Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thing #11

Digital Citizenship lesson for 9th graders (H.S. Freshmen) - based on Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship found at http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/Nine_Elements.html
In junior high, students have limited access to technology and online resources due to equipment and scheduling constraints. Therefore freshmen need to be introduced to the ground rules of digital citizenship before they are set loose in the more freewheeling world of high school online access.

The lesson will focus on 5 Key Principles (conversation points for librarians to present are in quotation marks):
1) Digital access - "School technology resources are tools for all students. Using just your fair share of computer time, bandwidth, printer ink/toner, and paper are ways to show you are prepared to be a good digital citizen." [Reinforces school rules on computer time and printer limitations in a positive way]

2) Digital rights & responsibilities - "With the right of free speech online comes the responsibility to communicate appropriately online. The right to use information found online brings the responsibility to give proper credit for the sources of that information. By signing on to any computer in OurSchool ISD, you agree that you will act responsibly as you exercise your rights." [Reminds of rights & restrictions contained in AUP which they and their parents have already agreed to in writing]

3) Digital communications - "As a school user of information technology, you will use a more limited set of digital communications than you would at home. Your use of school-approved e-mail, wikis, blogs and other communication options will continue as you prove that you can use them effectively and correctly." [Reminds that responsible online communication is allowed on school computers even though several limiting factors prevent use of cell phones, instant messaging, social sites, etc. at school]

4) Digital law - "You are responsible for your actions online and must act ethically when it comes to the property of others, including their websites, coding, music, and so on. Avoiding unethical behavior online means knowing the difference between sharing and stealing - it's not just a good idea, it's the law!" [Remind that downloading music, plagiarism, hacking, etc are illegal and unethical and can result in real legal penalties from the school district and law enforcement agencies]

5) Digital literacy - "Learning to locate, assess, and utilize information from online sources should occur in many of your classes and projects, not just in computer/BCIS class. It's up to you to practice these skills until you are good at them so that you will be prepared for the new technology tools and skills that are ahead of you." [Reinforce IT-based skills and learning throughout the curriculum and as widely applicable to a wide range of projects and problems].

Applicable portions of the AUP will be briefly noted in each section. Finishing off with an exploration of a "spoof site" like Tree Octopus or Whale-Watching in the Great Lakes can reinforce that all online sources are not equal, that digital literacy tools will help students sift the true from the false, and will foster critical thinking.

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