Using Google Apps As Tools For Teaching Digital Citizenship

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A Snapshot from the ISTE Standards for Students

I agreed to present two sessions around digital citizenship on Wednesday at the EVSC eRevolution, one of the 25 Summer of eLearning Conferences happening across Indiana over June and July. I’ve been presenting on this general topic for a number of years and still struggle with the message that I share.

Initially, I attempted to support attendees in forming their own metaphor or analogy for digital citizenship. I believed that if you owned your understanding of the concept that you were better off teaching others. That approach got mixed reviews. Not all of my colleagues were ready to own the learning. They were still looking for someone to provide them with the answers, and who can blame them?

I’ve come to realize that I need to offer tangible examples for educators to take back to the classroom. While I greatly value the resources from Common Sense Media and promote their certification program, I don’t think the ultimate solution is to hand teachers a separate curriculum to implement. I believe the integration of digital citizenship into content area learning is essential and that developing a personal connection is critical if we are going to make an impact on behaviors related to use of technology.

So, I have stepped into my Google Certified Innovator shoes and am planning a session on how using Google Apps can be a tool for teaching digital citizenship. I hope attendees don’t show up expecting a 60 apps in 60 minutes kind of experience; although it’s tempting to present a slew of apps and extensions this way. I did go so far as to make a list, but I’m thinking it’s going to be a resource and not the focus. It’s open for editing, so feel free to add to it. I came across a post by Kate Petty and I like the “keys” she identified for Google Docs as a launching pad for discussing how to authentically integrate digital citizenship lessons into everyday use of tools.

Ultimately, what I want to do is begin this conversation by looking closely at the current ISTE Standard for Students that focuses on digital citizenship.  In my experience, we often get hung up on the first point and don’t invest enough time and energy considering the subsequent points–all of which hold transformational power for students’ learning experiences.

Stay tuned to find out how it goes!