Real Talk - Digital Citizenship Focused on Teens

Engage students in thinking about their own digital selves through game-based lessons focused on the technologies that they use.

Photo of James Fester
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Updated 3/18 - Was at a great tech conference this weekend (CUE 18) and had an idea for another DigCit project, this time about social media influencers and are they a good or bad influence? I think a lot of students follow certain YouTube and Social Media channels without really thinking about what who they are following says about them. Would love suggestions on what to do about this. 


Updated 3/10 - Got an exciting opportunity to lead a short training on digital citizenship and got some good feedback on the lesson I have shared previously. Will be revising it within the next few days to share what I learned. 


Updated 3/6 - Trying to figure out where the intersection of digital literacy and digital citizenship is. There was a suggestion that I expand this project to include important digital skills and literacies, but not sure if anyone has a list of  "core digital literacy skills" Here is what I have;

-social media savy, information evaluation, powersearching, media curation and creation, publishing/sharing content, communication, computational thinking. 

Not ready to put "coding" up there, but that was suggested. Not sure all digital learners need to be code monkeys so long as they understand logic-based though. 


Updated 3/2 - Got a great resource on social media and teens from a fellow contributor that I had to share! https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/sites/default/files/social-media-cyberbullying-inquiry-summary-report.pdf

Great information on tech and teens!


Updated - 2/28

Here is a sample of the curriculum I've put together. It is a lesson on the importance of thinking before you post/text and the problems with online communication. 

https://goo.gl/fFaPDj

Enjoy! Please post comments or applaud my idea if you like what you see and want more!


Updated - 2/26

I've been tasked by my school to put together a presentation about the current state of Digital Citizenship at a national level. Will be putting the presentation up in the next few days for folks who are interested. Stay tuned or comment if you have suggestions for the content! 


Updated - 2/22

Someone asked for a topic list for my unit. There are the first four lesson topics. Would be interested if anyone else wanted more details or had ideas regarding one of them?

- Effective Online Communication

- Digital Footprint: Representing your Best Self

- TL;DR: Understanding License Agreements

-  Think Before You Post: Digital Empathy

  

Original Post

As more and more schools and teachers come to understand the importance of digital citizenship, the need for engaging and student-centered lessons will become more and more apparent. But how do you get a teenage, who may not be interested in anything sometimes, to be interested in issues surrounding digital citizenship? With Instagram of course! 

By creating lessons based around technology and media platforms actually used by students, digital citizenship is put back into their sphere instead of it being just something that "teachers have to tell us" They can use their own devices, their own accounts, and their own information during the lesson, bridging the gap between the simply theoretical and authentic. By the end of the lesson their actual digital profile becomes stronger and more well-understood. 

Having already created three lessons for ages 6-12, issues around digital footprint, online communication, and privacy are addressed at their level using actual examples from things they use every day. In this way, digital citizenship is relevant and immediately helpful, and not something they dread any longer. 

 

Share research or student experiences that informed your idea!

I've created a series of lessons that my school for its 6-12 grade program that use technologies that students actually use regularly (social media, game platforms, popular websites) to teach them about issues like digital literacy, cyber citizenship, and digital safety.

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Digital Dynamo

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Photo of Paul Kim
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Hi James:

First of all, thanks for participating in this collaboration between the Teachers Guild and ISTE. We really appreciate your contribution!

We’re in the last week of the build phase of the challenge on digital citizenship so it’s time to fine tune your idea before final voting begins next week.

Here are some things to consider as you continue to build on your idea:
- is your idea clear and will it inspire action from other teachers?
- would it be easy for a teacher to incorporate your idea about digital citizenship in their classroom?
- does your idea include some component of research and are there shareable resources?
- is your idea student-centered and does it promote agency?

Thanks,
Paul

Photo of James Fester
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Hello Paul,

Thanks for the message. I have been trying to refine my idea but honestly I'm not sure I will have anything worth posting in five days. I have run into some design roadblocks that I was hoping i'd be able to go over with a design thinking coach as with previous Teacher Guild design challenges, but it looks as though you no longer use the mentor model, which is disappointing. I'll continue to work on my lesson guide, but it may not be "show ready" within the allotted time. Sorry :(

Photo of Paul Kim
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Hi James. This is good feedback as we were just discussing the role of mentors in challenges a few days ago. As an ongoing learning experience, there are different types of tests being done around how challenges operate. If you would like a mentor at this point, we can connect you to someone but I understand if it is too much of a press. Thanks again for sharing, both your idea and the feedback on mentors. Paul

Photo of Maria Nordmark
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Great idea!

Photo of Casey Agena
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Love the idea - let me know how I can help

Photo of James Fester
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Thanks Casey. Would really appreciate some applause and any resources you use to teach digital citizenship in your own classroom.

Photo of Matthew Miller
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James, this sounds really intriguing. We have been teaching digital citizenship using the Digital Quotient framework (https://dq.ie/what-is-it/) but I love the idea of turning the lessons into a game instead. I'd really appreciate any opportunity to collaborate on something like this, or even just critique it. I also have a couple colleagues who are talented at working out game mechanics, storylines, and playability (they've helped me immensely with some of my course games in the past), if you'd like to enlist any help along those lines.

Photo of James Fester
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Hey Matt,

Thanks for the comment and sharing the great resource! I am very excited to look at it more deeply.

Photo of Kevin Day
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I really love where you're going with this -- with the originating question/insight, with the intent to leverage young people's native use of social media, and with all these layers of intentional revising and refining the vision.
"Thinking before you post" asks for every SEL muscle we can muster, all of them firing in right combinations.... How hard it is to WAIT...! And then use our words....
Well done, friend!

Photo of James Fester
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Glad you like it, Kevin. I really believe that the world would be better if everyone just THOUGHT before they hit that post/send button. Now if we can get students to see that! That would make a lot of school teachers and counselors happy.

Photo of Patricia Smeyers
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I created a blended learning unit website on Digital Citizenship for Google Classroom infusion. These go great with what I started. Check out Digital Dynamo https://collaborate.teachersguild.org/challenge/digital-citizenship/ideate/digital-dynamo, and tell me what you think. We are on the same page I think. My goal is to allow the students to create digital work and collaborate online to practice these new skills taught throughout the unit. Google Classroom or Edmodo works well for online discussions using proper netiquette.

Photo of James Fester
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Yeah, I see what you mean. We're all branches on the same tree. The idea of using a more secure ecosystem for them to communicate in with Google Classroom or Edomodo is great! GClass has a pretty great question tool that can be used to facilitate online discussions as well.

Photo of Jennifer Gaspar- Santos
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Adding on to this, have you seen Jill's post here on twitter boards:
https://collaborate.teachersguild.org/challenge/digital-citizenship/ideate/classroom-twitter-board

Made me think of yours!

Photo of James Fester
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Thanks Jennifer,
I like it! I think its a great way to begin building strong DigCit practices BEFORE the students jump into the gaping maw that is the internet where the environment is less structured. Lots of great opportunities for structured refection and practice with communication.

Photo of Jason Breed
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James Fester regarding your 2/26 update for a current state of digital citizenship, here are some resources for content, if you like.
Tons of recent metrics and studies from both UK and US - https://www.itstimetologoff.com/digital-detox-facts/

The first global study looking at younger kids ages 8-12 - https://www.dqinstitute.org/2018dq_impact_report/ showing 51% of US kids exposed to at least some type of cyber-risks. My non-profit led the US portion of the study if you are interested in just the US numbers let me know.

Here is a recent study launched by Journal of Pediatrics showing prevalence of inappropriate messaging (the link is to a Quartz article in case you do not have a Journal of Pediatrics subscription) https://qz.com/1215772/new-research-shows-that-sexting-among-teens-is-even-more-common-than-we-thought/

Here is a very comprehensive study just released in UK on the effects of cyberbullying and the adolescent brain - https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/sites/default/files/social-media-cyberbullying-inquiry-summary-report.pdf

hope this helps.

Photo of James Fester
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Hey Jason,

Wow! Thank you so much for this treasure trove of information on Digital Citizenship topics! I will make sure to include this information in the next round of development I do.

In return, I can recommend commonsensemedia.org as a great site fo r information targeted towards younger students and families. They are very active in the advocacy realm as well!

Photo of Jason Breed
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Certainly James. Glad it helped. I am familiar with CommonSense as they have been a round for a while. I did not include them simply because there is so much there and a lot of it is fairly dated - it takes a while to weed through it all. Wanted to help get you the latest information from the past month or so that I am aware of.

Photo of Jennifer Gaspar- Santos
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We didn't call it a social media wall but we did try an "idea tree" on our campus right outside the business office where folks wrote down notes of gratitude on post its on a mural of a tree. We saw messages like, "I'm grateful for clean water "or for "Thankful for family, friends and the right to go to school" It was a way to make sharing social. A quick way to try this before investing in a whole scale bulletin board is just to print up a picture of the twitter logo and then leave post its and pens nearby with directions for kids to post. You would have to craft a very well directed writing prompt and scaffold for kids some teacher-generated posts so they can see it first, but it would give you a sense of whether the more high fidelity solution would work.

Photo of James Fester
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I like that for a bunch of reasons. It introduces students to the idea of empathy and positive messaging in a non-electronic format. The skills translate directly into the social media realm! Very cool! I had a partner that had students write 140 character "tweets" as exit tickets on paper and then she shared out the best ones. Maybe that could be something that would be good for a teacher account?

Photo of Patricia Smeyers
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I have a Digital Citizenship Unit I created and just needs to be refined that I posted, called Digital Dynamo. Our units may compliment each other well.

Photo of James Fester
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Sounds awesome! What are the learning goals? I'd love to hear more about it.

Photo of Patricia Smeyers
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Here is a link to Google Doc with the orignal goals that are being tweaked. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ipAy7M7eQjigHZSN5mTkoOWy_pjqR_dBHUy3Q-vmzQo/edit?usp=sharing

Photo of James Fester
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Great! Thanks for this! I'll look over it and let you know what I think! There is a lot too look over! You must have put many hours into developing this! How long have you been working on it?

Photo of Patricia Smeyers
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I started years ago in grad school and took off from there. I change it as the need changes. I never really had feedback, so this is great to have such a community.

Photo of Alysha English
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James, this is awesome!! Would love to check out some of the lessons you've found to be successful in the past. Can you add an example here? Or share a link where folks can access it? Seems like it could be a really great resource. Thanks for your contribution! -Alysha

Photo of James Fester
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I'll add a sample to my next update. Would you be willing to look it over and give me some feedback? Maybe try it out?

Photo of Jennifer Gaspar- Santos
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Cool idea James! Have you seen the Katie Couric interview with Lena Dunham and the creator of Instagram --Kevin Systrom ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeXr6sTlezA&t=17m23s) It's a great video that taught me a lot about Instagram and goes into issues on dig cit. Go to 17 m 23 s in the video---Kevin Systrom talks about how Instagram is a more positive social media tool because images are positive---he says people love sharing beauty around us and people get more drawn into a community bc of the visceral reactions to the photos. It's an engaging video--maybe even one to share with HS students----great to listen to in the background while you're setting up your classroom.

Photo of James Fester
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Thanks for the share Jennifer! Always looking for resources that are real and connected to authentic subjects. Sounds like a great one I'll be sure to look at! Have you used it in your classroom?

Photo of Paul Kim
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James. Yes! So important to design student-centered lessons and engage students in spaces that are meaningful to them. I hope you will share the lessons you mentioned in the next phase of the challenge. I also suspect that you may have some other ideas to share given your experience -- please feel free to submit other ideas here. THANKS!

Photo of James Fester
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Thanks Paul. I'll be packaging up the lesson and sharing out a link during this collaboration. Looking forward to hearing other ideas from people about what they do to engage their students in digital citizenship issues.

Photo of James Fester
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I posted some of the lesson topics if you want to take another look.