What do you think of when you see the words, "Digital Citizenship?" Many times when I hear people talk about it the words: harassment, cyber-bullying, and sexting are most common. Did you know there are 9 elements of digital citizenship? I'm just pointing that out for now but it's not the focus of this post. I will save that post for another day.
I've had discussions with elementary and middle school students about what digital citizenship means and touched on many of the elements on the right. I remember a class of 6th graders who were labelled a "rough group." Now any student or class given that label by others are always my favorite class. One day I chose online identity as our topic to discuss. I really didn't know how the discussion would pan out but guess what? That was THE most intense and best discussion I had ever had with that class. They are graduating this year and I hope they carried some of what we discussed with them along the way.
Now I'm at the high school level and I've been thinking about some of the goals surrounding digital citizenship. In high school, we are preparing our students to enter the world outside of K-12 school and where they are now adults.
Q: How can we help to prepare them for the cyber world?
I bet some of you are thinking, "But they are already in the cyber world, Julie!" Sure they are but what's missing after graduation? Their world of adults to go to will shrink. If a student is being harassed or cyber-bullied for example, they can go to their school administration, school counselors, school social workers, school resource officers, or trusted teachers. There's nothing wrong with having such wonderful supports but I want to see students need us less and do more for themselves. I see that in my own children. I'm sad when they don't need me in certain areas but then I'm so proud of them!
Now here's the answer to the question above....
A: We can empower our students in digital citizenship. We need our students to participate in their digital citizenship.
What an awesome opportunity we have to spend four years with the same students.
What an awesome opportunity to spend four years to show them the good side of social media and how they can be empowered and have a voice.
What an awesome opportunity we have when students make poor choices in social media and how we can use those as teachable moments.
What an awesome opportunity we have to model how to have meaningful and constructive discussions in social media.
What an awesome opportunity we have to guide students in what they can do if they or their friends or even strangers on social media are being harassed or cyber-bullied.
Okay, I won't use awesome for a sixth time and you won't have to roll your eyes anymore.
Where do we start? Let's start with discussions.
Now let me introduce you to Dr. Kristen Mattson, a high school Library Media Director with a passion for participatory digital citizenship.
One of Kristen's blog posts this year is a great place to start. Just click on the title to read her post.
You Don’t Have to Be a #DigCit Expert… Use Images to Get Students Talking
Kristen's Images Links: (You will need a Pinterest account to access)
1. Digital Citizenship Discussions
2. Digital Citizenship Social Studies
3. Digital Citizenship Parents Night
Here are two more posts Kristen mentions in the above post...
Digital Citizenship Bell-Ringers for Content Area Teachers
Digital Citizenship Discussion Cards
Last suggestion: Start small, be patient, and let me know how it's working or not working for you and your students. Post a comment here or send me an email.
Digital Learning Specialist at Pembroke Academy