Although I would make many changes to the layout and delivery of this course, I was pleased to find that there was great, timely information for use in the courses I teach. It has been over 20 years since the internet went mainstream and only 11 years since the iphone was announced. While the internet brought new forms of communication and commerce, the personal digital device has spawned new forms of communication and commerce at an exponentially increasing rate. This new technology affects my classroom and what we do as a class. New technology means new opportunities for learning, but also new risks that we must learn how to handle. Since there was so much information packed into this one section of the course, I focused primarily on areas of need in my school.
In my classroom I am trying to build a community of learners that are well-prepared for their future and their world, so I have begun incorporating various forms of technology into the classroom. I am not just digitizing what we have always done. I am actively searching for new opportunities available to us because we have technology. I have been inspired by the work of my DLL classmates and decided to have my students each build websites where they can choose a topic to blog about. We can cultivate interests and talents while learning reading and writing skills. Before we began building their websites, we spent several days talking about digital citizenship, but we only talked about things in connection to what we would be doing in class. We spent more time focusing on safety and protecting their directory information.
I really enjoyed how Ribble (2015) grouped the nine elements, but also packaged them down into an easy to carry three principles. The more I explored these elements, the more I felt concern for my students. These ideas are all so important, yet we no longer require computer classes of any kind. We offer computer science, but not everyone takes it, nor does it cover digital citizenship. We offer one other computer class, but they focus on learning how to use Word. Excel, and PowerPoint. They don’t spend any time on digital citizenship. Our students aren’t getting digital citizenship anywhere else.
The great thing about teaching ELA in the 21st Century is that we can literally read and write about anything. We covered responsible, respectful communication prior to building our websites, but we will need to continue to reinforce those ideas. I can incorporate readings and videos on digital health, wellness, copyright laws, and security. I’m looking forward to going deeper into each of these elements to learn more about how I can incorporate them into my curriculum. In the future, I may need to build an entire digital literacy unit for my classes. I can see this being a requirement that they must complete prior to building websites in the future, but I would want to figure out how to make it interesting, engaging, and personally relevant.
For further reading in digital citizenship, check out the links:
Tomball ISD Instructional Technology https://sites.google.com/tomballschools.net/instructionaltechnology/digital-leadership?authuser=0
Google for Education
Ohler, J. (2010). Digital community: Digital Citizen. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools: Nine elements all students should know (3rd ed.). Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education