Fostering Digital Citizenship


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Presentation on digital citizenship and social media for K-12 teachers; complete resources available at

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Fostering Digital Citizenship

  1. 1. Digital Citizenship: A Student- Parent-Teacher Partnership Patrick Woessner MICDS Presented at the Lausanne Laptop Institute 2009
  2. 2. Digital Citizenship Today, billions of people all over the planet interact using various technologies. This interaction has created a digital society that affords its members opportunities for education, employment, entertainment, and social interaction. As in any society, it is expected that digital citizens act in a certain way—according to accepted norms, rules, and laws. Most of today’s students are entirely comfortable with technology, but are they using it appropriately? Do they understand their roles and responsibilities in digital society? How can teachers help students become responsible digital citizens?
  3. 3. Keys to Establishing a Successful Program • Understand Today’s Student • Maintain Perspective • Embrace Social Media • Develop a Framework • Reflect and Revise
  4. 4. A View of K-12 Students Today
  5. 5. A View of Teenagers Today • 95% of teens spend time with friends face to face • 93% of teens ages 12-17 use the Internet • 68% send instant messages • 65% use social networking sites • 64% of online teens are content creators
  6. 6. A Closer Look: Today’s Student
  7. 7. A View of Mass Media Today
  8. 8. Generational Fears/Concerns About Youth • Since the turn-of-the-twentieth century —and lasting right up until today—generation after generation of young people and adults have increasingly come into conflict, and it probably is not going to change anytime soon!
  9. 9. 11 Example #1: What was it?? It “encourages isolation and splitting” of families, and “puts children on a narrowly defined developmental path, and contributes little to social skills.” It is “corrupting our youth” and “is not wholesome”. It “mesmerizes our children…teaches gambling and breeds aggressive behavior.”
  10. 10. 12 VIDEO GAMES (1980s) Glenn Collins, “Video Games: A Diversion or a Danger?” New York Times, February 17, 1983, p. C1. Mrs. Ronnie Lamm, quoted by William E. Geist, in “The Battle For America’s Youth.” New York Times, January 5, 1982, p. B2.
  11. 11. 13 Example #2: What was it?? It “exerts a harmful influence… upon the public mind and morals, and particularly upon the minds of youth and children.” and it has “steeped the youth of our country in filth and degradation.”
  12. 12. 14 MOVIES (1930s) Central Conference of American Rabbis, quoted in “Rabbis Denounce ‘Harmful’ Movies.” New York Times, June 19, 1934, p. 24. Reverend Dr. S. Parkes Cadman, quoted in “Cadman at Drexel Denounces Movies.” New York Times, June 19, 1934, p. 15.
  13. 13. 15 Example #3: What was it?? It “may well be…an insidious force that causes children to be more aggressive, fearful, materialistic and callous, while at the same time makes them more passive, less robust and damages their educational potential.”
  14. 14. 16 TELEVISION (1970s) Richard Flaste, “Screening TV For Uncritical Young Eyes.” New York Times, March 11, 1977, p. 31.
  15. 15. 17 Example #4: What was it?? is “a communicable disease” is “cannibalistic and tribalistic” and just “another form of adolescent rebellion.”
  16. 16. 18 ROCK-N-ROLL (1950s) “Rock-and-Roll called ‘Communicable Disease’.” New York Times, March 28, 1956, p. 33.
  17. 17. 19 What do all of these examples have in common? • Young people embracing new forms of technology/activity that adults do not understand or know about (early adopters) • New technologies/activities involving thematic content with which adults are uncomfortable • Through these new technologies/activities, young people form “community” and speak a “language” that is theirs & theirs alone • Adults feel confused and left out of the picture, begin to worry and/or get angry about their loss of influence over “kids today”
  18. 18. What does this mean for educators today? • We see students behaving in our classes in ways that we do not approve of or appreciate • We see students engaging with technology in ways that we consider to be inappropriate, or rude, or detrimental to both their maturation and education • Overall, our struggles with students actually are not much different from previous generations’ struggles with us
  19. 19. What is Social Media?
  20. 20. Social Networking Demographics Percent with a Social Networking Profile Source: Pew Internet
  21. 21. A Closer Look: Social Media
  22. 22. The Power of Social Media
  23. 23. Social Networking: Preschool and Elementary
  24. 24. Social Networking: Teens and Adults
  25. 25. Footprints in the Digital Age • Social technology leads to a digital footprint • How well do our profile and footprints reflect who we really are? • Object permanence has evolved from the physical to the virtual world
  26. 26. A Closer Look: Digital Footprints
  27. 27. Paying Attention to Trends
  28. 28. Digital Citizenship • Digital citizenship can be described as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use. • In their book Digital Citizenship in Schools, Gerald Bailey and Mike Ribble identify nine elements of digital citizenship that can be grouped into three broad categories:
  29. 29. Student Learning and Academic Performance 1. Digital Access: full electronic participation in society 2. Digital Literacy: the process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology 1. Digital Communication: electronic exchange of information
  30. 30. School Environment and Student Behavior 1. Digital Security and Safety: electronic precautions to guarantee safety/physical well- being in a digital technology world 1. Digital Etiquette: electronic standards of conduct or procedure 2. Digital Rights and Responsibilities: those freedoms extended to everyone in a digital world
  31. 31. Student Life Outside the School Environment 1. Digital Commerce: electronic buying and selling of goods 2. Digital Health and Wellness: physical and psychological well- being 3. Digital Law: rights and restrictions
  32. 32. A Closer Look: The MICDS Program
  33. 33. Other Models and Resources
  34. 34. Lessons Learned: Teachers and Administrators • Actions speak louder than words; real support requires a time commitment and accountability • You can’t give away what you don’t own; training is essential to understand Digital Citizenship • The value of the program must be abundantly clear; it’s not an “addition” but rather part of the culture of the school
  35. 35. Lessons Learned: Parents • Support means getting involved; parents and teachers must share responsibility • If you teach it, they will come; hands-on workshops are much more effective than “information” sessions • Line between home/school can get blurred; be prepared to address “after hours” issues
  36. 36. Lessons Learned: Students • Expect resistance; you are invading “their world” and they don’t necessarily want to learn about it with/from you • Younger children believe everything they read; beware media sensationalism • Despite your best collective efforts, some will still stray off the path; have patience
  37. 37. Lessons Learned: Program • Utilize a variety of instructional strategies; a standard format is simple but not always effective • Need to weigh benefits/drawbacks of large vs. small group setting; consistency or intimacy • Scope, sequence, and timeframe; how much, how deep, and how often
  38. 38. Questions or Comments? • Email: • Twitter: @pcwoessner • Technology in the Middle blog (