Digital citizenship. Being respectful online. Simple enough, right? Prior to taking this class, that was my understanding of digital citizenship. I didn’t realize all of the different layers that go into being a digital citizen. Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship has been very helpful in breaking these layers down and incorporating them into my teaching. Furthermore, until I began researching for my content catalyst, I always thought that “tech-savvy” and digital citizenship go hand-in-hand, but that is not the case.
This quote stuck with me because I am guilty of making these assumptions. So many of my students are able to use a Chromebook with ease. I have mistaken this ability as being tech savvy and knowing how to be a digital citizen. Looking back at the previous years I’ve taught, I should have spent more time exploring this concept with my students and integrating it into my instruction, rather quick little isolated lessons. I have used SeeSaw in my classroom for two years. This year was the first year I turned on the commenting feature for my students to comment on each other’s work. I assumed they understood the etiquette that goes into making appropriate and respectful comments. However, I was in for a surprise. We have had conversations about posting and commenting since, but I have temporarily decided to stop using that feature until I feel they understand how to formulate a respectful and positive comment. With that being said, over the past few days I’ve been thinking a lot about these nine elements, but specifically, Digital Etiquette and Digital Communication, especially while planning my mini digital citizenship unit.
Digital Citizenship Unit Plan Update
Originally, creating a unit plan was not what I envisioned for my final project. However, due to some issues in our learning community around digital citizenship and my students’ use of SeeSaw to comment on each other’s work, I quickly started realizing that some direct teaching about digital citizenship was necessary! My co-teachers were also experiencing similar issues, so we are currently in the works of creating this unit together. As we have been working through our planning this past week and discussing, we have noticed exactly what came up last class about citizenship and digital citizenship: digital citizenship is really just citizenship. Coming back to my previous point about Digital Etiquette and Digital Communication, we felt that providing authentic opportunities and opening up some conversations at home might be helpful in teaching our students about appropriate commenting/posting (e.g. THINK poster) and how their actions online extend beyond themselves and impact others. Our idea for our first lesson ties into our students’ Idea Inquiry Projects that they worked on this past December. Essentially, for these inquiry projects, the students picked any topic of their choice, explored it for one week solid, and presented their projects at our Multicultural Potluck. This concept was based on the book, What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada. As part of this inquiry unit, we asked local business owners to come into our school and share a little bit about their ‘big idea’ and how they made it a success. Build Love recently came to our school to present and they emphasized the value of teamwork and using your strengths/superpowers when it comes to collaborating with others. In preparation for the presentation and to stir up some curiosity in our students, we created a What’s Your Superpower photo booth. Students will be encouraged to post (Instagram, Twitter, etc.) and use appropriate hashtags (e.g.: #buildlove, #bekindonline). Students will explore the concept of commenting/communicating through digital technologies (social media, messaging, etc.) and using appropriate etiquette when doing so. Prior to allowing students to post/use the photo booth, we will do some direct teaching on what a ‘digital footprint’ is and etiquette when commenting/posting (e.g.: asking permission before taking someone’s photo). In addition, permission notes will be sent home with students for parents to review and discuss with their child. When the photo booth is available, we will monitor the use of it as a media release will be required for students in order to participate. For students not granted permission or who do not have a media release, they can post a comment on our superhero bulletin board and sign their name after their comment. Needless to say, a simple mini unit on digital citizenship escalated pretty quickly! We are still in the works of planning, but an outline has been created and we plan on diving in with our first lesson this week!
Flipgrid App Review Update
This past week, we finally got started using Flipgrid! Before posting anything related to their projects, I thought I would let them explore the app and do a practice post. Let me tell you. Those animation features were a serious hit! As fun as that was, this week it is time to get down to business! The students have selected their “How To” skill they are going to learn, checked out their idea with me, and the inquiry will begin early this week! I am hoping by the first week of March or so, their projects and Flipgrid reflections about their projects will be wrapped up. My next steps involve reviewing the app by providing an overview of some key features and reflecting on my experiences using it as an assessment tool. This past Friday, I also participated in a Flipgrid PD session. The PD focused on getting started with Flipgrid and the basics, which was exactly what I needed! After our practice post session, I had some questions that I could ask and receive answers straight from the source! I also learned what “topics” were and that you can have multiple topics in one grid, so I took some time this weekend to do some re-organizing of my grids. So far, I’m finding Flipgrid very user friendly and the company is extremely helpful by having PD sessions and connecting on Twitter.
YouTube App Review Update
Between school, work, and personal obligations, vlogging on a weekly basis has been very demanding! So, I have decided to scale back the amount of vlogs I am doing. I’m thinking every couple of weeks would work better for me. Then, I also have a chance to generate more quality content. To be honest, I have been so focused on using Flipgrid and getting my digital citizenship unit plan off the ground, YouTube has kind of been at the back of my mind lately. However, I intend on starting my reviews and researching the terms of service and privacy policies of my apps this coming week. Also, I am hoping to get a new vlog up on my YouTube channel this week as well! So stay tuned for more adventures! I am hoping to connect with some other educators who have used YouTube as an educational tool. I am guessing having a YouTube channel as a teacher could be a helpful way to provide tutoring videos for supplementary practice for students? Hmmmm… Something to think about!
At first, I was feeling like I was falling behind on my major project. However, after reflecting, I can see I have accomplished quite a bit in a short period of time. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a long ways to go, but as Amanda mentioned in her post this week to celebrate the small victories and that great things really do take time! This week my goals are:
– Continue planning/teaching my digital citizenship unit by consulting Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship, Digital Citizenship in Saskatchewan Schools, and Common Sense Media for some engaging lesson ideas!
– Do another vlog this week detailing my progress over the past two weeks and post my video on my YouTube channel and on my blog.
-Start writing my reviews on YouTube and Flipgrid
My question for you: If you have used Flipgrid or YouTube in your classrooms, I would love to hear about your experiences with these apps!
Thanks for taking a read!