K-12 School Computer Networking/Chapter 32

1. DefinitionEdit

In many private and public school districts across the United States, there are district-generated guidelines for using technology. These guidelines support safe and responsible use of technology by all members of the district. Sometimes the guidelines are individualized for teachers, students, and administration (see Section 4: ISTE Educational Technology Standards). These rules often constitute what is referred to an Acceptable Use Policy or AUP. Here is an example of one school district's Acceptable Use Policy. However, the AUP alone is not enough to promote continuing education in relation to the appropriate use of the ever-changing Internet. There is a need for continual education in navigating this new digital landscape. This comes in the form of establishing a set of norms for technology use known as Digital Citizenship. In an article entitled "Teaching Digital Citizenship: When will it become a Priority for 21st Century Schools?" Mike S. Ribble and Gerald D. Bailey advocate for the implementation of a program that would promote a set of norms for safe and responsible use of the Internet. Ribble and Bailey sum up digital citizenship best in this following excerpt from their book Digital Citizenship in Schools: "What is digital citizenship and why is it important for individuals to become contributing members of a digital society? Moreover, why should anyone--administrators, teachers, parents, students--even be concerned with such a thing as a "digital society"? The term citizen is most commonly defined as a 'a native or naturalized person who owes allegiance to a larger state or collective and who shares in the rights and responsibilities afforded all members of that collective.' As the definition states, a citizen both works for and benefits from a larger society. The concept of digital citizenship, then, reinforces the positive aspects of technology so that everyone can work and play in this digital world. To date, few social guidelines have been developed for the use of digital technologies. We can decide, as a society, that anarchy should be the norm. Or we can decide that digital technology should be used for the benefit of all. This is why those of us who work for and benefit from a larger society need to be involved in deciding how best to support digital technology in our communities. This is why there needs to be digital citizenship."

2. The 9 Elements of Digital CitizenshipEdit

Mike S. Ribble and Gerald D. Bailey in their book Digital Citizenship in Schools outline what they refer to as The 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship. They also have a website with specific definitions of each of the elements along with links to current events that concern each of the nine elements.

1. Digital Access Digital access deals with equity for all people in digital access. In no way should anyone be discriminated against in digital access.

2. Digital Commerce Items once sold in the physical world are now sold in the digital world. Students should understand the implications of online transactions. In addition, students should be able to differentiate between illegal and legal transactions.

3. Digital Communication There are now a myriad options available to communicate with almost anyone online. These new opportunities pose many dangers to students, so they should be taught how to communicate appropriately online.

4. Digital Literacy Since information is available instantaneously in most locations, students must be taught to learn in any circumstance. In addition, students must be taught how to navigate the plethora of information available to them.

5. Digital Etiquette Students must be taught proper etiquette in online situations. Since students understand such etiquette in the physical world, it is imperative that they understand it in the context of an online environment.

6. Digital Law Students should understand what is legal and illegal on the Internet. In addition, students should understand the nature and extent of illegal activities on the Internet including worms and viruses.

7. Digital Rights and Responsibilities Students should know what they can and cannot do on the Internet. They should know that they do have rights and responsibilities in the digital realm.

8. Digital Health and Wellness Students should understand that there are certain health risks associated with the Internet, and they should learn how to avoid these pitfalls.

9. Digital Security Students should learn how to take the proper measures to protect their information digitally.

3. Digital Driver's LicenseEdit

There are many advocates of a technology "driver's license" which, when passed, would denote that an individual is capable of following a set of norms based on safety and responsibility. In an article entitled "Do Elementary Students Need a Technology Driver's License?" by Mike S. Ribble and Gerald D. Bailey, the authors argue that elementary school students should acquire a technology driver's license just as much if not more than secondary students. In an article entitled "PointofView on Technology Drivers' Licenses" published out of Kansas State University, the authors argue for a technology "driver's license" and offer up some questions that might appear on such an exam. In another article by Mike S. Ribble and Gerald Bailey entitled "Do Students Need a Technology Driver's License?", the authors examine the importance of encouraging and developing a digital "driver's license" for all students. PBS Kids has a site where kids can go and earn their web license. Here are some other sites that test one's knowledge of Internet safety: KidSMART, Safe Kids, and iVillage Cares: Internet Safety Quiz for Kids.


4. ISTE Educational Technology StandardsEdit

The International Society of Education in Education (ISTE) promotes National Educational Technology Standards for students, teachers, and administrators. Every few years, these standards are refreshed to produce standards more relevant to educational technology. These NETS may be accessed from ISTE's website. These NETS may be used to better design schools so that technology is harnessed for its pedagogical potential on all levels. Too many times, technology is used for its "bells and whistles" in an educational setting. Such technology should be examined for its affordances and constraints. These standards include Digital Citizenship and may be a great force for encouraging safety and responsibility among students.

5. Digital Citizenship & Social Networking SitesEdit

This YouTubeclip is a humorous example of how a set of guidelines might help students better navigate social networking sites such as MySpace, Friendster, and Facebook. Since many students are not aware of privacy settings and of how many people can access their information, Digital Citizenship would most likely prove beneficial to them. Here is a great discussionfrom College Confidential's website about colleges and universities checking the FaceBooks of prospective students. This site from Ning is called Digi Teen and is a forum for teenagers interested in appropriate use of the Internet. This TeacherTube clip and this follow-up TeacherTube clip are lucid examples of what students should be aware of when accessing social networking sites. Here is a blog entry with information about a student who posted inappropriate information about a teacher on Facebook. The entry proceeds to outline what responsible behavior looks like on Facebook.

6. Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, and Digital CitizenshipEdit

Marc Prensky in his article "Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants" coined the terms "digital natives" and "digital immigrants". Prensky's article delineates the differences between those who grew up with the Internet at their disposal and those who did not. He claims that those who grew up with the Internet are "natives" who speak a digital language unknown to the "immigrants". Prensky encourages the "immigrants" to learn the language of the "natives", especially "immigrants" who are in the field of education. Prensky claims that the "natives" have multi-tasked so many times through technology that their brains are wired differently than the brains of the immigrants. As a result, the "natives" become easily bored when taught in traditional ways by the "immigrants". These "immigrants" must learn to incorporate technology into the classroom in order to fully engage the "natives".

Though Prensky's work is widely acknowledged to various degrees, there are a number of critics who are argue his assertions about the "digital natives". In particular, Jamie McKenzie complains about Prensky's central metaphor in "Digital Nativism Digital Delusions and Digital Deprivation".

If one buys into Prensky's claims, technology is something that both "natives" and "immigrants" must deal with in some capacity. Both must learn to find some degree of common ground. Digital citizenship is something which both sides can embrace, all the while losing the "immigrant" and "native" statuses. If both sides become citizens, they can teach each other. The "natives" can teach the "immigrants" the new technologies, and the "immigrants" can teach the "natives" the proper way to use any new technology.

There are a number of conversations taking place online about how digital citizenship can be incorporated into today's society. One such example can be seen in this YouTube clip. There are some debatable points in the clip, including whether or not digital citizenship should be a compulsory or optional. The members of the classroom discuss both sides of argument. This particular video is powerful because it examines the issue of equity in relationship to digital citizenship, especially in the context of race and socio-economic backgrounds. In this next YouTube video, Wesley Fryer answers the question, "What is digital citizenship?" Fryer presents some analogies to help students understand exactly what digital citizenship represents. Fryer refers to Ribble and Bailey in his response, addressing rights and responsibilities in particular.

7. Technology ZoneEdit

In many schools, the issue of the inappropriate use of technology in the classroom is becoming a serious issue. Check out here how one high school has decided to deal with the issue through the creation of a technology zone. Students, teachers, and administration have come up with a designated "technology zone" on campus where students may go to make calls on their cell phones, listen to their ipods, etc. Because of the "technology zone", students are learning some of the elements of digital citizenship. Since the implementation of the "technology zone", students have drastically cut the use of technology in inappropriate places throughout the schools. In this last YouTube video, it is easy to see how students are changing because of technology and how digital citizenship is needed more than ever. Overall, these conversations shed some light on some of the important issues in relationship to digital citizenship.

8. Lesson PlansEdit

In order to help students understand the nine elements of digital citizenship, educators from a variety of locations have developed lesson plans for digital citizenship. The Kenton County School District has posted a variety of resources related to digital citizenship on its website. ISTE has a wiki with a number of ideas for promoting digital citizenship. Digitalcitizenshiped.com presents a unit plan that helps address the nine elements. This document presents professional development opportunities related to teaching digital citizenship. One can learn a great deal about digital citizenship lesson plans in Digital Citizenship: The Internet, Society, and Participation by Karen Mossberger, Caroline J. Tolbert, and Ramona S. McNeal. One can read this text on Google Books.

9. ReferencesEdit

1. University of Ottawa, Handbook of Research on Technoethics, book chapter on Digital Citizenship, 2008.

2. T.H.E. Journal “Text Unto Others…As You Would Have Them Text Unto You” September 01, 2008 <http://thejournal.com/articles/2008/09/01/text-unto-others-as-you-would-have-them-text-unto-you.aspx>.

3. “Do Students Need a Technology Driver’s License?” by Mike S. Ribble and Gerald D. Bailey <http://coe.ksu.edu/digitalcitizenship/TechDL2.pdf>.

4. “Teaching Digital Citizenship: When will it become a Priority for 21st Century Schools? by Mike S. Ribble and Gerald D. Bailey <http://coe.k-state.edu/digitalcitizenship/TeachingDC.pdf>.

5. Teach Digital: Curriculum by Wes Fryer<http://teachdigital.pbworks.com/digitalcitizenship>.

6. Digital Citizenship: Resources for Educators <http://digitalcitizenship.ning.com/>.

7. Digital Citizenship Home Page <http://coe.k-state.edu/digitalcitizenship/index.htm#>.

8. Digital Citizenship: Using Technology Appropriately <http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/>.

9. Digital Citizenship <http://blog.digitalcitizenship.net/>.

10. 21st Century Digital Citizenship in the Classroom <http://technologyworkshops.wikispaces.com/21st+Century+Digital+Citizenship+in+the+Classroom>.

11. The CoolCat Teacher Blog<http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2007/09/what-should-be-done-about-digital.html>.

12. Digital Citizenship <http://dcitizenship.blogspot.com/>.

13. Digi Teen: Digital Citizenship for Teenagers <http://digiteen.ning.com/>.

14. ISTE Publications, Digital Citizenship in Schools by Mike Ribble and Gerald Bailey, 2007.

15. Digital Citizen - Facebook <http://edorigami.edublogs.org/2009/06/14/digital-citizen-facebook-2/>