Because today’s students live in a digital world, it can be easy to forget that they need to be taught how to navigate that world. Most students are immersed in technology from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to sleep, but that doesn’t mean they understand the impact they have on each other and on the digital society. As blended and online teachers, it’s important not only to teach students about the importance of digital citizenship, but also to model appropriate behaviors. Here are the top five ways you can model digital citizenship for your students.
- Digital rights and responsibilities
Being online is a privilege, even though we take it for granted. Set a precedent for how and when technology is used in your classroom, and take away that right if students aren’t using it responsibly.
- Digital communication
We can communicate with anyone, anywhere. Stress that even though we’re free to speak our minds on the Internet, there’s still consequences to what we say just like in real life.
- Digital literacy
Use technology in a way that teaches new skills or reinforces known skills, such as problem solving, idea generation, and information gathering. Because technology is so pervasive, students can learn anytime, anywhere, if you show them how.
- Digital etiquette
Act as though students are in the room with you when interacting with them online. Use full greetings and closings in e-mails, complete sentences and fully spelled out words in chats, and mind your “pleases” and “thank yous” when communicating with students via a message board.
- Digital security
Remind students to not divulge personal information, such as home address or phone number, when they’re online. If you’re working in a computer lab, remind students to fully log out when they’re done and not to write down their passwords. (And don’t forget to do so yourself!)
Model appropriate behavior, and students will follow your lead. Set the norm that you can use technology in an appropriate, responsible way and fully participate in our digital society. When you respect, educate, and protect yourself and your students, they will be better digital citizens.