When I was reading the recommended resource for Course 2, I was thinking of how I could implement this knowledge in my classroom. I am a WL teacher in elementary school, so we start with basic computer skills. It would be a challenge to start developing digital literacy skills. I can demonstrate an example as a teacher, but incorporate these skills in foreign language teaching will be possible in grades 4 or 5. So, I have decided that PD for teachers would be more relevant for this course.
When I read the final project requirements, I thought it would be interesting to create a workshop to build a common understanding of the concept of students’ privacy and discuss teachers’ responsibilities in this area. We have a school’s security system already in place, and it is operating at a very high standard. But I believe that it is essential to train teachers to examine online resources and incorporate digital literacy skills.
I know the future audience of this PD. I have been working with them for the last ten years. This topic is new for the majority of our teachers. We haven’t had official training on how to protect students’ data privacy and how to check the safety of online educational resources. But lately, we have started to use more and more apps and online programs. Therefore, we have chosen the following standards:
3.b. Establish a learning culture that promotes curiosity and critical examination of online resources and fosters digital literacy and media fluency.
3.d. Model and promote the management of personal data and digital identity and protect student data privacy.
Plan of action was the following:
Contact my colleague and discuss the key features of a workshop.
Create a shared google document and google slides document, on which we were asynchronously working together, developing ideas and concepts, while we were exploring the resources.
Schedule the meetings 2-3 times a week.
Make a list of resources and assign the tasks.
The main challenges were:
Ten hours time difference
Some resources can’t be opened in Google, and I used Opera browser
It is crucial to check every app and online program for safety and privacy.
My responsibility as an educator is to share this knowledge with my colleagues.
My responsibility as a teacher is to incorporate digital literacy skills in my teaching when it is applicable.
Online collaboration is possible when you have clear goals, a lot of resources, a detailed action plan, experienced colleagues, enough time, and a good internet connection.
“By teaching others you will learn yourself.” G.I. Gurdjieff
The young generation is the first generation that can not imagine life without cell phones and social media accounts. They live on the internet communicating with peers, exploring information, and learning new knowledge. Media literacy definitely has its advantages and disadvantages. If your level of digital competence is low, you will be excluded from the labor market and society. On the other hand, if young people are using digital media uncontrolled and not following the ethical rules, it could lead to damaging individuals’ personal relations and spreading misinformation.
How do your school’s policies/agreements empower stakeholders to make positive contributions to local and global communities?
Digital Citizenship Agreement
In our school, we are still working on developing acceptable use (AU) policy for students. Still, we have the system in place to protect students’ privacy and to develop a responsible digital citizen who contributes positively to our school community. The Digital Learning Vision is presented on the school’s website, and the Digital Citizenship Agreement is placed on the back of each I-pad that school provides to students and teachers in elementary school. At the begging of the year, we have a discussion with examples of what it means to be a good digital citizen. If a student does not use a device (I-pad or Chromebook) appropriately, he/she could lose the privilege to use it for a certain time and/or have a conversation with a teacher, admin, or Tech integrationist about the case. All educational apps sites are checked by the Tech integrationist using Common Sense Privacy Evaluations and Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services: Model Terms of Service.
We have a detailed COMPUTER AND INTERNET STAFF ACCEPTABLE USE AGREEMENT for faculty written in Faculty Handbook.
“The School offers electronic communications and network access to all users. Access to the network provides users with Internet access in addition to other resources. All employees, students and visitors are encouraged to use the school wifi or wired internet connections (not to use data from cellular networks). Our goal in providing this service to users is to promote educational excellence by facilitating resource sharing, innovation and communication. While the Internet provides a massive information source to our school, we must also recognize that some material available may not be considered of educational value in a school setting. The responsibility for 35 proper educational use of the network lies with the user. If an AAS user chooses to access resources that are objectionable, adult-oriented, or restricted, the consequence may be withholding or termination of access privileges, depending on the circumstances and intent of the user.”
The main statements of AAS Computer Systems and Internet Use Terms and Conditions:
School computers should be used to support education and research consistent with the learning outcomes.
Network Etiquette – Users are expected to abide by the following rules of network etiquette.
Accuracy of Information.
Security is a high priority, especially since the system involves many users.
Any software installed must be properly licensed and evaluated by AAS IT Department prior to the installation.
“AAS respects the right of employees to use blogs and social media as part of their professional network and as an extension of their personal and professional lives. We do not want to discourage employees from self-publishing and self-expression, but employees are expected to follow the guidelines and policies set forth to provide a clear line between you as the individual and you as the employee in order to preserve the environment that is based on focusing on students at all times.”
What actions will you take to continually improve your own media literacy? Your students’ and colleagues’?
My first step in improving my personal media literacy was joining COETAL courses, and now the more I read, the more questions I have. I started to explore by myself and found a lot of exciting resources. My colleague from Middle school, Irena, and I have decided to create PD for teachers to introduce the issue of Digital Safety and Student Privacy.
I decided to examine the learning engagements and assessments through the lens of media literacy and to find the way to engage students in real-world inquiries that require them to search out information, assess it, and interpret its social and cultural context; connect with other students around the world, and write for authentic audiences.
How have you supported your students and peers in becoming more empathetic?
WHAT IS EMPATHY?
Empathy – “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner” (Merriam-Webster dictionary).
Empathy plays a significant role in the WL classroom. At the beginning of the year, we create the classroom agreement in which we agree that it is important to be caring and respectful, and it is OK to make language mistakes because we are learning.
We have different dialogues and role-plays when students imagine themselves in the other person’s situation, and they have to experience the emotions that the other person could experience and try to understand the feeling and choose the appropriate language structures and intonations, voice volume. So, we are modeling empathy on an everyday basis during language class.
Learning a language without understanding culture is impossible. Language allows expressing thoughts and feelings, sharing knowledge and experience, and it closely connected with values and customs. Some of these values and customs can be different and difficult to understand that is why it is very important to introduce students to them, explain the history and maybe try (food, games, cloths, housing, moves and theater performances, stories and anecdotes, etc.) and develop the empathy to something what is unusual.
I was always careful when I was choosing the authentic materials for students to study (read, watch, discuss), and use the classical ones, not from social media. Now I start thinking about using social media materials, choosing these materials with my students, and modeling how to interpret these materials following the framework for media literacy proposed by Thoman and Jolls (2005):
• Who created the message?
• What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?
• How may different people understand this message differently than me?
• What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in – or omitted from – this message?
• Why is this message being sent?
I really like this video that explains the empathy and how empathy can empower our students.
This question became the main one in our everyday life in the digital age. People can find different information on various informational platforms. How to verify: what is true or what is fake? There are absolutely fake stories and the part-fake story – the event has happened, the date, the place, the participants – are correct, but what happened or interpretations of the event are not true.
News is the hardest thing to define, the early report can be fake, but it is still on social media, and people spread it for different reasons (political, commercial, or just for fun). Pretty often, it is hard to identify the fake news even for the educated grownups. I can imagine how difficult for youth to tell the difference between true and fake information. Social media became a part of their life, and probably, they can not even imagine that what they read on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram could be fake or sponsored.
I remember one story that happened a few years ago. CNN reported that “Russian authorities have ordered the closing of the Anglo-American School in Moscow after the United States imposed major new sanctions on December 29 over Moscow’s meddling in the US election.” It was a Christmas break, my colleagues, friends, and relatives were sending me the screenshot of this news. It was difficult to believe, but CNN is a respectful news-based pay television channel. During one or two days, I do not remember, I was horrified thinking about what I would do in these circumstances. Soon we found out that it was fake news.
OUR ROLE AS EDUCATORS
So, it means that we, as educators, are responsible for introducing and developing the new skills that will support our students to survive in the ocean of new information.
WHAT STEPS CAN BE DONE?
to introduce reliable online sources that are vetted by the school,
to demonstrate how to research online,
to explain that the students need to check a few resources, not trust one,
to study the persuasive writing techniques (ReadWriteThink) and the techniques advertisers use in order to recognize these techniques,
to introduce Ethics of Sharing Information Online (before sharing double-check the resources, think five minutes, be positive, empathetic and responsible, do not try to win, “be aware of your own biases”),
to create a safe learning environment (blog, website, video channel) where students will be able to use their media literacy skills (interact with peers and solve the real problems, post their work (stories, researches, poems, drawings, videos, etc.) for sharing and getting feedback.
The modern digital world sets the rules, and people follow them. In order to survive in the new society, we share our personal information with authorities and different companies and presume they will comply with all applicable privacy and data protection laws. The honest companies are collecting and analyzing their customers’ personal information to improve the marketing of their products and services. But we need to be aware that our personal information can be stolen and misused.
I had a lot of thinking when I was reading the recommended resources.
WHAT IS PRIVACY?
According to this guide Educator Toolkit for Teacher and Student Privacy, “privacy refers to the ability to protect one’s own personal information and control with whom and how the information is shared. It matters because even if you’re not doing anything illegal or feel you have nothing to hide, the standards and norms by which judgments are made about behavior that’s “right” versus “wrong” today could easily change tomorrow.”
I am always trying to divide my personal life from the job. I am using different social media for different purposes; for example, my Facebook is only for communication with my close friends; I opened an Instagram account – for work.
Lately, in Russia, there were a few scandals – parents saw the teachers’ photos in Social media and demanded to fire these teachers because parents started questioning the teachers’ morality and used the photos as the relevant evidence.
What policies does my school have in place to protect student privacy?
As for the privacy of students, I use the Apps that the school buys or recommends to use. I do not post my students’ videos or photos on Social media. We are using Seesaw as an electronic portfolio in elementary school. This program has been vetted by school admin and Elementary Tech Integrationist. And even in Seesaw, I try to protect my students – the parents can see and comment only on their own kids’ work (videos, photos, presentations).
I realized how important to understand our responsibilities for student privacy as educators when we are using online resources. We have to read agreements or terms of service. It should say what data is going to be collected, and how it will be used, how long the agreement will last, and how it can be modified.
A lot of apps use a licensing model, “Click-wrap.” You can sign up by clicking a button or a checkbox to accept the terms of service. It can bring some problems. Many free apps require the term of service (a long text filled in with complicated language). Pressing the button accept, we signed the contract. Before the signing of a free app, we need to talk to IT administrators and/or check the school policy. They will help to review the app and the terms of service to ensure that it won’t affect student privacy. We need to print and save a copy of the terms of service for the records.
Technology in the classroom can improve education, but we should be mindful of the risks they can bring.
I wrote the steps that I should do in order to protect my students’ privacy:
Check the school policy of reviewing the new apps and online programs. Or ask a tech leader.
If it is not approved, ask for approval or find the approved alternatives.
– safety consideration (students should not be able to interact with strangers, the interactions should be monitored or moderated by the vendor, is it possible to disable the feature that allows sharing personal information).