Here I am back from a vacation where I got to sit on the side of a beautiful lake and also play a ton of Minecraft. Tomorrow, some of the technology people from my district will be meeting to talk about Digital Citizenship and Internet Safety to revisit our efforts on these two fronts in the last two years.
So I am finally listening to an awesome Blackboard Collaborate session with Cyberbullying guru Bill Belsey. A link to it can currently be found on the DigiFoot Wiki as a part of the 6 week MOOC course that ends tomorrow. Bill Belsey is an educator who became concerned with the problem of bullying and.founded Bullying.org as a way of allowing students to share their experiences. An off-shoot of this Web site is Cyberbullying.org.
Some of the things that I picked up from this very pragmatic 8th grade teacher are that most cyberbullying happens away from school but that schools and teachers wind up picking up many of the pieces after a cyberbullying incident has happened. Kids often normalize this bullying by calling it just regular teen drama.
He admits that the solution is not easy and that he feels that the key is to focus on prevention. Helping kids realize that protecting themselves is their job. He suggests reminding them not to share their passwords and private information and to use netiquette.
Another point that he made is that teachers can't plan for the technology because that will always be changing.
All good points.
This year I'm hoping to continue to refine our efforts to help students to be mindful of their own digital behavior. I'm planning on talking about them about what they want their "online brand" to look like. I'm hoping to use both popular company brands (like Nike and Coca-Cola) as well as famous people (like Justin Bieber) to draw some interesting connections about online reputations.
I'm hoping to help students reflect on their digital footprint by creating some sort of infographic that shows where they've left a trail online. I'm thinking of using a word cloud generator like Wordle or Tagxedo to help us do that.
I'd love to help teachers give our intermediate students a chance to use social media in a more sheltered way. This could be through using Moodle more effectively in the classroom or exploring the use of Edmoto.
It's going to be a good year.