The same could be said for learning important lessons about digital citizenship. Yes, as educators, we can describe the importance of taking good care of our digital tattoos. We can teach our students through personal experiences as well as pre-fabricated lessons. But again, experience is the best teacher.
After our Digital Reading #cyberPD event this summer, I started the year being very intentional about which tools we were using, embedding them in purposeful lessons, and taking the time to reiterate the importance of responsible technology use. I was proud of the changes I’d made as a result of my summer learning. And then…
My kids are fortunate to each have a Chromebook at their fingertips, to be used both at home and at school. And in the past few weeks, some of my fourth graders have tested the limits and tried out some things that would not fall into the category of “responsible technology use,” especially with a school-issued device.
After I got over my initial shock and disappointment, I knew the only way to proceed was to use this as a learning opportunity for all of us. My lesson? I have to be very explicit about what is and isn’t acceptable when using these school-issued devices. But I must take it a step further and address what it means to be responsible when we have our own personal devices, too.
Together, our classroom family has taken a step back and reflected on how our actions impact not only those in our classroom, but how our actions impact others outside of our classroom. In today’s world, we have connectivity at our fingertips. Our actions have the potential to reach just about anyone who happens to catch a glimpse of an email, a text, a status update. And just because we “delete” something is no guarantee that it hasn’t been noticed or saved by someone else already.
Together, we’ve also learned that not only do we need to be aware of other people’s actions. My kids are now also familiar with the “If you see something, say something” adage. I have to rely on them to help keep each other held to a higher standard than ever before.
Let’s keep this conversation going. How do you address digital citizenship in your classroom? In your school? How do we go about involving parents in the conversation? How does the digital citizenship conversation fit in with all of the digital learning that takes place in today’s classrooms?
About Laura Komos
Laura is co-host of the #cyberPD community. She spent the first 18 years of her career working with first graders and now learns alongside fourth graders. She enjoys new challenges and adventures in her both her personal and professional life. When she’s not teaching, reading, or traveling, you’ll find her snuggled up with her two adorable nieces.