Flat Connections

Transforming learning through global collaboration

During the past week I have spent time thinking on the topic of what it means to be a digital citizen, and how I can help my students on their journey to becoming a digital citizen. I have come to realize that the first step to helping my students become digital citizens is to check in with what they are saying online. 

A Classroom monitoring portal (CMP) is a great way to keep track of what students are doing during an online project. At this moment in time, I do not have a class participating in an online project. In order to get practice building and monitoring a CMP, I created one to keep track of what happens in this course. I was able to use netvibes to do this:

This allows me to keep up on blog posts, Ning Discussions, and Twitter posts. This allows me to make sure that I don't miss anything important. When I use this with my students I can also include wiki edits and research.

The second thought that I had and shared with Julie Balen was that our students may need support in order to become reverse mentors to others about digital citizenship. We had discussed that very few of our students are ready at this point to reverse mentor, and that may be because we don't know what tools they are using and they don't know what tools we are using.

Julie had a great idea - we ask our students to google themselves to find out what our digital footprint is. We can discuss what sites they are using and what the privacy settings are. This can bring awareness about privacy settings and our use of social media. I think once we also show our students social tools in education (i.e. DiigoPreziEdmodo, etc.) they will be more prepared to share their knowledge with those in an older generation. I also am curious to know if they are using tools I don't even know about yet...

I truly think that in order for my students to become mentors and to become comfortable with the idea of being a digital citizen, they need to become aware of their digital footprint and the individual, social, cultural, and global implications  of sharing and collaborating online. It is my responsibility as an educator to give them the tools they need. I also need to have the proper tools - I have looked at the Common Sense Media website, and will definitely be using the resources to prepare my students for their online life.

I hope that I can help my students on their journey to digital citizenship so that they can mentor others in the future.

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Comment by Caroline Black on September 20, 2012 at 5:02am

I have been playing with netvibes too - public and private pages. I have learned how to move my tabs around and to duplicate tabs etc. I didn't know how much I could do with this tool. I am learning so much from everyone!

Comment by Tasha Cowdy on September 18, 2012 at 8:30pm

Hi Caroline.  I have just left a comment on Lisette's post on CMP which is also relevant for this post:

"I have just discovered netvibes on this course and have been playing around with my own public and private dashboards. Still discovering the potential of the tool. This post and the link to your netvibes sight is really useful for me. I see that I have only scratched the surface."  

I'm learning so much from everyone! Great PD!

Comment by Lisette Casey on September 17, 2012 at 11:41am

Hi Caroline,

Your point regarding student awareness of their own digital footprint is well taken and should become a lesson every teacher visits sometime in the school year.  Awareness is the first step toward change as it's tough to change your online habits unless you are aware of how you appear to others.  Creating a BMP - brand monitoring portal with the individual as the brand is a great way to keep up with your digital footprint.

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