Digital Citizenship factors into this.

Now that you’ve seen a few of the features of Google Meet – or perhaps have even partcipated in a Google Meet “event” since this Covid-19 pandemic began to speed up. That means your teacher brain is thinking “there is so much *stuff* for my students to mess around with!!!

You aren’t wrong.

Just like on the first day of school when students enter our class, we go over the classroom rules, we are going to have to establish some digital citizenship rules. Using the text chat appropriately IS digital citizenship. (So there you go, you’ve tackled dig cit with your class!!!) But just as all classrooms are different, so also will the rules for online participation be. Obviously child development is going to come into play here. Senior high students will use that much differently than Div 1, 2 and 3 students will. Especially senior high students who are feeling panic-stricken at classes being canceled. Leverage their cooperation right from the start.

And remind them that EVERYTHING they type into that chat will be sent to you in a document at the end of class. Everything. In fact, make that statement IN the chat on the first day, and ask ALL students to type “I understand” into the chat. It can’t hurt to have a record of the fact that you told them this right up front and they confirmed their understanding!!


If I were still in the classroom, I’d do the first Google Meet as a test of sorts. I’d use it as an opportunity to reconnect with the kids; to let them see me, as well as one another and see first-hand that everyone is okay. Alleviate that anxiety. Then I’d talk to them a little bit about digital citizenship and expectations of participants in an online class. Maybe I’d cue up a cute video from youtube – just a short two or three minute clip of something amusing, just to demonstrate to them how we are going to connect together as a class. I’d let them play for a few minutes with the chat (using appropriate for school words, of course) so that the compunction to play with it during instructional time would be lessened because they’ve already seen what it can (and cannot) do. Obviously every teacher has their own style, but in two decades of teaching technology I did learn one fundamental thing about kids and technology. They seem to need a minute or two to play and explore before they are ready to focus.