Wednesday, July 15, 2009

11.5: Thing #11 - Digital Citizenship

Oh the irony! Our district has a new internet content filter. It blocked all of the free screencasting tools posted in 11.5 Things. It blocked the web site of a highly respected psychologist who specializes in serving gifted kids. The list could continue (I've put in half a dozen or more requests for unblocking sites). Yet, I go to the Digital Citizenship Ning and there's a blog post for Herbal ___ enhancement. (Guys, if you haven't had enough offers in your email spam filter, here's another one!) I'm sure it's spam that's now showing up in nings.

That's why we need to teach digital citizenship.

Of course, I'm of the opinion that we should talk to kids about most everything. At their level, of course, but fairly openly. Kids don't educate each other accurately. So if an adult doesn't do the talking and the guiding, then you're leaving it up to their friends. Since our executive functioning doesn't fully develop until we're in our 20's, we're taking a pretty big risk in expecting they'll get a good education from their peers.

In reading a number of the posts, I inwardly shouted, "Amen!" I think we spend entirely too much time and effort blocking sites and policing for plagarism. (At the risk of sounding hypocrital, I do appreciate the spam filter. I read it daily since communication from parents and experts from other countries are often blocked, but I like it being in a separate folder.) Instead, we should be capitalizing on teachable moments and creating plagarim-proof assignments.

Most of the articles listed in 11.5 Thing #11 talked about modeling the thinking processes used to evaluate web resources and web tools. I think that's right on. Modeling is so key to good teaching. It's the same good strategy whether you're thinking through a math problem or trying to find information on the web. What would be a good tool to use to solve this problem? Why use this one? Now that I'm using it, how do I get the most out of it?

Certainly we don't have to think aloud all the time, but we do need to do it. It is worth the extra time! We need to address choosing the right tool, evaluating what we find, using the tool appropriately, etiquette, and safety. These can be integrated into most content learning experiences, we just have to make a point to do it.

5 things to tell my students
  • you gotta use the right tool for the job (It's pretty difficult to loosen a screw with a hammer.)
  • you can't believe everything you see or read (The sky is bright red. I wrote it - so look outside, is it suddenly true? I can edit a picture to make a sky bright red. You see an image of it, is it true?)
  • take pride in your work (It's usually faster to do a good job the first time than to do a lazy job and have to do it again.)
  • manners matter online, too (Poor manners can be forever saved electronically. Who wants that legacy?)
  • people aren't necessarily who they say they are online (Never get in a car with a stranger. Same rule applies here.)


VWB said...

I like your analogy with the hammer. I may actually use your picture idea. we have so many tools that make picture would be a good attention brabber and then maybe the "audience" would here the message better! :-) Thanks forte idea.

Of Life, Education, E-bay, Travel & Books said...

Well said!