Safe online learning comes down to two things in my opinion: education and practice. I consistently try to create or take advantage of teachable moments when it comes to being a responsible digital citizen. I also ask the head of our technology department to stop in as a guest speaker each year to emphasize this idea. He does a great job relating to the kids and helping them understand the power of the internet. I also really like the poster on ISTE’s website displaying the differences between a good citizen and a good digital citizen (Brichacek, 2014). Stressing these necessary qualities will help students understand the importance of safe and responsible practices.
Monitored practice can also help ensure safe practices. One of my favorite features of Google Drive is that I can view the revision history and monitor student work live. This can help students stay on task, but it can also help provide feedback if any students are unknowingly (or knowingly) creating an undesirable atmosphere. Many students have difficulty understanding how to express themselves when all they have is words. Just like everything else we teach our students, for them to become good at using online collaboration tools, they must practice.
Brichacek, A. (2014, October 22). Infographic: Citizenship in the digital age. Retrieved February 8, 2016, from ISTE website: https://www.iste.org/explore/articleDetail?articleid=192
McCarthy, J. (2015, January 16). 50+ tools for differentiating instruction through social media. Retrieved from Edutopia website: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/differentiated- instruction-social-media-tools-john-mccarthy