For this week’s post, we were asked to discuss the topic of technology in regards to the generational, societal, and cultural changes that may lie ahead. In today’s digital world, there is no doubt that technology plays a significant role. As technology continues to adapt to the needs of modern society, its advancements lead to somewhat of a dependency towards technology. Specifically, a person’s day to day activities most likely involve technology in one way or another. Whether it’s paying bills online, participating in open education, or simply communicating with friends and family through social networking, technology is present.
As previously discussed in my post last week, David White’s idea of Digital Residents and Digital Visitors resonated with me. A person’s activity online and the practices they develop may determine where they stand on the continuum, but it does not necessarily establish whether or not they have mastered digital wisdom. Although generational factors might depict one’s natural fluency towards operating technology, digital citizenship involves specific skill sets which are not automatically rooted into our brains, they need to be taught.
As we prepare today’s modern students to be successful digital citizens both online and offline, there are many factors which need to be considered. First and foremost, we must remember that education begins in the home. Therefore, how parents utilize technology drastically influences their children. Parents that allow or are aware that their children have access to technology should most definitely spend time educating their children about the potential dangers that exist online. In the article “Sound, Smart, and Safe: A Plea for Teaching Good Digital Hygiene”, Alissa Sklar explains how “Digital hygiene teaches so much more than just safe, responsible use of digital tools”. Specifically, digital hygiene is instilled by parents who are aware of the “innumerable ways technology has infiltrated every aspect of our kids’ lives”. Therefore, in partnership with teachers, it is essential that parents also model critical thinking skills for their children as it will encourage them to think critically both online and offline.
In the video “What does it mean to be a (digital) citizen”, created by my colleague Kyla Moffatt, she states “It is the responsibility of both parents and teachers to educate young minds and shape digital citizens”. Well Kyla, I could not agree with you more! Teachers recognize the importance of digital citizenship as we make strong efforts to include the use of technology into our daily teaching practices. However, with no fault of their own, some parents lack the knowledge and information for teaching digital citizenship, therefore they struggle to teach their children these skills. Therefore, parents who wish to be informative about this topic are encouraged to seek assistance from their child/children’s teacher(s). Parents may inquire about the many resources available that can assist them with educating their children about digital citizenship. As Kyla states, “We are all in this together”!
In order for today’s youth to be raised as positive digital citizens, there is much that society and schools can do to encourage online responsibility. The first step is acknowledging the potential risks that results with the inappropriate use of technology. The second step is recognizing that technology plays a major role in the way we learn, communicate and gain information. Kelsie accurately explains in her blog that “Schools need to change their pedagogical focus from a one-size-fits-all approach of students sitting in desks in a classroom at a specific time on a specific day to one that meets the needs of individual learners where they are”. Schools need to embrace technology and realize the advantages it provides education and to individual learners. As a society, there is much we can do for our youth. As Dani states, “Knowledge is truly power” and together, we can educate our students about the importance of digital citizenship and hopefully witness our students be successful both online and offline.