The next activity for the EduGoalsMOOC was to design a digital safety, citizenship and learning resource for parents. I chose to use MS Sway for this task. As Sway didn’t have an obvious way for translating content, I put all text into a “transcript” in a Google doc which could be used for easy translation and linked to several translation resources.
The goal of the intro is to remind parents how we look out for our children in so many physical ways that it is important not to neglect digital safety too. I did not want to focus on the “cyber boogeyman” out there as coming from a place of fear is rarely well received, so I moved into a message from the American Academy of Pediatrics on the physical risks that could be involved with overuse of digital media, called attention to three big tips for parents of HS students, and then provided 7 resources (print, audio, video) for parents and closed with a call to action. I hope it is helpful.
The next challenge in the MOOC is to create a “teacher survival kit” in case something were to come up and the students need to continue learning but the regular plan is not possible for whatever reason. I used Padlet to design this survival kit for US Government. I focused on collecting resources that would be applicable to most if not all of the course and are delivered in varied formats (text, games, podcasts, videos). For each of the resources, I designed a different learning activity that could be accomplished during the class period; I also varied the formats of those activities. The thought being, this survival kit is then flexible and practical. The link to it could easily be posted on our classroom LMS or a short link to it could be on the emergency lesson plan and then written on the board for the students to easily access.
This unit’s challenges, exploring a digital teaching theory and learning more about student digital footprints aren’t really changing how I approach my teaching, rather, they affirm it. I will continue to use Bloom’s verbs when designing learning activities for students of all levels, and will strive to push them to the higher order thinking skills. I will also always reflect on how I am using technology (SAMR). I love the things that the internet, webtools, and a device can allow our students to do beyond basic research and paper writing, so it has become second nature for me to push the envelope and design what I hope will be engaging, meaningful and rewarding learning activities for my students of all levels.
Regarding the digital footprints, I will continue to remind the younger students that I work with that posting is permanent (I always liked this video, some might think it is a bit hokey and I know it was published in 2008, but it sends a powerful message). At my current school, we are working on digital citizenship curriculum and these reminders will help remind me of the importance of our work. Finally, for the graduate program I work with, we will continue to keep this subject in the curriculum, work to update the information, and keep the conversation going with the educators who participate in our program as learners.
Since I am not currently teaching a class, my English Teacher friend agreed to ask his class to take the MOOC’s short survey on their digital footprints. All of the students were either 15 or 16 and ten of the students self-identify as he, 6 as she. Overall, the results weren’t shocking, but a few things did stand out more than others.
The first point that really stood out was the age at which they first joined a social network. 14 of the 16 students joined their first social network before they reached 13.
The second point that stood out was that 15 of the 16 students use both Instagram and Snapchat. Additionally, I knew that students are leaving Facebook, but this was more than I thought. The same trend is looking like it is happening to Twitter, and in this group, just under half use Twitter. I should have added Spotify on the list, I’m guessing many would have said yes to that one.
I was also surprised at the mixed results on how many students send photos of themselves, or don’t, on a regular basis.
With all of the above, the biggest surprise, or perhaps better stated: disappointment, for me was that not all of the parents have talked with their children about internet safety.
I know my husband and I are hawkish about protecting our little guy’s image and digital footprint, but we will also be talking to him about being safe online, not just ensuring physical safety where possible, but thinking from the start about one’s personal digital footprint.