Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Creating Positive Habits

In elementary school, students are continually taught and reminded on how to act appropriately as learners.  Practice is really key when it comes to creating these positive habits. In order to become digital citizens, students need to have access on a regular basis so that they may develop appropriate behaviours.

In researching resources to add to my toolbox I found that there were 3 key sites that provided me with information to support my teaching and developing these digital citizenship qualities with my students.

The first is Creative Commons. On the website it is described as "building a culture of sharing."  This is the key to digital citizenship in my world. It means that people will have the tools to share appropriately and use other works with respect.  This website provides information about licensing your own work, searching and finding licensed works, projects being done in the digital community and how open educational resources can be used in teaching, learning and research.  This site has recently been added to my favourites tab.

The second site is International Society for Technology in Education.  This site is designed to provide educators with the standards and strategies to further education in a digital age.  The 3 principles for teaching that caught my eye are:
1. Faciliate and inspire student learning and creativity.
2. Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments.
3. Model digital age work and learning.  

Finally, Common Sense Media is a great resource for teachers! This site has resources categorized by grade level and by topic. The resources are catered for students from Kindergarten to grade 12 and are designed to provide lessons for teachers as well as parent education.  Below is a poster that can be ordered for elementary classrooms, which is just one of the easy to use resources on this website.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Students Say

This week I was having a discussion with my students as they prepared to work on their inquiry projects; How are humans, animals and plants interdependent? We've always discussed what is expected when it comes to using our mini-laptops and we have used them to learn and share our ideas successfully throughout the school year. This time, I decided it was time to use the term 'Digital Citizenship' and right away someone made the connection to citizenship as 'living and respecting the charter of rights and responsibilities'.

Now to clarify, at the beginning of the year we examined the Charter of Rights and Freedoms for Children and then created our own class charter using rights and responsibilities. The following is what we had and then I have added the newest addition.

      1. I have the right to go to the bathroom or to get a drink of water. I have the responsibility for taking your name tag out of the slot.  
      2. I am free to use school supplies, books and equipment.  I am responsible for treating the items in the classroom nicely.  
      3. I have the right to voice my opinions respectfully.  I have the responsibility for being respectful of others opinions.  
      4. I have the right to a safe classroom environment.  I am responsible for following safety rules.  
      5. I have the right to fair treatment by all students.  I have the responsibility to treat others fairly.  
      6. I have the right to speak at the appropriate time.  I have the responsibility to respect the teacher when they are talking and to be quiet when we are working.  
      7. I have the right to be myself.  I have the responsibility to treat others and myself with respect.
Our newest addition:
      8. I have the right to go on the computers, search the websites listed by my teacher, ask questions and share my ideas.  I have the responsibility to use the computers appropriately, try to answer questions, give credit to the authors and share my ideas.

It's pretty impressive when students can make those connections from what we've been doing to a new term. The term digital citizenship seemed like a natural addition and I will be making sure to include it in next year's discussions in September. 

If I'm thinking about next year, I need more information to do a better job of making digital citizenship apparent throughout the learning.  Having more resources will certainly be beneficial. I think that's where I'm headed next.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Digital Citizenship; What does it mean?

Digital citizenship has been a term that I've heard regularly for a few years now and I'm wondering if it will stick around or get left in the dust as terms and trends often do?  Teachers, maybe more generally people, often seek out ways make concepts or ideas tangible. By giving citizenship in a digital context a term with expectations, there is hope that more people will be able to live by these expectations and teach others to do the same.  The definition I'm going to use is: "Digital citizenship can be defined as the norms of behavior with regard to technology use." (Ribble & Bailey, 2004)

Mike Ribble lists resources and research surrounding digital citizenship. Among his research he has described the nine elements commonly associated with digital citizenship. The nine elements are listed as follows.
1. Digital Access: full electronic participation in society
2. Digital Commerce: electronic buying and selling of goods.
3. Digital Communication: electronic exchange of information
4. Digital Literacy: process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology
5. Digital Etiquette: electronic standards of conduct or procedure
6. Digital Law: electronic responsibility for actions and deeds
7. Digital Rights &Wellness: those freedoms extended to everyone in a digital world
8. Digital Health & Wellness: physical and psychological well-being in a digital technology world
9. Digital Security (self-protection): electronic precautions to guarantee safety
Ribble suggests that the nine elements can be taught within 3 themes; respect yourself/respect others, educate yourself/connect with others, and protect yourself/protect others. 

The general understanding is that the learning with regards to digital citizenship should be on-going throughout the school year, in all grades and subjects. The role of teachers is to ensure that these students are able to transfer their skills as digital citizens to all educational and personal situations.

With all of this in mind, I wonder what my students are thinking about our norms in the classroom with regards to technology use?

Riddle, Mike S. & Bailey, Gerald D. Digital Citizenship Focus Questions for Implementation. (2004) Learning & Leading with Technology Volume 32 Number 2 Copyright ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Starting up

As I get started, I wondered what would be the best way to show what I'm wondering about digital citizenship.  My thoughts turned to what I have been working on with my students in the classroom.  As part of our inquiry projects, the students have been brainstorming using the program So, I did just what I asked my students to do and put down what I know at this point in my thought web.