Digital Citizenship and Social Media Workshop:

Citizenship and Media in the Classroom and Life

MICDS Summer Teacher Institute 2009

Morning Session

Presentation Slides

Digital Citizenship and Social Media

In their book Digital Citizenship in Schools, Gerald Bailey and Mike Ribble address the issue of living in a digital society:
  • Today, billions of people all over the planet interact using various technologies. This interaction has created a digital society that affords its members opportunities for education, employment, entertainment, and social interaction. As in any society, it is expected that digital citizens act in a certain way—according to accepted norms, rules, and laws. Most of today’s students are entirely comfortable with technology, but are they using it appropriately? Do they understand their roles and responsibilities in digital society? How can teachers help students become responsible digital citizens?

Digital citizenship can be described as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use. Social media is online content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. To foster responsible use in the hyper-connected world, schools must partner with parents and students.

Keys to Establishing a Successful Program

  • Understand Today's Student
  • Maintain Perspective
  • Embrace Social Technology
  • Develop a Framework
  • Reflect and Revise

Understand Today's Student

Students today are different from the previous generation; they learn and socialize in ways we often do not understand. In his ASCD article "Turning on the Lights", Marc Prensky notes, "Compared with students' technology-infused lives outside of school, the traditional classroom is a somber place." Educators (and parents) must come to understand students' digital lives so they can help them meet the challenges of living in a digital world.

A Vision of K-12 Students Today

Maintain Perspective

The generation gap that exists today is rooted in events that occurred long before the advent of technology:
  • Late 19th century industrialization and urbanization led to a new pattern for relations between “teens” and their parents
  • Emergence of the comprehensive public high school in the early 20th century
  • The long-term effects of the G.I. Bill and Post-World War II affluence on teen/adult relations
  • Invention of the “Teen-ager”
  • Development of a broad-based “youth culture”

The affect of computers and cell phones on youth today is not unlike the impact that television and video games had in the past. Schools must embrace technology as a cultural driver and establish mechanisms for teaching students to use technology appropriately/responsibly.

Embrace Social Media

Social Media in Plain English

There is mounting evidence that time spent online does not damage the brain but rather can have positive affects on teen development. The MacArthur Foundation study, Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project, concluded that "spending time online is essential for young people to pick up the social and technical skills they need to be competent citizens in the digital age.”

There are marked differences between how teens and adults use social media. The Pew Internet and American Life Project studyfinds that youth and adults use the sites primarily for maintenance of offline social relationships and that younger users are more acutely concerned about their privacy on online social networks.

Social media can allow students to develop learning networks; consider how this young man leveraged the power of the network:

Social media tools/social networks begin with our youngest learners. Although they offer a more secure environment, adults must still provide supervision and guidance:

Preschool and Elementary Social Networks

Teen and Adult Social Networks

Facebook 101
Of the many social networks for teens and adults, Facebook deserves special attention. This short presentation, "Facebook 101", will you a quick overview of Facebook as it relates to students and parents:

Digital Footprints
When using social sites, students (and adults) need to consider their profile and digital footprint. Will Richardson's article, Footprints in the Digital Age, offers insight and suggestions for helping kids make sure that they will be "well Googled" as adults.

Developing a Framework

There are many resources/models for establishing a Digital Citizenship program. Our Middle School followed the nine elements of digital citizenship developed by Bailey and Ribble:

Student Learning and Academic Performance
1. Digital Access: full electronic participation in society
2. Digital Literacy: the process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology
3. Digital Communication: electronic exchange of information

School Environment and Student Behavior
4. Digital Security and Safety: electronic precautions to guarantee safety/physical well-being in a digital technology world
5. Digital Etiquette: electronic standards of conduct or procedure
6. Digital Rights and Responsibilities: those freedoms extended to everyone in a digital world

Student Life Outside the School Environment
7. Digital Commerce: electronic buying and selling of goods
8. Digital Health and Wellness: physical and psychological well-being
9. Digital Law: rights and restrictions

Our Year 1 pilot program, which contained lessons for seven of the nine themes, is available here.

Additional Models/Resources
Digital Citizenship Education

Note: SimpleK12 has assembled an extensive list of internet safety resources that would benefit anyone seeking to develop their own program.

Reflect and Revise

No program, whether turn-key or self-made, will be without problems. The key is to get feedback from all the stakeholders--students-teachers-parents--and revise when/where necessary.

Afternoon Session

Panel Discussion

Using Skype, participants will have an opportunity for a panel discussion/Q & A session with several educators outside the MICDS community. To start the conversations, each panelists will briefly address these questions:

  1. Introduction
  2. Overview of approach to digital citizenship and social media at his/her school.
  3. Strengths and struggles with addressing citizenship and media; what works, what doesn't.
  4. Participant Q and A

Skype Recording Archive:

Program Development

Time will be provided for working with colleagues to address the facets of digital citizenship and social media as they pertain to one's classroom, grade level, school, district, etc.

Results from those conversations will appear below: