DEFINITION: It seems like ‘Digital Citizenship’ is as hard to define as ‘Information Literacy’ and when discussed, people have very differing ideas about what it is.
From the reading I have done so far and my personal experiences I would define it as ‘using technology, no matter what form in a responsible manner’. This would incorporate behaviours that are considered legal, ethical, safe and courteous. As Greenhow (2010) points out, responsible behaviours can differ between different cultures, countries and even individuals within the one society.
Greenhow, C. (2010). New concept of citizenship for the digital age. Learning & Leading with Technology, 37 (6), 24-25.
MY STANCE/OUR SCHOOL: Working at a boys’ high school, it is interesting to see the boys’ behaviour when it comes to social media. Our school blocks sites such as Facebook, Youtube etc. whilst on our premises. I have also had personal experience of students posting inappropriate comments and threats towards teachers. Some have even taken on fraudulent identities of teachers. Often these instances are hard to track and consequences are often blurred due to the nature of the offence. Cyberbullying is a relatively new area in schools and many school policies are still developing in this area. Even when the police were informed they were quite powerless to do anything. Contacting Facebook to have sites deactivated (never deleted) is also very difficult as it is all done online.
Despite all of this, I feel we are doing a disservice to our boys by blocking social media sites. They will need to take responsibilty for their online behaviours in the future, so I believe schools have a responsibility to educate them in digital citizenship whilst at school.
AN IDEAL DIGITAL CITIZEN:
I like Davis and Lindsay’s (2012) representation of a digital citizen. It seems to encompass all facets of digital citizenship with clarity.
How do we ensure that all students in schools become digital citizens? Some teachers are not digitally in touch themselves, often it is not a priority within the school; parents, school leaders and students can have differing views on what is ethical, safe and responsible.
In terms of equitable access to technology, how can this be achieved when often access to education is not occurring equally within society, across the world?
Many courses that encompass technologies often do not explicitly teach the skills required to be digitally responsible. It is too often assumed that students already have these skills and will have the maturity to display them in the school setting.
If schools develop programs and policies around digital citizenship for their students, what happens when the boundary between school and home becomes blurred? Do schools have the right to enforce discipline if students do not act responsibly away from the school grounds? Are parents on the same page as the school?