Some assume all children today are digital natives — automatically able to learn and use new technology. Mary Beth Hertz, a K-8 technology teacher in Philadelphia, thinks this is problematic.
It’s one thing to use a tablet computer and its apps to learn basic literacy skills; but learning to create, read critically, use online content responsibly and be a respectful digital citizen are not always skills that can be learned without the guidance of a teacher of some kind.
She says that, instead, we should treat students as digital citizens.
Being a digital citizen is complex. These days, digital citizenship encompasses everything we do in every aspect of our lives. With students maintaining personal blogs, creating their own YouTube channels and engaging in online gaming, learning, creation and you-name-it communities, it is imperative that they know and understand their rights and responsibilities when it comes to content creation and consumption, as well as how they conduct themselves socially online.
Do you teach digital citizenship? If you’re looking to get started, Common Sense Media offers a free Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum and other resources for educators.