May 2016 archive

Critical Reflection – Digital Citizenship in Schools

As a Teacher Librarian I have always taken an interest in digital literacy and digital citizenship by reading and curating relevant articles for my own personal learning and to share with my colleagues. I understood the definition of digital citizenship to be the safe, responsible and ethical use of information and technology and the Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship confirmed my thinking.

flickr photo by sylviaduckworth https://flickr.com/photos/sylviaduckworth/17190424026 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

After exploring other models of digital citizenship it became clear to me that I had underestimated the complexities of digital citizenship. Using network technology in a global world involves technical, individual, social, cultural and global awareness as illustrated in the Enlightened Digital Citizenship model.

Before starting this subject I had not given much thought to the relationship digital citizenship had with digital learning environments. I reflected on my own digital learning environment and the literacies and skills required to use them effectively. I actively embrace and play with mobile technology, social media and a plethora of digital tools in a responsible manner but some of my colleagues are not as aware or lack confidence. Some of the tools I use for personal reasons are now becoming part of the school’s evolving digital learning environment and placing new demands on teachers and students. The visual representation of my personal learning network (PLN) in my blog post  illustrates the role technology plays in my learning and the importance I place on lifelong learning. I reiterated this by commenting in forum 2.2 that it is imperative that I am a connected educator to meet current and future digital fluency needs and to model lifelong learning within my school community.

Assignment one was a living, breathing example of a participatory digital learning environment in action. As team member Heather said in her reflective blog post,

It was clear from the assessment rubric and online class meeting that this assignment was as much about learning about and through collaboration as it was about the particular aspect of digital citizenship we had elected to focus on.

Working collaboratively, team 5.2 created a learning module hosted on a wiki using a variety of communication and collaboration tools that Donald Tapscott refers to as “weapons of mass collaboration” (Richardson, 2008, para. 20). Digital citizenship theory was put into practice using an authentic learning task that visibly revealed our digital footprints, use of digital tools and collaborative efforts. The value of learning by doing was made very clear to me through this assignment. Teachers can apply similar methods by flattening their classrooms or lowering the walls so that students can learn by collaborating locally or globally (Lindsay, 2013), however as discussed in the forums, some challenges and barriers need to be overcome.

Given suitable digital infrastructure we can “learn whatever we want, wherever we want from whomever we want” in today’s digital ecology (Richardson, 2008). The tools that students use outside of school and increasingly at school, allow them to connect, collaborate, communicate and create. These are examples of twenty-first century skills and capabilities that along with critical thinking and digital citizenship are being encouraged by education systems around the world. Wherever possible teacher librarians weave digital citizenship and digital literacy into classes to spread the message, however I have learnt through this subject that embedding digital citizenship into the curriculum is best practice. The entire school community must develop common ground to educate students in a proactive rather than reactive way (Hollandsworth, Dowdy & Donovan, 2011).

I have learnt an enormous amount about digital citizenship in schools by engaging with the module content, participating in lively discussions in the forums, connecting on Twitter and meeting virtually with Julie Lindsay and my fellow class members. It is now up to me to show my school community what effective digital citizenship practice is through my own actions.

References

Bailie, H. (2016, May 19). Assignment one reflection. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/hbailie/2016/05/19/assignment-one-reflection/

Hollandsworth, R., Dowdy, L., & Donovan, J. (2011). Digital Citizenship in K-12: It Takes a Village. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(4), 37-47. doi:10.1007/s11528-011-0510-z

Lindsay, J. (2013). Leadership for a global future. In E-Learning journeys.
Retrieved from http://www.julielindsay.net/2013/04/leadership-for-global-future.html

 

Richardson, W. (2008, December 3). World without walls: Learning well with others In Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/collaboration-age-technology-will-richardson.

Social Media and Educational Networking

Today I wanted to learn more about the new Victorian Curriculum for years Foundation to ten. I knew that there had been a conference conducted recently by the School Library Association of Victoria so I checked their homepage and found a Storify of the tweets from the conference. Thanks to those at the conference who were willing to share their learning using the hashtag #slavconf, the tweets gave me a good overview of the conference and some additional resources to explore.

Twitter chats are another source of learning that I would like to get more involved in. On Sunday evenings #AussieED is frequented by some of my fellow CSU class mates. By following @aussieED you learn about other global Twitter chats too. If the time difference is a problem you can follow the chat hashtag at a more convenient time and connect asynchronously.


Students at my senior secondary school could use Twitter in a similar way to either follow hashtags or participate in a teacher organised chat with other students locally or globally. I know that the Politics teacher has already made Twitter part of her class’ digital learning environment. The class shares resources and insights with each other and their teacher but they could extend their learning further by connecting globally with other students.

 

Learning without walls

As a distance education student learning without walls is not a new concept to me. The learning modules provide readings, videos and resources from around the world and we discuss them asynchronously in forums and via social media. We also have the opportunity to engage synchronously with the subject coordinator and other students with online meetings using Adobe Connect. I can search and read library resources anywhere that I have an internet connection and at anytime. Now that I am up to my fifth subject, I feel pretty comfortable in my CSU digital learning environment (DLE). I have also brought other tools such as Evernote, Twitter and Diigo into this environment that help me to learn.

Initially I was apprehensive about my first group work assignment via distance learning. My initial fears were soon put to rest as part of Group 5.2. Group 5.2 worked collaboratively and without walls by using a variety of communication and collaboration tools to produce a digital citizenship learning module that we could be proud of Donald Tapscott calls these kinds of tools “weapons of mass collaboration” (Richardson, 2008, para. 20):

  • Google Docs
  • Google Hangouts
  • Email
  • Twitter
  • Skype
  • Diigo
  • Pealtrees
  • ETL523 wiki

We shared tools and resources, offered technical guidance and expertise to each other and provided feedback. Team members felt safe enough to discuss the trials and tribulations of the tools they used (or attempted to use) to create their individual artefacts and asked for advice when necessary. We even introduced each other to our pets on Skype!

Although we all came from far afield suburbs in Melbourne we were very fortunate to be able to meet face to face during the school holidays. The wifi wasn’t sufficient in the cafe but we were able to hotspot using our mobile phones to stay connected. With sufficient infrastructure learning really can happen anywhere and at anytime.

group52

I really enjoyed the experience of assignment 1. Group 5.2 supported each other and put into practice much of what we had been learning in the ETL523 modules about digital citizenship.

 

References

Richardson, W. (2008, December 3). World without walls: Learning well with others. Edutopia.
Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/collaboration-age-technology-will-richardson.

DLE Tools

The tools and/or platforms that contribute to the school’s “official” digital learning environment may be different to the tools that students and teachers use outside of school. Teachers need support to integrate these tools into their teaching practices because the technology alone will not transform learning (Kemker, 2005). Professional learning delivered by the school and individuals developing their own personal learning networks (with an emphasis on lifelong learning) is necessary.

 
Digitallearningenvironment(DLE)

 

References

Kemker, K. (2005). The digital learning environment: What the research tells us. Apple White Paper.
Retrieved December, 4, 2013. http://www.ssis.edu.vn/uploads/pdf/The_Digital_Learning_Environment.pdf

Cybersafety Seminar

A few weeks ago I attended a cybersafety seminar for year 11 students. The seminar was presented by former police officer Susan McLean of Cyber Safety Solutions

She spoke about the following:

  • Rightly or wrongly people will judge you based on your use of social media and the internet.
  • Nothing can be totally deleted so students need to be aware of their digital footprint
  • Passwords and using security settings are essential to managing your digital life
  • Make sure your social media presence is positive
  • Impact and consequences of cyberbullying
  • Laws related to sexually explicit material
  • Impact and consequences nude pictures sent as messages can have
  • Predators and grooming

Susan expanded on these areas with anecdotes, examples and visuals. She used humour and the latest colloquial terms to engage the teenage audience. While the nasty side of the internet was addressed, Susan provided strategies that students could use to avoid, limit or take action with. I was pleased to see her focus on the importance of positive behaviour and action rather than dwelling on the negatives. She concluded by telling students to look after themselves online and to look after others too.

A one off seminar by a former police officer is far from ideal compared to a holistic school wide approach. Judging by questions raised by students at the end of the seminar at least Susan made an impression and had got them thinking. It concerns me that the cybersafety seminar ticks a box, it has been done for the year, and then is not followed up in any meaningful way.

I am Stronger video shown to students during the seminar
Retrieved from https://youtu.be/gkaxbaX1WAE