There has been a lot of discussion regarding digital citizenship and digital responsibility lately. This stems from district-wide Chromebook roll-outs, increased use of cloud and online applications and the every-growing world of social media. More and more students are arriving to school with multiple devices (personal and school provided) and classrooms are being equipped with more tools every day.
Students currently in K-12 have had digital footprints established at birth (birth certificates, medical records, Social Insurance Numbers) and their digital footprints will continue to grow. They have never lived in a world without internet and our K-6 students don’t know of a world without smartphones and social media. The world has changed and so have our schools. Teaching students about positive and safe digital access and footprints is vital in 2018.
In talks with teachers and parents, the question, “Who is teaching the students about digital citizenship and when should they be learning about it?” often comes up. The answer is simple: Everyone. Always. The right time is now. Similar to how we continuously set, model and monitor classroom and home expectations, we need to be proactive by educating and modelling digital citizenship as educators, parents and the community.
who should be teaching digital citizenship and when? everyone. always.
Digital citizenship should no longer be a one day event or a planned lesson. We don’t need to prepare to take our class to the computer lab anymore. Instead, build it in to everything you do. Remind students about your expectations and their responsibilities online. Model digital etiquette and positive digital communication every day. Promote healthy uses of technology and remind students to take breaks when needed. Give them tasks that are part of the world they are living in.
Don’t wait for the right opportunity to talk about digital citizenship or wait for the “right subject or class” to teach it. We are living in a digital world, inside and outside of our schools. Digital citizenship applies to every subject, every grade and every student and educator. The responsibility is all of ours.