Course 2 Week 5: Becoming Contributors

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.  

Therefore, the role of education is to develop students’ skills to assess online critically and social media content they explore and create and to empower the students to become confident and responsible digital citizens. They need to understand how the media work, and “how the media frames perceptions of the world and reshapes experience according to its own codes and conventions“. 

“Boy Wearing Blue T Shirt Using Black Laptop Computer in a Dim Lighted Scenario”, Source by: Pixabay, July 07, 2016
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.

The Anglo-American School of Moscow’s Digital Citizenship agreement 

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:

  1. School computers should be used to support education and research consistent with the learning outcomes.
  2. Network Etiquette – Users are expected to abide by the following rules of network etiquette. 
  3. Accuracy of Information.
  4. Security is a high priority, especially since the system involves many users.
  5. 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?


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.

Empathy & Education

2 Replies to “Course 2 Week 5: Becoming Contributors”

  1. Hi Katya,

    I love reading posts that shed new light on colleagues I work with, and their subjects! It’s important to recognize in no uncertain terms that attempting to learn a language without understanding the culture in which it is embedded is an exercise in futility! Recognizing that different people interpret the same message differently reminds me of a speech by David Foster Wallace to Kenyon College’s class of 2005 which I will paraphrase: how we construct meaning is a matter of personal, intentional choice! It’s a really powerful message, and you’re a teacher on the forefront of teaching that message. Well done!

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