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.
- 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
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:
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.
- The Internet
- Google Drive
- Age Appropriate Search Engines
- 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
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
The children will develop these skills to help them learn about digital citizenship, online safety and digital footprints.
Children will share research in a Google sheet in an account created for them addressing cloud-based collaboration.
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.
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.)
- Overview (landing) page
- Online Safety (1)
- Effective Online Research
- Student Focused Research Links
- Making our Footprint Messages (Pages)
- Paint X Brushes & Backgrounds
- Finished Pages Gallery
- Work in Progress Introductory Session for Grade 1
Please share your thoughts with me. Love it, hate it, plan on trying any of it? I would like to know.