What teachers need to learn about professional digital citizenship

The ISTE standards for Educators outline how educators can help model, support and teach digital citizenship for students. They are, as we’d hope, responsible use standards that focus on the things we do want teachers to do with technology. It uses words like “positive, socially responsible contributions”, “establish a learning culture”, “mentor students”, and “model and promote management of identity”. (See the graphic below for the full text of the Educator Standards.)

I am in full agreement that teachers need to be part of educating students about digital citizenship. In many districts it’s been a task turned over to librarians. For a long time libraries were where technology was happening and often the only place students had access to technology. However, in an age of 1:1 one devices, teachers are now in a better position to be able to address issues in the moment, spy out and use those teachable moments to teach students or reinforce digital responsibility, and they are there when the technology is being used. Librarians are still amazing resources for digital citizenship and digital and media literacy instruction. But what if we could take the task of teaching students those skills off the librarians plates and instead have them teach teachers those same skills?

I’ve been searching for a few months to try and find some resources to teach teachers about digital citizenship. I don’t mean how to teach them to teach their students, I’m talking about teaching teachers the things they need to know to keep themselves safe, protect their own digital reputations and become ethical consumers of digital information. I’m not sure its the same as just picking it up by osmosis as they are teaching students. It seems unfair but teachers, like a lot of public figures, are more in the spotlight than many other professions such as an accountant or a scientist. They work with children. There is a higher standard expected of teachers, especially in their interactions with students and parents. It’s not even enough to keep your professional and private lives separate online when everything is so searchable. So, I’d like to find some ways that I can help teachers understand their own professional responsibility when it comes to issues of social media, copyright, account privacy and other issues that could  affect them and their professional reputations.

Let’s take the ISTE for Educator Standards and see what teachers might need to know in order to be able to model and teach the standards and protect their digital reputations:

Standards 3a & 3d

These two standards are about positive relationships online and managing one’s digital footprint. We want teachers using social media. It’s hard to stay relevant and connected without a social media presence anymore, but we do need teachers to know how to keep their presence appropriate and manage their digital reputation. One interesting resource I discovered was Childnet International. Their  Social-Media-Guide-teachers-and-support-staff has some good advice about things like when it’s appropriate or not to “friend” students on social media, setting privacy settings on social media accounts and managing your professional reputation. Their online safety calendar 2017-2018 has links to video and print resources for teachers and checklists to help teachers manage their digital footprint and their social media sites. Their INSET Training also discusses issues of reporting and monitoring student behaviors. There are lots of good resources here that I will spend more time learning about and finding ways to incorporate into training for teachers.

There is also the issue of training teachers to take a closer look at the privacy policies of websites that they ask their students to sign up for. We have a responsibility to watch out for the welfare of our student’s data when they are too young to do it themselves. Becoming more familiar with what to look for in online agreements is essential. The document from the government: Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services: Requirements and Best Practices seems like a good place to start to learn more about protecting students.

Standards 3b & 3c

The areas of being critical consumers of online content and the ethics of intellectual property rights have more in common with good practices for students but it’s incredibly tempting to “borrow” things from the internet for that lesson coming up in 15 minutes. Teachers need good instruction on copyright and fair use. Many districts are also helping teachers understand and define intellectual property rights in regards to teachers creation of content that they want to sell online. We may need some more open conversations with teachers about what belongs to the district and what belongs to teachers.

Training for teachers is beginning to take more shape in my mind. Using these resource I can hopefully get a good start on it anyway.

References

ISTE | Standards For Educators. (2017). Iste.org. Retrieved 20 February 2018, from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-educators

Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services: Requirements and Best Practices. (2014). Washington DC. Retrieved from https://tech.ed.gov/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Student-Privacy-and-Online-Educational-Services-February-2014.pdf

School Pack for Online Safety Awareness. (2017). Childnet. Retrieved 20 February 2018, from http://www.childnet.com/resources/school-pack-for-online-safety-awareness

 

Responsible Use Policies

My original question was “How do we raise awareness in teachers about their roles and responsibilities regarding legal and ethical behavior?”  I still think it’s important but I’m not finding any good resources regarding teaching teachers about digital citizenship as professionals, it’s pretty much all about how to teach their students.

I shifted my focus toward developing Responsible Use Policies because I believe the process of developing a more positive, forward thinking policy will help us change the conversation about digital citizenship and legal and ethical behavior among teachers as well as students. It’s not going to be enough to just tell people what to do. We have to model ongoing conversations about digital citizenship and create cultures in our schools that are supportive enough that we can call each other on inappropriate digital behavior without it feeling like we are accusing or policing.

Responsible Use
This is a simple graphic by Louise Phinney, as part of her Coetail project, that shows the idea behind shifting our students thinking away from “Don’t do this” towards “Here’s what you can do”.

A lot of learning will need to happen in order to create cultures in our schools that support learning environments where we can make and fix mistakes in a safe place. It’s not just our student’s generation that sees the content they find online as free and reusable. Teachers often use content without attribution, I’ve done it myself. The trick, I think, will be finding a balance and making it easier for teachers to access resources when they have questions about privacy policies on websites, fair use and copyright, and have had the chance to wrestle with and talk to their peers about ethical digital issues.   

House Bill 6273, which was recently signed into law in Washington State, requires a broad group of stakeholders (teachers, administrators, parents, and community members) to meet regularly to review digital citizenship policies. Considering how quickly technology changes, it will make our policy more responsive. I’ve heard that WASDA is working on a template for Responsible Use Policies for districts. We should be able to use that but if it isn’t ready we will be able to use the work that Northshore School District has done to develop theirs. The ultimate goal is to shift the focus away from what we don’t want staff and students to do with technology to what we do want them to do with it. It will shift the conversation away from punishment to educating people, which is ultimately our goal. Eventually, I’d like to figure out how to translate these documents into kid friendly language (AUPs​ ​in​ ​kid​ ​Friendly​ ​Language​ ​​http://bostonpublicschools.org/Page/1468  ) as well so that teachers can use them with their younger students to teach them about their digital rights and responsibilities.

Resources

AUPs in kid Friendly Language http://bostonpublicschools.org/Page/1468

Student Centered Acceptable Use Policy https://tech.ed.gov/stories/student-centered-acceptable-use-policy/

House Bill 6273 http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2015-16/Pdf/Bills/Senate%20Passed%20Legislature/6273-S.PL.pdf

Image Credit

https://louisephinney.coetail.com/