Thursday, February 21, 2008

6th Grade Student Digital Citizenship and Protecht Update

Dear 6th Grade Parents:

Yesterday we had the 6th grade students come into the lab with their awesome science teacher, Kamie Fultz, to continue our work and conversations centered around the topic of digital citizenship. We worked through activities #2 and #3 in the Protecht Digital Citizenship project. As a reminder, several other schools from all across the country are participating in the protecht project as a means to give students an opportunity to explore what it means to be an effective digital citizen in the 21st century.

These lessons help the students take a look at online profiles, what they are, and the kind of information that they should and should not make available when participating in online communities. We also had the students create a simple digital avatar in paint that they uploaded to the profile in wikispaces.

Here is a bulleted summary of our work:
1. We discussed online profiles. We talked about how online profiles are important in building relationships and trust in the community. We talked about how, at their age, they should be restrictive in the kinds of information they reveal. It is OK for them to say, "My name is Billy and I am a middle school student in Wisconsin in the USA. I like the Green Bay Packers and I like to go fishing with my family." It isn't OK to say something like, "My name is Billy Smith and I go to Roosevelt Middle School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was born on August 24th, 1996 and I live at 1212 N. Maryland Ave in Milwaukee. My phone number is 414-444-1414." The understand the importance of guarding their personal information at this point in their life. We talked also about how adults can reveal more personal information such as pictures, age, city where they live, etc, but that it is not OK for young students to reveal this kind of information.

2. Students created a short, 1-2 sentence profile in the protected online community tool that we're using at I read many of the student profiles and they were excellent. It was clear that the students understood that their profiles should not reveal personal information such as cell phone numbers, addresses, pictures, home phone, etc.

3. At the end of the period the students created digital avatars to upload along with their profiles. The students enjoyed this process while practicing safe and responsible participation in online communities.

Please take a few minutes to have your son or daughter share their wikispaces profile and their digital avatar with you. Additionally, any follow up conversation with your child about what we did in the lab yesterday would be very helpful in our efforts to help the students gain an understanding of digital citizenship and "Netiquette."

Thanks much!
Matt Montagne

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