At my school, our library and educational technology departments have combined recently. It makes a lot of sense since we all work together anyway, and there is plenty of cross-over to be exploited in our curriculum. It is exciting for me because it means more team teaching with our tech teacher, and we are gathering ideas for projects to work on with our students next year.
Currently we are working together with classroom teachers to introduce our 3rd graders to Edmodo. Edmodo was chosen specifically because of its social networking aspects. While we are using it to display social studies content as well as poetry and original writing, we are weaving in the ideas of digital citizenship.
In the past, much of the talk of children and the internet fell into the “Don’t do it!” category. Now, the conversation is more measured and it is my professional opinion that it is up to us to guide children in the direction of responsible internet use. We had the students tell us what they knew about being online, and although many of them do have email accounts and play online, the ideas they gave back to us were the scary stories of internet predators. What we want them to focus on, is responsible use and their own content.
After a trial run of commenting on each others posts on Edmodo, we had the students “notice” each tone and word choice. We asked them which comments were just silly and did not lend to the over all conversation. Our students took the lead and really got the flavor of our expectations.
When I recently asked a third grader what she thought was important with regard to being online, this is what she had to say: “You should put positive stuff online because if you put mean or bad stuff online it’s out for everybody to see and you may hurt someone’s feelings.”
Not a bad start!