Saturday, July 13, 2019

5th Grade Digital Citizenship

In my role as Lower School Technology Specialist, I often think of myself akin to a grandparent. I go into each classroom, and I get to bring the goodies (the iPads or Chromebooks), impart some wisdom, offer some support (to both the teachers & students), and create a lot of engagement and fun along the way. I have a different relationship with students than their homeroom teachers... just like children have a different relationship with their grandparents than they do their mom or dad. It's an additional dedicated in-class"Tech Time," outside of our weekly 45 minute Technology Class [which I teach half the grades K-5, and my colleague, our Lower School IT guy, teaches the other].

With our Fifth Grade students, at some point during the last 4 years, we've done a focused 6-8 week digital citizenship unit. Largely, this is due to the fact that our 6th Grade program in the Middle School is a 1-1 iPad program. We want to help prepare our students given they will have a loaned device for their school work all year long. But, one does not simply have an iPad for schoolwork--texting and other parts of mobile lifestyle (aka social media) go with that as well. Likewise, by Middle School, many of our students also have phones, despite a growing trend of Wait Until Eighth [Grade]. Of course, many students in our population do seem to get mobile phones for their 5th grade promotion (if not before that age). Likewise, even without a phone, many of our 5th grade students also have access on family devices or iPods. Just as student acquisition has fallen earlier each year over my last 4 years as Tech Specialist, we found the need to do this unit earlier in the school year than in the Spring, where we have previously taught this unit.

One of our opening activities.
Below is the modified presentation I created for our Board of Trustees, detailing our Digital Citizenship 5th grade curriculum. Now, as a Common Sense Media Educator (and fervent learner & researcher digital mindfulness), sometimes it feels like all roads lead to digital citizenship. I certainly felt that during the Common Sense Media Digital Well Being Conference in DC this past April.

My plans for the upcoming fall is to continue on the presentation circuit (one I'm not always comfy with, but you grow in that discomfort, they always say). I plan to hold a Lower School parent forum on this subject. It certainly seems like this is a challenge to all of us parents these days--largely because technology is tricky for us to navigate too! I'll keep you posted how this plan materializes!

Grandparent image from; all others from my Digital Citizenship presentation:

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