How I Use It
During the week dedicated to digital citizenship, October 18-24, I introduced the Digital Passport program to my third and fourth graders in the computer lab. I brought in my personal United States passport, and we talked about how you need a passport to travel from country to country. Similarly, we came to the conclusion that a passport was needed to travel and experience all the amazing places we can go to on the internet. This was especially beneficial for my third and fourth graders, as my district has just now allowed them to have their own personal gmail accounts. Since the introduction date, when they come to my lab (which is for 30 minutes, 1-2 times per week), they complete each module at their own pace and earn the “stamp” for their passport. At this time, I now have a few students who have completed all of the modules and have earned the certificate that goes along with the program. Once all students are finished, we will have a digital passport ceremony in which they will receive their certificate, and we will review the key aspects of safety and appropriateness online. I anticipate the program will take at least four weeks from start to finish.
Because this is my first time implementing this program, I also enrolled myself as a third grader so that I could experience everything just as my students would. The short videos at the beginning of each module were both engaging and relevant. My students and I found the Mix n’ Mash to allow for great creativity and appreciated the save option. I felt this was the most meaningful of all the modules because it allowed for kids to actually create their own mashup, cite their creative sources, and then publish their own work. Most of my third and fourth graders have not yet published anything online before having this opportunity and truly enjoyed themselves as they were learning.
On the other hand, as I played Share Jumper, I became frustrated since I continued to fail. This was not because I couldn’t answer the questions but because I couldn’t maneuver my character very well. Some of my students who played the game also struggled with it. Eventually, I told them that I would give them credit for that section if they came and answered some questions for me in regards to privacy. It would have been nice if, in the educator’s guide, the questions from the game were provided. If they were, I never found them. However, despite our challenges with the Share Jumper, our experience of earning our Digital Passports was fun and helpful in sparking many meaningful conversations.
If I were to make any changes, I would add all questions and answer choices from all the games to the educator guide and would also include a save option in all of the games. As kids only had thirty minutes in my lab, they would finish one module and be somewhere in the middle of the second. Unless they were in Mix n’ Mash, all their work in the unfinished module was lost, and they would have to start at the beginning of the module the next time they came to class. Overall, I appreciated that ALL of the games and the educator materials were completely FREE! The Digital Passport was a great hit with my students, and I anticipate returning to this site again next year!