Show Me the Meaning of Digital Citizenship… Is this the Feeling of Good Teaching?

Teaching Digital Citizenship: The Role of Schools & Educators

The Role of Schools & Educators

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This week I was lucky enough to present on this topic with Durston, Gerry, and Gunpreesh. If you’re interested in how each of us summarized the articles we discussed, you can check out our video link here. Durston introduced us to an article, 3 Ways to Foster Digital Citizenship in Schools which included badge training, after-lunch meetings, and parent talks as three ways to engage stakeholders with the content. From there, Gerry continued on the same path and discussed two separate articles: Digital Citizenship in Saskatchewan Schools and Teaching Media Literacy in Europe: Evidence of Effective School Practices in Primary and Secondary Education. Because the articles are lengthy, you may want to check out the summary video to hear the condensed version of the articles. From there, I introduced an article called Making Digital Citizenship Stick which was a short read that discussed digital citizenship in the classroom and the basics of digital citizenship. Finally, Gunpreesh found an easy-to-read guide for K-5 that focuses on self-guided digital citizenship activities, in the commonsense article: Quick Digital Citizenship Activities for K-5 Distance Learning.

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But what is the role of educators and schools you ask? In my opinion, it is to teach kiddos and parents/guardians/caregivers about what digital citizenship means, how to be a good digital citizen and what a digital footprint means. This is no easy feat, and it takes diligence, patience, and a whole lot of learning (on everyone’s part). If you have been following along on my blogging journey this semester, you will know that I strongly think that digital citizenship should be explicitly taught like science or social studies, and back in the day computers (yup, probably dated myself there). If kiddos aren’t learning this at home, and/or school then there are gaps in learning, potentially putting them at risk of making big mistakes. The online world is much different than it was even a few years ago and setting kiddos up to be successful is key. If parents/guardians/caregivers were never taught this subject matter, then they too need the support and learning. Anyone else out there who agrees that digital citizenship should be a standalone class?

Current Personal & Schools Practices in Place

Because I am fairly new to the school that I am at currently and because of COVID restrictions in the schools and everything else, it is tricky to say exactly what is happening in our school around digital citizenship. I think it would be fair to say that it is up to each individual teacher to teach about digital citizenship. I have heard the Grade 7/8 teachers talk about teaching their kids about the social dilemma and implications of social media, but other than that I can’t really recall anyone talking about it. In no way shape or form and I saying that no one is doing it, or that no one cares, etc. It’s just a tricky thing to gauge with everything going on.

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I do think that we could be doing a better job as a whole implementing and teaching about digital citizenship, but in order to do that, I think that someone would need to not only take the role on but completely embrace it, and breathe it. Creating example lesson plans throughout the grades, making a committee, and trying to build a continuum would be beneficial. But it does sound like a lot of work for one person and getting buy-in when teachers are feeling quite burnt would also be somewhat difficult at this time.

I think this is such an important topic and would love to lead a role such as this, or co-lead it, but with everything going on right now I think it would be tricky to get buy-in. Therefore, for the remainder of this year, I am going to continue to focus on my kiddos in my room and teaching them how to be good digital citizens. How you may ask? Well mainly through conversation and stories. Kiddos seem to listen when you are being honest and speaking through experience (good and bad). I do use other resources from MediaSmarts, CommonSense, and more. I feel as if I could do a better job of teaching this content as I am quite passionate about it and believe in its importance of it.  

Future Plans & Moving Forward

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Going forward, I would like to continue creating the digital citizenship course that I started in the EC&I 834 course, which you can check out here. I would like to use this course to act as a stand-alone Practical and Applied Arts course for my middle year’s kiddos. Using Ribble’s framework that I mentioned in the presentation this week would also be key to building a mini continuum that I could teach the kiddos in my room, and moving forward. (You can check out the quick video I made summarizing my articles here.) This would also help act as a starting point if I wanted to take more of a leadership role and share it with my colleagues. Consistency is definitely key when teaching a concept such as this that has so many levels, and factors involved.

Another good way to be a leader in this subject matter is to become more well versed in it. Doing some research into the topic would be beneficial when dealing with teachers who are more skeptical of the importance of it. It would also help me better understand what to include in each level and justifications as to why. Reaching out to the experts would also be key to understanding the content the best that I possibly can, as well as best teaching practices going forward. If you’re thinking you’d be interested in making something such as this and putting it together in a format where teachers could easily pick it up and use it (regardless of their comfort levels), let me know! This may definitely be a project that I am interested in doing in the future.

Growing & Learning Needs Feedback

As always, thanks so much for popping in! To learn, grow and move forward I would love to hear some honest feedback. If I am missing the nail on the head, let me know. If there’s something you think that I could do to make me a better educator, I am all ears! So, feel free to leave a general comment, answer one or several of the prompting questions below, or hit the like button. All support and feedback are appreciated.

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  1. What do you think school’s or educator’s roles are in terms of teaching digital citizenship?
  2. How does your current school tackle digital citizenship?
  3. After spending some time learning and digging deeper into the topic of digital citizenship, how do you about teaching the concept going forward?
  4. What resources do you feel like you need to be the most successful when teaching digital citizenship?
  5. If you have kiddos or if you want kiddos in the future, what do you hope they learn about digital citizenship in schools?

8 thoughts on “Show Me the Meaning of Digital Citizenship… Is this the Feeling of Good Teaching?

  1. Loved your title, connected with it automatically and then started to sing in my head. From my research based around digital medias and critical thinking, the studies I read suggest teaching should be integrated throughout and not in one class. My opinion is we are at such a delicate stage where teachers comfort levels are vastly different in this area and I think it should be a stand alone class that as kids (ahem teachers) become more fluid should be integrated, but we have a ways to go before integration occurs. Similar to your podcast when you had a teacher who taught you how to use powerpoint, word, etc, it built up your capabilities and fluency which then opens the door or coincides with all things digital. Thank you for sharing your lesson plans from 834, I am hoping to take more courses in Ed Tech now that I have had this course exposure and see its importance, and to create something similar to your lessons based around digital citizenship and media.

    1. Christine, I am so glad that you touched on this prompt question. I too have read a lot about how many researchers think that DC should be integrated into every subject, however, like you said until things are established and teachers are comfortable I too think it needs to be a stand-alone class. I would highly recommend continuing to take the EC&I 830-834 courses. They have been so great, and I have made some amazing connections through it. I also appreciate the learning and engagement opportunities the course is built upon. Even though I only got a start on the course, it’s something that I can’t wait to work towards.

  2. Like Christine said, great title!
    I agree that we need some type of continuum or database for these resources. My division has a number of digital citizenship resources however I find they are difficult to work through and don’t have the time to really embrace all of the good qualities they hold! I think having an outcome or two in ELA or Health would help regulate that all teachers touch on this content rather than “division initiatives.” … easier said than done, obviously. But we always say we have enough on our plates, so at least if it was built into our curriculum, it forces the issue that we should be teaching dig cit and its importance in digital literacy! Like you said in the comment on my blog, the responsibility is shifted to schools… the onus falls on us to do a good job of something that should really be taught at home and reinforced in the schools!

    Great post, as always!

    1. It’s really evident when reading through everyone’s blogs posted this week that many people are feeling the same as educators, that the onus is falling on us yet it’s not a mandatory subject to teach. Dalton, it’s interesting that you bring up that your division has a lot of resources available, yet they aren’t user friendly and can be overwhelming. How do you think they could be organized better, or what do you think would be a better idea? Our division doesn’t have anything like that that I am aware of, so I am interested to hear more about it!

  3. For me, digital citizenship is a new subject… This course made me think about so many pros and cons of using digital tools. Concerning our profession of being educators, I agree that first of all, we must be taught about this. We need to be well versed to teach kids about digital literacy… I strongly believe in the need of having digital literacy as a stand-alone class… as teachers are so overloaded with their curriculum that there are chances that DC might get ignored at some phase of their classes.

    1. Thanks for popping by, Shirsty. I too think that if we integrate it loosely into the curriculum that it will get overlooked. In my opinion, I think it should be a standalone subject until there is enough competency to integrate it throughout the curriculum. I grew up having computer class, and each year it was new content being learned and therefore, it wasn’t stagnant. Thanks again for your opinion! I always like to hear what other people have to say.

  4. I am not sure why I can’t reply to your comment!
    Ours is called the Samaritan on the Digital Road. It was actually created by our Ed Tech leaders in ECI832 a few years ago! It links in faith-based education and is a really good concept! I just have not had the time to dive in and invest the time necessary to do the course justice. Thus, I feel there are a number of teachers that teach the course but just skim through it or do something else altogether. It is nice to have some guidance by having the course… but it comes down to time.

    1. Dalton, I know one of your ed-tech leaders, Jennifer. She started creating a resource for EC&I834 and I was thinking that maybe she had finished it up. Gosh, I sure wish that our division had something like that!

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