Throughout this class, I have been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting on the idea of digital citizenship. What it is, how to demonstrate it, when to teach it, and where it fits in with curriculum. While none of these questions come with an easy answer, one thing has stood out to me – the importance of making our students aware of what digital citizenship is and the need to be a positive digital citizen.
Digital Citizenship encompasses a myriad of ideas and I feel that it is our duty as educators to introduce our students to some of these concepts, and to go beyond only teaching basic rules for internet safety. The first steps towards actualization of this content is to make teachers aware of the importance of teaching digital citizenship and to provide them with resources that will make that possible. Resources like the Government of Saskatchewan’s Digital Citizenship Continuum, Ribble’s nine elements, and the “Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools” policy guide; none of which I was aware of before starting this semester in EC&I 832.
Now that I have discovered these documents and have been made aware of the importance of digital citizenship, I have looked for ways to incorporate this teaching into the lessons that I deliver to my students. Common Sense Media has a lot of great resources that I have used with my students, and even though they are only in grade 2 and 3, they have been very responsive and have had a lot to share on the topic. I have also found that they are excited to jump into any activities that I present to them and are eager to practice good digital citizenship and to demonstrate what they have learning. I feel that this early exposure can only help lead to positive behaviours in the future, or at least cause them to stop and think about their habits and how what they are posting will affect others or contribute to their own digital footprint.
Right now, teachers are on their own to explore and create lessons and units on these themes, and until there is a specific curricular expectation given on what needs to be taught and when, rather than just a continuum that “is intended to support professionals as they infuse these concepts and skills into their teaching.“, the education on this topic is going to vary from grade to grade, classroom to classroom, and teacher to teacher.