Digital Citizenship: The Everything Intro for Elementary Students

The title sounds like a pretty tall tale but I promise you, is isn’t. As an introduction this project is nothing if not ambitious. It is the culmination of many thoughts, lessons, study and based on my work with international school elementary students in Japan and Thailand. Seeds of it can be traced back to a much smaller Digital Footprint Project.

Click the image to go to Example as Thinglink currently works only with self-hosted WordPress blogs as WordPress.com doesn’t support third-party plugins.
Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 9.57.27 PM

We explored the concepts:

  • online safety (tied to the similarities with “real life” safety)
  • digital citizenship
  • digital footprints

We learned the skills:

  • research skills and search engines for younger learners
  • recording and sharing research findings through cloud computing with Google Sheets
  • basic citation

Now for the BIG ProjectScreen Shot 2014-11-09 at 10.25.34 PM
Ourselves Online: A Digital Footprint Guide for Children

We are making a book.

  • Definitely a real, hold-in-your-hand, flip-the-pages hardcover
  • Maybe an eBook
  • Maybe downloadable
    • More on self-publishing eBooks here

I will share all of the details with you now. I cannot, however, share the end result as we are still immersed in it. A handful of students have produced pages already. We started with Grade 6 and are working our way down. Naturally, we are differentiating for the younger grades.

As important as this content is there are a number of skills with other devices necessary for successful completion of the project. As students complete their pages they become experts and assume responsibility for mentoring others.

Now for the nitty-gritty. Forgive the change in verb tense to future but this is drawn from my original proposal:

The Idea
What I would like to do is support students from across my elementary school in the production of a book called, Ourselves Online: A Digital Footprint Guide for Children. It will be a hardcopy book made by children for children. At a minimum there will be one made for each class, underlining student ownership of the work. This will require differentiation by year level. Older children will act as peer experts for younger.

If I can convince everyone I can extend the learning further by producing an ebook with Smashbooks that can be formatted for sale on Google Play and Amazon.

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 11.07.29 PMThe Tools

  • Macs
  • The Internet
  • Google Drive
  • Age Appropriate Search Engines
  • Scanners
  • Wacom drawing tablets
  • Paint X Lite
  • Keynote as an image editor
  • weebly as a platform for content management and sharing
  • (Smashwords, Google Play & Amazon?)

The Skills & Understandings
Search
The project will be the platform for introducing online research skills differentiated for younger learners. We will discuss such strategies as :

  • word selection
  • search term refinement
  • use of multiple search engines (and what they are)
  • use of search engines that filter the web for age-appropriate material
  • creative commons images and use addressed

Content
The children will develop these skills to help them learn about digital citizenship, online safety and digital footprints.

Cloud-based Collaboration
Children will share research in a Google sheet in an account created for them addressing cloud-based collaboration.

The Creativity
We will use Wacom drawing pads to digitally transform traced, scanned versions of their feet, stylized with Paint X to develop creative skills with original backgrounds (adding appeal for our audience).

Responsibility & Respect (An Introduction to Citation)
The ‘footprint page’ each student produces will also have a citation, imparting responsible habits and respect for the work of others.

WARNING
This project is not for the faint-hearted. The level of follow up and organisation to manage not only the students (who are all at different stages of production almost from day one) but schedules with teachers, access to devices and making sure all work is saved and accessible is at least on par for difficulty with:

  • managing a whole school Moodle,
  • producing yearbooks, or
  • undertaking flat classroom projects

Google Drive made it possible. Folders for overall organization and access and Sheets for tracking who was where in the process.

I welcome feedback through comments to improve this further. Feel free to also take a look at these pages of the website created to deliver the classes and make content and explanation readily available to students from anywhere. (Simplest to just click the top link and peruse from there.)

Please share your thoughts with me. Love it, hate it, plan on trying any of it? I would like to know.

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About Sean Thompson

Sean has accepted a position as the Director of Technology at The Early Learning Centre, City School, in Bangkok. He is excited to be working with Giovanni Piazza and the rest of the staff to raise awareness of digital-age teaching and learning practice in this Reggio Emilia inspired environment. Sean is also an Apple Distinguished Educator, an International Baccalaureate Educator Network Workshop Leader and a Google Educator available for professional development at your school.
This entry was posted in Collaboration, Digital Citizenship, Digital Learning, Literacy, New Media, Producing, Publishing, Sharing, Project Based Learning, Visual Literacy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Digital Citizenship: The Everything Intro for Elementary Students

  1. I will have to read so much, but it tickles my brain that’s great!!!

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