This past week I began teaching grades 1 and 2 about digital citizenship. This is a very broad and contextualized term for grade 1 and 2 students, so I began creating lessons and supports for both the students and teachers, in hopes that it will initiate and guide some conversations for teachers to be able to continue. In short, my opinion has now shifted to an absolute yes; educators do play a role in teaching digital citizenship. I try not to think about the last decade of my teaching and how I rarely gave this topic thought and instead I am focusing on sharing in a growth mindset along with my students, engaging in this learning process together. As I continue to refine my own teaching practice, I realize that teaching the outcomes through an inquiry approach is the way to connect information and outcomes to enrich students’ learning. Now isn’t the time to question teachers’ workloads, now is the time to shift our mindsets about what we are teaching and our approach. My vision will continue to build and connect digital literacy in an authentic interwoven way throughout all subjects.
My knowledge is growing in this area and, to be truthful, in some ways I am still unsure about the digital knowledge system. In saying this, my pedagogy is to just try and begin. So, this is what I did this week and I am blown away by the conversations I shared with the students and some of the amazing learning that took place. The lesson was linked to Grade 1 Health. The students were very engaged in the lessons and they were able to connect as they are familiar with the technology. The lesson that Common Sense Education shared on Pause for People, exemplifies the importance of human interaction and how we need to learn healthy balance and boundaries online. As an educator, I believe we need to intentionally teach safety and balance while using technology. I loved listening to the vocabulary that the students used as we discussed what online and offline meant. I’ve realized the importance of explicitly teaching digital literacy concepts and not assuming students all have this knowledge. I observed many students knowing terms such as; online, Wi-Fi, data, offline, iPad, technology, computer, phone, and the internet; however, they were not always familiar with the meaning behind them. As I (we) continue to build on these concepts we will begin normalizing conversations surrounding digital literacy.
Supporting Resources and Links:
- Media Smarts Digital Outcomes – Grade 1 Health
- Saskatchewan Curriculum – Grade 1 Health
- Common Sense Education – Grade 1 “Pause for People”
- Pause for People – Poster created through Canva, which is my first poster ever!
In the article, What is media literacy and why does it matter? Media Literacy is defined as, “the ability to understand information that is presented to us and respond appropriately.” This should be the driving force of educators and a foundation for teachers to create their lessons around. We as educators need to shift our mindset to a place of integrated learning that integrates digital citizenship in an intentional way. If educators are not comfortable teaching it then it is up to them as professionals to begin to unwrap their own vision of what technology in the classroom looks like.
The Digital Citizenship Handbook for School Leaders by Mike Ribble and Marty Park offers easy-to-follow information, lessons, and simple action points that can be implemented in schools and classrooms. Jason Ohler states, “Digital Citizenship is the new character education, not replacing but rather adding to our approach to character that began long before computers arrived.” This reiterates the fact that education is ever-evolving and as professionals, we have a responsibility to begin our learning journey. Regina Public Schools has dedicated time and intentionality to growing and developing digital citizenship. Definitely, we are headed in the right direction as a school division. As we begin to come out of COVID, we have clearly seen how technology is essential in our world today. There is a lot of autonomy in teaching, which is amazing to create and design our lessons and engage our students in our own way. I believe that as an educator we need to continue to engage in PD opportunities and develop our responses to technology in a manner that educates our students. School leaders need to prioritize digital citizenship and equip teachers with resources to teach these skills to kids.
Change comes as we continue to engage in conversations and push ourselves to learn new skill sets. We want to evolve with technology and create safe learning spaces for educators to continue to be able to develop skills. An overwhelming feeling seems to linger among educators asking “where do I start when implementing new information around technology?” As a new learner in the digital world, I’ve realized that by beginning to engage in conversations around digital citizenship. we can normalize and formulate a common language. As I began teaching the Grade 1 and 2 lessons from Common Sense Education I am learning to be confident and taking risks keeps me accountable in the classrooms as well as as a professional. Moving forward, as a school community we hope to continue these pertinent conversations through weekly tech tips and design a working group to facilitate action plans for our school community, teachers, and students. Check out the poster to help us engage in these powerful conversations. Thomson Tech Tips
To conclude, here are some wise words from Amanda Brace, a coordinator with Regina Public Schools “We all have different passions and strengths in education and in our classrooms, therefore, we need digital citizenship to be built off our strengths. We don’t all have to teach it the same, however, we do all need to implement it in a way that is best for us and our students.” As we embark on a new week, I look forward to learning and teaching digital citizenship.
Thank you for checking out my blog posts. Take care!
kinanaskomitin = grateful/ thank you
4 thoughts on “Trying and Teaching Technology”
I love the last part of your blog when you shared Amanda’s words with us. It’s so true! We often forget when we are just trying to tread water, that everything we do can and will look different based on our strengths. We too often get sucked into thinking we need to be more like someone else or try out this or that to keep up with what we perceive others to be doing. “Keeping up with the Jone’s” or however that saying goes, often leaves us burnt and feeling like we are failing because we are trying to be something we are not, and not really appreciating our authentic selves and what our strengths are. Lisa Frei made me realize after reading the strength finders book (https://www.amazon.ca/StrengthsFinder-2-0-Tom-Rath/dp/159562015X) that we often spend so much time trying to work towards our weaknesses even though sometimes we may not ever get better at them, instead of focusing on our strengths and what we can bring to the table. Everyone is different for a reason. When we share our strengths we balance the load for everyone. Thanks for reminding me of this, it was just what I needed today! Great post.
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Thanks, Kelly, I am a firm believer in strength-based teaching. I am going to look that book up and purchase it. Thank you! Yes, we all need to remember to stay away from comparing ourselves, although sometimes it is very difficult. Thanks for being such a wonderful leader in this class. I am planning on listening to your podcast after work. Take care!
Good for you for taking the message to the littles Kola! You mention “by beginning to engage in conversations around digital citizenship. we can normalize and formulate a common language” and that really stuck with me. Nothing can change without discussion, because the first thing that needs to change is minds. The idea of common language has been such an important part of any change that I have experienced in my career. There was a time when “activating background knowledge” and “making connections” meant nothing to me as an educator. Then I taught ELA for a few years and it sticks with me today. Now it is getting the language around digital citizenship to stick with staff and students! Hopefully, as you point out in your post, the pandemic has moved digital citizenship up as an educational priority.
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Everyone of us has different strengths and weakness and being a teacher we can help our students to do better in every aspect. I agree with the Digital Citizenship part in your blog as it adds new approach rather than replacing anything. Also, as you mentioned that we should start guiding the kids from early age as they can get aware.
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