The more I read and research, the more fundamental I see digital citizenship being to what we do as educators. However, I also get more and more curious about where this type of learning fits in with the Ontario curriculum. In my research, I came across a document by the Ministry of Education entitled A Shifting Landscape: Pedagogy, Technology, and the New Terrain of Innovation in a Digital World, that reads:
Digital Citizenship : Many aspects of digital citizenship were spoken about by participants that seem to reflect the fact that we are in the early stages of grappling with issues surrounding safe and ethical use of technology in school culture.
Of primary importance across and among projects was the issue of students using technology safely and effectively in schools. To this end, all the projects seem to be struggling with issues surrounding control of technology in school boards, either by maintaining fire walls or by allowing open access to websites. As one individual said, “These devices will be and are being used by students; the question is how do we utilize those
opportunities in a safe and engaging learning environment?” Another participant questioned whether the focus
should be on infrastructure that restricts or controls student access or on providing an open environment and
then focusing on educating students about safe use and establishing restrictions and controls for inappropriate
use. Still others felt that cost to school boards would dictate an open environment in the years ahead.
These are great questions, but little-to-no concrete solutions, or places to situate such learning. I am wondering about:
1) What courses are best suited to a digital citizenship curriculum?
2) What would teachers have to sacrifice, if anything, when then infuse their teaching with this digital citizenship curriculum?
3) Is this something that we can assess on an on-going basis? If so, how?
4) What don’t I know about digital citizenship implementation that is essential for success?
With these questions in mind, I’ve started to look at “WebWeWant” and engage with others on Twitter surrounding the topic of digital citizenship. I want to steer this away from the ‘cyberbullying’ conversation, though I know that they are inextricably linked, and focus on safety and privacy, as well as on digital footprinting. To this end, WebWeWant has been very valuable as they have many resources in their scope and sequence.
Currently, I am aiming to integrate the digital citizenship piece into the adviser program at my school, as that seems like a natural fit, and the best place for these types of conversations to take place. I am also interested in bringing parents into the mix on this as well.
Ultimately,Digital Citizenship is about sharing your authentic self safely on line. Gian Ghomeshi had a great conversation with Randi Zuckerberg (yes, the sister of that guy) based on her book “Dot Complicated“. It’s worth the 18mins podcast video if you’re interested in these questions and in why digital citizenship will be one of the most important topics in education in 2014!
I hope that there are other educators struggling and succeeding with this important topic, and I’d love to hear of what has worked and what hasn’t too!