|5b. Model and facilitate safe, healthy, legal, and ethical uses of digital information and technologies.|
Ten years ago, when I was a librarian, I taught various digital citizenship lessons to my Kindergarten to 6th grade students. At the time we were basically making up our own lessons. Our librarians now have access to all the resources on the Common Sense Media website and routinely use those lessons to ensure all of our students have at least one digital citizenship lesson a year based on their curriculum.
I would argue that one is not enough and that the responsibility for digital citizenship training cannot fall fully on the shoulders of librarians who often only see their students 30 minutes a week. With 1:1 laptop programs and the accessibility of devices in the classroom, including phone use becoming more accepted, the students are actually spending much more time on the internet in the classroom. Teachers have opportunities in the classroom to teach digital citizenship skills in more relevant, authentic and timely ways. They also have built the relationships and community in their classrooms that will allow for ethical discussions around digital respect and dignity, cyber bullying, identity and privacy that may be more difficult to have in the library setting.
There are some things that teachers need to know about their own responsibilities around digital citizenship if they are going to model good behaviors for their students. I wrote about some of the things teachers need to know in my post What Teachers Need to Know About Professional Digital Citizenship. Making sure teachers are careful about not mixing their personal and professional lives and when, and if, they should friend students on social media are good topics for further discussion. We also need to help our teachers understand what to look for in privacy policies on sites they want their students to have access to and educating teachers about COPPA laws will become more important if we are going to keep student data safe.
I also think there is also some value in districts taking a fresh look at their Acceptable Use Policies with the purpose of changing the focus to a Responsible Use Policy. This is not just a shift in language from ‘do not’ to ‘do’ it also requires a shift in thinking to consider what we do want teachers and students to do online and supporting, as much as possible while maintaining a safe environment, the innovative use of technology. In my blog Responsible Use Policies, I looked at a few policies that could be good models to look when we are ready to do that work.