A digital citizen is anyone who interacts with technology to engage in society, making them a “citizen” of the online world. With the number of digital citizens rising dramatically in the recent past, as is evident from the PEW Research Center’s survey results below, it has become imperative that educators are teaching students, along with themselves, about digital citizenship (2015, p.2). Here we run into a more complex idea though, as what it means to act with citizenship online is tougher to understand and changes as quickly as the newest app is released. We can turn to Mike Ribble’s explanation of digital citizenship, as “the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior in regards to technology use” to begin understanding what exactly this looks like (2015). However, this still raises questions about what “appropriate” and “responsible” behavior looks like. Ribble does an excellent job of breaking this down in his books and resources and I too attempt to offer some insights into what this looks like through my mission statement and explanation below.
Tackling the complexities of digital citizenship and its implications for education is a daunting task that cannot be solved with a simple answer. In recognizing this, my mission statement and guiding principles aim to encompass the general ideas relating to digital citizenship and offer a few suggestions for how to live a moral and ethical online life, particularly relating to education. With this in mind, the intended audience for my mission statement is the whole educational community, including teachers, administrators, students, parents, and all others who feel a personal connection to the learning environment. The overarching purpose of my mission statement is to inspire these people to embrace digital education, using digital tools to enhance learning, and digital citizenship as I have described it above, knowing how to use these tools ethically and responsibly. I emphasize the necessity for a passion for learning as I don’t believe it is possible to want to grow without an innate desire. Most notably however, I hope that this mission statement encourages and challenges individuals to be mindful of their own digital lives and how they impact the greater community.
Digitally aware students and educators will be able to…
Ethical & Healthy Identity
- Recognize how their digital lives impact those of others, both in their immediate community and globally and in turn understand the physical and emotional dangers of digital life (i.e. cyberbullying, identity theft, etc.).
- Demonstrate digital literacy through using digital resources critically by assessing for relevancy, credibility, accuracy, and purpose.
- Practice mindfulness, or attention on the present, when using technology and to reflect on their digital lives rather than get caught up in them.
- Understand that digital life is extremely complex and constantly changing and in knowing this is also continually seeking new perspectives, both locally and globally.
- Adapt to new digital tools as they become available.
Digital Literacy & Informed Perspectives
- Employ the best practices for implementing and using technology in the classroom.
- Effectively use educational technologies implemented by the district, including email, teacher websites, student assignment-management sites, digital gradebooks, online assessment programs, etc.
- Continually seek to further their understanding on new perspectives relating to digital tools, resources, and identity. Then to critically assess that new information for legitimacy and appropriateness.
- Use a critical and informed perspective to implement best practices in both educational technology and in their personal digital lives.
Passion for Learning & Growth
- Uphold an intrinsic love for learning that leads to natural inquisitiveness and continued growth.
- Inspire others to seek ethical and responsible digital lives.
Common Sense Media. https://www.commonsensemedia.org.
Perrin, Andrew & Duggan, Maeve, “American’s Internet Access: from 2000-2015,” PEW Research Center (2015).
Ribble, Mike & Northern Miller, Teresa, “Educational Leadership in an Online World: Connecting Students to Technology Responsibly, Safely, and Ethically,” Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17:1 (2013): 137-45
Mission, signatures, and vision. (n.d.). Retrieved October 5, 2014, from Seattle Pacific University website: http://www.spu.edu/about-spu/mission-and-signatures
Prensky, Marc, “From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom,” in From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom: Hopeful Essays for 21st Century Learning (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin, 2013), 201-15