Archive of ‘Digital Citizenship’ category

5 reasons we need an iCentre Website

is-an-icentre-website-necessary

As we continue to travel along the path of re-visioning our iCentre virtual spaces, we have been investigating what a website, Library Management System (LMS) and social media can offer school library services.  Our research has been interesting and we easily agreed that the LMS and social media are vital virtual spaces for our services.  The Library Management Systems we have investigated are web-based, learner-centred, sophisticated and interactive and as such, we have been challenged to consider the question: is an iCentre Website necessary?  Our conclusion is a resounding YES and here are the reasons why:

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-12-43-26-pmWe model the literacy of participation

Jenkins et al. argue that the digital divide between those who will succeed in twenty-first (21st) century futures and those that will be left behind is determined not by access to technology but by access to opportunities to participate and develop the cultural competencies and social skills necessary in new media landscapes (2006, p.3).  Crockett, Jukes and Chruches (2011, p.14), O’Leary (2012, para.18), and Seely Brown (2012, p.15) are also among those advocating the necessity of educating for participation because individuals who find themselves lacking such skills are at risk of being on the wrong side of the divide and left behind in academia and the workplace. Many of the skills and mindsets outlined by these authors, require schools to transition from a scholarship practice that uses technology as a tool to enhance research to a social scholarship practice “in which the use of social tools is an integral part of the research and publishing process and is characterized by openness, conversation, collaboration, access, sharing and transparent revision” (Pearce et al. & Cohen as cited in Veletsianos & Kimmons, 2012, p.767).  The iCentre website models this literacy of participation through publishing blogs, connecting with social media, and the open sharing of learning.

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-12-43-39-pmWe serve a community not just students & teachers

The college community served by the iCentre is broader than the students and teachers on campus.  In particular, parents, as the primary educators, are an important part of our community.  One of the roles of the iCentre is to provide leadership in digital citizenship.  The website regularly curates and publishes information on how parents can assist their children to develop the capacity to build a positive digital footprint that showcases their learning interests, talents, and successes, and enables them to build social skills and cultural competencies.  This content also includes resources that will assist the community to use information and technology safely, legally and ethically.  To this end, the iCentre website is a valuable tool because it provides learning experiences that enable the community to engage in positive digital practices that are relevant and timely.

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-12-43-50-pmWe value networks

Technological shifts have changed the culture of learning to one in which the classroom is now global and provides learners with access to “nearly unlimited resources and incredible instruments while connecting with one another at the same time” (Thomas & Seely Brown, 2011, loc.55).  In this new culture, learning resides in the ability to form networks and learning how to learn, what to learn, who to learn with and when to learn is more important than the mastery of content (Olsen, 2011, p.22).  It is argued that understanding both digital competencies and new ways of learning in order to model digital citizenship become possible when educators take on the responsibility of developing a Personal Learning Network (PLN) (Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011, p.10).  The iCentre website is one of the tools we use to connect with our colleagues in education – it is part of our learning network.  We have had many instances of professionals from other school libraries making suggestions for our website, contributing content to our website, and contacting us through the website in order to visit and share knowledge.  Such connections have been invaluable to the service we offer our community.

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-12-43-59-pmWe value Open Scholarship

A trend that has been identified in 21st Century scholarship is an “openness” resultant from developing digital communication and networked technologies (Pearce et al., 2010, p.37).  According to Katz, this trend towards open content, knowledge and learning will offer great opportunities for scholars (2010, p.6).  The Creative Commons movement, which has opened up access to licensed creative content and also allows individuals to license work for others to share, is one example of how openness can lower barriers and democratize learning.  By sharing resources and learning through the iCentre website, we too are participating in a form of open scholarship.

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-12-44-09-pmWe want to share our story

At this year’s Edutech Conference in Brisbane, both Kate Tormey, CEO of the State Library of Victoria and Dr Ross J. Todd, associate professor at Rutgers University, Department of Library and Information Sciences, stressed to delegates of the Future Libraries stream that if libraries are to thrive, then they must share their story.  The capacity of the Teacher-Librarians to share their story both within the college and beyond has valuable outcomes and the iCentre website has proved a powerful way to share our story.

References

Crockett, L.,Jukes, I., & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is not enough: 21st-century fluencies for the digital age. [Epub]. Kelowna, B:C: 21st Century Fluency Project.

Jenkins, H.,Clinton, K., Purushotoma, R., Robinson, A., J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Paper presented at MacArthur Foundation. Retrieved from http://digitallearning.macfound.org/atf/cf/%7B7E45C7E0-A3E0-4B89-AC9C-E807E1B0AE4E%7D/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF.

O’Leary, T. (2012, October 10). Making connections to end digital divide. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/making-connections-to-end-digital-divide-20121009-27aul.html#ixzz2nF0cHrLS

Olsen, R. (2011). Understanding virtual pedagogies for contemporary teaching & learning (pp. 1-32, Rep.). Victoria: IdeasLAB.

Pearce, N.,Weller, M., Scanlon, E., & Ashleigh, M. (2010). Digital scholarship considered: How new technologies could transform academic work. In Education, 16(1), 33-44.

Richardson, W., & Mancabelli, R. (2011). The power of networked learning. In Personal Learning Networks: Using the power of connections to transform education (pp. 1-14). Moorabbin, Cictoria: Solution Tree Press.

Seely Brown, J. (2012, November 21-22). CJ Koh Professorial Lecture Series No. 4 in Singapore: Learning in and for the 21st Century Singapore. Retrieved from http://www.johnseelybrown.com/CJKoh.pdf

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace.

Veletsianos, G., & Kimmons, R. (2012). Networked Participatory Scholarship: Emergent techno-cultural pressures toward open and digital scholarship in online networks.  Computers & Education, 58,, 766-774. Retrieved from http://10.1016/j.compedu.2011.10.001

 

Learning in the Digital Age = Participation

Lighthouse

One of the key themes that have been impressed upon students engaged in the Master of Education Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation course (MedKNDI) is that learning in the digital age involves understanding and participating in digital cultures.

Throughout these studies, I have also been introduced to some expert educators and researchers discussing the idea of participatory digital cultures.  Some researchers that appear regularly in my reference lists include Henry Jenkins, Mimi Ito, Danah Boyd, John Seely Brown, Doug Johnson, Howard Rheingold, Christine Greenhow, Mike Ribble, Helen Haste, Will Richardson, Selen Turkay and James Paul Gee.

The challenge these thought provokers pose to those of us teaching in schools is:

How can we embed opportunities for participation into our programmes, curriculums, pedagogies, and spaces so that our students may “develop the cultural competencies and social skills” for full involvement in society (Jenkins, Clinton, Purushotma, Robison & Weigel, 2006, p.4)?  The key it is suggested, is to consider how students can learn, participate, create and produce within and beyond the classroom.

As we complete the course and engage in the colloquiums on offer, it is my goal to consider my professional practice as a teacher-librarian and my responsibility to prepare students to participate and thrive in the constantly evolving landscape of the digital age.

A useful guide for this reflective investigation is the 2016 standards for students recently produced by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).  I have used this publication to develop goals for enhancing my professional practice during and beyond the studies undertaken in INF537: Digital Futures Colloquium.

Learning goals for digital futures

References

Jenkins, H.,Clinton, K., Purushotoma, R., Robison, A., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st Century. Paper presented at MacArthur Foundation, Chicago. Retrieved from http://wheatoncollege.edu/president/files/2012/03/Confronting-Challenges-of-Participatory-Culture.pdf

International Society for Technology in Education. (2016). THE 2016 ISTE standards for students. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/standards/standards/for-students-2016

Considering copyright for digital environments

email-826333_1920

As teacher librarians we are charged with the stewardship of school libraries and the resources within them. This stewardship translates to the task of ensuring the conservation, organisation and responsible use of information, cultural and physical resources. One core responsibility that falls under the umbrella of stewardship is understanding, protecting and teaching copyright. The Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians, stipulate excellent teacher librarians will do this by: applying information management practices and systems that are consistent with national standards (Australian School Library Association [ASLA], 2004, standard 2.3); and modelling the sharing of knowledge within their community (ASLA, 2004, standard 3.4).

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights holds that “everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author” (United Nations, 2015, Article 27). Robert Levine argues that such protection of creators’ rights is well provided for by copyright (2013, 7min45sec). However, managing copyright in the digital age has become a very complicated and confusing arena that requires careful consideration for creators and consumers alike (Levine, 2013, 13min27sec). Issues facing teacher librarians in this area include copyright legislation, Digital Rights Management (DRM) and licensing agreements (Fitzgerald, 2015, para.1). In my school library, tasks impacted by copyright and digital platforms include the loaning of eBooks and audiobooks, the use of digital textbooks, digital video resources, software use, publishing content on the library website and social media accounts and educating teachers about fair use for resources uploaded to Moodle, the Learning Management System (LMS) used by our school.

While the stewardship of resources is important, most teacher librarians would consider the student and their learning as the primary focus of all that we do. For our students, copyright is something we need to teach if we are preparing them for successful futures, particularly as the workforce they are entering will require them to produce and publish content on websites and via social media. In these environments, it is essential that students understand their ethical and legal responsibilities when using the work of others. It is also important that they know what rights they have to their own creative content. One method of applying this knowledge to the classroom is requiring students to publish online because this carries attribution expectations beyond a bibliography. When students are required to find images and media licensed for reuse or create and license their own media, they begin to appreciate intellectual property and creative rights and the implications of copyright infringement. We have found that accessing resources that can be reused, shared or remixed via Creative Commons has been an essential skill. We also advocate students use the Creative Commons licensing tool to exercise control of their own creations. This, I believe, is a key literacy for the 21st century and when students are allowed to participate in digital environments, do they understand the connotations of ethical use.

References

Australian School Library Association. (2004, December). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved July 25, 2015, from http://www.asla.org.au/policy/standards.aspx

Fitzgerald, L. (2015). Literature in Digital Environments [INF533 Module 6.1]. Retrieved October 13, 2015, from Charles Sturt University website: https://interact2.csu.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-510015-dt-content-rid-1113506_1/courses/S-INF533_201560_…

Levine, R. (Director). (2013, January 31). Rovert Levine on copyright, content and the digital economy [Video file]. Retrieved October 10, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYiSWMnUSJQ

United Nations. (2015). The universal declaration of human rights. Retrieved October 11, 2015, from http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

Image Attribution 

Geralt, Email Keyboard Computer Copyright Author, CC0 Public Domain

 

 

Reflection: Digital citizenship in schools


The evolving context of digital landscapes and how these impact life and learning, is something I am keenly interested in. My interest in this topic is both professional, through my role as a Teacher Librarian, and personal, in my role as a parent of teenagers. The subject ETL523: Digital citizenship in schools has provided an opportunity to explore how we can adequately prepare young people for life and work in 21st century futures. In my first blog post for this subject, I wrote:

“The Students I work with live digital lifestyles. They attend a BYOT school that requires them to own a laptop. Additionally, the majority of them also own personal mobile device such as a phone or tablet. Some of them also have wearable computers such as smart watches and fitbits. They use social media and belong to online communities. They are often texting, downloading, updating and searching and they are always looking for Wi-Fi and chargers. Come to think of it, this same lifestyle is lived by their teachers, parents, grandparents, coaches and employers. It’s just the way life is for many in modern society”.

It was at this very early point in the course that I came to appreciate that due to the ubiquity of technology, life in 21st century Australia is digital and as such digital citizenship and citizenship should not be considered different entities. Furthermore, citizenship is fundamentally about participation in society and issues of access, rights, responsibilities and contributions to the collective are as important in our digital interactions as they are in our civil communities. The readings throughout the modules have broadened my thinking about digital citizenship in education and highlighted three interconnected issues that I would like to address in this reflection. These include: the digital divide; learning in a connected world; and the importance of teacher role models.

The digital divide

Throughout the modules in this course, we were challenged to consider questions such as:

  • Why is it important to establish digital learning environments in schools?;
  • Why should we teach digital citizenship?; and
  • Why must educators accept the professional responsibility to lead and support digital citizenship development?

One of the most compelling answers to all three of these questions is because digital and media literacies of participatory cultures are necessary in the 21st century for “social inclusion, business development, service delivery, creative expression, innovation, collaboration and employment” (O’Leary, 2012,Para.19). Essentially, this creates a digital divide that is not about access to technology but about access to the opportunities, experiences and skills required for participatory cultures. Individuals who find they lack such skills are at risk of being on the wrong side of the divide and left behind in academia and the workplace (Jenkins, 2006, p.3; Crocket, Jukes and Churches, 2011, p.14; O’Leary, 2012; and Seely Brown, 2012, p.15).

Learning in a connected world

One of the opportunities afforded in this course was to participate in a collaborative wiki project. The realities of digital citizenship and learning in connected environments were experienced in this project and as a member of a group working towards a common goal; it was imperative that I put into practice digital communication, the ethical and legal use of others’ intellectual and creative property, technical awareness and digital literacy, social awareness and interpersonal skills, and responsible and reliable contributions for shared academic outcomes. Such practices are among those outlined in Ribble’s Nine elements of digital citizenship (2011) and Enlightened digital citizenship model produced by Lindsay & Davis (2013). A conclusion drawn from this experience is that digital citizenship education requires two key components – understanding the competencies necessary for participation in digital environments and understanding learning in a connected world.

Teacher as role model

The course work for Digital citizenship in schools has also informed my professional practice in regards to my own online participation. One of the key questions considered in another blog post response to the course work, is how do we teach digital citizenship? A starting point is for teachers to practice what they need to teach. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) considers it paramount for teachers to possess the skills and behaviours necessary for participation in the digital age and to model these for students (2008). Clark (in Hollandsworth, Dowdy & Donovan, 2011, p.38), Ribble (2011, loc.1901) and Lindsay & Davis (2013, p.98) are also among those advocating the necessity for teachers to lead by example in the arena of digital citizenship. To “practice what I teach”, I ensured that I shared information in social media environments such as Diigo and Twitter and experimented with new tools and published original creative content in order to go beyond consuming information. To this end, I created an infographic of Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship, an embedded Google slideshow of titled Teaching digital citizenship = leading by example; and produced a two-part video guide introducing teachers to the basics of building a PLN for my digital artefact in the collaborative wiki task.

As the subject draws to a close, the challenges and opportunities afforded have been many and have already started to impact my working life. My goal is to transfer these understandings to library and classroom practice to prepare students for futures in connected and participatory environments.

References

Crockett, L., Jukes, I., & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is not enough: 21st-century fluencies for the digital age. Kelowna, B.C.: 21st Century Fluency Project.

Hollandsworth, R., Dowdy, L., & Donovan, J. (2011). Digital citizenship in K-12: It takes a village. TechTrends, 55(4), 37-48. Retrieved March 28, 2015.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2015). ISTE Standards. Retrieved May 14, 2015, from http://www.iste.org/standards/iste-standards

Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A. J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century [White paper]. Retrieved from MacArthur Foundation websitehttp://digitallearning.macfound.org/atf/cf/%7B7E45C7E0-A3E0-4B89-AC9C-E807E1B0AE4E%7D/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF.

Lindsay, J., & Davis, V. A. (2013). Citizenship. In Flattening classrooms, engaging minds: Move to global collaboration one step at a time (pp. 97-125). Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.

O’Leary, T. (2012, October 10). Making connections to end digital divide. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved May 15, 2015, from http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/making-connections-to-end-digital-divide-20121009-27aul.html#ixzz2nF0cHrLS

Ribble, M. (2011). Digital Citizenship in Schools : Nine Elements All Students Should Know (2nd Edition). Eugene, OR, USA: ISTE. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com

Seely Brown, J. (2012, November 21-22). Learning in and for the 21st Century. Lecture presented at CJ Koh Professorial Lecture Series No.4 in Singapore, Singapore. Retrieved May 23, 2015, from http://www.johnseelybrown.com/CJKoh.pdf

Developing digital leaders = including students in your school’s digital citizenship strategy

184_365111-W

We cannot predict what technology will look like by the time our students graduate so how do we educate them to be citizens of a digital world that does not exist yet?  This is a question I am considering as I do some research into developing a school-wide digital citizenship program.  According to some of the literature, one answer may lie in adding student leadership to the plan for a school’s digital citizenship strategy.

Over the past five years, mobile device and ubiquitous internet connection have become more accessible to adolescents and secondary schools have found themselves dealing with increasing incidents of digital behaviour issues such as cyberbullying and sexting.  For many educational leaders, the rapidity of technological change meant that these issues seemed to come out of nowhere and they responded to these incidents on a case-by-case basis (Ohler, 2012, p.15) and by developing Acceptable Use policies which are mostly lists of rules and what Crockett, Jukes & Churches call “the thou-shalt-nots of using technology” (2011, p.122).  Ohler states that the problem with these approaches is that they address symptoms issues (2012, p.15).  It also means that schools are being reactive rather than proactive when it comes to digital citizenship.

An alternative approach suggests that schools should craft a vision for digital citizenship education that includes a set of core beliefs about what constitutes smart, responsible and ethical decisions both online and and in real life (Chen & Orth, 2013, para.5).  It is also advocated that students are included in developing and enacting this vision (Chen & Orth, 2013; Ohler, 2012; and Harper, 2008).  As Harper points out, “students make up about 92% of people in attendance in any school [yet] most technology plans focus on the role of the other 8% (teachers, administrators, adult technical support staff)”  (2008, p.1).  Furthermore, designing programs should incorporate the same principles as other forms of design and it is repeatedly stated that addressing the user’s experience is essential when designing innovative solutions (Brown, 2009; Bennett, 2007; Buchanan, 1992; and Kimbell, 2011).  In the case of education, addressing the user’s experience necessitates a co-creative design process that includes student voice (Sanders & Stapers, 2008, p.5).

Some of the benefits of including students in designing digital citizenship programs include:

  • an end product that is responsive to the reality of students’ cyber lives (Ohler, 2012, p.15)
  • an opportunity for students and adults to engage in conversations about living digitally (Ohler, 201, p.16)
  • increased relevance of education to students (Harper, 2008, p.2)
  • improved technology integration school-wide (Harper, 2008, p.2)
  • an opportunity for students to participate in leadership opportunities tied to technology (Harper, 2008, p.2)

Importantly, inviting students to partner with teachers, administrators and parents in the development of digital citizenship strategies means they are “taking action to proliferate new ideas and better habits of learning” (CSU, 2015, para.1) and this offers an authentic opportunity for student digital leadership.

References

Bennett, P. (2007, May 16). Design is in the details. Retrieved October 7, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7g0O003kufA&feature=youtu.be

Brown, T. (2009). Change by design: How design thinking creates new alternatives for business and society. New York: Collins Business.

Buchanan, R. (1992).  Wicked problems in design thinking.  Design Issues, 8(2), 5–21.http://www.jstor.org/stable/1511637

Charles Sturt University (CSU). (2015). Empowering digital citizenship action, ETL523 Digital Citizenship in Schools. Retrieved May, 2015.

Chen, E., & Orth, D. (2013). The strategy for digital citizenship. NAIS Independent School Magazine, (Summer). Retrieved May 16, 2015, from http://www.nais.org/Magazines-Newsletters/ISMagazine/Pages/The-Strategy-for-Digital-Citizenship.aspx

Crockett, L., Jukes, I., & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is not enough: 21st-century fluencies for the digital age. Kelowna, B.C.: 21st Century Fluency Project.

Harper, D. (2008). Vision to action: Adding student leadership to your technology plan. Retrieved May 15, 2015, from http://www.genyes.org/files/staticcontent/downloads5.pdf

Kimbell, L. (2011). Rethinking design thinking: Part 1. Design and Culture, 3(3), 285-306. Retrieved August 23, 2014, from http://www.lucykimbell.com/stuff/DesignPractices_Kimbell_DC_final_public.pdf

Ohler, J. (2012). Digital citizenship means character education for the digital age. Education Digest, 77(8), 14-17. Retrieved May 14, 2015.

Sanders, E. B., & Stappers, P. J. (2008). Co-creation and the new landscapes of design. CoDesign: International Journal of CoCreation in Design and the Arts, 4(1), 5-18. doi:10.1080/15710880701875068

Image Attribution

Engineering student reading a digital tablet in student lounge. [Photograph]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest.

http://quest.eb.com/search/184_365111/1/184_365111/cite

 

A Guide for Developing a PLN for Educators

When considering how to shape digital citizenship development among students, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) considers it paramount for teachers to possess the skills and behaviours necessary for participation in the digital age and to model these for students (2008). It is argued that understanding both digital competencies and new ways of learning in order to model digital citizenship become possible when educators take on the responsibility of developing a Personal Learning Network (PLN) (Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011, p.10).

Sometimes, the idea of beginning a PLN may sound daunting for teachers. The following two-part guide aims to introduce the basics of building a PLN specifically for educators, including the terminology, tools, and methods necessary to get started.

References 

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). Standards for teachers. Retrieved April 2, 2015, from http://www.iste.org/standards/iste-standards/standards-for-teachers

Richardson, W., & Mancabelli, R. (2011). The power of networked learning. In Personal Learning Networks: Using the power of connections to transform education (pp. 1-14). Moorabbin, Cictoria: Solution Tree Press.

Teaching digital citizenship = leading by example

Leading by example = being online + social networking + publishing & creating + connecting & facilitating

Teaching in a world characterised by networked information, mobile devices, social media and an omnipresent participation in online environments necessitates embedding digital citizenship into classrooms across the curriculum. In particular, the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) stipulate the embedding of digital competencies into learning areas across the curriculum through the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) capability (ACARA, 2014, ICT capability across the curriculum, Para 1).

The question, is how do we teach digital citizenship? A starting point is for teachers to practice what they need to teach. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) considers it paramount for teachers to possess the skills and behaviours necessary for participation in the digital age and to model these for students (2008). Clark (in Hollandsworth, Dowdy & Donovan, 2011, p.38), Ribble (2011, loc.1901) and Lindsay & Davis (2013, p.98) are also among those advocating the necessity for teachers to lead by example in the arena of digital citizenship.

This following slideshow contains four slides that will present methods for teachers to model effective attitudes and practices in digital environments. It seems obvious, that to model digital citizenship, the first step teachers need to take is to participate online.  Once online, teachers need to belong and contribute to networks, go beyond consuming information and start publishing and creating and facilitate student connections.


References

Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (downloaded from the Australian Curriculum website on 5 May, 2014). Information and communication technology (ICT) capability [PDF]. Australian Curriculum Assesment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).

Hollandsworth, R., Dowdy, L., & Donovan, J. (2011). Digital citizenship in K-12: It takes a village. TechTrends, 55(4), 37-48. Retrieved March 28, 2015.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). ISTE Standards: Teachers [PDF]. Arlington: International Society for Technology in Education. Retrieved March 27, 2015, from http://www.iste.org/docs/pdfs/20-14_ISTE_Standards-T_PDF.pdf

Lindsay, J., & davis, V.A. (2013). Citizenship.  In Flattening classrooms. engaging minds:  move to global collaboration one step at a time (pp. 97-125).  Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Becon Publishers.

Ribble, M. (2011). Digital citizenship in schools. Eugene, Or.: International Society for Technology in Education.

Digital Lifestyle = Public = Digital Citizenship = Digital Learning Environment

person-600476_1280

A digital lifestyle

The Students I work with live digital lifestyles. They attend a BYOT school that requires them to own a laptop. Additionally, the majority of them also own personal mobile device such as a phone or tablet. Some of them also have wearable computers such a smart watches and fitbits. They use social media and belong to online communities. They are often texting, downloading, updating and searching and they are always looking for Wi-Fi and chargers. Come to think of it, this same lifestyle is lived by their teachers, parents, grandparents, coaches and employers. It’s just the way life is for many in modern society.

Public roles as media makers & community participants

Modern society requires people to take on “increasingly public roles as media makers and community participants” (Jenkins, Clinton, Purushotma, Robison, & Weigel, 2006, p.3). Preparing students for the modern workplace and academia requires adding non-traditional skills, knowledge and cultural competencies to our curriculums. To be best prepared for their futures, students will need to:

  • understand right behaviours and build the practical skills required to use technology in healthy, responsible and safe ways;
  • be able to learn from and build knowledge with peers and teams of people, often whom they may never meet face-to-face;
  • value intellectual property in order to use the work of others legally and ethically and also to license their own work appropriately;
  • be critical users of information so that they choose authoritative sources and are aware of the ways that media shape perceptions of the world; and
  • understand how to contribute to the collective in order to develop meaningful solutions.

Digital citizenship education

In Australia, the Digital Education Revolution saw laptops put into the hands of students. As this initiative has reached its conclusion, schools across the country are implementing BYOD policies (Smith, 2014, Para.2). Given this, it is time for education to shift the focus from the equitable provision of digital access to the equitable provision of opportunities to use technology to develop the social, academic and cultural literacies required for digital participation. Furthermore, teachers who simply use devices as electronic notepads or textbooks will fail to provide opportunities for students to build digital citizenship competencies and attitudes such as those outlined by Mike Ribble (2011, p.11):

1426302228

Digital learning environments

Authentic digital citizenship education requires digital learning environments. By enabling students to communicate, create, collaborate, disseminate, store and manage information in these environments digital citizenship knowledge and skills are not a choice for students and teachers to adopt, they are a necessity. Schools that are preparing young people for 21st century pathways understand the need for such environments and their responsibility to “develop the skills needed for critical evaluation, online collaboration and communication and behaviours which support safe, responsible and ethical use of digital technology” (Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, 2010, p.8).

What does this mean for my students?

That brings me back to my students and what I need to consider for their learning. One of the things that I think is important for authentic digital citizenship education is for students to engage in environments beyond the Content Management System (CMS). This means we need to use Web 2.0 tools and social media in our classrooms. By doing so, we can lead our students towards positive digital footprints. Furthermore, if we don’t guide students to participate in authentic online environments and communities, we risk the proliferation of ignorance about the consequences and permanence of their online interactions.

References

Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. (2010). Digital learning statement. Innovation and Next Practice Division, Melbourne. Digital Learning Statement [Fact sheet].Retrieved from http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/programs/archive/dls.pdf

Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A. J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century [White paper]. Retrieved from MacArthur Foundation websitehttp://digitallearning.macfound.org/atf/cf/%7B7E45C7E0-A3E0-4B89-AC9C-E807E1B0AE4E%7D/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF.

Ribble, M. (2011). Digital Citizenship in Schools : Nine Elements All Students Should Know (2nd Edition). Eugene, OR, USA: ISTE. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com

Smith, A. (2014, February 21). End of free laptop program means it’s BYO device now for many high school students. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved March 14, 2015.

Image attribution

Stokpic, Person Abstract Ipad No Face Sky Clouds Man, CC0 Public Domain

 

 

PLNs – is there ever too much of a good thing?

In 2008, Jeff Utecht wrote a blog post outlining what he believed to be the stages of Personal Learning Network (PLN) adoption. He observed that when people go about starting a PLN they often move through five stages that include immersion, evaluation, know it all, perspective and balance. In this model, stage 3, know it all, can be a dangerous time. At this stage, Utecht says people find themselves spending many hours trying to learn everything they can, they feel like they can’t afford to miss anything posted in networks and even give up sleep to stay connected. The image below was developed by Utecht to illustrate these stages:

Stages of a PLN

Personally, I think these stages do describe my own journey in establishing a PLN and I oscillate between stage 3, 4 and 5. I particularly identify with a comment on the blog made by Nancy that says “I might consider drawing a ’roundabout’ as well since I find myself entering Stage 3, then 4, then 5 and then something happens and I’m back at Stage 3 then going on to 4, etc.” I always maintain a goal of balance but manage to lose this mid-term when I enjoy being connected to interesting people and great ideas to the point of spending too much time on devices. When university studies or the school term comes to an end, I have a break, get some perspective and seek balance again. If balance is a habit that can be achieved through practise and discipline, then my efforts to obtain this will eventually pay off and indeed, I think slowly, I am experiencing more of the balanced periods and less the manic ones.

In the classroom, I’m constantly telling students that healthy digital citizenship includes digital down time as advocated by others such as Ribble (2011), Rheingold (2012) and Boyd (2014). I think it is important to ‘practice what I preach’ and apply this principle to time spent in my PLN. I also agree with the comment left by John Larkin in response to Utecht’s post, that states too much intensity in a PLN can lead to burn out and that can be debilitating, personally and professionally (2008). In his book, Netsmart: How to thrive online, Howard Rheingold argues that learning how and when to concentrate on the relevant portions of the incoming tsunami of information is a skill that can and should be learned. He labels this process – infotention (2012).

As part of my studies for Social Networking for Information Professionals at CSU, we were asked to develop a meme map of our own PLN which involves social networking sites, people and organizations. Here is mine:

My PLN is 2015-01-29 at 10.41.04 pm

For this subject, we were also challenged to identify any ‘gaps’ in our existing PLN (ie. areas which we feel we would like to develop further/in the future). Linkedin is one such gap in my PLN. While I have an account and a profile, I have always felt uncomfortable in this environment and avoid updating or participating here. I don’t have a solid explanation for these feelings but something about the platform makes me feel like a “boaster” on one hand and a “stalker” on the other. For the purposes of both the subject and my digital footprint, I have set the goal of becoming more familiar with what is on offer for professionals in Linkedin and improving my participation in this network.

References

Boyd, D. (2014). It’s complicated: The social lives of networked teens. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Rheingold, H. (2012). Net smart: How to thrive online. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Ribble, M. (2011). Digital citizenship in schools. Eugene, Or.: International Society for Technology in Education.

Utecht, J. (2008, April 03). Stages of PLN adoption [Web log post]. Retrieved January 31, 2015, from http://www.thethinkingstick.com/stages-of-pln-adoption/

 

What are the right questions for digital literacy?

For some time now, we have been talking about the need for Information and Communication (ICT) capabilities in our schools and that we must establish ways of embedding these into our curriculums and pedagogies, as it is important to the success of our students at school and beyond (ACARA, 2014, ICT capability across the curriculum, Para 1). Such discussions have centred on the skills and tools necessary for digital participation but some are starting to question if we are focusing on the right things. Instead of focusing on the technologies, it is argued, we need to concentrate on the literacies made possible by the technologies. Howard Rheingold tells us that such literacies can “leverage the Web’s architecture of participation, just as the spread of reading skills amplified collective intelligence five centuries ago. Today’s digital literacies can make the difference between being empowered or manipulated, serene or frenetic” (p.3). What then, are the questions we should be asking if we are to build digital literacy into our teaching practice?

I have constructed the following list of essential questions based on the reading I have been doing for my Masters (Knowledge Networks & Digital Innovation) at Charles Sturt University (CSU). Some of the authors I have consulted in my quest for these essential questions include: John Seely Brown, Howard Gardner, David Buckingham, Mike Ribble, Douglas Rushkoff, Douglas Thomas, and Howard Rheingold. I have included some of these readings in the reference list for this article. The questions generated here are neither quoted nor paraphrased from these references but rather synthesised from the ideas they contain. These questions will be a starting point for how I think about assisting students to navigate digital environments in 2015.

Are you a participant?

Participation rather than theory is necessary to understanding digital environments. To build digital, network, media, information and computer literacy and understand how, when and where to pay attention to the flow of information contained within these environments, we must be involved. When we participate in networks, it requires a two-way exchange in which we obtain information from others and contribute to the collective knowledge. Participation may take many forms, including joining conversations in social media, writing a blog, creating a website, doing a course of study, joining creative communities, gaming, taking a political stance or the commercial activities involved in buying and selling.

What does your participation say about you?

Imagine if someone could view all of your online participation – what would it say about you?

Would it show someone who is in control of their participation or someone who is being manipulated?

Would the amount of time spent online be healthy or unhealthy?

Would the information you accepted as truth demonstrate someone who is smart or gullible?

Would the agreements you make by joining particular social media environments and using Apps be legal or in breech of policies and rules?

Does your participation demonstrate an ability to use online environments for learning?

What values would your interactions demonstrate?

Would the way you treat others and their contributions be ethical or unprincipled?

Does your participation demonstrate an understanding of how online environments work and who controls them or does it demonstrate someone who is at the mercy of others?

Do you know how to protect yourself and others online?

Finally, what of your own contributions online – are they creative or uninspired or even destructive?

References

ACARA. (2014). Information and Communication Technology (ICT) capability. Retrieved April 28, 2014, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/information-and-communication-technology-capability/introduction/introduction

ACMA. (2011). Like, post, share: Young Australians’ experience of social media (Rep.). Retrieved April 28, 2014, from http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/About%20Cybersmart/Research/~/media/Cybersmart/About%20Cybersmart/Documents/GfK%20Blue%20Moon%20Qualitative%20Like%20Post%20Share%20%20final%20PDF.pdf

Bawden, D. (2008). CHAPTER ONE: Origins and Concepts Of Digital Literacy. In Digital Literacies: Concepts, Policies & Practices (pp. 17–32). Peter Lang Publishing.

Common Sense Media. (2013, September 30). It’s never too early to teach kids online skills [Web log post]. Retrieved April 28, 2014, from http://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/its-never-too-early-to-teach-kids-online-skills

Crockett, L., Jukes, I., & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is not enough: 21st-century fluencies for the digital age. Kelowna, B.C.: 21st Century Fluency Project.

Gardner, H., & Davis, K. (2013). The app generation: How today’s youth navigate identity, intimacy, and imagination in a digital world. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Hague, C., & Payton, S. (2010). Digital Literacy across the curriculum handbook. Retrieved May 24, 2014, from http://www.futurelab.org.uk/sites/default/files/Digital_Literacy_handbook_0.pdf

Heick, T. (2014, February 27). Are you teaching content or teaching thought? [Web log post]. Retrieved May 20, 2014, from http://www.teachthought.com/learning/teaching-content-or-teaching-thought/

Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2008). Digital literacies: Concepts, policies and practices. New York: Peter Lang.

O’Connell, J. (2012). So they think they can learn? Scan, 31(May), 5-11. Retrieved May 26, 2014, from http://heyjude.files.wordpress.com/2006/06/joc_scan_may-2012.pdf

Rheingold, H. (2012). Net smart: How to thrive online. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Ribble, M. (2011). Digital citizenship in schools. Eugene, Or.: International Society for Technology in Education.

Rushkoff, D., & Koughan, F. (Writers). (2014, July 21). Generation like [Television broadcast]. In Four Corners. ABC. Retrieved January 12, 2015, from http://online.clickview.com.au/search/exchange?q=generation%20like

Seely Brown, J. (2012, November 21). Learning in and for the 21st Century. Lecture presented at National Institute of Education, Singapore. Retrieved January 12, 2015, from http://www.johnseelybrown.com/CJKoh.pdf

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace.

Thomas, D. (2012, May 24). Provocative new questions about education: TEDxUSC. Retrieved January 12, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0XR7CDD9Zs

Thomas, D. (2012, September 12). A New Culture of Learning, Douglas Thomas at TEDxUFM. Retrieved March 4, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM80GXlyX0U

Valenza, J. (2011, August 27). TEDxPhiladelphiaED – JoyceValenza – See Sally Research. Retrieved May 25, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmLwl7ybDFw&feature=youtu.be

Image Attribution

Open Clips, CC0 Public Domain

1 2