Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Digital Citizens

Dear Parents/Caregivers
Yesterday we had a great staff meeting presented by four of our teachers who went to the ULEARN conference in Auckland over the holidays. The theme of our meeting was digital citizenship. You may be someone with all the gadgets who is very much operating as a digital citizen already or you may be someone who can’t be bothered with all “the toys” and looks on nervously at the digital landscape. Like it or loathe it, whether it is right or wrong, our children are digital citizens already and we need to find ways that engage them and also keep them safe.

Yesterday we looked at expanding our digital capability by looking at apps for ipad that are useful and meaningful in the classroom. We also talked about how digital learning is not an “extra” that you do at the end of a topic but something that is embedded right through the teaching and learning process.
We talked about not getting in the way of what the children can already do and as teachers we can’t withhold digital opportunities just because we are a little nervous or slow to work out how to do something. We need to be empowering children to teach us and others while still increasing our digital literacy so that we know what questions to ask.

There was also a focus on cyber safety. Most of the danger on the internet comes from what children post themselves. Children need protocols for what is and isn’t appropriate to “like” or comment on when they are on the internet. We talked together again about Facebook only being legal for children aged 13 years and over. We will look at ways for including cyber safety to be included in our upcoming Keeping Ourselves unit but we also agreed that cyber safety is something that needs to be talked about in a planned and ongoing way.
Stephen Heppell says teaching digitally is like teaching skateboarding. You don’t have to be able to all the tricks yourself but you do need to provide a safe environment to do it in, know what questions to ask and have played a bit on the skateboard yourself so you know what to look for and talk about.

I’m always interested in your feedback.

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