Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Five Good Resources for Teaching Digital Citizenship to Middle School and High School Students

In response to yesterday's post about digital citizenship lesson materials for elementary school students I received requests for middle school and high school resources. Here are five of my favorite resources for teaching digital safety and digital citizenship to middle and high school students.

Cyber Streetwise is a site developed for the purpose of sharing tips and techniques for protecting your identity and your electronic devices. The site is set-up as digital street that you walk along to learn about protecting your electronic devices, your identity, and digital footprint. Much of the content is geared toward businesses, but there is some good content for students and teachers too. Some of the content that applies to students and teachers includes crafting strong passwords, protecting mobile devices from malware, and responsible use of social media. Much of what you'll find through Cyber Streetwise is hosted on other sites, but the Streetwise setting provides a good way to find that information in one place.

A Thin Line is a digital safety education resource produced by MTV in collaboration with other media partners. The purpose of the site is to educate teenagers and young adults about the possible repercussions of their digital activities. A Thin Line offers a series of fact sheets about topics like sexting, digital spying, and excessive text messaging and instant messaging. A Thin Line gives students advice on how to recognize those behaviors, the dangers of those behaviors, and how to protect your digital identity. Students can also take a short quiz to practice identifying risky digital behaviors.

Own Your Space is a free ebook designed to educate tweens and teens about protecting themselves and their stuff online. This ebook isn't a fluffy, general overview book. Each chapter goes into great detail explaining the technical threats that students' computers face online as well as the personal threats to data that students can face online. For example, in the first chapter students learn about different types of malware and the importance of installing security patches to prevent malware infections. The fourteenth chapter explains the differences between secured and unsecured wireless networks, the potential dangers of an unsecured network, and how to lock-down a network.

Google has a good set of lesson plans on digital citizenship and digital literacy that middle school teachers should take a look at. The lesson plans are divided into three sections; becoming a digital sleuth, managing digital footprints, and identifying online tricks and scams. These digital citizenship lessons are part of Google's Good to Know site. Good to Know is an excellent site on which you can find good and clear explanations of web basics. The detailed lesson plans can be saved in your Google Drive account. Even if you don't use the entire lessons as they were written, they're still worth saving in Google Drive to refer to as you build your own digital citizenship lesson plans.

ThinkB4U is a series of web safety videos and tutorials from Google and its partners. Using the "choose your own adventure" aspect of YouTube video editing, ThinkB4U offers interactive videos to educate viewers about things like protecting online reputations, avoiding scams, research and critical thinking, and responsible text messaging. ThinkB4U is divided into three basic sections; students, parents, and educators. Each section addresses nine different topics related to safe and responsible use of the Internet and cell phones. The sections include short videos about the topics, a short written lesson, and some interactive games on the topics of responsible use of the Internet and of cell phones. The Educators' section of ThinkB4U offers lesson plans from Common Sense Media and the National Consumer League. There are lesson plans designed for elementary school, middle school, and high school use.

Find More Than 4,000 Math Lessons on Open Curriculum

Open Curriculum is a new entry into the lesson depot market. Like similar sites, Open Curriculum offers a collection of thousands of resources for teaching mathematics. You browse the Open Curriculum resource lists according to grade level and topic. As you might guess, a lot of the featured resources are Khan Academy materials. In addition to the Khan Academy materials you will find lessons created and shared by other teachers.

Open Curriculum provides more than just a collection of mathematics lesson materials. In your Open Curriculum account you can create and share your own lessons and units of study. You can also upload existing materials to incorporate into the lessons and units that you create in Open Curriculum.

Applications for Education
Open Curriculum advertises that English and science lesson materials are coming soon. In the meantime the math resources and lesson planner will give you a good sense of how the service functions. The sharing aspect of Open Curriculum could be useful for large departments that are looking for a place to share materials that they like and create with each other.

H/T to Larry Ferlazzo

Math Word Wall Posters for Elementary School Classrooms

As the new school year starts many elementary school teachers will be looking for new materials to add to the walls of their classrooms. Measurement Word Wall Posters from Mary at Guided Math could be just what an elementary school teacher needs. The set of ten posters illustrate units of measurement in terms that students can understand. For example, the poster for millimeters depicts a dime and states that one millimeter equals the thickness of a dime. You can find the posters on Guided Math and on Scribd.
Math Measurement Word Wall

H/T to Kelly Hines.

Explore the Moon and Mars in Google Maps

Exploring the moon and Mars has long been an option in Google Earth. That same option is now available in Google Maps too. To view the moon and Mars in Google Maps switch the base map to Earth view then zoom out as far as possible. The options for moon and Mars appear when you have completely zoomed out.

There are labels on the moon and Mars views in Google Maps. You can click the labels to learn a bit more about the highlighted locations. Unfortunately, you cannot create tours or placemarks on the the moon and Mars views in Google Maps in the same manner that you can in Google Earth.

Applications for Education
As mentioned above, the option to explore the moon and Mars has long been available in Google Earth. Being able to do the same in Google Maps presents the same opportunity to students who don't have Google Earth installed on their computers. In particular I am thinking about Chromebook users who aren't able to install Google Earth. The only shortcoming of the moon and Mars views in Google Maps compared to Google Earth is that you cannot measure or add placemarks.

H/T to Google Maps Mania

Teaching History on the Web - A New Practical Ed Tech Course

Ken Hall, creator of the popular US History and World History Teachers blogs, and I have teamed up to design a new online professional development opportunity for teachers.

In Teaching History on the Web we will take you through the process of developing engaging, web-based history lesson plans. This course features three interactive online meetings along with a discussion forum in which you can further interact with me, Ken, and your classmates. The course meetings are August 27th, September 3rd, and September 10th at 8pm EST. Click here to register today or read on for more information.

Course Highlights

  • Find and use flipped videos
  • Create your own flipped videos
  • Learn how to develop a Google Plus community for professional development and instructional purposes.
  • Develop an online Professional Learning Community.
  • Learn how to draw virtual maps.
  • Learn how to locate and help students locate online primary resources.
  • Find and use virtual tours on the Internet
  • Find and use flipped videos
  • Create your own flipped videos
  • Click here to register today!

The cost of this course is $97. 
To give everyone the attention they deserve, registration is limited to 25 participants.

Live sessions will be held on August 27th, September 3rd and 10th from 8pm to 9 pm EST. All sessions are recorded for participants to download and watch at their convenience.

Click here to register today!

Questions? Send an email to richardbyrne (at)

About the costs and my decision to advertise these opportunities on my blog:
Sometimes when I advertise one of these webinars I get messages from people who are upset that I am advertising it here and or that I am charging for it. I understand why some people feel that way. I thought long and hard about how to offer these opportunities. In fact, I thought about it and talked about it with trusted advisors for a year before offering the first webinar series last year. The purpose of this blog and my goal for years has always been to help people use free technology in their classrooms. The tools and strategies featured in my webinars and at the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp are free to use. However, my time for teaching isn't free. Further, I pay licensing fees to GoToTraining and to Wistia for hosting all of the media content of the courses.

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