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The topic of digital citizenship has presented a number of challenges across all sectors of society, but in particular it has created challenges for educators who are expected to equip learners across all grades to be responsible, caring, and contributing members – or citizens – of a world that now consists of the digital and non-digital worlds. To be prepared with recommended college and career readiness skills, students need to understand the short and long-term impacts their digital choices can have on their “real world.”
In a very real sense our students have dual-citizenship in both virtual and real-time worlds and must learn skills that simply weren’t required of learners until very recently. Educators, faced with a multi-dimensional challenge of creating a safe learning environment, preventing and intervening when bullying occurs in any form, and creating a culture for learning, are looking for ways to integrate best-practices into their classroom routines and keep the focus on learning.
In response to that need, this course provides a range of best-practice strategies for developing an integrated, inquiry-based approach to develop a classroom culture for learning and citizenship skills. The importance of supporting all students to develop emotional self-regulation and executive function skills in conjunction with citizenship skills are linked together. Overlapping efforts to create safe and supportive learning environments such as Safe and Supportive Schools, Stopbullying.gov, and New York State’s Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) are also incorporated. In addition, approaches and practices that experts do not recommend to stop bullying are identified.
Course participants will learn strategies to engage any student effectively so that 21st century learners develop critical thinking skills on such topics as: name calling online, posts that can be open to interpretation, the consequences of posting pictures, what digital aggression is and how to respond, and the importance of knowing about each learner’s digital footprint for both the short and long-term.
As districts experience both the downside (e.g. cyber-bullying) and upside of technology in school settings, it is imperative that educators find ways to implement multiple standards at the same time (e.g., curricular content, technology, and professional practice standards). Resources offered do not leave educators feeling like they’ve added “one more thing” to their instructional plate. Rather, educators are provided practical resources that increase options to connect with students in meaningful ways and strengthen the Teacher-Student relationship.
Throughout the course educators will also have opportunities to reflect on their own knowledge and skill in supporting students to acquire skills and demonstrate evidence of growth. Video segments embedded throughout the course scaffold educator reflection process, provide modeled lessons to scaffold instructional planning, and lessons that can be used with classrooms as part of anticipatory sets if the course participant chooses to do so. Additional tools for lesson planning, scaffolding student thinking, facilitating group discussions, role playing and student self-evaluation are also provided.
Course Objectives: Participants will
- Provide educators with a way to make meaningful transitions as educators in a profession inundated by change.
- Summarize the current need for an integrated approach to teaching digital citizenship that aligns with the needs of 21st century learners
- Understand the definition of key terminology such as bullying, discriminatory harassment, and cyber-bullying.
- Review current research on the role of emotions in learning and how teaching self-regulation skills can have a positive impact on classroom learning culture as well as on digital citizenship skills of individual students.
- Understand the rationale for educators engaging in bullying intervention and prevention efforts at the classroom level.
- Recognize the importance of strengthening the Teacher-Student relationship and the value this can have in building a positive classroom learning culture as well as empowering students to take action when experiencing aggression under any circumstances.
- Demonstrate skills in designing instruction that lead to a safe and supportive learning environment through an inquiry-based approach to citizenship skill instruction.
- Demonstrate evidence of understanding the role of educators when supporting students contending with the online behavior of others.
- Support implementation of instruction with reference to legal foundations pertaining to creating safe schools and protecting children from online victimization from bullying.
- Foster an increase in real-time positive learning environment by methods of prevention and instruction on empathy and compassionate actions.
- Develop routines for incorporating the 4 C’s essential for teaching digital citizenship (creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking) that could be integrated into all other content areas for 21st century learners.
- Articulate to students a rationale for not attempting to control other people&s actions and foster positive strategies that each student could realistically take in online and real-world social situations.
- Provide structured group discussions to support student understanding and demonstration of compassion toward peers.
- Develop critical thinking skills through social cause and effect scenarios so that students consider how their actions affect others and may also impact themselves
- Strategies to support students to make the connection between “virtual” (i.e., online) and “real” (i.e., off-line) identities which forms their dual citizenship.
- Strategies for supporting student ownership over learning and self-regulation while simultaneously addressing cyber-bullying engaged in by others.