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Guide To Online Safety
Digital Citizenship
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The Web 2.0 Classroom
By Victoria A. Davis, Teacher, Westwood Schools
The Six Pillars of an effective Web 2.0 classroom
I believe that every effective Web 2.0 classroom is held up by six pillars:
1. Internet Safety and Privacy
2. Information Literacy
3. Internet Citizenship
4. Internet Teamwork
5. Intentional Internet Activities
6. An Engaged Teacher
Internet Safety and Privacy
As students and teachers move into the Internet Ocean, they should understand how to protect their identity, report inappropriate behavior, and communicate safely. This simple challenge has tempted many well-meaningeducators and parents to completely shut students off from the real Internet world. This is a grave disservice.
I liken this to having a saltwater fish in a saltwater fishbowl. If the intent is to release the fish into the ocean, the longer the fish remains in the fishbowl, the more difficult it will be for that animal to make it in the ocean where there are predators.
As I use this analogy with my students I explain to them that we are swimming on the shores of a vast ocean and that we have shark nets in place (filters, etc.). Just like it is possible for a shark to get through a shark net, it is possible any time we’re online to run into “sharks.” That is why they must communicate with the lifeguard (the teacher) and be aware. They also should know how to protect their privacy. In effect, good privacy skills will help camouflage them from sharks when they swim in the Internet ocean without me.
I believe as a student nears graduation from high school, that a progressive strategy of Internet freedoms should be allowed so that when it is time for them to interact in the “real world” Internet that they can do so safely for a lifetime. Students who are not taught these skills become virtual “shark bait” in my opinion! Just as writing should be a part of every classroom (even math), so should Internet privacy and safety skills. It is a ubiquitous skill that is essential for succeeding in today’s world.
Information Literacy
The information on the Internet is created by people with varying agendas, knowledge, and opinions. Students must move from a “textbook” world where they are taught to trust everything that is printed in their book, to an online world that requires investigation, source checking, and discernment. This is a skill that must be taught by those who have discernment and often requires students to be exposed to sources of information that may have error.
Internet Citizenship
The ability to disagree, discusses, communicate, edit, and share in effective, meaningful, ethic always is a vital skill for the 21 st century workforce. We’ve all seen the political blog whose comments degrade into virtual profanity matches between disagreeing parties!
Teachers must educate students on the ethics of posting accurate information, how to comment on topics where they agree and disagree. They need to understand that the Internet is not a joke!
It is real life! Everything they create serves as a virtual tattoo that they often cannot remove from Google’s cache. With 75% of businesses now Goggling potential employees, even things that students consider “play” are not.
©2006 Victoria A. Davis, Creative Commons ShareAlike

'Common Sense Media' Lesson Plans

Here's some ideas for classroom lessons about Digital Literacy and Citizenship.

Common Sense Media