Saturday, August 13, 2016

Wrapping Things Up on Digital Citizenship

I've just wrapped up a course for my Master's Program (through Lamar University-in Education, Digital Leading and Learning) on Digital Citizenship. It has been a very interesting and important topic to spend time on. We have spent time considering Mike Ribble's nine elements of digital citizenship and I appreciate the way he breaks down this very daunting topic into tangible issues that our students and our schools are facing daily. It has provided a framework for my thinking and how it is possible to implement digital citizenship for K-12 students. 

The one thing I found very interesting and the most useful about digital citizenship was surprisingly copyright, fair use, and Creative Commons licensing.
I have been using Creative Commons licensing for a few years now, and have also been teaching my students to use it when we "create awesome things online" (my current mantra for digital citizenship!). At first, copyright is very daunting and scary, but the resources provided to understand this topic made it easy to understand. I see the importance of all teachers modeling fair use and proper citations of the work they create and show for students (and obviously the importance for students too). What I find very important now that I know this information is that using authentic learning experiences by having students create content to publish online or for an outside resource is a powerful way to teach students to consider copyright law and licensing. This information will be most useful in my classroom as my students continue to create content online (we will be publishing a few books this year, so this is obviously perfect!).My biggest accomplishment and best work in this course would probably be the cumulative project I have put together that shows my understanding of digital citizenship. You can find this multitouch book here. 
I decided to take the essay we wrote and turn it into a book. I felt that it was important to do so, that way I could share this book with others to get the ball rolling on implementing digital citizenship into our schools. The book is a great introduction to understanding digital citizenship, and also has quick tips that teachers an administration can consider for easy ways to implement. Resources are also provided for schools to dive deeper into their implementation as well. I felt that I was able to take the skills I learned about copyright and Creative Commons licensing and directly use those skills while creating my book.

It was challenging at times to take in a lot of the resources provided for us to understand the elements of digital citizenship. This was a bit time consuming to complete and some aspects were repetitive. Some elements of the weekly assignments were redundant as well, but these assignments also helped me in the long run with the multitouch book and essay I created.

While digital citizenship is important in school, it's also something to consider outside in my personal life. I have been mindful about what I post on social media prior to this course, as well as protecting my personal information. The course provided more information about why I should be mindful of what I post and the things I may say "digitally." Growing as an educational leader, I find digital literacy important. As technology changes, it will be important for me to stay ahead of the curve on digital tools so that teachers and schools can be prepared and ready to learn about advancements that could impact the classroom or impact students and families. While some teachers are not plugging into current technologies and applications, I do because I want to learn and be prepared for what is to come.

I probably enjoyed the conversations this course had together during weekly chats the most. It was a great opportunity to express what we had been learning throughout the week and to bounce ideas off of each other. I would suggest that other students taking this course join the weekly chats to glean wisdom off of others. I would also recommend using Ribble's nine elements as a guide to categorizing all the information that digital citizenship can bring. There is a lot of broad information that can feel overwhelming, but by framing and categorizing it as one topic verses another, that can help to refocus the information so you can begin to draw conclusions. 

If I were to change one thing about the the activities in the course, it might be some of the tasks in the weekly assignments. Some of the tasks felt redundant or did not specifically tie to one of the nine elements of Ribble's work. It's a minor thing though. Overall we did a lot of reading in the course (required and supplemental readings were time consuming), but holistically helped us with the cumulative project. I have told many of my friends and colleagues great things about this course and how it has helped me to understand my role as an educator to model expected digital citizenship for my students in the classroom. 

No comments:

Post a Comment