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Creating Digital Citizen Super Heroes in Middle School

Primary Investigator(s): Liz Kolb

Funding Agency: MACUL

Period: 9/2/2014 - 9/1/2015

This grant is targeted at preparing new teachers to teach middle school students about digital citizenship. Elementary preservice teachers at the University of Michigan will develop and teach 10-minute “centers” on digital citizenship for local middle school students (in grades 6 and 8) during their 52 minute class periods. The preservice teachers will work with the 6th and 8th grade language arts teachers to develop centers around digital citizenship. The preservice teachers will guide the 6th and 8th graders through the centers and ultimately help them develop guidelines for being a responsible digital citizen. The guidelines will be used throughout the school year in their English classes when they do online activities. The 6th grade centers will focus on introducing the students to the world of social media such as setting up digital profiles, being stranger safe, digital footprints, and responsible digital discourse. The 8th grade centers will focus on the more complex aspects of digital citizenship such as information literacy, copyright and fair use, and online relationships. By doing this activity the new teachers, the veteran teachers and the middle school students’ will all benefit. The teachers will learn how to better prepare students for the complexities of the digital world, while the middle school students will learn how to navigate digital spaces safely and responsibly. By doing a 2-tiered approach, the 6th graders curriculum will be reinforced when the students get to 8th grade two years later. The goal is to sustain this project for many years. The centers developed and this approach can easily be integrated into other middle schools across Michigan. The funds from this grant will cover the costs of the equipment for creating the centers.