Digital citizenship is very important and it is a “concept that helps teachers, technology leaders and parents to understand what students/children/technology users should know to use technology appropriately” (Digital Citizenship). I think it is very important to stress in your classroom that (hopefully) uses technology/computers to be appropriate on the internet. What exactly does it mean to be appropriate? Well students at that young age may be quite immature. I remember when I was in high school, students would slander people’s names on the internet, post provocative pictures of themselves, post provocative pictures of others, cyber bullying, using derogatory language, and the list can go on. It is sad how mean students can be to others on the internet.
There are nine aspects to digital citizenship: security, access, literacy, etiquette, health & wellness, commerce, communication, rights & responsibility and law. All of these should be at least touched upon in a classroom because each of them are equally as important. If you click on the provided link, it will take you to a page that explains each element in depth.
Although you cannot be superwoman and stop children from being inappropriate on the internet in their homes, you can start by stopping it in your classroom. Maybe from day one when you establish your class rules, you can also establish computer lab rules and how to be appropriate in there. When doing assignments online, constantly walk around to make sure they are not dong anything they should not be doing. Trust and respect is huge in a classroom, and hopefully if you build that up initially you should not have too many problems with your class. If there is respect between student and student as well as teacher and student, students shouldn’t want to go out of their way to hurt you or their fellow peers.
Digital citizenship is very important in classrooms, especially at the ages of middle school and high school where they need that guidance. Not only will what they do on the internet impact what they are doing and how they are viewed at the moment but also in the future. What you put on the internet stays with you and can always be accessed, scary right? AS ELA educators, we need to help our students build a good digital footprint that they will not be ashamed of in the long run.
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