Sunday, August 16, 2015

Digital Citizenship - Time for Bootcamp

The new year is almost upon us. If you are like me, you are starting to think about those routines that need to be taught and understood to make the room run like clockwork. You are thinking of things like how to put books away, where do your lunches go, appropriate carpet expectations...

However, are you thinking about those technology and device routines? Done correctly, this can change the way your students view their learning this year.

 Let's face it, we all know many adults that could use a lesson or two on this. These adults likely did not have direct instruction on how to be a good digital citizen or the consequences of their digital actions. 

Imagine a world where people thought about their actions before they hit send or only posted things they were really proud of. It sounds amazing, doesn't it? Well, we can help make that happen. 

Something that is essential but often overlooked is a serious conversation about digital citizenship. This is not something to be glossed over or shortened due to time. Just as we would not overlook fire safety instructions, we should not overlook internet safety expectations.

In today's world, we are doing a disservice to our students if digital citizenship conversations are not part of our school environment.  I discuss digital citizenship in two ways with my students:

1. Proper Device Procedure and Care
Part of being a great digital citizen in our room starts with caring for our expensive tools in the proper way. We talk about how to hold and travel with the devices, what the purpose is for the device and what not to have around the device (snacks, food...). Once we have established this as part of our classroom expectations, we move onto the next step.

2. Safety, Accountability and Thoughtfulness
I talk with the student about the internet being a powerful thing. We can visit places in the world that we might not otherwise be able to visit. It can help us connect with people we may never meet face-to-face. It allows us to learn in a way that I wasn't able to when I was little. 

We talk about how going on the internet is like going on a field trip. It will be an amazing experience but certain safety rules apply. 

These are the rules we follow:

We discuss and experiment with these expectations during our week long Digital Citizenship Boot Camp.

Here is an outline of that week:

Monday: We start our week by talking about our new vocabulary words: Internet, Website and Online. The goal is for the students to understand and use these words appropriately. We achieve this by talking about how they have heard these words used before, illustrating their meaning and using them in conversation.

On websites, you can buy things. 
Tuesday: Breaking down the 4 walls of our classroom can be fun but also stressful for the teacher. The students need to know how the internet will be used in our room and what rules to follow. We spend time practicing our Internet Safety Rules by using the San Diego Zoo for Kids website. As a class we determine if it is student appropriate or not. They ultimately decide that it is. Then I have them practice asking me if they can use this site. Once we have this routine practiced, they get time to explore this site with a buddy. 

Wednesday: The Stoplight Game is my favorite. Students take a few quick minutes to color a red, yellow and green circle. These stand for (R) "Stop, this is not for me! I need to tell a grown-up.", (Y) "I'm not quite sure and I should ask." and (G) "This is a great choice for me".

I give the students possible scenarios and ask them to hold up the color that they think belongs to the scenario.

Sample Scenarios:

  • My teacher gave me a great website about sharks to visit. (G)
  • This site is great but it has some unusual ads. (Y)
  • Someone I don't know just tried to chat with me! (R)
  • I found a new website and I don't really understand it. (Y)
  • My mom and I are researching new plants for my garden. We found a website together. (G)
  • Mrs. Bright e-mailed a link to my mom. (G)
  • I'm at a friends house and he wants to visit a site that I'm not allowed to go on. (R)
  • I found a site that is not kid friendly. (R)

Thursday: Once we have our rules established, it is time to really have fun! I talk to the students about how we will be doing a lot of online communication this year. We will be commenting on the twitter accounts of other classrooms. We will be commenting on our friends blogs. We will be responding to questions and comments from the teacher. Before we start this, we need to learn the proper way to comments. We start by watching this video from Comments4Kids

Once we have discussed the video, we give it a try. Find a fellow blogger have your class compose a comment together.  Feel free to use my classroom blog:

Friday: Last but not least, we need to personalize our experience. We have watched an amazing video on how to comment but it doesn't quite feel like our style. So... Let's make our own! As a class, we brainstormed our way in our own language and came up with this:

Now that the learning is authentic and they have ownership over their ideas, buddy them up and share a blog with them. Ask them to comment using our new expectations. Your blogging buddy class will really appreciate the comments from their friends. 

*Many of my ideas were insprired by

Now, this is certainly not the last time we will discuss internet safety and digital citizenship. However, it does give us a common understanding for the rest of the years reinforcement and conversation. 

Please remember...

Please consider following me to read my next blog post on:
 Tech Savvy Primary Learners - How to Build the Tech Base

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