This week I began a new course in my master program that is about digital citizenship. Before this course start, I thought I already knew enough about digital citizenship but after diving into it I understood clearly that I have a long way to go. When we look at the citizenship and digital citizenship there are many similarities in that both citizens are expected to be respectful, responsible and positive contributors to society. For me, a good citizen is a person, who is respectful, considerate, well-mannered and pleasant in all situations with all people. The same attributes are required for digital citizenship as well. In addition, a good digital citizen knows the legitimate and ethical consequences of online behavior, makes moral online choices and encourage correct behavior when communicating and collaborating in the digital world.
In this day and age, digital citizenship is gaining popularity because technology is becoming ever more available to everyone. It is the very broad topic and everybody has their own point of view about it. My interpretation of digital citizenship is: Being respectful, responsible and productive while using digital environment.
In Ribble’s text, Digital Citizenship in Schools: Nine Elements All Students Should Know (2015) it has been explained that even though our children are digital natives, they still need guidance since they do not know how to use technology tools appropriately. He defines digital citizenship as ” It is the safe, savvy and ethical use of the Internet. In his book, he shares very practical and working strategies to both educators and students to be productive and responsible users of digital technologies. This book also provides digital citizenship nine elements explanations and gives samples for each of the elements. These are the 9 main elements while learning about connecting and interacting in a digital world:
1-Digital Etiquette: Being aware that ethical rules while using virtual environment.
2-Digital Communication: Communicating with digital tools.
3-Digital Literacy: the skill to complete tasks effectively in a digital environment.
4-Digital Access: Ensuring the complete participation of all citizens in electronic environment
5-Digital Commerce: electronically buying and selling of goods
6-Digital Law: electronic obligations for actions and deeds
7-Digital Rights & Responsibilities: Everyone has the right to express himself freely in the virtual environment
8-Digital Health & Wellness: physical and psychological well-being in a virtual environment
9-Digital Security (self-protection): The electronic precautions to guarantee safety
Ribble (2012) states that “Digital Citizenship is an approach to get ready students and technology users for a society to full of technology. As people learn many things by being shown, and by practice one of the most effective ways to help our learners to acquire new knowledge is to show them. The same principle applies to our learners as well. Real learning can only be acquired by studying, practicing, or experiencing to the real world. That’s why the real goal of education should be to prepare students who have good morals, behavior and good problem-solving and decision-making skills in every aspect of life.
Ph.D. Associate Professor, Curran has conducted a project called iCitizen and in this project, she has examined what it means to be socially responsible citizens. Curran’s (2011) study showed that modeling digital citizenship is crucial to teaching and sharing digital citizenship.
From this point, Ohler’s two lives” and “one life” approach was very meaningful, informative and eye-opening for me. I have grasped that as an educator we can help kids live one life and become skilled digital citizens who utilize technology responsibly and wisely. I think most of the homeschool parents do not have enough information about the digital world so I will mainly focus on digital rights and responsibilities in my organization. We are also the part of the digital society and have responsibilities. Our duty covers not only for physical life but also for raising responsible and respectful individuals in digital life. Ohler (2012) expressed that digital citizenship or “character education” should be the main concern for educators. As parent-teachers we all are our children’s educators. It is our duty to show and challenge our learners to think about appropriate ways to utilize technology tools so that “they could think critically and interact responsibly in our digital world” (Common Sense Media, 2016).
These are some resources found this week to increase my knowledge and understanding in digital citizenship.
Brichacek, A. (2014, October 22). Infographic: Citizenship in the digital age. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/explore/articleDetail?articleid=192
Marc Prensky, (2001) “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1”, On the Horizon, Vol. 9 Issue: 5, pp.1-6, https://doi.org/10.1108/10748120110424816
Polgar, D. R., & Curran, M. B.F.X. (2015). We shouldn’t assume people know what digital citizenship is. Retrieved from http://www.teachthought.com/technology/we-shouldnt-assume-people-know-what-digital-citizenship-is/
Scope & Sequence: Common Sense K-12 Digital Citizenship Curriculum | Common Sense Media. (n.d.). Retrieved September 7, 2017, from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/scope-and-sequence