The conscientious actions and decisions that develop, create, and improve the positive impacts and relationships left behind in the digital environments and communities one is involved with.

This week we were given many definitions and ideas about what digital citizenship is, what it means to us, and how it relates to us, our workplace, and our digital communities. We were then asked to analyze this information and develop our own personal definition of digital citizenship. At first, I thought this was going to be an extremely simple task considering we all know what digital citizenship is, and we are all very familiar with it, right? Wrong. I think this actually made it a little more difficult as I actually had to dig deeper and look past the definitions that were given to me, to create my own personal, original definition to describe how this term relates to me, my students, and my life. If I had to identify one key thing I took away this week, it would be that we should always be careful when using the term or idea common sense.

Upon first look, I thought sure, digital citizenship is basic common sense- We shouldn’t do anything online that we wouldn’t do or say in a face-to-face setting! However, after a little research I have realized that this common sense is not so common to many. Although it is hard for us to comprehend, some people truly do not have the understanding that the same rules apply when sitting behind a computer screen and keyboard as when we are in personal situations, and the same consequences for particular actions shall also apply. We need to quit assuming that kids, students, and people in general know what digital citizenship is because it is common sense, and this generation is a group of digital natives, and start taking the time to make sure we initiate the conversations and training opportunities to address this topic and help teach this material. We need to quit using technology to our advantage and filtering everything out in attempts to eliminate the possibility of making bad choices, and actually teach the users to know the difference, and encourage positive interactions, good decision making, and high integrity! We also need to make sure these individuals are aware of the digital footprint they leave behind, and the trail that will follow them for years to come.  In my research to develop my own definition of digital citizenship, I found this great definition provided by Heick (2013), “the self-monitored habits that sustain and improve the digital communities you enjoy or depend on”.

I do not think the terms citizenship and digital citizenship can or should be used interchangeably due to the fact that there are so many wrongful assumptions about understandings and knowledge.  With digital technologies and tools becoming more and more prevalent in our worlds, we shouldn’t assume people know how to treat them and respect them. Instead, we should take extra measures to ensure individuals have adequate training and understanding on how to interact, create, and flourish in digital communities safely, and respectfully. Ultimately, the definition I developed through much thought and deliberation is this: The conscientious actions and decisions that develop, create, and improve the positive impacts and relationships left behind in the digital environments and communities one is involved with.

Resources:

Heick, T. (2013, May 2). Definition of digital citizenship. Retrieved from http://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/digital-citizenship-the-future-of-learning/the-definition-of-digital-citzenship/

Some other resources I have found beneficial throughout this week are below:

Curran, M.B.F.X. (2013, November 1). The Tweet Seen Around the World [Web log post]. Retrieved
from http://mbfxc.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/the-tweet-seen-around-the-world/.

Curran, M.B.F.X. (2012). iCitizen: Are You a Socially Responsible Digital Citizen? Paper presented at
the International Society for Technology in Education’s Annual Conference, San Diego, CA.
Retrieved from
http://www.isteconference.org/2012/program/search_results_details.php?sessionid=70224475.

Mattson, K. (2016). Words matter: Why I’m not ready to drop “digital” from the #DigCit conversation. Retrieved from https://drkmattson.wordpress.com/2016/11/01/words-matter-why-im-not-ready-to-drop-digital-from-the-digcit-conversation/

Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools: Nine elements all students should know (3rd ed.). Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education