Eve Heaton, ClassFlow Ambassador
It is almost the beginning of the school year and in preparation I have started making lessons that cover rules, expectations, and, yes, digital citizenship. In the past I used to leave digital citizenship to our computer lab teacher or guidance counselor. With more devices entering the classroom, our reliance on the internet for both teachers and students, and the move to a 1:1 environment, digital citizenship is now a “must cover” topic in our classrooms.
Jaime Vandergrift, ClassFlow Ambassador
Brandon Tepley, Technology Integration Specialist
Facilitating Digital Citizenship happens in every subject, every day. The disconnect between real-world and digital behaviors always surprises me. I realize an open dialogue about what happens online is so important. I know most of my students have had access to devices before they could speak, as they intuitively and comfortably interact online. I know many parents use technology, but have innate fears about privacy and assume their children have a similar sense of online safety. Students today have no fear of technology. That is why we, as teachers, need to constantly talk about online interactions, how to use digital data respectfully and discuss other elements of Digital Citizenship to help make their digital world a reality.
At the beginning of each school year, I not only define class norms, but I also set up a tech Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) to embed key Digital Citizenship elements. Every school district has an AUP, but creating a collaborative set of expectations gives students ownership and provides a Digital Citizenship introduction or review. To get started, I use CommonSenseMedia.org because this is a great resource for parents, too. Completing your class AUP before the first Parent Night will provide the perfect discussion points as you begin educating parents, as well.
As teachers, we know that our Digital Dust needs to be professional, but students do not. We know that text and media posted online is permanent, but students do not. Students need help navigating the digital world. The importance of our work is apparent as we realize that Digital Citizenship is necessary for establishing the appropriate and acceptable use of technology in a digitally immersed world.