This week focused on social networks and digital citizenship policies, concepts I use and stress in my lab and with my colleagues. I use blogs, twitter, Edmodo, and other social networks in my classroom in an educational setting as well as personally. I shared as many social networks as I could with the class so those who may not be as familiar with them could see how it’s used and hopefully apply one or two in their classrooms or personal lives. Social networks are a vital tool to connect, collaborate, and learn. I am a big advocate of social networks and try to show that using these tools aren’t “taboo” - students need to know how to use them appropriately and effectively.
When working on the Digital Citizenship policy, Melissa and I wanted to find a tool that would display the nine elements visually and technically. Several of the posters in the padlet are hung in my classroom as reminders how to use technology to connect and collaborate in an appropriate manner.
What have I learned that I was not previously aware of?
I learned more about Schoology, an educational social network similar to Edmodo, but more sophisticated for older students (in my opinion). There is an attendance feature, integration with Student Information Systems and a complete LMS. This image from Robert Schuetz’s post gives a great comparison of Schoology with similar sites:
Digital Citizenship Policy
Now that Melissa and I created an official Digital Citizenship policy, I've added it to my teacher website and will introduce it to my students in the coming weeks. I’ll also send to parents in my monthly newsletter. Even though the 7th graders work on the 9 elements with the Digiteen Project, students at all levels should know their rights and responsibilities when using digital information. The 4th graders mystery skype classes and they use many online tools including Edmodo, Titanpad, GroupTweet, and Google Maps. They need to have appropriate etiquette when writing and also when speaking to the students and teachers. When a student makes a mistake, it needs to be addressed as a “teachable moment” so all students can learn. If the “mistake” is on purpose, consequences are made.
This week was exciting because I enjoy sharing and learning about social networks. I’m not afraid to try something new, and if I like it, I apply it in the lab. I am probably more open and comfortable with social networks than many of my staff members. Often times I see their walls go up when I talk about Twitter or blogging. It’s unfortunate because they are truly missing out on amazing connections and collaborations, not to mention learning opportunities for their students. They are slowly coming around, and with going to 1:1 in junior high they need to find the best online solutions for their classrooms, which will include social networks.