Digital Literacy is a broad topic. What does it encompass? What do we need to teach so that our students are digitally literate?
For me, Digital Literacy, has two parts, Digital Citizenship, and Digital Fluency. I begin addressing digital citizenship with my students the first week of school. There are some key criteria I want my students to know and embrace about responsible online behavior.
I always start with Common Sense Media’s K-2 Scope and Sequence. The first lesson in this series is a video of a young boy telling about online Safety. He teaches 3 rules for online safety. After the video and lesson I have my students create posters for online safety.
These rules are a great place to begin teaching basic online safety rules and procedures.
The essential understandings of online safety I want my students to fully understand are: Never share personal information. We have a lesson on what personal information is: name, address, phone #, birthday, school, town, etc. I want them to understand that they shouldn’t share information that will allow someone they don’t know to know who they are and where they live.
We also talk about who we know and don’t know. Online you can chat and play games with someone. You might recognize their profile photo or avatar. You might know their online name or handle, but you don’t know that person in real life. This is someone we have to be especially careful of revealing information to. This is tricky and a hard concept for some young children to understand. We have to have many discussions about this issue over the school year.
The third key criteria I want my students to grasp is: Always login to an account or game and logout when you are finished. This keeps their work, information, and projects safe and secure. This one is easy to teach. The first time my students go into the computer lab and discover someone has altered their avatar or changed something they were working on, they suddenly “get it”. I always point out that those things happen when we forget to logout of our Google accounts or our RAZ Kids accounts.
Online safety and digital citizenship are ongoing topics that we visit in my classroom weekly if not daily. There are so many more important areas to cover. Visit Common Sense Media for more information. Here are some links to some other great resources for teaching digital citizenship.
Technology is everywhere. Our kids live in a world where anything is possible at the click of their fingertips. I them to know how to be safe in this 21st century in which they live, learn, and play.