Digital Citizenship-Reflection#1

Week one for Digital Citizenship was eye-opening. I didn’t know there was a such thing as digital citizenship or that there is so much information out there. Digital citizenship is a necessary component for everyone, especially students to know and understand who engage in the digital, virtual world.

Ribble discusses the nine elements of digital citizenship in his book: Digital Citizenship in Schools as well as on his website-http://www.digitalcitizenship.net. I thought it was interesting that Ribble categorized technology users into two groups: “digital natives” and “digital immigrants”. These are such interesting terms and pretty accurate categories. Digital natives are individuals who have been born into technology and use it in their everyday lives. Digital immigrants are individuals who have to learn how to use technology. Ribble discusses, “digital citizenship is not a new concept in the field of digital technologies.” As I read on in the book, I understood what he was conveying. It is about the social norms and ways to behave appropriately when using technology. The internet is by far not the first technology. It is however, the technology that is heavily relied upon and used across the world for a plethora of means. Ohler’s article speaks volumes when it comes to digital citizenship. He asked the question, should students live two lives or one? When I first began reading the article, I thought to myself, what is he referring to? As I read on, I thought, “Wow!” Students should definitely live one life. Students need to be taught the importance of behaving appropriately online at school as well as at home. I think it is unrealistic and unpreparing to have kids totally unplug at school. Schools should have the responsibility of teaching students how to behave appropriately online and why it is important. Most schools have Acceptable Use Policies as Ribble discussed, however they fail to create curricula that help students understand acceptable behavior and norms. I know at my school we have an AUP, however we don’t teach students about acceptable behavior online and why it’s important. I believe there are many people out there who feel these norms are common sense and don’t see the need or importance of teaching such curricula. This is a terrible assumption to have, and I will admit, I was in that bunch until reading the materials from this week. Ribble (2015) said it best, “Technology leaders should not assume that their policy, simply because it is in place, is helping students.” Cyberbullying, illegal content, scams, and other inappropriate behaviors are not going anywhere anytime soon. We can help our students recognize these things and how to stay away from them.

With digital citizenship, that is the focus, helping students. The development of the nine elements was created to help schools help students. The nine elements are a proactive approach versus a reactive approach. Students can be susceptible to many behaviors in the virtual world if not taught how to avoid, respond, or act appropriately online. The digital world is full of awaiting opportunities from sharing information, research, commerce, and so on. It is our responsibility to make sure those opportunities are reached in a safe manner. Now that I am aware of the importance of digital citizenship, it is my responsibility to bring this knowledge to my school and our students.

Here are some resources to better understand digital citizenship:

  1. http://www.digitalcitizenship.netMike Ribble’s website really delves into what it means to be a digital citizen. There is a page dedicated to the nine elements.
  2. iste.org and search the tag digital citizenship. There are some great articles listed that discuss how teachers are teaching digital citizenship. There are also articles about students becoming successful digital citizens.
  3. Youtube-searching digital citizenship. There are so many videos out there about digital citizenship. This would give them an opportunity to see it action.
  4. https://www.commonsense.org/education/digital-citizenshipThis is a phenomenal website with a plethora of information about digital citizenship. This website also has free lessons for each grade level about digital citizenship.
  5. Brainpop.comSince our school already has a subscription to brainpop, this would be a great resource for teachers. I know brainpop is supposed to be for students, however I have found that I am able to learn a lot from the videos as well.

References: 

Ohler, J. (2012). Digital citizenship means character education for the digital age. Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review

Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools: Nine elements all students should know. Eugene, OR: International     Society for Technology in Education

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