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Touchstone - Lindsay Leet

Touchstone - Lindsay Leet

Author: Lindsay Leet
Description:

Competency: Identify the responsibilities and appropriate online behaviors for students and teachers as digital citizens.

•Sub-Competency 1: Evaluate student work or instructional design for adherence to the nine elements of digital citizenship and/or the 3 C’s (cyber-safety, cyber-security, and cyber-ethics).

•Sub-Competency 2: Incorporate the nine elements of digital citizenship and/or the 3 C’s (cyber-safety, cyber-security, and cyber-ethics) in your instructional design.

 

Competency: Create a safe educational environment that adheres to standards of digital citizenship and responsibility. 

•Sub-Competency 3: Align instructional design, classroom procedures, and technological resources with COPPA requirements, CIPA requirements, school or district policies, and ISTE standards.

•Sub-Competency 4: Instruct students in leaving a positive digital footprint and/or promote a positive online community.

This completes the "Touchstone" portion of my Digital Citizenship course.  It shows how I met the outcomes of this course by revamping my classroom lessons incorporating new ideas about digital citizenship.

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Tutorial

Project Overview

As a 7th grade life science teacher, I have been asking my honors students to complete a weekly writing assignment.  I have noticed they are making several mistakes pertaining to aspects we have learned about in this digital citizenship course.  The two main errors I have seen throughout the year are plagiarism and poor choice in locating sources of digital information.  My project will focus on the weekly writing assignments, specifically addressing these two aspects of digital citizenship (digital law and digital literacy), while promoting and maintaining the others as well.

Theoretical Approach

My goal for having the honors students do weekly writing assignments is to engage them more deeply in scientific material, while providing them with current examples of science happening in world around them.   The writing task is often based off of an article read online or independent research they conduct, designed to give them some current viewpoint about scientific happenings and to have students practice reading and writing about science.  I am trying to teach them that they have many amazing scientific resources at their fingertips, but after reflecting upon my practice, I realize I have done a poor job teaching them to use these resources appropriately.  I assumed as honors students with so much digital access, they would already have the skills to navigate Internet resources.  I have discovered, however, that they have not been taught all they need to know, or at least have not mastered these skills yet.  In this project, I focused on the lagging digital skills identified throughout the year.  I created a few lessons to address these current weaknesses, and have made changes to next year's curriculum to reflect writing assignments consistently focused on the elements of digital citizenship.  I have tried to design the curriculum in a novel and interesting way that will reach students and help them engage with the material. My hope is that an understanding of these elements will be something they can carry with them throughout their educational career and beyond to be good digital citizens.

Project Implementation

Most of the changes I have designed will be implemented at a future date, so as to reach kids at the BEGINNING of the school year, rather than the end.  The portion I did include was a mini lesson about plagiarism and another about digital etiquette and literacy.  These were delivered like any other weekly writing assignment.  Regarding plagiarism, students were given the following message:

I have had MANY students submit writing assignments that are not their own work, mostly containing items cut and pasted from the Internet.  This week's writing assignment is a practice in turning someone else's work into your own through writing summaries.  Think about the story: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle.  If you are unfamiliar with this children's classic, samples will be provided for you in class.  Write a 5-sentence summary of the story using the following rules:

  • Write your name at the top of your page - nothing should come before it.
  • Write "The Very Hungry Caterpillar - by Eric Carle" underneath your name.
  • You need to think about the MAIN POINTS of the story and turn them into sentences that are your own.
  • You may never use more than 3 consecutive words of the author in a row.
    • Changing some of the words to synonyms is also NOT acceptable.

After submitting their work, I chose 4 examples with varying components that I thought students should see, and had all students read and evaluate these samples.  Students chose which was the most interesting to read and which followed the directions best.  They also chose one to give feedback for.  They were to give the writer 3 tips to improve their writing assignment.  This portion of the “Hungry Caterpillar Assignment” had interesting results.  I had multiple children send me personal messages regarding the writing samples, saying they didn’t realize how bad their writing was.  At the very least, this opened their eyes, and pushed them to be more cautious with their submissions.  When I have more time next year, I will incorporate a lesson on digital etiquette in this portion.  We will view the Prezi, focusing in on that bubble.  I will start by posting some writing samples (from past students, making sure to maintain anonymity).  I will ask students to again provide feedback, making sure to follow the components of digital etiquette.  We will check for spelling (in the writing sample and the response).  We will talk about language use to ensure students are being professional with constructive criticism and avoiding cyber-bullying.  When I feel students have mastered this form on digital communication, I will then allow students to evaluate each other’s work using Padlet.com.  Here students can post their work, and other students can attach a message with praises and criticisms.

For next year, I know I have to do this slightly differently.  First of all, after promoting the 9 elements of digital citizenship throughout the year, I will have to add a reminder about following the 9 elements we have learned about.  I will also use the “Hungry Caterpillar Assignment” earlier in the year to reach kids before they make mistakes.  Also, I will add a link for students to follow to access the Prezi with reminders about the 9 elements.  Finally, I will include a checklist on each writing assignment for students to check their work before submission.  I have intentionally kept this checklist short and simple to encourage students to actually use it.  Something more complicated would deter students from reading and thinking about the important information it contains. 

Demonstration of Competency Mastery

 

Competency: Identify the responsibilities and appropriate online behaviors for students and teachers as digital citizens.

•Sub-Competency 1: Evaluate student work or instructional design for adherence to the nine elements of digital citizenship and/or the 3 C’s (cyber-safety, cyber-security, and cyber-ethics).

•Sub-Competency 2: Incorporate the nine elements of digital citizenship and/or the 3 C’s (cyber-safety, cyber-security, and cyber-ethics) in your instructional design.

 

 In order to achieve this competency, I evaluated my current instructional practices and student outcomes through the lens of the nine elements of digital citizenship.  After identifying areas of weakness, I designed lessons (writing assignments and Prezi) and resources (checklist and Prezi) to address these components.  I then planned a way to implement these in the classroom to promote and educate students about the nine elements to ensure their success as digital citizens.

 

Competency: Create a safe educational environment that adheres to standards of digital citizenship and responsibility. 

•Sub-Competency 3: Align instructional design, classroom procedures, and technological resources with COPPA requirements, CIPA requirements, school or district policies, and ISTE standards.

•Sub-Competency 4: Instruct students in leaving a positive digital footprint and/or promote a positive online community.

 

In order to demonstrate this competency I reviewed our district’s acceptable use policy (see attached), ISTE standards, as well as aspects of CIPA and COPPA.  I evaluated my daily use of technology in the classroom to ensure compliance with these resources.  Most notably, I revised many PowerPoint presentations and worksheets to credit sources, often to reflect the sources for images that were used. 

An example of this can be seen below. The first image is an original screenshot from a PowerPoint presentation used in my class.  The final image is an updated screenshot revealing the photo's source.

              

I also designed and created a Prezi and a few lessons to target the components of digital citizenship with plans to enact more lessons surrounding this topic throughout the following school year.  These efforts were designed to increase students' appropriate interactions in an online community and to help foster a more positive digital footprint.  Teaching students specifically about plagiarism, etiquette, and finding reliable sources are just a few examples of the lessons that will target my students as responsible digital learners to keep them safe in the classroom and beyond.

Project Component Resources

The School District Responsible Use Policy that I used.

The Prezi covering the 9 elements of digital citizenship can be found here.

The checklist I developed that will be found on all student writing assignments looks like this:

 

 

Project Findings

This project was an interesting and humbling experience.  As a lead learner for technology in a district on the leading edge of 1:1 schools, I always felt like I was slightly "ahead of the game" regarding technology.  After this course and project, I realized I was doing my students a disservice by not providing them with all of the tools they needed to be successful and safe digital learners.  I was able to identify some flaws in my practice and correct many of them for the upcoming year.  I was also able to design some lessons for my current students while creating a more comprehensive digital curriculum for students in the future.  I was forced to think about how to better provide for my students as digital learners not only in class, but in life.

I had interesting student reactions and submissions regarding my new lessons.  First off, doing a mini-lesson about plagiarism was quite successful.  It forced students to really stop and think about the information they are using.  They were required to put information in their own words and each student was successful (despite this being a huge problem in the past).  It was also interesting to have students look at each others' writing with the lens of digital etiquette and communication.  Students were astounded by the frequency of mistakes made and the poor reflection writing can have on them.  Since it was the end of the year, I am uncertain whether this will have a lasting impact, but am looking forward to using it earlier next year to promote quality writing throughout the class.

As identified in the Implementation section, I have been able to expand upon what I accomplished in a short amount of time this year to create even higher quality digital experiences for next year.  I am hopeful that I will be able to share these ideas with my PLC partners and other colleagues to promote digital citizenship in our school.