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LESSON

Producing Digital Information

This lesson focuses on what it means to produce digital content and share information using online platforms.
Grade Level
3-5

Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Identify themselves as producers and communicators of knowledge
  • Develop a deep understanding of at least one online platform that can be used to share information
  • Define what it means to share information responsibly and sensitively
Essential Questions
  • What responsibilities come with producing information and sharing it online?
  • What are some of the different digital platforms I can eventually use to share what I know?
Materials

Vocabulary

author [au-thor] (noun) someone who creates something

information [in-for-mey-shuhn] (noun) knowledge or facts

digital platform [dihd-juh-tuhl-plat-form] (noun) the software that makes up a website that people can use to share and obtain information

genre [zhahn-ruh] (noun) a category or type

responsibly [re spawn suh blee] (adverb) in a way that it sensible and deserving of trust

 

Series Overview

As technology advances and the social landscape shifts, it is crucial for students to become digitally literate citizens. In this series, elementary students will learn the ins and outs of media literacy, from choosing reliable sources and understanding online searches to navigating online security and participating in digital communities.

 

Lesson Overview

Teaching children to participate in the digital world is partly about helping them be wise consumers, but it is also about helping them be responsible producers of information. This lesson focuses on what it means to produce digital content and share information using online platforms.

Students will begin by remembering that every website has at least one author, and they will work on seeing themselves as authors and creators too. Then, they will make mock-ups of different formats they could use to share their expertise, knowledge and understanding online. Students will celebrate what it means to develop content for an online platform creatively and sensibly.

 

Procedure

You Are an Author Too!

1. Write the word author in the middle of your white board or a piece of chart paper, and circle it. Ask students to share any ideas that come to mind when they hear this word. Write their ideas at the ends of lines sticking out of the circle. Then, ask students what changes about their associations when you ask them to think specifically about authors of websites or other online materials. You can pose the following questions and add students’ responses to the chart in another color:

  • What is similar about writing for the internet and writing for print?
  • What is different about writing for the internet and writing for print?
  • What makes a good author, in your opinion? Who is your favorite author?
  • What makes a good internet author, in your opinion?

2. As a class, define the term author, making sure to note that sharing information on the internet makes one an author.

3. Have students talk to neighbors about a time they have been an author or felt like one. Emphasize that an author is someone who shares stories or information with others. Give students a chance to think with their partners about what it means and feels like to create new knowledge and share information with others. If they are struggling to come up with examples, remind them that the writing they have done in school over the course of the year certainly qualifies as authorship!

 

Different Digital Platforms

1. Give students the “Sharing Information Online” handout. Allow them time to read about the different internet genres described on the handout.

2. Break students into small groups, and give the groups time to discuss each of the questions below. Circulate to make note of their responses, questions and ideas. (Note: If most of your students do not use the internet yet, eliminate the first question.)

  • Which of these genres are you most familiar with and why?
  • Which of these genres is best suited to sharing which kind of story or information?
  • Which safety issues do you have to think about when using different genres?
  • Which genres tend to appeal to which audiences and why?

 

Making a Mock-Up

1. Finally, explain to students that they are going to make a mock-up, or prototype, of how they would share information online. You can have students make a mock website about a topic they have been researching in science or social studies, a mock blog in which they share a personal narrative or strong opinion, a mock video (performed as a skit) sharing instructions for doing a particular kind of project or activity, or a mock podcast (performed as a monologue) describing a current event. You can make the mock-up project as simple or complex as time allows. As students work, circulate to talk with students about what changes they would have to make in order to actually put their project on the internet.

2. Host a brief gallery walk or colloquium in which students have a chance to share their work, celebrate themselves as authors and feel excited about the possibility of eventually sharing information using digital platforms.

 

Do Something

Creating a mock-up is really exciting, but it would be great if your students could get some experience—in a safe and private setting—posting information online. If this is possible within your school or community, try to give students the opportunity. Let them respond to one another’s work and reflect on the creative process and how best to give each other constructive and respectful feedback. One free platform you could use is Edmodo. This platform does not require your students to access it with an email address.

Alternatively, ask students to think about ways they know to share their information and knowledge without the internet. Using the mock-ups they created for webpages, help them think about other forums, like school assemblies, posters in the hallway or brochures to hand out. Give students a chance to imagine ways to share their expertise and get comments from others. Later, they will be able to transfer what they learned from this experience to a digital setting.

 

Alignment to Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.7

Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.1.a

Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.1.b

Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.2.a

Introduce a topic clearly and group related information in paragraphs and sections; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.2.d

Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.