate, I have finally decided on a major project for this course. This semester, I will work towards developing a curriculum-based resource for teaching digital citizenship, specifically designed for the elementary level (K-4). As an educator, teaching my students about digital citizenship is extremely important. As previously stated in my introductory post, technology is embedded in almost everything we do within in our daily lives. We rely on technology for many things and it comes as no surprise that our children/students are immersed in it as well.

The advancements of technology and the internet has drastically changed the way we learn, do business and communicate. In fact, communication today has never been more accessible and convenient. Within today’s digital world, there are a number of social media apps available to explore and though they may operate differently, they do share some similarities; Instant messaging and the sharing of images and information. It is evident that social networking provides many positive influences, such as creating awareness, helps to develop social skills, and encourages digital literacy. However, there are also negative influences which puts our students at risk. Some of these risks includes; Social peer pressure, cyber-bullying, privacy issues, and public shaming. Unfortunately, these risks often occur due to the improper use of social media and can be avoided if our students have the knowledge they require to navigate through the online world safely and appropriately.

As adults, we understand how valuable social media can be, personally and professionally, despite the negative influences of social networking. However, this is not always the case for our students. Perhaps, we may be a bit foolish to assume that each student knows what they’re doing. Students are often blinded by the potential risks associated with social networking. Why? It is simple…Social media is engaging, fun and provides instant communication with their friends. Some of the most popular social media apps being used by our students today are: Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube.

In order to develop a curriculum-based resource for teaching digital citizenship, I will heavily rely on the following resources to assist in my planning: Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship, Saskatchewan Digital Citizenship Continuum, and the Saskatchewan’s Digital Citizenship Policy Planning Guide. However, I will also be searching for other resources that may be valuable. Recently, I turned to my PLN on Twitter in hopes of finding some resources I may be able to use. Thankfully, Krista replied to my tweet and introduced me to the Common Sense Education website! I am excited to explore the many activities for digital citizenship that this site has to offer!

Although it is still very early, my hope is to develop a curriculum-based resource which resembles somewhat of a detailed unit plan about digital citizenship. This unit plan would contain lesson plans which include detailed instructions, interactive activities (some using social media apps) and formative assessments. However, I am very open to any suggestions you guys may have to offer! What kind of resources would you use for developing a curriculum-based resource for teaching digital citizenship? How would you go about planning for this resource? I look forward to hearing your suggestions and/or ideas!

Well, until next time…Thanks for stopping by!