Nowadays, we live in a digital world where students spend a large portion of each day utilizing computers as a tool both in and out of the classroom. At the Fletcher School, our goal is to develop Digital Literacy and Citizenship in our students. Using Common Sense Media’s Digital Literacy and Citizenship curriculum in our computer classes, students discuss and learn how to be responsible and safe while online.
Two of the many aspects of Digital Literacy from Common Sense Media that are taught in 6th Grade are Strategic Searching and A Creator’s Rights. These two components give students an introduction to online researching and the importance of citing sources used to obtain information. Strategic Searching, shows students how to effectively and efficiently conduct research on the internet using a variety of strategies such as using keywords, synonyms, quotations marks around specific words, and different domain types. A five-step method (S. E. A. R. C. H.) is introduced as a tool to assist in planning and carrying out online searches. The 5 letters stand for: select questions, extract keywords and terms, apply search strategies, run your research and chart your search.
A Creator’s Rights teaches students about copyrights, fair use, public domains, licensing, piracy and plagiarism. Through videos and class discussions, students come to understand these terms so they can follow the rules of copyright laws, protect their own creative work and be respectful of how they use others work.
After studying these two Digital Literacy components, the 6th Graders complete a four part culminating project entitled, “My Birthday in History”. The project incorporates the Digital Literacy curriculum, as well as various technology tools. For the first part, students are required to apply the five-step method and strategies for searching to research events and birthdays that happened on their birth date in history. Students are always amazed at what they discover when doing this research. Many times they have heard of an event or person, but it adds an exciting element when they find out it happened on their birth date. My classroom comes alive with chatter as everyone shares their discoveries. I often have to remind them to save some “surprises” for their actual paper. Once the information is gathered, it is used to write a six paragraph paper Students must include a “Works Cited” list to give credit to the people’s work used as resources. For the second part, pictures are collected that correlate to the events and birthdays chosen. The pictures are utilized three ways, as an attachment to the written paper, incorporated into an iMovie, and to design a poster using one of two websites: Canva www.canva.com or Buncee www.edu.buncee.com.
The completed posters are put together as a bulletin board. For the third part, an iMovie is produced. Using our green screen room, students record and edit a video depicting one historical event and one birthday from their written work. The video and pictures are assembled to create an iMovie which has to include transitions and music. Lastly, in order to share our completed project with our school community and visitors, students use Blippbuilder to create “blipps.” These “blipps” turn the posters into interactive images that can be used with Blippar, an augmented reality app, to scan them. Anyone who has the app downloaded on a digital device can see the students’ movies “come to life,” just by scanning it. All are welcome to come see our work!