This first week of Digital Citizenship helped me realize that the base elements of digital citizenship are far-reaching, crucial, and personal. Immediately I realized that citizenship and digital citizenship are pretty much the same in the 21st century. Jason Ohler’s (2012) article helped me come to this conclusion as he talks about the need to include technology education in schools. We cannot (and should not want to) hide the reality that technology surrounds our students, which means it should be a core part of their educations. Ignoring its existence only encourages them to use it improperly and become bad digital citizens. After looking through the other extensive resources, I came up with my own definition: the ability to responsibly, positively, and effectively participate in the digital world. Initially, Ohler (2012) was the main source that helped me come to this definition, but then I realized all of them discuss responsibility and etiquette as key components of digital citizens.
After I had a good understanding of digital citizenship, I then felt comfortable looking deeper into what it means to be a good digital citizen for myself, my colleagues, and my students. While some of my co-workers choose to limit their digital experience, they are still surrounded by a digital world. Because we are in a profession that asks us to teach our students how to be prepared for the 21st century, we must be able to address digital citizenship. I hope to reach out to my colleagues regarding this topic using the ISTE infographic since it draws clear connections between what it means to be a good regular citizen in comparison to a digital one (Brichacek, 2014). Making these kinds of connections is paramount when asking someone to commit to a major adjustment like one to a teaching philosophy.
Throughout this week I also had an opportunity to hone in on Mike Ribble’s (2015) 9 elements and identify which ones are most important to me and my classroom. Originally I struggled to prioritize these concepts as I believed digital literacy, etiquette, security, and law were all equally important, but as I continued to look into the principles I could focus on just a few. As I high school teacher, I believe digital etiquette and health and wellness are the ones most important to me. This was a difficult decision because an understanding of all the elements is needed for someone to be a good digital citizen, but these two are foundational in my own beliefs. Since my high school students are soon entering the real world, I often speak to them about personal happiness and being a good person as I believe this is something missing in many of our young adults’ lives. For them to do this, they must act responsibly and respectfully in the digital world while understanding how much and what kinds of technologies are healthy. This was similarly supported through the iCitizen research conducted by Curan (2012). Teaching students to be empathetic when using technology will translate into all of their interactions. If I can get them to understand these core elements they will be that much closer to being productive and happy digital citizens, and to help them reach this goal it must start with my actions as I model life-long, responsible learning.
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
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.
Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools: Nine elements all students should know (3rd ed.).