Students as young as Kindergarten should be taught digital citizenship. By kindergarten, most students have had some experience with a digital device, whether it was a parent's Smart phone, a computer at home or the library, or another device such as an iPad. At school, students as young as kindergarten have been exposed to the Internet and use passwords for assessments such as STAR Literacy and Lexia. It is important to start teaching digital citizenship at the primary level in order to establish a foundation that can be built upon as students mature. It is our responsibility to teach students to protect themselves online, just as they are taught to look both ways before crossing the street.
I decided to examine digital citizenship and see how it could be integrated into the curriculum at my PK-2 school. In the Fall, students will have access to technology like never before. Between iPads in the kindergarten, and Chromebooks in first and second grade, our school will have transformed into a technology-rich environment. I want to make sure that I am ready for it, and that classroom teachers are as well. I recognized the fact that I will need assistance from classroom teachers, as I only have my K-2 students once every six day rotation. So I thought I would create a very simple tutorial for classroom teachers identifying what digital citizenship is, and what we need to teach students at this level in order to make them good digital citizens. I thought if I provided them with this, they could reinforce the skills I would be teaching in the library each time they used the computers with their students in the classroom. I knew I had to make my point short and sweet or else teachers wouldn't open it.
I knew I already had an abundance of resources at my fingertips. I used Common Sense Media, (https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/scope-and-sequence) and Ask a Tech Teacher (http://askatechteacher.com/great-kids-websites/digital-citizenship/) for my research. I will be using videos and other materials for teaching my own lessons to students from Net Smartz http://www.netsmartzkids.org/, and Brain Pop Jr https://jr.brainpop.com/artsandtechnology/technology/.
I decided that I would start with a very basic idea of digital citizenship. As the year progresses, I will integrate more digital citizenship into lessons as I do them. For example, in my unit researching butterflies, students will learn about using images legally. They will choose their butterfly picture from a site where images are safe to use such as www.photosforclass.com, http://www.pics4learning.com, or even draw/edit a picture of their own. I really liked the idea of having students create their own pictures. It would be very easy for students to do with the butterfly project. They would just have to make sure the colors they use represent the butterfly they researched!
I am anxious to start going through my lessons to incorporate digital citizenship wherever I can. I'm embarrassed to say that I should have been doing more to teach it, even without a set of my computers in my library. I will be sure to start making the connection for students every time I use the SmartBoard in the library.