I had a hard time coming up with an idea that incorporated global digital citizenship in a physics curriculum meaningfully. Ultimately I had my students work in small groups to plan and teach 20 minute lessons to small groups of lower school students. I had considered this idea initially, but was skeptical that it was practical. I owe a huge thanks to Roxanne Warner for putting all of the logistics together!
The planning stages of this project were very interesting. I wanted to ensure that my students were teaching meaningful physics vs. just playing with the elementary students. In that sprit, I let students know that a part of their grade would depend on the elementary students learning at least one thing from their lesson. They immediately bulked at this idea. What if their students didn’t pay attention or worse purposely sabotaged the lesson? As a teacher, it was great to see my students realize that teaching might not be as easy as they thought.
The lessons themselves were very successful – the elementary students loved them. It was fun to watch the elementary students experiment with and explain simple physics concepts. My students enjoyed the experience too. We used four class periods to complete the project (two planning, one peer editing, and then the actual lessons), but I feel like it was time well spent. From a physics standpoint, my students were learning as they taught. I was also pleased when I heard my students say things like:
This [teaching] is hard.
You do this for five periods?
Global Digital Citizenship still feels like an abstract hodgepodge of all the other fluencies wrapped in one to me. The 21st century learning site even states:
All the 21st Century fluencies are learned within the context of the Digital Citizen, using the guiding principles of leadership, ethics, accountability, fiscal responsibility, environmental awareness, global citizenship and personal responsibility.
As my students saw, teaching is almost the embodiment of this fluency. My novice-teachers solved problems, interpreted and manipulated information, thoughtfully used media, and worked collaboratively/creatively while planning and executing their lessons. Several of the guiding principles including leadership, ethics, global citizenship and personal responsibility were also key to our success. I especially like the fact that my students bought into the project as something “real.” I think it is very hard to encourage characteristics like personal responsibility or leadership in venues that seem artificial to students.
I was glad that this fluency was our last – I feel like it was great closure for our journey through 21st century fluencies this year!