For my final vision project in LIBE 477 I will be putting together and piloting a Digital Citizenship Program for a group of grade 8 students at my school. I plan to use Media Smart’s internet literacy program called Passport to the Internet, as discovered during my Research Review (Blog Post 3) of Johnson’s (2012) article Shaping Digital Citizens: preparing students to work and play in the online world. My district subscribes to this program through our ERAC bundle housed in Learn Now BC. Johnson (2012) argues that teachers and parents often “mistake fluency for literacy. While it’s true that young people are avid consumers of media and often display a tremendous degree of comfort with digital technology, this does not necessarily translate to a critical understanding of what they read, see, and hear, or to their being skilled in using the Internet ethically and effectively” (p. 19). The goals of the Digital Citizenship Program will be to teach students how to manage their online safety and privacy, behave ethically online, and recognize and decode online advertising.
To get the ball rolling on my Final Vision Project, I approached our Grade 8 teaching team to recruit a teacher and class to pilot the program. I want test the program out on a smaller group and gather feedback before we roll it out to all of the grade 8s next year. Luckily, I had one teacher offer to give me 5 hours of class time between now and my maternity leave in May. I plan to meet with this group of students five times for an hour on Monday mornings. During the first meeting this week, I introduced Digital Citizenship using definitions that I collected from various sources in my Research Review from Blog Post 3 in this course. Then I asked the students to do a My Technology Inventory of the devices, apps, websites, accounts, etc that they use daily. The inventory included mapping out how much time they spend online per week. I wanted the students to do some brainstorming about how and when they use technology in their daily lives. Students shared their answers anonymously using stick-it notes.
In order to gather some baseline data for planning out of the rest of the Digital Citizenship Program, I had the students do an online survey of their current Digital Citizenship using Fluid Surveys. I also did a quick demo of how Passport to the Internet works by showing the students how to access the program, pick their avatar, and explore the various simulated online environments where they will practice and learn about improving their Digital Citizenship. In Ribble’s (2008) article about digital citizenship, he points out that “following awareness activities, educators need to provide their students with opportunities to use technology in an atmosphere where exploration and risk taking are promoted…The school needs to become a place where students can investigate the technologies they use every day” (p.16).
Finally, I had the students vote on the three modules that they would like to complete over the next few weeks, leaving the fifth session together for reflecting, summarizing, and gathering final feedback. The students chose MyFace (where students will build mock Facebook profiles and learn about privacy management), Instant Pigeon (where students will engage in a series of interactive online chats to learn about ethical relationships online and dealing with stranger contact and cyber bullying), and Co-Co’s Choco Match (where students will encounter online advertising and learn to read between the lines). This will be the scope of my Final Vision for the pilot program. If the feedback on these modules is positive, we could expand the program next year to include Study Spaces (where students learn how to effectively search and evaluate the information they find online) and Web Café (where students learn to recognize whether a Web site is relevant and appropriate).
Next week I will share out results of the initial survey and provide more detail on why Digital Citizenship is needed at my school. My Final Vision Project will include my lesson plans, worksheets, PowerPoints, surveys, and results from the initial survey. Unfortunately, LIBE 477 will end before I finish piloting my program, but I will post the final results at the end of April on this blog. Stay tuned…
Johnson, M. (2012). Shaping Digital Citizens: preparing students to work and play in the online world. School Libraries In Canada (17108535), 30(3), 19-22
Ribble, M. (2008). Passport to Digital Citizenship: Journey Toward Appropriate Technology Use at School and at Home. Learning & Leading With Technology, 36(4), 14-17.