American School Board Journal June 2016 : Page 34
storyboard Digital Citizenship Learning how to act online is an important technology skill for students Michelle Healy A 34 asbj new personalized learning initiative rolling out this school year in suburban Atlanta’s Fulton County School district is not only increasing student access to digital devices but also ensur-ing that students are introduced to concepts of online ethics, internet safety, and the ﬁner details of digital citizenship. Before individual schools are allowed to “shop” for their devices—selecting from a marketplace that includes iPads, Surface tablets, and Chromebooks and Latitude laptops— their students must ﬁrst complete the digital citizenship certiﬁcation program produced by Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based education nonproﬁt (www.common sensemedia.org/educators/digital-citizenship). Nearly all of Fulton’s 101 schools have completed the free program that aims to help students “think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly with technology.” Increasingly, educators are realizing that teaching children 21st century skills must include explicit lessons on digital citizenship. Courtesy of social media, students spend much of their time online. Understanding the lasting impact of their online activities and knowing how to act online are just as essential as coding or creating a website. It’s always been schools’ responsibility to teach students how to be responsible citizens of the world, says Heath-er Van Looy, a Fulton County instructional technology program specialist and Common Sense Digital Citizenship certiﬁed educator. “A big part of our lives, and students’ lives, is now a digital, online life, so we would be remiss to not prepare them for that part of the world,” she says. ġȻ JUNE 2016 PHOTOS COURTESY OF FULTON COUNTY SCHOOLS
Learning how to act online is an important technology skill for students
A new personalized learning initiative rolling out this school year in suburban Atlanta’s Fulton County School district is not only increasing student access to digital devices but also ensuring that students are introduced to concepts of online ethics, internet safety, and the finer details of digital citizenship.
Before individual schools are allowed to “shop” for their devices—selecting from a marketplace that includes iPads, Surface tablets, and Chromebooks and Latitude laptops— their students must first complete the digital citizenship certification program produced by Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based education nonprofit (www.common sensemedia.org/educators/digital-citizenship).
Nearly all of Fulton’s 101 schools have completed the free program that aims to help students “think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly with technology.”
Increasingly, educators are realizing that teaching children 21st century skills must include explicit lessons on digital citizenship. Courtesy of social media, students spend much of their time online. Understanding the lasting impact of their online activities and knowing how to act online are just as essential as coding or creating a website.
It’s always been schools’ responsibility to teach students how to be responsible citizens of the world, says Heather Van Looy, a Fulton County instructional technology program specialist and Common Sense Digital Citizenship certified educator. “A big part of our lives, and students’ lives, is now a digital, online life, so we would be remiss to not prepare them for that part of the world,” she says.
A 2015 Pew Research Center report found that 92 percent of teens (ages 13-17) report going online daily, including 24 percent who say they go online “almost constantly,” due in large part to the widespread availability of smartphones.
Online exposure, of course, in no way guarantees that kids are competent technology users, so schools “need to help them and drive them toward using the technology in an appropriate and responsible manner,” says Mike Ribble, author of Digital Citizenship in Schools, published by the International Society for Technology in Education.
The first edition of Digital Citizenship in Schools, written with Gerald Bailey in 2007, outlined what’s become widely accepted as the nine essential elements of good digital citizenship: access, commerce, communication, literacy, etiquette, law, rights and responsibilities, health and wellness, and security.
A lot of these issues don’t require hours and hours of discussion, but when related topics arise, it’s important to take those opportunities and help students see them in context, Ribble says.
Van Looy points to a case where a student used an iPad in class from a shared cart but, in spite of a class unit and discussions on the importance of digital security, forgot to log off of the account. A student in a following class used that opportunity to post a derogatory comment about an administrator using the first student’s account.
When Van Looy examined the iPads in the cart, she found that nearly half had been left logged into an account. “We used this as an opportunity to speak to all of the teachers and students about online security and protecting your own information,” she says.
Digital citizenship education emphasizes that “the skills that we need in the digital world are very much in parallel with the things we need in the face-to-face world,” says Ribble, who is the technology director for Kansas’s Manhattan-Ogden School District.
Lincolnshire-Prairie View School District 103, a K-8 district in Illinois, for example, integrates the Common Sense digital citizenship curriculum with the district’s social-emotional learning standards “where you’re always teaching about respect, always teaching about responsibility, always teaching about trustworthiness,” says Katie Reynolds, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. A fifth-grade class conversation about respecting a friend’s privacy is discussed in terms of what that means in the classroom, in the community, and online in social media, she says.
DIGITAL DRIVER’S LICENSE
Marty Park, chief digital officer for the Kentucky Department of Education, encourages educators to “move from talking about digital citizenship to doing citizenship and engaging students in the online space where they want to be.”
Inspired by a concept in the first edition of Digital Citizenship, Park worked with the University of Kentucky and local school districts to develop the Digital Driver’s License (iDriveDigital.com). It’s a free online course that uses real-world scenarios to expose students to digital literacy and safety issues, such as phishing schemes, cyberbullying, and copyright infringement, and also measures their digital citizenship proficiency. More than 1,200 districts across the country have used the program since 2011.
Some schools use the scenarios as the basis for classroom conversations, while others require students to complete the eight-hour online program individually and earn their “license” before they can bring a digital device to school or sign out a school-owned device, says Park. “We really push the open part of it, meaning you can use it however you want.”
Boyle County Schools in central Kentucky has been using the program in its middle and high school program for five years, but its role has recently been re-emphasized with the rollout of individual Chromebooks to every student in sixth through 12th grade. Before the devices can be taken off campus, students must first complete the program. If any school infraction occurs (accessing an unapproved website, for example), students cannot take the computers home until they retake the course.
“Often students will say, ‘I know this already,’ and I’ll say, ‘OK, now show me you know it,’” says Susan Taylor, Boyle’s technology coordinator.
The thinking is similar in Floyd County Schools in eastern Kentucky, where middle school and high school students also must pass the program before they are allowed to take their school-issued laptop off campus.
“Now a kid can’t say, ‘I didn’t know that wasn’t allowed,’” says Courtney DeRossett, the district’s technology/innovation coordinator. “When they go through the program, it’s documented that they have been educated about what is allowed. It makes them more accountable for the way they act on the Internet.”
It’s also one of the most important things that schools can teach because “we are accountable for ensuring that when these students graduate, they are equipped to handle the 21st century workforce, and a huge component of that is how you handle technology and digital citizenship,” says DeRossett.
Park notes that the program also benefits districts trying to find ways to meet federal Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) requirements that they educate minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in group chats, as well as cyberbullying awareness and response.
LESSONS ON APPROPRIATE USE
While many districts severely limit student access to the internet, that’s not the case for Burlington Public Schools in suburban Boston. While it complies with the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and uses software designed to block access to certain sites and filter content as required by CIPA, the district allows students to use their school-issued iPads to visit popular social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
“That means there are always opportunities for lessons on responsibility and appropriate use,” says Dennis Villano, director of technology integration. And with the district’s teaching and administrative staff actively engaged in social media, plenty of adults are able to monitor and deter inappropriate behavior and connect with students online.
Before the district started implementing its one-to-one technology initiative five years ago, “we were really working with students at the high school level on (digital citizenship). Now we shifted it all down to start in first grade,” Villano says.
If you wait until middle school or high school to begin giving students these digital world experiences “it may be too late, because some may have already started to form a certain type of behavior online,” he explains. Burlington also runs a Help Desk program where middle school and high school students—and in some cases, students as young as third grade—provide online technical support to other students and staff.
They also write online regularly, from blog posts to how-to guides to app reviews; post photos, videos, and music; and share insights on tech trends and useful resources. “As part of that organized system, they get to put a lot of digital citizenship skills to work,” from how to properly cite ideas and images to addressing copyright and fair use issues, Villano says.
CONSUMERS TO CREATORS
Virginia’s Loudoun County Public Schools takes a handson approach to integrating the digital citizenship message through its Loudoun Creates program. Students get the opportunity to create digital content in the form of video tutorials, book trailers, documentaries and public service announcements, with the best of the creations curated for a district YouTube channel.
“Every part of the way, students are researching to create these, so they have to know best practices, safe searching techniques, how to appropriately use still images, videos, and music. That gets into copyright issues and what they can use and share publicly,” says Tara Helkowski, a technology resource specialist for Loudoun. “There’s a lot of learning in that.”
The ultimate goal is to help students transition from being consumers of digital content to creators of digital content, which connects to the district’s objective of increased engagement and deeper learning, adds Adina Popa, supervisor for educational technology and curricular innovation.
To give their colleagues an assist in digital citizenship instruction, Genevieve Pacada and the other technology integration specialists at Union School District in San Jose, California, repackage Common Sense Media lesson plans, supplement them with additional material from sources such as the Creative Commons website (https://creative commons.org), and upload them to a school website.
Pacada got the idea after a fellow teacher attended a training on copyright and fair use and complained that she “came out even more confused” about how to teach the topic to her students.
“As teachers, we were never taught any of this,” says Pacada. “That’s why it’s been hard for some of us to share this with their students. I didn’t fully understand myself until I did the first lesson. Then the light went on.”
Digital citizenship survival kit
Craig Badura enjoys using props to help his students “retain the lesson better.” In 2013, the technology specialist for Nebraska’s Aurora Public Schools posted his first “Digital Citizenship Survival Kit,” a collection of common items that he shared with his students to drive home the importance of smart, safe online behavior.
The kit has been a hit with teachers around the country who follow Badura’s Comfortably 2.0 blog (http://www.craigbadura.com/) where he shares his digital educator insights. He encourages others to adapt and improve upon the survival kit.
Here’s a sampling of the items included in Badura’s most recent “New and Improved” version and the points he shares with his students:
• Seed packets. Think about the “seeds” that you sow as you traverse the web. Could it grow into a bigger problem? Or are you planting a strong, positive representation of who you are?
• An extension cord. Unplug the male and female ends as a reminder that it’s OK to unplug and not be connected all the time. Get outside and be a kid!
• Mirror. If a mirror were attached to your computer/digital device, would the person in the reflection approve of what you are doing or saying online?
• Magnifying Glass. First impressions use to start with a handshake. Now they start with Google. What will show up when someone searches you on Google?
• Strainer. The amount of information on the internet is amazing. As digital citizens, we have to be good at filtering out the bad stuff, the real stuff, the false stuff, and finding material that is applicable to our internet searches.
• Tattoos. Move over “Digital Footprint:” Make room for the “Digital Tattoo.” Footprints in the sand can be washed away easily. Tattoos are a lot harder to remove.
• Soap. Keep your posts, tweets, and retweets appropriate and clean.
Digital Citizenship Survival Kit that Craig Badura, the PK-12 technology integration specialist for Aurora Public Schools in Aurora, Nebraska, put together to help teach citizenship to his students
Michelle Healy (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a staff writer with American School Board Journal.
Read the full article at http://mydigimag.rrd.com/article/Digital+Citizenship/2472671/300675/article.html.