Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Happy 2018 to Digital Citizenship!

My most sincere apologies. I had not realized that the last time I wrote something about digital citizenship was a long time ago. As stated in the description of this blog, this project is the result of my research about digital citizenship for my Masters in Educational Technology. I graduated in December of 2016 and needless to say, I needed a break. For two years I struggled finding the time to study, complete assignments, work as a Spanish High School teacher, tending to my son and husband, and making sure life did not come undone with so much on my plate.

A Masters Degree was a dream 20 years in the making. I was about to complete a Masters Degree in Mexico City back in 1996, but in order to complete my dissertation project, I accepted a Junior Research Scholarship at the University of Irvine in February of 1997. Little did I know that I would meet my husband to be in Irvine. The rest is history. I never finished my Masters Degree in Mexico because I decided to move to the United States to start a new life as a married woman.

Now that a year has passed, it is encouraging to realize that Digital Citizenship is still a very important issue in our present world. I now feel energized to continue searching for incredible resources, review some outdated links posted in this blog, and trying to continue building a helpful blog regarding issues pertaining to digital citizenship.

Thank you to those of you who have taken the time to email me with suggestions. I will do my best to work on those. Happy 2018 to all of you!

I am more active on my main blog www.educatortalk.com in case you want to check out what I am blogging about.

Monday, January 2, 2017

In the Dark No More: Common Sense Media App



As a parent with a degree in Educational Technology, I always thought that I knew everything that was needed to protect my teen son from inappropriate content on different media platforms. The reality is that digital natives know much more than us, parents, who are still considered digital immigrants. When my child was younger, I always tried to ensure that my house was child proof and that there were no risks around the house or places that he visited in which he could get unintentionally hurt.

When we were in unknown places, I made sure he stayed close to me and that no harmful influences were coming his way. This all changed as soon as I gave him a phone. Online environments are still so foreign to me as a parent. I am at times, clueless regarding where my child goes, what content he is exposed to, and what kind of games and reading he is doing. As a working parent, I really don't have much time to invest in checking in detail the games he plays, books he reads, and movies he wants to watch. I am so thankful to have the Common Sense Media App on my phone.

 1) Movie Ratings 

 My son is already old enough to go to the movies with friends without adult supervision. When my son is invited to watch a movie, parents always tell me not to worry because the kids will see a PG-13 movie. Many people always use the movie ratings as a reference. I have learned the hard way that the PG-13 of today does not necessarily meet my standards for what I think is appropriate for my son to watch. I go to my Common Sense Media app and type in the name of the movie. The review gives you several categories of what happens in the movie so you can decide if the content is appropriate. Here is a sample of the thorough review you will get for movies, games, books, and apps that your children want to watch or install on their devices.



2) Video Games & Books 

As children get older and they start making their own purchases for video games and books, they want to try out things that seem fun and entertaining without giving a second look to the value of the content they will be playing with or reading about. I had to be the voice of reason at a gaming store with my teen son who kept trying to get video games that were too violent or mature for his age. I spent a long time entering the names of the games he wanted to get into my Common Sense Media App and seeing their ratings to approve purchases. The same was true for Kindle Books, as a title that sounded exciting to read had inappropriate sexual content I did not want him to be exposed to.

We are not alone in this jungle of unknown media content. Common Sense Media empowers us to make decisions and protect our children in the real world and well as the virtual world. I give this app the APProved seal for parents!


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Free Access to Digital Citizenship Curriculum for Educators

I am so excited to open my work email and find out that Common Sense Media and Nearpod are offering FREE access to their Digital Citizenship Curriculum for all levels. This is awesome! I was lucky to be offered the lessons on my Nearpod school account this past school year. I have looked at some of the lessons and they are multimedia rich. The curriculum includes several group and self paced activities, discussions, videos, mini quizzes, vocabulary definitions, etc. As my recent research in digital citizenship states, there cannot be an effective technology integration approach without teaching about the safe, ethical, and legal use of electronic devices.

Not sure when is the last day to sign up for the free curriculum on Nearpod. Users are required to sign up with a school account. I recently updated this post and found out that teachers might get the Nearpod Digital Citizenship Curriculum by filling out a form on this website K12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum 75+ Interactive Lessons. 




Sunday, May 29, 2016

Cell Phone Use in the Classroom: A Personal Experience

May 19th, 2016.

In this section of my blog I would like to offer my personal insight regarding digital citizenship integration in the classroom. Students are surrounded by electronic devices and sometimes we assume that this is a good thing. Since I have been working with technology integration in classroom settings, my ideas about using technology in the classroom constantly change.  In my desire to bring a whole new world of perspectives into my classroom I became too excited about using electronic devices in the classroom therefore I allowed cell phone use during instructional hours......

One school year has passed and I realize I jumped too soon into the classroom technology integration hype. I found out that a high percentage of students used cellphones for personal reasons either to text, communicate on social media. play games, or watch videos. Even after the many reminders about the proper use of cellphones in the classroom, it was too tempting for students to be doing their personal life while trying to learn. This is what I learned through my experience:

1) Focus cell phone integration: Allowing students to keep a phone within reach at any time only distracts students from allowing their brains to fully focus on the task at hand. My goal for next school year is to allow cell phone use only for specific interactive activities at designated periods of time during the lesson. Other than that, cell phones needs to stay "out of sight and out of mind".

2) Consistency: Enforcing appropriate electronic behavior only comes through clearly defined expectations and commitment to enforcing such expectations. Resist the temptation to be the good guy/bad guy by sticking to the policies for cell phone use while in class and have clearly set consequences for not following expectations.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Digital Citizenship Mini Lessons

Unfortunately there are not too many stand alone interactive digital citizenship activities for teens. Most of the digital programs for teens involve lots of reading, several discussions that require the teacher to be a moderator, and the use of a considerable amount of instructional time to complete.
There are many barriers to helping students become good digital citizens as curricular content in other subject areas occupies most of the learning time available in classroom settings.

One of the purposes of this digital citizenship blog is to utilize open sources to create some units that can help students independently learn the digital citizenship concepts that most technology use in classroom settings. The units are short and include visually appealing materials with interactive activities to get teens engaged in the process of learning about digital citizenship.

Click on the different digital citizenship tabs to learn about that concept.