Who do we want teaching our students about the digital environment?

07 Jun

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?


Posted by on June 7, 2012 in Educational Articles


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2 responses to “Who do we want teaching our students about the digital environment?

  1. lindzobindzo

    June 8, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Joe, I really liked your discussion about how important it is as educators to take control with the learning process for technology. It is so true that by the time the students are in the upper grades, their ideals about technology have already been set in stone whether it be good or bad. This really made me think about my own class since I am teaching 2nd grade and how important it will be for me to incorporate and teach more uses in my own classroom. This is an area that I have found I need to definitely improve and expand on for my students’ and it sounds like you will be a good resource to go to for ideas! 🙂 Great analysis!!

  2. cadretechclass

    June 11, 2012 at 2:14 am

    I had to look this one up: Ora na azu nwa. Thank you for expanding my horizons!


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