"Creativity is contagious, pass it on." ~Albert Einstein

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Let's Talk with Students, Not at Them When It Comes to Digital Citizenship

One of my favorite duties as the Integration Specialist for Aurora Public Schools is getting the opportunity to talk about Digital Citizenship with our K-12 students.  It's a task I enjoy doing and I thought I was teaching it the right way...

Boy, was I wrong!

I have organized various presentations to use during our digital citizenship time that are full of great information and resources from websites like Common Sense Media, CEOP and Netsmartz. I showed up in the classroom or auditorium and shared what I had created with our students.  The students listened and watched to what I thought was some pretty interesting material that I had pieced together for my presentations.

Then I started evaluating how I was going about this process and how I was addressing this very important issue with our students.  I realized that I shouldn't have been talking AT our students.  I should have been talking WITH them about digital citizenship. Wouldn't it be more effective if the students had a voice in the matter? After all, they are the ones using the devices, websites and tools we are talking about.

This major change in my mindset of how I talk to students about digital citizenship can be directly attributed to Danah Boyd's book "It's Complicated."  I'm not going to go into details about the book. Download it and read it. You will see how it's totally changed my perspective of how we should be addressing digital citizenship with our students.

After reading this book, I realized that I need to listen more and engage in conversations with our students.  So I changed the way I was teaching and talking about digital citizenship with our students.

I created a "Things That Rock" slide presentation based on some topics that students could relate to when it comes to digital citizenship.  It's based on the "Things that Suck" EdCamp session made famous by Dan Callahan.  I borrowed the title "Things That Rock" from Dean Shareski because the "S" word is pretty powerful and I didn't want to use it around students.

Below are the  presentations that I created for grades 3-5 and 6-12 respectively. Feel free to steal the idea and add some of your own topics.  As of this blog post, I have completed this session with all of or students in grades 3-12 and I can honestly tell you that we have had some fascinating conversations during our time together. Our students have so many great perspectives.  We really need to listen to their voice more in our schools!

This whole process has reaffirmed my belief that we need to engage in conversations with our students when it comes to the topic of digital citizenship instead of talking at them about it.

1 comment:

  1. Craig - You always have a new resource to share! I just read the linked article about a "Things that Suck" session format and can't wait to try it in my work. Keep these great ideas coming!



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