My focus thus far on my major project was on TikTok but for this post I wanted to shift my attention over to the second app I will be diving further into; Edsby, and how the 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship fits here.
“ Digital Access is about the equitable distribution of technology and online resources. Teachers and administrators need to be aware of their community and who may or may not have access, not only in school but at home as well. Educators need to provide options for lessons and data collection such as free access in the community or provide resources for the home.” https://www.digitalcitizenship.net/nine-elements.html
Digital access is the first element of digital citizenship and the first that I wanted to discuss. When the shift was made to Edsby for parents to see their students digital portfolio, enter absences, see students grades, have access to report cards, etc. This was seen as through the eyes of privilege. We discuss throughout our university classes (undergrad & graduate) the privilege that many of us have, we become very aware of this, it is drawn out of us. Thinking of this brings me to my last class with Dr. Twyla Salm where we discussed so many versions of privilege; racism, ableism, sexism, and heterosexual normative discourses and I see that accessibility to technology could easily find a spot here too. It is wrong to assume that parents always have access to internet , that phones are never disconnected, or that parents have access to a computer. I bring up computers in particular because Edsby works better on computers then on a phone, so if you want full access to your child’s learning or the many other things Edsby can offer you need a computer. To have a computer, a cell phone and reliable access to the internet is privilege, an assumption that most have both. Full disclosure here, until beginning my masters I have not had a computer in my house in years; I didn’t need one at home. So if not in my masters my only option for checking on my own children’s work on Edsby or having full access to what it offers parents would be through my work computer. But what if I wasn’t a teacher, what if I was a mom working at a job that did not have computer access, I guess I would miss out on some stuff hey? But no big deal I probably would not know what I was missing out on anyways.
“We need to know our community and be aware of who may not have access at home as well” so how does Edsby then support this? It does not. As mentioned above there is a scaled down version on the phone app but that does not address those who have lack of cell phone data. There is definitely some work that needs to be done here; I have brought it up a few times to administration and others.
The second element of citizenship that I will focus on is digital communication and collaboration which is the electronic exchange of information. For students this is great, they are able to see their marks in real time, and in the older grades their assignments are/can be assigned on here. I have yet to dive more into this but my daughter and her teachers use them frequently and they both seem to understand and engage in the platform with ease. When it comes to parent access to this form of digital communication I focused on the negative above which still applies here but for the parents who do not meet the criteria above and are using Edsby it is a good platform to show parents their child’s work through the learning story, or to see school newsletters etc. I appreciate checking in on my daughters grades, seeing if they were handed in on time but also seeing the areas she struggles in or is thriving in; it opens up the conversation at home more. However part of being able to share this information is also being able to understand it; and for some of my schools cliental we have ESL families who speak/read little English and therefore understanding the Edsby app would be very difficult to navigate let alone being able to read the messages. This is an area Edsby could provide a better service in to make is more accessible to other languages so communication can occur.
The third element I would like to talk about is digital fluency in relation to Edsby. As a parent I am able to easily navigate the program and see what it is intended for. I like that I can promote comments and show good digital citizenship by leaving comments on my child’s learning story posts. As a teacher I am doing the bare minimum that the program can offer, I do my attendance, enter grades, upload work to students learning stories. I have taught my students to find their grades, locate their learning stories, and taught them how to leave comments or upload their own work (thanks to our Tech Ed guy he opened this up for me last month). I would like to become more digitally fluent in the app and thus my students can become more fluent as well. To increase my students fluency in the app and for students who are younger then grade 4 I strongly believe there needs to be a elementary version or platform created; I find the layout too advance for our younger learners; and as it stands right now it appeals to more advanced students. Which I am not sure why the Edsby website appears to show that it is actually child friendly with a space theme background but that is truly not the case at all. Take a look at the pictures below; it is misleading to me.
There is definitely more that needs to be done to meet the 9 elements of digital citizenship within the Edsby platform. The first is to examine the place of privilege and second the ease of use for the younger cliental. This meme below speaks to many different levels.