I am wrapping up my time as a technology integration teacher and getting ready to move back into a Grade 4 classroom teacher role next year. I thought this project would be a good opportunity to get a jump on planning for the beginning of the year and how my team and I might introduce some of the concepts of digital citizenship with our students.
I collaborated with Caitlin to make this unit plan. She and her team of Grade 5 teachers have been developing a new “Who We Are” unit for next year that will span the full year and focus on how to develop healthy communities both at school and online. As the concepts and content that we would be covering in the digital citizenship portion of this unit would be similar we have framed the unit through this idea of a full year unit on building healthy communities. It was fantastic to have Caitlin’s perspectives and ideas as a current classroom teacher, and her more in-depth PYP planning knowledge, as mine is admittedly a bit rusty after a couple of years. We both work collaboratively on a regular basis with a variety of people, her with her grade team and me with each of the grade teams that I support in the school, so it was easy and natural to build the unit together as this was a similar process that is followed in our school.
The standards that we focused on have been ones that I have wanted to purposefully focus on for the beginning of the year for a while now. I feel that with the mad rush of the beginning of the year, and my tendency to not plan too far ahead, I often find that explicit digital citizenship discussions are quick and to the point so that we can get the students onto their devices and get on with the learning. My hope was that by focusing on these standards now, I’d be ready to start the year off with a more measured and less frantic feel to the year.
One of my big takeaways from Course 2 has been the importance of giving students ownership of their digital responsibility and empowering them to create and explore in safe but meaningful ways. As I mentioned in my Week 5 post, I wanted our digital agreements to be developed with the students through a discussion of how they can harness the power of technology, while realizing the risks that it brings. Hopefully, students who are engaged in developing healthy learning communities around them while maintaining an understanding of all the potential that technology brings will be able to develop into strong digital citizens.
I’m looking forward to seeing how it all turns out next year!