Reflecting on my learning over the past twelve weeks, I asked myself what is the moral to this story? How will I move forward in my teaching practice to integrate technology in an effective manner that encompasses all that digital citizenship entails? Borrowing some familiar words from Aesop, here are a few of the lessons I have learned about Digital Citizenship:
1. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
The term ‘Digital Native’ does not equal ‘Digital Expert’. Growing up ‘wired’ and ‘connected’ does not mean today’s students will automatically become effective and ethical users of technology. I need to explicitly teach students how to appropriately use technology to create, share and analyze information.
The components of digital citizenship, must be an intentional part of my teaching practice.
2. Birds of a feather flock together.
Hollandsworth, Dowdy, & Donovan (2011) ask, “Who represents the village for our youth, as it relates to digital citizenship? Will it be parents, teachers, administrators, academics, technology professionals, media specialists, or students?” (p. 37). The answer is all of us. Teachers students, parents, the global community – we must work collaboratively, building relationships based on reciprocity, to develop all of our digital skills and literacies.
3. Look before you leap.
Student needs, teacher professional development, cost, privacy, equity of access, available infrastructure… there is much to consider before implementing the use of digital technology in the classroom.
There is also a great deal for our students to think about and understand, such as digital etiquette, copyright laws, safety, security and health. All of these areas require critical thinking skills. We must model critical thinking and teach our students to be thoughtful when using technology, taking into account the potential impact of actions and decisions on ourselves, each other, and the environment.
4. Slow and steady wins the race.
Perhaps most importantly, I have learned the importance of patience and perseverance. “Real and meaningful change, and real and substantial learning, require realistic and extended investments of time and resources.” (McGrath, Karabas, & Willis, 2011, p. 21). We must keep going, one step at a time, towards responsible, well-informed and active citizenship in the digital world.
What lessons will guide you in promoting digital citizenship?
Hollandsworth, R., Dowdy, L., & Donovan, J. (2011). Digital Citizenship in K-12: It Takes a Village. Techtrends: Linking Research And Practice To Improve Learning, 55(4), 37-47.
McGrath, J., Karabas, G., & Willis, J. (2011). From tpack concept to tpack practice: an analysis of the suitability and usefulness of the concept as a guide in the real world of teacher Development. International Journal Of Technology In Teaching & Learning, 7(1), 1-23.