Digital citizenship: I had barely considered these words before this course. Mostly that was due to completing my undergraduate degree in 2010, when classrooms still used overhead projectors, and smart boards were slooowwwly taking off.
Seven years later technology has progressed incredibly fast in society and education. This is where digital citizenship is important: it is one thing to know how to use a computer or tablet, but can you use it appropriately and responsibly? Compare it to driving a car: you know how to operate it, but how do you know when a gap is safe to make a turn (Wheeler, 2015)?
When exploring digital citizenship, I have learned how important it is for the instruction of skills and behaviours to be embedded within the curriculum, without feeding the ‘fear factor’. Earlier in ETL523, I created a series of blog posts based on Ribble’s Nine elements of digital citizenship (2015). My posts on digital security and digital law cover necessary aspects of these elements, but they do play too much into the online world being dangerous. Which of course it can be, but it is also a place to learn. Another student and I, on the module 1.2 forum concurred that digital citizenship must be taught in context, not isolation (Hanson, 2017). But how?
I’ve learned staff can be reluctant or inexperienced, budgets restrictive, and there may not be opportunities presented in the first place. While these are not helpful positions, they are real and even valid. The challenge as a teacher librarian (TL) is to find solutions. That might include a gradual introduction of technology, tech lessons for staff, or collaborative efforts. While it is important students get the best opportunities the school can offer, teachers need to be confident using technology. However, I don’t have a magic wand to solve budget problems.
Digital learning environments need to provide students with meaningful ways to show what they know. It is not enough to get students to just type their notes up in Word; they need to use the information to communicate, create, collaborate, and think critically. These skills, known as the 4Cs, underpin much of what the DLE should aim to achieve (Lindsay & Davis, 2013).
While I am not currently working in a school, I believe the library needs to be made visible by the TL. If it is not visible, no one will use it. There are many ways for a TL to promote the library, which should be selected based on what best suits the school. Based on the second assignment, the learning technology coordinator needs to also promote themselves. They need to illustrate what they know and what they do, like holding information sessions for parents. They must outline WHY it is important.
It is difficult to plan without being in a school. As the only documents I had access to were ones which were publicly available, I lacked a fuller understanding of what is feasible. Policies and documents on a school website only tell part of the story. Likewise, when completing our wiki for assignment one, a group member who works at system level made an interesting observation. She commented that while the modules we were creating were really valuable, to implement them as a compulsory program for students would require approval from the school system, rather than interested schools. This highlights an imbalance perhaps, in curriculum decision making. One can only hope schools are given more autonomy than this when deciding which digital programs to implement.
DLEs are very exciting and interesting for what they offer education. Their continually changing nature means they will always be dynamic and relevant in education.
Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. (May 7, 2012). 21st century education [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA1Aqp0sPQo
Dorthe, A. (24 November, 2016). Five steps to define your perfect digital learning environment [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://blog.liip.ch/archive/2016/11/24/define-digital-learning-environment.html
Hanson, E. (3 March, 2017). Digital security [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/emma/2017/03/03/digital-security/
Hanson, E. (2 March, 2017). Digital law [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/emma/2017/03/02/digital-law/
Hanson, E. (1 March, 2017). Module 1.2 Digital citizenship for educators [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from https://interact2.csu.edu.au/webapps/discussionboard/do/message?action=list_messages&forum_id=_81391_1&nav=discussion_board_entry&conf_id=_42087_1&course_id=_23901_1&message_id=_1069518_1#msg__1069518_1Id
Lindsay, J. & V. A. Davis. (2013). Flattening classrooms, engaging minds. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools: Nine elements all students should know. Eugene, Oregon: International Society for Technology in Education.
Wheeler, S. (2015). Learning with ‘e’s: Educational theory and practice in the digital age. London: Crown House Publishing.