Teaching Digital Citizenship: My “Aha” Moments

I must admit that before taking this class, I didn’t realize the importance of teaching digital citizenship to students. The content I usually covered was very surface level and included things like not talking to strangers online, or being careful what you post because things you put online are there forever. Through taking this class I have learned that there are SO many more things that students need to know and how important it is for them to gain the skills so they can be positive digital citizens.

Over these past few months my knowledge and opinion on digital citizenship has changed immensely. I feel so much more prepared and equipped to tackle the topic and to prepare my students to be positive digital citizens. I decided to summarize a couple key things that were really “Aha” moments for me that will contribute to my ability to teach about digital citizenship.

  1. Practice what you preach- The best way to teach digital citizenship is to BE a positive digital citizen. For so long I feel that I tried to hide my digital identity from students because I thought it blurred the lines between my personal and professional life. But I now see how having a positive online presence and talking about it with students is the best way to show them the importance of it. As Bandura studied, children learn by example so we need to set a positive example for them to follow.
  2. The future is changing- As we learned during week 9 about new and emerging literacies, digital citizenship and media literacy are 2 skills that will be necessary in the future work forces our students will enter. This just reinforces the importance of preparing them for this and
  3. Leave a footprint, but make it a positive one- We are no longer living in a time where you can just avoid being online. Instead of scaring students into what can go wrong online, we need to teach them how to leave a positive digital footprint and give them the skills and tools to be critical thinkers and make smart choices online. Ribble’s 9 Elements summarize the key points to being good digital citizens.

Teaching digital citizenship isn’t something that happens on its own, nor does it happen in one day. As Jen states, “It takes a village to raise a child online and offline”. Support needs to come from the home as well as the school in order to raise children who are positive digital citizens.


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