Summary of my Final Project

 

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This final project was a great experience! It had me out of my comfort zone learning and teaching elements that I did not feel comfortable teaching previously. I am now confident in being able to say that I can not only teaching digital citizenship within my classroom, but that I am a better digital citizen myself because of this project. The premise of my project was to focus largely on Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship and use these to create lesson plans and teach my students how to be proper digital citizens.  I also focused and brought in ideas from Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools to help guide my practices within the classroom.

After taking guidance from Alec, I decided that to focus on all nine of Ribble’s elements would be too much of an undertaking, so instead I decided to focus on three that were relevant in my classroom. Those three were Digital Etiquette, Digital Law and Digital Rights and Responsibilities.  I attempted to break each element into lesson plans and teachings towards my students.  I blogged about my findings and the process.

First Step

The first step in the process was to find out how much time my students spent online and what did they do online.  I used Google Classroom to poll my students about the hours they used technology, the influences they had online and what apps they used.  You can see my findings on my blog post here (link).

Second Step

The next step in my process was creating a responsible use policy within my classroom.  In my classroom I have always attempted to incorporate technology into the classroom, but never had a plan put in place.  According toDigital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools it is important to have a responsible use policy put in place when technology is used at your school.  I allowed the students to help create this policy and it has been a huge success so far.  Here is a link to my Digital policy.  If you want to see the process involved you can see it in my blog post (link).

Element One – Digital Etiquette

This part of the process I taught my students what it meant to have proper digital etiquette.  I created a lesson plan and webquest for my students to follow to create 10 rules of social media for a specific app of their choice.  You can visit my webquest here (Digital Etiquette WebQuest). If you are interested in reading the blog post associated with this (link).

Element Two – Digital Law

This element was the most interesting to learn about and teach.  The students got the most information from this because this element was the least known to them.  When teaching about this element I focused on what can be the consequences of misuse of the internet and what are the proper uses.  We learned about what actions could fall under criminal law and what actions would fall under civil law.  We also focused on the responsibilities of an online citizen.  Here is the blog that talks about this (link).

Element Three – Rights and Responsibilities

The final element that I focused on during my final project was the rights and responsibilities of citizens online. We began by creating a list that compared the rights vs responsibilities of Canadians. This showed that it is no different online. As a class we created a list of the rights and responsibilities of online citizens. The students used these lists to create a powtoon presentation.

Conclusion

This Major project was rewarding and insightful. It not only helped me to become a better digital citizen but a better teacher of digital citizenship. I have also have confidence that my students are better equipped to tackle the challenges that they will face online.

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The Final Countdown…..

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The third and final element of Ribble’s Nine Elements of digital citizenship that I focused on for my final project was Digital Right’s and Responsibilities. This element was one of the hardest that I focused on because there was not as much information on the internet as as the other elements and as well a lot of the material focused on similar content that I have already taught to my students. Within Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools Digital Rights and Responsibilities is stated to be “‘the privileges and freedoms’ inherent in participation in digital society, as well as the expectations that come with them (25)”. Within the document it is said that students should be made aware of the responsible use policy (Digital policy), and their rights as a student online (posted in last blog). These are things that I have already taught or created in my classroom, so we reviewed these in detail before starting.

When starting into my new content I decided to start by focusing on communities as a whole. I wanted my students to understand that as citizens in our communities we have rights and responsibilities. We began by creating a list that compared the rights vs responsibilities of Canadians. By doing this it helped my students to understand the difference between rights and responsibilities, and shows that by being part of a community we inherent the rights and responsibilities of those communities.  This is no difference when part of the online community. I explained that although we may not be in constant contact with those that we communicate or share with online we must still be responsible members.  One of my students suggested that we should create a list of Rights and Responsibilities within our school (I thought that was great).  I gave them the rest of the period to search and create a personal list that we could bring together to create a classroom list.

This is what they came up with

Rights

  • To access technology
  • Be taught to use technology
  • Identify real news story or credible sources
  • To feel safe when online or social media
  • To post our opinion and ideas without getting stolen
  • To get help when someone is harassing or bullying us
  • communicate safely with friends online
  • Create material without it being stolen
  • To privacy

Responsibilities

  • Respect others opinions, beliefs and ideas online
  • Protect our own digital footprint
  • Protect others by not posting what they would not want you to post
  • Protect our privacy by keeping information that we do not want out (ex passwords)
  • Do not cyberbully or harass others
  • Respect others online in all aspects
  • Use the internet appropriately

After completing our classroom list the students were asked to create a powtoon presentation on the list that we created…this will be there first time using so it should be fun! I am hoping that these will be done this week so I can post them on here to let you guys see them. Overall this was a great experience for me and my students. It allowed us to understand what the expectations are for us online.

Who Knew…..?

Once again the focus of my major project for EC&I 832 was to focus on teaching Digital Citizenship to my students, as well as get a better understanding for myself.  I decided that I needed to create a Responsible Use Policy  for my classroom and focus on three elements from Ribble’s Nine Elements of digital citizenship that I believe would best benefit my students. I have supplemented a lot of my learning and teaching using  Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan SchoolsThe three elements that I decided to focus on were Digital Etiquette (focused on last blog), Digital Law and Digital rights and responsibilities. This blog will focus on my attempt to teach and learn about Digital Law.

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Digital Law

Coming into this part of my Major project I was very excited because I have come to realize that a lot of the problems that I deal with in my classroom come from my student’s behavior online.  Many problems have arose from students actions towards others online without knowing the consequences of their actions. I am hopeful that after teaching what digital law is to my students they will be aware that their actions could possibly have serious consequences.  We live in a world now where our students spend a great deal of time online and they must know that there are laws put in place to police their actions online. I have come to the realization of how important it is for teachers to be aware of digital law so we can teach this to our students. Also in my next blog post I am going to touch on my learning on the Copyright laws that I dove into for my own knowledge.

“Digital law refers to the legal responsibilities for our electronic actions. It includes issues such as copyright materials, hacking into systems, digital identity theft or posting illicit photos” (Source). This is a great definition of Digital law, although it was very broad for what I felt my class needed to focus on. I broke the idea of digital law into one major area that I believe impacts my classroom; laws around cyber bullying. I do intend to go into more teaching about digital law in my classroom as the year goes on, but for the case of this project I focused on just the one topic. I do have a police officer scheduled to come talk to my class in late April regarding digital law.

Cyberbullying

When approaching the issue of cyberbullying I found a really good lesson plan that is targeted towards High school, but I simplified it a little bit so that it was more appropriate for middle school.  It stated that 37% of all grade 4-11 students have had something bad done to them online and 39% of the same group said they have done something mean or hurtful to someone online. The lesson plan focused on the legal aspects of cyberbullying.  It discusses how cyberbullying can be both looked at through criminal law and civil law due to the circumstances of the situation.

Criminal law 

-Criminal Harassment– This can be communication that causes another person to fear for their life or the lives of others. This does not have to be on purpose, this is still a criminal act as long as the person feels threatened.

-Defamatory libel– communication that can severely harm a persons reputation

-Publishing intimate images without consent Taking, posting, passing or receiving of nude photos of someone without their consent.

or

Civil Law

Defamation – communicating false information that will harm someone’s reputation (lesser extent). This can also be known as slander

(Source)

This was a powerful moment within my classroom.  I honestly believe that the majority of my students did not believe that the repercussions of their actions online would have the same impact as actions offline. It seemed that they were very intrigued in the laws and consequences. This led into a discussion of the individuals who have taken their lives due to others mean comments or actions online. That just because actions are taken online does not make them any less significant than actions face to face.

We then discussed the importance of knowing their rights as students when it came to cyberbullying. These are taken from the lesson plan and put onto my modified Cyberbullying presentation. They are as follows;

  •  a right to learn in a safe environment
  •  a right to be treated with respect by teachers, staff and other students
  •  a right to free expression where that right does not libel another person, cause another person to fear for her or his safety, or interfere with the operation of the class and school, and the creation of a safe learning environment for all students
  •  a responsibility to treat all teachers, staff and other students with respect
  •  a responsibility to use school space and equipment, including computers, in a responsible and appropriate way
  •  a responsibility to report to the teacher or administration anything that may interfere with maintaining a safe learning environment

I think it was extremely important that my students understood this because often times they think that this just means in a physical space and not online.  When in fact the world they live in is as much online as it is in the physical classroom.  They need to feel safe online if they are going to be successful and engage citizens.

We ended off our lesson with looking at case studies involving cyberbullying.  My students were tasked with identifying if this was an act that could be put under the criminal law, civil law or no law at all.  It was at this moment that I knew this lesson had sunk in. My students became aware of what was allowed or morally acceptable online.  They were able to identify why something would fall under a law.

This lesson solidified the importance of teaching our students about digital citizenship and their responsibilities as a member.  As educators we often take for granted that our students already know what it is to be a capable digital citizen, but until they are taught they have no clue.  It has improved my understanding of the importance of teaching all aspects of digital citizenship and how important and crucial it is to teach digital law to your students. This Major Project has improved my knowledge of what it is to be a productive digital citizen and my responsibility to teach my students in the process.  In the future I am going to try and touch on all of Ribble’s 9 elements as I move forward in my teaching career.

Here is the lesson plan I used and the powerpoint that I created

lesson plan               Cyberbullying presentation

Look for the next Blog that will continue to talk about my learning of the copyright laws.

 

That’s Not True!

I found it pretty interesting as I sat down to write this blog post and started to reflect on my strategies for gathering information from the media around me.  I have always viewed myself as someone who was skeptical and willing to make sure the news that I was gathering was always credible and reliable. In todays society this can become a daunting task due to the flooding of fake news that is around us at all times. Anytime you access any type of media you are swarmed with stories, and often times these stories are false or altered. My views and opinions have changed drastically after presenting on Fakenews….

In my daily life I am ashamed to say that I am a slave to my cellphone. I often catch myself checking it constantly.  I am on socially media sites, game sites or the internet, being overwhelmed at the news and ads that are coming my way without even noticing. Often I will read a headline from an article and take it at its word, when in fact I am more then likely being lied to.  In todays society it has become easy to publish your own website or post your own ad, allowing anyone to post any type of misinformation they want. Often information will be posted for likes or to play on peoples emotions.  Through this course I have become more aware of what to look for to identify credible sources or even cross check facts.  This video posted in our class really hit home..

As a teacher in todays world it troubles me to think of what our students read on a daily basis. If I am able to get swayed by a false headline or article, I can’t help but think how easy it would be for a student lacking the critical thinking skills to become tricked by fake news.  It becomes dire that we teach our students not only to be critical of the news they read online, but of all information that they are given. The amount of time our students spend online they will be introduced to a great deal of misinformation.  I feel that it is my duty to make my students aware of what they are reading.  This course has forced me to re evaluate my teaching.  Look forward to tackling this the rest of the year and in the future.

 

 

Who would have thought literacy was so complicated?

In our changing world being literate has taken on a different meaning than it has in the past. Traditionally being literate meant that you could read, write and understand text. In our ever evolving world being literate has drastically changed from this.  According to Dani’s vlog she mentions that to be considered literate in todays terms means that you need to have the ability to use language, numbers, images, computers and other basic means to understand communicate, gain useful knowledge, solve mathematical problems and use the dominant systems of culture. This makes complete sense…but when did this become so complicated? A person who was once seen as literate would no longer be even close to being literate in our society today. As an educator creating a literate student has become a daunting task. 

Teaching Literacy

As an educator I am a firm believer in the idea that we need to create literate students and capable citizens. Although we have gotten away from the traditional meaning of literate, I still believe that students need to be taught all aspects of literacy.  In my opinion the hardest part of teaching literacy is tackling digital literacy for the simple fact that it is always changing and never will be constant. In saying this it needs to be taught because digital literacy is around us at all times and for an individual to survive in todays society they need to be digital literate.

In the article Digital Literacy: What Does It Mean To You? it states that for a student to be digitally literate they need to be able to use technology and be critical of the information that they gather. I believe that this is the hardest part of teaching digital literacy because a vast majority of students already know how to use technology, but they do not always know how to identify reliable information or decipher the information. The other issue is that on the internet there is a lot of false information that is available. I talk a lot about this in my vlog about fake news. My biggest hurdle in the classroom with technology is teaching the students how to identity false information (if you have any suggestions please help). I love using technology in my classroom, but often I feel like it can open up a whole new set of problems.

Netiquette through the eyes of a 8th grader

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As I moved forward with my final project I decided that now that I had my Digital policy put in place for my classroom it was time to focus on the three elements of Ribble’s Nine Elements of digital citizenship that I wanted to teach my students. I had decided early on in the course that my students needed work in three areas; Digital etiquette, Digital Law, and Digital rights and responsibilities. I made the decision that I was going to focus on one of the elements per week for three weeks.  It so happened that I taught Digital Etiquette my first week.  This blog post is going to share the results from that teaching along with the lesson plan that was used.

Digital Etiquette

It is important to restate that coming into this class I was not the most aware digital citizen on the internet.  I felt that the only way that I could benefit my students and teach them proper digital citizenship was to first learn with them.  I decided that the best place to start was focusing on Digital etiquette. According to Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools digital etiquette “…describes the standards of behaviour in online spaces or when using technology”(p. 15).  It also states that the key considerations for schools and school divisions when focusing on digital etiquette is 1) Ensuring that students use technology in ways that have positive effects on others and 2) Ensure that students communicate appropriately given the context, audience and purpose.

I believed that my first task was to identify what social media platforms my students using to communicate or impact themselves and others.  I wanted to use these platforms in my lesson.  Ultimately I made my students choose the social media platform that they used the most and follow a webquest that I put together using ideas from a webquest done by Ms. Pedly. In my adapted webquest my students were asked to find out a series of digital etiquette questions and create 10 digital etiquette rules for the social media platform that they were using (and explain the significance of these rules).  Here is the link to my lesson plan with a rubric that I used (Digital Etiquette WebQuest).

Results

As my students worked through this webquest it quickly became apparent that they were having more trouble then I thought they would.  I had to continually stop them and explain my expectations over and over again. They did not know what I meant by 10 rules.  It was not until another teacher walked in and stated that I meant it like the 10 commandments in our Catholic faith but only with using the app that they had chosen. After my students got started on their rules they did a very good job and I believe that they quickly learned the importance of digital etiquette. It gave them a chance to find out what netiquette was while using a social media platform of their choice.  Here are two examples of work produced Example student work 1      example student work 2