This first week of reviewing the materials in the Digital Citizenship course helped me to realize that the base elements of digital citizenship are crucial. When I thought about what citizenship is, treating each other with common courtesy came to mind. I very quickly realized that citizenship and digital citizenship are much the same in the 21st century. Jason Ohler’s article (2012) helped me to determine this. Within his article, Ohler wrote about the need to include technology education in our schools. As teachers, we cannot be blind to the reality that technology surrounds our students, which means that it should be a part of their education. It is important that we as teachers work diligently to teach our students about digital citizenship. Ignoring the existence of technology will only encourage students to use it improperly and be bad digital citizens. After viewing the resources provided within the Digital Citizenship course, I have been able to develop my own definition of digital citizenship. My definition of digital citizenship is how individuals responsibly interact with one another in the digital world while following basic etiquette rules.
After developing a good understanding of digital citizenship, I began to look deeper into what it means to be a good digital citizen for myself, my students, and my colleagues. There are some colleagues of mine who choose to limit their digital experience (i.e. it’s all photocopies and book work in their classes), even though they are surrounded by an ever growing and changing digital world with students who are comfortable with and eager to incorporate their technology skills into their learning. Teachers are in a profession which expects us to teach our students how to be prepared for the 21st century. Because of this, teachers have to address digital citizenship in their classrooms. Using the ISTE infographic will assist me in speaking with my colleagues about digital citizenship because it draws clear connections between being a good citizen and being a good digital citizen (Brichacek, 2017). Digital citizenship and online etiquette is something that we have to teach our students, just like we would teach them any etiquette as young children.
During this first week, I also had the opportunity to study Mike Ribble’s (2015) 9 elements of digital citizenship, and identify which elements are most important to me and my classroom. As a high school teacher, I believe digital etiquette and health and wellness are the most important to me. Because my students are close to entering the real world, it is extremely important for them to be prepared to interact digitally, both responsibly and respectfully. The parts of the digital world that will affect students’ health and wellness will be understanding what kinds of technologies and how much of those technologies are healthy for them to use. This was supported through the iCitizen research that was conducted by Curan (2012). If I am able to have my students understand these elements, they will be closer to becoming productive and happy digital citizens.
Brichacek, A. (2017, December 14). Infographic: Citizenship in the digital age. Retrieved August 30, 2019 from ISTE website: https://www.iste.org/explore/Digital-citizenship/Infographic%3A-Citizenship-in-the-digital-age?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)
Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools: Nine elements all students should know (3rd ed.).