This week I started a new course in my program that focuses on digital citizenship. I’ve been looking forward to this course because I believe this is an important topic that is sometimes not discussed or taught enough. I learned this week that everyone has their own views on what digital citizenship is and everyone has their own definition. Even though the meaning of digital citizenship varies from person to person we all agree that it’s a crucial subject to be discussed and must be taught in order for students to function successfully in the Digital Age. Digital citizenship is much like traditional citizenship in that both citizens are expected to remain productive, respectful beings in a cohesive society whether it be in the real or digital world. My definition of digital citizenship is: contribute to the digital community in a positive, respectful, responsible and appropriate way.
Ribble’s text, Digital Citizenship in Schools: Nine Elements All Students Should Know (2015), provides a strong foundation for understanding the basic definition of digital citizenship and the elements it’s made of. This is a very valuable resource! The book describes each of the 9 elements, provides examples of each, and ways to spread awareness among students and teachers using discussion points and lessons. Furthermore, the book describes ways to begin a digital citizenship program and provides professional development activities in digital citizenship for faculty, staff and other school leaders and administration. Some of the elements that I’d like us to start focusing on at my institution are digital communication, etiquette and law. The communication element focuses on appropriate collaboration and choosing the appropriate communication methods to use with peers and colleagues, considering the message then the method. Etiquette focuses on practicing respect, empathy, and courtesy with regards to others when using digital technology. Last, law will focus on issues of copyright and plagiarism in a higher education setting.
Digital citizenship is not necessarily a new topic for me as I’ve previously had the opportunity to participate in a digital citizenship webinar on Edweb.net presented by Marialice B.F.X. Curran, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Saint Joseph, Connecticut that discussed her iCitizen project. Here is a link to a past blog post about the iConstitution from that project. Curran’s (2011) “iCitizen: Are you a Socially Responsible Digital Citizen?” paper proved that modeling digital citizenship is key to teaching and sharing digital citizenship. In addition, she concluded that teachers and students should both model being learners and teachers in a digital society. Here is one of her Tedx Talks on YouTube that shares some of her ideas on digital citizenship.
Ohler (2011) expressed that digital citizenship or “character education” should be a top priority for teachers. We need to include digital health and digital citizenship programs in the educational setting so that we can provide our students with the necessary 21st century skills in dealing with digital technology responsibly and appropriately.
This week I’ve learned so much about digital citizenship. I also learned that there are SO many valuable and FREE resources out there for students and teachers wanting to learn more about it. Please take a look at the resources I’ve collected so far at the links below.
Digital Citizenship Resources
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 http://www.gonevirtual.org/uploads/6/0/8/6/6086473/icitizen_iste12_paper.pdf (PDF: icitizen_paper_M_Curran.pdf )
Curran, M. (2016, May 26) Lessons On Digital Citizenship From Charlie Brown | Marialice Curran | TEDxYouth@BHS. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/JvDGGceA-0A
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. International Society for Technology in Education.