LT Thought of the Week: Global Digital Citizen —The Role of the Teacher

In recent years, we’ve seen an increasing focus on the concept of digital citizenship. As many of our life experiences are now shaped by our relationship with others online – and the fact that the online world is one that transcends traditional geo-political boundaries – it’s wise to really give this concept due credit and understand where we fit in as teachers.
This week’s LT thought comes courtesy of Andrew Churches who describes the digital citizen as follows:

They are respectful and protective of themselves and other people as well as intellectual property. They are proactive and intolerant of abuse, standing up for the rights of freedom of expression and communication while condemning excesses and bullying. They communicate fluently in different mediums and operate in a world without borders or censors. They understand and celebrate the cultural differences and subtleties that flavour the diverse world they live. It is a world potentially without restrictions except for the moral and ethical values that underpin their immersion, shape their interactions, and guide their decisions.

What these kinds of descriptions and discussions often point out is the central idea that this kind of citizenship isn’t really about technology per se – it’s about navigating the world in which we live through ethical and moral principles that embody the best qualities of humanity. I also think that being a global citizen is about really trying to understand the kind of connectedness that the internet offers and making the most of that connectedness to better ourselves and others around us.
So what role does the teacher play? Churches suggests several areas where we can play our part in guiding students towards becoming effective digital citizens: (1) mentoring; (2) monitoring; (3) mediating; (4) teaching skills and knowledge beyond the subject; and (5) by being skilful practitioners. The article explains each of these areas and offers some insights on how teachers can work with them.
At the end of the day, I would suggest that we’re all global, digital citizens regardless of how we interact online or use technology.


About Michael

Cellist, singer/songwriter, school teacher, nerd, recent scooter enthusiast and failed philosopher.
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