Ok. I knew about Digital Citizenship before but what I really learned this week was how important it was to model good digital citizenship so students know what to expect from each other.
The ISTE Standards for Students describes one aspect of digital citizenship as the ability to “exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity.” In addition to ISTE, the Common Core would like our students to also engage with technology to collaborate with their students.
It would be great to assume that students would use an online forum to only engage in content and not write silly messages to each other but we teach in the “real” online world. In this world, we know that a 15 year old will behave like a 15 year old, as an avatar or in person.
I made the mistake of asking a teacher to try an activity without talking to the students about digital citizenship first and the result is probably what you can imagine: the freshmen students behaved like freshmen. The teacher came to my office frustrated with the assignment, his students, and me.
Lesson learned: Develop a short introduction to digital citizenship before expecting students to work in a shared online document.
I used the FREE online curriculum provided by Common Sense Media to adapt two of their lessons (Chart It! and Forms and Norms) to do a short 10 minute introduction for students. This reduced the amount of silliness that would normally occur in this situation. The model lesson gave students the permission to determine what collaboration would look like in their classroom. When they were given the actual task - they were able to attend to it immediately. Taking these 10 minutes out improved the student work product with no frustration on the part of the teacher.
Would you like me to model this for your classroom? Let me know!
Check out our curated collection Digital Citizenship materials http://bit.ly/REALDigitalCitizenship.