The below video summarizes the research performed in my classroom during the Spring of 2021.
Background and Need for Digital Citizenship
Before COVID 19, elementary age students’ (grades kindergarten through five) computer awareness and internet knowledge was much less than it is today. Pre-COVID, elementary students were asked to type reports, research information and test on the computers. In addition, all online activities during school were observed by the teachers, while students worked in the classroom. Since the global pandemic, students of all ages are now using the internet on a daily basis. They are being taught to research sites, use gaming to learn with others, chat between peers, email, and use different platforms for receiving and submitting lessons. Most of this is occurring outside of the classroom and out of sight of the teacher being able to observe their internet usage. In the researcher's own experience as a third grade teacher, the researcher has encountered a need to teach students how to use social media platforms because students are registering themselves before the appropriate age of 13. In addition, some are engaging in inappropriately aged games. These activities are outside of the teacher’s control. Therefore, schools need to create lessons to teach students how to behave respectfully online. Teachers need to teach students how to show empathy online, be respectful online, be responsible online users, and how to be safe online. Teachers need to incorporate SEL and Digital Citizenship lessons into their curriculum to teach their students how to successfully engage online. Schools have been using SEL lessons, like Second Step (http://www.secondstep.org), in the classroom for many years. Second Step is a social emotional learning program that helps young students develop the skills to interact with their peers in positive ways. Research has shown positive results in behavior from students who have had the opportunity to be taught SEL lessons. In the researcher’s school district Second Step programs are used with PBIS practices to encourage and foster healthy relationships between students. Dusenbury & Weissberg (2017) stated, “Research has shown that student benefits of SEL include positive social behaviors, fewer conduct problems, less emotional distress, and improved grades and test scores” (McCormac & Snyder, 2019, p. 2). Schoolwide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (SWPBIS) (https://pbis.org) has been found to decrease disruptive behaviors. In an article titled, “Schoolwide PBIS: Review of Studies in the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions'', Bradshaw, Mitchell and Leaf (2010) reported: “More than 9,000 U.S. school are now implementing SWPBIS in order to decrease disruptive behavior problems by applying the principles of behavior, social learning, and organizational behavior” (Ogulmus & Vuran, 2016, p.1507). Since 2007 the researcher’s school district in California has implemented Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) districtwide. During the 10 years from 2008 to 2018, there was a 75% decrease in incidents leading to suspensions, a 73% decrease in the number of days suspended, and a 99% decrease in expulsions (Mooiman, 2018, slide 7). More recently, the researcher’s school district has implemented restorative justice and community circles. Justicepolicy.org, an online website, states: “Other schools are exploring restorative justice programs, which focus on forming relationships between teachers, students and administrators and giving students an opportunity to resolve problems by talking about them” (Nelson & Lind, 2015). Relationship building between the student-to-teacher and the student-to-student decreases problems in schools. Reducing problems in schools, reduces suspensions and expulsions. In 2014, the researcher’s school site had 354 referrals to the principal. In the 2019-2020 school year, referrals to the principal have dropped to 15. Finally, and less significantly, there is a financial savings of $250,000 per year in Academic Daily Attendance (ADA) for suspensions alone (Mooiman, 2018, slide 7). McCormac and Synder (2019) cited research from Jones, Crowley, and Greenberg’s 2017 study that states, “SEL programs also provide an economic return, especially if children are young when they first receive services'' (p. 2). According to the School Climate Report Card (https://WestEd.org) for the researcher’s school, in 2017, 76% of the 5th grade class reported a positive school connectedness, 75% reported having caring relationships at school, 84% reported having strong social emotional supports, and 77% of students reported having an anti-bullying climate at school. In 2018, 76% of the 5th grade class reported a positive school connectedness, 71% reported having caring relationships at school, 75% reported having strong social emotional support, and 73% of students reported having an anti-bullying climate at school (https://WestEd.org). It is evident that research supports SEL lessons in the classrooms and PBIS is working in the researcher’s school district. The need to continue those practices and include online digital citizenship lessons is also important, especially during this time of teaching virtually.
Committee for Children (2012-2021). http://www.secondstep.org
McCormac, M. E & Snyder, S. (2019). Districtwide Initiative to Improve Tier 1 With Evidence-Based Classroom Lessons. Professional School Counseling, 22 (1b) 1-11. http://doi.org/10.1177/2156759X19834438
Mooiman, L. (2018). Positive Behavior Strategies for the Classroom: Increase Student Engagement, Improve Behavior and Boost Student & Teacher Wellbeing with PBIS & Restorative Practices. Napa Valley Unified School District.
Nelson, L. & Lind, D. (2015). The school to prison pipeline, explained. VOX. JPI in the News, Criminal Justice News. http://www.justicepolicy.org/news/8775
Ogulmus, K. & Vuran, S. (2016). Schoolwide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support Practices: Review of Studies in the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions. Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri; Istanbul, 16(5).
School Climate Report Card. (2017-2019). CalSCHLS WestEd.org.
A review of existing literature examined digital citizenship, social-emotional learning, Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS), and technology. Seminal authors, such as George Sugai and Rob Horner covered PBIS, while James P. Steyer, CEO and founder of CommonSense.org covered Digital Citizenship. Foundations such as Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media, and 2007 National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) professional development institutes supported research of using technology appropriately for learning. The purpose of this research was to investigate the impact of blending digital citizenship lessons with Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) to support elementary students’ online learning. Research began by gathering information from students regarding their online screen time activities. Research continued to grow by gathering information of how much students already know about digital citizenship, via an online pre-assessment. Eight CommonSense.org lessons were taught over a month-and-a-half period and a final assessment was given to show progress and learning. The review of available peer reviewed research related to the proposed action research project informed the research plan.
To see the full literature review and article, please click on the PDF below: