Digital Citizenship

Week 1:

This week I am focusing on what Digital Citizenship actually means. This is a growing concern in schools as students have access to more and more technology. I think the Nine Elements is a great explanation as to the acceptable norms. This past week has particularly highlighted the importance of teaching proper technology use.

Technology has given us access to a wealth of resources. However, as Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben said, “with great power comes great responsibility”. It seems that responsible use often seems to be assumed in today’s technology age.

This month Pokemon Go was released and it quickly reached 15 million downloads (Molina, 2016). The idea behind the game is that users participate in an augmented reality to catch Pokemon. The game that requires walking in order to progress. The idea behind the game was to get players active, outside and collabortaing (Centofanti, 2016); however, for many users, it has proven to be quite a dangerous game. In the Netherlands, people are wandering onto railroad tracks in order to search for the elusive Pokemon. In Pennsylvania, a 15-year old girl was hit by a car while playing. Now I’m not saying that this app is bad–two players helped capture a murder suspect. Actually, I think it’s a fantastic way to encourage many people who would typically lead a more sedentary lifestyle playing video games to get out and get moving! But it goes back to the responsibility of the user and understanding when it is appropriate to use technology.

If we use Mike Ribble’s definition of digital citizenship and “appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use”, I think it would be safe to say that Pokemon Go has some digital foreigners. Many of these users are not using technology in a safe, responsible way; and worse, many of them are unaware of the dangers. When downloading the app, users must grant the app full permission to their Google account. This includes photos, documents, etc.; it is an issue that will soon be fixed but millions of people allowed an app access to private information in order to catch Pikachu without a second thought.

While extreme cases, I think these events highlight the deficit in the education of what many would consider digital natives in regards to digital citizenship. We are a digital culture and it is important to educate users on how to be a responsible digital citizen. To me, this should be done both in the educational setting and at home. These are no longer separate entities when it comes to technology (Ohler, 2012).  Our students and children are immersed in technology-rich environments most everywhere they go. It is our job to provide the necessary education, as teachers and as parents, to help our children succeed in being users that “think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in our digital world” (Common Sense Media, 2016). This will allow them to become responsible adults in a global, digital world.

References

Week 2:

After Google-ing myself this week and reflecting on my digital footprint it got me thinking. How much privacy do we really have? And do we really care? After reading a bit more, I think privacy on the Internet does not truly exist unless extreme measures are taken.

Social media is perhaps the number one culprit when it comes to privacy invasion. We tell ourselves that as long as our privacy settings are set “correctly” on Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, etc., that we are controlling who sees our information. Yet that is profoundly untrue. You cannot control whom your friends allow on to their social media accounts. You cannot control whom screenshots one of your posts or pictures and shares it out. While I obviously had thought about this before, this YouTube clip did a good job of reiterating this point and hammering it home. This also does not even address those pictures that were taken but never posted by you. Maybe your friend thinks it’s funny or an ex wants to get back at you. You have no control about the information being posted.

Even for those who do not post items to social media, privacy can still be an issue. Back in 2014, several celebrities were hacked and nude pictures were released. These individuals had every right to think that these pictures on their phone were safe as long as no one got a hold of their phone; however, being connected to the internet allowed for a hacker to gain entry into their private information.

Other culprits that have access to our “private” information are these apps and add-ons that need permission to continue forward. They want your public profile and friends list on Facebook or they want access to your Google account. Most people don’t even look at these anymore as seen with the use of Pokemon Go. This app requested full access to your Google account and most people didn’t even bat an eye! This meant that people at Niantic Labs had access to documents, pictures, emails, etc., all so you could catch Pikachu! This is an issue that is going to be fixed but there was no outrage by users…just calm acceptance that this was normal. That it was okay to grant permission to access your account.

When we talk about digital citizenship at my middle school and it’s brought up that the ads on Amazon, Facebook, etc seem to personalize themselves for you, it’s like a lightbulb goes off for kids. “How does it know?”, they ask. They do not realize that every search is dropping little breadcrumbs for corporations to track your movements. For now, they think it’s cool, but we talk about the issues that this could create later on. Where is the line drawn about the expectation of privacy?

With all of these factors, I think it’s very important to have discussions with our students and our children about the realities of privacy on the Internet. The reality that just because you don’t want something to get posted doesn’t mean that it won’t. And in this day and age, this can have big consequences as you move into college and/or the workforce. People do Google you. What will they find?

Week 3:

This week we focused on Copyright Law and the implications it has in the classroom. In all honesty, it became a bit overwhelming. There are a plethora of rules and laws that monitor and regulate intellectual property. I believe that there needs to be a clearer focus in schools to teach the rules of copyright and how to properly cite materials.

With all of the legal jargon that comes along with laws, I find it important to have the information in a easy-to-understand, laypersons manner. In looking for resources, I came across Copyright Crash Course which I felt to be particularly helpful when addressing ownership of intellectual property. But this doesn’t necessarily cover all of the rules when you are an educator. The TEACH act allows for teachers to have some flexibility when it comes to fair use. Essentially, it allows for teachers to use copyrighted materials for educational purposes in a brick and mortar location. To me, this will soon be outdated as many courses and schools are now completed online. I wonder how this will effect copyright law in this particular area?

Fair use was another topic covered under Copyright this week. It seems to be a very grey/flexible area when it comes to concrete understandings. It is vague enough that there is an actual Fair Use Evaluator tool to help determine whether or not one is appropriately using copyrighted material.

With all of that said, I think it’s important to realize that Copyright Law is confusing. It’s confusing to teachers and students alike. Knowing that, there need to be support systems in place to help teachers educate their students on copyright and how to properly cite sources. While Media Specialists are a wonderful resource, the teacher cannot always depend on him or her in order to work with students. I really liked how one of my colleagues, Rhoda, mentioned that she had her students publish their work. I think when students are given ownership of their own intellectual property it may make them more aware of not plagiarizing others work either.

My goal from all of this is to work with my media specialist to try and come up with some sort of online handbook through our LMS to help teachers have a quick resources regarding copyright. Hopefully, this will help them be able to teach it in a clearer way.

References:

Harper, G. K. (2007). Copyright Crash Course. Retrieved July 31, 2016, from http://copyright.lib.utexas.edu/

The TEACH Act | University of Minnesota Libraries · University of Minnesota Libraries. (n.d.). Retrieved July 31, 2016, from https://www.lib.umn.edu/copyright/teach-act

Week 4:

This week we have focused on Cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is defined as “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices” (Hinduja & Patchin, 2015). In a society where most people have access to some form of social media via their cell phone, cyberbullying has reached a new level. The ability to remain anonymous and say things that one would never have the courage to say face-to-face has led to the feeling of being able to say whatever one wants. Because of this, cyberbullying is becoming a major issue for both adults and children alike

To me, one of the most pertinent and current cyberbullying examples is found in the presidential campaigns. Supporters for Bernie, Hillary and Trump can all be found on social media berating and insulting the opposing parties. When did this become the way to support your candidate? I saw the same type of behavior in 2012 and unfriended or unfollowed many people on Facebook. I think Hillary has been hit harder than many candidates due to her husband’s previous infidelity. She has noted that she thinks Trump will use this against her during the campaign and she tries not to take it personally. However, this seems like a shameful way to try and when the Presidency of our great country.

Politics aside, cyberbullying is seen on all forms of social media and internet. Teenagers are the most common victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying. This is a scary fact to me. The group most vulnerable is the group that is participating the most. One, teenagers’ brains are not fully developed and therefore, their decision making is not always rationale. Bullies don’t’ necessarily understand the repercussions of their actions while those being bullied have a difficult time processing and dealing with the harassment. This leads to depression, loss of desire to participate in activities one used to enjoy, lack of sleep or appetite and even suicide.

With all of the information out there on the effects of cyberbullying, what can be done? A lot of cyberbullying is done outside of school but is continued within those 4 walls. What is the responsibility of the school? What is the responsibility of the parents? There is definitely a grey area surrounding who is responsible. So how do we teach kids about the dangers of cyberbullying? Throughout my discussion with colleagues this week, it seems like a camp or program to teach kids about the effects of cyberbullying would, perhaps, have the most impact. The goal would be not to simply focus on the victims, but also to focus on those who offended in order to help the bullies understand the consequences of their actions. I hope to incorporate this debate into my 7th and 8th grade iPad bootcamp in the coming weeks in order to bring light to cyberbullying as well as the ramifications.

References:

Cavanaugh, M. A. (n.d.). Cyberbullying Can Have Deadly Consequences. Retrieved August 07, 2016, from http://aspeneducation.crchealth.com/article-cyberbulling-consequences/

Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2015). Bullying beyond the schoolyard: Preventing and responding to cyperbullying. (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Merica, D. (2016, April 22). Clinton’s advice on cyberbullying: ‘Don’t take it personally’ Retrieved August 07, 2016, from http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/22/politics/hillary-clinton-cyberbullying-internet/

Should Schools Protect Kids from Cyberbullying? [PDF]. (2016). Advancing Academic Langauge for All. Retrieved from http://aala.serpmedia.org/files/6513/6537/5304/3.16_aala_r.pdf

Talukder, G. (2013, March 20). Decision-making is Still a Work in Progress for Teenagers. Retrieved August 07, 2016, from http://brainconnection.brainhq.com/2013/03/20/decision-making-is-still-a-work-in-progress-for-teenagers/

Week 5:

Over the past five weeks I have been learning about different aspects of digital citizenship. Overall, I feel like I grew in my depth of knowledge regarding digital citizenship. I was already familiar with Ribble’s Nine Elements but enjoyed diving deeper into the topics.

One of my weakest aspects in regards to digital citizenship was, and still remains, Copyright laws. But I leave this course with a better understanding of the laws and fair use regulations, which are important and helpful to take back to my faculty.

My biggest challenge in this course was finding time to complete all of the readings. I found all of the resources to be relevant so I felt it was important to find the time to read or watch and reflect on all of the main and supplemental resources. This has been a challenge for me throughout all of my courses as I have a limited amount of time to allot to my school.

I feel like my best work was my final presentation. I think I created a product that is applicable to my students and focuses on the issues that my students face more often. I created it the first week (officially) back to school when I was working on creating the iPad Bootcamp for students. In creating this presentation it helped me to focus a bit more on how we need to support our students in their digital citizenship growth. While all nine elements are important, there are some particular ones that I have learned need a closer focus at the middle school level.

The discussions really helped to connect my personal life to my learning. I am trying to be more cognizant of what I post to my social media accounts and in creating a positive digital footprint. I also am more aware of the legality (or illegality) of some streaming TV websites that I previously used. As a parent, I am even more aware of the importance of maintaining privacy on social media accounts. I will use all of these lessons as I move forward. Perhaps one of the most useful things I’ve learned in this course is to not only check to see what my digital footprint looks like on a consistent basis, but also to make sure to consistently publish items (via my blog) in order to continue building a positive footprint.

As I continue to grow as an educational leader, I hope to be a more purposeful model regarding positive digital citizenship. My biggest goal is to make sure that all of my sources are properly cited. This has been an area that I’ve lacked in in the past and, now that I am more aware, I want to help model proper citation for my teachers and students. By modeling for teachers, I hope it will impact my students as well.

The past five weeks have had a different format than previous courses. I really liked the clarity of the assignments and the case studies. This allowed for relevant comprehension of the information and provided me with examples (case studies) that I could use in Professional Development with my faculty. I liked that the writing consisted of just a few paragraphs rather than full papers as well. This allowed me to chunk my work time in an easier fashion by completing one part of the week’s assignment as I had time instead of starting and stopping throughout a large assignment.

As new students begin this course I would suggest keeping a notebook of relevant sources and notes to use for the culminating project. I did not do this and now have to go back and reread many of the articles in order to find the ones that I want to use in my reflective essay.

I don’t really think that there is one particular activity that I would change. I felt all were pertinent to the subject matter; however, if I had to pick one, I think it would be the quizzes. I don’t feel like I learned as much from the quizzes as with other activities. I would not offer the quizzes in later courses.

Overall, I would tell my friends that this was a great course to take in order to better understand digital citizenship. The case studies were great ways to take scenarios and think about the actions and consequences. I would encourage my friends to take this course in order to better understand how their digital actions can have major impacts. I think this is often overlooked or misunderstood by some non-digital natives.

References:

Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools: Nine elements all students should  know (3rd ed.). Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education

A Look at Digital Citizenship