Empowering Digital Citizens in Our Classrooms
Digital citizenship lessons empower students to engage responsibly and effectively in the digital world. With the right guidance and support, students not only learn to be safe and responsible consumers, they learn to contribute rich ideas to online spaces and make real and lasting differences. They also learn how to find balance in their technology use in order to stay physically and emotionally healthy. Even if you are familiar with the benefits of teaching digital citizenship, you may still have questions about the best way to introduce these concepts in your classroom. If this is you, we invite you to join us in one of Learners Edge newest courses, 806: Digital Citizenship in The Classroom!
At the heart of our work as teachers is our commitment to helping students become thoughtful and engaged citizens. With our encouragement, students learn to communicate, collaborate, create, and explore their world in new ways. Today, our students’ world extends well beyond the classroom and the local community; with the integration of technology, their world — and the impact they can have on it — is limitless. The power of technology, with all of its potential, can also be overwhelming. This is why teaching digital citizenship in school is so important.
The foundations of digital citizenship begin with internet privacy and safety. Even simple steps like creating strong passwords and establishing good log-out habits can make a big impact on protecting students’ security online. Once students understand these foundations, they can begin to safely explore their place within their online communities. While many students, even very young students, have advanced technology skills, they still need real help and guidance in navigating the social elements of the online world. This is why teaching online etiquette —aka “netiquette”—is essential. Teaching kids how to interact online is an ongoing process. We need to engage in regular conversations and use real-life situations as learning experiences. We also need to help students understand that the persona or profile they create online can and will shape their future —both socially and professionally. The opportunities for growth and learning are endless!
Perhaps the most exciting element of digital citizenship today is the shift away from the basic lists of “do’s and don’ts” and the movement towards community action. Young people are learning to use digital media in real and relevant ways to bring about social change and work towards social justice.
Nicole Krueger, author of “Digital Citizenship is The New Citizenship”, explains it this way:
For today’s students, the internet removes many of the barriers that have contributed to a decades-long decline in civic engagement. Traditional modes of social action, such as joining community groups or volunteering, can seem time-consuming and burdensome to students who are already overwhelmed by their busy lives.
Digital media, on the other hand, changes this.
For students who have grown up holding the digital world in the palm of their hands, the internet is the most natural place to take action. It’s where they already are, socializing with their peers and exploring their identities.
As teachers, we can support our students’ voices and help them act on their convictions when we provide classroom opportunities to share their ideas in online communities or through digital media. Often, these important lessons can be easily integrated into the activities and projects we already do in our classrooms.
There are so many ways we can help our students become empowered citizens. When we take opportunities to teach digital citizenship, we acknowledge that students’ online lives deserve the same guidance and support we give to their lives offline. Teaching digital citizenship empowers students to make smart decisions and create positive change in the world.
Are you ready to join us in our introduction to digital citizenship? Click below to register for our newest Technology course!
Krueger, N. (2017, Sept. 14). Digital citizenship is the new citizenship. ISTE.org. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/explore/articledetail?articleid=1052