Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Citizenship! Digital or not.



Before we start talking about digital citizenship, I think we need to talk about just plain old citizenship.  Possibly the problems we have with: "who should be teaching it" and "what should be taught" might be solved better if we take the digital out of citizenship for a moment.  Here is a popular Youtube Video (by xinz57) about it:





It's fast but at the end we get some definitions:

Digital Citizenship is: etiquette, access, responsibility, using the internet effectively, easy to learn, communication, understanding technology, literacy, social media done right, respect, being private, commerce, appropriate use, creating, important, sharing, the future, participating, your internet trail, yours.

(spent enough time pausing and playing cassette tapes to learn guitar licks and love song lyrics in my day. . .this was child's play)

Anyway, the list has that "do the right thing" emphasis: etiquette, responsibility, effectiveness, appropriateness, done right-ness.  Even the ideas like creating and sharing are just the start of what I think we might consider citizenship.  Now, I like the video.  I think I may have even used the video at some point.  But we must go deeper.

Recently, at the fourth #bcedchat, digital citizenship was the topic.  Here is an excerpt:



Though there was the "watch out there is danger out there" and the "thou shalt not's" in terms of piracy, I was very encouraged that I saw some positive citizenship ideas.

What a sad state we would be in if in life we lived by the watch-outs and the do-nots.   Doesn't citizenship include: do something great.  Do something kind.  Do something meaningful.  Sure we can include: do something proper and do something safe; but safe and proper doesn't make the world a better place.  Just makes it properly safe.

I think we know what model citizens are.  Here are some examples: 10-year-old helps catch suspect in theft, receives Citizen Award; 18-year-old who raised money for Islamic Relief Syria Appeal nominated for award.  These students have risen above safety and what is proper.  They've done something caring, something selfless, even put themselves on the line.  That is what true citizenship is; and we know it.  We've seen cities, countries, even the whole world come together to aid when a certain disaster has happened.  So let's not narrow our idea of citizenship when we add the word digital in front of it.

So let's add the digital.  Let's add the digital to what we already know about citizenship.  What is the difference?

Could it be put simply as: extending our reach in doing great, kind and meaningful things with the help of technology?  How is that for a starting point?  Does that definition change how we might instill digital citizenship in our students?  Can digital citizenship really be taught apart from plain old citizenship?