Navigating the Digital Universe

Through blended hands-on and digital activities, elementary students learn how to engage with technology and navigate the digital world in a positive, safe, and responsible way. With the help of Chancellor Axel, President Teddy, and their trusted robot Maze, students explore five planets to learn about digital safety, communication, literacy, and ethics. Students apply their knowledge by creating a public service announcement to broadcast across the digital universe and teach others how to be good digital citizens.

Navigating the Digital Universe introduces students to digital citizenship in a fun, exploratory space. In the introductory lesson, students meet the hosts of their journey, President Teddy and Chancellor Axel. Their guides explain that a gloomy haze has settled over the planets in the kid-run solar system. The more reckless the residents behave, the thicker the haze becomes. To help teach residents what it means to be good digital citizens in the hopes of lifting the haze, Teddy and Axel built a friendly robot, Maze. But before teaching others, Maze must first learn what it means to good digital citizen! This is where the students come in…they join Maze on a journey around the solar system to learn more about digital citizenship.  

The Digital Universe includes five planets:
  • Citizen Central: The central planet to which all other planets are connected. The home of President Teddy and Chancellor Axel. Maze was created in the lab here.
  • SafeNet: Here, residents are acting in a way that’s putting their safety at risk! They’re sharing too much personal and private information online. They’re also creating weak passwords, which is putting their most valuable information at risk.
  • Communication Nation: A place where residents’ behavior is having a negative impact on their digital tattoos, and they’re engaging in risky, unsafe conversations online.
  • LitWorld: A world full of residents that are easily falling victims to online scams and engaging with or sharing unreliable information.
  • Ethical Republic: Here, cyberbullying, irresponsible sharing, and a general lack of digital balance is plaguing residents.

This challenge consists of ten lessons addressing digital safety, communication, literacy, and ethics. Aligned with national education standards, this flexible program can be implemented in virtual, hybrid, or in-person classrooms.

 

 

Lesson Plan Overview

 

Lesson 1: Digital Citizenship Introduction (45-60 Minutes) — Students are introduced to the topic of digital citizenship and begin to learn how it is relevant to everyday habits and actions. Students also meet their hosts—Teddy, Axel, and Maze—and learn about the problematic digital haze that has taken over the universe. Students must help Maze travel the universe and learn what it means to be a good digital citizen in order to lift the haze and restore balance to the solar system.

Lesson 2: Private and Personal Information (45-60 Minutes) — Students learn the difference between private information and personal information. They then identify examples of when it would be safe to share personal and private information.

Lesson 3: Creating a Strong Password (45-60 Minutes) — Students learn how to create strong passwords to help protect their private and personal information. 

Lesson 4: Understanding the Impact of Your Digital Tattoo (45-60 Minutes) — Students consider long-term, permanent effects of their digital actions by discussing digital tattoos.

Lesson 5: Safe Digital Communication (45-60 Minutes) — Students discuss the risks and benefits of connecting with other people online and learn how to identify warning signs of a risky conversations. They then practice how they would respond to a risky conversation so they can “keep it safe and keep it fun”.

Lesson 6: Identifying Phishing Scams (45-60 Minutes) — Students learn ways to recognize potential phishing and catfishing scams.

Lesson 7: Identifying Trustworthy Sites and Communication (45-60 Minutes) — Students learn how to determine the credibility of a digital source and consider the impacts of sharing information with others in the digital space.

Lesson 8: Identifying and Addressing Cyberbullying (45-60 Minutes) — Students discuss what cyberbullying is, how it happens, what it looks like, and what they can do if they witness cyberbullying or are being cyberbullied.

Lesson 9: Positive and Responsible Sharing (45-60 Minutes) — Students look at examples of positive digital sharing and discuss their responsibility to others with these actions.

Lesson 10: Finding Our Digital Balance (45-60 Minutes) — Students discuss the importance of balancing their digital and non-digital activities and brainstorm ways to manage negative thoughts and feelings caused by digital media.

Final Challenge: Lift the Haze, Restore the Balance! (two to three 30-minute classes) — For the culminating activity, students are asked to create a PSA for Maze to broadcast across the entire Digital Universe. Students must recall the digital citizenship lessons they’ve learned throughout the challenge to create an informing and attention-grabbing segment. Students have the option of filming their PSA or acting it out for the class in a skit format.

Each classroom kit provides educators with everything needed to implement Navigating the Digital Universe with a user-friendly online portal. Through the portal, educators can download materials including:

  • Teacher’s manual
  • Supporting PPTs
  • Digital Explorations
  • Digital AWIM Notebooks

In addition to a unique code to access the online portal, each kit also contains 32 printed AWIM Notebooks.

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