What I learned about digital citizenship through this course was how important digital citizenship is to everyone, not just my sixth-grade students. When I started looking for videos to add to my Digital Citizenship Webquest (the final presentation I created), I discovered videos and information that addressed all aspects of digital citizenship. There was information geared towards all ages and professions, from kids to adults and students to professional business people. Digital citizenship impacts everyone.
My biggest accomplishment in the course was creating the final presentation. I created a Digital Citizenship Webquest mainly for my sixth-grade students, but I will probably have all the junior high kids go through it. While creating the web quest, I reinforced what I had learned from this course. I plan on adding more elaborate sections to the web quest, but for now, it is just the basic introduction to digital citizenship I am focusing on for the students.
I faced many challenges while completing this course. This course almost paralleled the first six weeks of my “real” teaching job. It was extremely difficult for me to get all the reading and assignments finished while starting a new school year at the same time. Every other course in the DLL program allowed us to create assignments that we could actually use. This course felt like busy work to me and I think I slightly resented having to do it. I am very well-versed in digital citizenship since I teach it myself every year to my students. Much of what I read was information I already knew. It is difficult to stay focused when reading information I have gone over before. The only reading assignment I couldn’t grasp was the one about the Copyright Office being housed under the Library of Congress. I gave up on trying to really get meaning out of that article.
My best work for this course would actually be two things. First would be the Digital Citizenship Webquest I have already discussed. Next would be adding resources each week to my portfolio. As I already mentioned, the web quest creation opened my eyes as to how many different people are really affected by digital citizenship. Adding resources each week was easy for the first week. I just added things I had used in the past to teach with. The next few weeks was a larger challenge finding resources. It forced me to dig a little deeper. I ended up finding many resources that I will use in my classroom. Plus, now they are all in one place!
What I learned through completing this course connects me to my outside the classroom experiences by reminding me how to behave online. I do frequent Facebook quite often. I never engage in political debates because they usually end in no good and hurt feelings. I never use obscene language online because I know many of my former students read what I post and I’d like them to think highly of me as a role model. I have engaged in a few online “arguments” but I usually present facts in my posts or a legitimate question. If the discussion escalates to a flame war, I walk away, not worth my time unless I feel compelled to stick up for someone else. Even then, I am nice.
The one most useful or meaningful things I learned in this course would probably be the extremes many children will contemplate in order to escape cyberbullying. I knew that cyberbullying is a widespread issue. I didn’t realize how so few are equipped with the strategies to ignore it or what to do to if it happened to them. I need to stress more deeply to my littles how hurtful cyberbullying is and what they can do to stay away from it. Kindness and empathy will be taking a front seat in my classes from now on.
This course will help me continue to grow as an educational leader by showing my fellow teachers that we all are lifelong learners. I am in the highest 25% of the age range for staff at my junior high. When the other teachers see me reaching out and seeking more knowledge, they may start to do the same. I will be there to guide them.
My favorite aspect of this course would probably be the subject matter. Digital citizenship is a very important topic. Moreso for the age level I teach because they are just beginning to create an online presence. Digital citizenship is also one of the Texas TEKS so any ideas I can gather to help me introduce it to children is helpful and useful. I also enjoyed creating the two presentations. One because I love presentations. Two because I will use them in my own class.
Suggestions I would give other students on ways to get the most out this course would be to definitely engage in the discussion boards. Fellow DLL classmates provide a wealth of information and insight. I also would suggest to not try to do the weekly assignments all at one time. That makes the amount of work seem even more overwhelming. I tried to do one assignment section each evening. Even then I was very stressed over completing all my work.
If I could change any one of the activities I did for this course, it would be the final five page essay. To me, it seems rather redundant and somewhat of an add-on type of busy work. I have already expressed my reflections throughout this course in the various assignments. I realize that when I enrolled in graduate school I would be in for a lot of work, but I expected the work to be meaningful. This assignment to me just feels like the course designer didn’t know how else to wrap it up so he/she just threw in an essay. Nobody other than the instructor is probably ever going to read the essay. A more meaningful wrap up that could actually be useful would seem more appropriate. For instance, the web quest I created for my final presentation. I would much rather have spent more time fine tuning that since I will be using it in my class with real students for their benefit.
What I would truthfully say about this course when I speak to my friends is that I am glad it is done. I know that sounds harsh, but honestly, that is how I feel. I was really looking forward to this course since it is a subject I teach myself. I thought I would come out of the course armed with tons of material I could use with my sixth graders. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Almost everything that was presented in the course was old news to me. Some of the information was outdated. There were mistakes and typos in the assignment documents. Some of the links for readings didn’t work. If there would have been an option to test out of this class, I probably could have passed the test without doing any of the work.
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