It does not need to be said that communication has changed immensely since I was in school. I got in trouble for passing notes to classmates, now students are being reprimanded for texting and using facebook during school hours. Though I am a huge advocate the use of social media in the educational environment, it is highly irresponsible for us as educators to allow this kind of communication within the walls of our institution without guiding students on appropriate uses.
- If you had to have a digital tattoo, what would it be?
- How many unwanted digital tattoos do you have? Or should I ask, how many unwanted digital tattoos are you aware of?
- How can we prevent unwanted digital tattoos?
As educators we have the incredible opportunity to assist students in considering these important questions, guiding them away from scars that can arise from their potential digital indiscretions.
Considering the digital footprints our students are beginning to make as early as kindergarten, education in this area needs to be taking place in all content areas. If we are using technology in our english, social studies, math, and science classrooms then digital citizenship should also be integrated in our teaching. Education of content necessitates socialization; thus there is no reason why digital socializing should be taking place as well.
Some points to consider asking students:
- What tone are you using when you electronically communicate? Would you speak this way to someone in person?
- Consider the pictures/media you post. Would you be embarrassed if teachers and/or parents viewed?
- If you knew everything you posted online was permanent, would you still post?
There is a common misperception that technology should ‘make our lives easier.’ Perhaps on some level this is true; however, if we as educators strive to achieve deeper understanding for our students and well-rounded, successful citizens, then the task is even more complex and challenging.
Are we up for the challenge?
I know of an incredible, talented community of educators that are throwing both hands in the air screaming….YES!!
Digital Nation: What South Korea is doing to ‘digitally socialize’ beginning in Kindergarten
USA Today Article: Your Online Reputation and Professional Ramifications