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We are social beings. Our students of the 21st century learn through interaction, collaboration, social media, and technology. We are connected at the push of a button and at the click of a mouse. Our students will be exposed to more knowledge than we could ever provide them with through the wealth of information available on the Internet. We must provide our students with the necessary tools and skills to navigate this vast sea so that they can create relevant, authentic, and meaningful products of their learning. Establishing and practicing the nine key concepts of Digital Citizenship will keep students invested in their learning as they establish communication, literacy, proper etiquette, responsibility, and self-protection in the digital world. Raising awareness for digital success will help our students grow, challenge themselves, and develop the skills of a life-long digital learner. Our students are our future, and it is our responsibility to prepare them with the tools to confidently and properly interact, collaborate, socialize and use technology to build our world.
This goal and plan starts with us as teachers in the classroom. Using Mrs. Holland as a resource and co-teaching partner, my students spent the first couple of days in class learning how to use an Advanced Google Search, determine the reliability and validity of websites, and applying these skills to talk about the importance of text features in a non-fiction article through screencasting. I could have had students take notes on text features, practice identifying them, and then given an assessment to determine who could memorize the information from class.
Instead, Mrs. Holland and I decided to get INTERACTIVE. Following along on their computers, students spent time searching for topics that interested them, using tools flexible for the learning abilities, and using actual websites to examine and practice Digital Citizenship. Can octopus climb trees? Are there such creatures known as Sabertooth Salmon? Thankfully, our practice paid off and students were able to determine that THIS website was fake (even though it looked awesome and had “live footage”), and that text features in non-fiction help the reader better understand what they are reading. You tell me, did they get it? Take a look!
Thoughts From Students:
Today during class, Mrs. Holland came to teach us how to be safe when we are searching online. Some things that I learned are not to always trust things like wikis or .net. She taught us how to do an Advanced Search on Google. It was a lot of fun to have her teach us.- 7th grade student
We were fortunate enough to have Mrs.Holland come in and talk to our class today! She taught us different things including Google searches, digital citizenship, and how to tell if websites are valid or reliable. She was a big help and we appreciate her coming in! It is very important for us to have knowledge about these important things due to our modern technology!
Let’s start with Google searches. Mrs. Holland taught us about how important it is for us to learn about this because we will use this knowledge throughout our careers. She taught us how to Google search without millions of searches popping up, including websites like Wikipedia which can be false. Mrs. Holland told us not to believe everything we see and report any disturbing pictures, words, and other things on your computer. To limit these things, we can use the advanced search. On the advance search, you can limit your search by choosing language, exact words, specific sites, reading level, and many other things! After deciding these things, you get a better and more accurate search to use.
Next, we talked about digital citizenship! Mrs. Holland taught us that we need to be responsible on the internet. Mrs. Holland taught us a few terms including Limewire, Frostwire, and a few other things. Limewire is illegally downloading music from the internet or other people’s flash drive/computer. This happens everyday and is a severe problem. The thing is, only some people know that this is illegal. We need proper training like we had from Mrs.Holland to know these things. This is why I believe this was vital for the 7th and 8th graders to be taught.
After that, we talked about how to tell whether you are on a valid or reliable website. Mrs. Bramfeld gave us many examples and then we were tested to see if we could tell if a website was valid or not. She told us that anyone can make a website so you have to be very careful! Website addresses with .com, .org, .gov, and .edu are okay to be on. Anything with .net tends to be less reliable. Most websites should have a copyright symbol or word in one of the corners. Reliable sites usually have a “Contact Us!” section. Lastly, a reliable website should have been updated recently. This way kids can have fun while being safe online!
Mrs. Holland taught us many things that I believe are vital with today’s modern technology. We learned how to stay safe while learning online! She was a great help and I think every school should have someone come in to do what Mrs.Holland did. In the end, we know how to search for a topic and find a reliable website, not to download specific things online, and to report anything disturbing online. Thanks to Mrs. Holland, our knowledge will make learning easier for the students, staff, and the whole internet community! – 7th grade student
Mrs. Bramfeld-7th and 8th grade Language Arts