Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Part 4: Creating an Educational Ecosystem: Interactions

Interactions: Your environment supports a type of interaction, but do the norms of the ecosystem also support this?  While the norms of the classroom should support the type of environment teachers wish to create, it is critical that norms not stifle learning or creativity.  

What types of interactions do you foster in your ecosystem?

Teachers know how to manage their classrooms, but the interactions managed in a digital classroom reach far beyond the walls of the classroom.  Norms for interaction must encompass the digital learning space where students venture. In a digital classroom, teachers must teach and reinforce skills of digital citizenship and informational literacy.  Without teaching this, it is for students to go to malicious websites, create a negative digital footprint, bully or degrade others in the class, and overlook copyright (free and published still belongs to others).

How teachers treat digital citizenship and information literacy sets a tone for the interactions that happen in the digital environment of the class.  What types of interactions are conducive to the ecosystem that reinforces learning and creativity?  Too stringent rules will remove all creativity and exploration from the kids.  A lack of rules will lead to a free for all in the digital realm of the class.  The lack of rules tends to reinforce a lack of consequences, leading to issues.

If your learning environment is going to be collaborative and communicative, then students need to understand the expectations for conduct online as well as the consequences for the abuse of the learning environment.  Students should understand the difference between a good digital citizen and that it is every person’s duty in the class to help keep the others in the classroom safe.  Do the students in your classroom know how to be good citizens and digital citizens?

I have many teachers ask about digital citizenship and online safety.  It is new to some, common sense to others, and misunderstood by a vast majority.  Go to CommonSenseMedia, netsmartz, ikeepsafe or any of the other amazing websites that teach about digital citizenship, data privacy, and information literacy.  Learn about these topics.  Work with your students to explore these topics.  Have a google hangout with a technology bigwig and ask them about data privacy and staying safe online.  Or hangout with a college admissions counselor or recruiter and ask them how colleges and government agencies are using digital footprint to gather more information about applicants.  Involve students, learn best practice, instill norms, teach students how and why to protect themselves online.

What types of interactions do you foster in your ecosystem?

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