The nine elements are the core to understanding. To help myself, students, and parents understand each better I made a “brochure”: (after reading the 2nd edition of the book)
This really helped me organize the information and condense it, as I work with 3rd/4th graders and parents appreciate the simplification. While each element is not “simple”, the overview helped initiate dialog. I did a “video lesson” on research basics and digital citizenship for students but I’m looking to revise it to make it way more interesting.
I had the opportunity to open dialog about digital citizenship with colleagues in a few ways: during a district in-service training and at a few regional and state level presentations. Basically I introduced the elements and got people mixing and talking about them. It was a great way to both increase awareness and to get teachers thinking about how they can mindfully embed digital citizenship in natural ways every day.
When and where should Digital Citizenship be discussed?
I believe we need to integrate digital citizenship in every aspect of our work with students. Anytime a student uses a device, s/he is connecting to the digital community and as such educators need to ensure that they practice “REP” (respect, educate, and protect). As an elementary teacher, I know the importance of reinforcing good citizenship in all aspects of a student’s day; from why we should walk quietly down the hall (to respect other classrooms of students hard at work) to why we should follow playground rules (to educate students on the need for safety when only a few adults are monitoring large groups of students) to why we cannot enjoy snacks on the school bus (to protect students from choking hazards). Elementary teachers instinctively practice REP aspects but need to purposely educate themselves on how to integrate REP when it comes to digital citizenship. We can do it easily and effectively; for example, I teach my young students about how they should always be sure an adult is nearby when then they enter a digital world. In the classroom, that is me, but who is close at home? And why? Well, would they to a movie without an adult? Why not? Would they swim in a public pool without an adult? Why not? Students need to see the digital world in the same ways they view their physical world.
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How do these ideas fit within Common Core, etc.
The obvious answer here as an ELA teacher would be in regards to research, doing digital work, and ways to communicate and collaborate. However as we help our students see the many ways digital tools can improve and enhance our workflow, digital citizenship permeates any standard. If we view our digital tools as just that… tools…then I think it is an obvious integration. I believe that at the heart of the Common Core are those 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. When digital tools become the means for achieving this, then digital citizenship should be embedded in every lesson; whether it be direct or indirect, explicitly taught or reinforced.