Are we doing enough to teach digital citizenship?

  • 2 Min Read

ISTE U offers a course and resources to prepare teachers and students for the digital environment

It seems that every generation of students has a unique set of social circumstances that require educators to consider a curriculum that responds to the time they’re living in. If you were a teacher during the industrial revolution, you might talk to your class about cotton gin safety (if your students weren’t already out there working.) During the 1950s, you might be advising students on how to “duck and cover.” The fact is, times change and education needs to change along with them. Today, your students are facing new challenges and have new opportunities to connect, learn, and have fun in an enormous virtual world: the Internet. Digital citizenship is the practice of teaching the best way to exist in the virtual world. It’s not about security, necessarily, although it can enable students to operate in a more safe way. Rather, digital citizenship is about helping to shape the way that people interact in the digital environment.

What do your students already know?

We all like to say that children of today understand technology in ways that their parents and teachers simply don’t. Because of the open access that youth have with technology, we might assume that they fully understand the ways that technology can be used. However, having great tech skills is very different from skills that explore the ethical, intellectual, and emotional relationship that children have with their electronic lives. It is our job as educators to be aware of the need for digital citizenship and to actively teach the advantages that technology can hold, as well as some of the issues that can arise from using technology. Digital citizenship teaches students to understand a few key things, like:

  • Making their online and physical communities better
  • Engaging with people in a respectful manner
  • Understanding the validity of online sources

Cyberbullying and the student of today

Every K-12 educator is concerned with the student interactions that go on in both education technology environments, for example a learning management system (LMS) and in personal social media and texting locations. Students need to be equipped with the tools, knowledge, and strategies to better interact in a digital world. Teachers have the opportunity to be proactive in their approach to digital citizenship. There are a number of strategies that teachers can employ to help their students understand the impact of cyberbullying as well as ways to diffuse and deal with situations that arise.

Digital citizenship course at ISTE U

To develop and learn the skills necessary to best promote digital citizenship in their classrooms, teachers can take advantage of this great professional learning course entitled Digital Citizenship in Action offered by ISTE U. To learn more about the course and to sign up, visit https://www.iste.org/learn/iste-u/digital-citizenship. The course starts on August 20, 2018, so enroll today. And to learn more about Brightspace, the K-12 LMS that powers ISTE U, check it out here.

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