Monday, January 27, 2014

How to teach students about digital citizenship



With the use of technology increasing in today's classrooms, it's easy for educators and schools to monitor students' digital footprint - "the 'trail' they leave online, made up of comments they make, images they post, and content they create" (eSchool News) - during school hours. However, the average student ages 8-18 consumes 7.5 hours of media per day outside of school; while parents are wary of their child(ren)'s Internet usage, the rules regarding it may be less strict than at school. Students may not be aware of what digital citizenship, and may not know the consequences of their online actions.

How can we prevent students from making poor mistakes online? Lisa Highfill, the K-12 instructional technology coach for the Pleasanton Unified School District in California, says it's "important for adults to model positive online behavior and create their own positive digital footprints, because students will mimic what they see online." She encourages adults to focus on the positives rather than the negatives associated with digital citizenship, and also believes that anyone who is educating children should be able to teach students about digital footprints and should have knowledge of resources about  digital citizenship. "Educate yourself on the conversations you should be having, and don't assume that kids know this," Highfill says regarding speaking about digital citizenship.

To learn more about digital citizenship, check out Laura Devaney's article "How to teach students about their digital footprint" (eSchool News).

Our Speak Up 2013 Surveys asked questions related to students' digital footprints. An example question is:

Which of these statements reflect your thoughts about digital footprints (information that is available online about you from what you and others have posted)?

Speak Up surveys are free, and school and districts can receive access to their school and/or district's data. Results regarding a student population's digital footprint will also be a part of that data. It will be released on February 5th, so be on the lookout for the data next week!