In my last post, we talked about “digital citizens”, the modern student who lives in two worlds. One he can touch with his hands, the other only with his mind. It’s this latter one that has revolutionized education, provided opportunities for students to talk to experts on astronomy, walk through the ancient ruins of Stonehenge, and dissect a frog without touching a scalpel. This world is scintillating, but challenging, demanding students be risk-takers and inquirers.
Inquiry and education
That last—inquiry—has changed the K-12 classroom from what many experienced just a decade ago, for students cannot be inquirers without being risk-takers. They take responsibility for their own learning by following practical strategies for uncovering information despite the billions (literally) of places to look. Consider this: If you Google ‘space’, you get over 4 billion hits. That much information is worthless. Digital citizens develop practical strategies for refining this list to a specific need.
Digital citizens also differentiate instruction so it works for themselves, not change their learning style to fit what the teacher delivers. They hear the big ideas, grasp the essential questions, and then develop a plan that delivers it in their own unique and personal way.
How can I teach my students about digital citizenship
Understanding how to use the internet has become a cornerstone issue for students. No longer do they complete their research on projects solely in the library. Now, there is a vast landscape of resources available on the internet.
But with wealth comes responsibility. As soon as children begin to visit the online world, they need the knowledge to do that safely, securely, responsibly. There are several great programs available to guide students through this process (Common Sense’s Digital Passport, Carnegie CyberAcademy, Netsmart Kids). I’ve collected them as resources and developed a path to follow that includes the best of everything.
Here’s Third Grade:
Why is it important to be a good digital citizen? How can students do this?
- What is a ‘digital citizen’?
- What are my rights and responsibilities as Digital Citizens?
- How is being a citizen of the internet the same/different than my home town?
- What are the implications of digital citizenship in today’s world?
Every week, I share a website that inspired my students. Here’s one that I’ve found effective in covering the myriad branches of the question, How can I be a good digital citizen?