The case for digital citizenship education - Education Matters Magazine
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The case for digital citizenship education

With digital and online technologies becoming more and more popular for the classroom, Jacaranda explains why students and teachers should arm themselves with the skills and knowledge to successfully navigate the digital citizenship maze.

Technology enables a wonderful interchange of ideas and thoughts, provides rich learning opportunities, engages students and can streamline teachers’ workloads. Although it offers all these amazing things, it has also created a whole new world of unique considerations.

Here, we look at the top four reasons why students and teachers require Digital Citizenship Education.

Reason 1: Meet community expectations
As is so often seen in the media, when a student makes a serious misstep on social platforms, the school also finds itself in the spotlight. All schools are charged with developing students’ ICT capability in the Australian Curriculum – and that includes teaching them to be safe and responsible online. While parents ideally play a vital role in supervising their children’s online activities, in many families parents are less digitally skilled than their teenage children. Therefore, the leadership role of schools in educating students and parents is paramount. By empowering teachers and students with formal education, schools are meeting a ‘duty of care’ and can use that expertise to build a positive, informed culture around online behaviour.

Reason 2: Digital footprints do not wash away
On average, Australian children aged 10 to 14 years have two active social media accounts and spend 23 hours online per week outside of school. Although teachers can’t be expected to supervise this activity, they are well-positioned to help students understand that everything they do online has an impact; sometimes an irretrievable one. With social media, the content students post about themselves or others can be shared, used or altered without their permission, and can very quickly escalate out of their control. Understanding concepts such as ‘digital footprint’ and ‘digital reputation’ and being able to explain these to students is vital, because any damage to a young person’s reputation can last for years online – for example, when a potential employer searches their name during background checks. The topic of sexting and the legal issues around it also requires essential guidance.

Reason 3: Help counter cyberbullying
It is reported that 1 in 10 kids are bullied online and feel constantly anxious as a result. This anxiety stems from the fact that they know they can be targeted anywhere – even in the safety of their home. The reality is, in most instances, students won’t want to talk to an adult if they are experiencing cyberbullying, and without proper education rarely possess the skills to manage these threats. Students aren’t the only ones affected by cyberbullying, teachers are also found manning the frontline when it comes to these issues. Teachers are tasked with detecting bullying and helping schools meet their student welfare obligations. Professional learning assists teachers to guide students towards safe and responsible technology use, and to successfully communicate what constitutes cyberbullying.

Reason 4: The business end
This is the stuff that doesn’t make the news but is essential for teachers and students to know. When conducting so much of our lives on the net, it would be crazy not to understand who owns what online, how to protect our personal and student data, and how to manage our privacy settings. What’s more, teachers and students alike need to understand the correct and legal use of internet content for research.

How Jacaranda can help
The good news is if your school needs help with digital citizenship education, Jacaranda has two Digital Citizenship courses: one for students, Jacaranda Digital Citizenship powered by Cyberpass; and one for teachers and parents, Jacaranda Digital Citizenship Professional Development for teachers. Both courses are approved by the Australian Children’s eSafety Commissioner and are tailored to meet the unique knowledge and skill requirements of teachers and students. Overall, the courses educate users on what it means to be responsible and safe online, while also arming teachers with the language and expertise to be able to discuss these issues further with students.

Buyer’s Guide
Jacaranda Digital Citizenship course for students
Jacaranda Digital Citizenship course for teachers