Digital literacy describes the set of skills and knowledge needed by today's students to successfully interact with and navigate the modern, digital world. From staying safe online, to understanding how the internet (and the web) work, these skills can only increase in scope as the world becomes increasingly dependent on computers, networks and interlocking software systems.
Knowing how to set up their own blog and what are and aren't good practices give today's students a head-start when it comes to managing their digital footprint.
If they are to make informed choices about how they solve problems, students need to grasp some of the fundamentals which allow us to send messages to the other side of the world in the blink of an eye. The differences between the internet and the World Wide Web are also key.
Understanding what is and isn't safe in terms of their digital footprints, and how to deal with problems as and when they arrive are vital tools that every student needs.
Links and Resources
A lesson plan for a short (1 or 2 hours) session on using online tools such as Google Docs to manage and create content, in the cloud. Students create various artefacts, including a guide for other students to use and evaluate the whole process. If a school is using equivalent services from another company, then the activities could almost certainly be adapted to work with their offerings too. There is a warning note included in the guide that, students need to be 13 or over in order to create a Google account, if a school is using Google Apps For Education then this restriction is circumvented and the resource could be used with students in Year 7.
This resource provides an overview for a lesson where students in Year 7 choose a blogging platform (if they are allowed to choose for themselves this comparing and contrasting the various offerings could be a lesson in itself), and set up a blog. They are also given various prompts to help with evaluating what they've done and guidance that they should publish an article at least once per week, as a form of reflective homework. Depending on restrictions in place in different schools, specific blogging platforms could be chosen, the school itself could host the blogs, or a VLE such as Moodle could be used to handle this. Links to e-safety and lessons on managing their digital footprint would probably need to have been undertaken before doing this.
A resource which covers a lesson or series of lessons on how the internet works, the students are expected to then produce a resource which details this. The resource suggest using an online tool called SnapGuide to create this https://snapguide.com/ but any suitable tool could be used in its place. Students would probably need guidance on what level of detail they will need to provide information about (hardware layer, network layer etc) and also additional notes on suitable sources for the information.
A complete unplugged activity for a lesson in how data packets travel across the Internet, and how the complete message that they contain is reassembled. The activity also has provision for students to film themselves participating in the process and explaining the stages that everything goes through. There are also some other resources to help flesh out the background of the lesson and possibly to extend it if necessary.
A practical, hands on, unplugged activity which gets students to model how IP routing and related technologies enable packets of data to be routed successfully over the internet. The students will need to have had a lesson detailing the background of routers, switches, IP Addresses and similar technologies and how they work, but will then be able to act out the whole system. The task is set up for a class of 21 students, but with some modification could be made to work with other sizes of class.
This resource consists of an outline of a project for students to undertake in order to research their digital rights and responsibilities, along with aspects of staying safe online. This resource could easily be tailored for different age and ability ranges. The level of scaffolding provided making it easy to differentiate within a given class as well as across year groups. Depending on timescale this could also be increased into a larger multi-media project or condensed down into a small, single lesson activity.