The article, “Digital Citizenship in K-12: It Takes a Village” poses an interesting question. Who do we want teaching our students about the digital environment? By the time our students walk through the school doors for the first time, they have already been exposed to the digital world. Together we must apply traditional responsible citizen qualities to the digital environment.
Personally, I believe that as educators we need to be the frontrunners on this issue. One of the essential jobs as teachers is for us to prepare our students to be productive citizens. Lets face it technology is not going anywhere, and it has opened up a new realm for citizenship. A problem that we are facing as educators and a community is that we may be waiting to long to address any of the real issues. Mike Ribble states that, “By the time students are twelve years old, their behavior in how they use technology has already been set. So digital citizenship in schools from grades 8-12 is starting too late.” As a learning community we need to start early and often. This concept of responsible digital citizenship should become an ongoing process that is as regular as any that we teach.
Technology is a big part of my teaching; I feel that without it students will be unprepared for the future. As we expose our students to this technology we cannot be afraid to teach the responsible use of it, while allowing them to learn from their mistakes. According to the Pete Blackshaw, an executive vice-president of the Nielson Company (2009), the online population of youth, grades 2-11, number “boys at 8,040,000 and girls at 7,927,000”. This statistic should spark urgency among educators, we cannot expect to impact our students and forge a digital citizen if they have already been molded. This teaching moment should be a primary concern for our learning communities.
Can we afford to look away from the digital world that we are surrounded by any longer?
“So, the inevitable question must be asked: Who represents the village for our youth, as it relates to digital citizenship? Will it be parents, teachers, administrators, academics, technology professionals, media specialists, or students?” (Hollandsworth, Dowdy & Donovan, 2011)
The answer, “Ora na azu nwa”
Food for thought: iSAFE, a non-profit organization promoting child Internet safety, reports “that 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online; 53% of kids admit having said something mean or hurtful things to another online; 42% of kids have been bullied while online; and 58% have not told their parents or any adult about something mean or hurtful that had happened” (2010).-How does this compare to bullying and comments in the general sense? Is the bigger problem the issue of bullying, and it just happens to show up permanently on the digital record?