Because They Simply Can’t Do It Without Us….

Times are changing. They have always been changing. But now, more than ever, we are experiencing the impact of changes in the digital world. . . and the reality that this has on our youth is enormous.

Like Brittany, I remember the good old days when we were kids, and the excitement you could find in getting invited over to someone’s house, to really get to know them. I remember looking at the posters on my older cousins walls, and hearing them rewind the tapes as they listened to Spin Doctors over and over and over…. and It. Was. Thrilling!  Fast forward to today though, and this thrill has changed. With the click of a button, a person can get to know anyone, anywhere… The face to face interactions in getting to know others has been replaced with an interactive screen. It is amazing, spooky, and concerning all at once.

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Children today, are interacting with technology at younger ages than one might expect.

Mike Ribble said it best when he explained that kids today, are coming to school having interacted with technology, but whether they have a knowledge of how to use it appropriately or not is another question. Clearly, there is a need for teaching digital citizenship starting at a very young age. This has changed so much since when I was a kid hitting up the tech savvy black and white Gameboys with my sisters.

The need for digital citizenship education became apparent to my study buddy Bree Arguin and I this summer when we began interacting with the Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools document. Together, we took the time to look at the amazing continuums in this document, that clearly laid out what youth today NEED to know, at different grades. We felt that it was important to make this document even more live by developing an interactive continuum for teachers to use that would help them to know what to actually teach at different grade levels… so we invented THIS!! Check it out!

Our Interactive Digital Citizenship Continuum

Over the past 5 years, it has become evident to me that we need to help students to create their digital footprint. This needs to be done in a way that would make students proud as they mature and grow into young adults.

Perhaps Jocelyn Carr said it best when she began looking at digital footprints as digital tattoos. I too see a digital footprint as something permanent like a tattoo. I remember being 16 and thinking that a tattoo on my big toe would be a good idea… I was 16!!! Thankfully my mother threatened to disown me, and I made the wiser decision to stay a blank canvas. Digital tattoos are no different, the only difference is that we do let children, at much younger ages, drive the vehicle that navigates their digital footprints…. and we don’t seem to worry about the permanence of their actions. Something seems wrong with this… It is essential that we support our youth as they embark on developing a digital footprint, so that it is reflective of the image they want to create long term, rather than creating a digital tattoo that cannot be erased years down the road.

Mobile learning coach, Jennifer Scheffer goes as far as to help her students create LinkedIn profiles so that by the time that they finish their senior year, they understand and have the digital tools to market themselves so that they may craft a professional and personal profile that will help them achieve their dream jobs. To me, this couldn’t be a better step in the right direction. When we look at the sad realities of students taking their lives as a result of poor choices online, and other depressing realities that result from one wrong click of a button, Scheffer appears to be headed in the right direction.

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As we move into the future, I think that we are being called to action, to help youth from the youngest ages to recognize their digital identity. To me, this identity is as important as understanding one’s culture or ethnicity. Without understanding how one’s choices will impact themselves online and in the face to face life, beyond the screen, we cannot really guide our youth safely. As Megan shared in her Content Catalyst, we must be aware of the policies and regulations that lie within the apps we use, because if Apps such as SnapChat suddenly changed their terms of usage, we want to rest assured that a photo we never thought twice about before sending, does not become our next biggest nightmare.

 

 

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12 thoughts on “Because They Simply Can’t Do It Without Us….

  1. I love the document you created! 😀 I love that it’s a continuum – I think it’s really important to remember that nothing is set in stone and that our location and the children’s access to technology will be very different! Great job! ❤

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  2. This looks great I love the continuum of learning for technology by grade. I think this is something that will need to be added to all schools to help students be prepared for their future.

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    1. Thanks! We’ve implemented it in our school kind of as a teachers guide to dealing with students who make bad digital decisions. They have to educate themselves in digital citizenship during their own time /recess time using some of these links, in order to regain privileges…but I also use it to educate my kiddos in a proactive way as well!!! Glad you like it too!

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    1. I’m so glad that you like the continuum. My colleague Bree and I spent endless hours trying to develop the bones to what could be a really wonderful collaborative framework to help guide teachers who just don’t know where to start. I totally agree with you that where one starts is very dependent on many factors…. hopefully this document will serve as useful to others in their journeys to becoming digitally literate. Thanks for checking out my blog too Dani! 🙂

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  3. Woohoo! Glad to see this project has re-emerged! I totally agree with what Dani mentioned about teachers needing to be aware that access, exposure, and experience varies greatly from student to student, and from school to school. I think it’s important to mention, too, that when we developed this continuum, our intention was to share access among all staff so that it can be continually added to and modified by our colleagues. Our vision was that it becomes a “best fit” for the students we are currently serving, as well as a means of keeping it up to date and current. Hopefully some of you find it useful!

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    1. Great points Bree. It’s nice to see others looking at it and being thoughtful about its use. I’m glad others think its a good idea like we do! 🙂

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  4. I love the continuum that you created! I would have never have thought of it but it makes total sense since we have use continuums for both Numeracy and Literacy. I have to add that I am thankful that you created this document as I don’t feel like I have the capacity to build a document independently – although I could collaborate on such a document.

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  5. I also love this continuum you created! Well done, ladies! Very practical and user friendly. Can I share with my staff?

    I also really like what you said about Jennifer Scheffer’s approach with her students. We need to see more of this happening in our schools, where teachers are leading and guiding students in developing positive (digital) identities. Like any other skill or subject, we can’t just talk “at” kids about it – we must dig in and give them opportunities to practice and apply the skills we want them to obtain. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks Jana! Of course you can share with the good ole Ready folks! The more people using, adapting, adding to it, the better it will become! We’d love for it to be shared!

      Thanks for dropping by and reading my post!

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