I’m way behind on my #edublogsclub posts because, well…summer. So just like the pile of New Yorkers sitting on my coffee table, I’m going to have to skip a few in order to get caught up. Further there were some topics that when I saw them I thought, “Huh, I got nuthin.”
When this topic of digital citizenship hit my inbox, I groaned and then ignored it. How are we supposed to teach students digital citizenship when adults don’t follow many of the rules that we “teach” kids?
In 2011 I had my first negative experience with students and technology when while I was gone students used a thread in the LMS I was using at the time to say incredibly mean things about one another. They were sitting right next to each other and then wrote to each other bad stuff. Discipline ensued. Anti-cyberbullying was taught and we moved on.
The students behavior, while their choice, was also on me. I didn’t teach them what they should and shouldn’t say. I didn’t give examples of appropriate language and phrasing. I just assumed that they would know how to act.
No more. Now I am very explicit with students about appropriate and inappropriate language and place for comments. I did this with my high school students and I do this with my college students. I give them examples of how they should ask for help including specific examples of when an email should be sent or when they should comment in Google Classroom. I give sample comments and make my expectations clear.
I teach what an appropriate email should look like. College students are, in general, terrible at email. After I had emails from students that were incomprehensible, I started explicitly teaching what an email should look like. And then, after I get the first email of the semester that starts with, “Hey…” I reteach.
I no longer assume that just because students can download apps and Snapchat faster than me that they know how to appropriately act in an digital situation.
More importantly, I feel it’s necessary that I act like the digital citizen I’m trying to teach. Students might not see me acting like that, but it’s important to me. Don’t be mean. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say in person.