This past month I have been focusing on completing my certification in Common Sense Media’s digital citizenship curriculum. Their curriculum is not only well-researched, but it is also used by my school district. Therefore, I thought that learning more about, and being certified in this curriculum, would help me better understand what the teachers in my school are having to teach as well as practicing delivering these lessons in a classroom.
The initial process of becoming certified involved watching a curriculum training video aimed at the elementary level. Much of the first half was about learning how to use the website, which I didn’t feel like I needed much instruction on, but I definitely found value in watching the video clips of teachers delivering and talking about the lessons.
Since I do not have my own classroom, I asked the teachers in my school if they would be interested in me coming in to teach three digital citizenship lessons. I received an overwhelming response to this and it was hard for me to narrow it down. In the end, I picked two fourth grade classrooms as I wanted to be able to do the same lessons more than once so I could try to improve it on the next go-around.
After researching and talking with the peers in my program, I chose to use Common Sense Media’s Nearpod version of their curriculum. Nearpod is a really great tool that allows students to follow along on their computers, interact directly with their screen content, and provides analytics for teachers. Once I learned about Nearpod and all of its features I was so excited to actually use this in a classroom!
Time to Teach!
Now, actually teaching this was a different story. I don’t have very much experience teaching in a traditional classroom setting, let alone using computers, so I was a little nervous/excited going into this. However, once I actually started teaching the lessons I started to get into a rhythm and in general it went fairly well. I definitely made a few mistakes, but corrected them with the next class! Nearpod was fairly simple for the students to access and my students were definitely engaged by being able to draw their answers and type in their questions. There were of course a few technical issues here and there. A video didn’t load on a couple computers and sometimes the screens weren’t aligned properly on their Surface’s. Another time they were all drawing out a scenario when the server stopped working. It was right before they were finished and I had to log into an entirely new session which meant all of the analytics from the previous questions were lost….as well as all of their pictures! At any rate, I was to move on fairly smoothly through these issues and didn’t lose too much teaching time.
Furthermore, I also chose to do one day of Common Sense Media’s Digital Passport website. This website is very student interactive and I did a short introduction while they played one module about cyberbullying (It is also available as an app). My students loved it. They were able to play a game while reinforcing the concepts that we had learned the day before. I recommend this additional resource as a fun way to delve deeper into digital citizenship topics.
A part of this certification process also was about getting parents involved and sharing out information. If I had had more time and resources, I would have loved to have hosted a parent night or some other way for me to personally get the word out. However, I had to make do with what I had. For this part, I assigned homework to do with parents that followed what we were learning in class as well as a cyberbullying tip sheet for parents to read. One last thing I did was write up a small blurb on the school website about Common Sense Media and attached a link there for parents to look at if they wanted to learn more.
Overall, I am so glad that I took this opportunity to become certified in teaching this curriculum. I not only learned a lot about how to teach with technology and the importance of digital citizenship, but also how to connect with other teachers in my building. My next step is to host a training session for any teachers who are interested in using Nearpod’s curriculum in their classroom.
Digital Passport by Common Sense Media | Digital Passport. (2016). Retrieved March 20, 2016, from https://www.digitalpassport.org/educator-registration
K-12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum | Common Sense Media. (2016). Retrieved March 20, 2016, from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/digital-citizenship
Nearpod. (2016). Retrieved March 20, 2016, from http://www.nearpod.com/