It’s Summer Time: Get Your Digital Literacy Learn On!

June 09, 2014
Rachelle Wooten
Digital Learning Specialist
Fort Settlement Middle School
Sugar Land, TX
CATEGORIES In the Classroom, Professional Development

As teachers, we know the reality of the summer slump. Many of our students lose practice with meaningful learning activities. But they aren't alone: So do we! Do you want to build new knowledge over the summer and return next fall with fresh ideas on how to ease students back into the school year? How about learning more about digital citizenship? It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day school routine and neglect the important task of helping students stay safe and learn about responsible online behavior. The Common Sense Education Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum makes it easy for you to develop your own digital literacy skills over the summer while adding great new instructional practices to your teaching toolkit.

The Digital Citizenship Curriculum from Common Sense Education recently launched in an interactive iBooks format. Using the iBooks version of the curriculum and a few other sites and apps, I created a Collection and Lesson Plan that you can use to boost your expertise in digital literacy and citizenship. You can make your own Collections and Lesson Plan or follow mine for an easy way to continue learning in a flexible, mobile way -- whether you're at home or on vacation. 

Here are three ways to keep your digital literacy and citizenship knowledge sharp this summer:

1. Escape the never-ending online search. Whether you're researching attractions, tourist spots, or a topic for a summer school class you're taking, the "Strategic Searching" lesson will help you hone your research skills and take the necessary steps to find the information you need online. You will learn a five-step method for planning and carrying out research. This framework will empower you to conduct effective and efficient online searches by using a variety of search strategies, rather than relying on a single source. Effectiveness and efficiency are two solutions that any teacher can appreciate!

2. Remix old lesson plans (fairly). Summer is a great time to move on from old lessons by remixing them with some engaging media! But hold on. Make sure you follow the copyright and fair use rules. Many of us have heard of copyright and fair use, but we may not be able to explain what they are. You can learn more about them in "Rework, Reuse, Remix." This lesson not only helps us identify the four main points of fair use, it also gives us the opportunity to evaluate whether or not featured case studies are protected under fair use. I've created a Lesson Plan on on Common Sense Education called Rework, Reuse, Remix: Digital Citizenship Lesson for you to use, or you can create your own.

3. Make a Common Sense Lesson Plan for back to school. Speaking of creating your own, you will definitely want to dive into Common Sense Education's edtech ratings and teaching strategies website and spend some time building your own Lesson Plans. A Common Sense Lesson Plan is an interactive framework tool that lets you seamlessly integrate apps, websites, and games throughout your lessons! They use the familiar five-part lesson plan components:

  • Hook
  • Direct Instruction
  • Guided Practice
  • Independent Practice
  • Wrap Up

All you have to do is choose the individual apps, games, or websites that correlate with each of the components. Check out some of the many user-created Lesson Plans and, when you're ready, create your own to use during the first month of school. You'll thank yourself for planning so far ahead.

Let’s face it: During the school year, you can be so focused on connecting with your students and creating dynamic learning experiences for them, you don't always have time to build out your own toolkit of knowledge. Digging into online, free resources like Common Sense Education's Digital Literacy and Citizenship curriculum on iBooks is an ideal way to continue your professional learning while you enjoy your much-needed break!