That’s a Wrap (on my major project)!

When I first saw the outline for the major project, I felt a little panicked and as though it would be impossible for me to plan and carry out something that would fit the requirements.  Now, as I look back on the semester and what I have accomplished, not only was it possible, but it was enjoyable at the same time!

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My project is entitled, “Fostering Digital Citizenship Through the Use of Seesaw: Creating Digital Citizens through Digital Opportunity”, and it was more effective and successful than I could have imagined.  I didn’t think a few words on this page could accurately describe the process I went through to organize and teach this unit to my students, or express my thoughts on it moving forward.  So…I created a screencast to summarize my journey (something else I didn’t ever think I’d be able to do) that can be accessed below.

I created a few resources to go along with my project as well.  There was a unit overview, a commenting outline to introduce my Grade 2/3 students to commenting appropriately, and a commenting bookmark that my students use when they are using Seesaw to comment on their peers’ work.  If any of these resources would be helpful to you and your teaching, feel free to use them or alter them in any way that you see fit.

This project was enlightening for me.  It reinforced the importance of teaching digital citizenship to students, no matter how young they may be, and opened my eyes to the level of interaction that our students have with the digital world on a daily basis.  If we are able to give our students the tools necessary to navigate their digital community, teach them the qualities that are necessary to be a positive digital citizen, and the digital etiquette skills in order to create a digital footprint that they will proud to acknowledge, we will be setting them up for a future of success; one that will extend even further than we could ever imagine.

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Entering the Final Stages of My Major Project

The last update on my major project had my students following a “3 C’s and a Q” model for commenting on their classmates’ posts on Seesaw.  They were really excited to explore what their peers had posted and to compliment, comment, connect, and question them on their thinking.  This past week, students then returned to their own Seesaw journals to view the comments on their profiles and to respond back; to thank them for their words and to answer their questions.  A couple of examples of their work can be seen below.

Something that I wasn’t expecting to happen, was to have parents engage in dialogue with their children and their work.  I’ve had a few parents write comments on their children’s posts, and now, after having the students explore these comments, we’ve started a conversation.  What a great way to provide additional opportunities for students to share their knowledge and for parents to engage with their learning.

In addition to exploring commenting on Seesaw and practicing digital etiquette, we have also been discussing aspects of digital literacy and digital citizenship.  We explored what a digital footprint was, how it is created, and how it doesn’t wash away with ocean waves or melting snow.  I showed my class the Common Sense Media video “Your Digital Footprint” found on YouTube .

After viewing this video, we discussed how the things that we put online don’t disappear, the things we search on google are tracked, and videos that we watch on YouTube are catalogued so similar videos can be recommended for us.  I demonstrated these concepts by googling my name and explaining what came up, showing my google search history, and the recommended videos that come up when logging into YouTube.  My class was quick to notice that the YouTube videos that came up were Arthur cartoons and Religion videos like the ones we had previously watched in class.  They were able to connect this to Netflix and the shows that it recommends for you based on what you have already watched.

We discussed why it is important to think about the places you go on the internet, who you interact with on the internet, and what you put on the internet.  We watched a video to remind us of some internet safety tips, and talked about our online habits.

I was surprised by how many different ways that my Grade 2/3 students used the internet, and how many of them interact with others online.  They use YouTube, Musical.ly, MineCraft, Roblox, and even Facebook.  Many of them said they need to have their parents’ permission to use the computer, aren’t allowed to put pictures or videos online, and that even though they are on sites where you can interact with others, they aren’t allowed to talk with other people.  Some of them however, are posting videos and talking to strangers.  A few have even had negative interactions with others.  This just reinforced in me the importance of teaching digital literacy and digital etiquette skills to students regardless of their age.  In fact, the earlier we can teach them these skills, the better.  Then, when they are faced with issues online, they will have the tools that they need to understand what is happening and deal with it appropriately.

I taught them the ‘STOP’ approach from the Common Sense Media video “Power of Words”  and we discussed what you should do if someone is talking with you online and saying things that are inappropriate or make you feel uncomfortable.

I was really impressed with the level of engagement that my students had with our conversation and with the questions that they asked.  They wanted to know if the ways they were using the internet were safe and if their responses to their interactions with others were appropriate.  They were looking for validation of their choices and their habits.  They were being very responsible and looking to ensure they were acting as positive digital citizens.  Hopefully these qualities will stay with them as they grow, and help to shape their digital habits as they explore the digital world in greater detail and with greater freedom.

March Snowstorm Packs a Punch and Changes Plans

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All of the snow that we got this week has put a wrench into my plan to continue to teach my digital citizenship unit to my Grade 2/3 class.  Without the buses running, attendance was low with 7-12 students making their way to class every day.  Regular lessons were put on hold and time was spent completing review activities, playing in the snow, and taking part in a few activities that wouldn’t typically make their way into our day.  We had a lot of fun doing puzzles, making crafts, and building with red plastic cups!

Although I was missing a large portion of my class, I felt that it was still important to cover curriculum and organize meaningful activities for my students to participate in.  I took advantage of this time to work with small groups to delve into Seesaw.  We posted a few pictures and videos onto their profiles, and the students continued to amaze me with how quickly they figured out the program and how easily they were able to complete their tasks.

We then jumped forward in my digital citizenship unit and discussed what commenting was and how to comment appropriately.  I shared the following document with my class that I had adapted from the Regina Catholic Schools resource “Follow the 3 C’s and a Q Commenting Framework.” 

 

We went through each section to make sure that everyone understood what complimenting, commenting, connecting and questioning meant, as well as the types of statements that they could make within each section.  I then shared a few posts that the students had made with the class, and together, we generated a list of comments that we could make on that post that fit within each category.  Once the students could demonstrate their understanding of how to make an appropriate comment, I gave each of them a reminder bookmark to help them with the process.

 

Then it was time for the fun to begin!  Students were given a chance to explore the work of their classroom peers and choose a post to comment on.  They could write or record their comment, and were to follow the 3 C’s and a Q framework as they did this.  I was really impressed with the efforts that my students put into this activity.  There were a few who stuck to the ‘you did a good job’, or an ‘I like your picture’ comment, but most went past the surface level and added a well thought-out comment.

A few of my favourites were comments that were made when students had posted a picture of a ninja that they had crafted and wrote about in response to the stories “Dojo Daycare” and “Dojo Surprise” by Chris Tougas.

 

One post, which said their ninja’s favourite food was cake, led to a comment of “what kind of cake dose he like?” and another about a ninja named Funny resulted in, “I really like the way your ninja has the surprise pose like you discribed and what kind of cookies does funny like? This reminds me of myself and my brother because we also love cookies. You Saïd that Funnys favorite move is thé surprise move and I totally agréé by thé colour and thé information about your ninja! Your friend, A”

In the coming days and weeks we will continue to explore commenting on Seesaw following the 3 C’s and a Q format, and we will extend this into replying to the comments that people have made on our posts.  It has been wonderful to see the excitement on my students’ faces as they explore Seesaw, and I can’t wait to see where this adventure takes us next!

Major Project – From Idea to Implementation

For those of you reading for the first time, my major project involves teaching a digital citizenship unit to my Grade 2/3 class in order to prepare them to use Seesaw to post and comment on others’ work.  I’m titling my project “Fostering Digital Citizenship Through the Use of Seesaw: Creating Digital Citizens through Digital Opportunity”.

This week we began our introduction to this unit.  We talked about what a community is and brainstormed a list of buildings and businesses that we would want to be included in our ideal community.  Then students were given an opportunity to get creative and bring our idea of a perfect community to life.  Students drew, coloured, and cut out important buildings and businesses and added them to our community of Joanville.  We had a a great time arranging our buildings and creating a community that we were proud of.  We could have spent a lot more time perfecting our ideas and adding buildings, but all good things must come to an end 🙂 You can see my students’ handiwork below.

After we created Joanville, we discussed what a citizen was and the expectations of how a citizen should act.  To reinforce the idea of  what it means to be a good citizen, we watched a video from YouTube to illustrate the point.

After viewing the video, we talked about the types of citizens that we would want to live in our  community of Joanville.  We discussed how we would want our citizens to act, how they should treat each other, and what kind of qualities they should have.  My students came up with a large list of words to describe their ideal citizens, and I was really impressed and proud of the list that they came up with.  I think their ideas were pretty great, but you can judge for yourselves!

To assess my students’ understanding of the qualities of a good citizen I had them complete the following handout found on TeacherPayTeachers

I then had my students delve a little deeper and apply this learning to themselves by having them list the ways that they could be a good citizen.  We then posted these responses to Seesaw and we will revisit them once we are ready to comment on each others’ posts.

Once students were able to demonstrate a solid understanding of the concepts of community and what it means to be a good citizen, I extended this learning to incorporate the digital world.  We talked about the word ‘digital’ and what it meant, as well as the vehicle which creates the digital world – the internet.  We watched the Common Sense Media video of  “What is the Internet” and brainstormed all of the ways in which we use the internet at home and at school.

We then discussed how we should behave when we are a part of a digital community.  My students were able to connect to their prior learning and identify that digital citizens should act the same way that we would want the citizens of Joanville to act – they should be kind, helpful, friendly, respectful and responsible.

After coming to this conclusion, I introduced the idea of digital citizenship to the class by sharing another Common Sense Media video, and a Common Sense Media poster which outlines the qualities of an ideal digital citizen.

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Our next steps will be to delve into the areas of why it is important to be a good digital citizen and how to practice good digital citizenship.  We will then apply this knowledge in practical ways by picking up some devices and exploring Seesaw.  My students have been very responsive to the work we have done within this unit so far, and I am excited to watch them learn and grow into good citizens in both the real and digital worlds.

Major Project Plans – Update

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about my project and how to structure it so that it will be beneficial to me and to my students.  What information do I want to come away with?  What skills do I want my students to learn?  How do I merge my learning with my students’ learning and have it all come together to form a meaningful give and take that will lead to us all becoming more technologically literate and examples of what a true digital citizen should and could be?

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After a lot of contemplation, I realized that the learning within this project is going to happen in layers.  First, I will educate myself on what truly makes someone a digital citizen, and as my knowledge grows, I will be able to create lessons and facilitate activities and opportunities for my students to explore how they can be digital citizens as well as to put their learning into practice.

I’m going to create a unit for my Grade 2/3 class that is based on the Government of Saskatchewan’s Digital Citizenship Continuum as well as rooted in Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship; focusing on the elements of digital literacy and digital etiquette.  Before providing my students with digital opportunities, I need to first provide them with background information on what a digital citizen is, and give them time to explore this concept before picking up a device and entering into the digital world.  I want to ensure that they understand the notion of a digital footprint, as well as the importance of interacting appropriately with people they may never meet face to face.

Once my students demonstrate an understanding of these fundamental ideas, we will move into applying their knowledge as we explore the many facets of Seesaw.  My goal, at the end of this unit of study, is to have my students engage in appropriate posting of their work or ideas, comment on their classmates’ posts in an encouraging and constructive manner, and cultivate a positive digital footprint, all in a safe and controlled environment.  My hope is that they will be able to build on the experiences that they will be given in class, and apply this knowledge as they explore the digital world and find their place within it.

Where I’ll finally end up with this project, only time will tell, but I’m excited to continue on the journey!

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Major Project Plans Are Starting To Come Together

I had a tough time honing in on a topic for my project that I could really dig in to and get behind.  My limited knowledge of technology, and my Grade 2/3 students’ limited opportunities to connect with technology didn’t make the process any easier.  After spending some time on Twitter, following threads on Google+, reading blog posts and articles, I narrowed it down.  I want to focus on digital citizenship and teaching my students what it means to be a digital citizen and how incorporate those teachings into their online behaviour.  But how do I do this in an engaging and meaningful way that doesn’t just lead to me throwing more information at them?

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The solution…SEESAW!!  Seesaw, will allow my students to take information about digital citizenship and put it into practice, and after accessing Jennifer Stewart-Mitchell’s expertise (one of RCSD’s tech coaches), I realize the opportunities within Seesaw are limitless!  Students can post, like other people’s work, comment, and more within a controlled and structured domain that can scaffold their learning.  I will be able to teach digital citizenship by providing digital opportunities that are meaningful, engaging, and grade appropriate.

I still have a lot of planning to do, but the wheels are in motion, and I’m excited to see how everything will come together, and to learn with and from my students as we embark on this journey together.