This week we are learning about Digital Citizenship. Being a 21st century learner involves technology, collaboration and communication and so, learning how to be a responsible digital citizen needs to be a part of the curriculum from the early years of schooling. Lets face it, many of our students are using technology out of school hours. While every attempt in the school environment is made to keep our students safe with accessibility blocked to particular websites, the fact still remains that in the real world children have access to technology and all that comes with it so they need to be informed about how to use this tool safely and responsibly. See Brain Pop Jr’s free video on Internet safety.
An online article by Prasanna Bharti on the EdTechReview website titled Why is Digital Citizenship Important? Even for youngest kids explains some key aspects teachers should consider when integrating technology into the classroom such as keeping parents informed and involved in what and how children are using technology to learn.
Erin Flanagan’s brilliant blog ERINtergration shares some effective ways children can develop their skills as digital citizens in the blog post Teaching Digital Citizenship All Year in the Classroom. I really like her idea of a punch pass where as a student demonstrates their understanding of each of the 9 key elements of digital citizenship they receive a punch on their card. When working with students in the early primary years, Digital Citizenship areas of learning include examples such as
- Communication responsibly and kindly with others
- Respecting others ideas and opinions
- Protecting private information- our own and others
- Understanding and reporting cyber bullying
- Giving credit when using other peoples work
- Healthy use of technology
The above articles show that teaching students safe practices for use with digital technologies can be achieved in fun effective ways. However it is also important that as teachers we have some idea about what our students are into in regards to technology use. I have two sons, 8 and 10 years of age they love watching Youtube tutorials demonstrating walk throughs of the latest games, my eldest son wants to be a You tuber and have his own channel. Besides not being old enough to have a Youtube channel, he still has a lot to learn before being allowed to fulfill his dream. What I’m saying is our lessons won’t have the desired affect if we don’t deliver them around the interests of the students.
Erin suggests we practice what we preach so with all the talk about students communicating and sharing ideas through blogging, this becomes a perfect opportunity to talk about communicating and commenting online and being respectful even when your opinions don’t reflect that of others.Many students need help to make good choices when working and exploring with technology and it is our responsibility as teachers to give them the information and skills to help them do so.
Until next time.