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Teaching Digital Citizenship with Glogster and CyberWise

With great power comes great responsibility.This age-old truth was suddenly thrown into common use by the 2002 Spider-Man film, in which Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben warns him about the danger of taking power for granted. Learners of all ages and abilities are no doubt familiar with the film franchise and its message of moral duty, but they may not be aware of just how increasingly important this sentiment is to their own stories, and particularly to their empowering digital lives. It’s simple enough to get online - a few clicks of a button, and the most powerful tool in the world is at your fingertips. In many ways, it’s the ease of access that makes it so easy to forget the rules of self-preservation citizenship that we follow in everyday life.

Yes, the Internet is a source of great power. As Glogster’s online content editor, I see evidence of this every day in tweets and messages from educators--young learners taking control of their own learning and older learners sharing knowledge with peers around the world--but while Glogster places much of that power firmly in the hands of learners, it is our responsibility as educators to be aware of the dangers and conundrums that our online explorers face regularly, and to offer the guidance they need to embrace their own responsibilities.

Our friends at CyberWise have recently created some stunning resources that will help you to do just that, with top tips for online privacy as well as an in-depth look at Cyber Civics, which pushes good citizenship and digital life skills firmly into the 21st Century. These glogs are an ideal starting point for parents and teachers who are committed to giving learners the support they need as they discover the power of the Internet.

Of course, these resources also make a fantastic starting point for planning a Glogster lesson on digital citizenship! Once you’ve checked out CyberWise’s resources, you can use them to form a discussion with your learners, creating a collaborative mind map via Glogster for iPad about common issues such as cyberbullying and stranger danger, as well as sharing ideas about how your class can work together to stay safe online. Learners can then create their own glogs about different aspects of digital citizenship, from online etiquette to following copyright laws, ensuring that they enact their digital citizenship skills by backing up their digital media with citations.

Work together to devise a digital citizenship pledge, and use the Glogster iPad app or a digital camera to film each of your learners reciting it. Allow your learners to add their video pledges to their glogs, and keep the finished resources on hand for your learners to consult should any digital citizenship questions arise over the course of the year and their online exploration.

There is no question that the Internet is here to stay--nor that our modern-day learners will grow to master and even improve it. As technology develops over time, we will find many of our learners catching onto online trends before we do. To young learners and teens, the Internet is a world without limits, where superpowers are real--the power to know the answer to any question within seconds, the power to share your thoughts with people on the other side of the world, and the power to create things ahead of our time. As learners discover their new-found online powers, the best that we can do is remind them of that well-known maxim from Spider-Man, using the web’s wealth of supportive resources to ensure that they take just as much pride in the responsibility as they do in the power.

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