The Digital Passport Program and Digital Driver’s License are great tools to use with students to discuss digital citizenship. The DPP is developed for Grades 3 -5 and the DDL for High School. Navigating both programs, with repetition and teacher facilitated discussions, through the years will assist and assess student readiness for navigating the web. But will it develop the necessary skills for using the internet?
Both programs provide possible scenarios, through videos, games, or print, for students to choose what would be appropriate actions in a number of scenarios. Just by using the programs on their own, students would be made aware of potential harmful situations on the web. If teachers supplement the programs with discussions of the grey areas in technology use, where a crime does not look like a crime in the real world, student learning would be extended to what is and isn’t appropriate behavior and why. However, I feel this can and should be taken one step further in to role playing. We should provide students real online situations requiring real decisions but in a safe, controlled setting. We can spew information and describe scenarios all we want but the real test is students’ actions when they are solo on the internet. Controlled experiences in those situations would help them develop the skills and strategies to respond appropriately. I envision a program that could be used within district and school boundaries to provide those experiences. It would send suspect spam messages, strike up inappropriate chats, offer illegal downloads, send harmful messages about anonymous persons, all while students are going on about their regular day. Naturally, none of it would be harmful, but the students wouldn’t know that and it would give them the opportunity to practice making the right decision in those situations. The teacher would be aware of any program activity and could use it as a teachable moment as it occurs if the student brings it to her attention, or as a class discussion after the fact. With a real driver’s license, we give students information, test them on their understanding, and then also give them multiple opportunities to practice driving before approving their license. The DPP and DDL programs provide the information and testing, but the real life experience of navigating the internet as a student driver is still a missing piece to these digital citizenship tools.
The Digital Passport Program and Digital Driver’s License are good springboards into learning about Digital Citizenship. Students can work their way through them starting in Elementary School and continue up through High School. Repetition of the topics within each program is required and supplemental discussions are necessary. The final missing piece is the chance for students to put their learning into action. I plan to start my own children on the age appropriate DPP immediately, and discuss the grey areas with them. For now, the real life experience will happen with me being the Driver’s Ed teacher in the seat next to them while they navigate the web, putting on the brakes when necessary but letting them fine tune their strategies and decision making on their own.
Afshar, V. (February 11, 2013). Huff Post TECH. Digital Citizenship: Businesses Can Learn From K-12 Educators. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vala-afshar/digital-citizenship-busin_b_2654628.html?utm_source=Alert-blogger&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Email%2BNotifications
Common Sense Media. Digital Passport. Retrieved from https://www.digitalpassport.org/educator-registration
Digital Driver’s License. Retrieved from https://otis.coe.uky.edu/DDL/launch.php
Macomb, Ingham, Shiawassee. 21things for the 21st Century Educator. Digital Citizenship. Retrieved from http://www.21things4teachers.net/7—digital-citizenship.html
http://www.mychildsafety.net. Stranger Danger Role Playing Scenarios. Retrieved from http://www.mychildsafety.net/stranger-danger-role-playing-scenarios.html
Reynolds, K. (March 1, 2014). Teachers Using Technology. Retrieved from http://teachersusingtechnoloy.blogspot.com/2014/03/bit-torrents-peer2peer-file-sharing-and.html as posted to Edmodo, Digital Citizenship.