Digital Citizenship

The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APSTs) require that as a graduate you are able to:

4.5 Use ICT safely, responsibly and ethically

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant issues and the strategies available to support the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.

When planning ICT-rich lessons, the use of ICT needs to be safe, responsible, and ethical. Demonstrating an understanding of the relevant issues around using ICT safely, responsibly and ethically requires consideration of issues such as bullying, cyber-bullying, spamming, phishing, identity theft etc. These issues are something we all need to consider in our daily lives, but are particularly important for students who are growing up in a technology rich environment.

The Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner defines a digital citizen as someone “with the skills and knowledge to effectively use digital technologies to participate in society, communicate with others and create and consume digital content”.

The Alannah and Madeline Foundation, through a grant from Google, have developed an eSmart Digital License, which is available free to every Year 6 student in Australia. The program is an online challenge which uses quizzes, videos and games to teach Year six students how to play, learn and socialize online in a smart, safe and responsible way. As a parent, I think this is a fantastic initiative, though I would love to see this program or similar used at an even younger age (maybe Year 4?).

CyberSafety is an area that I thought I didn’t have much knowledge in, but after completing a couple of online quizzes about bullying and cybersafety I was surprised with my results. Maybe I have developed some knowledge in this area as I interact with ICTs in my daily life. In a course content quiz about bullying, I correctly answered four out of four questions. The quiz was adapted from information on the Safe Schools Hub, a site I plan to explore more.

In the second quiz, the Cyber Smart Kids Quiz, I scored 25 out of 25. Although I answered all the questions correctly, I was really interested to know how well my children would be able to answer the questions. All of my children completed the quiz, and I was pleasantly surprised at how well they did. Competing this exercise was a great way to find out what they actually knew and open up communication about different cybersafety issues, particularly which websites are safe to join and why. Similar to one of my fellow students, they all thought the cat site looked safe. They all argued that the site said it was safe and that you play with your friends. This was a great way to have some interesting conversations with them about cybersafety.

I plan to increase my knowledge further about cybersafety and how it is being addressed in schools.


Looking forward to Professional Experience

In around two weeks I’ll be returning to a previous prac placement site to complete another professional experience placement. I’m quite excited about returning to this site, and working with a different grade and mentor teacher. I’m looking forward to hopefully being able to incorporate the use of ICT in the classroom, and to have the opportunity to see how other teachers use ICT in the classroom. My biggest concerns about this placement are balancing prac and family (and staying healthy and sane!), and actually using the ICT that is in the school. Hopefully being prepared as much as possible will help. I found the voice thread in Week 9 which asked ‘What do you wish you had known before going on professional experience?’ to be quite interesting.

Learning how to teach history

The history content area is one in which I’m still developing my knowledge base. Further developing this knowledge is one of the reasons I chose to plan a history unit for this assignment. While planning this unit, one of the internet resources I found most useful is the AC History Units website.

AC History Units presents eight units developed by the History Teachers’ Association of Australia to support teachers in the implementation of the Australian Curriculum: History. Units 2-8 focus on topics relevant to particular year levels (Years 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10). Unit 1 however provides a really clear introduction to the discipline of history and The Australian Curriculum: History. I found it really helpful in explaining the fundamentals of history and how to teach history.

I also found this video from to be an inspiring introduction to effective history teaching using technology. Even though my focus has been on history, completing this unit plan has really opened my eyes to how many fantastic resources there are out there for every content area.

Favourite websites for learning about the past

As I’ve been planning my Year 2 history unit I’ve been creating a list of useful websites and online resources to use in the future. Today I encouraged my youngest child, who happens to be in Year 2, to have a look at some of the resources. Two websites stood out as clear favourites for her.

The first is a virtual tour of Calthorpes’ House in the ACT. The Calthorpe family home was built in 1927 and bought by the Federal Government in the 1980s in a move to preserve Canberra’s early heritage. The house is open to the public and is preserved as a window into life in the 1920s. Original furnishings, household appliances and photos in the house offer a glimpse into life for the Calthorpe family at the time. Through this virtual tour students anywhere can view this home and it’s furnishings in clear detail. My daughter found it easy to click on the arrows to move between the rooms, and to click on a plus sign to find out more information about different items in the home. She also recognised technology items from the past that she had learnt about at school, such as an ice chest, gramophone and a hand-wringer. Her enthusiasm for this virtual tour has me interested in learning more about virtual tours of other interesting historical places.

The second website that she spent a lot of time on is the My Place website. On the My Place website students are able to explore how one particular place has changed since before 1788 until 2008. Students are able to pick any decade between 1788 and 2008 and learn more about the children that may have lived there at that time and their lives. They are able to see the changes through time in a child’s bedroom, a kitchen and a backyard.

Both of these websites are interactive and allow students to view technology from the past in the context it would have been used in.

Developing an ICT rich unit plan

After enjoying a holiday break with my children, I have been busy the last couple of weeks learning how to develop an ICT-enriched unit plan. I have chosen to develop a 4 week unit of work for a Year 2 class in Queensland, and I am focusing on the History learning area from the Australian Curriculum (v.7.5). I will also be using the Year 2 History standard elaborations from the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA).

The focus of my unit of work is ‘Technology past and present’ and the learning objectives for my unit plan are:

Constructing knowledge objectives:

  • Historical knowledge and understanding
    • The impact of changing technology on people’s lives (at home and in the ways they worked, travelled, communicated, and played in the past) (ACHHK046)

Transforming knowledge objectives:

  • Historical skills – Analysis and use of sources
    • Identify and compare features of objects from the past and present (ACHHS051)
  • Historical skills – Explanation and communication
    • Develop a narrative about the past (ACHHS053)

To begin to develop my unit plan I’ve been developing my Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) in the History learning area, and I’ve been researching and thinking about some interesting ICT-enriched learning experiences. Just like Jodie, who is planning a similar unit of work, my biggest concern at this stage of my planning is making sure that the learning activities I find and create are appropriately enriched through the use of digital technologies (ICT).

Finding lesson plans on the internet

Our first assessment for this course required us to find a lesson plan on the internet to evaluate. This seemed easy enough, until I looked at the conditions that the lesson plan had to meet:

  • “Must include use of ICT and Pedagogy;
  • Must be available to anyone via a URL;
  • Linking to the lesson plan must not break any legal constraints;
  • It is of acceptable quality; and,
  • It is based on a formal curriculum”.

I soon found out that I needed to a do a LOT of research into copyright issues, in particular different Creative Commons licenses before I could attempt to find a suitable lesson plan. Reflecting on my search for the elusive lesson plan, I found it quite time-consuming and frustrating, but also really interesting. It’s definitely made me more aware of copyright on the Internet. This page has an explanation of the different Creative Commons licences.

Australian teacher blogs and ICT

As I’m progressing through my learning journey with ICT, I’ve started to come across some great Australian teacher blogs that have regular posts about ICT and pedagogy. As Dayna mentions it’s fantastic to be able to read about other teachers’ experiences with technology. Two of the great teacher blogs I am enjoying reading are:

I hope to find some other Australian teacher bloggers that have an interest in ICT. I’m really enjoying reading about the practical ways that teachers are incorporating ICT into their classrooms.