Digital Citizenship

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Citizenship in the Digital Age

Parents are often urged to talk to their kids about how to be a good digital citizen. But how does that relate to citizenship in general and how do the characteristics of a good citizen parallel — and differ from — those of a good digital citizen? This infographic can help start a discussion with your kids.

Digital Footprint? Try Digital Tattoo, Experts Say

In the past, when introducing the concept of digital citizenship, teachers and parents have talked about the idea of a digital footprint—the “tracks” kids leave behind as they interact on social media and publicize information about themselves online. Experts are now saying the more accurate term to use is  “digital tattoo,” to emphasize the idea that any information they put online is permanent and cannot be undone.

Digital Literacy Ideas for All Ages

Looking for ideas for teaching digital citizenship? Understanding at what age to introduce particular digital citizenship skills is part of the formula for success. For example, for young children who are first being exposed to technology and social media, it is important to teach how the digital world and the real world are connected and to emphasize treating people online just as you would treat them in the real world.  Once those your kids are in middle and high school, it is a good idea to introduce topics such as privacy, ethical dilemmas and what to do about your digital footprint.

Lawmakers Seek Mandatory Media-Literacy Lessons

Students in several states including Washington, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Mexico will be learning more about media literacy in 2018 as lawmakers have passed legislation to take steps to help address false content online. Lawmakers in several states -- including Arizona, Hawaii and New York -- are considering legislation on the matter. A study in 2016 by Stanford University researchers brought the issue into focus. It warned that students from middle school to college were “easily duped” and ill equipped to use reason with online information.

The Use of Artificial Intelligence in Schools is Growing

The presence of artificial intelligence in schools is expected to grow, with some reports predicting 47.5% growth by 2021. Schools already are using the technology in various ways, such as identifying what math students know and then providing tailored assignments. Experts say this should offer teachers deeper insight in how to help struggling students, but this development does not signal that teachers are going to be replaced by machines.

Does Digital Literacy Require Open Social Media?

Teachers and principals are increasingly advocating that schools unblock social media sites in the interest of teaching digital literacy. Derek McCoy, a North Carolina middle-school principal, says restrictions should be lifted despite risks because people learn from mistakes and "cannot be governed by fear." Many educators feel that learning how to behave online responsibly and safely, a concept known as digital citizenship, requires access to social media tools in schools.

If you are wondering how pervasive the blocking of social media is in schools, you should know that currently in New York City, if an educator wants to use YouTube or other blocked sites in the classroom, they have to fill out a form, get approval from the principal, and send the request to the city’s Department of Education. The process may seem arduous but actually is rather lax when compared to other districts, where the entire district must agree to block or unblock a website across all its schools.

Do you know how social sites are handled at your school? If sites are unblocked there is a danger of more cyberbullying and other bad actions by students. However, many educators would like to be more in control of when social media can used. As many teachers point out, students use these sites freely at home and in other settings, and the only way they are going to learn to use them responsibly is to use them.

Kids and Social Media Contracts

The Children’s Commissioner for England and an English law firm have teamed together to release guides, sorted by age group, for the lengthy and jargon-filled terms and conditions of social media sites. The Commissioner has criticized Instagram for its 17-page, 5,000-word terms and conditions. While some critics have replied that there are reasons that the term sheets are quite long, as very difficult concepts have to be explained, most people would still like to have those terms explained in everyday language rather than legalese especially when trying to explain these terms to their children. While the terms of use on many social media sites are different in England than the US, parents may find these guides useful for their overall discussion about the need to read and understand these terms when signing up for a new service and knowing what a person’s rights – young or old -are under these contracts.

Bill Proposed to End Anonymity for Political Social Ads

New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky has proposed a bill that would mandate any political ads shown on Facebook or other social sites to name the person or organization that purchased them. "Not another political ad should run on social media without voters knowing exactly who paid for it," he says. This follows the release Facebook made to congressional investigators of over 3,000 ads bought by a Russian entity to interfere in U.S. politics and the 2016 presidential election. Twitter has pledged to follow suit. The revelation about the source of those ads, and the lack of transparency in who posts them, certainly adds another issue to cover for parents in any discussion of digital literacy.

The Hurricane Harvey Book Club

Second Grade teacher Kathryn Mills started a Facebook book club to encourage students who were unable to attend school during Hurricane Harvey to post videos about the books they were reading. The Hurricane Harvey Book Club started with 70 members and has grown to more than 72,000 followers. It is a great example of how digital book reports can be done.

 

Class Notes: Paper vs. Digital

Paper may trump digital when preparing for exams, according to a report from the Paper and Packaging Board. Data shows that 70% of junior- and high-school students use handwritten class notes to prepare for tests, while 81% of college students still use paper notes to prepare. Not to be outdone, the National Pen Company has also put together an infographic that highlights the pros of putting pen to paper. Some of the benefits they mention include having better recall of the information jotted down, making you think about the concepts discussed more deeply, and helping you process the information presented.

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