This past summer, many BELS librarians completed an online six week course on Digital Citizenship covering topics such as Online Safety, The Developing Teen Identity in Social Media, and Relationships and Digital Drama. For each topic or module, participants studied background information, took short assessments, delved into student lessons on the topics, and contributed to the online forum where they discussed thought-provoking questions and ideas for implementing these topics in their library media centers. On their way to becoming certified Common Sense Media Educators, our librarians must complete training, teach Digital Citizenship topics to their students, and engage with parents and the school community. This January, librarians from the BELS Consortium gathered in Elmwood Park Memorial High Schools’ spacious and inviting library to participate in a workshop on Digital Citizenship to further enhance their learning on this important aspect of information and online literacy.
Since we had a mixture of attendees, librarians who had not completed the course were given an introduction to Digital Citizenship and why it is so crucial for media specialists to be at the forefront of the movement. Those librarians who had already completed the Digital Citizenship course were led by Peter Richter of Westwood Regional HS in a session on ideas for parent and school engagement, which was based off his extensive experience implementing a culture of Digital Citizenship in his school this year. After these sessions, workshop attendees were given a set of NJ State Technology Standards to choose from, and then broke up into groups to find lessons to meet their chosen standard. Each group primarily used the Common Sense Media Educator website to locate an appropriate and engaging lesson and then modified it to fit their student population, time constraints, or other factors. Each attendee took back to their school a lesson ready to be implemented in their class lessons on an important Digital Citizenship topic.
Following lunch, Andrea Romano of Cliffside Park HS, Ann Hazley of Saddle Brook MS/HS, and Eileen Layman of Wood-Ridge Jr/Sr HS talked about their MakerSpace best practices in their schools. They discussed the clubs, events, and after-school programs that they have developed over the last few years and gave examples of how they have used both the BELS MakerKits and random school supplies to create robust and exciting projects and activities that help their students use problem solving skills in a hands-on way. Our workshop wrapped up with a science-fair-like open play session, with the different components of the BELS MakerKits on display around the library and our resident experts available to demonstrate how to use kits like the 3Doodler, LittleBits, Bloxels, and Ozobots.