Digital Balancing Act

Continuing our Digital citizenship work has been really enlightening. My eldest daughter is the same age as many of my students and my eyes have been truly opened. Kids REALLY need to be TAUGHT about the digital world. They really are immeasurably naive, genuine, innocent, and egocentric. I thought I knew, but the more I know the more realize how little I know. Im really glad that we engaged in this project because I’ve learned a lot, and I am so grateful to be a student along side my students.

So, here is our updated board:


We make an effort to document our learning as we go, so we can look back at shared experiences and learning, and there revisit it and make connections with new information we’ve learned. It’s a way we try to embrace the cyclical nature of learning. We’ve taken time to talk bout privacy, security, safety – passwords, private vs. public information, and how you literally lose control over anything that you post online (nothing can ever truly be deleted entirely). We’ve also talked about Cyberbullying at length (see previous posts).

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This week our focus was finding balance between the “real world” and the “digital world”. We use these terms with some push back because the kids feel as though the digital world IS their REAL world, but they appeased me for simplicity’s sake to use these two terms. Balance is such an enormous topic to explore: balancing screen time and face-to-face times, balance truth and lies, balancing who we are and who we pretend to be, balancing creating content and accessing content. It’s a doozie. So we started small with exploring how we find balance with our responsibilities.

We accessed the Common Sense Media’s digital citizenship curriculum again to help us focus our inquiry and make it more manageable. We started with exploring our Rings of Responsibility. “In the online world, we might think about how what we do affects ourselves. But what about others? In this lesson, students learn about a framework — the rings of responsibility — to understand how to balance their responsibilities as digital citizens. The key is in understanding how the ripple effect of our actions affects both ourselves and others. (Common Sense Education)”

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Then, we used the provided worksheet and contemplated some scenarios. I was really surprised how egocentric the kids were. They coloured in “yourself” for EVERY scenario. Admittedly, they made compelling arguments to support their answers, but I was really surprised how much our answers differed, and how much they differed from the provided answer key. I understand the reasoning behind the answer key and its answers, and I also valued that the kids were demonstrating independent thinking and meaning making. I wondered if our answers highlighted a generational gap, having developed very different relationships with digital media (and having grown up in very different times). So the kids took the sheets home, taught their adults, and got their adults to answer the questions TOO (more on that soon).

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Im not entirely sure what our next step is, but I think we’ll be living in the ‘balancing domain’ for a while… it’s such a BIG concept/theme. I’m trying to develop a provocation that will help them think beyond themselves in more significant ways, and to really consider the impact of balance in an digital age. More to come soon!


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