Exploring Digital Citizenship

When I first started reading about Digital Citizenship I thought it would be interesting to look at sources from the beginning and then finish with a more recent source. I started looking through sources and finally found one that caught my eye. This source was written in 2004 so the way certain aspects of technology is discussed is very different than to today. Here is the link to the source: https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ695788.pdf .

The first thing I noticed when reading this article was that the definition they provided for Digital Citizenship was a bit different than my own. The main gist of their definition had to do with online behavior. To me digital citizenship has a lot more to do with how we use technology to make the world a better place. This source mainly served as a guide to all of the ways that students/people use the internet wrongly. This seemed like a really negative to way to spin Digital citizenship and I think that technology should be looked at as a tool as opposed to a hindrance. With these thoughts in mind I started to look for other newer sources hoping that they shared some of the same options as me.

The second source I found was from 2015 http://www.cnets.iste.org/images/excerpts/DIGCIT-excerpt.pdf. This source was similar to the first in that it mainly discussed appropriate and inappropriate online behavior. I think that these aspects are important but shouldn’t always be the main focus. Some of the things that were discussed in this article were how cell phones can become a distraction in the classroom setting. I agree that this in some cases can be true but I think that they can also be used as a tool. The article talked about this briefly but they didn’t really mention any ideas for how to use cell phones to enhance learning. Overall I thought that this article was a little bit more relevant than the first article but it was still lacking some important ideas.

The final source I found was an online discussion given by Richard Culatta from 2018. Here is the link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwKTYHBG5kk Since this source was the most recent I was hopeful that it would share more insight to today than the others. The title was also “Rethinking digital citizenship” so it sounded interesting. In his speech, Richard Culatta, discusses how a lot of educators confuse digital citizenship and online safety. Online safety has to do with appropriate and inappropriate behavior where as digital citizenship has to do with respectful engagement and shaping policy. This resonated with me because this is also how I view digital citizenship. The next thing he discussed was how digital citizenship should be viewed as a list of dos and donts. I also liked this idea because prior to listening to his talk a lot of what I had read about digital citizenship presented a list of donts. The final important point that Culatta made was that context matters meaning if educators only teach digital citizenship in certain contexts we shouldn’t be surprised if student behavior changes outside of those boundaries. One example he gave was the difference between commenting on a blog versus commenting on social media. Respectful engagement won’t happen in both unless we actively teach it in both.

Each of the three sources provided insightful knowledge. In the earlier sources digital citizenship was framed in a different way than we would view it today. I think overtime digital citizenship has evolved and that is apparent when contrasting these sources. So in the first two sources I would say the core of digital citizenship is missing. These sources served more as guides to online safety. The third source covered this idea in more detail. The two earlier sources serve as great guides to online safety and could be useful in certain classroom contexts. I think that it is really important that students know how to be safe online but after a certain point it shouldn’t be the full focus of our digital presence.

Overall, I would say that all three sources contribute something to the discussion of digital citizenship. I think that it is helpful to look back on where we started to better understand where we are today. There was helpful advice presented in all three sources but I think the third source would be the one that I would use the most. I also created an aspects of digital citizenship pdf in order to more fully summarize what I learned.

It is linked here:

6 thoughts on “Exploring Digital Citizenship”

  1. Hi Nina! What a great idea to look at how the definition of digital citizenship has changed over the years. With the rate that technology is changing at, even two years makes a huge difference.
    I agree with your point that it is better not to put a negative spin on “wrong” internet behaviors, but instead to focus on healthy internet behaviors instead.

    You mentioned that the most recent model of digital citizenship that you looked at by Calcutta focused more on the actual aspects of citizenship, and less on online safety. My research mostly pointed in the direction of online safety, so I was interested to learn more about the other aspects from your report.

    1. Hi Liz,

      Thanks for the comment! I’m glad my post wasn’t too confusing. After reading everyone elses’ I wasn’t sure if I did the assignment correctly so that’s for the positive feedback!

  2. Nina,
    I really like this approach to exploring Digital Citizenship! I been considering the idea of Digital Citizenship as a moving target, the idea of Digital Citizenship over time really highlights that. As technology changes so does digital citizenship and technology is never stagnant.

    I enjoyed this, well done!


  3. This is super cool. You not only provided sound discussion (with links!) but the document you created (what did you use to create it?) is an excellent example: you created a useful resource in creating it while at the same time organizing and clarifying your own thinking.

    Over just the past five years I’ve seen a real evolution in the general tone of thinking about digital citizenship in the sense that more teachers are talking about how there must be more to it than just safety/protection. At the same time, the most common models actually being used in classrooms continue to be largely, if not wholly, centered around those traditional (digital citizenship 1.0) ideas. Hopefully Nousionauts will feel differently when they go into their own classrooms!

    Can you elaborate a bit on this: “One example he gave was the difference between commenting on a blog versus commenting on social media. ” — what are some of the differences?

    1. Hi Chris,
      Thanks for the feedback. This is a link to the site I used to create the document: https://www.visme.co/timeline-maker/. I just googled “time line maker” and this came up. It worked well so I would definitely use it again!
      As for your question about the difference between blog commenting and social media commenting I think the main difference is how we view the different sites. I think social media is viewed a bit more informally and a blog is thought of as more academic. So behavior with students changes based off of these different perceptions. I think the difference between emailing and texting is comparable here. In texts people will say things a lot differently than with email. So when people are commenting on blogs they are maybe more polite where as with social media they feel like they can say whatever they want.

      1. ” I think social media is viewed a bit more informally and a blog is thought of as more academic. So behavior with students changes based off of these different perceptions.” — makes sense. It’s funny because I have been in this field long enough to see blogs emerge as the new, informal, anti-academic kids on the block…now they have aged to being almost traditional and social media has taken on that role…

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