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In this new series, author and educator Aaron Quigley shows you how to stay up to date with the latest educational technology and classroom management techniques. Each week, he'll introduce you to a new tip you can use to be more efficient, and increase student achievement. Aaron covers concepts like the flipped classroom, Common Core Standards, and the role of social media in education. The series also covers a variety of productivity apps, learning management systems, and other technologies, using a project-based approach that simulates the real K–12 or university classroom environment. Check back often for new tutorials, every Monday with Teacher Tips.
When it comes to helping our students be internet savvy, it's important to focus on student action, not teacher action. Let's take a look at the lesson goal that students will safely navigate the internet by self filtering content for quality, protecting themselves online, and communicating appropriately. If we break down the student goals inside of that, we can see that students need to protect themselves, they need to learn to assess the quality of what they find online, and they need to be good communicators. We can also align all of these to student actions. For example, using social media in the classroom students can learn about what happens when they post something online.
And we can use online research so students can learn about the different quality of what they might find online. And, finally, we can use the internet for student collaboration. This is a great way to increase student academic talk, while helping our students become internet savvy. When it comes to crafting internet savvy lesson plan, I like to follow a 90/10 rule. 90% of my instruction should be student action. That's going to allow this learning to be real for my students and to extend beyond this one lesson and into my student's lives. Here's how this typically breaks down for instruction. I start out by 10% of the overall lesson as rules.
It's important to lay a foundation or framework and the parameters of what students can do when they start accessing the internet. The next step is projects. I'm simply scaffolding out the Internet usage for my students. I'm going to allow them to have constraints maybe I'm going to give them websites to look at and have them complete projects. These projects might come in the form of an assignment or a piece of an assignment. And then the last step is to give students the room to explore the Internet on their own. This is going to allow them to take the learning and make it real for their own use.
Let's go ahead and dive into each one of these categories a little bit deeper. The first step is to start with internet rules. Often this means starting with a safety contract. Now before you do anything and start writing your own safety contract, I highly recommend you look for district-wide contracts. Often your school or your district will have some regulations on how students use the internet. Now just because your students are signing a district contract does not mean that they should not also sign a contract for how they're going to use the internet in your classroom. And I'm going to recommend taking a look at some online safety contracts.
Here's one contract that's provided by Glencoe, which you can download and use in your own classroom. What I like about this particular online safety contract is it focuses on student action. Students are being asked to sign to these statements of I will. I will not give out personal information. I will never get together with someone I've met online. This is going to allows students to understand that this is a personal mission and the fact that there even is a contract tells students the seriousness of the matter that we're dealing with. In addition to contracts at this Glencoe one, you'll also find contracts that are more specific for how the internet gets used in your classroom.
For example, here's a BYOD, or bring your own device contract. This is for classrooms where students are asked to bring an iPad or wireless-ready cellphone to the classroom to use as part of instruction. So students get to learn the dos, such as yes, please bring your phone to class and the don'ts, as in it's inappropriate to text students during the class time. And after your students have signed the district-wide contract and you've looked at a few contracts online, I highly recommend taking the time to make your own contract for your own classroom. This way students are starting with an agreement between you, the teacher, and them, the student.
Students can internalize this process of learning to be internet savvy, if they see that you are invested in helping them be successful, not only in your classroom but also in their future. Another thing I'd highly recommend is to involve parents in understanding the rules of Internet usage. There's a variety of websites out there that parents can go to to get information about how the Internet should be used in their house and parents can even download their own household internet contract, so students know how to use the internet outside of the school walls. The next step are internet safety projects. We're simply scaffolding up the use of internet for our students.
Instead of saying, here's the entire internet, go forth, we're going to allow them to have one or two projects or maybe even one or two websites to start their exploration with. Here's a few project ideas to get you going. Classroom and student blogs are a valuable resource in today's learning environment. Students can not only blog about their learning and their lessons, they're also creating an online resource they can use as they study for tests. This is going to give students the ability to start viewing the internet as an important tool as well as crafting some of their online communication skills.
Using something like Google sites for group projects can also allow students to gain an important skill of building a website and at the same time increase student communication. If students are communicating inappropriately online, often their group members will let them know about it. And that way students can correct any communication issues before they leave the classroom. The last project idea I have for you is to integrate social media into the classroom. Now this can be a tricky step. And next week we are going to dive deeper into how to use social media inside the classroom walls. Now some districts, through their filtering process, have tried to discourage the use of social media by blocking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
That doesn't mean that you can't still introduce the idea of social media and we'll dive deeper into that next week. The third part is to allow students the room of exploration. This is the chance that students have to go out and to make some mistakes and to find some content and use it in a paper and get some peer review that says, you know what, you didn't find the best content. But often this is skipped over. Students typically come into the classroom in a very structured environment. They follow very structured research rules, as being told what websites to use. And very rarely are student given the full opportunity to explore the internet as they best see fit.
So here's a few student exploration ideas. Have students subscribe to websites and blogs. They can search for things that are of interest to them. They can become a member of the website or subscribe to the blog. And then learn how to keep up to date with the changing information on the web. You can also start a creative hour inside of your school. A lot of schools are giving students the opportunity to take a topic of interest to them and just explore it, to create, to use the computer and the internet for something that's intriguing to them.
And also self-selected learning can be a great tool for students to have access to through the internet. For example, there's a lot of tutorials online. Often, this can go hand in hand with the creative hour, students can use the internet to teach themselves something new, whether its watching a lynda.com course or completing an online tutorial for how to draw. Now while this can seem a little scary, to simply turn you students loose for an hour using the internet to whatever they would like, often I find that with a little bit of coaching and a little bit of scaffolding, students use the internet appropriately and the learning and what they create is always amazing.
I hope these ideas of how to teach your students to be internet savvy are beneficial. And next week we're going to continue this topic by diving deeper into the idea of how we can bring social media into the classroom as a tool to really push student learning. Thanks for joining me on Teacher Tips and I look forward to seeing you next week.
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