Rethinking digital citizenship; can you create value in the world?


This talk by Richard Culatta at the ISTE 2018 Chicago event this year is worth a watch. He has some good points on what it means to be a good citizen and what digital citizenship really is. I will share some of the highlights here:

There are areas where we have the opportunity to do a little better. One of those areas is in how we teach digital citizenship. Most teachers will say that this is taught in their school, but where we seem to disagree is in what it really means. It is easy to confuse digital citizenship with online safety. Because digital citizenship is about making your community better, to respectfully engage with people who have different beliefs from yours. To be able to shape and change public policy to be able to recognize the validity of online sources of information.

Digital citizenship it turns out, is not a list of don’t but a list of do’s. And never has it been more important than it is now.

Context matters

Digital citizenship, here is the catch; this has to be taught in context. It is proven that it is very difficult to take something and to transfer something that was learned in one context into a different environment than it was taught in. If we don’t teach students how to use social media to make a difference, if we don’t teach students how to organize people around a good cause in a physical space if or just in a physical space, we should not be surprised if they only use their devices for entertainment. If we want our students to understand how to use technology to improve their community to amplify their voice to distinguish fact from fiction online, we have to teach those skills in a virtual space.

There are many great examples of that happening today. No one eats alone. March for our lives Parkland Florida this campaign was used to change the conversation. Welcome to donate my time, from India. Kristin Madison’s new book digital citizenship in action. ISTE CONNECT, Digital Citizenship Network.

He ends his talk by telling about the girl Kristin Layne how posted her prom dress for sale and got tons of ugly comments on her post. It is a powerful story about how one positive remark changed the story, how the voice of one can make a difference. The story ends well, all because one person understood what it meant to be a good digital citizen.

Learning how to be an effective digital citizen is not something that happens if we don’t actively teach it. And preparing a generation of effective digital citizens is the most important thing we can do to ensure a democracy for the future.

I recommend you show this to your students and to the task he gives at the end. Think of one thing you can do to promote digital citizenship this year. Write it down here. #digcitcommit.

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