Digital Citizenship in Schools

Over the past week, we’ve been asked to think about the school’s/teachers role in educating students about digital citizenship. What practices are currently in place in your school? How might you envision addressing the concept of digital citizenship in the future? As I dive into this, I am sorry to my colleagues because I feel as if I am becoming a broken record. EC&I832 has had some great conversations and resources that already have me thinking about how we may not properly educate our students regarding understanding their digital citizenship.

With covid and an unexpected move to virtual learning, many teachers were taken by storm. They were expected to become digitally literate and effective teachers using these tech tools with little time to prepare, as someone interested in technology and wanting it to be used frequently in my classroom. I often forget about my colleagues that are intimidated by it. I take for granted that I was introduced to technology early and had a “nerdy” friend group who all loved technology. We shared ideas and our learnings and navigated through the rise of technology in education and our personal lives. We may not always of been utilizing it correctly, but we were comfortable on it, and we’re always sharing something new we learned.

I was talking to one of my childhood friends the other day. We discussed this class and technology in education. We reminisced about the old days with our Sun computers in the classroom and our computer lab. One of our earliest memories that we shared was using Powerpoint to present on planets. We had transitions and music included in our presentation. We had it all timed, and when we put it up on the projector, we had the rewarding feeling of our classmates asking us how we did it. As we spent hours in the computer lab, I remember feeling thrilled to find the next “revolutionary” thing that we could add to make our presentation stand out. I feel fortunate to have grown up with friends that took an active interest in technology. We were able to share and grow together. Due to that early comfort level, it has given me an opportunity to explore how I can provide an experience for my students when teaching with technology.

Sorry for walking you down memory lane. However, I don’t remember explicitly being taught anything on the computer except to double click to open an application. My friends and I found it interesting, explored the space, and then collaborated on our findings. In today’s modern world, I think students need direct instruction because situations online are more complicated then they were 15 years ago. Connecting with friends and strangers online is becoming easier and your digital footprint impacts people’s impression of you in real life.

Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

Currently, I am seeing what I’m sure most teachers across Saskatchewan are seeing, which is a lack of direction on how to properly support students about becoming positive digital citizens. Unless you have a tech-savvy teacher or a teacher who takes an active interest in learning about what makes a positive digital citizen, breaks that into bite-size parts for the students, and then actively implements it in their classroom. Students will not get the fundamentals, along with more profound thoughts about the lasting impact of their digital footprint.

An article that Kelly Ziegler shared about 3 Ways to Foster Digital Citizenship in Schools made me think about how we could approach this. First, we need to educate our teachers at the forefront of this education properly. We need to create a plan for consistency across the teachings, language, and expectations. The critical piece is bringing our parents in for tech talks to ensure that our school messages are carried forward into their personal lives. Students are more active on social media throughout the evening. Providing these parents an enhanced understanding of some of the latest trends and ways to navigate through positively would be the perfect support system for our students.

Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

This is a document from Mike Ribble as he and his team try to break down critical skills on how to support students through their journey of becoming positive digital citizens.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my blog. I’d love to hear your thoughts on ways that you think we could be implementing digital citizenship into our schools with our current curriculum having very few outcomes that speak to it directly.

3 thoughts on “Digital Citizenship in Schools

  1. I recently found out my school division has a PAA outcome built into Religion that is actually targeted at digital citizenship! Exciting that we have made that leap to cement the need for digital citizenship in our classrooms. Great trip down memory lane… I feel the same – no one really taught me anything about computers either. Our generation seems to have just “figured it out” on our own. Great post! Thanks for the thought-provoking discussion!

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  2. I too forget about the teachers who using technology isn’t second nature or struggle with it. I remember cruising along during covid shutdown creating bitmoji google classroom lesson plans, that led to other linked pages which had links in there and thinking to myself this is so fun, so easy, time consuming rabbit hole like but everyone should be doing this. I remember creating a Sacred Heart “Where is Waldo” theme pages but called it “Where is the Sacred Heart Staff” where I asked all staff to send me their bitmoji, once done I sent it out to all the staff, thinking the teachers could share this fun activity with their students. Easy and fun right? Wrong… what a headache it was explaining over and over again about how to create their bitmoji, then how to send it to me, but then having the also explain how to find it in their docs, then to share, multiple times. I had to check myself a few times and realize not everyone is where I am just like I am not where other people are. Eventually my principal asked if I could lead a “PD” on using google classroom, setting it up, creating our Monday morning memos that were easy to use, and then creating bitmoji classrooms (lots were interested in how I did it). I enjoyed being able to share a bit of my “expertise” I think we as a generation were lucky to just as Dalton said “just figure it out”.

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  3. I’m glad that you liked the article I shared, so thanks for the shoutout! I like the way that some of our peers in the class are incorporating digital citizenship learning into minilessons for the beginning of the class warm-ups. Although I don’t have any super unique or special ways to incorporate it at this time, I would like to hear what others think. I wonder what Alec’s take would be on this?

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