By Pamela Collins
At first, many students thought that the best way to respond to a cyberbully was to answer back, get revenge. After many discussions, thoughtful questions and role playing, we determined that this rarely led to the best positive outcome, which is to alleviate feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, and fear.
Students role play (active learning) using ShowMe to develop a deeper, more universal understanding of a healthier response to a cyberbully, such as ignoring or telling an adult.
The idea behind active learning is pretty simple: Students absorb core concepts, and then apply that knowledge to challenges or projects to develop a deeper understanding of the content. Students can build skills around critical thinking, ethical discussion, and decision making.
Students demonstrated how to:
- Empathize with those who have received mean and hurtful messages
- Judge what it means to cross the line from harmless to harmful communication online.
- Generate solutions for dealing with cyberbullying
- Attain the best positive outcome.
We really want to believe that demonstrating these target goals by role playing helps students understand the concepts. However, as we think about many adults in our lives, many have trouble overreacting to similar situations. It takes great will and much practice to walk away from a provocative situation; many adults, rather than stepping away, choose to retaliate at such moments. This may be a lesson that needs to be continually taught, modeled, demonstrated and supported by educators at all levels.
To see an example of one of our projects, click here.
To see a presentation of lesson protocols and results, click here.
To get started with ShowMe or to view an introductory video, click here.
To see research on hands-on active learning, click here.
Pamela Collins is the Library/Media Specialist at Rockwell Elementary School.