Social structures and a teacher’s ‘job’

This week, I needed to consider my responsibility as an educator to teach/model digital citizenship in schools, and how I should approach it.

The institution where I work, has been established by those in power (white, able bodied, Christian, English-speaking, males) and their values. As a matter of fact, the society that I live and function in, is completely dominated by those values, and it is my job, as an educator, to perpetuate those structures and values everyday- or quietly work to change it.  Many have been ‘fighting’ for reform and transformation- but often fall short of making systemic change, it takes time, and there’s a lot of backlash for those who choose to work against the grain.  It is with  Ken Robinson, one of those people in power that I found an idea of changing education from a linear/fast food approach to an ‘agricultural’ that is more organic, we need to prepare students (through the right conditions) to have them develop their own paths which I think nicely accommodates how we should approach digital citizenship as well.  We need to stop trying to work in a system that tries to make students conform, and instead give them the working tools to make appropriate choices for themselves.

While considering an educational transformation, I came across this article Digital Citizenship in a K-12 world: It takes a village  which brings into view, that it has to be a community undertaking.  It implores the question who belongs to the village that will teach our children about digital citizenship.  Which brings me back to earlier posts written by Rochelle and Jeremy questioning the role of parents in teaching digital citizenship – and how to incorporate them into setting the examples for their children in conjunction with teachers, and everyone else who contributes to children’s learning.  Additionally noted, is that media specialists (read: Librarians), administrators, technology professionals, and even students can make up parts of the village.  How can I work to incorporate all of these members in order to teach digital citizenship?

As I consider myself as a parent, and how far my understanding of digital citizenship has been evolved- I wonder how can we expect parents to be part of the village if they have little to no understanding?  What needs to be done to ensure they have an understanding so they can participate in teaching the ‘village’- and has it become my duty to teach parents along side their children?

In my space, in the Library- it’s imperative that I am working with students and teachers to be teaching Digital Citizenship.  That is the wonder and flexibility of my role in the space that I’m in.  I am involving myself in direct teaching of digital citizenship lessons with students, I am having discussions with teachers when I see them integrating technology for the sake of integrating technology, and how we can better utilize the tools we have to contribute to meaningful and authentic learning for our students.  I’m also fortunate in my role, that I have had the time to interact with the curriculum and find spaces to align curriculum with Digital Citizenship, and through Health, Social Studies, and Language Arts in order to better legitimize the need to teach these skills and take up valuable class time.

In the second article Digital Citizenship – Addressing Appropriate Behaviour the discussions surrounds the ISTE’s (NETS), and Mike Ribble’s 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship and the negative examples that can be set by adults (teachers/parents/etc) through their use of technology.  I have to try and be aware of my digital footprint, as well as my in person interaction with technology around my students.  One way I can work to help enhance parent’s knowledge of Digital Citizenship is to put ‘tips’ in our monthly newsletter, and perhaps ‘dusting off’ my inactive Resource Centre page would be a good way to get parents informed.

So to recap:

Transforming to teach DC

I am turning to this talk by Rita Pierson to summarize how I feel about teaching students using the ‘village’ philosophy.  Students need to be given the tools to find the way to succeed – and they need a village backing them, and EVERY kid needs a champion!

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