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Coaches and librarians: Sneak digital citizenship into lessons!

By Julie Randles 7/23/2018

Coaches and library media specialists are often go-to experts for educators seeking instructional support and help with tech integration, but they can also be leaders on one of education’s most important topics – digital citizenship.

And there’s even a cool title for this aspect of their work.

Think of it as being the digital citizenship ninja on your campus, suggests Kristen Mattson, Ed.D., library media center director at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora, Illinois, and the author of the ISTE book, Digital Citizenship in Action: Empowering Students to Engage in Online Communities.

“When I have conversations with people about things like creating webpages or finding videos for classroom use, I can sneak in some of those quick, easy-to-understand tips about how to ethically use the information they want to use. And that can translate further into, for example, showing teachers how kids in art class can put Creative Commons licensing on their own work.”

In other words, Mattson recommends, “get sneaky” about incorporating digital citizenship information as you assist colleagues.

Here are her how-tos:

Be visible. Mattson reached out to all the professional learning communities at her school and offered to attend their meetings to speak about digital citizenship.

Eavesdrop for good. When you hear teachers talking about classroom projects in the hallway, offer to partner with them to add a layer of learning about digital citizenship to the lesson. Your tips can help revamp a lesson to include aspects of digital citizenship that weren’t front of mind when the lesson or supporting materials were created.    

Say “yes.” Sure, it’s tough to volunteer for yet another thing, but volunteering can be an entry point to new audiences. Jumping onto a committee or team lets librarians and coaches connect with all the adults in their buildings.

“I volunteer for committees. I say “yes” to lunch. I have to be exposed to people, so I say “yes” to as many people as possible,” Mattson says.

Treat it as servant leadership. Often, a teacher doesn’t need help with a lesson, but they’re open to having you sit in on the lesson in case something goes wrong. Offer to work in the back of the room and listen to what’s happening in the curriculum. You might find an entry point for speaking to the teacher later about adding in a layer about digital citizenship.

No matter how instructional partners choose to connect with teachers and students, “it’s all about empowering kids to be engaged and active members of digital communities, regardless of what those communities are,” Mattson says.

Mattson shares more about about how librarians and coaches are leading on digital citizenship in her recorded ISTE Expert Webinar, “Instructional Partners as Digital Citizenship Leaders,” which covers: 

  • Tips for incorporating digital citizenship lessons across curriculum.
  • How instructional partners can help with ongoing professional development on digital citizenship.
  • How digital citizenship can be addressed in small ways every day.

Explore the possibilities of the digital age with ISTE's book Digital Citizenship in Action

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