A major question facing parents and schools in the rapidly evolving, technology-driven classroom is how we should educate students to become good digital citizens.
What constitutes good digital citizenship? As this Technapex article puts it:
“It’s a tricky time to be a student. The digital age has brought about amazing innovations in education, but there’s also a darker, less safe side of technology that can be difficult for students to navigate: cyber bullying, online safety, and plagiarism are among a few issues that have arisen in recent years as a result of the proliferation of social media and technology.”
Encouraging students to use technology for productivity, rather than be pulled to distractions, should be a goal for all educators. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure that students are prepared for their increasingly digital-dependent world.
- Instill good technology values where and when possible.
Just as students need to learn good personal citizenship, students need guidance from the onset to learn good digital citizenship. From an early age, students learn not to trust strangers. Now, they now need to know that strangers exist not only in person but also on the computer. This is not a conflict with anything we already teach – it supplements and expands tried and true real life practices.
- Encourage positive behavior.
It’s difficult to curb negativity, especially within social networks. Positive Tweets and posts are rare. That’s why it’s important that students realize that we might paraphrase the old adage to read, “If you don’t have anything nice to tweet, don’t tweet anything at all.”
- Teach kids about online plagiarism.
There’s a lot of data out there (about 44 exabytes per year – that’s about 48 billion gigabytes), and it’s becoming increasingly easy to obtain. Students walk a fine line between the ideal of true social homework help, where students and teachers communicate online for educational purposes, and direct copy and pasting to get the job done. Teach fair use and plagiarism rules to students to help them understand that the when it comes to using the Internet for schoolwork, it’s like a giant library: tons of information requiring proper attribution.
- Learn the ins and outs of Internet security.
A major difficulty that digital natives encounter is keeping information private. Teaching even the most basic of Facebook and social media privacy is a major concern for colleges and universities, so it makes sense that we should teach kids earlier that privacy is important.
Becoming a good digital citizen will be vital for today’s students as they become increasingly adept at using the internet for communication and to expand their world. Teaching them these best practices at an early age makes them a habit, setting students up for future success.