With final exams ending and my basketball tournament schedule lately, I have definitely not gotten as far on my major project as I would like so far but I’ve made some progress since my last post! My plan is to create a digital citizenship unit plan for my grade twelve English students. It fits nicely into the curriculum, hitting a couple of outcomes. and I have already done bits and pieces of online citizenship with them in the past but as I have mentioned, it’s definitely an area I know I could be more conscience and explicit with in my teaching. As Leigh stated in her update, I assume my students have the skills to be responsible online citizens and, in some cases, even as budding adults, they lack the necessary skills to be successful.
I originally thought this unit plan would be a stand alone one, where I only focus on teaching digital citizenship and attempt to work through each one of Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship. Then as I began planning out a timeline and the lesson ideas, I realized this might be a little too much to take on timewise, integrity wise, as well as curriculum wise. I’ve decided to pinpoint closer to the skills I know my students both lack and need more experience with which is Digital Etiquette, Fluency, and Rights and Responsibilities. These ideas I can easily tie into articles, essays, and videos that will help teach my curriculum as well as teach my students about digital literacy. I’m going to tie it directly into my global issues and social experience unit plan to hopefully teach my students that being globally active and responsible counts both online and in the real world.
These are some of the big issues we tackle in this unit:
As grade twelves, you would expect them to know a thing or two about the online world, but after some discussions in my courses, even over this past week, it is evident they need to learn how to find credible sources for information and be able to evaluate real news from “fake news.” Tomorrow, I actually plan of having my students critique a text (video or article) for its credibility as well as its argument and persuasive tactics. I will let you know how it goes! You can check out the assignment here if you would like! I also got some inspiration from this article!
They also live in a bit of a dream world, not expecting what they do online to ever have consequences in the real world, but I think it is important to teach them that they need to be respectful to one another online, because they can be very guilty of spreading a picture or discussing classroom happenings in their ever-expanding group chats on many different platforms. I’m still processing how to do this all, and it has involved quite a bit of research, looking at different articles and strategies for teaching in a digital world like this article here from Common Sense Education. The part I am struggling with is that it needs to be authentic and not preachy, so I get the glazed over looks and they forget what I say the minute they walk out of the room. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
The last idea I really want to address in my unit plan is giving credit where credit is due. As exams ended a couple weeks ago, I was incredibly frustrated grading my grade twelve final essays because guess what? They plagiarized. Not all of them, but enough to cost me energy and time, as well as it leaving a sour taste in my mouth leading into second semester. Some do it on purpose, but in my experience most were never explicitly taught what not to do and this is a problem! And not just for the students going on into university. The internet is a vast network and it is important that students learn the value in giving credit to other sources of information online. Not everything there is free, and it is a skill going forward that could be vastly important in the digital age. I happened upon this awesome powerpoint, from a colleague, that helpfully explains how not to plagiarize and how to cite properly (Green Eggs and Ham anyone?)! I am going to start here and hopefully teach them the right and wrong ways to find and give credit to sources in a variety of templates (not just an essay).
Going forward, I have a lot of ideas swirling in my mind, and I think it is important to start thinking about how in the future I will start this topic and unit plan. My process has so far been a lot of research and a lot of reading. It’s time to get to the real work in the next week and put these ideas into physical lesson plans and continue critiquing some previously made lesson plans!
Until next time,