Looking into my major project I quickly discovered that before I can dive deeply into the content that I want to cover within my class using the Digital Citizenship in Saskatchewan Schools document, I first need to find out some important basic facts about the use of technology by my students. Already being with them for 5 months I was pretty certain that I knew the answer to these basic questions (which I actually did not) because technology is a hot topic with my students. I wanted to find out first how many hours a day are my kids glued to technology, what types of social media do they use, and lastly who online is having on influence on things that they do.
Amount of time
Coming into this course I was very aware that my students spent a lot of time online and on technology. Before getting started we set out the parameters of what was considered technology and for this purpose with the help of my students we said anything that had a screen…(we felt like this was considered technology to them). I created a poll on Google Classrooms and had my 24 students fill out how many hours they were on technology a day. The options were 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8+ hours. I was blown away at the results. 19 of the 24 students said they were using technology for over 4 hours a day.
The complete results were as follows
1 hour – 4 students
2 hours – 0
3 hours – 1
4 hours – 7
5 hours – 3
6 hours – 3
7 hours – 1
8 + hours – 5
This was absolutely mind boggling to me. The amount of time that my students spend plugged in is incredible. I found this to extremely important for the simple fact that with this much time spent with technology they are going to be influenced by their peers, celebrities and other unknowns on the internet. It was a confirmation about how important it is to become an aware digital citizen, as well as educate my students of the importance of digital citizenship.
Forms of Social Media Used
Another question that I asked my students was what form of social media do you use most commonly to get your information or follow your friends. Overwhelmingly the answer was consistent. With a majority of the votes SnapChat was voted to be the most common app used within my classroom (I found this to be good because I actually know this app and how it works). The other forum that came in second was the use of Youtube by my students. What I found interesting about their use of Youtube was that they told me they did not even go on Youtube for a purpose they would just watch recommended videos and sometimes get caught in the rabbit hole and watch for hours on end. I became a little bit worried at this because who controls what is recommended videos and are these videos appropriate. If they are anything like what I have heard about famous youtubers such as Logan Paul this worries me.
Lastly, we created a digital policy for my classroom as a group. I felt like this was important because I feel like I would love to incorporate technology into my classroom more often and give them the opportunity to have a say in how it is used. We discussed items like when is technology appropriate, what types of technology, where can it be used and what are some consequences of improper use. I was extremely impressed with some of the suggestions that my students came up with and I am excited to move forward. I am still in the process of typing up the digital policy and will post it in my next blog to let you have a look.
At first I was worried about moving forward with this major Project, but as I have slowly incorporated this into my classroom I am becoming very optimistic!
When approaching my final project I was trying to figure out what would be the best way that I could help my students become better digital citizens. When I sat down and tried to figure this out I quickly understood that I did not have a grasp of digital citizenship for myself, so how could I properly teach digital citizenship to a bunch of 12 and 13 years olds who have their phones glued to their hands 95% of the day. I decided that I would begin my project by polling my students to help me understand what they thought digital citizenship was…they knew very little. So I feel like I had an idea for my project…
I decided since I am clueless when it comes to digital citizenship and my students seem to be clueless when it comes to digital citizenship, why not learn together. So began the premise of my final project. I have decided to implement aspects of the Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools into my teaching. I have began by creating a digital citizenship policy with my students for our classroom. Something that I would not have considered before, but I gave my students a voice and together came up with a very interesting and effective policy that will keep our class engaged and safe when comes to technology.
The second step into my digital citizenship project is to focus on three aspects of Ribble’s 9 elements and teach these through exploring apps, blogs and social media that my students are already using. I want to focus on and incorporate 1) digital etiquette 2) digital rights and responsibilities and 3) digital law into my classroom. The way that I believe that this will have the greatest impact on them is by using technology that is relevant and already being used. I was blown away recently when a few of my students told me that they are on their devices for sometimes exceeding 8 hours a day. Without being taught how to be good digital citizens, my students could run the risk of leaving a bad digital footprint.
Finally I want to tie all of our learning together by allowing my students to complete a final project that has to utilize technology and explain what they have learned about digital citizenship. I have not completely figured out what I will do for our final project in my class, but when I have it pieced together I will make sure to let you know! Here goes nothing…
First off, when thinking of the students within our schooling system the first term that came to mind was millennials… wow was I blown away when I found out that not only was this generation referred to as generation z, but I was considered a millennial. Shows how much I know about the digital world.
Changes to schooling
When dealing with technology within the classroom it is pretty safe to say that technology is not going away, but instead it is going to only get more prevalent within the schools and in the hands of our students. With this in mind it is only reasonable to expect that schools need to continually grow with the technology and use it as a tool to help our students learn. Often it is taken for granted that students know how to use technology because they have grown up with it from an early age, but according to Digital Citizenship: The Critical Call to Educate and Prepare 21st-Century Learners our students use technology for socializing with friends and viewing media outlets. This becomes an important element that needs to be focused on within our schools. We need to give our students the tools to use technology in an effective way so they can be successful in the real world. In short we need to teach them to become aware and critical thinking digital citizens. According to Bree and Danielle’s presentation a digital citizen is someone who develops the skills and knowledge to effectively use the internet and other digital technology.
Moving forward in the education field I believe that it is going to become crucial for our education system to educate students on the ideals of technology and allow them to see that technology is more then just a way to view other peoples lives. It will become important to give them the skills to use their devices or technology to better themselves and society. Often I am blown away at my students who can code and create apps, but have trouble formatting a word document. Often I take for granted something that I was TAUGHT in school and assume they know how to do it because of the time they have spent with technology.
I also begin to wonder if we are going to have to focus more on face to face communication. At times it seems like it is becoming a lost art, because Generation Z (yeah not millennials…) communicate so much with their device that slang and tech terms are being introduced in to conversations. Often it is a lot easier to communicate via text rather then face to face conversation.
Another concern that I have moving forward with my students is the issue of self esteem. I often tell my students that the majority of the things that they see on social media are the high points of others lives and that rarely will people post the lows. It is important to let our students know that they cannot compare their lives to social media because we only see the good in social media. I feel that due to this our students will have a uphill struggle dealing with self esteem. Recently the meme came out about the boy focused more on his phone then he was on Justin Timberlake because he was so concerned with letting everyone else know what was happening…. This is the world we live in.
While watching the PBS video Do “Digital Natives” exist? I found it interesting to hear that anyone born after 1980 is considered to be a “digital native”, for the basic fact that we have grown up with technology. I immediately began to chuckle to myself remembering all of the times that I have needed to help my grandparents with the most basic of tasks. Simple things that I have taken for granted. the simplest of tasks; such as changing the input on their television to making sure all of the cords are plugged in on their VCR. It has also made me reflect on the amount of growth in technology they have seen in their lifetime and try to imagine what technology will look like at the end of my life. Witnessing the growth in technology in the last ten years, I cannot Fathom what technology will look like in 50 years.
Although I am still considered to be a “digital native”, at times I feel like my grandparents when my students are talking about new apps or technology that comes out. They must look at me the way that I look at grandparents when I ask for help with things that they deem as simple. I often feel that by the time I am aware of technology or apps that my students use, they are on to something different and I am left in the dust. It can also feel like this in education when it comes to the use of technology. A great technology tool comes out for teachers and by the time we get the hang of it there is a newer and better tool.
Another piece that I found to be extremely interesting and insightful was the way that the video talks about technology to “digital immigrants” is like learning a second language. It is possible, but most “immigrants” are left with an accent. This meaning that they are not as fluent as a “digital native” that has been immersed with technology their whole lives. Within Megan’s blog post she discusses that people will often be on their devices even though they are surrounded by people seeming to be bored with social interactions. When in fact this has become the social norm and is the contributing to “digital natives” fluency in technology.
I have become extremely aware that although I am in the category of being a “digital native” I am nowhere near as fluent as my students when it comes to technology. It is like practise makes perfect…and they have a lot more practise.
Throughout the week I have been stressing about what I want to tackle for my major project dealing with digital citizenship for my EC&I 832 course. Teaching a group of grade 7/8 students it has become quite apparent that most of the communication between adolescents takes place on a social forum. Unfortunately I am not fluent in the ways of social media….hence the taking of this course. I often feel that once I have a grasp of an app or technology my students are using they are done with it and are on to the next social media app. This often leaves me feeling like I am taking one step forward and two steps back.
Another issue that I have continuously ran into with my students is the impact that social media has had on relationships within the classroom. Often issues stemming from improper social media use are brought into the classroom creating a wedge between students. With this in mind I wanted to find a way that I could educate my kids on Digital Citizenship as well as incorporating proper etiquette within my classroom. The idea for my project came to me while talking to a principal that was from another school division. He told me that his school was having a digital citizenship initiative at his school and using the ministry document as their guiding document. This got me interested and I looked into the document Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools. Upon further investigation I found out that one of the authors of the document was none other than our professor Dr Alec Couros . It became quickly apparent that I could use this document to help guide some of the principles within my classroom regarding digital citizenship and educate my students in the process. On top of this it will help me learn to be a better digital citizen as well.
After posing my idea to Alec, he explained to me that the document was grounded largely in Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship. I have decided to focus on 3 of Ribble’s elements and teach them to the students within my class. Those three being; Digital etiquette, Digital Law, and Digital rights and responsibilities. After a short review these three appear to focus on the issues that have been growing in my class. I will also create a Digital Citizenship Policy within my class that allows my students to have an input. Throughout this process I will be blogging my journey as well as the growth within my students. I am excited to get this journey started.
It has been quite awhile since I have blogged last, so here goes nothing. For those of you who do not know me I am Carter Davis and I teach a grade 7 and 8 split in Moose Jaw. I am on class 7 of 10 on my way to my Masters in Educational Administration, so I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have chosen to take EC&I 832 this term because I strongly believe that to become a more impactful teacher I need to know what it takes to become a more insightful digital citizen and quite honestly more aware of what my students are being influenced by on a daily basis. Often my students will be talking about a new app or website that they are interested in and it will feel like they are talking a foreign language to me. After attending the first two classes I am excited for what we are going to learn in class and hopefully become more aware of what my students are interested in.
Last July I became a new father to a baby girl named Andi Marie, so I have learned to live and function on little sleep. I have a wife named Amy that is also a teacher. I am a huge Edmonton Oilers fan that has nothing to cheer about as of late.
I am excited to take this journey with all of you and learn from all of you in the process! If you would like to follow me on twitter @carterdavis87
Photo Credit: Vernon Barford School Library Flickr via Compfight cc
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