Digital Citizenship has most certainly gained momentum around the world. With the push for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and 1:1 initiatives in schools, the discussion of appropriate use of technology is a must. Education now must address how our students should act online and design what should be taught to these 21st century learners. There are school districts creating positive school culture that supports the safe and appropriate use of technology in strides. One such district is Fulton County. “Fulton County School’s Technology Plan is designed to transform instruction so that all Fulton County students have maximum opportunities to reach their highest levels of academic achievement“ (Avossa, R., retrieved on 11/2016). Before schools can receive their devices, the staff and students must go through an extensive Digital Citizenship program. These courses are supported through Common Sense Media. Amy Rubin, the Media and Educational Technology Instructor (METI) from Findley Oaks has elevated this program by leaps and bounds.
Despite the fact that technology can provide incredible opportunities for our students to showcase their creativity, curiosity, collaborate and connect with others; in today's world protecting our privacy, navigating cyberbullying and other digital issues are a challenge in our schools. Mrs. Rubin saw an opportunity to teach in the moment with her students at Findley Oaks. Along with the PBL Champion Teacher of the school and myself, the KSU iTeach Coach, we designed a Project Based Learning (PBL) lessons surrounding Social Media. We challenged the students to think critically about our digital world and digital citizenship as it applies to Social Media. After all, digital citizenship is more than learning a tech tool, it’s a way to prepare our learners for a world full of technology. Digital Citizenship paves the norms of suitable and responsible use. Through these lessons the Fourth Grade students addressed the driving question "How can we help guide our peers to be safe on social media?" They collaborated with one another to create thought provoking questions to survey a vast array of individuals which attended the Georgia Educational Technology Conference. The students will interpret the data and create a digital guide that will promote the safety of their peers as they begin to access these sites in the future.
In our world today our students must think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in our digital world. This PBL supports this idea. Although technology can provide incredible opportunities for students to learn, connect, create, and collaborate in ways never before imagined, education must shoulder a portion of the responsibility of educating our young minds to be responsible digital citizens.
Written by: Ana Moreno // iTeach Instructional Technology Specialist
Avossa, R. (2012, July – 2015, June). Fulton County Schools Technology Plan. Retrieved from http://www.fultonschools.org/en/divisions/it/Documents/2012_2015%20Final%20tech%20plan.pdf#search=technology%20initiative%20plan
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