We are now living and learning in the digital age and there is something lacking in a lot of educational settings. We use digital resources, we post online, we have students traversing the highways of the internet and yet we do not address the ways in which we should behave when online and how this can impact us. In Iowa there are so many districts that are now 1:1 and they are finding out quickly that Digital Citizenship is one big area that we are not addressing well.
We need to be addressing Digital Citizenship with our students and not just in a one time setting. Digital Citizenship should be a part of any class that involves digital learning. If we are having students create, share and post online then we need to make sure that we are modeling and addressing the issues when they arise with how to behave and learn in a digital world.
One of my main goals this year is to make sure that we are doing a better job with students in regards to Digital Citizenship. I want to make sure that we are doing a better job at preparing our students to live and learn in an ever increasing digital world. They are growing up and will experience a future very different than what we have. Their mistakes and missteps may be recorded and saved forever online and they are mostly not prepared for that. They could watch their future disappear because of one big mistake that is shared/posted online that becomes part of the saved history of the internet. There is no delete button available to remove something from all of the digital world.
Each school will approach this problem differently, all dependent on the specific situation and variables that they face. While some schools may go all in and make this a big part of their professional development and classroom time, other schools will have to use a method that fits their already cramped and full schedule. The plan that we are working on will fit our needs and situation and will be adaptable as we continue further along this path. We may need to make adjustments but we will always be aware of the needs that our students have.
No matter what, every school should pick that method that best fits them and their situation. We should be doing something at least, we owe it to our students. A nice thing is that we do not have to be alone when it comes to planning and finding resources for our teachers to use. Before my first meeting with teachers about this I sent out a tweet asking others for their best resources. It is important to have those resources available so that when a specific issue or need arises, we are prepared.
Here are some of the resources that were shared with me and are definitely ones I would suggest to others.
- iTunes course: iAm: A Brand Called ME
While I will not share what we are doing yet as I am still working on it, I will share it in the future along with how effective it was or wasn’t. The one thing I will share now is that I plan on pushing for the use of the hashtag #AmesHighPride to showcase those great things about our school and community. We have so many great things happening that we should be sharing those out. Plus, this will allow us to model how we can use tools like social media in a very positive way. I was inspired by #LeydenPride and what they were able to accomplish and believe that every district should be sharing out those things that make us so proud to be part of that community. Modeling may be one of the most important things we can do so that our students and parents see how we can be using these digital tools in an effective way.