“Thomas Paine Plaque (1923), 59 Grove Street, Greenwich Village, New York, New York,” (Flickr) by lumierefl under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs Generic Licence
I had a discussion with a colleague recently about her daughter’s assignment in health. A junior high school student, she had to create a blog using images. My colleague was upset because her daughter grabbed images willy nilly without regard to copyright infringement or citation of sources. Her daughter said, “It doesn’t matter. Only the people at school are going to see it.”
I had an aha moment when I heard this story. Children know that most of the stuff they are asked to do in school really doesn’t matter. I came to realize that we can teach the subject of digital citizenship, but until we live digital citizenship ourselves, nothing much will change. And when it comes to what we do digitally, everything has to matter.
Jason Ohler writes, “The “two lives” perspective contends that our children should live a traditional educational life at school, much like their parents did, and a second, digital life outside school” (2010, p. 9). I do not want my students to live two lives, where in one place things don’t matter, and in the other place things do matter. To this end, I have written a pledge that will help me stay focused on this goal.
I will do my best to provide project based learning opportunities where the audience for the work is bigger than me, the class, the school, or even the community.
I will envision the curriculum as a big picture to be investigated and explored rather than tiny bits that must be covered and checked off.
I will encourage my students to use multiple ways and tools to learn and show what they know.
I will learn with my students, and as issues arise in our work, we will deal with them and discuss them together.
I will be a role model for good digital citizenship.
Ohler, J. (2010). Digital community Digital citizen. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.