6 November 2013

Common Sense Educator: Digital Citizenship Certified!

As a school who launched the 1:1 programme this year, we feel it important to incorporate the teaching of digital citizenship into our work with all our learners.
Common Sense Educator Badge

With all the benefits the 1:1 programme brings, there comes also the need to address responsibility in the digital realm. Literacy today is more than reading and writing; as educators we need to teach netiquette, cybersafety and digital citizenship.

Common Sense Media is an organisation who makes this easy. I have been using their lesson ideas for over a year, and our school is  now using their work for our Personal, Social, and Health Education (PSHE) lessons.

As an English teacher, I set up Blogs with my learners to showcase their writing and provide authentic audiences. My emphasis is on the need to create a positive online persona, and the Unit leading up to the creation of our blogs, asks learners to think about how they want to present themselves to the world.

Recently, due to our Digital Citizenship work in PSHE lessons, our school encouraged us all to work toward applying to become Common Sense Educators. Today, I received confirmation and approval of my application.

"Congratulations! We are happy to let you know that we approved your application to become a Common Sense Educator. We are truly inspired by your devotion to teaching young people how to be safe, responsible digital citizens.

Again, we appreciate the commitment to teaching digital citizenship to students. It's only common sense for us to work together, and we applaud your participation."

An email was also sent to the principal:

"Students today must learn how to navigate issues like cyber-bullying, privacy and safety ­ and many of your students are learning these new skills thanks to the leadership of Holly. Holly also reached out to students' families, engaging them in this important discussion.

Holly's devotion to teaching digital citizenship inspires us. We are truly grateful for her help in achieving our vision of ensuring that every student in this country knows how to make safe, responsible, and respectful choices to harness the learning potential of digital media in a 24/7 connected world."

I received digital badges to use on my sites, and will also get some goodies through the post.
Common Sense Educator Badge
My learning and educating doesn't stop here though. I am currently planning a Unit for Year 8 based on the novel 'Ties That Bind. Ties That Break'. Learners will research customs and traditions from around the world, and create an exhibition of their findings. As part of this, we will cover information literacy - how to find sources, how to evaluate them, how to synthesize them and how to cite them.

I encourage anyone interested in helping learners become literate in today's digital world to try out Common Sense Media's lessons.