I believe that in today’s society there is only a difference between citizenship and digital citizenship if someone lives in a world without traditional technologies. For example, my mother, who is 70 years old, does not use technology. Her work requires her to keep up with email and occasional online training, but my dad usually does these things with her because she has no desire to understand technology. When I look at the nine elements, I do not really think any of them apply to her, so for her purposes she needs to continue being a good, regular citizen. For anyone who uses current technologies, however, I believe being a citizen and digital citizen are one in the same.
The resource that made this clear to me was Jason Ohler’s (2012) explanations of the “two lives” and “one life” perspectives. Students, who are definitely consumed by the digital world, are asked to disconnect during school in the “two lives” perspective but are asked to embrace their digital responsibility with “one life.” I believe the latter is much more appropriate because as teachers it is our responsibility to teach “our digital kids [how to] balance the individual empowerment of digital technology with a sense of personal community, and global responsibility” (Ohler, 2012). My definition of digital citizenship is the ability to responsibly, positively, and effectively participate in the digital world.
Of the nine elements of digital citizenship, I believe 2, 3, 4, and 5 are particularly important in my high school English classes. Numbers 2 and 4 talk about respect in online spaces and making responsible digital decisions, which are definitely issues with today’s youth (and adults) that need to be addressed. I speak to these often when students work in groups online and also any time it is relevant with current events. Three discusses stealing another’s property online, and this is definitely a concern for my classes because I teach about plagiarism and how to avoid it. I specifically talk about plagiarism during research units throughout the school year. Lastly, number 5 has to do with advancing learning and keeping up with changes. This is a skill that all students will need regardless of their future professions and one that we strive to teach district-wide. I address this often whether I am sharing my own professional development with digital tools or asking them to participate in activities that force them to adapt and use new technologies. All of the elements are essential for my students to learn and understand because being a good digital citizen is a necessity in today’s world.
Brichacek, A. (2014, October 22). Infographic: Citizenship in the digital age. Retrieved March 1, 2017, from ISTE website: https://www.iste.org/explore/articleDetail?articleid=192
Ohler, J. (2012). Digital citizenship means character education for the digital age. Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, 77(8),14-17.