Unpacking Digital Citizenship

I have found the readings and discussion on Digital Citizenship sort of abstract and challenging. From my understandings, Digital Citizenship is a fancy title for a person’s online presence but I think since each person is unique, their definition of Digital Citizenship also becomes unique. I did some online research of my own and found the below infographic on ISTE-the International Society for Technology in Education. This infographic is from 2014, so the stats are likely out of date, but I enjoyed the visual explanation of what a good Digital Citizen is. As well, I know that ISTE is a legit organization, mostly because we learned that a safe website has “http” at the beginning, and look at this: https://www.iste.org/. SAFE! I jest; there are other reasons I know this is a legit organization, don’t worry.

digital-citizen_infographic_final

I also found the 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship helpful because it is laid out in a nice, simple, organized way that my brain enjoyed. Mike Ribble explains the 9 elements, and then categorizes them into REP’s (see below), and then tells me how these can be incorporated into the different classrooms by grade.

Respect Your Self/Respect Others

Etiquette

– Access

– Law

Educate Your Self/Connect with Others

Literacy

– Communication

– Commerce

Protect Your Self/Protect Others

-Rights and Responsibility

– Safety (Security)

– Health and Welfare

These 9 elements all relate to students having an online presence, and having it safely. I believe that in this day and age, it is a teacher’s job to educate students on Digital Citizenship. Partly because it is in the curriculum, but also because it just makes sense. We are in a technology-rich and technology-savvy world now. When I was a child I remember when we got our first computer and set it up on the dining room table. We didn’t even have dial-up internet yet and I played barbie games and did puzzles that came on a CD free with the computer. Later, once we had dial-up internet and I was a teenager, I stayed up all hours of the night chatting on MSN Messenger. The way kids use technology and online services is so differently now when I grew up, and it creates an additional subject they need to be educated in. That is why I really liked the infographic that related regular citizenship to digital citizenship. I think much of what students need to learn about Digital Citizenship overlaps with offline citizenship. As I read one of my classmates blog posts on Digital Citizenship, I felt that our thoughts were similar. As Andrea shares,

I believe that the other elements that our specifically related to technology need to be integrated into our curriculum as well since this will only become more and more apart of our lives. This too can be interwoven into the curriculum. In order to effectively teach digital citizenship we as teachers need to teach ourselves what this means and integrate lessons throughout our subjects that we teach. It does not need to be this completely separate thing because to students, their time spent online is not separated from their time that is not online.

Education includes etiquette, access, law, literacy, communication, commerce, rights and responsibility, safety, and health in offline areas of life, and now it is just as important to add the online version of these things into standard K-12 education. I think it is great that this is in the curriculum and it should be second nature to teach it.

The problem is, good Digital Citizenship doesn’t come naturally to many teachers because they weren’t raised in the same internet-heavy era. A class like this almost needs to be mandatory to receive an Education Degree. I chose this class because I liked the timeline and it works great to help me finish my degree a bit earlier than expected. I almost chose a different class. There are probably many of my peers that will not take a class like this, and will still have an Education Degree at the end of it all. ECMP 355 peers, do you have any thoughts on this? Does a class such as ECMP 355 with a heavy online presence and a heavy modern technology use need to be mandatory for our degrees?

Let me know what you think!

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