You might be wondering, what is digital citizenship? Well, its hard to define because there are many components to explaining digital citizenship, but from my understanding, digital citizenship is “the norms of appropriate, responsible, and healthy behavior related to technology use, including digital literacy, ethics, etiquette, and security”. However, I have been learning that just as “good citizenship” is more than not breaking the law, “digital citizenship” is more than just avoiding harms online. Technology has the ability to enhance and magnify the ability of youth and adults to contribute to and serve in the community and even in the world, but youth and adults need to work together to consider and create more ideas around how technology can be used for good — to facilitate collaboration, creation, communication, and positive contributions to family and civic life (DIGCIT). Digitalcitizenship.net puts it another way and says that, “Digital Citizenship is a concept which helps teachers, technology leaders and parents to understand what students/children/technology users should know to use technology appropriately”. They also say that, “Digital Citizenship is more than just a teaching tool; it is a way to prepare students/technology users for a society full of technology” and I agree!
I think that as a future educator, it is important that I am able to teach my students the importance of being responsible and having a healthy relationship or presence online with technology that they may use in and outside of my classroom. In my future classroom, I would make sure that my students were aware of: what it meant to have their own digital identity or presence online, the positive enhancements that technology has provided us with, and the negatives or dangers that technology may bring if we are not careful with how we use technology. I realize that learning about digital citizenship is very complicated, so I would also like to go over the nine elements or themes of digital citizenship with my students as well.
These nine elements of Digital Citizenship are:
- Digital Access
- Digital Commerce
- Digital Communication
- Digital Literacy
- Digital Etiquette
- Digital Law
- Digital Rights and Responsibilities
- Digital Health and Wellness
- Digital Security (Self-Protection)
Lastly, I can see that this broad topic of digital citizenship may have some challenges, but I believe that it is an important topic to talk about since technology is so commonly used now in and outside of the classroom. I agree with Jason Ohler’s blog when he says that “we must help our digital kids balance the individual empowerment of digital technology use with a sense of personal, community, and global responsibility.” And since school is such an excellent place to help kids become capable digital citizens who use technology not only effectively and creatively, but also responsibly and wisely, we must help them 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. To connect this to the Saskatchewan curriculum, I would integrate this topic into some Social Studies units because it gives students more opportunities to think about the social aspects of our world and own identities online. Integrating this topic into some Health units would also give students the opportunity to discuss how to maintain a healthy physical and psychological life in a digital world and the effects of cyber bullying.
I hope this blog post gives you a better idea of what Digital Citizenship is and how it is important to teach in the classroom.
Thanks for reading! Till next time!