a special approach to character
education that is uniquely suited
to address the digital lifestyles we
have all adopted.
3. Value digital citizenship activities.
We need to reward student efforts
in digital citizenship, which we
currently don’t do often enough.
While there may be some debate
about how to proceed, there is no
question about when to begin. That
day has arrived.
—Jason Ohler is a professor emeritus of educational technology, a digital humanist, and the author of
Digital Community, Digital Citizen. He has written numerous books, articles, and web materials
about using technology effectively, creatively, and
wisely. Learn more at www.JasonOhler.com.
didn’t see children applying those skills
online. We were puzzled by this apparent disconnect. But when we started
using virtual worlds and MOGs, we
saw a shift, especially with our younger
students. As we worked and played
alongside students on these platforms,
we found opportunities to model and
correct behavior, just as we do at home
and in school. Using participatory social media in school has turned out to
be a more effective way to develop citizenship skills than all of those lessons
we used to “teach.”
—Marianne Malmstrom is a leader in the use of
virtual environments and digital multimedia resources in education. She is a teacher at the Elisabeth Morrow School and has more than 30 years
of experience as an educator and administrator.
Here’s what other ISTE members
had to say about this topic.
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We say that our purpose is to prepare our students for
their futures, yet we remain firmly entrenched in the
past. We complain that our students misuse technology and behave inappropriately with social media, yet
we do not teach them. We lament that our students
are unprepared for a university and work environment
that investigates the online footprints of its applicants,
but we do nothing to prepare them.
Jeremy Shorr, Supervisor of Instructional Technology
Twinsburg, Ohio, USA
Walk the Line
As educators, we walk a fine line when monitoring
our students’ online activities. We have a responsibility to ensure their safety while providing them
with opportunities to learn to appreciate the value
of their privacy and the privacy of others. Learning this lesson doesn’t just happen by presenting
students with digital citizenship theory (which is an
important first step), but by providing opportunities
to connect theory to reality in their own digital lives.
Kim Wilkens, Teacher/Mentor
Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
Prepare Them for the Real World
The internet has become a reflection of all the
world’s societies, with both wonderful resources and
the threats and problems of the real world. Just as a
parent or teacher would not simply send a child out
into the world to fend for himself or herself, we need
to provide our students with the necessary tools for
life and self-protection in the online world.
Jan Meizel, Lecturer/Consultant
Davis, California, USA
Digital = Global
To be globally aware, students must become global
citizens. Technology plays such an integral role in
connecting all global citizens. It follows, then, that
learning to be a responsible digital citizen is an essential understanding that our students must acquire. Just as teaching core subjects is not a choice,
teaching digital citizenship, along with community
citizenship, needs to also be part of the core curricular requirement.
Carmela Curatola Knowles,
Instructional Technology Specialist
Hatboro, Pennsylvania, USA
Proper Care and Usage
Responsible use of any tool used in school should
include proper care and usage instructions. If students
are to use the internet or other digital media in school,
they should absolutely be taught how to use it properly, safely, and with basic consideration for others.
Comment on ISTE’s Facebook page
Show a Little Respect
Students need to learn how to show respect for
themselves and others digitally. They need to understand the impact of posting, tweeting, texting, and
recording on how they are perceived as citizens. A
student can show respect through etiquette and the
proper use of the technology at hand.
Kathy Scarpato, Master Teacher of Training
Norristown, Pennsylvania, USA
Global Skills Too
We expect students to arrive at school with a set of
global digital skills already in place, but many students have a poor grasp of the world around them.
Even students who are technologically connected
do not always demonstrate appropriate global participatory skills. In addition to improving students’
skills to be safe and secure on the internet, we
need to broaden capacities to be successful in a
Mary Lane-Kelso, Head of Instructional Learning
Technologies Department, Sultan Qaboos University
An Educator’s Responsibility
It would be negligent for educators to employ digital
tools and resources in the classroom with students
who are not prepared to use these resources wisely.
Fair Josey Wicker, High School Teacher
Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Keep Up with the Times
It is common to see children as young as first grade
carrying around cell phones, tablets, etc. Because of
this, I believe that it is crucial to show students the
benefits as well as the dangers that come with use
of technology. Eventually, schools are going to be
forced to keep up with the changing times.
Julie Gehm, Student
New Castle, Pennsylvania,