One topic that continues to be of interest and importance for schools and families is Digital Citizenship. How can we interact safely and appropriately online? The topic of citizenship comes in to play in a very big way. Are we being considerate of others in our words, deeds and actions? Looking out for others both locally and globally online is the trademark of a good ‘digital citizen’.
Today, I spoke with a group of teachers at St. Bernadette School on the topic of safety and digital ciitzeship. The goal of the time we spent together was to explore the many types of resources online for teaching digital citizenship. The school is proactive in aims to educate parents, teachers and students on the topic. They had many great ideas for supporting teachers and parents with online safety and citizenship.
I used a web 2.0 tool called Mentormob to create a playlist of sites. This is an effective tool to use because it allows you to easily add resources. These resources display the webpage and from there you can easily show the site and return quickly to the playlist. It is a nice and interactive way to present various websites.
It’s likely that you have a smartphone. If not, most regular phones allow us to send text messages. We as a society have gradually gotten somewhat used to being available by text 24/7. What if any conversations should we be having about Texting Etiquette?
According to Shelly Turkle, a clinical psychologist and the founder of MIT’s Initiative on Technology and Self, “The pull of these devices is so strong, that we’ve become used to them faster than anyone would have suspected”.
Yesterday, I read this article in the New York Times by a student who is questioning her own use of technology and specifically her cell phone.
She concludes, “The worst part of my whole experience was realizing that I really am addicted to my phone. One study described Internet addicts as those using the Internet an average of 38 hours per week for nonacademic or non-employment purposes. These days, most people accumulate that many hours before Wednesday. When I have my phone with me, I check it literally every five minutes. This is something that I didn’t even realize until I stopped using it altogether.
So here’s my final take-away: I’m going to spend more time in the real world and less bonding with my phone.”
In the video below, college students from St. Joseph’s University tackle the issue with a PSA about Texting Etiquette.
We know this is not just an issue for young people. In our own lives we may notice that either we or others are referring a little too often to that ever present phone. When it comes to using my phone in the presence of others, I consciously try to be respectful of others. This may include turning off my phone or turning the volume off. Even so – I know I can be guilty of this. -Checking email, Facebook, twitter, or answering a seemingly important text.
Perhaps at a meeting a request has been made for everyone to stay off of their phones. Families may set rules for phone use. We are all figuring this out together as we go perhaps.
Banning phones is not the answer. In fact, there are plenty of positive ways to use this technology both in the classroom and out.
What do you think? Will ‘phone etiquette’ become commonplace? How can we do that if phones are not allowed in school?
Should texting etiquette be part of the digital citizenship or netiquette we teach at school? Perhaps it is – IMHO : )
As our lives are led to a great degree online, we are daily tasked with thinking about how our online actions and the actions of others impact us. In the early days of the web, it seems as though there was a big focus on online safety. Safety online is VERY important. We need to assure that there are safe measures employed and advocated by all.
Typically, when people act with mutual respect and responsibility, we say that they are good citizens. When this is in place in online interactions, we call it digital citizenship.
On top of the safety issue though is a real and recurring need to talk about appropriate ways to interact. As technology evolves and reinvents itself daily, these issues are ever changing too.
Digital Citizenship Issues
How to comment appropriately
How to license your work and cite the work of others
How to keep private information private
How to speak to a global audience
What are the rules for using particular social networks? How can I make sure I comply?
What makes up a positive online reputation?
When my children were small, there were daily reminders that were part of our daily lives. Be careful, don’t cross the street without an adult, don’t talk to strangers’. When we look at young people today, do we feel as thought they are getting the right reminders about online safety and responsible online behavior? Are these imparted daily by adults that students trust? Below I am sharing my updated list of Digital Citizenship Resources. Which are your favorites? What would you add?
When schools and families take the time to share good digital citizenship practice, it is of benefit to us as individuals and to our global family!
17 Digital Citizenship Resources For School Leaders, Teacher Leaders and Families
These sites have resources for teaching Digital Citizenship in the classroom
This is real world. See what is happening in an internet minute. To what degree do these activities this reflect what is happening in your school or work environment? Are most sites open or blocked? Do policies and discussions around effective use occur? With our world changing so rapidly, discussions around use of technology must happen often. This is the type of support we owe to students, teachers, employees.
I recently had a discussion with a group of teachers about school policy and technology. Each came from a different school. In this group most said that they knew that their school had a policy but had only seen it once if ever. Most said that they didn’t have input into technology use policies and only one recalled discussions on policies(AUPs) at a faculty meeting. They felt that in order to implement new technologies in schools they would need a better idea of the parameters were, what the policy said.
In my role as Director of Technology, K-12 for the last five years, I oversaw the development of policy around technology use in our schools. Evaluating and updating the policy on a yearly basis was a priority. The policy was a go-to document whenever an issue arose or a new technology was employed in our schools. For details on how this was done you can read more here.
What is happening at your school or workplace regarding Technology Policy and Usage? What have you found to be most effective? What would you like to see happen?
When schools make web filtering and blocking decisions, they need to be sure that they are not also blocking learning, blocking productivity, blocking progress. Shifts have occurred widely over the last couple of years in schools regarding the filtering question. Security still remains a top priority. However, the question of what content to block and not block is one where the winds of change are continually blowing.
Fighting the tide
Take the story of new dunes installed at a beach. I remember when new dunes were added at a beach near my home. They were tall and mighty. Surely they would serve their purpose. Two months and one very big storm later, something happened. The dunes were washed away to a great extend. Two full blocks worth were gone. The powerful ocean overtook them.
I think in many ways this is what is happening with filters and web content. Though many schools and organizations block and carefully keep the web at bay, web technology and its ever changing nature continues to command attention. Nature takes it’s course. People find new ways to access web content. Students use proxy sites or their smartphone. Teachers become frustrated in their attempts to access content. Valuable time can be spent working on solutions.
The topic of filtering is an important one. The web offers more and more educational content. Having a proactive and collaborative strategy is essential when making decisions on filtering today. It will equip our students better in the long run.
Blocking was once a simple issue. Block inappropriate content such as hate sites, chat sites, instant messaging functions, inappropriate images and more and you were all set. Then came the proliferation of web 2.0 sites, the growth of collaborative technologies and impact of social tools.
What were once easy decisions have become sticky ones. What was once black and white has become many shades of gray like the changing tides of the ocean. What should schools consider? View this checklist for evaluating your strategy.
Checklist for Evaluating Filtering Strategies
Look at laws and government guidelines to be followed – Consider CIPA. Often their requirements are misconstrued to be more strict that they actually are.
Look at district and local rules – Are there standards that our district has put forth? What prior policies exist?
Look at security concerns – Consider viruses, malware, bandwidth, access and more. What priorities exist?
Look at existing feedback – What do admins, teachers and students report about the filter? Does it meet educational needs?
Look at the existing filter – Is it flexible? Does it allow for multiple filtering levels for administrators, teachers and students? If not, when can we upgrade to add more functionality?
Look at current processes – How easily can teachers and students get access to sites for educational use?
Look at your decision making team – Who determines which sites are blocked? CIOs and IT are needed. Educational leaders and teachers should also be involved in this decision making.
Look at current educational initiatives – Are current initiatives requiring expanded access. If so, are the best web communication and collaboration tools available for this purpose?
Consider Options that are Win/Win – Is a walled garden approach an approach that might work for your school? With sites such as this, social and collaborative technologies coexist with more tightened security.
Look at the Policies in place – How often does your school or district evaluate your approach to filtering? The web evolves daily as do educational means for using web content.
Look at Digital Literacy supports – Are you teaching all parties how to use the web safely and appropriately? Education is essential. Given appropriate education in place, we are equipping educators and students with the decision making skills that will serve them long after they have left us.
Mock on, mock on,’tis all in vain! You throw the sand against the wind, And the wind blows it back again. Voltaire Rousseau
Filter Fitness Guidelines
Know the rules. Don’t interpret them so that your implementation is more strict that the law
Upgrade your filter and build in flexibility
Focus on educational purpose
Be aware of the changing landscape
Educate your community as to your approach
Balance network security needs with educational needs
Go for win win. Work to benefit all parties involved.
Make Digital literacy and citizenship education a priority
Given the wide range of content out there which has sound educational value, this can no longer be strictly an IT level decision. Schools and organizations can’t continue to block strictly and expect to reap the benefits of today’s web. If we want to provide
the most relevant education for the 21st Century, we need to have a filtering strategy that is informed and flexible.