When I think about digital citizenship I focus in on the importance of teaching our students how to properly, appropriately, and positively before sending them into the digital world. Not only the do’s and dont’s, but also the consequences, not only that their presence on the web will be part of their digital footprint for their entire lives, but also that the screen may protect them from face-to-face communication, but it does not protect them from laws and the consequences of their actions online.
There are so many ways I can take digital citizenship, as I learned in class there are 9 strands: etiquette, literacy, access, security, health&safety, commerce, communication, rights&responsibilities, and law. All are important. All should be incorporated into our teaching philosophy.
Fitting into the curriculum, I think teaching digital citizenship is a tool we need in order to reach the fundimental goals: lifelong learners, engaged citizens, and a sense of self, community, and place. In a world where majority of the communication, learning, and overall interaction of people takes place online, we must prepare our students to interact with the web in a way that will further their knowledge, abilities, and sense of identity.
I am a firm believer that digital citizenship should not be its own unit or mini unit, rather it should be integrated into all areas of learning. As an English teacher, I can use digital citizensip examples as prompts, conversation starters, debate topics, or part of the prior knowledge needed in order to successfully complete a project. For me as a teacher, I think it is important to teach etiquette, reality, and tools for successfully navigating the web. I would not be able to comment or dock marks for a students use of false information/crypted websites if I have not taught them how to identify what is accurate and what is inaccurate inforamtion. Learning this skill will allow students to decipher what is true or false news on their social media accounts, the idea of researching before sharing is an aspect of the digital age that I feel our students should know.
Edutopia has a handful of articles and tools that teacher’s can use within their own classrooms to start conversation, spark ideas, and begin to teach positive digital citizenship. The article I found provides 11 different videos that can be brought into the classroom or watched on your own time to become more knowledgable on the concept of being a good digital citizen. From TedTalks, online safety, to ads, it provides a variety of perspectives and concepts to engage in. I highly reccomend taking a look at: 5 Minute Film Festival (link) by Amy Erin Borovoy. It is full of great tools and also provides links with more resources that may help you bring digital citizenship into your classroom on a regular basis.
In a previous post I talked about how our digital footprint is inevitable. It should be our responsibility as teachers to help our students create and learn how to maintaine a positive identity both online and in real life. Engaged citizens take all forms, let’s help our students not onle be engaged in their real lives but also in their digital lives. If we don’t help show them the basics, who will?
Our students live and breathe technology, but they don’t yet know how to properly behave on or with it.