90% of 12 to 17 year olds use social network services such as Facebook and Myspace (ACMA 2009a). “In general, Australians are the world’s most prolific users of social media, and young people under 25 are the most active group when it comes to creating, updating and viewing social media” (Nielson 2010c. p. 10. in Collin et al.). As parents and educators we need to educate our children, help them develop a set of values that will guide their decision-making when they are online. “Education for Citizenship should, however, not be separated or isolated from life’s learning processes. It should be an essential part of the formal education system, from pre-school up to University level and beyond as part of informal adult education for lifelong learning” (Ramalho Correia 2002. p.15). Collaboration using online tools is one way of facilitating this learning. The ultimate aim is for young people to understand the need for responsible online citizenship. Constructive digital citizenship learning needs to be rooted in discussion and positive modelling, not in a list of policies that are simply a list of dos and don’ts. (Ribble et al. p. 36. Citizenship: Developing Ethical Direction )
This graph gives us some idea what our kids are doing online. Notice difference in usage between boys and girls at different ages.
When we talk of guiding our students to responsible digital citizenship, what do we mean? Ribble talks of the ‘nine elements of digital citizenship’. They are etiquette - standards of conduct or procedure communication - electronic exchange of information literacy - process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology access - full electronic participation in society commerce - electronic buying and selling goods law - electronic responsibility for actions and deeds rights and responsibilities - those freedoms extended to everyone in a digital world health and wellness - physical and psychological well-being in a digital technology world. security - electronic precautions to guarantee safety. Learning responsible Digital Citizenship will always be a work in progress - an ongoing process that will need to be reflected upon and reassessed during a students lifetime as new technologies and possibilities open up. Young people need to recognise the implications of posting inappropriate material online, of dangers of online bullying to themselves and to others, the implications of infringing copyright laws by downloading music, videos or images. Students need to be helped to understand why these things matter.
“ If citizenship is about making informed choices and decisions, about taking action, individually and as part of collective processes, to play a full part as active citizens and to be civically engaged through the exercise of moral responsibility, community involvement and exercise of their rights and responsibilities, then people need to acquire participatory skills” (Ramalho Correia 2002. p.4). Today with smartphones and ipods connected to the net we cannot guarantee that our children will not be exposed to inappropriate material, nor that they will not, themselves, behave inappropriately. One of the greatest online dangers to our children is themselves and each other. We cannot filter everything so we must teach them how to manage their environment. Education gives parents and educators the best chance of protecting the young people around them. It is necessary that the pedagogy used in this instruction is adapted to the age and academic level of learning of the students to ensure that the material and tools used will provide the maximum opportunity for student achievement.
&quot;...it is above all through interacting with others, coordinating his/her approaches to reality with those of others, that the individual masters new approaches&quot; (Doise, 1990, p.46. p.3, in Dillenbourg) Collaboration is a learnt skill. It requires sharing responsibility, problem solving skills, the ability to listen to your collaborators, negotiating, flexibility and patience. Collaboration using online tools offers the setting for acquiring these skills while working on the online elements of good digital citizenship. The goal of online collaboration is not only to provide students with the tools they need to successfully function in the digital world but to provide them with a framework, a code to live by online, while working in the safety of a collaborative team, monitored by the teacher. The learning experience would benefit from a script, guiding students to appropriate behaviour and effective learning. Collaboration, on its own, will not necessarily result in effective learning. The script would provide the teacher with the opportunity to guide and model correct online behaviour, collaborating on students work with praise or advice, while monitoring student online behaviour.
There are several components to online media literacy . According to Third and Richardson (in Collins. p.12) Media literacy encompasses: Technical literacy - how to us a computer, web browser or particular software program Critical content literacy - how to effectively use search engines and understand how they ‘order’ information; who or what organisations created or sponsor the information; where the information comes from and its credibility and/or nature; Communicative and social networking literacy - an understanding of the different spaces of communication on the web; the formal and informal rules that govern or guide what is appropriate behaviour; level of privacy (and therefore level of safe self-disclosure for each); and how to deal with unwanted or inappropriate communication through them; creative content and visual literacy - in addition to the skills to create and upload image and video content this includes understanding how online visual content is edited and ‘constructed’, what kind of content is appropriate and how copyright applies to their activities; Mobile media literacy - familiarity with the skill and forms of communication specific to mobile phones (eg: text messaging); mobile web literacy, and an understanding of mobile phone etiquette. Collaboration facilitates learning in this domain as it provides an opportunity for students to learn from one another. It provides students with the opportunity to share existing knowledge to the benefit of the group. Group discussion will advance the digital literacy of students because it will require students to discuss and form their own opinions on not only the tools being used but the content being accessed.
Access to technology must be recognised as one of the equalisers of society. Without access to technology and the skills to use online tools to search for information or communicate a person will be disadvantaged socially and economically. “ ...the opportunity for people to participate in economic, political and cultural life depends on their ability to access and use information and communication services. Individuals need skills and tools to locate the communication pathways, information and audience in timely fashion and in appropriate format. Unequal access to communication resources leads to unequal advantages, and ultimately to inequalities in social and economic opportunities” (Adam, 1997 in Ramalho Correia 2002. p.8). Online collaboration will provide all students access to the tools to improve learning and communication skills. Commercial . This topic is the least likely to come up in online collaboration but the collaborative nature of the learning will make discussion of the issue a natural consequence. It will provide a prompt for the teacher to discuss the suitability of the information students put online and the risks of identity theft. The teacher should be abreast of current thinking and should be ready should the topic come up in class.
“ Communication skills are also an essential element for an active and responsible citizenship, as people need to communicate to be able to express ideas and opinions with the confidence that they will be heard and taken into account” (Ramalho Correia 2002. p.4). Students will be required to participate in online discussions, making them active participants in their own learning and that of others by the exchanging of ideas and reflections. Under the guidance of the teacher students will be provided a framework for positive, focused, constructive communication. Collaboration will provide for the positive modelling of net etiquette (or netetiquette ). Netiquette encompasses all behaviour on the net. “For &quot;digital citizens&quot;, the directions and rules are still the same for being being &quot;real-world citizens&quot;: Obey the law, have respect for others, act courteously and sensibly” (Family Online Safety Institute, Retrieved 7.4.11).
Illegal downloading is a very real and growing concern. With group collaboration and discussion, and with the guidance of the teacher, students will need to consider more where they access their information and images for their project. Online collaboration will provide teachers with the means of introducing and modelling correct online behaviour by guiding students to downloading only available online content and using correct referencing techniques. Group collaboration will foster a ‘moral compass’ directing students to make responsible choices. Students have both rights and responsibilities when it comes to internet use. Students have the right to be safe online but must also accept that right is universal, meaning they have a responsibility to behave correctly toward others. Students understanding their rights will help them accept the rights of others in regard to their online behaviour. Collaborators will accept responsibility for ensuring that the information they use is factual, appropriate and referenced. Team work provides the platform for these ideas to take hold.
Students will need to be made aware of the legal implications of using images, video or music in their work without paying or getting the artists permission. The content placed in the student projects will need to be licensed to Creative Commons or something similar and referenced appropriately using Cogdog. Collaboration directs students to make responsible decisions because decisions will be made as a group and the moral compass of the group will guide the decision making process. Collaboration provides the avenue for the development of the students’ ‘inner compass’ that will influence the decisions they make on line. It must be recognised that illegal downloading is stealing and unfair to musicians and other artists. Concrete online learning will reinforce the correct behaviour through class discussion and positive modelling.
Conclusion To be effective Digital citizen learning must take place in conjunction with other curriculum learning. We have no choice but to take this journey with our students and guide them to becoming responsible digital citizens. The alternative is unthinkable. Mistakes will be made. Choices both good and bad will be taken but we, as educators, will be there to guide them in the right direction.
1. Communication and Collaboration using Web 2.0 tools for promoting responsible digital citizenship cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by FlyingSinger: http://flickr.com/photos/flyingsinger/86898565/
2. Lets look at the way our students live their lives today. Purpose of Internet Usage in the Last 4 Weeks Source: Roy Morgan Research Young Australians Survey, July 2009 - June 2010, n = 2,983
3. What is Digital Citizenship? What elements does it encompass? Rights & responsibilities, law Media literacy, Etiquette Communication Commerce Health & wellness, Security Access cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo by aldoaldoz: http://flickr.com/photos/aldoaldoz/2340226779/ Elements of Digital Citizenship by Mike Ribble.
4. Why is digital citizenship education important? <ul><li> </li></ul>cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by Mecookie: http://flickr.com/photos/mecookie/3374589349 /
5. <ul><li>http://flickr.com/photos/freefoto/2195201178/ </li></ul>How will collaboration using Web 2.0 foster responsible digital citizenship? cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo by freefotouk: http://flickr.com/photos/freefoto/2195201178/
6. The purpose of the collaborative projects using is to promote responsible digital citizenship while learning across other curriculum areas. CogDog HSIE Maths English
7. cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by Craig A Rodway: http://flickr.com/photos/m0php/2321929733/ Access - the difference between participation and non-participation in the digital world . Can you spot the difference?
8. <ul><li> </li></ul>The positive elements of collaboration are the same both online and off cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo by Swamibu: http://flickr.com/photos/swamibu/2223726960/
9. Used with the kind permission of Mike Ribble. The moral compass
10. "Its OK because everyone's doing it" " As long as I don't get caught" "Nobody will know" "It's not really stealing" cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by mindgutter: http://flickr.com/photos/mindgutter/5697895/
11. We need to take this journey with our students to ensure they become the best digital citizens they can be. cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo by CharlesFred: http://flickr.com/photos/charlesfred/2120296919/
12. Some additional reading Collin, P., Rahilly, K., Richardson, I., Third, A., The Benefits of Social Networking Services: Literature Review. ISBN: 978-0-9871179-1-5 Dillenbourg. P., (2002). Over-scripting CSCL: The risks of blending collaborative learning with instructional design . CRAFT - Centre for Research and Support of Training and its Technology Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne. Greenhow. C., & Robelia. B. (2009). Informal learning and identity formation in online social networks. Learning, Media and Technology. Vol. 34, No. 2, June 2009, 119–140. O’Connell, J. & Groom, D. (2010). Connect, communicate, collaborate; Learning in a changing world. ACER Press. Ramalho Correia, A.M., (2002). Information Literacy for an Active and Effective Citizenship White paper prepared for UNESCO. <ul><li> Points for discussion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the consequences if we DON'T engage in Digital Citizenship learning? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discuss effective Social Networking Services that could be set up to facilitate online class discussions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Using some of the online applications highlighted in this presentation brainstorm ideas for a collaborative digital learning experience. </li></ul></ul>