Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Tech coaching for digital citizenship

I feel I've been focused on digital citizenship recently.  I've been involved in planning for offering digital citizenship workshops for schools in India, as well as thinking about designing an online workshop on this subject.  This school year our tech coaches have also supported several teachers who have made digital citizenship their focus for the year.  In fact all the Grade 4 and 5 teachers decided to set goals based on Standard 4 of the ISTE Standards for Teachers, mostly focusing on teaching the safe, legal and ethical use of digital information and technology and on developing cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with colleagues and students of other cultures using digital age communication and collaboration tools.  A good example of this was a Grade 4 Global Book Club where students shared books they were reading using a blog with other students around the world.  This provided an authentic audience for students as writers of blogs, and led to an increase in motivation and enthusiasm for writing and an improvement in writing skills.

Digital Citizenship forms Standard 5 of the ISTE Standards for Coaches and it reflects the necessity for tech coaches to promote and model digital citizenship so that teachers, students and parents understand how to maximize the opportunities and minimize the threats when using technology.

Tech coaches also need to ensure that they are promoting the legal use of technology.  As we work in an American school, we are conscious of several laws that affect technology use.  These include the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) which requires schools to monitor student internet activity, for example using filters to block harmful content, and educate students on internet safety.  Coaches also educate both teachers and parents about the requirements of the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) which restricts the online collection of personal information from children under 13, and therefore means we have check the terms of use for sites for our elementary students to use when creating online content and advise parents of which sites are not designed for use with elementary age children.

Finally a huge part of digital citizenship is to ensure teachers know how to stay within the copyright laws and protect original works.  Coaches can advise teachers and students on where to find copyright-free material for multimedia projects and how to properly cite the original sources.

How do you ensure that digital citizenship is addressed in your school?  To what extent is technology being used to support cultural understanding and global awareness?

Photo Credit: Ars Electronica via Compfight cc

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