It takes a village to raise proper digital citizens!

Schools and teachers play a huge role in teaching our students about Digital Citizenship. The community and family can help support this process, though it truly is the teacher who is the main role model when it comes to DC.

As educators we need to be more aware of potential issues that students are facing on a daily basis with regards to social media and digital educational programs. Teachers cant shy away from technology. Furthermore it is important to teach students about the potential dangers within social media though at the same time, encourage the use of technology in a positive manner.

Schools hold a huge responsibility to support the development of DC in education because its learners have constant access to technology. To support this process, school boards and schools need to educate its learners about the true meaning of digital citizenship. This will in end teach our students about being aware of the digital footprints that they are leaving behind, whether those footprints are negative or positive. 

Lately in schools we now have access to varied technologies though we are not always teaching our students on how to properly use them. How are these tools making learning easier? Or more accessible? Are students even wanting to use them? Are we “over using” technology? This why digital citizenship should be taught in the schools. As this will support the need to educate students about their own digital identities and how to properly support their digital footprint.

The policy planning guide from the Ministry of Saskatchewan, supports the idea that today’s schools, do play an important role in teaching digital citizenship and the development of appropriate online behavior.  Schools should be supporting students in their digital citizenship development in all grade levels from grades 1-12 They should create a division wide policy / unit on digital citizenship that would need to be taught and interwoven in Saskatchewan’s curriculum in all subject areas. This means that digital citizenship would need to be taught in a context that links together being responsible and respectable digital citizens with digital teaching moments. Digital teaching moments can be planned or they can come about in a teachers daily teachings in order to create a well-rounded digital citizen.

 Our school division supports and believes in preparing our students to be more aware of their own Digital citizenship. They are also committed to achievement and equitable opportunities with the effective use of technology. Students in our division have a variety of access to technology resources to enhance their learning. Though it is made aware to parents, teachers, and students that the division cannot monitor student technology use on a daily basis.

 A few years ago, I worked a long side some staff members who supported Ed tech and DC. We even had a DC week to encourage students about being positive digital citizens. The initiatives were positive though I found the momentum had slowed down a year later. How we do we encourage the DC momentum in our division, classrooms and schools? How do we encourage our students and fellow staff members to support this important issue?

DC Week Poster 2015DC 1

 As Patrick Maze discussed during our online class, teachers need to be responsible digital citizens. What you post online personally /and professionally adds to your digital footprint.

 To support responsible Digital Citizenship in education school divisions, educators, parents need to understand and educate themselves on what it means to be a true digital citizen that supports Dr. Mike Ribble’s 9 elements of Digital citizenship.  

 Thanks!

Krista Gates

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4 thoughts on “It takes a village to raise proper digital citizens!

  1. I am glad to hear you are talking about digital citizenship at the high school level. Before this course, I hadn’t heard much about it at the elementary level, especially in the primary grades other than the technology agreement handed out during the first week of school. I agree with you that there should be some sort of mandated policy or unit integrated into our division’s policy or SK curriculum to support the teaching that needs to be done around this topic. I think the biggest hurdle will be teaching teachers about it first!

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  2. Krista, I share many similar views as you in regards to teaching digital citizenship. I think the point you raised about teaching students to be “responsible and respectable” online citizens is a skill that they can take with them and apply to all areas of their life. I enjoyed how you shared about the Digital Citizenship project you were part of when working at Thom and I think you raise an interesting point about how the momentum behind teaching digital citizenship seems to have slowed down. I feel the same way and feel like when I bring up digital citizenship in my class students seem to “check-out” or disengage because they’ve “heard it all before”. I wonder how we, as educators, can continually remind students about their digital footprint and how to be good digital citizens without becoming a broken record or a nag. Would you suggest teaching different aspects of digital citizenship at each grade level to avoid repetition of content? Interested to hear your thoughts!

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