Enhance students’ awareness of digital citizenship through integrating it into the curriculum

Dr. Mike Ribble first defines digital citizenship as a concept that helps teachers understand what students should know to use technology appropriately. In other words, digital citizenship exists for school teaching and learning at that time. He then revises the definition: Digital citizenship is the continuously developing norms of appropriate, responsible, and empowered technology use. Ribble does not mention school in the new definition because digital citizenship changes over time, and technology is not only served for learning. Being good digital citizens is not for school purposes but for functioning in the world around us. Therefore, building digital citizenship should be a life-long journey.

Interestingly, there is no computer subject in the SK curriculum. Is it because technology permeates every subject? Is it because the school assumes students have already mastered the nine elements of digital citizenship? I cannot question the provincial curricula document because it is written by experts and revised several times.

We cannot restrict the pace of the digital era; we need to accustom and use its strengths well. If you wonder how to integrate technology into teaching, please see the SAMR model in my previous blog.  I like the fourth level of integration remodification best because technology allows for creating new tasks.

As a secondary pre-service teacher majoring in English, I’d like to incorporate technology into traditional classrooms, especially into reviewing the literature. I will take Grade 10 ELA as an example. Learning outcome CC A10.1 requires students to create something to demonstrate their understanding of identity, social responsibility, and social agency. How about letting students present their work via their own devices? I am inspired by Bring Your Own Device program (BYOD) in Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Curriculum. BYOD encourages the school to allow students to use devices in their hands for learning. Students can practice digital communication because they use digital devices in a safe place, in real life, and in the community. Creating a safe place requires teachers have a strong understanding of popular apps. There should be clear agreements between teachers and students to confirm that digital devices will only be used for learning purposes. It is worth noting that the learning process and product should be different from those in traditional ELA classrooms. Indicator C under CC A10.1 requires students to develop a project-based inquiry. Students could make the inquiry in groups. Due to the pandemic, online collaboration has become popular. Students will collect resources online and approach each other via social networking software. If teachers could set a deadline clearly, students would supervise each other and thus are safe from being distracted.

During the learning process, students will also practice Digital Etiquette by communicating with manners and referencing the resources correctly. Moreover, they will also distinguish between reliable and fake resources. Teachers should offer students aid if they struggle with distinction. Teachers could teach them reverse image search, which helps people to differentiate original photos from post-editing ones. After they finish their inquiry, they can post works on the Internet. Actual audience visit enhances students’ Digital Responsibilities. If they post valuable opinions in their works, cyber citizens will praise them. Conversely, they will get criticism. The lesson should end up with a discussion in which the class evaluates the comments together. Looking at these real examples and non-examples, students switch positions from a consumer to censors and therefore have a deeper understanding of digital citizenship.

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