Make Digital Citizenship about the Do’s, not the Don’ts

Make Digital Citizenship about the Do’s, not the Don’ts


Far too often digital citizenship is taught
in a negative way. Here’s the list of things not to do online. And while I
deeply appreciate the intent behind all the anti cyberbullying campaigns, we
don’t think other things as anti in our schools right? I mean we don’t have
an anti illiteracy campaign — we teach people to love to read! Digital
citizenship shouldn’t be a list of don’ts, but a list of do’s. La Cañada
School District in California decided instead of teaching anti cyberbullying,
they were going to start teaching their kids what it meant to be good cyber
friends. Which includes watching out for people who aren’t being treated
respectfully online. In addition to being more compelling, by the way, keeping it
positive is actually something you can practice. You can’t you can’t practice
not doing something. The other thing we need to evolve is our thinking around
recognizing that the skills required to thrive as a digital citizen go far
beyond just online safety. It includes being respectful of people with
differing viewpoints from our own, recognizing fact from fiction online,
using technology to engage in civil action, knowing how to have the right
balance of activities online and offline and of course knowing how to be safe and
also create safe spaces for others. These aren’t skills that students are learning,
by the way, by watching adults either you may have noticed. So we also have to do a
better job ourselves. Last year in Chicago we challenged you to commit to
doing at least one thing differently to teach digital citizenship in a positive,
broader way and we asked you to share your stories. We got so many stories I
wish I could take the time to share all of them with you but let me just give
one or two quick examples. Lora Carey, a 5th grade teacher in California,
committed to modeling good digital citizenship by citing all of the sources
that she used. In her words, “no more snatching an image just because it’s for
my class.” Or a technology integration specialist from Elk Grove USD who
committed to supporting students in again in their words using technology as
a global microphone to connect communities beyond their classrooms.
Unfortunately, the people who most need to hear this message aren’t sitting in
this room today. So we are planning a bold next step, and we need your help.
ISTE, in partnership with like-minded organizations, is launching an
international campaign around redefining digital citizenship. We’re calling [Yes
you can clap for that, thank you] we’re calling on students, educators, parents
and community members to take action in ensuring that our students have the
skills they need to be effective digital citizens. We will be curating the best
resources we can find to help teachers and parents talk to their kids about
these important skills. And we’ll be sharing them at digitcommit.org. With your help we have a shot at creating a radically better future.

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