Digital citizenship is huge.What does it even mean? Why is it important? What does it look like?
The breadth of this subject is overwhelming. So many of the topics we’ve studied in course 1 & 2 could fall under this umbrella: copyright, privacy, collaborative projects, etc, etc.
First, what are we up against?
Once we’re caught up it’s already changed, as mentioned in the video? This highlights the importance of having conversations with our students – also a challenge….hmph
Google’s Digital Citizenship and Online Safety course, unless I missed something – happens often – seems to really focus on general safety and online identity. I didn’t feel as though I gained any new knowledge after taking the course. Could have been because I wasn’t fully pumped to take the course with the start of the new school year and life being busy, but it also could have been that the course leaves much to be desired. Not sure. Perhaps, Google’s message is this: safety is fundamental in all online activity, and our kids need to know this.
Whether or not students see it this way, I don’t know. Students probably have a different definition of digital citizenship – all unique and individual. Which implies to me that we must teach safety and basics to all.
The OBAMA foundation, in its infancy, sees digital citizenship as being an important issue. With that, they ask important questions in the linked article. I think we can use these questions, not only for ourselves, but also, to guide our students. I’ll use just the first one for this post:
Who’s a model of digital citizenship in your world? Why?
Bottom line: As expert Anne Collier states, “lose the digital in digital citizenship.” Be a good citizen everywhere. In other words, perhaps, what are you doing online, outside of hanging out with friends, to make the world a better place?
In my own experience, I’ve been inclined to post things that serve no purpose, except to share my views (does anybody really care?), complain (I’ve grown up a little and do this less), or stroke my ego (once in awhile everybody needs this – just not every day). Am I doing anything to make the world a better place?
When I contribute to PLNs, personal/family fellowship, or work-related fellowship – then, yes. Could I do a better job and do it more often – probably.
This reminds me of one of my favorite high school teachers. He’s a Jesuit priest somewhere in his 50s now. I know this guy. I know he works countless hours offline – face to face, making the world a better place. What I don’t know is how he finds the time to have an online presence that makes a difference in people’s day to day lives. He is “friends” with all us graduates – hundreds, if not more. Somehow, he manages to wish every single person a Happy Birthday. He doesn’t miss anybody. On top of that, he posts often. His posts are not divisive, ornery, or useless.
His posts always offer cultural or spiritual enrichment. Always.That to me makes him a fine example of a digital citizen.
This helps me at age 34 try and define what I want to do, but I do not think it would help the majority of my students.
Instead, perhaps, it would be in our students’ best interest to see other kids doing it. We can show them that there are place online where you can offer your online self, in making the world a better place.
In conclusion, I think at the crux of
digital citizenship is knowing how to protect yourself, knowing you’re rights, and participating in a way that makes the world a better place.