I teach 6th-grade technology classes, often referred to as “computers.” A large part of what I teach deals with digital citizenship. What is digital citizenship? I used to think it was just being a nice person while online. Over the years I have discovered that digital citizenship encompasses so much more. Ribble (2015) has broken down digital citizenship into nine elements (see website link).
He then separates those elements into three principles: respect, educate, and protect (REP). There is a progression digital citizenship teaching should follow. Certain aspects are taught in the lower grade levels so by the time students are in junior high they have a good foundation of what productive digital citizenship looks like. It is then my duty to elaborate on the REPs of digital citizenship. Hopefully, by the end of junior high, my students have acquired good digital citizenship skills. We are a 1:1 Chromebook campus, so proper digital citizenship is of the utmost importance.
Years ago one of my favorite colleagues taught character education at the junior high (shout out Jerry Lynch). Things change and that course left the junior high. According to Ohler (2012), digital citizenship is today’s version of character education. In a way, the students’ main exposure to character education is through the digital citizenship topics I teach in my class.
One thing I would like to change is the exposure students get to proper digital citizenship. I think every class at the junior high should teach proper digital citizenship, not just the computer classes. Kids are so connected in the 21st century and have access to so much that one digital citizenship unit in a computer class is not enough. Every teacher should be reinforcing proper digital citizenship every day. This brings me to the realization that maybe all the teachers really don’t grasp what proper digital citizenship truly means. I am going to make it my mission to help all the teachers at my junior high to somehow bring digital citizenship lessons into their classes.
I’d like to start a small collaboration project similar to the iCitizen model developed by Marialice Curran in 2012. The project could actually last all year and would involve all the teachers on my junior high campus. I’m not exactly certain how to pull this off, but I will be relying on the resources presented in this digital citizenship course to help me. This blog post looks like a good place to begin!
Curran, M. (2012, June). iCitizen: Are you a socially responsible digital citizen. Paper presented at the International Society for Technology Education Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX. Retrieved from icitizen_paper_M_Curran.pdf
Ohler, J. (2012). Digital citizenship means character education for the digital age. Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, 77(8), 14-17. Retrieved from Ohler_Digital_citizenship_means_character_education_2012.pdf
Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools: Nine elements all students should know. (3rd ed.). Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology.