There’s no question we want our kids to be well developed and well rounded. But the future keeps pressing in, and more and more we are feeling a need for our children to grow up in an age of distraction having somewhat meaningful and relevant digital experience. We’re looking for the kinds of interactions that demonstrate how technology connects people around the world, solves problems, helps us get things done, and inspires the imagination.
So what can we teach in the way of elementary school digital citizen activities? We can begin to meet them where they are. After all, they love to play and they love games, and gaming is recreation, something everybody needs.
5 Great Tools for Elementary School Digital Citizen Activities
TOCO mail is a program providing introductory email accounts for kids. It’s great because you see everything before it gets to your child’s inbox through push notifications sent to your smartphone or tablet. In this way you can approve or reject messages as you see fit.
Kids can receive and reply to messages and you can guide them in safe Internet practices as you release control gradually. They can also use the in-app drawing board featuring postcards, stamps, pens, brushes and more to create their emails, as well as customize personal avatars.
Suggested elementary school digital citizen activities: Simple email back and forth from parents to their children; and scanning in their work or recording themselves, then posting on Evernote to share with their families.
TypingClub is a free Web-based application for learning how to type. It’s free for both individuals and schools and also features an optional paid school edition. It’s a great way for students to learn valuable keyboarding skills.
Suggested elementary school digital citizen activities: The lessons are very straightforward, and there’s a reward component to it. Typing is an essential component to the digital lifestyle.
Who hasn’t heard about or experienced Minecraft? Kids just dig this experience and there are tons more modifications for educators to make use of it. You’ll find all those in the Minecraft Education Edition, an entire school program based on using Minecraft for creativity and exploration coupled with an awareness of ethical and constructive digital practices.
Suggested elementary school digital citizen activities: Explore the features of Minecraft Education in your classroom. You can view the introductory video for it here on YouTube.
For computer coding, there’s Code.org which uses Google’s Blockly. Code.org also organizes the annual Hour of Code campaign which has engaged 10% of all students globally. Kids can help each other solve coding puzzles while developing their logic skills.
Suggested elementary school digital citizen activities: Go through the first tutorial and make your own first program while learning about code.
Finally, here’s a game to help specifically teach global digital citizenship. Digizen lets you assume an avatar and walk through digital citizenship.
Teaching by Doing
The time to learn will be when they are taking their first steps online, not when they get into some trouble. As much as kids can play in the physical world which is where they learn, they can also play in the digital world as healthy lessons abound there as well. While most of the tools above are not overtly about Global Digital Citizenship, they can offer opportunities for you to teach kids while they are experiencing the Internet.