Digital Citizenship

What is Digital Citizenship?

The differences between citizenship and digital citizenship are subtle. Each area of citizenship (both generally and digitally) can be connected in a variety of ways. For example- if an element of citizenship is to be kind, courteous, and polite, the connecting element of that in the digital world is to maintain those attributes online and digitally. As well, if being a good citizen is to maintain strong morals and refrain from bullying, the same can be said about the digital environment. I think a major problem that we face today is that people feel they are NOT as culpable in their digital fingerprint as they are in their real ones. I have seen many times people who have no problems typing out insults, bullying comments, and sending general negativity into the universe on their computers and phones in social media, but if faced by the people they were communicating with in person, they would not be able to or even wish to say the same things. My definition of digital citizenship is : to be and maintain strong moral values and promote healthy, positive, and educational content in the digital universe. I know that’s a lofty goal- but I think about a certain set of questions that many teachers have tried to ask students if they suspect bullying, using the acronym “THINK”- Is it True, helpful, inspiring, necessary, or kind? If we could all follow that format as digital citizens, we would have a much stronger atmosphere online.

Digital Literacy and Digital Etiquette, elements 4 and 5, are most relevant to my impending class, (starting next fall) a ninth grade honors and CP combined HYBRID course, where students will spend three days a week learning online, and two days a week in my classroom. The first, digital literacy, is extremely important for them because they will have to know how to access all of the materials I upload for them, how to use them not only correctly but also effectively, and how to process information on their own for the first time ever. This is especially important because they will be freshmen- they will not know how high school works, let alone how an online high school class works. We often see many freshmen struggle deeply in the first quarter of high school because our philosophies and rigor differ vastly from our middle school. To add in the digital universe for a core class (English), it may create absolute havoc. To avoid as many significant issues as possible, I will have to set up the beginning of my course as a training period to make sure their digital literacy is at least strong enough to get them off the ground. The same issue is present with my second element- digital etiquette. As freshmen, they barely know how to act in the building, let alone my specific classroom, and then onward to my online classroom. I strongly believe that classroom rapport and dynamic is an integral part of a successful learning environment, so I look forward to this course helping me figure out how to create a positive and effective online environment using and modeling effective digital etiquette skills.

Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools: Nine elements all students should know. (3rd

            ed.). Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology.



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