Teach Digital Citizenship from the Start of the School Year

Phone in the Hands of a Bully

Phone in the Hands of a Bully, License: CC BY-SA 4.0

Digital Citizenship

Digital Citizenship refers to the appropriate behaviors for positive engagement with digital tools and in digital spaces. We can view digital citizenship as an extension of citizenship in the physical world, where we have rights, duties, and obligations depending on our national affiliations. In schools, much of the hidden curriculum is concerned with student behavior as well as interaction between individuals and groups of people. Teachers help students develop team building skills, cooperation, kindness, sharing and other such attributes within the course of classroom and extracurricular activities. These skills are even more important online, where it’s easier to be mean and misunderstandings occur more often without the nuances of speech and body language.

Mark Ribble, in his book Digital Citizenship in Schools, identifies 9 elements of digital citizenship. The elements are Digital Etiquette, Digital Communication, Digital Law, Digital Literacy, Digital Access, Digital Rights and Responsibilities, Digital Health and Wellness, Digital Commerce, and Digital Security.

Teaching Digital Citizenship

Experiences in the physical and virtual worlds work in tandem to create ways of thinking and being. Children have some experiences online before doing so in the physical world. They may also experiment and explore their identity online. Adults can help children unify their online and offline worlds, and help facilitate constructive and positive experiences through intentional conversations and guidance in both spaces. As children experience new situations and problems, and engage in steps to resolve them, they build resilience.

Students develop digital citizenship skills by engaging in online spaces, with appropriate support and guidance. Digital citizenship lessons are best taught within the context of technology use. Just as we can’t teach a child to ride a bike through pen and paper exercises, we can’t teach digital citizenship skills in that way. What we teach about digital citizenship and how we teach it should depend on the age of the child. In every class and subject, it is up to the teacher to highlight any relevant digital citizenship skill that students are using during the course of a lesson. The following essential questions for use with students, derived from Mark Ribble’s work, may help you develop lessons and activities for your classroom:

  • What are my rights and responsibilities in a digital society? (Digital Rights and Responsibilities)
  • How does my use of technology affect other people? (Digital Etiquette)
  • Am I using technology responsibly and appropriately? (Digital Law)
  • Do I communicate appropriately with others when using digital tools? (Digital Communication)
  • What technology can I use to improve my learning? How does technology help me learn? (Digital Literacy)
  • Does everyone have access to the appropriate technology tools when he/she needs them for learning, work, and for local and global collaboration? (Digital Access)
  • How can I protect myself and my equipment from being harmed by my online activities? (Digital Security)
  • What are the physical and psychological dangers of digital technology use? (Digital Health and Wellness)

Start the year with clear agreements with students about their use of technology at school and in the classroom. If your school has a technology use policy, discuss it with students and help them understand its contents and how it applies to their classes. Develop classroom rules that clarify and build upon existing school rules about technology use. Make sure that classroom rules address software installations, changes to computer configuration, and uses of technology devices. During orientation at the beginning of the school year, students in one grade 4 classroom made class agreements on taking photos and videos in the classroom and downloads and purchases on classroom iPads, learned about password strength, and made a list of trusted adults beside their parents/guardians to go for help in the physical world if they have a problem in the virtual world.

Throughout the year, reinforce the agreements, concepts and skills from the start of the year. As you plan your lessons and units, select the essential question relevant to the content area, and to the use of technology by students. Use this essential question to include relevant tasks and conversations in your lessons. Also model digital citizenship skills in your own teaching. Finally, include descriptions of digital citizenship skills that students are learning in your regular communication home.

Teaching digital citizenship in Elementary School

Throughout elementary school, teachers should share reliable, relevant websites with children. One way to do that is through a bulletin board of QR codes that students can quickly use to access websites. Other tools for sharing include social bookmarking tools like Diigo, Google Classroom or other learning management systems, and tools like Chirp. It’s important to emphasize which tools and websites students may use, the process for selecting a new website or tool, and how to identify unsafe situations online.

In lower elementary school, most of the tools used by students at school will be found and shared by the teacher. The major focus of digital citizenship for students should be on finding and using safe, appropriate sites, and on what to do if they find themselves in a new or scary place.  Common Sense Media has a lesson using the analogy of traffic lights for K-2 students where green light sites are those that are appropriate for the child. If you’re an elementary school teacher, you may want to make a poster or bulletin board of green light sites for the classroom. You can involve students in evaluating the sites, and in posting them. You may connect this idea to a QR code bulletin board, for students to quickly access green light sites.

In upper elementary school, students will begin to find more of their own websites to use. They start to make accounts independently and need to learn about strong passwords, and protecting their accounts. It’s important for teachers to help children develop independence in selecting appropriate resources for use in their learning. My favorite lesson for helping children in Grades 3 – 5 recognize the opportunity and responsibility of digital citizenship is Rings of Responsibility from Common Sense Media.This lesson can be done each year, customized to the grade level of the children. It’s also a good idea to send related material home, with ideas for connections at home.

Even though students in Grades 3 – 5 do not meet the requirement for many online sites and tools, many of them have these accounts, with or without their parents’ permission. Discussions of cyberbullying, online civility, and privacy are especially important as children engage more in virtual spaces. As a teacher, you can facilitate conversations with students about their choices and habits when using digital tools. It’s important in this lesson to be a listener, and facilitator, and to guide students’ choices without being bossy.

Teaching Digital Citizenship in Middle and High School

Students in middle and high school generally have much more independence in using their digital devices. They engage in social media and in social networks. It’s important to teach about cyberbullying, time management, and mental and physical health, as topics connect to the digital lives of teens. Common Sense Media has a variety of kits and lessons to help you. Since many students have their own devices at home, issues of Digital Commerce and Digital Security are relevant to them. They should learn about these topics as part of core courses of technology, maths, and other relevant subject areas. Alternatively, some schools organize a digital citizenship bootcamp for students during the first days of school.

Favorite Resources for Teaching Digital Citizenship

I have used many different websites for teaching digital citizenship, but in the past few years, I’ve focused on the following 3 resources:

I’ve recently learned about one more tool, which sounds exciting, the Digital Intelligence Quotient (DQ). The DQ includes 8 digital skills: digital citizen identity, screen time management, cyber bullying management, cyber security management, digital empathy, digital footprints, critical thinking and privacy management. DQ World is an online game with free access for kids ages 9 to 12 to develop their digital citizenship skills. You can create a school/classroom account to use the site in your classroom. If you try it out, please leave me a comment.

Another resource – Tech Time Digital Citizenship wiki based on Mark Ribble’s book

7 Steps to Secure your Device

portable devices

Secure your Device posterMany of us use our devices as an extension of our brains. We keep personal information such as our banking details, passwords, addresses, social media accounts, contacts, etc. on our devices. This could be catastrophic in the wrong hands. In the best case, we would simply lose all of our data, but they would be backed up elsewhere. In the worse case, an unscrupulous individual could steal private information from our device or use this information to defraud us or our friends and family. Whether you have an iOS, Android, or other device, it is important to secure it.

Follow these 7 tips to secure your device:

  1. Set up a passcode of 6 or more digits on your device.
  2. Use Touch ID or an unlock pattern for added security of your device.
  3. Sign into iCloud/Google sync so that your device is backed up.
  4. Turn on Find My iPhone (iOS) or Find My Device (Android). On iOS, make sure that you also turn on Send Last Location.
  5. Enable two-factor authentication for all accounts that you use on your device. This makes the next two steps very important if you lose your phone or if it’s stolen. This setting will prevent unauthorized access of your accounts, but may also keep you if you don’t have any other devices that are logged into the accounts.
  6. Add multiples verified emails or phone numbers. Use the alternate phone number of a partner or trusted friend, so that you can get the verification code from them if you need to access your accounts on a new device.
  7. Memorize your Gmail/iCloud password. This may encourage you to create a password that is easy to remember. Remember that even if the password is easy for you to remember, it should be hard for other people to guess. Make sure that your password has a combination of types of characters, and is at least 8 characters. The longer and more random the password, the harder it is for criminals to crack it.

For additional tips, and instructions to help you access the various settings on iOS or Android, see this PC World article.

Making Conferences Work for You

Conferences have proven to be an enduring approach to professional learning. Given the one time approach to professional learning, it is important that each participant plan for success when attending a conference. It can be easy to become distracted or overwhelmed at a big conference. Before going to a conference, stop and set an intention for your experience.

Conferences are a great opportunity for informal learning. Take the chance to speak to people between and during sessions to expand your knowledge of what’s happening in education beyond your experience.

Conferences, especially large ones, provide exposure to new technology. Before going to a conference, make a list of the tools/resources that you are dissatisfied with or problems that you have not found a solution for. Visit vendors and demos to find out resources that may meet your needs. Also take the opportunity for hands-on experience with tools that you are curious about or have never encountered before to build your knowledge base. If you’re going to ISTE 2017, check out this guide.

Attend sessions that are connected to your professional development plan. Look at the agenda to decide what value the conference offers you, and whether to attend. It’s okay to sit out a session; this could be a valuable opportunity to process a previous session and make a plan for integrating your new learning into your context. Spend some time looking at the schedule and select sessions that tie into your goals and plans, and that will help you achieve them. Have a focus.

Meet people from your virtual learning network. I’m a big fan of virtual connections but have to remember the importance of connections in the physical work. It adds a new dimension to the connections that you’ve built online when you can meet people in the physical world.

Present something that you’re excited or passionate about. Presenting lets you add the social element to learning which provides motivation and engagement. It also lets you cater to different personality types and learning preferences.

Take time to debrief. Share resources with those who may be interested, write some blog posts to expand and share your thinking, follow up with admin to clarify some goals, and implement some processes related to your own professional growth.

If you have a growth mindset, you can create your own learning experiences in a conference, or reframe the experiences provided to meet your goals and the needs of your role.

What strategies do you apply to grow from participation in conferences? I’d love to know what excites you about them.

 

This post is reformatted and expanded from the original.

Featured Image Source: Pixabay, CC0

15 Resources for Free Summer PD for Teachers

By the time summer comes around, most teachers are ready for the break. It’s important to take time to rest and rejuvenate, whether that means spending time alone or with friends and family. For many teachers, summer is also a time for professional learning, and personal growth. I’ve spent time each summer engaged in learning, whether by attending conferences, taking online courses, completing work for a graduate degree, exploring and playing with my many bookmarks and saved links, participating in educational twitter chats, etc. Some summers, I’ve spent thousands of dollars on courses. This summer, I’m staying in Prague and minimizing my expenses. I’d like to share with you some of the free resources that I am exploring for professional/personal development this summer.

  1. Explore online resources for teaching and learning. Some suggestions are The Current by Educator Innovator, and The Teaching Channel.
  2. Explore the available resources on the ISTE Conference page, by session. The conference takes place June 25 – 28. Even if you can’t be at the conference, participate in ISTE Unplugged Live (I’m presenting on using Google Tools for Organization). Also, you could follow the #ISTE17 and #NotatISTE hashtags for free resources motivated by the ISTE conference. Also join the NotatISTE Google + community
  3. Participate in a MOOC from the Friday Institute
  4. Learn something new on AtomicLearning for 90 days with code NOTATISTE
  5. Take a course on Coursera
    1. Get Organized: How to be a Together Teacher
  6. Learn Computer Science Fundamentals from Code.org
  7. Complete a Google certification or Digital Citizenship and Safety course
  8. Complete a Computational Thinking course
  9. Become an Apple Teacher
  10. Join and participate in the Facebook community for Apple Teachers
  11. Participate in the Microsoft Innovative Educator Program
  12. Take an Intel Teach Elements Course
  13. Take a self paced course from the Library of Congress
  14. Take the Tinkering Fundamentals: A Constructionist Approach to STEM Learning Course created by Exploratorium
  15. Attend Edmodocon on August 1, 2017 to learn how Edmodo can be used in your classroom

Are you taking any other free courses this summer? Please share in the comments.

 

Feature image source: World Education Letters Learning, CC0

App Spotlight: Padlet

padlet logo

Overview

Padlet is a digital canvas where you can create, create, and collaborate. It’s one of the most popular tools with my colleagues, and I’ve used it for years, since its previous incarnation as Wallwisher. It’s a freemium product, with a version for schools called Padlet Backpack.

Using Padlet

To use Padlet, it’s best to create an account. You can sign up with a username/password combo, or by connecting your Facebook or Google account. This gives you a personal profile, which includes a public feed of your padlets, as well as any biographical information that you’ve added to your account. If you don’t create an account, make sure you save the links for any padlets that you create, and to finish editing their settings within 24 hours.

When you create a new template, you can select one of five formats, or convert between formats:

  • Wall which uses a “brick-like layout”, when order doesn’t matter
  • Canvas which lets you arrange content and create connectors within them, for trees, mind-maps, flowcharts, brainstorming, etc.
  • Steam for a vertical organization of content, to make lists, reports, blog posts, etc.
  • Grid for rows of content, useful for storyboards, noticeboards, etc.
  • Shelf for columns of content, each independently scrollable, e.g. compass point activity, introductory padlet.

You can create a padlet from scratch, using a template, or by modifying an existing padlet which allows copy, and you can decided whether or not others can remake your work as a template. There are a variety of wallpapers to choose from. Themes are also available in the premium version. For each padlet, you can set a custom link address.

template choices

Template choices

 

There are options for visibility: Public, Secret, Password-Protected, Private or Organization Wide (premium feature). You also decide permissions for users: read-only, write, moderate, admin. Posts can show up instantly, or you can turn on moderation. You can manage posts by other users, and edit, transfer, copy, or delete them. Also, at any point, anyone can export a Padlet as a pdf, csv, image or Excel file. They can also share it on social media, or embed it elsewhere on the web.

post to padletPadlet lets you add posts to the board, using links, photos, video, documents, music, voice recordings, and other file types. You may also be able to comment on other posts, depending on the settings of the padlet.

Padlet has integrated search, which lets you find your own padlets, or to search for padlets on specific topics.

Padlet Backpack

I haven’t used the premium product, but according to the Padlet website, it offers the following features:

  • user management and access control
  • more privacy
  • extra security
  • branding
  • school-wide activity monitoring
  • bigger file uploads
  • controlled environment
  • support

Great Features

  • Support for multiple languages
  • Easy to collaborate in the space
  • No signup required to post
  • Upload files from your computer, or embed from the web
  • Attached links and files have previews right in Padlet
  • Links are automatically recognized and hyperlinked
  • Real time updates of the padlet, or focus mode which lets you decide when to refresh the content
  • Copy posts within one padlet or from one padlet to another
  • Automatically create a QR code for your padlet

Tips

  • Use an organizational tool like a Venn Diagram or T Chart as a background to help you organize posts
  • Install Extensions for Chrome, Firefox, or Safari to quickly add web content to your padlets, or install the Chrome App for easy access
  • If students are posting without an account, have them put their name in the title of the post

10 Ideas to use Padlet in the Classroom

  1. Make a list of resources for your students, color coded by topic, or reading level.
  2. Have students create a wall as a presentation on a topic
  3. Create a padlet for collaborative brainstorming
  4. Collaboratively create a question and answer board with students
  5. Create a video playlist for a course
  6. Create a booksmarks board for a class
  7. Have students post reviews of books that they are reading
  8. Post a daily message/question to students that they can respond to
  9. Create a weekly “newsletter” for parents, curated by students
  10. Have students create showcases/portfolios of their work

Devices Supported

Padlet works on iOS, Android, Kindle, and on the web.

Padlet with Kids

Padlet allows use by children under 13, provided that schools take the steps needed to comply with their local laws. In the US, this means respecting COPPA and FERPA, and either consenting on behalf of parents, or getting parental consent before sharing any personal information about children.

Resources