What Teaching And Learning Practices Are Problematic Online

Educators urge schools to evaluate their online and in-person lessons with a critical eye, says author Christine Hollen.

What Teaching And Learning Practices Are Problematic Online

Teaching children how to communicate well online should start with the fundamental ideas of empathy and respect. Keeping these basic principles of student-centered teaching and learning, in the classroom and online, is vital for children to prepare for life and for the online lessons they’ll take in the future.

Photo: Getty Images

This blog is part of a collaboration between BOLT and STEAM Among Us. Everyone who loves STEAM-based learning should read this post, because STEAM offers more opportunities to foster emotional intelligence than any other learning method.

In today’s digital age, classrooms across the country are considering digital homework and technology integration to aid in students’ engagement and learning. What can you teach students online about positive internet behaviors, then translate it to a classroom setting to ensure they have critical digital literacy for working in the classroom?

1. Back to basics

Our families learned basic concepts of proper etiquette around the dinner table, like asking our parents to “please,” being respectful of their guests and saying “please” when making a comment, on a daily basis. While families typically discuss internet etiquette with each other, it’s even more important to help students practice it online.

Practicing good internet etiquette can help students understand how to be respectful to others online, manage social media profiles well and set limits with their online activities. A simpler way to practice internet etiquette is by always following “please and thank you.” This communication helps show students the importance of being direct and respectful of others, with small reminders along the way.

2. Empathy is the power of positive app-related social media manners

Today’s digital world has given our children more opportunities to use technology. Empathy is key to effectively learning in this age of social media. Students who show emotion in their online social media profiles make those apps and social networks more engaging and valuable.

This is where photos with positive emotions can create a lasting impression. Personal photos may be the best way to create and support feelings, because using emotions to express feelings helps students learn their own identity and identity of others through emojis, hearts, various sentiments, etc.

3. Time is what you make it

Providing students with ample opportunity to practice and refine their digital manners is a must. Acknowledge students’ needs and then work to maximize their time with digital experiences.

Ask students to schedule 15-20 minutes of ongoing time to work on Internet etiquette with a teacher or a digital school tutor. Often, digital school trainers and teachers provide weekly sessions with valuable resources to teach and reinforce good digital citizenship. Ask for their notes and help with workflow in order to prioritize times of need for online activities for students.

4. Be active bystanders

Bystanders can help curb bad behavior. By observing offensive behaviors and threats in games or messages, as well as witnessing inappropriate use of social media, students can encourage responsible digital behavior.

To be truly positive bystanders, always be at the ready to respond to students’ concerns. Proactively acting on student concerns will show students that teachers and other adults care about what’s happening online and that peers have their backs.

Next, be proactive about online interactions to prevent harmful behaviors. Always ask students if they’re okay, as well as post an image of yourself if you notice a student has been posting inappropriate, threatening or abusive content.

Identifying and responding to problematic behavior is only the first step; actively being a part of the solution will help students reinforce the skill set they learn to successfully navigate their digital lives in the future.

Online communications matter

A misstep or mistake online can cause negative brand damage to a business or brand. The devastation can be the difference between someone giving a job to the future owner of the business and someone ending up in prison.

The more internet mistakes that students make, the less likely they are to get the job, which means they’ll be less employable. Reminding students that their online mistakes matter will give them the tools and confidence they need to mitigate internet risks and build happy, happy online lives for the future.

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