The past five weeks were extremely challenging for me but also very rewarding. I thought I already knew about digital citizenship and how to prepare my students to be part of the twenty-first century, but as it turns out I had a lot to learn. Throughout this course, I would say the most important thing that I learned is the need to be proactive when it comes to my own understanding about any topic but especially those involving technology because it changes so rapidly. With this, I also need to teach my students to have this same kind of approach.
Throughout these weeks I learned and accomplished many things. Most of the new information I gathered involved purposefully creating and monitoring my own digital footprint, and the legal aspects of copyright infringement. Searching my own name is what I believe will best help me continue to grow as an educational leader. When I realized that not everything I found was positive, I knew that moving forward I have to do a better job of manipulating my own digital footprint. This was my most meaningful moment because I thought I was doing a good job of monitoring my online profiles. It turns out they could use a little work. Teaching my colleagues and students this same thing will be invaluable to them in their futures as well to be sure the Internet reflects a positive version of themselves.
Learning more about copyright laws will also help me grow as an educational leader, and it was also my biggest challenge and biggest accomplishment throughout the course. There are so many rules that must be followed to avoid legal issues, and I was unaware of most of them until recently. Passing on this information to my peers and students will help them understand and avoid serious accusations in the future. Because this was the biggest challenge for me, I also am extremely proud of the effort I put forth during that week. My efforts on the case studies involving plagiarism and copyright helped me fully understand the laws. Without this, I think I would still be confused about what can and cannot be used for education.
While everything learned in this course can be applied to my classroom, my favorite aspect about it is how applicable the concepts are to my everyday life as well. Being a good digital citizen and passing that ability on to my friends and family are just as important as passing it on to my students. I especially take to heart what I learned about cyberbullying and how adults are often more guilty of it than kids are. For this reason, I would suggest that everyone, whether taking this course in the future or not, should look in the mirror when it comes to these issues. I wish I could create a video just on cyberbullying instead of all the elements of being a digital citizen. It would be interesting to ask my students to watch it with an adult and then reflect on what each generation learned about themselves. We are so quick to judge the younger generations for bullying when in reality we are doing it too. The change starts with us, and I now feel better equipped to move forward and improve the digital and physical world.