Digital Access: A Student Perspective

In the Digital Literacy/Web 2.0 course I teach at Burlington High School, my students are in the midst of collaborating on a digital magazine project that will focus on educating their peers, educators, and administrators on the complex concepts of digital citizenship. My inspiration for this project came from Meenoo Rami during Edu Con. While I wasn’t able to attend EduCon, I did follow the hashtag on Twitter, and I’m glad that I did. There was a lot of Tweeting going on that day, but the one that stood out to me the most was a digital magazine Meenoo’s students had created. I was instantly inspired not only by the design, but more so by the content. I am always looking for ways for to incorporate writing into the curriculum, and when I saw what Meenoo’s students had created, I thought I could try something similar with my students. Tackling this project has been a large undertaking to say the least, and it is going to take a lot longer than I had originally planned. However, I’m confident the end result will be impressive and informative. More importantly, it will be another item for my students to add to their digital portfolios.

The project has been broken up into several major components; research, writing and editing, and layout and design. My students have each been assigned to research one of the nine aspects of digital citizenship. They each had  to summarize their research in the form of an article that will be featured in the publication. In addition to including secondary sources, I’ve encouraged each student to provide anecdotal evidence and draw upon his or her personal experience as an individual member of our digital society. This will allow each student to craft an article that brings their unique perspective to the topic. I’ve emphasized to think critically about the role technology plays in their personal lives as well as how they use technology as a student in a 1:1 iPad high school.

All students in the class have been assigned the role of  contributors, or authors. Students have shared their completed articles via Google Drive into a shared Drive folder that are now being proofread and edited by my editing and layout/design team. Once each article has been copy edited, we will begin the layout and design process. At this point, several more students will be brought onto the leadership team to collaborate on building each page in the magazine. Students will work together to decide on all of the formatting features and hopefully the final product will be completed within the next week or two.

Below is a sneak peek of what’s to come in the soon-to-be-named digital citizenship magazine. Authored by Ryan, one of my seniors, the article covers the topic of digital access. Ryan does a nice job defining this component of digital citizenship and has also shared his personal experience as a student coming from a 1:1 iPad school.

Digital Access: The Use of Technology in Schools.
by Ryan Johnson

 Digital Access can be defined as full electronic participation in society. In this article I will focus on a key part of digital access, the use of technology in school. Burlington High School has been doing a 1:1 program for almost 3 years now, where every student in the school gets an iPad. I feel like this has helped me tremendously; it brings benefits such as better organization, easier access to resources, saving paper, and easier collaborative work. I love having all of my school work on just one device, not scattered throughout a bunch of notebooks. The course of Web 2.0 at BHS teaches how to maximize the efficiency of using technology.

Technology is necessary in today’s educational setting. The working world, which school is preparing our students for, operates largely on technology. Factory procedures are coordinated with technology. The use of technological robotics is becoming more and more common. Our students need to learn as much about technology as they can to find a place in today’s world. Technology is a positive and beneficial part of our society. It has brought us close and has so many benefits, be they medical, financial, societal, etc. To ignore those capabilities in education would truly diminish the ability of students to benefit from all the positive gains from technology. That being said, I believe we should use technology in moderation.

Students need to understand how to use technology, because it is used everywhere in today’s society. Technology is also very helpful to students with disabilities, it opens doors and creates new possibilities for them. The only cons with using technology is the control of its usage and not using it so much that it would take the place of the teacher. Overall, I believe technology such as iPads or laptops is essential for education in modern times. Future jobs will involve technology heavily, so it is a great idea to get students used to technology, and even ahead of the curve.

I’m excited to see the final draft of the project  (there will be two different magazines because I have two sections of the course) and share my students’ hard work. Stay tuned!


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