Citizenship in a Digital Age

I know that bad news sells but the lack of positive digital citizenship stories has been irritating me for a while. What started as a small irritation has ended up in this blogpost. The mainstream media seems determined to pigeonhole digital citizenship as being purely about online safety. It also follows this up with talk of teenaged “digital natives” and implying that they exist in a seedy online world which we older folk could possibly never understand.

It is important to educate all people (not just children) about how to stay safe online including cybersafety, security of your devices and what to do about online bullying. It is not, however such a doom and gloom situation as it seems the mainstream media makes it out to be. In fact I find it interesting how quickly students soak up this information and really appreciate having more knowledge on what to do in certain situations.

A great example of how quickly even young students learn how to stay safe is the great advice shared during the kidsedchat Digital Safety discussion last week. These are Primary school students now demonstrating true citizenship by helping others stay safe online! These students meet up every week to discuss different topics which is where we really start to see what digital citizenship means in action: they are participating in a purposeful activity online, thinking critically, relating to others in positive ways and helping each other manage challenges. Check out http://kidsedchatnz.blogspot.co.nz/ for more.

In a secondary context, our students at Hobsonville Point Secondary School created their own Digital Citizenship pledges. The students in my hub did not just focus on online safety and bullying in their pledges but also on aspects like digital manners and attributing ideas to where they have got them from.

Online safety is not the only aspect of digital citizenship. The commonly accepted and used definition of Digital Citizenship in New Zealand comes from NetSafe:

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Ask fm advice for parents

Like most secondary schools we have had lots of our students using Ask.fm and some of those students being negatively affected by the responses to the questions. Today we are sending out a letter to all the parents of Year 9 and 10 giving them advice on how to help their students stay safe online, but particularly in regards to Ask.fm.

I used these 2 websites (very) liberally in producing the letter:

http://www.netsafe.org.nz/how-can-i-complain-about-ask-fm/

http://www.risk-within-reason.com/2013/05/06/antisocial-media-ask-fm-parents-kids/

(thanks to @NEAL_Education for the 2nd link)

Here’s what we sent:

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Points to Ponder from ICOT Wednesday & Thursday

Some statements and questions to reflect on from the breakouts I attended at ICOT on Wednesday and Thursday

Rose Hipkins

Embodied thinking is intuitive, ‘rational’ decisions are usually after-the-fact justifications
How do you develop students’ intuitive thinking?
Thinking in the spaces between individuals or ideas is a more apt metaphor for the changes afforded by information technologies
We need to push past our urge to stick with people like us. Learn to love difference – then you will learn
Epistemic experiences are moments when we become conscious of something about our knowing

Martin Renton – In the Learning Pit

Moving from clarity to confusion is a positive step in the learning process
No such thing as a bad question. The important part is the reason for asking the question
Get comfortable with silence, it helps us process our thinking
How often do you question to confuse your students

Hana Olds

Active thinking is where creative, critical and caring thinking overlap
Do your inquiries allow for passion, persistence and purpose?
“I don’t want a project, I want something with a purpose”

Rich Allen

Don’t just think differently, act differently
Good teachers are always learning from their students
Lesson plans are hallucinations

Karen Melhuish Spencer

Social networks privilege the individual, online communities privilege the relationship
Do you use social networks to check or challenge your thinking?
What social network has the most effective impact on your teaching? How? Can you prove this?
As educators we are morally obliged to share our practice for the good of all students