As technology becomes a bigger and bigger part of our everyday lives, and the lives of our students, it is crucial that teachers begin to address the idea of Digital Citizenship. There is a huge list of advantages that the digital world provides, but there are also a number of disadvantages that come with it, including things like cyber-bullying, copyright issues, online privacy, theft, and more. As such, we need to begin integrating some curriculum that deals with digital citizenship, so we can guide our students through the digital world. As mentioned on the ISTE website, the characteristics of a digital citizen are not so different from those of a traditional citizen, which makes this task a little less overwhelming. In fact, the ISTE website provides an amazing graphic that shows the parallels between a traditional and digital citizen:
There are different philosophies on how Digital Citizenship should be developed as a curriculum, but there is no one right way. Some stress that Digital Citizenship should be taught as a separate curriculum from other content areas, such as in a Health class or tutorial block. Others believe that it should be weaved into the overall curriculum of all content areas.
Regardless, students need to develop a sense of respect and protection to their online identity. Their digital footprints are very real, and can affect future academic and work prospects. Salima Hudani, a guest blogger on Free Technology for Teachers, the digital citizenship curriculum should focus on three key components:
- Respect and Protect Yourself
- Digital Wellness
- Respect and Protect Others
- Digital Interactions
- Respect and Protect Intellectual Property
- Digital Preparedness
Just as with the infographic above, all of these components have very distinct parallels in the traditional world of good citizens. By educating students on how to be a respectful member of the digital world, not only will it create a safe space for people to collaborate, but they will benefit their own future prospects and bolster their digital footprint.
Fair Use, Copyright, & Creative Commons
Even before the digital world came about, copyright issues were still around. But now that everything is so easily accessible, fair use and copyright concerns are extremely prevalent, especially within education.
It is imperative that students are aware that not everything on the internet is true, nor is it theirs to take without giving credit to those who deserve it. The Edublogger has a great post on fair use and copyright issues, which stresses the idea that not everything on the internet is true, but there certainly are resources you can use.
Copyright is important to protect the property of others, but according to the blog, it can also “stifle creativity and hamper educational goals.” By understanding how to give credit where credit is due, students can take advantage of the plethora of resources that are online. Most resources can be used as long as they are tied to the curriculum, but there are still violations that can occur (especially with images, curriculum docs, and music).
All of this led to the creation of Creative Commons, a platform that helps people around the world share their knowledge to “build a more equitable, accessible, and innovative world. The staff at Creative Commons provides a service where creators of content can give the public permission to use their work under the conditions of their choice. Through legal, technological, educational, and other types of support, Creative Commons is bringing educators and many other professions together to create a collaborative environment.
Not only does the site show how you can share your work, it also gives tips on how to give attribution to others’ work. This allows for a more open environment, especially within education, where content is accessible to anyone who needs it. Creative Commons has a great video that talks about Open Education and fighting the insane costs that accompany a lot of important resources. We can fix the issues of school debt and education expenses by putting top notch learning materials that are constantly revised and cost little to nothing for students.