Muddling through the blogosphere

September 2, 2019
by blogwalker

#DigCit in the 2019-2020 School Year

As students and staff settle into the school year, it’s time to review new resources for teaching digital citizenship. I’m lucky to share this annual task with Kathleen Watt, co-director of our district’s digital citizenship program.

Every September, we send out an email to our school site #DigCit coordinators with a link to a Google Form for them to submit their Digital Citizenship Implementation Plan, an overview of specific lessons to be taught, along with any school events (assemblies, rallies, Parent Nights, etc.) they will be hosting.

The email also includes recommended resources for students, teachers, and parents. So far, our 2019-2020 list of #DigCit resources includes:

From the #ISTE19 Conference:

From Common Sense EducationCommon Sense also led digital citizenship sessions at #ISTE19, sharing their completed set of new or updated K-12 lessons, which all open in Google Docs and Slides, and are integrated into Google Classroom:

  • Hoaxes and FakesOne of the lessons Common Sense highlighted was a new lesson for 9th grade … created from the ideas and resources Kathleen and I originally shared during our 2016 Saturday Seminar and then went on to share and present with Rob Appel and Common Sense’s Kelly Mendoza at Spring CUE. Like many of the new Common Sense lessons, Hoaxes and Fakes can be taught as a stand alone or better yet, integrated into a science, English or history/social studies class to bring an awareness to media literacy as an essential skill for today’s research projects.

    Kelly Mendoza, Gail Desler, and Rob Appel.

  • 2019 Digital Citizenship Curriculum Crosswalk – The best way to view all the changes and updates from Common Sense is to click on the link and explore the new content, which, in their words, “includes lessons and resources easier to use and more relevant for teachers and students today.”
  • When is your brain ready for social media? – Common Sense, KQED and PBS have collaborated on a video to bring awareness to what rights students are giving up when they “Accept” the terms of use for 13+ apps, games, etc. The video could be a great conversation starter on privacy issues.

  • Parent Resources – Common Sense continues to create wonderful resources to bring parents into digital citizenship conversations. I love the new Tech Balance app for parents of 3-8 year-olds, which sends parents weekly tips and resources. Common Sense’s Research section is continually updated with “reliable, independent data on children’s use of media and technology and the impact it has on their physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development.”

A few more #digcit challenges:

We’ll be sending out the email by the end of next week. If you have #DigCit resources to add to our list, please jump in and leave a comment.

Wishing everyone a great start to the new school year.

February 12, 2018
by blogwalker

From “hate speech” to “dangerous speech”

Sometimes it is bad things that move teaching and supporting digital citizenship from a one-and-done assembly or an advisory period checklist into meaningful classroom discussions.

I have mentioned in previous blog posts that I coordinate, along with colleague Kathleen Watt, our district’s digital citizenship program. For 10+ years we’ve started each school year by asking our site coordinators to submit their proposed annual Digital Citizenship Implementation Plans and requiring by the end of the school year that every principal sign a form verifying that digital citizenship has been taught at his/her site.

To assist our schools, we post resources to our digital citizenship website, with an invitation for sites to develop a plan that works best for their school’s culture and needs. Although all sites have a plan in place, few are currently integrating digital citizenship into classroom curriculum. Designating an average of three lessons per grade level, covered separately (via assemblies, advisory, etc.) from the core curriculum tends to be the norm.

Every year, Common Sense Education’s lesson Breaking Down Hate Speech is one of our top recommendations for our high schools. The short (30 second) video included in the lesson quickly makes visible the broad reach of hate and the thin line between bystander and upstander.

We always point out that this lesson can easily be integrated into a social studies unit on propaganda, for instance, helping students make powerful connections between “then and there” to “here and now.”

As a district, we are still healing from the wounds of last month’s racist viral video  created and shared by two of our high school students. In response, we are suggesting that school sites visit/revisit Breaking Down Hate Speech – and, if needed, consider adding a resource Carl Wilkens recently sent me: The Dangerous Speech Project. Susan Benesh’s 6-minute video (below) visually explains the similarities, differences, and complexities in comparing “hate speech” to “dangerous speech” and provides 5 signs that will help you determine when speech is dangerous.

I know that the most powerful model for bringing about positive school-wide changes (face-to-face and online) to any school is students teaching students. And, of course, a supportive staff is also important. I hope to be back soon to showcase examples of students crossing the line from bystander to upstander and being change  agents at their schools and all the communities to which they belong. I would also love to share how teachers across grade levels and subject areas are weaving in the topic of confronting online hate.

As always, you are warmly invited to contribute to this conversation by leaving a comment.

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