Don’t sext. Don’t put revealing photos of yourself online. Don’t friend those you don’t know. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandma to see.
The list goes on. We’re full of the “don’ts,” but we should be promoting the “dos.” We should pursue positivity. We should challenge students to do positive work online.
Step 1: Start with a simple brainstorm.
Recently, I met with seventh and eighth grade students to brainstorm a positive online presence. We used Google Docs so students could type simultaneously and all ideas could be present whether or not they are verbalized.
I challenge you to challenge your students or children to discuss orally and in writing.
1. What makes a positive online presence (POP)?
- Born this Way Foundation
- Fenne Snapshot Diaries (My gratitude blog)
- Student Activists with walls & videos
- ReThink App invented by student
4. What types of positive online presences would you like to see at [your school]?
- Examples: app creation, Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/SnapChat, blog, Website…
6. What are the obstacles/negative sides of those positive online presences? (Challenge students to consider all populations and their obstacles. For instance, will males feel as open to be express positive images on Instagram as females?)
- Consider all students – what will we use and what helps us?
7. What will we create today? (Challenge students to work together to create one for the school and then, if they’d also like to create one on their own, they can.)
- You can create individually as well, but today we will create one for the school
8. How will we continue this and ensure it stays positive? (This is the most important question – how will you ensure longevity and monitor negative infringement?)
9. Other thoughts?
Step 2: Small group discussion
Quickly break into groups of 2-3 students. Challenge them to brainstorm positive online presences they would like to create. Ask them to think of:
- a name for the online presence (some said “Meet the Spar-dashians” since we are the Spartans)
- who is the audience
- what is the purpose
- what is the content
- how can we be sure it stays positive
- how can we ensure all are represented
Next, we will begin the creation, sharing, and maintenance of the “POPs.” We must decide how to fit in the creation. When will we find time in the schedule? Who will be part of this – will we include all students are just some?
Step 5: Creation is equally as important as brainstorming.
Step 6: Sharing. Sharing instills intrinsic motivation. We like to see our work get attention. Share the “POPs” in a way students receive some attention and others see positive work showcased. We need to bring attention to positive behavior.