At Biteslide we’ve made it our mission to help students develop the skills necessary to to face future challenges, and one topic that’s close to our hearts is digital citizenship.
To help you get to grips with digital citizenship, I would like to explain the key elements and tell you how Biteslide can be used to put digital citizenship into practice in your school.
Firstly, what is digital citizenship?
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) defines digital citizenship as “a framework for using technology responsibly and appropriately at all times in schools.” (http://www.iste.org/docs/excerpts/DIGCI2-excerpt.pdf)
They identify nine key elements in their framework: digital access, digital commerce, digital communication, digital literacy, digital ettiquette, digital law, digital rights and responsibilities, digital health & digital security.
In all but one of these elements (digital commerce), Biteslide can be used to help teach digital citizenship to your students and I’d like to show you how.
1. Digital access
For most students, technology is an ever-present part of their lives. This is primarily through websites, social media, games, apps, and instant messaging tools.
In an educational environment, schools have to ensure students understand their responsibilities when it comes to using technology, whilst at the same time finding an adequate balance to ensure students are able to embrace the opportunities that it brings to their lives.
Biteslide helps schools with digital access
Biteslide can be used by every teacher or student around the world via a laptop or PC at school and at home.
Biteslide is a ‘walled garden’ which means that teachers can safely control the content students have access to and how they can share their work.
2. Digital communication
Social media, video, instant messaging apps, email and text messages are just a few ways that students can express themselves and communicate together.
This means it’s vitally important that students get to grips with what is appropriate to share via these channels and what is not. They need to be aware of how they create a ‘digital footprint’ over time and that’s why they should think twice before publishing anything to the web.
Biteslide helps students to understand digital communication
Students can work on projects collaboratively by developing slidebooks together. They can peer review work through the use of commenting tools and also interact with their teachers.
Biteslide is a safe place to learn the rules of the web and to understand that once you post something to the web – it stays there. Of course on Biteslide, teachers are able to add, edit, and remove anything as needed.
3. Digital Literacy
Using different technology can be quite intimidating for some and a breeze for others.
This means that teachers can find it difficult to teach students digital literacy at a similar pace to each other.
A good way for schools to overcome this is to use common software and devices that every student is likely to have access to at school as well as at home.
The concept of blended learning has also been very effective in increasing digital literacy.
Lessons are typically a mix of traditional ‘chalk and talk’ teaching methods alongside the use of digital tools or services that enhance student engagement and output.
This gives students the perfect opportunity to use technology in a collaborative manner and to successfully achieve their tasks.
Which information is relevant?
With so many resources available on the web, identifying a reliable source of information can be a tricky task.
One of the most critical aspects of digital literacy for students focuses on teaching them how to assess the legitimacy of web resources.
Giving students suggested websites to further their project learning is a simple and effective way to guide them to trusted places on the web where they can expand their knowledge of a specific topic.
Biteslide promotes digital literacy
Biteslide is used by thousands of teachers around the world to adopt a blended learning approach to teaching in their classrooms.
With smart research, creation, and presentation tools, students develop a broad set of 21st century skills that will support them for the rest of their lives.
4. Digital etiquette
Students should to be aware that different mediums require different ways of communicating and use language in different ways.
They should understand that their actions can have consequences, and may lead to serious repercussions for other individuals and that they have a responsibility to stand up for others who are being bullied online by reporting it to an adult.
Biteslide promotes good etiquette
Students learn about how using the internet creates a ‘digital footprint’ in a safe and secure environment where if they do make a mistake it will not be visible to those outside the walled garden.
They also learn how to work with one and another on projects, encouraging good communication skills and build confidence to talk to different groups of people. Teachers are able to monitor their students online behaviour within the walled garden and correct any inappropriate action and educate the student as to why it wasn’t appropriate.
5. Digital law
For students, understanding the laws around content usage are particularly important.
With many resources on the web for inspiration and guidance, students must understand the fine line between citing content as a source versus plagiarising someone else’s work entirely.
This leads into the understanding of copyright law which protect content owners and the mis-use of their text, image and video content online which students should be aware of when doing online research and project work.
Biteslide introduces students to digital laws
Using Biteslide for project work means that students must abide by copyright laws when using images from Google or videos in YouTube that we provide access to in the platform. Biteslide is also an excellent place to learn to properly cite content that has been gathered from the web.
If teachers are worried about copyright infringement for projects, they can upload project assets directly to a class project folder and restrict access to resources outside the Biteslide platform.
6. Digital rights and responsibilities
All digital citizens are entitled to share basic rights such as privacy, freedom of speech and so forth.
With these rights also come responsibilities and in some cases, severe consequences for exerting them in the wrong way.
For students this can require a lot of education to ensure they understand their responsibilities, including when to report instances that threaten their rights to friendly and safe communications.
Biteslide helps students understand their digital rights and responsibilities
All Biteslide project work is carried out within a private area shared by the class. Students can always communicate safely and transparently with one another. In this safe area students can learn their rights and responsibilities without the fear of making mistakes in public.
7. Digital health
Whilst technology brings amazing opportunities to discover ways to enhance their lives, it comes with many physical risks (e.g. eye health, repetitive strain injury) and psychological dangers (e.g.internet addiction, cyber bullying) if not controlled.
Students should be made aware of how to balance technology use with every day offline social and physical activities to ensure they don’t over-expose themselves to the digital world throughout the day.
Biteslide gives students control with respect to digital health
Teachers set the project work in Biteslide, which means individual projects can be time-boxed to ensure students maintain a healthy level of digital usage. Students are also able to collaborate to split the workload or support one another. Teachers can control access to a project and restrict access to it if so desired.
8. Digital security
Students should be aware of the importance of keeping their data and passwords private and safe, never sharing information that doesn’t belong to them and ensuring they log out of any accounts they sign into.
And for schools, it’s vital that schools are able to adequately protect the private information of both their teachers and students, and ensure that students browsing the web are able to do so in a safe way.
Biteslide can help students learn about digital security
Biteslide takes security very seriously, our website is a “walled garden” meaning that data and project work is stored privately and securely, and teachers always have full visibility over student online behaviour in our platform via a management dashboard.
Teachers and students have individual accounts on Biteslide and that means that students have the responsibility of looking after their login details. This is much like any other e-commerce or social media website on the web and teachers young learners how they need to manage their security.
If you’re ready to start teaching your students about digital citizenship please sign up now for a 30-day free trial of Biteslide.