The Importance of Digital Citizenship

This week marks the first week of my newest course in Digital Citizenship.  With so much technology that surrounds us in nearly everything we do, it’s important to keep digital citizenship in mind.  But was is digital citizenship? Is there a difference when it comes to traditional citizenship and digital citizenship? After researching various articles and videos, I’ve come to realize that citizenship and digital citizenship are quite similar.  The goal for ourselves, and for our students, is to be good citizens of society and to be good classroom citizens.  Add in the the ever changing and rapidly growing digital world we live in, and we’ve got to expand that goal even further.  Simply put, digital citizenship “is the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use” (Ribble, 2017).

We need to teach, and model to our students, how to be responsible technology users.  I found Ohler’s (2012) comparison of the “two lives” and “one life” approach to be of great relevance in terms of bringing technology into the classroom.  Do we want our students to lead “two lives”, where they are to leave all electronics and smart phones at home or in their backpacks, because school is just not the place for technology?  Or is there a way we can use the technology that surrounds us to enhance the learning experience, while also teaching our students how to be good citizens in a digital world- in other words, using the “one life” approach?

I’ve also had some time to review Ribble’s (2015) 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship.  In looking at the nine elements of digital citizenship, there are two that really stand out to me and that I take very seriously.  Those are digital etiquette and digital security.  While I understand that the nine elements are not to be stand alone issues and are all interconnected, I feel like there can never be a shortage of teaching students proper etiquette and security.  Just like I would with my own children, we need to take advantage of all these teachable moments with our students so that they can safely and confidently be active digital citizens of society.

Now that I’m being given the opportunity to have my students use the ePortfolio, I need to use the “one life” approach because as Ohler (2012) stated, “the most important job before us is to help students understand issues of digital responsibility.”  Our school is really on the forefront of incorporating technology within our everyday lessons with our students, and just as exciting as all that is, we need to spend an equal amount of time on the responsibilities and proper behavior when using technology.

References

Ohler, J. (2012). Digital citizenship means character education for the digital age. Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, 77(8), 14-17. (PDF: Ohler_Digital_citizenship_means_character_education_2012.pdf)

Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools (3rd ed.). Eugene, OR: International Society of Technology in Education.

Ribble, M. (2017). Digital Citizenship: Using Technology Appropriately.  Retrieved from http://www.digitalcitizenship.net

Ribble, M. (2017). Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship. Retrieved from http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/Nine_Elements.html

Applicable Resources

Brichacek, A. (2014, October 22). Infographic: Citizenship in the digital age.  Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/explore/articleDetail?articleid=192

Curran, M. (2012, June). iCitizen: Are you a socially responsible digital citizen. Paper presented at the International Society for Technology Education Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX. Retrieved from icitizen_paper_M_Curran.pdf

Ohler, J. (2012). Digital citizenship means character education for the digital age. Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, 77(8), 14-17. (PDF: Ohler_Digital_citizenship_means_character_education_2012.pdf)

Polgar, D. R., & Curran, M. B.F.X. (2015). We shouldn’t assume people know what digital citizenship is. Retreived fromhttp://www.teachthought.com/technology/we-shouldnt-assume-people-know-what-digital-citizenship-is/

 

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