This week, our ecmp class began to cover the vast concept of Digital Citizenship. I was surprised to learn how extensive this new, emerging concept is. I was expecting something more limited in regards to how we portray ourselves online. While the portrayal of self is certainly a part of what digital citizenship, it is by no means conclusive. There are so many things to consider when thinking about digital citizenship.
A definition of digital citizenship that I really like is found on the website I linked to earlier, it is as follows: “Digital citizenship is the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use.” It is a concept that educators can use to teach their students how to use technology appropriately.
Here is an infographic that I found that is comparing regular citizens with digital citizens:
There is a whole new level is citizenship introduced when technology is included. Not only do we need to be cautious of how we interact with one another irl, but also in cyberspace. Accountability is key, it is so easy to sit behind a screen and say whatever comes to mind or do whatever you please. A mindset like that is particularly dangerous, especially with young people who may lack foresight and realize the consequences of their actions.
After reading this article (fabulous read by the way, left me with plenty of things to consider), I had a better idea of what digital citizenship really was. After treading the tag line and the first two paragraphs of this article, I was under the impression that this article was suggesting that we teach our students and kids to live two different lives, one “real life” life and one “online” life with very few similarities between the two. Basically I thought they were saying, “Let’s help kids create an alter-ego so they can pretend to be someone they are not online.” And I was like WUUUUT. Isn’t this the exact thing we, as
educators, are trying to avoid??? A child’s online identity should very much reflect the nature of who they are. (Genius, I know) But I continued reading and had my AHA! moment. They were not suggesting we teach children to live two lives. They were comparing the “two life” idea to the “one life” idea. The “one life” concept really intrigued me. The article explained it as this: “it is precisely our job as educators to help students live one, integrated life, by inviting them to not only use their technology at school, but also talk about it within the greater context of community and society.”
Teaching students to integrate technology into their learning in the classroom is an integral part of education. Familiarity with technology, along with the proper education on how to use technology wisely, will lead to our students becoming confident and competent digital citizens!
Here are some additional resources all about Digital Citizenship:
Common Sense Media https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators
Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use http://cyberbully.org
Here is a question for you to think about: How can we teach digital citizenship if we ban technology in the classrooms?