Powerful Digital Privacy Lesson
I am always on the lookout for effective digital citizenship activities for elementary students. This fall I was delighted to learn that Common Sense Media developed a website for students in grades 3-5 focusing on digital citizenship.
I have been impressed with their teaching materials but the lessons were always too long for the time I had with the children. This new site is brilliantly made. There are five modules. For each module the lesson plan gives you an opening activity. Then students login to the website. The format for each online part of the lesson is first there is a video with middle school kids. This imparts some information. Then the kids play a game using and building on that. Then more video or other information, followed by round 2 of the game. Then there is a final round of the game and a wrap up. Completing all of that unlocks a paper and pencil mission.
For the digital privacy lesson I modified the lesson a bit and it was highly effective. First, we watched this video,
We watch it through once. The kids really seem to relate to it.
Then we watch it again with me pausing it to think aloud or give them chances to pair and share.
Next I teach them to login and they play. Students found the games engrossing and the questions asked during the games were a just the right level. No one failed miserably or always got them all correct.
When they finished, they logged into their blogs. Earlier we had created a blog post that lists our school’s core values of respect, responsibility, honesty, fairness and compassion. Under each heading they listed what they already knew about being safe and respectful online. Now, using a color other than black, they listed their new learning. Some students needed to be prompted a bit to write anything but even those students had gleaned the important information from the games.
All in all, this has been a highly effective and engaging lesson with high quality materials. I recommend it without hesitation but with a few tips.
- I set up the student accounts using their school username and the strong passwords they developed at the start of the year. When they first login to the site, after they select their avatar, it tries to make them change their password. We just hit the browser’s back button and logged in again and it didn’t ask again.
- Sometimes a window pops up during game play asking the child to reset or logout. Quickly hitting reset allowed the game to continue. Wait to long and you are logged out and must start again.
- One day Share Jumper would freeze for approximately 30 seconds. Sometimes, using the up arrow would unfreeze it.
The biggest challenge was setting up the student accounts. You can upload a class at a time as a .csv file. However, the process is quirky. After lots of experimentation here is what worked for me.
- Export my workshop of all my class logins from Google Spreadsheet to Excel.
- Open the Excel workbook. Right-click on a class tab and select Move > to a new workbook.
- Cut out any unneeded rows, all headings and any line highlighting.
- Set up your columns without headings in this order: First Name, Last Name, Unique Identifier, Username, Password. The unique identifier is supposed to be able to be left blank. However, for me the upload failed unless I had something in their so I used the student’s ID numbers.
- Copy all the data and paste it into a new blank worksheet in a new workbook.
- Set the print area.
- Save As > Windows comma-separated (.csv)
Then I could cleanly upload the data. Why the extra step of pasting into a new worksheet? I don’t know. All I know is that those are the only steps that consistently worked.