“Digital citizens are individuals who intuitively understand that high quality is easily available, either freely or for a fee, and who bristle when information that is public is hidden or not available in a digital form,” Gerry McCartney, professor of information technology and CIO at Purdue University (Waters 20). We cannot assume that just because a child uses an iPad, or can text faster than you can type that they are digitally fluent. We should also be cautious when interpreting the necessity of “gadgets” because people (President Obama included) misinterpret their function. They are believed to be distraction, or breed useless skills. Without the use of these devices “people lack essential information evaluation skills that are relevant for today’s information landscape” (Hamilton).
When you look at this child on the computer What do you see? I see someone we would classify as a digital native who will need to be taught how to be and effective digital citizen. Effective digital citizens “‘recognize the distinction between being comfortable using digital tools and understanding the implications of using these tools.’Dave Berque, professor of computer science at DePauw University (IN)” (Waters 20). We also expect the effective students to possess the ability to select the best tool for the task at hand (Demski).
Think back to a time... Well, to not too long ago. Do you remember a time when finding resources for a research project required an extensive amount of help from a librarian?
Now more than ever, students need to be taught the differences between credible and non-credible sources.Students should be asking/answering 3 basic questions:1.Who is the author?2. What is the purpose of this message?3. How was this message constructed?(Hobbs)
“‘The problem is not information overload. It’s filter failure.’ If you have not been taught how to discern the quality information from that which may be unreliable or frivolous, then I can see how you might perceive devices like iPods and iPads are gateways to distraction.” (Hamilton).It can. The point is our students need to be shown the dangers. Educators need a Web 2.0 scared straight reality TV show.
There is this idea out there floating around with the “digital tourists” (those not born into the digital age) that the more our society embraces technology the more likely we are to become cyber criminals. We will only fear being taken advantage over the internet if we are not responsible. It is up to us to teach todays learners the correct way to conduct themselves on the World Wide Web (Waters 19).
Educators need to teach their students the importance of safety and civility. It is not okay to participate in digital defamation, or post ridiculous videos of yourself on YouTube if you want to be taken seriously. This is just one “scary” side to being an ambassador or the digital world.
How many times have you heard someone argue that society is becoming too reliant on technology? Too many. In an Article titled “Digital Natives and Digital Tourists” I found that this argument against technology is still prevalent in schools. The idea that technology can fail us at any moment is without a doubt true, it is an exaggeration, but true. This is the reason educators need to have options AND why they should be fluent in more than just the digital world.
Technology doesn’t need to be scary. I know it can be difficult to understand or figure out, but it can lead to a world of awesome NEW learning experiences (“Digital Natives and Digital Tourists”). Educators have been granted a super power... The ability to educate 24/7!
Now is the time to teach faculty how technology can be incorporated in every subject. Librarians should guide educators to Web resources they can use in and out of class.
“Curriculum should provide context and background to further students’ understanding of global economies and current events.” (Demski).
The point is student learning. The “relationship between student and teacher has changed very little since Aristotle’s day. All technology does is offer us another way of doing what has been done for centuries.” (Cowan). The only obvious difference is that today’s learners are expected to be fluent in digital technologies in order to be competitive in the real world.
Effective digital citizens don’t start off that way. Technology is constantly changing. Students need to be taught how these new technologies are useful.
“Students must be able to gather information from any format and, more importantly, make sense of that information, use it, and communicate it to others. . . Students must also acquire the skills of digital inquiry” (Stripling).
The internet has made it possible for everyone’s voice to be heard. Your students are most likely already using Web sites like Facebook, Twitter, Blogster, Wikispaces, Glogster, Animoto, etc. and if they aren’t then they need to be. This is how the work communicates. Something that digital learners need to be aware of is that we are “responsible for filtering for quality” (Web 2.0 Expo NY).
We strive to teach kids how to think so they can figure “it” out (Waters). This is not a digital skill. It is a necessary one. One we want all students to have, to be able to do. The Web is filled with information and our students need to be able to apply this essential skill to their Web searches. They need to filter! Students need to develop the “capabilities to receive and assess the quality of messages from all forms of media, and to generate and create quality media of their own” (Demski).
Most people have no problem identifying junk mail in their inbox. Effective digital citizens need to apply this skill to their everyday Web lives.
This ability will come in handy when using search engines. Effective digital citizens should be able to use a search engine (as well as know how the search is being conducted), identify and understand accurate/relative information, and not just rely on Google for filtration.
“Students should use digital tools to access a global network of peers and to develop a sense of place and people.” (Demsik)
It is apparent that librarians and educators need to encourage the use of technology in and out of the classroom. Our students may know how to use some technologies, but educators need to demonstrate the usefulness of free and subscription based online resources (Blummer). Teachers should have class wikis, blogs, Web sites that their students can access. They should use resources like LibGuides to guide students to accurate information. They should incorporate web videos in class. They should watch as the teacher or librarian bookmarks something from the web. They should require their students to take web notes (highlight/make notations). They need to know that their are places they can save their work without needing a flashdrive. They need to know about the cloud. The bottom line is that students need to interact with the Web in and out of class.
“Making learning more convenient by offering material though cell-phone delivery, for example, will not increase students’ motivation and perseverance.” (Cowan). Like Buffy Hamilton points out in her remarks in response to President Obama’s speech, “to label devices like iPods and iPads as instruments of “distraction” and “entertainment” that are not capable of “empowerment” when you admit within the speech you don’t know how to work these gadgets” and stresses the dangers in reinforcing existing negative stereotypes about mobile computing.
The reason we need a community is because many people live in fear of our reliance on technology. “All across the nation and the world, school librarians and teachers are taking steps to ensure that digital and media literacy education offers the potential to maximize what we value most about the truly empowering characteristics of media and technology, while minimizing the negative dimensions.” (Hobbs). The community needs to understand the value of technology and embrace it in our teachings.
Curation.Librarians need to be comfortable working in the “hybrid” world, but need to become expert curators of digital information (David Wallace). Using resources like iGoogle, NetVibes, Symbaloo, Paper.li, and Scoop.it! to aggregate and share up-to-date information. They will need to know about software applications, arrangement of digital collections (including eBooks), and how these tools can support the curriculum while continuing to advance students (David Wallace).
Works Cited:Blummer, Barbara. "Digital Literacy Practices Among Youth Populations: A Review Of The Literature." Education Libraries 31.1 (2008): 38-45. Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 25 Mar. 2012.Cowan, Brian. "Digital Natives Arent Necessarily Digital Learners." Chronicle Of Higher Education (2011): B34. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 23 Mar. 2012.David Wallace, et al. "Digital Curation For Digital Natives." Journal Of Education For Library & Information Science 52.1 (2011): 23-31. Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 23 Mar. 2012.Demski, Jennifer. "Three Key Literacies." Campustechnology.com. Campus Technology, 01 Mar. 2012. Web. 26 Mar. 2012. <http://campustechnology.com/articles/2012/03/01/three-key- literacies.aspx?sc_lang=en>."Digital Natives And Digital Tourists." Psychologist 24.7 (2011): 494-495. Academic Search Complete. Web. 25 Mar. 2012.
Works Cited Continued:Hamilton, Buffy. "Dear Mr. President: Misinformation Is the Real Distraction." Web log post. The Unquiet Librarian. 09 May 2010. Web. 20 Mar. 2010. <http://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/2010/05/09/dear-mr-president- misinformation-is-the-real-distraction/>.Hobbs, Renee. "Empowering Learners With Digital And Media Literacy." Knowledge Quest 39.5 (2011): 12-17. Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Mar. 2012.Mwesch. “The Machine is Us/ing Us (Final Version) .” YouTube. 08 Mar. 2007. Web. 25 Mar. 2012.Stripling, Barbara. "Teaching Students To Think In The Digital Environment: Digital Literacy And Digital Inquiry." School Library Monthly 26.8 (2010): 16-19. ERIC. Web. 23 Mar. 2012.Waters, John K. “John Q. Netizen." Campus Technology 25.7 (2012): 19-22. Print.Web 2.0 Expo NY. “Clay Shirky (shirky.com) Its Not Information Overload. Its Filter Failure.” Blip. 19 Sep. 2008. Web. 27 Mar. 2012.*All images were supplied by Microsoft Clip Art. They did not require citation.