Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Digital Citizenship with Grade Threes

I sat down to talk with our third-grade team last week about lessons in digital citizenship. I was excited to get going on helping students use technology more responsibly and be more aware of how they are using technology.

I had already been planning a push with digital citizenship lessons to start off next school year, and this will be a great opportunity to try out some lessons with a great group of students.

The cat who liked the dog kennel.

I do feel like I dropped the ball this year, and perhaps let some students down who got into trouble due to their irresponsible choices while using their computers. I could have got some lessons in with most of the grades in the beginning of the year that may have gotten some of those students to think. Most of our problems are minor offences, which is a highly subjective term. My philosophy is usually to have a conversation with a student who makes a questionable choice. 

For these lessons, I want to make them as interactive as possible, incorporating role play to let the students to share their knowledge and experiences. I have found when students are able to share experiences they have had, they know possible solutions which can build their self-confidence.

And a note on the term digital citizenship: I don't like it. I think our lives are too intertwined for there to be a distinction between online and offline. But how many people are the same online as well as off?

I believe it is best to continually talk with students about digital citizenship, using real-time examples from class. Brian Lockwood recently released a video saying teachers should have YouTube channels so they know how it feels to be trolled. What if teachers created a YouTube channel and shared questionable comments with students? Or simply go to any site that receives a decent amount of traffic and look through the comments and talk through what is appropriate and what is not -- ask them what they would write and why.

As with any subject, I don't think there is ever one lesson that will make students experts in digital citizenship because there are so many factors at play. Conversations that push students to make and defend judgements though do have long-term effects.

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