Our students are joining digital communities at very young ages and not reflecting on their roles as community members. Every member has rights and responsibilities which make their communities flourish. When members do not make it their duty to respect the rules, norms, or other members then the community suffers. The problem is our digital communities consist of millions and several members do not ever reflect on their roles and responsibilities as members of the community or care much about the people or value of their digital communities. This is why responsibility to one’s online and real world communities is one of the main themes and objectives students learn in my new book, Hacking Digital Learning Strategies: 10 Ways to Launch EdTech Missions.Community begins in the classroom. This begins with a class conversation preferably in a circle, which signifies equality and connection. You come up with the rules together and talk about what it means to be a member of your classroom community. Discuss the duties, rights, and responsibilities. After they share ideas collect these in one area and turn this into the code of conducts they sign and agree to.Also, discuss how the community is impacted when someone doesn’t follow the community codes of conduct. When students don’t follow the codes of conduct, don’t punish them. Instead, get students to reflect on how their actions hurt the class community. We need students to see their actions have real consequences and impact the lives of others. We need them to own this and want to care to do better.Make sure students drive the conversation so they reflect on what it means to serve a community. Also, ask students to think about the online communities they belong to and their roles and responsibilities. Ask them how they can better serve these communities. If students are constantly learning about what it means to serve a community in your classroom then they will better serve their digital communities. For more ideas see my post, Icebreakers for Relationship Building, We Aren’t a Class! We are a Community!, and Resources for Creating a Safe Classroom Environment.Challenge– Transform your class into a community.
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