[COETAIL- Course 2] Collaborative Final Project: A Digital Citizenship e-Book for grades K-2
Course 2 has been enlighting, to say the least! I have learned from every reading and video that was suggested by COETAIL, but I became a bit worried when I first read that one of the requirements for the final project was to collaborate with another person from our cohort. This required to hesitantly leave my comfort zone and to creatively think of ways to communicate online. Our group included Nick Garvin, Kehri Magalad, and Maria José Terán, – who works as the Tech Coach in the school where I used to work before.
The next step was to meet on Google Hangout to talk about the specifics of Option 3.
In a small group that contains at least one cohort member outside your school, create a Responsible Use Agreement (RUA) or Responsible Use Policy (RUP) for your division level (Elementary, Middle or High School). You may start from scratch or use a framework from some of the resources that are covered in the course or from what your school already has in place. Include a reflective blog post describing choices you made in developing the RUA/RUP i.e. choice of language level, topics covered, issues of focus, describe how it would be shared with students etc.
This wasn’t an easy task since we needed to find a common time in Houston, Quito, Doha, and Phuket. We used Wold Clock Meeting Planner site to find the most convenient time.
As a team, we compared the Responsible Use Agreements from our schools and decided to adjust the segment pertaining the student contract from the IT User Contract for Primary Students from UWC Thailand (Nick’s school). We noticed that the contracts didn’t involve kindergarten, and in grades1-3 the document referred mostly to logistical aspects of managing computers and iPads. It didn’t address aspects of digital citizenship. Therefore, our biggest effort was to add and modify the grades K-2 section. We thought students in these grades would benefit from having a contract that would allow teachers to introduce digital citizenship early on. We needed to make the language of these contracts more accessible for both groups as well as making sure we included the essential aspects of digital citizenship that we’ve learned in Course 2. We created a Google Doc and named it Digital Citizenship & Responsible Use in the Primary School (K-5). We spend quite some time tweaking the language for grades K-2 and we finally decided to group the statements under three umbrellas of being: SAFE, RESPECTFUL, AND RESPONSIBLE.
While working in Google Docs, we communicated through the comment section, but we wished Google had an asynchronous voice messaging tool for quicker feedback. As an afterthought, we could have used WhatsApp, Voxer or Viber; It would have made the communication much easier.
To accompany the written K-2 contract, we decided to create an eBook to illustrate the statements. We first played with the language of each statement so there were easy for the students to understand. We also searched for appropriate videos and pictures pertaining essential aspects of Digital Citizenship. (We noticed, for example, that there were fewer K-2 video resources for cyberbullying or for copyright and plagiarism.) As an option, teachers could make a copy of the eBook and personalize it by changing the language or by including their own pictures and/or videos produced by the class. The eBook could easily be shared with parents (QR Code, Shorter URL or direct link) so they can also learn and speak to their children about what they have pledged in the contract.
In summary, through this project, we discovered that often schools produced well-written documents describing policies, but fail at unpacking the language that was used. We believe that administrators, teachers, students, and parents must be involved in the creation of these agreements which will improve the likelihood of having a common language and a sound understanding of what is required when you aspire to be a safe, respectful and responsible digital citizen.
Many thanks to my team for their hard work and great ideas.
Feel free to use our eBook and let us know how you modified it for your class!
After writing this blog, I found out about the Chrome extension, Talk & Comment. It allows you to insert a voice message anywhere. Oh well, I will keep it in mind for the next time I collaborate online.