Thursday, May 23, 2019

Using the Tools Appropriately: Unpacking ISTE Standard #2

ISTE Student Standard #2 Digital Citizen: Students recognize the rights, responsibilities, and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical.

Warning: I will get on my soapbox here a bit. Helping students to develop appropriate
digital citizenship skills is an imperative part of the educational process not only for their
own safety and legal obligations but for the care of others as well. I feel very strongly
about the importance of all educators that have technology in their classroom speaking
into appropriate usage- with rights come responsibilities.  As a four year Common Sense Media
Digital Citizenship educator I start teaching grade-level appropriate digital citizenship in
kindergarten to talk about the importance of wise choices and the impact it can have on you.
If you are in a technology-rich environment I highly recommend your school district adopting
a digital citizenship curriculum and embedding it into your district’s scope and sequence right
in the various subject matter curriculum itself. Let your technology teachers spend extra time
on it but every teacher should be speaking into digital citizenship issues because we are all
stewards of it. We should see ourselves as both consumers and creators of the Internet.
This past school year a group of fifth graders at our school had been taught how to create
a Google site. On their own, during their own time, they created a website of cartoons for fun.
Because I had been speaking into digital citizenship the whole time they had been at our
elementary school, they allowed me to make some suggestions to better protect themselves
as well as help them learn how to track visitors to their site. If they had been 16-year-old boys
doing this, I doubt I would have had that same opportunity but what an amazing blessing it was
to me to see these students become empowered learners from a previous lesson and then to
seek me out to figure out best practice. It was one of my all-time favorite teacher moments.
We live in a world of instant gratification, instant reciprocation, instant retaliation. Students who
are 18 need to learn that by forwarding one inappropriate photo that was sent to them by the
person who took it could put them on a sexual predators list for the rest of their life. Teaching
digital citizenship is probably the easiest standard to meet without technology itself. Every
person has heard some horror story and quite possibly they have even had a family member
that has lived through one. But I believe we also have a responsibility to share the positive
influence technology can have as well.
If you are in a low tech environment:
  • Have students participate in a station rotation Common Sense media digital citizenship
curriculum that supports their grade level.
  • Talk about valuing the intellectual property of others and show them examples of
plagiarism and ways they can detect if they have accidentally plagiarized.  
  • Have students google themselves or their parents to see what they find. Use that to talk
about the digital footprint they are creating and how it will remain long after they are gone.
    If you are in a no-tech environment:
    • Watch age-appropriate videos to discuss various digital citizenship issues.
    • Create discussions on “what if” this happened and what would be the correct result.
    Common Sense Media also has several unplugged options to choose from.
    • Speak from your heart.
    One of the most effective lessons I teach is sharing two stories with my students. In 2011,
    President Obama was coming to visit Chattanooga, TN. Our family owns a donut shop
    in Chattanooga and I immediately thought, “How cool would it be if the President came to
    visit our shop?”  
    Being a techie, I immediately started tweeting the #POTUSinCHA hashtag to invite him to Julie Darling Donuts. The problem was that I was currently in Atlanta at an edtech conference and I
    didn’t know that the majority of the politicians in Chattanooga were boycotting the
    event. His visit had become a political hotbed. On my way home from Atlanta I received a
    phone call from one of the local news stations and they asked if they could interview me about
    why I wanted him to come and about the special flavored donut we were going to make in his
    honor on the day he was in Chattanooga. Oblivious to any agenda, I jumped on the chance to
    give our 2-year-old company some publicity for free.

    When I was interviewed I told the reporter it wasn’t about politics, it was about respecting
    the office of the presidency. That evening the piece aired on the nightly news and before
    I could say “Chocolate Salted Caramel Donut” my company and myself were being viciously
    attacked on social media and via emails. This story made national news! I was called everything
    from a racist (because the donut was chocolate) to an exploiter. The Republicans were
    mad at me for welcoming him and the Democrats were mad at me for capitalizing on him
    being in town. I received hate emails and threats personally. I remember being so distraught
    the next morning when I would read all that was said and we were actually quite worried
    it was going to be the demise of our shop. President Obama did not visit the donut shop
    that day and a group of friends also started a Facebook support page for me that week.
    Looking back, it was so hard. People who didn’t know me or know anything about me
    made so many assumptions about me and when anyone tried to speak up, it just made
    it worse. I laid in bed for 4 days sick to my stomach thinking I had ruined our business
    with one tweet that invited the President of the United States to my donut shop.
    The upside to this story is that up to that point, it was the busiest week we had ever
    had at the shop but it came at such a personal expense to me. I was bullied and
    ridiculed by adults. It has become my greatest lesson for teaching digital citizenship.

    But I don’t like to leave students, parents, or teachers scared of the Internet.
    I like to remind them of the good things that have happened in my life because of
    the Internet. This is my favorite success story: In February of this year, our 7-year-old
    border collie named Secret went missing. She didn’t have on her collar, she wasn’t
    chipped, and she had disappeared from a location she wasn’t familiar with. The truth is,
    it felt pretty hopeless that we would get her back. But I’m an edtechie and I knew
    first hand the power of social media. I do what I do best, I flooded my social media
    accounts with photos of Secret and put out pleas to anyone and everyone to be on the
    lookout for her. This silly dogs photo was shared over 2,000 times by friends,
    family, acquaintances, and downright strangers. People I didn’t even know would
    send me messages on Facebook telling me they had driven around the area she
    was originally lost in looking for her. If everyone wants to know “Where’s Waldo?”
    then a close second would be “Where’s Secret?” 2,000 reshares. It’s mind-boggling.
    I remember telling my husband that I would keep looking hard for her for one week.
    I followed up on every supposed sighting (there were only 2) and someone in our family
    checked the local animal shelters daily to see if she had made her way back there.
    We drove around Red Bank, Tennessee yelling out the window for hours. Six days
    after her disappearance I got in bed and told my husband, “I don’t think she’s coming back.”
    The next morning was my monthly #CHAedu #coffeeEDU at the donut shop.
    Local educators that want to come together once a month to discuss education topics
    of our choice for one hour. It’s a very fluid, organic meeting that I love. That morning
    we had more participants than we had ever had and right when it was time to start,
    my phone rang...and I answered it. It was the executive director of our local humane
    society and he told me he thought he had Secret but she had been hit by a car and
    would need surgery. Both my girls were working at the donut shop that morning
    and I quickly updated them and left. The meeting went on without me! I may or may
    not have driven a tad erratically but that is not pertinent to this. As I entered the
    building the director told me she had been brought in the night before due to a phone
    call they had received that a dog had been hit in Red Bank. They had taken her
    to a local animal hospital for x-rays and to make sure nothing was life threatening
    and one of the ladies that worked there thought she recognized the dog. The next
    morning she called the humane society because she had scoured social media and
    found the photo and gave the executive director my contact information. Our Secret
    was back with us, a little worse for wear, but 2 surgeries later we have all put that
    loss behind us. We have not forgotten the power of people coming together using
    technology for a greater good. We spend so much time warning, threatening, and
    scaring kids about social media but what an opportunity for me to model usage that
    had an outcome with a happy ending. Crowdsourced dog finding! We all have stories
    and the more real they are to our students, the more likely they will have an impact
    that will matter at the appropriate time.

      Other ideas for creating "Digital Citizen" opportunities in your classroom:

                              NO TECH                                LOW TECH                       HIGH TECH                         
      Digital Citizen
      Use newspapers to discuss articles that used technology and then discuss the impact of media on our footprint. Also, pull in a discussion on the 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship using these articles.
      Have students volunteer to be “googled” or google yourself as a teacher and talk about the importance of an appropriate digital footprint. Discuss if having no footprint is good or bad?
      Have students create a Fakebook for a historical or fictional character then discuss the 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship and how they relate to your character.

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