Digital citizenship and digital footprints are indeed important topics people need to know about, but how much do people really know? In this week’s activity, I was surprised to see the number of social network sites that students use, such as Oovoo or Yo. I thought I was up-to-date with social networks students years, but not as much as I thought.
To have students become aware of digital citizenship topics, I have created a 10-week blended course using Schoology for my sixth graders. We use a mixture of blogs, discussion forums, videos and case studies to discuss the ins and outs of digital safety. Topics include digital life, cyberbullying, online identities and more. I like to use Schoology because students have the opportunity to practice responsible and respectful actions in a safe environment. For my fourth graders, we have a blogging unit where we discuss respectful and responsible communication, as well as meaningful messages. Fifth grade has a 10-week information literacy course where they learn to about plagiarism/copyright and how to evaluate websites.
I do want to do more for my younger grades, or at least go more in-depth with this topic. Every year, we go over the AUP policy for utilizing technology inside and outside the district. Yet, there needs to be more education for students about digital citizenship.
My district does not have a direct curriculum or course for this topic (or it is not well-known). Whose responsibility will it be to teach students about this topic? Librarians? Teachers? Parents? Who will educate these groups about these topics? Right now, this topic does not seem to be as important as state testing or shifts in standards or common core, but it needs to be a priority. But, how do you make this topic a priority? I am attempting to be proactive about this topic by starting small.
Besides teaching these topics to students, I want to share information with teachers and parents through workshops or information to go home at open houses and curriculum nights. I would like to help teachers and parents be aware of their digital footprints and explain the differences between personal and professional networks. If students see more than one adult model respectful habits, it could help students practice respectful online practices.