Digital Citizenship

As I have been exploring the many digital tools and resources being introduced through this course I began to become enthused about the possibilities for use in the classroom.  Social bookmarking, for creating schoolwide, collaborative resource banks; blogs for classroom, school, student and teacher interaction; googledocs for collaborative creating.  I began working with my departmental laptop.  So much of the social and participation sites were blocked.  I couldn’t access facebook or set up a yahoo account using my school laptop.  Couldn’t access googledocs.  I’m sure there was more.  I know I can contact someone to have these sites unblocked and I am sure there valid reasons for blocking those sites.  But I am noticing that the immediate reaction to the potential difficulties with many of the sites has been a blanket ban on them.  Yet our job is education.  The overriding message through all of my reading on transliteracy and digital citizenship has been that education is the key.  The fact is that our students are going to grow up in a digital world and they need to learn the skills to participate responsibly in that world.  As educators it is our job to teach them those skills and develop those values. 

This video by fosi makes an important point (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=e0I13tKrxcA).  Teaching students about digital literacy is not just about safety.  If it was just safety, then perhaps a ban is an acceptable answer.  It is about empowering them to participate in the digital world.  Through bans on these tools, students are disadvantaged.  Let’s embrace the tools and use them to empower students to become lifelong learners and full participants in the world around them.

P.S. Now I am using my own laptop I feel free and empowered!  Free!!!