What is Digital Citizenship?
Digital citizenship is a concept that relates to the appropriate use of technology. The goal in teaching digital citizenship to students is to prepare them for a future filled with technology. Knowing how to appropriately use technology is going to become increasingly important in the future careers and social lives of our students. If our students are unable to adapt they will be crippled when it comes to getting the high tech jobs of the future.
Once students know more about digital citizenship we want them to feel committed to being a good digital citizen. We want them to understand its importance actively participate in and promote healthy, safe, and fulfilling online interactions with others. Below we have 3 areas of focus when it comes to the concepts of digital citizenship. Look at these summaries and click on the word in the concept map to the right for helpful resources.
Students these days have a very casual attitude when it comes to who they are and what they do online. Many people think nothing of posting whatever they want online with no regard to the effects it may have on others on the other side of the post. People have a perceived anonymity online and they use this anonymity to post without regard to the human on the other side. My goal with the digital citizenship classes I teach is to change students attitudes towards the internet. To teach them that when they are online they are part of a vast society and for that society to thrive and prosper they have certain responsibilities. We teach our students to be good citizens of their local, national, and global communities by teaching them civics, history, and government. Digital citizenship teaches them the importance of being a good citizen in their online communities.
Just as we make students aware of the dangers of drugs and other hazards to avoid in life, digital citizenship makes students aware of the dangers and pitfalls of the internet. Students need to know that just like in the real world the online world can be a dangerous place. We want to raise student awareness of what to avoid and how to stay out of trouble. We want students to be aware that what they do online can have lasting and sometimes very terrible consequences. We also want students to be aware of all the wonderful tools and content that is available to them with just a click of a mouse.
Once we teach students about the attitudes and awareness of good digital citizens we want to teach them proper behaviors. This is not simply teaching students that it is rude to type in all caps. Proper behavior is when a student knows how to analyze an online situation and adapt their behavior appropriately. A person adjusts their behavior depending on the social situation they find themselves in. They know that you act differently at a sporting event than you do at a funeral. Similar situations can be found online. Students also need to learn that behaviors such as cyber-bullying, flaming, and digital plagiarism are never appropriate.