21 March 2013

Empower Digital Citzenship

In my post "What is human? What is humanity?" I explored the future possibilities of technology with particular reference to education.

My thinking summised that the "the future will never be without teachers" but rather our roles will change; technology will allow teaching and learning to be "more effective"and will allow educators to become "enablers and supporters" rather than "lecturers and controllers". I would argue that it already has - this change should already have happened. In twenty years, we will be, should be, way beyond this. In order for this change to truly shape education - and the world - we need to start with the people in front of us, as they are the true future of education and of technology.

As outlined by the Flat Classroom book, there are five areas of awareness to use as a lens for viewing digital citizenship choices:
  • Technical Awareness
  • Individual Awareness
  • Social Awareness
  • Cultural Awareness
  • Global Awareness 

My Quadblog assignment post, "Digital Citizenship: Individual Awareness" focuses, obviously, on Individual Awareness, about how individuals understand online behaviour and how they chooses to behave online. In my post, "Habits of Learning: Responsible, Reliable Management of Online Activity", I quote the Flat Class book that states that "our future as a planet relies on our ability to use incredible technological advances for good and that begins with being able to relate to one another and prevent cultural disconnects from happening (98)" Digital citizenship needs to concern itself much more with social responsibility and social learning (95); building a responsible habit of mind when it comes to being a digital citizen means "having a professional approach to all things digital" (107) and it is through a unit called Snapshots that I intend to deliver this message and learning.

To each Grade 6 entering the school, we will deliver a unit developed this year that asks learners to think about how they want to present themselves to the world. Through an exploration of who they are and who they want their professional digital persona to be, we will set up and create a professional portfolio of online presence that will serve as a showcase for all their learning and achievements. Rather than having an embarrassing set of images, we will create best work that can compliment their CV/resum├ęs upon leaving school.

Starting with a paper blog community in the school, learners practise commenting and posting to an audience. Learners will then explore social media, online safety and digital footprints before creating a presentation to 'reverse mentor' Grade 5s in the primary school to teach them about the importance of safe, responsible online personas. Once this is completed, learners will sign an agreement about online use and then go 'live' with real blogs and take part in Quadblogs.

In collaboration with the IT department, I would like to continue this work throughout the school an build in more reverse mentoring opportunities (to staff as well as learners) by offering the Digiteen Project to Grades 7 & 8, the Flat Classroom Project to Grades 9 & 10, and the NetGenEd Project to Grades 11 & 12. I would also like to help write a clear Acceptable Use Agreement, embed a culture of 'Stop, Screen shot, Block, Tell, Share' to allay fear and upskill all teachers and learners to be aware of and build the habit of mind of how to be socially digitally responsible.

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