Digital Citizenship – Week 5

Digital citizenship is a very broad topic with many specific details to learn. Five weeks is just too short to really learn everything well! Both texts were lengthy, but also very appropriate for the course. I learned a lot from both, but I felt that Ribble’s text was more appropriate for my current job as an instructional coach.

I feel that my biggest accomplishment, and also my best work, in this course was creating a PowToon. I’ve used PowToon before, but not in as much detail as this. I added music, got the words and pictures adjusted correctly, and made sure that everything was well timed. The final product included information about a recent technological advance and the digital citizenship elements that it involved. Through creating the presentation, I learned more about helpful technological features, such as common symbols and tools that many websites and programs use. Unless I get a chance to ‘play’ with a program, I usually don’t know much about the features available. With PowToon, I didn’t realize that you can include photos and music, or adjust the timing so easily.

My biggest challenge, as in any course, was time. With a full-time job and two kids, it is difficult to find time to dedicate to reading, researching, and working on school. I was hoping that this would all be easier in the summer, but it was actually harder. I just wanted to play with my kids!

In my role as an instructional coach, I don’t often have to deal with the student side of digital citizenship. I do, however, feel that I need to set a good example in my digital habits so that the teachers at my school can learn from me. Knowing more about copyright laws is very useful to me as I use resources to prepare lessons and presentations.

This course taught me a lot of things that I probably should have already known, such as copyright laws and fair use information. I hope that I can continue to learn more and practice, and teach others about what I’ve learned. My favorite part of the course was learning about Ribble’s Elements of Digital Citizenship. Although they make a lot of sense, I had never thought about them individually or specifically like that.

In terms of the course specifically, I feel that, in order to get the most out of it, you need to put in a lot of time and effort. Just skimming the surface of the texts and the information provided doesn’t do it justice. I think that the final project has been the most difficult activity in the course. I feel that, on one hand, 5 pages is much too short to talk about all the information on such a dense topic. On the other hand, it feels almost too lengthy and formal compared to our other assignments in this course. I guess I don’t know of an appropriate alternate assignment though. To friends, I might say that this course taught me a lot about some very specific topics, and seemed almost too short to cover everything well.

Digital Citizenship – Week 4

Bullying has been an issue in schools since I was a kid, and even longer from the stories I’ve heard from parents and grandparents. Kids would call each other names, push or hit one another, and even convince other kids not to like someone. These are all examples of bullying. They can all happen to different degrees and affect kids in various ways. With the advent of the internet and social media, bullying expanded into the cyber world. Cyberbullying is now a common form of bullying, although it still does not happen as often as bullying in person.

Cyberbullying can be done through many different types of technology – email, texting, instant messaging, websites, and social media sites – through posts, comments, emails, and other means. Kids today have access to, and are comfortable with, many devices that we couldn’t have imagined when we were teenagers. They navigate these technologies much more fluently than most adults. This can cause a language barrier between kids and their parents, sometimes keeping parents from understanding the cyberbullying that might be going on.

During one of my last years teaching fourth grade I had a group of students who were particularly smart and savvy, and had the potential to become victims of bullying or bullies themselves. To integrate technology and to educate these students about bullying, I gave them the assignment of creating anti-bullying videos. They researched different types of bullying, including cyberbullying, and worked in small groups to write simple scenes depicting a specific type of bullying. After writing and practicing, they recorded videos of their plays. They watched all the videos, and then talked with the principal about broadcasting them on the school-wide morning announcements. The videos were well received, and my students enjoyed being movie stars. They also saw a decline in the amount of bullying around school, especially on the playground.

School is important, and educating students about bullying is just as important as teaching reading, writing, and math. Teaching what not to do is only part of the solution. Teaching students what to do when they are bullied or see bullying happening to others is even more important.

Digital Citizenship – Week 2

At my school, almost all students have a device. Many teachers use Google Classroom to assign and collect student work. Sometimes they assign documents for students to complete, but many times they also assign websites or videos for students to view. In the Net Neutrality debate, it is difficult to think about the fact that students may have better access to certain resources or restricted access to others, based on the internet provider we use in our district. Although teachers love Google Classroom, they know that they can’t assign homework or missed classwork to students because most don’t have internet access and/or devices at their homes. I believe that everyone should have access to what they need on the internet, without anyone deciding for them what they can and can’t view.

Net neutrality is important to education, and to the future of our communication and learning. If companies can filter and control what we see online, our view of the world will become skewed. To make appropriate, educated decisions we need to be given all the information and multiple views and opinions. If the facts that we’re given are only those that we want to see, it will cause arguments, disagreements, and unrest between groups that already don’t know how to get along with one another. I think one of the most important life skills that we can teach in school is how to consider things from different points of view and look at things from multiple perspectives. This is even more important now that we must review information for credibility before we take it as fact. Everyone needs to be given the same (correct, true) information for us to live and work together.

Most people get their news from social media now, not from the newspaper. In the video about ‘filter bubbles’ by Eli Pariser ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8ofWFx525s ), we were told that what we see online can be ‘tailored’ to us based on our internet use. Because of this, the news that we get online, especially on social media, will most likely be skewed!

Think about all that we use ‘computers’ for now – banking, education, communicating, etc. Computers have become more than just desktops. They are in our pockets and on our wrists. Most of us couldn’t imagine life without them. I know I feel ‘naked’ when I am without my phone for some reason! When we think about our students today, we need to keep this in mind. The way that we teach and the content that we teach needs to be different than it was in the 80s. Today we can look things up easily on our devices. We don’t need to memorize content. What we need to be teaching our students is how to find appropriate, relevant, credible information online.

A digital footprint is the tracks that you leave behind when on the internet. When we’re posting things on social media, it is an intentional footprint that we leave – we can decide to post positive or negative things. Sometimes, however, a friend or acquaintance might post something about us – a picture or information – that they don’t have permission to post. This leaves an unintentional footprint, but it’s something that is still associated with your name. An unapproved negative post referring to you or with your picture can be detrimental to your career or your social life. To maintain a positive digital footprint, people should be sure that only positive things are posted about them, and that they post only positive things.

I can’t believe I’ve never Googled my name! It turns out there are other Kari Maurers out there. I only saw positives about myself, and mostly the search just brought up social media accounts, which was no surprise. I have a few social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. The search brought up a link to Instagram also, although I thought I no longer had an account there. Regardless, all the content I saw was appropriate and positive, and it was all information that I posted. I am comfortable with it being viewed by anyone, because I am very careful about what I post.

Digital Citizenship – Week 1

Our first web meeting this week gave a great overview of the expectations and objectives of this course. There is a lot of reading! It sounded like some people, like me, were still waiting on the books that they had ordered, and had not been able to begin reading Digital Citizenship in Schools by Ribble (2015) yet. I’m on track now, though!

When we were discussing the importance of digital citizenship, a few people commented on the story about the Harvard students whose admission was revoked due to the content of their social media posts. This is a great example of how digital anonymity can lead people to do negative things. It shows the importance of teaching our students about digital citizenship! I also liked the comments about how many positive things can come from digital tools, but that those positives need to be ‘tempered’ with rules.

When thinking about my school, the digital citizenship element that stands out is digital access (Ribble, 2017). The students come from a low-income area, and I know that many of them do not have access to computers or the internet at home. If they can use a device, it’s often a phone. Luckily, our school has almost 1:1 access with iPads and Chromebooks, so all students have access there. Teachers are unable to use technology fully, though, because they can’t expect their students to do homework online or continue online class activities at home. This makes it even more important to incorporate digital citizenship instruction into everything we do.

Is digital citizenship the same thing as citizenship? I’m not sure. I really like the way Darren Kuropatwa (2015) explained digital citizenship – more like digital ethics. Ethics is part of citizenship, but citizenship goes deeper. Terry Heick (2013) refers to the Merriam Webster dictionary to define citizenship as ‘the quality of an individual’s response to membership in a community.’ However, when I dug deeper, I found that was only one of the definitions they give. The other definitions are ‘membership in a community’ and ‘being a citizen.’ I explored the definition of citizen and found ‘inhabitant of a city or town,’ ‘one entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman,’ and ‘a native or naturalized person who owes allegiance to a government and is entitled to protection from it.’ That is the definition that comes to mind when I think of citizenship, which is why I don’t think citizenship and digital citizenship are the same. I do, however, feel that digital citizenship is that part of citizenship that Heick (2013) refers to, which to me is more like digital ethics. As Kuropatwa (2015) said, this is not a simple conversation, and what is more important than a definition is the fact that we’re talking about it. I’ll agree with Ribble (2015) for now, and think of digital citizenship as ‘the norms of appropriate responsible behavior with regard to technology use.’

 

Heick, T. (2013, May 2). The Definition of Digital Citizenship. [web log post]. Teach Thought: We grow teachers. Retrieved from http://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/digital-citizenship-the-future-of-learning/the-definition-of-digital-citzenship/.

Kuropatwa, D. (2015, July 16). Digital Ethics and Digital Citizenship #BLC15 [YouTube]. The Brainwaves Digital Anthology. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbMsbxYvr4E.

Ohler, J. (2012). Digital citizenship means character education for the digital age. Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, 77(8), 14-17. (PDF: Ohler_Digital_citizenship_means_character_education_2012.pdf).

Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools: nine elements all students should know. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

Ribble, M. (2017). Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship. [web log post]. Digital Citizenship: Using technology appropriately.  Retrieved from http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/Nine_Elements.html.