Digiteen: Teaching Digital Citizenship - teens teaching ten year olds

Today was the fourth "class" in our digiteen project. In this project, students researched the nine aspects of digital citizenship and had to create an offline action project.

Some students chose to work with middle school students and others chose elementary age. Each group is responsible for 20 minutes of "training" and discussion with the age group they have selected.

Today was the second day of the fourth grade student training. Yesterday we talked about the ways they can access the Internet including the new smaller laptops for kids AND cell phones. They discussed how to report problems in webkins and the importance of being wary of public chat rooms and "checking out" offline before adding them online.

We also discussed xbox and wii live and safe ways to play online (by finding friends ahead of time.) Students cautioned the younger students about chatting via xbox live with headsets to strangers. (a completely unmonitored activity.)

Yesterday, they also discussed addictive behaviors and how much is too much? It is amazing to see the rapt attention and nodding heads from fourth graders with the ninth graders leading the discussions. It is also interesting to see the ninth graders step back and see their own behaviors differently.

My ninth graders were adults to the younger children. They were well educated and well spoken and they had what most of us teachers couldn't have in a million years... they were cool!

Today we talked about cell phones. How to pay attention to the people right in front of you and not ignore them because of texting. "People face to face should be in first place," was our saying I created for them.

It breaks my heart as we talk about this, though. Some kids said, "Well, my mom is always on the phone and never talks to me. She always talks on the phone instead of to me."

Again, think parents about putting your family in first place. (Guess I'd better cut this post short and spend time with hubby.)

We also talked about how the cell phone IS on the internet. The students told the younger ones that every photo or video being taken on a cell phone could be on the internet immediately.

To demonstrate this, I twittered from my cell phone and people from around the world responded. They asked Sue Waters in Australia about the sharks and were amazed at how the Internet connects.

Then, we did a gcast podcast that I recorded and posted live on the Internet (I took it back down afterwards.) They were amazed.

Our point: the cell phone IS the Internet.

The teacher was amazed but we were too when two students confessed to sending 500 text messages a day on the first day. The students ALL decided together that the best thing to do is to charge the phone in the kitchen away from the bedroom or to put it in a drawer in the kitchen.

It was fascinating to see the students recognize what was wrong and propose what should happen to fix it.

It is about taking time to pull students back and reflect upon what they are doing in order to decide if that is what they want. Sometimes talking in third person helps kids decide what they want to do with their first person.

Overall, it has been one of the best things we've done this year. We are going to do more of it next year, that is for sure. The teachers love it and I do too!

My students rock!

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