Friday, December 31, 2010

ICT in the PYP - Be Responsible Digital Citizens

Children learn how to make good decisions by making decisions, not by following directions - Alfie Kohn 
There has been a lot of discussion in the past couple of years about filtering, blocking websites, whether social network sites should be used at school and so on.  Recently I have had some interesting discussions with colleagues too about which websites are suitable ones for students to use for various units of inquiry - for example with our Grade 5 students who are currently studying the Who We Are unit about different life stages.  This has traditionally been a time where students have discussed the changes they are going through or about to go through during puberty.  We want the students to have access to good, relevant information, not to have to do Google Searches for their investigations, but at the same time we know that some parents may object to some of the links that appear even on government approved websites such as Girls Health which is aimed at 10 to 16 year olds.  Around the time I was involved in these discussions, I saw this post on Facebook from a friend of mine who is working in Tanzania.  Sam said:
Crossing the street can be dangerous too and we don't keep them just to the one side of the street as that is not practical. Instead we teach them how to cross the street. We talk about how to do it safely. We practice doing it together. We set up rules that they have to cross the street with an adult... etc etc. Until one day, they can do that by themselves.
I think that is what we are doing by providing our students with links on the student website for them to use in their inquiries.  We are trying to practice searching for good information together, and we hope that one day they will make good choices about what is and is not appropriate for them to be doing online.  This fits in with another strand identified at the ICT in the PYP Meeting in Hong Kong in September:  being responsible digital citizens.  We defined this in the following way:
Being a responsible digital citizen involves making ethical and informed choices while acting with integrity and honesty when using ICT. In a globally connected digital world, learners are empowered to be responsible for their actions, to value others’ rights and to practice safe and legal behaviours.
Photo Credit:  Crossing by Andrei Shevelov

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