There are plenty of resources for schools/teachers there for Digital Citizenship
Before I get to the main topic, I thought I'd share some useful resources this week on #DigCit... the internet is literally rife with resources for teaching digital citizenship.... Here are a few you might consider:
1) Everything you Need to Teach Digital Citizenship - Common Sense Education
This a great one, it has lessons for all ages, broken down into grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 (which always strikes me as a large age range... difference between a 14 year old and a 17/18 year old? Huge, but anyways).
2) How to Promote Digital Citizenship in the School Library (Demco Ideas & Inspiration)
This article is a bit more straight forward, just sharing 6 abrupt and down to earth ways to promote digital citizenship in your everyday classes. Definitely geared towards early/elementary school teachers. My favourite is the suggestion to watch BrainPOP Jr.'s video on internet safety, see below! It comes with a quiz afterwards if you open it up on their website here.
3) 9 resources for teaching digital citizenship (By the always wonderful ISTE)
Each of the resources in this page (created Feb 5, 2020-so you know it is hot off the press... although it does link to older resources from a few years ago at times) is a wealth of other resources and information.
4) Digital Citizenship Policy Development Guide (From the School Technology Branch of Alberta Education)
This is a great resource document, which leans a bit more on the academic side of the argument, citing research and such.
5) Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools (published by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education)
This is a great resource document, which leans a bit more on the academic side of the argument, citing Ribble (does it surprise anyone it's written by Alec and Katia?).
Citizenship is defined as the state of being a citizen of a particular social, political or national community. Citizenship carries both rights and responsibilities.
So what is holding us back?
Right from resource #4 above, it states that....
Digital citizenship is a complex subject matter. It is the intent of the current guide to bring shape to this domain through questions and considerations that may be weighed by leaders. Through this process, the current work will assist leadership and stakeholder decision-making, guiding the development of effective digital citizenship policies.
So, OK, this stuff IS hard. It's complicated. It's tricky for teachers, parents, and policy-makers to wrap their brains around. It's tricky to understand the full ramifications of it's use in schools, to update privacy laws, to make it "safe" for classroom use... but maybe that's just the thing, maybe we can't scrub this down and make it "safe"... one argument that is used in my school division (and I've heard feedback from many others, in many divisions) is that we need to lock this stuff down because we need to keep our kids safe. And while this is certainly a good argument with things like swords, guns, etc... it's not a great argument for something that kids have access to all the time on their cell phones, or at home.
By "locking" down social media for students, we are also shutting down all the teaching opportunities around it's proper use: how it should be properly situated in our lives, and how to use it to fuel our professional and personal growth, and how to ward against it's improper use against us, by understanding it's massive power and reach fully.
We already know that teenagers lack that voice that says "is this a good idea", and that they are less likely to engage in moral and ethical thinking (Digital Citizenship policy development guide, 2012, p. 10)... and here we kidding ourselves that we can just avoid using and teaching about social media in schools, and that kids will just "sort themselves out" individually at home later on proper usage of social media. Yikes! It's like assuming that since we taught kids that they can get hurt in real life, that we should just leave obstacles all around the house for them to possibly get hurt on. After all, they know better! They'll just sort out the "two separate lives" of real world, versus the online world, themselves. See the excerpt below:
From Alberta's Digital Citizenship Policy Development Guide (2012)
Let's get real. We need to start treating social media, offline, online, as all the same thing, because they are already.
chools, like many things, are THE PLACE for kids to learn about social media, and how to be a good digital citizen. As suggested before, citizenship comes with rights but also responsibilities, and we are collectively dropping the ball on teaching kids about the power and responsibilities that come with social media.
Ironically, one study found that adults are actually more likely to fall prey to internet scams, versus the youth of today (we grew up with the scams, Baby boomers didn't, might be one reason). Perhaps policy makers of today need to relearn that same lesson around digital citizenship and social media in schools.
Policy makers, and schools need to stop dropping the torch on Digital Citizenship and Social Media in schools. School is definitely the place to collectively, everyday, integrate and teach about Digital Citizenship, and proper use of social media. The longer we wait, the worse it is going to get. Teachers can certainly "go about it on their own", and I suggest that they begin to do so until each provincial education body wakes up and starts working together... but imagine what difference we could make if we all pushed?
Maybe there is so much waffling around integrating Digital Citizenship into schools because these are the sorts of people calling the shots?
Let's pull together and get this done. Instead of having a bunch of isolated pockets of amazing and talented teachers such as the ones in #eci832, or like the amazing @Tyler_JL I interviewed last week working on this problem, what if we pooled our resources and got stuff done on a canada-wide level? WOW! It's like Dwight says....
One last "why"...
Taken directly from the Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools document (Hello? Manitoba, are you there? Why don't we have something like this already? Ooooofph):
From Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools, 2015, p. 6
If those reasons aren't enough to warrant teaching Digital Citizenship in schools, what is?
My name is Matteo Di Muro, the original Prairie Boy, and I've been teaching since I was 14. I currently teach mathematics and computer science in Brandon. I try to keep on learning things, and I'm getting onboard with sharing with others, hence this site!