Critical Reflection on Digital Citizenship in Schools

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May 25, 2015 by patriciawhite84

Throughout the subject ‘digital citizenship in school’ I have explored what it means to be a digital citizen within an orthodox religious school in today’s modern society. It has helped me to understand how a digital learning environment can lead to positive outcomes in student learning. It has also made me consider ways that educators can ensure that once students leave school and move on to become active participates within the workforce, that regardless of their religion, they have still been given the same opportunities to develop the skills, tools and habits of a 21st century digital citizen.

When preparing students for a life within a digital world it is important for them to understand that they must make positive and safe decisions online.  Allowing students to explore and appreciate their presence online will enable them to become aware of their significance as digital citizens and the impact they may have on others (Lindsay, 2015).

Throughout this subject I contemplated the significance of how students are ‘residents’ within the digital world and how different it is for students within my school environment. It also made me think about how I participate within this online community and if I was an active contributing member of society (Honeycutt, 2010). The majority of today’s current student population ‘live’ online but it has been intriguing to see how the minority of this demographic interact with technology. Even within the privileged and high socio-economic area that is the Eastern suburbs of Sydney, there is a pocket of society that go against the norm because of their religion. Even within this pocket of society different groups follow different laws and religious leaders which therefore have an impact on how they use technology. With that being said the educational advancement of children is paramount which families do share. It just means that educators within religious institutions need to be sensitive to these differences and construct innovative ways that these students can still come close to ‘living’ online whilst at school.

By understanding what it means to be a digital citizen and then how students use the Internet for personal and educational gain, it highlights the necessity to create digital learning environments in schools, particularly when digital resources are not availability to students at home. Having a digital learning environment not only provides a platform by which to teach digital citizenship but engages 21st century students to make learning more meaningful. This in turn makes learning relevant for them by supporting and utilising their emerging digital skills (Kemker, 2005, p. 2). A digital learning environment also connects students locally and internationally, fostering collaborative learning with relevant and up-to-date information for both students and teachers (Baker, 2009, p. 35).

It takes more than providing technological resources to establish a digital learning environment; it requires a whole school approach. School leaders need to work with classroom teachers to help facilitate the process (Farris-Berg, 2014). This requires teachers to work collaboratively by supporting one another and to take professional responsibility to create personal learning networks. Supporting teachers in a whole school approach to create a positive DLE will enable all students to learn important skills for future success. From my understanding of this subject the best way to create a digital learning environment is to empower all teachers, regardless of their experience and create a culture for change. A clear vision and goals need to be established and reviewed with the process seen through by an e-learning team. By pushing schools to think digitally, support digital innovation and to meet the current needs of students we critical for their ongoing life success (Murray, 2013).

 

References

Baker, R. (2009). Pedagogies and Digital Content in the Australian School Sector. Retrieved from http://www.ndlrn.edu.au/verve/_resources/ESA_Pedagogies_and_Digital_ Content_in_the_Australian_School_Sector.pdf

Farris-Berg, K. (2014). A different model for school success: Empower teachers. Phi Delta Kappan, 95(7), 31-36

Honeycutt, K. (2010, February 22). Raising digital kids – The digital footprint [Video file]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/2_M7UIeQqKw.

Kemker, K. (2005). The Digital Learning Environment: What the research tells us. Retrieved from:www.ssis.edu.vn/uploads/pdf/The_Digital_Learning_Environment.pdf

Murray, T. (2013). 10 steps technology directors can take to stay relevant [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://smartblogs.com/education/2013/01/07/the-obsolete-technology-director-murray-thomas/

Lindsay, J. (2015). 1.4 Digital citizenship in the curriculum [Course notes]. Wagga Wagga: Charles Sturt University. Retrieved from  https://interact2.csu.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-270076-dt-content-rid-635861_1/courses/S-ETL523_201530_W_D/module1/1_4_Dig_citizen_curriculum.html 

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