Thursday, April 16, 2015

An Overview of Digital Citizenship

Learning with technology, whether with a math app, a video how-to, or a wiki, opens up a new world of discovery for kids. As students access information in more connected ways, they are preparing for life in a new interconnected, global world. Due to this new connected way of learning, instruction in digital citizenship is more important now than ever before.DSC_7512.JPG

What is Digital Citizenship?

Digital citizenship is more than internet safety. It encompasses the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use that everyone, adults and kids alike, should adopt in order to have a productive, meaningful, and safe online presence.

Digital citizenship instruction typically consists of eight main components:
  • Internet Safety
  • Digital Footprint & Reputation
  • Privacy & Security
  • Self-Image & Identity
  • Relationships & Communication
  • Information Literacy
  • Cyberbullying
  • Creative Credit & Copyright

As you can see, digital citizenship addresses many facets of a person’s digital presence, including relationships, self-image, and communication. It is increasingly important that we provide students guidance in these areas as they engage more with online learning communities.

Resources for Schools

BVSD Ed Tech supports teachers and administrators when they have questions about how they can incorporate digital citizenship into their instruction and school culture. We recommend that each school builds a digital citizenship plan following the Common Sense Media scope and sequence. You can find this scope and sequence broken into grade level specific lessons on the BVSD Ed Tech Digital Citizenship website. You are also welcome to visit our Bundlr page where we curate resources on digital citizenship.

Please contact an Ed Tech team member if you have any questions about digital citizenship in BVSD.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Blogging: A 21st Century Communication Tool

What is a blog, and why should I start one?
Blogs, short for ‘web logs’, have increased in popularity over the last ten years. They combine social media and communication to reach a wide audience via the Internet. A blog looks and acts like a website, yet with some important differences.
  • It is organized in a journal format with dated entries. The content is displayed in sections with the most recent submissions at the top. Readers can scroll down through the blog to read past entries. It is a relatively simple way to post and share information with an audience.
  • The journal-entry style of the blog lends itself to being updated more often, as the blog posts can be regular updates or information in a conversational style, rather than updating all the content on a website.
  • A blog can also be utilized as a Web 3.0 tool where the audience can interact and comment as well.
  • Lastly, a blog can be shared as easily as sending a link, making it an important communication tool to keep your community up to date with information and events in a easy to access, easy to manage fashion. Your audience needs the blog link just once, then can revisit the page as often as they'd like and get the most updated posts.
  • A blog will widen your digital presence and help you reach a vast audience.

How to Blog
There are numerous platforms you can start blogging from. Blogger is an excellent option, as it is connected to your Google account. Using these five steps, you can have your blog up and running in about 30 minutes!

  1. Start using Blogger by signing in with your Google Account. After signing in, you will land on your Dashboard.
  2. Click on ‘New Blog’. It will walk you through the steps to give it a title, address, and apply a template to your blog.
  3. Back at your dashboard, you can add your first blog entry. Click on the pencil icon next to the name of your blog. A page similar to a word processing document will open where you will compose your message. You can change fonts/sizes, add graphics, links, and video. When you are finished, you have a few options:
    • ‘Save’ will save your work, but not publish it on your live blog. 'Publish' will both save and publish it.
    • 'Preview' will let you take a look at your published entry.
    • You can revise your entries even after they have been published!
  4. Anytime you want to get back to your Dashboard, click on the Blogger word or icon in the upper left-hand corner of your screen. To see what your blog will look like, click on ‘view blog’.
  5. There are a few key features you will want to play with. From your Dashboard, click on the arrow next to the ‘pieces of paper’ icon, and select ‘overview’.
    • Use the ‘Layout’ feature to add parts to your blog.
    • Use ‘Google+’ to associate your profile with the one you have set up in your Google+ account (optional).
    • Check out ‘Settings’ to manage posts and comments on your blog.
    • In ‘Stats’, set so your statistics will not count your own pageviews in the data.

There are many, many ways to customize your blog. Here are some resources to help guide you.

BVSD Blogs 
  • Superintendent's Blog - Dr. Bruce Messinger, BVSD Superintendent
  • Principally Speaking - John Riggs, Manhattan Middle School Principal
    • Note: John created his blog during the last ‘Principal’s Coffee Chat with Ed Tech’. The next Coffee Chat is for Elementary Principals, scheduled for April 14 from 2:00-3:00pm in the IT Copper Lab. We hope to have a crowd of Elementary leaders there to create their own blogs!
  • Douglass Elementary Blog, via LinkedIn - Jon Wolfer
  • Technology Blog - Andrew Moore, CIO
  • BVSD Ed Tech Blog
Award-winning Blogs from around the country