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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tool 10- Digital Citizenship

1.  Discuss at least three things you would want to make sure your students understand about being good digital citizens.

I think it is critical that students understand their "digital footprint" and are mindful of the image they are building online.  Students can often be short-sighted about the future, and do not always consider that pictures, posts, etc. can later impact whether they receive admittance to a university, a job, a scholarship, and more.  In the past I've had former students who were applying for internships connected with high security areas, and the background check was very thorough, including interviewing me- even though I had not worked with the students in a few years.  I'm fairly confident that in addition to checking in on their high school reputation, their digital reputations were also thoroughly examined.

A second area of digital citizenship that is critical for students is simply safety- protecting themselves and protecting their property.  Students need to be aware of how their information can be used and how to protect themselves from predators.  At the same time, students shouldn't be fearful, but should be aware and cautious. 

Finally, students need to know how to find trustworthy sources, and not believe that just because it is on the internet, it is true and accurate.  I'm reminded of Alan November's example of the website, martinlutherking.com which is actually published by a white supremacist group, and filled with hatred and lies.  Students need the skills to identify what sites are appropriate for research and offer safeguards for their readers.

2.  Share at least one of the resources mentioned above or on the Ed Tech website that you plan to use instructionally.

I like the digizen.org site, and it has many resources available to parents, educators and students.  I'm particularly interested in the social networking information, including information on cyberbullying.  I think it would be a good idea to use these resources in guidance lessons on bullying and on digital safety. 

3.  Explain briefly how you would "teach" the idea of digital citizenship to your students.

In my role as a counselor working with students on the college going process, I would focus on the "digital footprint" and share examples of what not to post and why.  I would enlist the help of college admissions representatives who could speak specifically as to how sites such as facebook and twitter factor into their admissions decisions.  Additionally, I would enlist students.  Recently, I've had students talk about how they picked their roommate for college after "stalking" their facebook pages.  I think they could share good insights on how digital impressions matter.

4.  Explain briefly how you plan to share the idea of digital citizenship with your parents.

With parents, I would want to share the same resources that I would share with our students.  With our older students (juniors and seniors) the emphasis would be on their "digital footprint."  With our younger students (especially middle school), the emphasis would be on safety and cyber-bullying.  This could be done in parent presentations (we do talk about cyber-bullying in our middle school sessions, but I think we should also share some of the online resources for parents) and through handouts and informational emails.

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