I took part in my third #cdndedchat last night. The topic was digital citizenship and ideas/themes surrounding it. It occurred to me as I read other people’s thoughts (tweets) there are a lot of forward thinking and devoted educators out there hoping to improve the future prospects of our students. Many of the comments were offering information, file sharing, ideas, website links – more than just theory, but tangible ideas to put into practice immediately.
I had little to offer in way of substantive plans. Such is my life, I seem to have great ideas, respond well to others, but haven’t the means to act on them. It did however really get me thinking about how easy it is to (try to) “hide” online. Students may not be aware of the permanence of the things they put online. Students can try to hide online by bullying or creating fake or anonymous social media accounts. It’s easier to say things online than in person. Digital citizenship doesn’t have to be so very different from “regular” citizenship.
What we value in real life should extend into virtual life. Truth, honesty, caring, sharing, commitment and community. I wouldn’t want to associate with people that struggle with real life values I hold important. Students need to follow through on these same ideals and principles in their virtual lives. What we say can follow us. Maybe it will haunt us. But it shouldn’t. We need to educate ourselves and our students about what it means to be a responsible person. Live. Online. We all make mistakes, but this generation may not be able to move on from them. Mistakes will survive. We need to make sure our students are cognizant of what they say, or how to improve/fix their reputation when mistakes are made. (no one is perfect and shouldn’t have to spend the rest of his/her life trying to overcome some mistakes)
We are attached to what we print. Make it good! Make it meaningful! Make is responsible! Be a good citizen – both real and digital.