Preface

In nearly every situation where adults are instructing children, the adults tend to have more life experience, more expertise, and more familiarity with the topic. The one exception seems to be digital tool use. Often parents, teachers, and even school leaders are working furiously to stay ahead of students crafting rules and expectations for how to Digital_Citizenship_Resource_Guideuse new digital tools. This tool is designed to support teachers as we assist our students in developing healthy, productive digital habits.

According to www.digitalcitizenship.net , digital citizenship can be defined as “the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use.”  Just because our “digital natives” are often more familiar with digital tools doesn’t mean they know “appropriate and responsible” behaviors.  A large part of the problem is our lack of common or shared expectations. This book is a guide to understanding seven shared, foundational guidelines for digital citizenship.

We give kids an email address in the third grade and some guidance on responsible use, but we are just beginning to develop a robust curriculum to teach all the components of digital citizenship.  In moving to a One2World environment and asking students to do more and more work on a mobile device in virtual spaces, we must give them the tools to do so in a manner that helps them build a “positive digital footprint.”  Everything our students do online becomes part of a searchable digital portfolio.  We must support our students in building a high quality portfolio with intention.

In order to help students avoid negative consequences of online use, many schools have developed a set of rules (contract)- an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) for students to sign.  While such an approach seems to “cover the bases” in terms of due diligence or legal liability, it puts students in a “gotcha” situation with teachers and administrators.  Essentially, the student promises to obey the rules in said signed document and when caught, will accept the punishment.  Human nature says the student will hide unsanctioned use behaviors and/or lie when caught.

The PD Digital Compass and related curriculum is meant to take a different approach to the traditional AUP.  These seven precepts were developed to be common language within our community.  Constant use of this language with our students by teachers and parents should help shift culture from one of reactive punishment to proactive guidance about positive use.digital citizenship compass for book Notice that this language is not specific to any technology or app on the iPad.  This is by design. We want language that focuses on desired behaviors, not the tech tools. You do not have to be” tech savvy” to give this advice.  As the graphic on your new classroom poster suggests, these precepts are meant to help function as a “moral compass” for our students as they operate in the virtual world.  The goal is not to scare our students, rather, to inform and guide them. Our seven compass points were influenced by Covey’s Seven Habits for Kids which are used in Lower School  as part of their Social Responsibility program.

We want students who internalize sound advice and smart practices instead of memorizing rules. Enculturation is the process by which an individual learns the traditional content of a culture and assimilates its practices and values. At PDS we have embarked on creating a culture of positive digital citizenship by developing common language and practices for all grades.  Parents, teachers and peers are all agents of this enculturation process.  It is imperative that everyone in our community understands and uses the language on the classroom poster-it cannot just be another decoration on the wall.

Understand that pre-teens and teenagers want to connect witheach other.  If you truly want to understand the phenomena in the age of social media, give It’s Complicated, by Danah Boyd, a read.  Boyd states:

Social media plays a crucial role in the lives of networked teens. Although the specific technologies change, they collectively provide teens with a space to hang out and connect with friends. Teen’s mediated interactions sometimes complement or supplement their face-to-face encounters.”

At the same time, understand that some teens have real trouble knowing when to unplug or when to disengage from their network. This summary of the recent A Global Media Survey by by the International Center for Media & the Public Agenda (ICMPA) in partnership with the Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change is illuminating.  It may be an unrealistic expectation from us as adults to ask them to go a full day “untethered” from their online network.

As educators, it is imperative we understand these phenomena, and that we work to guide our students without judging them. Dr. Catherine Steiner- Adair’s book, The Big Disconnect,  is another wonderful resource for us to use to gain insight into student behavior.

Hopefully, this iBook will help you understand many of the issues associated with living and learning in a networked life AND provide you some sound advice to pass on to our students so they make smart and safe choices online.

Each chapter in this resource will provide key points, elaborate on this common language, provide suggestions, case studies and/or lesson plans useful for working with advisees and students.  The resources section in each chapter and at the back of the book provides links to supplemental sources of information, lesson plans, articles, and/or blog posts.

Constant use of this language with our students by teachers and parents should help shift culture from one of reactive punishment to proactive guidance about positive use.


Notice that this language is not specific to any technology or app on the iPad.  This is by design. We want language that focuses on desired behaviors, not the tech tools. You do not have to be” tech savvy” to give this advice.  As the graphic on your new classroom poster suggests, these precepts are meant to help function as a “moral compass” for our students as they operate in the virtual world.  The goal is not to scare our students, rather, to inform and guide them.


We want students who internalize sound advice and smart practices instead of memorizing rules. Enculturation is the process by which an individual learns the traditional content of a culture and assimilates its practices and values. At PDS we have embarked on creating a culture of positive digital citizenship by developing common language and practices for all grades.  Parents, teachers and peers are all agents of this enculturation process.  It is imperative that everyone in our community understands and uses the language on the classroom poster-  it cannot just be another decoration on the wall.


Understand that pre-teens and teenagers want to connect with each other.  If you truly want to understand the phenomena in the age of social media, give
It’s Complicated, by Danah Boyd, a read.  Boyd states:

Social media plays a crucial role in the lives of networked teens. Although the specific technologies change, they collectively provide teens with a space to hang out and connect with friends. Teen’s mediated interactions sometimes complement or supplement their face-to-face encounters.”


At the same time, understand that some teens have real trouble knowing when to unplug or when to disengage from their network. This summary of the recent
A Global Media Survey by by the International Center for Media & the Public Agenda (ICMPA) in partnership with the Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change is illuminating.  It may be an unrealistic expectation from us as adults to ask them to go a full day “untethered” from their online network.

 

As educators, it is imperative we understand these phenomena, and that we work to guide our students without judging them. Dr. Catherine Steiner- Adair’s book, The Big Disconnect,  is another wonderful resource for us to use to gain insight into student behavior and come away with meaningful ways of engaging our children.

 


Each section in this resource will provide key points, elaborate on this common language, provide suggestions, case studies and/or lesson plans useful for working with advisees and students.  The resources section in each chapter and at the back of the book provides links to supplement sources of information, lesson plans, articles, and/or blog posts.

Resources, Activities, & Lesson Plans


Grades 4-12: Digital Compass Activity

Students explore scenarios and literally use a moral compass to debate decisions about ethical use of digital technologies. This was a starting point for the PD Digital Citizenship Compass.


Grades 6-12: My Online Code

Students discuss their understanding of ethical behavior and are introduced to the concept of online ethics.

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