One of the most important things Edmodo has to offer learning communities is that it is a safe, protected environment in which a learning community can learn best practices for digital citizenship. Former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, argues quite convincingly that in the future of today’s students, in many realms, our students’ online identities will be more important than their physical ones. For this reason, it is essential for students to have a clear sense of how to best manage their digital selves.
Fortunately, Edmodo’s protected environment offers much of what is great about popular social networks like Facebook: the chance to immediately connect with those most important to you, to share information, and to make the mind-blowing awesomeness of the Internet a bit more digestible and familiar. Of course, Edmodo does this while also protecting students from some of the potential pitfalls that social networks like Facebook can invite, since a child is never able to directly and privately message another student. All of their postings are always made public to the whole class (while still not searchable to others publicly on the Web).
Edmodo offers daily options for ongoing practice in digital citizenship. Its structure allows all of this practice to take place under the helpful eye of an interested teacher, one who can help guide students as budding digital citizens and help create good digital habits that will hopefully stick. The following questions can help frame your students’ involvement in Edmodo and help make them reflective about their own citizenship in a digital world. A simple way to use these questions is to post them in your Edmodo Group stream as discussion starters or “Digital Journal” questions sprinkled throughout the term.
- Digital Access – Electronic participation
Does everyone in our community have equal access to digital resources? Does everyone in the world? How might it change a person’s life if they never had access to the Internet? Think about the ways Internet use affects your daily social life and your school work: how might it change your life if you did not have access to it?
- Digital Commerce – Electronic buying and selling
What are smart precautions to take when buying and selling goods online? (Commonsensemedia.org offers a good site for students to consider smart decision-making in various e-commerce scenarios, as well as other digital citizenship topics.)
- Digital Communication – Exchange of information
List as many tools you can think of that we use to communicate digitally as 21st century citizens. Now only thinking about one, what are the appropriate decisions we need to make with this tool?
- Digital Literacy – Teaching and learning about technology
How do you use technology to learn? How do you learn about technology? What kind of information literacy skills do we need? What do we need to learn? How do we learn new things? What are the most important skill sets we need as 21st century citizens?
- Digital Etiquette – Shared standards of conduct
What are best practices for polite and responsible conduct in shared digital spaces like Edmodo?
- Digital Law
When we are online, what are some laws and ethical/moral rules we should be aware of and follow? Are these laws different in different places/countries? And for different ages?
- Digital Rights and Responsibilities
What are the rights we have as digital citizens that no one can take away from us? What are the responsibilities that we have as digital citizens? How are these two connected?
- Digital Health and Wellness – Using technology in ways consistent with physical and psychological health and wellbeing
What are some ways that using the Internet can be good for our health? How can it hurt us? What are physical health and psychological issues we should be aware of and protect ourselves against when we use technology, including ergonomic concerns?
- Digital Security (Self-protection) – Precautions to take for safety
What are smart ways to protect our digital information? For example, virus protection and backing up data, and protecting your online identity.
What do you ask your students when teaching them about their digital footprints? Share in the comments below! For even more tips on how to use Edmodo in your classroom, check out Let’s Get Social: The Educator’s Guide to Edmodo. This book is available in the ISTE.org store.