Digital Citizenship in 2018

Digital citizenship can be a very complex topic. The very first time I remember learning about it was in grade 8 which is almost nine years ago. I had a wonderful teacher who is now an educational technology consultant with Regina Catholic. Unfortyenly I can recall exactly what we talked about, but I do remember the class having some really interesting discussions on the topic.

Things have changed so much since then… When I was in grade 8 the only social network I had was Facebook. It wasn’t until much later that I started to use things like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. At the same time, people were not as concerned about what was being posted online and how it might affect us down the road. Nowadays, I am very careful with what I put online because I know how important digital citizenship is.

A look at the most popular social networks worldwide

It is essential that we educate our students on the importance of digital citizenship. More and more of our life is going online. We need to be responsible for what is being put online.

I was doing some research for this blog and I came across some interesting statistics. Social media use is skyrocketing and for the most part, shows no signs of slowing down. As educators, this is perhaps the most challenging thing that we may have to deal with. Social media is a constantly evolving world, and along with differentiating our assessment and instruction for our students, trying to keep up with all the new things on social media can be a challenge, oh and that whole other thing called making time for ourselves. I would consider myself to be pretty up to date when it comes to social media and there are a number of them on this list that I have never even heard of let alone use.

Another possible challenge is finding the curriculum connection that can link what we find on the Ministry of Education’s website that we must teach and how we can relate that to digital citizenship. If you were to look at the grade seven curriculum nowhere does it say students should know how to be a good digital citizen like it says students should be able to convert a decimal to a fraction in lowest terms. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be teaching it. Rather it just means that we have to find a way to incorporate this important teaching into our other curriculum areas.

There is a provincially developed policy guide that talks about digital citizenship. It is a higher level document made for administrators rather than teachers. That being said there is still lots in there that can be very easily changed to suit the needs of most classrooms. This is a topic that is constantly changing each year as new things arise. It is essential that digital citizenship is taught and that we constantly evolve our teaching so that we are ensuring that our students are able to put their learning to good use in their lives.

Since this is the first full blog post that I have done with my new laptop I thought some High School Musical might be appropriate. I actually performed this as part of a fundraiser for the Five Days for the Homeless last year. Hopefully, I’m still not saying that my laptop is as important as a real p[erson like I might have done in my last blog post. Anyways, hopefully, this is the start of something New.


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