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September 16, 2012 / tasha cowdy

Empowering Digital Citizenship

A comment on Yvonne Caples’ Flat Classroom Certified Teacher course journal resounded with me. Yvonne suggested that digital technology had become so integrated into every aspect of life that “…digital citizenship accounts for much of what it means to be a good citizen in general.”

Figure 5.1 on P100 of Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds by Julie Lindsay and Vicki A Davis shows a model for “Enlightened Digital Citizenship”, categorized into five progressive areas of learning with four “rays of understanding’ radiating through each area. This figure made me realize how complex and deep the concept of digital citizenship is.

I work in a school that embraces web 2.0 tools right from Kindergarten and explicitly addresses digital citizenship in MS and HS school as part of 1:1 Connected Learning Community. However, having read what Julie Lindsay and Vivki A Davis say about digital citizenship, I feel that we need to adress the concept of digital citizenship in a more systematic way in Elemtary School, particularly as students are establishing an on-line presence right fromm Kindergarten.

I think the next step for us it to begin Elementary School wide discussions about the importance of digital citizenship. Once we come to a common understanding, consistent with the Middle and High School who have already been though this process and have documents in place, we need to develop some kind of Scope and Sequence document outlining a systematic approach to teaching and learning about Digital Citizenship. It will take time to develop such a document. We need to follow a procedure that gives all stakeholders input and ownership. Then we need to come to a consensus about how the Scope and Sequence document will impact teaching and learning.

However, I can start immediately in my own class by looking at the rays of understanding and areas of awareness and see what I will address and how I will address it with Kindergarteners. I can use my PLN, in particular #flatclass and #kinderchat to find out what others are doing and use that to help me come up with a systematic way of teaching digital citizenship to my five and six year olds who are already blogging, tweeting and using a range of other 2.0 tools to connect and collaborate with Kindergarten classes around the world.



Leave a Comment
  1. Caroline / Sep 20 2012 02:45

    I am teaching at the High School level and it is exciting to hear that your school starts teaching digital citizenship so early. I have come to realize that even though many of my students have been online for several years, it doesn’t mean that they have a good grasp on what it means to be a good digital citizen. Many of my students are not aware of their digital footprint. As educators, we need to make sure our students have the skills they need to be successful and become digital citizens no matter what age they are!

  2. tasha cowdy / Sep 20 2012 09:29

    Hi Caroline. I am finding one of the biggest challenges is getting parents up to speed! Most of the parents of the five and six year olds in my class do not have a strong on-line presence. Most do not tweet or blog although many (but not all) are on Facebook. The parents have never thought about digital footprints or digital citizenship. I think in our school, particularly in the Elementary section, we need to do a lot of work with parents so that they are in a position to support their children as they develop and manage their on-line presence over the coming years.

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