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Posts Tagged ‘digital citizenship’

Action Words that Describe Digital World Learning

Posted by Marti Weston on April 15, 2014

digital-citizenship Can we teach pre-adolescents and teens to reflect on what’s happening as they use digital world tools and  interact with online content? Can we help them understand more about what they are doing when they work and play online?

Educators often provide a checklist or rubric for students to use as they work on assignments or projects. A rubric usually contains editing specifications, project requirements, resource documentation, and expectations — all for students to consider while completing the work. Now I’ve discovered that Mia MacMeekin over at the An Ethical Island blog offers what I think of as a digital learning graphical rubric.

The easy-to-understand graphic features World Wide Web nouns and action verbs that describe the ways people  encounter, process, and use online information. MacMeekin thinks of her infographic as a digital citizenship tool, but it’s much more than that. The chart offers educators with opportunities to ask questions as they teach, and more importantly, expect students to answer them.

Question: What are you creating or using when you work on this project?

Answer: You are creating information with voice (or credibility, respect, references).

Question: How are you creating this information and what actions are you taking?

Answer: In the connected world you seek, engage, and sift through information. You participate in discussions, discover and use references, and more.

Individuals — parents, teachers, students, and anyone learning or working — can refer to this infographic to explain how they are organizing, classifying, and processing digital information. Educators, no matter what subject they teach, can specify, as a part of an assignment rubric, exactly how they expect students to handle online content and, better yet, require learners to explain and reflect on what they are doing with digital information. It’s all right there on the chart.

Educators and parents who worry about students’ digital citizenship skills will discover how MacMeekin’s chart helps them address the all-important connected world behavior, specifically when it comes to helping kids understand that expectations for civil discourse are no different online or off. Posted in a prominent place at home and school, the graphic can refocus the “what are you doing online?” digital parenting conversations. Oh, and these conversations just may occur at times when nothing is wrong, allowing valuable time to exchange ideas and consider online activities more thoughtfully.

Posted in 21st Century Learning, digital citizenship, digital learning, digital learning resources, educating digital natives, online learning | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

How We Teach Digital Citizenship Makes a Difference

Posted by Marti Weston on April 7, 2014

Digital Citizenship Posters Become a Hallway Exhibit

Digital Citizenship Posters Become a Month Long Hallway Exhibit

When it comes to digital citizenship, we cannot just lecture or watch videos.

Everyone learns best by doing — whether it’s tying a shoe, mastering letter sounds, figuring out a science concept, learning to drive, parenting a new baby, or any other activity, including what we need to figure out on computers and digital devices. When people tell us how to do something by talking a lot, most of us can’t wait for the person to stop talking so we can try to do it ourselves.

Now consider how we have gone about teaching 21st Century children — at home and at school — about digital devices and digital world behavior. Mostly adults talk and talk, telling children, pre-adolescents, and teens about all the things that can go wrong and explaining what we don’t want them to do.

Over the past 15 years, I’ve spent way too much time talking to kids about digital life issues and not nearly enough time doing things with them. So these past few years I’ve changed the way I teach.

Digital Footprint Venn Diagram Project

Digital footprint Venn diagram group project on 18″by 24″ paper.

Now my goal is to design digital citizenship lessons that connect with the mission of my school, with age-appropriate social-emotional skills, and with each grade’s curriculum. I spend time developing ideas, sometimes borrowing parts of published lessons, but more often figuring out activities that correspond to the academic topics that my students are already learning about in their classrooms. I have limited time with students, and I need to use it well.

Each of my classes includes some talking, some moving, sometimes some improvisation, and a hands-on project. Most importantly, I’ve  realized that the students don’t usually need to be anywhere near digital devices for digital citizenship lessons.

A Few Activity Examples       Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century parenting, digital citizenship, digital footprints, digital kids, digital learning, parents and technology | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Soundbites From Day Two of FOSI 2013 – Conference Post #3

Posted by Marti Weston on November 8, 2013

fosi2013While I could not spend the entire day at the FOSI2013 conference, I joined the event around 1:00 P.M. after a morning at school and just in time for a terrific panel, Child Psychology and the Effects of Technology. Later I attended a session, Creating Trust on Social Networks, with panel members from the social media industry who described in some detail  how vendors and social media sites strive to commit themselves to user support, troubleshooting, problem-solving, and integrity — in theory, above profit concerns.

As usual, each of the break-out periods featured two sessions — topics that I really wanted to attend but scheduled at the same time — so I had the difficult task of making choices. Because FOSI2013 provided a detailed schedule before the conference began, I arrived with a pretty good idea about which session related more to the issues that I am currently thinking about and coping with at my school. Still, making this type of choice at a conference is always challenging. I’ve tentatively arranged to get together, face-to-face, with local colleagues who also attended the conference and swap notes about the sessions that we missed.

I might mention here that during a break my edtech colleague, David, and I struck up a conversation with Patricia, a conference attendee and government official from Kenya. She had arrived just before the conference and was leaving almost immediately afterward. He asked her if she would be attending the FOSI2014 conference next year and invited her to plan a few extra days and visit his school. I  chimed in and offered an invite to mine. Then we told Patricia that our independent school technology community is close-knit, and would welcome her at their schools, too.

To round out the afternoon, conference attendees all came back together to hear a group of experts discuss and distill some of the issues — privacy, digital citizenship, parenting, social media, connected life — that FOSI featured during the two-day conference. This was one of the most engaging conference activities, I think, because of the way the panelists — a journalist, an academician, a therapist, and a legal scholar — ranged back and forth over the topics connecting events and adding their own information.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 21st Century parenting, 21st Century teaching, digital citizenship, digital kids, digital parenting, digital world conversations, parents and technology, workshops and conferences | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Soundbites From Day One of FOSI 2013, Conference Post #2

Posted by Marti Weston on November 7, 2013

fosi2013Some of these ideas come from researchers describing the results of various studies. Others come from presenters’ comments. My apologies for not connecting individuals with their comments. 

I am drawing from my 30 pages of actual handwritten notes (handwritten because the seats were not a comfortable height for me to use my iPad).

In the Digital World

  • Six billion people have access to a cell phone in today’s world — more than have access to clean toilets.
  • The enemy of empowerment is fear and lack of expertise.
  • Be the change that you want to see in the world. (a Gandhi quote)
  • Children are using the Internet at younger and younger ages.
  • Surveillance does not create safety — only the illusion of safety.
  • Think less about digital citizenship. The Internet is a huge part of life and we are citizens on and offline.
  • Digital world communication often eliminates a person’s visual and aural signals setting the scene for misunderstanding.

Teens                                             Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 21st Century parenting, 21st Century teaching, digital citizenship, digital kids, digital learning, digital parenting, educating digital natives, kids and privacy, parents and technology | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Observations from FOSI 2013 – Conference Post #1

Posted by Marti Weston on November 6, 2013

fosi2013I am away from school today, attending the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) 2013 conference in Washington, DC. I plan to post several times over the course of the two days, and because I am putting connected-world sharing above almost-perfect prose, I’ll make basic edits as I write but spend more time tonight and tomorrow fine-tuning my posts.

Check out the FOSI Annual Conference Program!

Check out the FOSI Annual Conference Program!

The conference, held in the Ronald Reagan International Trade Conference, features all sorts of digital life movers and shakers who  offer information and guidance to parents, children, and educators.

One always has interesting first impressions at the beginning of any conference. Is it easy to get settled? Yes. Is the wifi ready and easy for us to use? Yes, and I am using it now. Are the people friendly and helpful? A definite yes. And finally, does the conference facility have a coat check? Yes! There’s nothing worse than toting around a coat all day during a conference.  It remains to be seen if it will be easy to recharge my laptop when necessary, but I expect that will not be difficult either.

So now I get to excitedly anticipate the FOSI program. I await the panel on new research. I’m eager to hear from danah boyd (lower case intentional), especially about her upcoming book, It’s Complicated. (Editor’s Note: Even when I knew just a few of the many wonderful things about danah I was already a fan just because she attended the same university as my daughter.) Another author I’ll be interested to hear is Catherine Steiner-Adair, whose book, The Big Disconnect, is my current read and featured on the front of this blog.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century parenting, digital citizenship, digital kids, digital learning, digital parenting, educating digital natives, family conversations, parents and technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Digital Childhood and Technology: Another Good NPR Series

Posted by Marti Weston on November 1, 2013

All Tech Considered

Visit All Tech Considered

Parents and educators can learn a lot about children’s digital lives — and the importance of helping young people develop strong digital citizenship skills — by listening to a series of broadcasts from National Public Radio (NPR) on raising digital natives (also available in print). The radio reports focus on children’s experiences in daily connected life and present wide-ranging information about the responsibilities of parenting 21st Century digital kids. All of the stories are posted at All Tech Considered blog, but I’ve included links for each story below.

The entire set of news stories, shared by a number of different NPR reporters, contains information that can help parents and educators think more carefully about how to strengthen their roles in children’s lives.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 21st Century parenting, 21st Century teaching, digital citizenship, digital kids, kids changing lives, online safety, parents and technology | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Is It Digital Citizenship or Just Plain Citizenship?

Posted by Marti Weston on October 16, 2013

dewey quoteAs the lives of my students, online and off, grow more complex by the day, I spend a good deal of time helping them learn more about digital citizenship. Today the digitally connected, always-on world presents students, teachers, and parents with confusing questions and baffling behavior expectations.

But wait a minute!

Is this digital citizenship or just plain citizenship? Building strong 21st Century citizens is of paramount importance whether we are living our lives offline or on, and we need to avoid using old-fashioned compartmentalized instruction in a connected world.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines citizenship as “The qualities that a person is expected to have as a responsible member of a community,” and helping students shape themselves into responsible community members is what caring adults do. We model appropriate behavior and help children learn how to participate as respectful and ethical members of society. No matter where they work or play, our citizenship goals are the same.

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Posted in 21st Century Learning, 21st Century parenting, 21st Century teaching, digital citizenship, digital kids, ethical behavior, parents and technology | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Privacy Matters So Talk With Kids About It

Posted by Marti Weston on July 11, 2013

Privacy spiral

Created with Festisite

After recent news reports about the National Security Agency (NSA) and its data collecting, we adults are thinking much more about the lack of privacy in our lives. We need to remember, however, that including children and adolescents in the conversation is important if they are to become competent and confident digital citizens.

With our online profiles, social media accounts, mobile devices, and files saved to the cloud, almost no one doubts that we have less privacy; however, what is an ideological or big discussion issue for adults is far more complicated and abstract for children. For most adults the sentinel issue — how much data collection intrudes on a family’s or individual’s personal life — is a primary focus. The issue for children, on the other hand, is that without basic understanding of privacy concepts they lack the information and the skills that they need to recognize and avoid potential problems.

Many years ago my parents designated important topics for dinner table conversations — broad subjects that we recycled again and again as the four of us shared family meals. When one or the other parent said, “We should talk about that at dinner,” my brother and I knew it was something that Mom and Dad wanted us to take seriously.

Today children and adolescents need to experience this same type of dinner table conversation to help them learn about privacy and develop strategies for maintaining as much of it as possible.   Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in digital citizenship, digital footprints, digital parenting, kids and privacy, privacy | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

5 Digital Citizenship Moments: Adult Conversational Digressions for Kids

Posted by Marti Weston on March 19, 2013

You have just shared several websites and take a moment to comment to children about digital footprints. Or perhaps you sent an e-mail that you wish you had not sent and you mention that it’s not possible to get something back once it’s sent out electronically. Maybe you open a website of poor quality and point out one or two things that could be improved.

These are moments, each probably less than a minute of conversational digression, that reinforce the digital citizenship habits of children. These comments can be incorporated into any discussion or lesson.

Each time adults comment on digital citizenship issues in the context of daily lessons and classroom life, we model a kind of digital intelligence that students can emulate and embrace, whether they are working or playing.

When educators and parents make time for digital digressions, moments of digital citizenship addressing crucial issues, they informally incorporate  behavioral values that are a part of 21st Century connected learning. More importantly, these moments allow children to observe that just about every digital activity incorporates time-tested values such as careful evaluation, respect, collaboration, and inclusiveness.

Five Digital Citizenship Moments to Incorporate into Any Conversation

1. Pause for a moment whenever you use a web site, and explain one or two things that you like about it (or don’t like). Or explain just how you found the website.

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Posted in 21st Century Learning, digital citizenship, digital citizenship minute, digital learning, educating digital natives, parents and technology | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »