I have been spending a lot of time thinking about what i have learned in EC&I 832. One thing that stood out for me was realizing that I thought I was informed and in fact I knew very little. Digital literacy, Digital Citizenship and Social Media all look very different to me after 3 months.
Initially, I felt like I was doing a great job educating my students about being responsible on line by embracing technology and simply transferring the character education I was doing in class to online behaviour. It is SO much more. Many of my colleagues still feel that they are educating their students by simply embracing technology, this is NOT enough.
It is so easy to say that “I use the Mimio, incorporate videos and devices in my lessons”. Moving beyond this is the challenge. In some cases our students know more about being online than we do. They are using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Chat Rooms at home and on handheld devices. They are constantly connected and often begin the journey without realizing the digital footprint they are creating. They are growing up in a digital age. What they do and learn now will directly affect them in the future and the frightening part is that age online isn’t as apparent. Facebook policy is that no one under 13 years of age is allowed to sign up, yet I have had grade 2 students send me a friend request. Parents think that this is a recommendation not a requirement and can lead to things that we want to protect our children from, like bullying but even more serious sextortion. Parents need to be part of the conversation about what their children are doing online but what role do educators have in it?
Technology is changing the definition of community we are no longer limited to our neighborhoods and places we can travel to be connected digital citizens can engage with groups that are local and groups that are not geographically connected simultaneously. We need to cultivate 21st century skills within our students and teach them how to manage these connections. The problem is if an educator is not willing to learn these skills themselves chances are the will not cultivate them. Educators need to also be learners.
Students are using digital media all of the time. The students in this video Youth and Digital Learning: Are Kids Different Because of Digital Media? students explain the shift in thinking with digital media. They also explain the disconnect with the generation before them (their parents and often their teachers).
It is critical that we move beyond becoming familiar with the following documents to effectively using them to guide our student’s learning.
Because many schools are shifting to BYOD policies and pushing for integrating more technology in the classroom students need to be able to effectively understand and examine their online activity. There are 5 Reasons You Should Be Teaching Digital Citizenship
- The gap is growing
- Most educators embrace new technology without fully understanding the consequences of implementing them Our. students will continue to use them whether or not they’re available at school so teaching them how to use them responsibly is important.
- Digital footprints are easy to leave
- Employers and colleges are using online digital footprints to screen potential employees and college admissions. Many students don’t think about what they post online and how it can effect them in the future.
- It’s real life
- Our students are accessing technology everywhere and it makes no sense to avoid giving them the opportunity to do it in a real authentic way in the classroom with guidance.
- There’s a culture of multitasking
- With increased connection and instant access to multiple things multi tasking or fragmented attention is growing we need to teach students how to regulate and sustain their attention.
- Content curation is an emerging literacy
- Students have access to information at all times they need to be taught how to carefully collect site and determine which information is reliable.
Educators need to step out of their comfort zones and work with students to access and connect responsibly. I have struggled with finding my voice in this blog and on Twitter BUT I now have a better understanding of what my students need because of it.