Digital Citizenship in the Classroom

Digital Citizenship in the Classroom


We are surrounded by digital technologies, at home, at school, at work, almost everywhere.  By raising awareness of the opportunities and risks inherent in digital technologies, our students will be better prepared in how to act online to avoid inflicting harm on themselves and others. Digital citizenship can be defined as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use. This article addresses digital citizenship and how three themes can be brought together while doing engaging activities in your classroom: digital communication, digital literacy and digital etiquette.


Digital Communication


When students work in groups to complete an engaging task we need to first explain to them why we are even doing the task.  Most teachers spend some time going over  the skills and standards that need to be addressed to pull off the task.  Then the teacher has them apply those skills to complete an engaging task so the students can see how and why those skills and standards are important to their life.  What often is missed is giving the students an authentic audience to share the work they completed.  For example,It could be as simple as sharing their work with their parents or extreme as showing students in another country.  When we start asking our students to share what they have learned to audiences outside the classroom it requires students to be completely aware of the decisions they make while on the computer.  This is an excellent time to help them think about communication avenues.  There are choices like SeeSawGoogle Classroom, TwitterFacebookSnapchatInstagram and the list grows monthly.  Students are already making these choices on their own everyday at home often with our guidance.  Helping students learn proper channels is our responsibility and if we allow them to explain the choices they make in class to sharing their learning, they will more than likely be excited about the conversation and have plenty to say.  


Digital Literacy


When students are given an opportunity to share their learning they have an awesome opportunity to explore digital literacy.  Imagine if we asked our student to Screencastify their 3D modeling design on Tinkercad and they incorporated Explain Everything to share what they had done?  What if they wanted to narrate what they were doing (with the microphone on their computer by using the Tab Resize app in Chromestore) so they could split screen their narration and pull up Explain Everything App up right next to it, so they could read it fluently?  This is definitely App Smashing; but it is also giving students a safe place to learn about and use digital tools to show their knowledge and show their proficiency.

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Digital Etiquette


I bring up Digital Etiquette a lot in my class.  It comes up because my students are using so many forms of communication tools and often combining them to show their proficiency.  This is such a great time to discuss the importance of their digital footprint along with having great conversations about why so many schools decide to ban things.  The students need to know the power of the Internet and they need to be in a safe place like a classroom to explore communication options and how to explore the responsibility associated with such an amazing tool like the internet.  A great place to find resources is Common Sense education.

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When students are so close to technology and the digital world, they must know or know how to examine the impact of their online activities. Teachers must model ethical technology use for their students on a daily basis, and they must include conversations about it whenever technology is part of their lesson plan (everyday).