As we know, technology is becoming a very popular tool in classrooms and at home. In my previous blog post, I mentioned it was important for us as teachers to engage students in becoming aware of what it means to be a good digital citizen and teaching them about the etiquettes of being digital citizens. It is important for students and teachers to understand and become aware of the security aspect of using technology along with the laws and responsibilities. It is also important for us to educate our students so they know how to respond to and be able to handle certain issues that may come up on the internet – such as cyberbullying.
To teach our children this new citizenship, we need to fold their digital tools into the general flow of school. As a guide, we can use Ribble’s Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship to teach the norms of appropriate, responsible behaviours in regards to technology use. These nine elements; digital access, digital commerce, digital communication, digital literacy, digital etiquette, digital law, digital rights and responsibilities, digital health and wellness, and digital security, can all be taught through our classrooms with connection to the Saskatchewan curriculum.
Teachers can engage students in learning and thinking about online safety, cyberbullying, appropriate behaviours, digital literacy and rights and responsibilities through many of the subject areas. I found many of the themes can easily be incorporated into the subjects of Health Education and English. But there can also be possibilities within other subjects like social studies, math, science, and arts education. Many of these outcomes/ indicators can be connected to one or more of the themes. Here are a few examples as to how the nine elements can be connected to the SK curriculum:
Grade Kindergarten: (Digital Security)
Establish behaviours that support safety of self and others (including safety at school and at home).
- Develop the language with which to wonder and talk about safety.
- Recognize “safe” and “unsafe” behaviours and situations (e.g., taking turns, wearing weather-appropriate clothing, playing in designated areas, walking alone).
- Investigate safety guidelines and rules to keep one safe at school and at home.
- Learn and practise safety procedures in a variety of school and home contexts.
- Identify challenges that may exist to being safe at school and at home (e.g., limited supervision).
- Describe what children can do to support the safety of self and others.
- Examine what to do if the safety of self or others may be/is jeopardized (e.g., tell a trusted adult, leave, plan ahead).
Grade one: (Digital Health and Wellbeing)
Explore the association between a healthy sense of “self” and one’s positive connection with others and the environment.
- Use common and respectful language to talk about self and others (e.g., appearance, abilities, gender, behaviours, culture).
- Recognize “self” as an individual who has particular physical and inherited attributes (e.g., height, freckles) and particular experiences that may or may not be similar to those of others (e.g., traditions).
- Identify factors that influence one’s sense of self (e.g., gender, culture).
- Examine similarities and differences in people (i.e., gender, age, appearance, abilities, culture, language) and understand that differences do not make one person or group superior to another.
- Begin to understand that every person has value that is not dependent upon her/his appearance, physical characteristics, or behaviours.
Grade Two: (Rights and Responsibilities)
- Differentiate between the nature of the rights of children and of adult citizens in the community.
- Identify Treaty rights of members of the community.
- Relate the rights of citizens in the community to their responsibilities to the community.
- Identify opportunities for sharing responsibility in the school and community.
Grade Three: (Digital Literacy)
English Language Arts
Compose and create a range of visual, multimedia, oral, and written texts that explore: identity (e.g., Spreading My Wings) community (e.g., Helping Others) social responsibility (e.g., Communities Around the World) and make connections across areas of study.
- Use words, symbols, and other forms, including appropriate technology, to express understanding of topics, themes, and issues and make connections to learning in other areas of study.
- Communicate thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly and, when appropriate, artistically.
Grade Four: (Digital Communication)
English Language Arts
Create a variety of clear representations that communicate straightforward ideas and information relevant to the topic and purpose, including short, illustrated reports, dramatizations, posters, and other visuals such as displays and drawings.
- Use a variety of visuals (e.g., chart, diagram) to communicate essential information when making an oral presentation.
- Select and use pertinent before, during, and after strategies to communicate meaning when using other forms of representing
- Understand and apply cues and conventions including pragmatic, textual, syntactical, semantic/lexical/morphological, graphophonic, and others to communicate meaning when using other forms of representing.
- Organize information and ideas in visual and multimedia texts that are clear, meaningful, logical, and illustrative of the topic and are properly labelled and captioned.
- Express relevant opinions about experiences (e.g., an incident) through a variety of representations (e.g., multimedia presentation, role play).
Grade Five: (Digital Safety and Digital Health and Wellbeing)
Assess peer influence and demonstrate a readiness to prevent and/or avoid potentially dangerous situations involving peer pressure (including lying, substance use, and bullying).
- Discuss why peers pressure each other.
- Ask questions and seek answers for deeper understanding:
- Why is peer pressure often more prevalent during adolescence than during any other time in one’s life?
- How and why does peer pressure change as one gets older?
- Why can peer pressure be so powerful?
- How do my thoughts, feelings, and actions influence my peers?
- Examine the different levels of pressure (i.e., internal, indirect, direct).
- Describe indicators of positive and negative peer pressure (e.g., positive – encourage healthy behaviours, negative – encourage unhealthy behaviours).
- Discuss examples of positive and negative peer influence on personal decision making.
- Generate and practise possible strategies to avoid/reduce the risk of potentially dangerous/unhealthy/unsafe situations involving peer pressure (e.g., prepare a mental script, listen to your “gut”, plan for possible pressure situations, use possible parental controls as an excuse).