The Importance of Nurturing Digital Citizenship in Elementary School
As a 5th grade Elementary teacher it is essential to teach digital citizenship as part of our curriculum. At Edina we have recently been blessed with 1:1 Chrome Book ratio in all of the 5th grade classrooms. At Concord last year we have them 60%of the time and they changed the way I taught last year. As a result of having experience using them I know the importance of teaching Digital Citizenship early and throughout the year. At an elementary level there are 4 main areas which I try to focus my attention while teaching.
The first area is that actual use and care of a ChromeBooks, prior or even getting them out to use. To help us gain procedures and expectations for use of ChromeBooks I use the ChromeBook Curriculum.. To help students I try to give them friendly reminders and talk about the ChromeBooks are a privilege to use and have. Upon completion of the videos I monitor students with the ChromeBooks and have them “cart it” if they are not suing it appropriately.
As uncle express in Spider man, "With great privilege comes great responsibility." Students especially in 5th grade have a great deal of freedom on how to use their devices. It is important to monitor their screen usage and on task behavior when using technology. Recently I have found the website Hapara.com very useful in helping my students stay on track. The website allows teachers to monitor students screens and tabs while on the Chromebooks. Although the technology seems very "Big Brother," it has helped my students stay focused on their task completion and using Chromebooks in an appropriate manner. To provide an overview and explanation of digital citizenship I use the cite digitalpassport.org. I provide the students five, one hour sessions to complete all of their badges. The students seem to really enjoy the lesson and I feel they do a good job over providing overall context of internet usage.
The second major area of importance in building digital citizenship is safety on the internet. To aid in talking about safety I use brainpop online safety video and focus on the “net nasties” located on Kids Smart Safe Search. An activity that I have done online to help kids learn about the pitfalls of the internet is have them create their own “net nasties.”
The final area that I think is important to teach is the research component of using the internet. In 5th grade we do a lot of research projects and students need to be able to navigate sites and decipher quality information. To help add in teaching these skills I plan to use kidssmart and Common Sense media lessons. The Common sense media lessons have to do with key words and copyright information. To help aid in teaching research I plan on using Common Sense media research tools. The skill of searching and researching on the internet is vital to a students’ success throughout their academic career.
The skills discussed above do not fully encompass a students’ digital citizenship. The teacher needs to make sure the lessons are not taught in isolation, but rather a part of the actual lessons. In total the lessons and resources listed above take approximately ten, one hour sessions to implement and I do them at the beginning of the year. I also reinforce the skills throughout the year.
Additional Questions/ Reflection of Process
Most of my time was spent exploring resources and lessons for students to follow. Due to the amount of technology and the importance of digital citizenship this year in my class it was important to have a plan for the students. Prior to teaching or exploring this lesson I had a outline of topics and time frame for implementation. Therefore, the assignment was not open ended, but rather necessary for a successful year and use of 1:1 Chromebooks. Two of the most valuable resources as discussed above were the digitalcitizenship.org and the Chrome Book classroom offered by Edina Public Schools.