Digital Citizenship in Saskatchewan Schools

Digital Citizenship in Saskatchewan Schools

Digital citizenship is defined as “the continuously developing norms of appropriate, responsible, and empowered technology use.” There are 9 elements that we must focus on in order to comprehensively understand digital citizenship. These include:

  • Digital Access
  • Digital Commerce
  • Digital Communication and Collaboration
  • Digital Etiquette
  • Digital Fluency
  • Digital Health and Welfare
  • Digital Law
  • Digital Rights and Responsibility
  • Digital Security and Privacy

These aspects of digital citizenship can and should be addressed in every subject and area, and there are multiple ways of achieving this. Below, I have discussed my ideas for how to implement some of these aspects into different areas and age groups of the Saskatchewan curriculum

Digital Communication and Collaboration

This element addresses the exchange of information online and the ability to effectively share thoughts online. One area this could be applied to is the Foundations 10 curriculum. The curriculum says students need to be “developing literacies” and this is said to include engaging in the language of math. Students should be able to understand a variety of different mathematical representations. Many of the outcomes also include being able to explain why certain things occur. One way we could use the elements of digital citizenship to meet these outcomes is by creating an online space for students to explain work together on assignments. An assignment Padlet could be a good way for students to learn how to appropriately collaborate online as well as develop the language necessary to explain math to each other.

Digital Health and Welfare

This element teaches us how to understand our own needs, limitations and the effects media has on us so we can lead a balanced life. This topic could be easily addressed in the grade 8 health curriculum. The curriculum mentions “health literacy” which is the ability to interpret information and understand our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. Many of the outcomes of this curriculum can and should address digital health. For example, one outcome is understanding how body image affects our lives and another outcome is understanding the impact of bullying. These outcomes can be addressed while teaching students about how these issues are seen in media. Students can reflect on these topics by also reflecting on the ways media has influenced them.

Digital Fluency

Digital fluency is about understanding technology and its different uses. This element could be implemented in the grade 4 English curriculum. This curriculum says that students should be able to discuss visual experiences and their effectiveness, identify the intent of media, and read and compare different references. These are things that could help students develop digital fluency as well. One way this could be achieved is through the outcomes addressing the understanding of the media’s intent. A strong ability to decipher media’s intent would help students develop the digital literacy needed to make informed decisions online. Being able to compare different references and decide if a source is appropriate and trustworthy could also start to be addressed in this curriculum.

Digital Law, Digital Rights and Responsibilities, and Digital Security and Privacy 

These elements address the understanding of laws in the digital world, how to protect yourself online, as well as understanding our responsibility to protect others and report issues online. These aspects could be addressed, and built-in some ways, into the Computer Science 20 curriculum. The curriculum makes specific mention of teaching students about the issues regarding identity theft, the permanence of information, and responsibilities regarding using school computers and accessing students’ private information. The issues surrounding our responsibilities online and digital privacy could be addressed in the outcomes that mention the impact of the internet on society. When discussing advances in computer technology students could also discuss how cybersecurity evolves and what that looks like. The outcomes addressing digital privacy are also a perfect place to discuss these issues. This is a perfect place to express different cyber-security techniques as well as the various laws surrounding the digital world.

Digital citizenship is something that should be incorporated into each class and, as best as possible, each outcome. As the world moves further online it’s important that students learn digital citizenship in all its forms and applications. In my future class, I hope to be able to express these elements in more than just a singular lesson. These are things I believe should be implicitly built into your lessons as well as explicitly. The online world is so important that if we don’t adequately prepare students for it, their whole life will be affected. Hopefully, in the future, I am able to apply these elements to each subject I get to teach.

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