Definition of digital citizenship: Ribble, defines digital citizenship as the appropriate use and responsible behaviour of technology practice (http://digitalcitizenship.net/Nine_Elements.html). He identified nine elements of digital citizenship that in my opinion, should become imbedded into everyday school curricula and teaching and learning practice:
- digital etiquette,
- digital communication,
- digital access and digital literacy,
- digital commerce and digital law,
- digital rights and responsibilities,
- digital health and wellness, and
- digital security.
My concern surrounding digital citizenship: Technology provides remarkable opportunities for students to learn, connect, create and collaborate with their local community, nationally and globally. However, while many students consider themselves to be “tech-savvy”, there is no guarantee that they are cyber-safe (Australian School Library Association, (ASLA), 2013) because it is not a mandatory part of the school curriculum. The Information and Communication Technology (ICT), capability (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2015), indicates that Australian educators have an obligation to teach students about the ethical use of technology, however, there is no explicit reference as to where it specifically sits in the curriculum or by whom it needs to be taught. While the educational community agree with the teaching of digital citizenship in principle, O’Brien (2010), policy leader of the NSW Digital Education Revolution, acknowledges that the decision to teach digital citizenship relies solely on the initiative of the individual teacher, as there is no coordinated K-12 curriculum approach. Teacher Librarians (TLs) are well placed to teach these skills, however is it their responsibility, or that of the classroom teacher (CT), or both?
An informed, publicly engaged digital citizen, is difficult to define. Greenhow (2010) states that more research is needed into exactly how students learn and then practise legal, ethical, safe, responsible and respectful uses of the Internet.
School direction: Implementing digital citizenship practices, is currently in its infancy at our school. Those students accessing the Learning Centre this term, have been given a brief overview of some of the aspects of being a safe and respectful digital user. New this year, all students (if they agreed) signed a Computer Use Contract, which states that they will abide by the policies outlined by the NSW Department of Education when they log into their student portal. Next term, there will be a trial to implement programs available from the New Wales Department of Education and Communities (2011) Digital Citizenship website (http://www.digitalcitizenship.nsw.edu.au/).
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2015). The Australian Curriculum v8.0. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/
O’Brien, T. (2010). Creating better digital citizens. The Australian Educational Leader, 32(2). Retrieved from http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/uploads/Creating_Better_Digital_Citizens_ACEL.pdf
Greenhow, C. (2010). New concept of citizenship for the digital age. Learning & leading with technology, 37(6), 24-25.
Teaching & Technology. Free for commercial use, no attribution required. Image from flickr