One of the beauties of being in education is that as educators we get to create, foster, and see learning take place all the time. Often, one of the fringe benefits is that we get to learn too! I recently learned about Jane Goodall’s five hopes for the future. This all happened as a result of being the the Roots and Shoots coordinator in charge of Dr. Goodall’s visit to Lincoln School. Watching and listening to Dr. Goodall will go down as one of the most memorable days in my educational career. Listening to this living icon explain that one of her reasons for hope is social media struck me. I thought wow! I was not expecting that. Yet, it makes complete sense and directly connects with her other reason for hope; the youth of today. Viola! Before my eyes I witnessed the merging of global and digital citizenship,two elements within most schools mission statements.
So whose mission is it to teach students about digital citizenship? Everyone’s mission! Peers,
parents and educators must take responsibility for teaching and promoting digital citizenship simply due to the reality of the world our students live. As mentioned in Confronting the Challenges of a Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century Henry Jenkins points out that schools are just one of the many arenas in which students use, learn, and interact through technology. He also points out that, while not alone in the effort, we as educators should be leading the way in teaching kids to be responsible with technology, furthermore, he points out that the days of the “autonomous learner” are over. As a result, it really is an “all hands on deck” scenario for teaching digital citizenship and responsible use. https://youtu.be/HYbSD_GdkjU
I agree with Jenkins, and in my opinion, educators are no longer solely responsible, but do need to be leaders. When I read information such as the article 8 digital skills we must teach our children I recognize that we are at a turning point in the evolution of our society; a global society. For the first time, cultural values mores from around the world have a platform that can fuse them together. While the positive potential is awesome, the flip side is very scary as well and puts people/kids at risk. For this reason,conversations around digital intelligence have to be taking place at home, in school assemblies, classrooms, universities, in forums, pretty much anywhere space can be made. The effort to teach, reinforce, and exemplify should not just be from the tech integrationalist, but from every teacher, professor, peer, and parent. Providing on-going parent education and continual access to updated articles as well as using students as digital citizen roles models will help spread and share the responsibility of learning how to live an ethical and responsible digital life.
Another key, is starting early. Conversations and modeling of ethical and appropriate behaviors needs to begin at home once children begin using devices and as early as Kindergarten at school. While we currently have the Gen Zers to learn from (and we’re learning a lot/Washington Post) future generations will have to navigate uncharted waters as well. For our society, this is a matter that must be taken seriously. We need to continue to track and research information, be proactive, and work together in developing our future generations digital intelligence and consciousness.