During our first hour together the week prior to Kindergarten starting I began taking photographs of what my new students were exploring in Kindergarten. I found myself naturally asking students to cover their name tag when I took their picture. One of my students asked why and I explained that we need to be safe when sharing with the world. One way we do this is by not displaying our real name. As I took more photographs I watched this student follow me and tell other students to cover up their name too! Wow! This was amazing to see and so easy. Right away students understand safety when sharing. It is really important to be transparent in our thinking and our actions when we are with our students and their families.
On our 2nd day together and already my students are beginning to experience “how to” use Skype as a way to connect and have conversations with others. I am so fortunate that parents are willing to try Skype as a way to say hello. For me this idea has really been amazing for my students. Everyone begins to use technology in a safe, kind and responsible way with people they are familiar with.
This is important because I want to build on these experiences when we Skype with others we meet through our connections. Not only are my students and parents using technology in a meaningful way, but we are experiencing together the very beginning stages of “how to” be a kind and responsible digital citizen. Later on as my students meet other Kindergarteners outside of our classroom they will know what to expect and “how to” use Skype in a meaningful way. By exploring this in the beginning weeks of Kindergarten is a perfect time because we are all learning about each other and our daily routines. Why not build Skype in as one of those daily routines! It doesn’t take long and it is part of our class culture, not a distraction.
As I started to introduce twitter another surprise for me happened! I had some blue paper twitter birds in a pile, next to the bird we use when we tweet. One of my students asked if she could have one. So now I begin to add another explicit, concrete object to my tool bag when using and introducing social media in Kindergarten! Every time we tweet, my students hold the blue bird, I type the tweet, they press the blue button that says tweet and then they get a paper twitter bird to take home! We had a conversation afterwards about what they might say to someone who asked about the paper bird. This is what I heard;”We get these when we twitter, it means I tweeted, I got to tweet, I got to share something”. Wow! This was my first 2 days of Kindergarten. Really amazing!
Self Portraits are lots of fun to do at the beginning of school. We created ours using iPads to take our photo and then my students discovered that their photo stays so they can draw what they see! Again, when I introduce iPads I always begin with the video and the camera because I want my students to begin to use the iPad as a tool that helps enhance and enrich ideas we are exploring. iPads become a part of our culture that is for everyone!
These are just a few of the ways that I begin to experience responsible digital citizenship with my students. As an educator of young children I have lots of opportunities to model this idea of being a safe, kind and responsible digital citizen with not only my students, but their parents too. This is vital and important if I want to be successful when using digital tools to enrich, connect and collaborate with my students and others who are interested in what and how we are learning. I am thinking of how important it is to be explicit, share and connect on prior experiences and understandings when introducing new ideas. If possible show your students what it might look like. This helps support them when they are exploring. Looking forward to next week and what we might be discovering in Kindergarten!