ISTE Standard 4 addresses ethics, safety, and responsible application of using technology in a global society. An educator’s responsibility is to teach students about the importance of respecting people’s digital privacy, ethical use of resources, and being cognizant of behavior online. This standard also recommends teachers consider if students have proper access to technology resources.
When I start teaching I would like to work with fourth of fifth graders. I strongly believe I have to model any type of behavior or expectations I have of my students. After reading Standard 4 I asked myself what opportunities do I have to model ethical behaviors to my students as we explore and practice using the digital tools and communication resources available in a global society? An objective is to demonstrate safe and ethical technology practices during class.
Digital citizenship is a key phrase school districts might use when creating policies to teach students Internet safety, responsibility, and proper technology-related skills. As a teacher, digital citizenship includes being informed about technology trends, being aware of district policies and options, and empowering students to create engaging digital learning projects (Lindsay & Davis, 2010). I think teaching digital citizenship to students begins with teaching students to understand how digital citizenship is similar to real-life citizenship. Ribble and Northern Miller (2013) describe how children have grown up with technology so they attend school with a basic skill set, but they are often not aware of technology etiquette or what is required of a digital citizen. Due to this, educators need to think about opportunities that will explicitly teach students about appropriate technology habits and attitude.
Researchers and experts have developed categories that target specific issues related to digital citizenship. Lucey and Grant (2009) list property, freedom of speech, priorities, privacy, and accessibility as the primary digital issues. They further explain the responsibilities of teachers, students, and administrators related to the five categories. One of my classmates shared an article that described three main categories to describe important digital issues: 1) respect yourself and others; 2) educate yourself and others; and 3) protect yourself and others (Ribble and Northern Miller, 2013). Within each category there are specific elements and examples so educators can understand how these issues relate to instruction. Ribble’s Digital Citizenship Website aptly summarizes the nine categories and provides additional resources and information.
Lucey and Grant (2009) state, “Teachers demonstrate their technology values through their instructional choices” so it is important to be mindful of how technology lessons are incorporated in the classroom and what students will learn from such examples. One opportunity for me to teach students is by explaining how I decided to use certain facts or research in a lesson. I can review with students how I determined a website was creditable, obtained updated information, and if there were any digital laws that prevented me from using the source. Another chance to practice digital citizenship is by evaluating if students have enough time to work on projects during school. If many of my students do not have computer access at home, then I should allow extra time to finish assignments or provide opportunities before or after school for students to work on school computers. A final example is teaching students why it is important to cite sources and paraphrase other people’s work into your own words. This activity involves me demonstrating aloud how I think about rewording another author’s work and decide on my own version. Over time I would assign students to work together to paraphrase examples or sentences and eventually have students work independently on sample paragraphs.
When planning digital citizenship lessons I will reference the various categories to ensure I am covering all the necessary issues. My objective is to teach, discuss, and model why these issues are important and how my behavior reflects an effort to follow the guidelines. Learning activities will be mixed in with different subjects so students have many opportunities to practice digital citizenship and learn that technology safety and ethics is applicable to numerous situations.
Lindsay, J. & Davis, V. (2010). Navigate the digital rapids. Learning and Leading With Technology (March/April 2010). Retrieved from: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ886385.pdf
Lucey, T. & Grant, M. (2009). Ethical issues in instructional technology: an exploratory framework. Multicultural Education and Technology Journal (3)(3). doi: 10.1108/17504970910984871. Retrieved from: http://www.mjusd.k12.ca.us/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=468668
Ribble, M. & Northern Miller, T. (2013). Educational leadership in an online world: connecting students to technology responsibily, safely, and ethically. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (17)(1). Retrieved from: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1011379.pdf