School of Thought

Insights & Ideas for Online Teaching

How to Teach Your Students Digital Citizenship

These days we talk so much about using technology in the classroom.  We all know how important it is to get technology into the hands of students and allow them to utilize it to facilitate their learning, but many of us forget to also teach them Digital Citizenship.

I remember when I started teaching, thinking “that’s the job of the parents to teach that!”  Well, here’s the honest truth: parents don’t teach it.  Why?  Because honestly, parents don’t even know much about the technology, so how could they be expected to teach about how to use it correctly?

So that job falls on us.  I feel it is so important to teach students how to use the tools at their disposal but also how to use them correctly.

My students are not old enough to have social media accounts (even though many of them do anyway).  So, in my class we’ve created a class Twitter account.  Each day (if we remember!) we have different students tweet from our class account.  They tweet out things they’re learning, what we’re doing in class, and funny stuff that happens throughout the day.  We talk about what to tweet out, what not to tweet out, how pictures need to be of the backs of heads.  We talk about not using last names, we talk about how once you press send there is no such thing as “delete” (FYI: the Library of Congress has kept a running record of every tweet EVER sent out...deleted or not), and so much more.  Did I create an account for each student?  No.  Am I interacting with my students via social media outside of the classroom?  No.  But I am taking a platform some of them already use, and I am showing them how to use that platform for educational ways, but also how to use that platform safely and correctly. 

But where do we even begin with teaching digital citizenship?  And what if I don’t have time?  Well, first let me address the time “issue”.  You have time for what you value and make time for.  I teach math.  But I still find time to weave little lessons of digital citizenship into everything we do when we use technology.  Now when looking for resouces, The 3 Tech Ninjas have a page with several really great Digital Citizenship sites that you can utilize http://www.the3techninjas.org/#!internet-safety/c1exf.

Don’t miss your opportunity to teach your students about digital citizenship.  You may be the only one who ever teaches them how to use those tools safely and correctly!

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