Written by Charlotte Brearley, BSD Education
The world is now a truly digital place. Billions of people from all around the world communicate digitally, work digitally, learn digitally and even play digitally every day. Your students were probably exposed to a tablet or smartphone at a very early age and have grown up using technology. For the majority of your students, the digital space is their modern-day playground.
However they make use of technology, all of our students are already digital citizens. But the important question to ask is: are they ‘good’ digital citizens?
Students can’t be expected to know how to navigate the far-reaching digital space that has so much potential without any guidance. It is vital that we as educators prepare them for a future where technology is everywhere and help them navigate the digital space in positive ways. This is where digital citizenship comes in.
Digital citizenship is a wide and varied topic that can be interpreted in numerous ways. For us at BSD Education, we agree with Richard Culatta from ISTE who believes that schools need to shift the way they think about and teach students to be good digital citizens. All too often, digital citizenship is focused just on online safety or what not to do in the digital space. Of course, these are important lessons, but what we really need to focus on is the potential of being a digital citizen. As Culatta says, digital citizenship should be about how we can use technology to make the world a better place for ourselves and others.
A ‘good’ digital citizen should see the world as an interconnected community of a range of different people and understand that technology can be used for the benefit of ourselves, but more importantly for the benefit of others. Digital citizens will have the skills and knowledge to communicate and consume in the digital space, but vitally they will have the skills and knowledge to solve problems and create solutions.
This level of understanding cannot be taught in just one-off classes. Instead, it needs to be explored and explained as a way of thinking and should, therefore, be integrated across classes and content areas.
What are your thoughts on Digital Citizenship? Has your school integrated Digital Citizenship into the curriculum yet? Feel free to discuss with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we could feature you in our upcoming articles!