Monday, June 2, 2014

Teachable Moments: Digital Manners

Inspired by my current graduate classes which are focused on global perspectives and virtual schooling, I will be highlighting a few easy ways to impress on young learners the necessity for using their manners when interacting online.

While young learners might not be ready to send e-mails, text, chat, message, or otherwise communicate through instantaneous messaging formats, they are learning some quintessential social skills in the classroom that they will eventually need to apply in the virtual realm. Who knows, there might even be some new form of online communication that takes over their generation. Anyone remember when AOL Instant Messenger was THE thing to use?

Regardless of the application, a key component of the ISTE Student Standards, as well as many state educational technology standards, is the idea of being a digital citizen. Conversations about manners are a daily part of any early childhood classroom. Since our students are growing up in a digital culture it is important for them to begin training their minds to think critically about their behavior not just in person but online and through other forms of information.

During any discussion about manners, kindness, respect, etc. you might consider adding one of these probing questions to help your students apply their social/emotional skills to technology both now and in the future:

- What about if the problem happened online? Would you do the same things? What would you do differently?
- How do you think the other person felt? Do you think they would feel the same if you sent them a message on the computer?
- Do you think it would be appropriate to have that conversation, argument, etc. online?
- If someone said that to you on the computer, how would you feel?
- How can you use those manners when you are on the computer?

I will be sharing some more resources on the topic of digital citizenship this Friday so be sure to check back then!