Friday, March 7, 2014

Digital Citizenship

I have had the privilege of talking to some students at a school in ESU7 about digital citizenship for a bootcamp they are having before they roll out their own 1:1 computer initiative for the fourth quarter. I have seen four of the six classes that will be getting the computers on Tuesday night.  I have gone into the session telling them that my goal is to scare the daylights out of them.  I may accomplish this goal with some of them, and with some I may not.  But if I make them rethink what they are doing, then I have accomplished something.

I am talking very matter of factly with them in regards to sexting, online predators, cyberbullying, and creating that digital footprint they would be proud of.  It is a serious topic and there may be some topics that they don’t want to talk or hear about.  But it needs to be done.  (Side note: this is one of the schools in ESU7 that took the Clarity survey and student digital citizenship was a category that was low.)  I am sharing information with them that I will also be sharing with their parents at a Tuesday night parents meeting.  I am letting them know that I will be telling their parents to be asking questions about their online habits.

I know I have reached some students already.  I have had them tell me themselves in front of their classmates that they are doing some of the things that I am talking about and they need to change.  To me that is a #eduwin already, and I am not even done.  

These talks need to be had with students.  If teachers in the district are talking about it, some kids may just tune out.  That means it is time to bring someone else in.  I am being VERY honest with these students.  I will also be very honest with the parents.  I have shared some experiences of my own.  Let them connect to me a little as well.  I also try to add a little humor to a serious topic.  

Get to your point Otis!  That is probably what you might be thinking right now.  I think that I have several points in this post.  First, teaching of digital citizenship is important.  We all know that. But the teaching of the topics that students may not want to hear about and the facts associated with those topics will open their eyes to what they are doing.  Second, I am enjoying teaching students again.  I never lost that when I moved into this job two years ago.  But there are time I need a “kid fix”/”classroom fix” and this is filling that.  To know that I have reached someone and will be changing the way they act online makes me feel good!

Here is to creating good digital citizens with a positive digital footprint!

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