Fostering Digital Citizenship

REFLECTIVE POST for ETL523 Assessment 3 Part B

At the beginning of my ETL523 studies of digital citizenship I shared my thoughts on the group Padlet and in my blog: “Digital citizenship refers specifically to knowing how to behave in the digital world”, I wrote, and then continued: “as educators, (we) must help our young students develop the skills, habits and appropriate behaviour that will help them be safe, act ethically and respectfully and be accountable for their actions.  This is citizenship.” (Wocke, 2018c; Wocke 2018a).

Now, at the end of this module, I still agree with most of it, except the last sentence. This is not citizenship, at least not all of it. In my recent blogpost called Digital CITIZENship I reflected on my learning and new understanding (Wocke, 2018f). Yes, citizenship has to do with personal behaviour, but it is also tied to community, social responsibility and privileges (Ohler, 2011). It further has to do with participation, becoming active citizens rather than just passive consumers (Rheingold, 2010).

What is digital citizenship?, posted by Family Online Safety Institute

A century ago already Dewey argued that the goal of schools should be to educate young people to be citizens who can think, do and act intelligently and morally (“John Dewey,” n.d.). With the advent of the digital society, schools need to take on this responsibility, especially in the digital realm. In order to be empowered citizens, we have to ensure that we equip our students with the information literacy, digital literacy and social media literacy skills and the ability to transfer those skills to new media and situations (Wocke, 2018e, Hague & Payton, 2010, Rheingold, 2010). The networked and connected nature of the Internet means that this cannot happen in isolation, only in dedicated digital citizenship classes. It needs to be integrated into every classroom and every lesson, in order for this attitude to become part of the everyday behaviour of our students. The social, open and participatory nature of the Internet has eliminated boundaries to communication and collaboration to such an extent that our digital interactions are as likely to be local, as national or global. Digital citizens are by default global citizens and should be cultivated as such, by helping them develop a sense of personal and global responsibility and accountability (Lindsay, 2016, p. 22; Crockett & Churches, 2018, p. 24).

By intentionally designing digital learning environments (discussed here on my blog and in the forum),  where learning is facilitated and supported through the affordances of digital technology, we can create safe, authentic learning environments, where we guide our students in their development as 21st century citizens – see figure 1. (Wocke, 2018b). Digital learning environments (DLE) should be intentionally designed, allowing for personalised, empowering, learner-centred and learner-directed learning, where our students can practice and develop appropriate and ethical participation in the digital world (Veletsianos, 2016, pp. 246-7).
Figure 1. A definition of 21st Century Citizenship by P21.

Teacher librarians (TL), dually qualified educators and information specialists, are uniquely qualified to assist school leadership in designing DLEs and implementing policies and procedures with which to create environment that will facilitate the development of our students as effective citizens of the 21st century. While classroom teachers need to focus on subject content, TLs can collaborate with them and integrate aspects of literacy building and citizenship development into teaching and learning. TLs understand the needs and requirements of successfully, critically, ethically and honestly navigating the changing information environment, through teaching of research skills, evaluation, curation and ethical use of information sources. TLs can play an important role, not only assisting teachers to facilitate 21st century learning, but also helping teachers to develop the skills, competencies and fluencies needed to                              fully participate in the information economy. TLs are also able to
competently assist school leadership in building a successful DLE
(Martin & Roberts, 2015, p. 20).

At the start of my studies I subscribed to the concept of digital citizenship, but I now realise how important it is to proactively plan for the integrated development of 21st century learning literacy and global citizen awareness in the digital learning environment in our schools.

 


References

Crockett, L., & Churches, A. (2018). Growing global digital citizens: Better practices that build better learners. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Family Online Safe Institute. (2009, September 29). What is digital citizenship? [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/e0I13tKrxcA

Hague, C., & Payton, S. (2010). Digital literacy across the curriculum. Retrieved May 13, 2018, from Futurelab website: https://www.nfer.ac.uk/publications/FUTL06/FUTL06.pdf

Lindsay, J. (2016). The global educator: Leveraging technology for collaborative learning & teaching. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

Martin, A. M., & Roberts, K. R. (2015, January/February). Digital native not equal to digital literate. Principal, 18-21. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aaslissues/MartinRoberts_JF15.pdf

Ohler, J. (2011). Character education for the digital age. Educational Leadership, 68(5). Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/
educational-leadership/feb11/vol68/num05/Character-Education-for-the-Digital-Age.aspx

Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (n.d.). Reimagining citizenship for the 21st century: A call to action for policymakers and educators. Retrieved May 21, 2018, from http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/Reimagining_Citizenship_for_21st_Century_webversion.pdf

Rheingold, H. (2010). Attention, and other 21st-century social media literacies. EDUCAUSE Review, 45(5), 14-24. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2010/10/attention-and-other-21stcentury-social-media-literacies

Veletsianos, G. (2016). Digital learning environments. In N. Rushby & D. Surry (Eds.), Handbook of learning technologies (pp. 242-260). Retrieved from http://www.veletsianos.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/digital_learninig_environments.pdf

Wocke, G. (2018a, February 28). Digital citizenship in my words [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2018/02/28/digital-citizenship-in-my-words/

Wocke, G. (2018b, March 3). The digital learning environment [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2018/03/03/the-digital-learning-environment/

Wocke, G. (2018c, March 7). Digital citizenship [Video file]. Retrieved from https://flipgrid.com/077b3e

Wocke, G. (2018d, March 29). We need to transliterate, practically [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website: https://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/grethaw/2018/03/29/we-need-to-transliterate-practically/

Digital CITIZENship

The digital world has broken down many walls (also classroom walls), built many bridges and has connected us like never before. The digital world is truly a global community, where we can connect, communicate, collaborate and create without the constraints of time and place.

image in the public domain, downloaded from pixabay

To be a citizen, is to be a native or naturalised inhabitant of a particular place or community, entitled to certain privileges. Since ancient times, being a citizen has meant to be virtuous and engaged. If we want to call ourselves digital citizen – of the native or visitor or resident kind – we must be prepared to take on the responsibilities along with the rights and opportunities.

I learnt from Jason Ohler when he looks at community and citizenship historically, and then applies the basic principles to digital communities and digital citizenship. Here is his reasoning:

  • “Citizenship requires individual ‘virtuous’ behaviour”
  • “Citizenship requires balancing personal empowerment and community well-being”
  • “Citizenship requires education (Virtuous behaviour is taught, not inherited)
  • “Citizenship requires participation”
  • “Citizenship is constantly evolving, and thus requires our ongoing debate”
  • “Citizenship must be inclusive”
  • “Citizenship is the result of media evolution”
  • “Citizenship is tied to community”

From: Digital Community, Digital Citizen (Ohler, 2010, pp. 33-35).

Ohler reasons that digital citizenship is all about understanding opportunities and responsibilities. He points out that digital communities differ from historical communities in that people join by choice, rather than geographic default. They join communities out of needs, curiosity and common interest.

I also learnt from Howard Rheingold, I also don’t believe that digital natives that are born with digital literacy and media literacy skills just because of the age they were born, reaching for iPads. I also do not believe that people are born good citizens. Rheingold (2010) sees participation as one of the five social media literacies. He links participation with citizenship: “When you participate, you become an active citizen rather than simply a passive consumer”. Or, as Putnum (2000) put it: “Citizenship is not a spectator sport” (p. 342).

The primary reason for the existence of schools is to educate young people to be productive, positive citizens. This is also true of being digital citizens. Ribble (2007) reasoned that digital citizenship instruction should include development awareness of social and political issues, not only learning correct behaviour in digital environments.

From the Partnership for 21st century skills’ document Reimagining Citizenship for the 21st Century I learnt:

Citizenship today means more than understanding the roles of government and voting in elections. It means making sense of local, national, and global events, trends and information, and acting safely, responsibly and ethically in online forums. Citizenship requires a wide range of knowledge, 21st century skills and experiences for effective and productive participation in the democratic process, community life, education and workplaces (p. 5).

They define a 21ST CENTURY CITIZEN as:

  • Informed, engaged and active
  • Literate in civics
  • Proficient in core academic subjects and interdisciplinary knowledge, such
    environmental literacy; financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy; and health literacy
  • Empowered with global competencies and 21st century skills
  • Capable of participating safely, intelligently, productively and responsibly in the
    digital world

I learnt from Lindsay, Crockett and Churches, that we need to develop global digital citizens: they reason that because technology has eliminated many boundaries to communication and collaboration, we can and must help students develop a sense of personal – and global –  responsibility and accountability (Lindsay, 2016, p. 22; Crockett & Churches, 2018, p. 24).

 

I have learnt that the CITIZEN in digital CITIZENship must be our focus as teachers, if we are to successfully prepare our students for the 21st century.


References

Crockett, L., & Churches, A. (2018). Growing global digital citizens: Better practices that build better learners. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Lindsay, J. (2016). The global educator: Leveraging technology for collaborative learning & teaching. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

Ohler, J. B. (2010). Digital community, digital citizen. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.

Putnam, R. D. (2007). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community (Nachdr. ed.). New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Reimagining citizenship for the 21st century: A call to action for policymakers and educators (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Comp.) [Pamphlet]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/Reimagining_Citizenship_for_21st_Century_webversion.pdf

Rheingold, H. (2010). Attention, and other 21st-century social media literacies. EDUCAUSE Review, 45(5), 14-24. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2010/10/attention-and-other-21stcentury-social-media-literacies

Ribble, M., & Bailey, G. D. (2007). Digital citizenship in schools. Eugene, Or.: International Society for Technology in Education.

 

 

 

 

 

Productively and responsibly

I found Hollandsworth, Dowdy and Donovan’s article “Digital Citizenship in K-12: It Takes a Village” excellent reading and will look for an opportunity to share it with our school leadership.

In a recent follow-up to the article, “Digital Citizenship: You Can’t Go Home Again” Hollandsworth, Donovan and Welch remind teachers and administrators that “Technology is here to stay, and the focus now must be how to use it productively and responsibly“.

The results of their follow-up research show the need to:

  • teach digital citizenship at an earlier age, beginning in pre-K through fifth grade;
    I strongly agree that responsible digital behaviour must be taught at the primary school level. Erikson’s stages of psychosocial behaviour show us that in the 5-12-year-old age group teachers are important role models and children are starting to develop their sense of being part of community. In the older age group (12-18) part of personal identity development is achieved through experimenting and testing of boundaries.
  • improve the digital citizenship awareness of educators and administrators;
    ALL teachers “teach” digital citizenship through their own online behaviour. If a teacher fails to reference images and other resources, students are less likely to take this seriously. Administrators should be proactive in matters relating to digital citizenship, rather than acting reactively and very often punitively. Administrators also need to take the lead in making sure that parents are informed about issues relating to digital citizenship.
  • continue the focus on the misuse and abuse of technology
    Digital citizenship and civic citizenship should be seen and taught from the same point of view: citizenship requires virtuous and responsible behaviour. Virtuous behaviour is taught, not inherited. Citizenship requires education and opportunities for participation (Ohler, 2010, p. 33)

References

Hollandsworth, R., Donovan, J., & Welch, M. (2017). Digital citizenship: You can’t go home again. Tech Trends, 61(6),

524-530. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-017-0190-4

Hollandsworth, R., Dowdy, L., & Donovan, J. (2011). Digital citizenship in K-12: It takes a village. Tech Trends, 55(4),

37-47. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-011-0510-z

McLeod, S. (2017). Erik Erikson. Retrieved March 3, 2018, from Simply Psychology website: https://www.simplypsychology.org/Erik-Erikson.html

Ohler, J. (2010). Digital community, digital citizen. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.

Digital citizenship – in my words

At the start of ETL523 we are asked to share our view of digital citizenship on flipgrid.

Here is our brief:

Digital Citizenship – in your words

(Photo by Josh Rose, downloaded from Unsplash)

As we start this subject I am interested in YOUR thoughts about digital citizenship. In ONE MINUTE only I encourage you
to share a short video where you may like to share:

 – Your motivation for taking this subject
 – Briefly, the learning environment you work in e.g. school, university
 – What ‘digital citizenship’ means to you

Here is what I said:

“Educators create environments which facilitate and foster the learning and development of the younger members of our society. Helping them acquire the knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes needed to become responsible and contributing citizens of the worlds they live in. Our students live in the physical world and in the digital world.

We, as educators, must help our young students develop the skills, habits and appropriate behaviour that will help them be safe, act ethically and respectfully and be accountable for their actions.  This is citizenship.

Digital citizenship refers specifically to knowing how to behave in the digital world. As educator I see it as part of my responsibility to help my students develop as digital citizens. This is why I am on this course.”

I look forward to seeing what others say and I wonder how my view will change during this course…