Written by Sequoia Abbott-Saulteaux
Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools (2015) published by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education has claimed that it is educators’ responsibility to teach students for our increasingly technologically connected world. The statistic shows that 99% of Canadian youth from grades 4 through 11, access the internet outside of school ( Digital Citizenship in Saskatchewan School, 2015, pp. 16). It is naive to believe that students are going to be able to transfer these “tech-savvy” skills into self-guided educational skills without correct modelling. As educators, we are doing our students a disservice if we are not preparing them for the world outside of school, a world that is increasingly interconnected like never before.
In its most basic sense, “Digital Citizenship” may be defined as “the norms of appropriate and responsible online behaviour” (Digital Citizenship in Saskatchewan School, 2015, pp. 4). However, with our increasingly connected world, there is becoming more of a blur between what is offline and what is online. Far too often, we as a society have seen the effects of when online material can have a real-world impact on individuals’ private life (see my blog post about Justine Sacco here). The Digital Citizenship document refers to this as a “one life” perspective that says we need to find a balance between our online personas and “real life”. We need to practice how we can become engaging, positive citizens online. Our students need to be educated about Digital Citizenship ship since, even if they are tech-savvy, this does not mean that they know how to use this technology in positive, educational ways.
This perspective is based on Rabbles 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship which are categorized into three basic themes; Respect, Protect, and Educate. These can then be broken down even further;
Respect: Digital Etiquette, Digital Access, and Digital Law
Protect: Digital Communication, Digital Literacy, and Digital Commerce
Educate: Digital Rights and Responsibilities, Digital Safety and Security, and Digital Health and Wellness
With this outline, these guidelines are more digestible into the Saskatchewan curriculum, but what would a lesson on Digital Citizenship actually look like? For this blog post, I’ve prepared two hypothetical lesson plans of Digital Citizenship in Highshool.
History 10- Power and Information
Learning Objective– Know that power is the control of resources: Numbers, Resources, Organization and Information. (History 10).
Learning Objective- Understand that access to technology is determined by personal choices, and other factors such as disability, socio-economic status, location, and government. (Digital Citizenship).
“All Social Organizations must establish some mechanism by which the power to make decisions is allocated in some way to the members of the organization”History 10: Social Organizations Curriculum, 1984, pp. 114.
Unit One in the History 10 Curriculum focuses on “Political Decision Making” with a focus on Social Organizations. I propose that this may be a great place for an Educator to begin the discussion on Digital Respect. In this category, students should understand that access to digital spaces is not always equal. Remind students that “information” is a resource that the powerful can hoard. Ask students if they understand how “information” can be used to keep in power. Ask your students if they could think of any issues that would block someone from accessing the information on the internet. Ask the students if there is any reason why someone would not be encouraged to access information on the internet?
Geography 10- The Planet Earth: Its Character and Portrayal
Learning Objective: Understand that different types of maps projections are designed to provide accuracy in shape or area, or to provide to a specific use. (Geography 10).
Learning Objective: Understand that both finding and evaluating information is necessary. (Digital Citizenship).
Recognise the state of knowledge is not finite, that new methods of research and new concepts are constantly evolving, and that understanding of the world in which we live in is very incomplete.Geography 10: Saskatchewan Curriculum, 1964, pp. 4.
Unit One in the Geography Curriculum briefly goes over understanding the world that we live in. I propose that this would be a great way to tie an objective from the Digital Citizenship document! Since students may think that Geography is an objective subject, we can introduce the topic of not simply believing everything that is presented to you. For example, test the students to see if they believe in the accuracy of the world maps in the room. After explaining to them why there is a need for different types of maps, ask the students if they know how to figure out through the internet if something is true or not.
Teach students how to use “advanced search options” or “filter bubbles” in order to better filter out accurate search results. Have the students collaboratively share resources through social bookmarking, and have them compare and contrast the different representations of Earth on maps in groups!
Have you ever thought about your role in Digital Citizenship? What do you think it means to have a positive digital footprint?