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The Importance of Digital Citizenship

Discuss about the Implementation of Digital Citizenship Curriculum.

Digital citizenship  are the norms of behavior with regard to technology use.There are nine areas of behavior that digital comprises of digital citizenship. The areas are;

  • Etiquette: this is the standard of conduct or procedure expected.
  • Communication: This is the electronic use of information.
  • Education: The is the process of learning and using of technology.
  • Access:  this is the extent of societal participation.
  • Commerce: this is buying and selling of goods electronically.
  • Responsibility: the users responsibility for deeds and actions.
  • Rights: These are the rights of everyone in the digital world.
  • Safety: Physical well being of the digital world.
  • Security:  these are precautions that guarantee safety digital citizenship.

Australian population studies on the use of the Internet by school children in recent years clearly show that rapid mastery the growing generation of the Internet is associated with a lack of awareness about both the risks and threats of the digital world, and the opportunities for coping with them (Webster,2018). At the same time, the digital gap between adolescents and adults (parents and teachers) is declining very slowly, which does not allow the fullest help to the older generation, and the younger one - to accept the help of parents and teachers. According to qualitative research , the causes of problems related to the Internet vary significantly, depending on the age and content of the activity, the level of knowledge, skills and skills, the degree of responsibility and the attitude to the Internet (Voogt, Knezek & Roblin, 2015). On the issues of ensuring the safety of adolescents in the Network, Australia is significantly "behind" the countries of Western Europe, where educational and socio-psychological programs aimed at increasing Internet literacy and risk reduction have long and successfully functioned( Lim, Tan, Nizam, Zhou & Tan 2016)..

The most stringent criterion of "impact," which determines the success of the socio-psychological program, involves two points. On the one hand, empirical identification of factors contributing to increasing literacy in the digital world. On the other hand, the widest possible conduct of population studies taking into account the Australian reality. Applicability of the basic concept in practice,  i.e. its clarity and acceptance both from the side of society and from the side of the education system (Alexander, Cummins & Giesinger, 2017). In addition, the construct should allow not only the possibility of screening evaluation, but also a deeper analysis of its structure for the correct designation of the goals of socio-psychological interventions.

The world is being changed by ICT and social networks.  The children are able to get a lot of knowledge from the world by being digital citizens. This is because communication is constant and instantaneous (Al-Zahrani,2015)..  Learning has become more accessible to anyone with a connection. The days of where a teacher needed a chalk and a blackboard to teach are over in this information age.  The current Australian educational system focuses on memorization of information which is now available and can be accessed any time from the internet. This has allowed the students to be more innovative, creative and use more of critical thinking.

Challenges Faced by Australian Schools in ICT Integration

This is a good thing because the economic, social, ecological and political problems facing the coming generations need creative and innovative thinkers. The students are also able to question everything.  Thus, facilitating a curriculum that focuses on digital aspect is great. We have seen companies such as Google in the recent past launching a Digital literacy and citizenship curriculum (Jones & Mitchell, 2016)..  Most schools in Australia have supported the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) initiative which seeks to show how the digital citizenship has been welcomed. The digital citizenship program is collaborative which ensures that studenst, teachers and parents contribute in the learning and development of an individual. This has encouraged communication between the various stakeholders in the education sector.  The use of papers has also reduced in schools because most learning institutions use apps in teaching.  There has been a reduction of bullying cases or other internet related issues after the rollout of digital citizenship program.

It has been observed that that there has been an increase in sedentary behaviors among students aged 5-18 Years.  Digital citizenship has contributed to this trend as most students spend their after school time either on their computers or watching TVs.  Emerging evidence shows that this students are at risk of developing health complications. There has been an increase in adiposity, poor self esteem, poor academic achievement and decreased fitness among the students in this age bracket.

Thanks to advances in technology, Australian schools have also benefited from new systems, devices, programs, services and others, which promise to be the solution to learning problems, offering products that will allow an experiential, perhaps immersive, learning the students (Searson, Hancock, Soheil, & Shepherd, 2015).. This fact, added to the discourse of the "digital natives" has been a "business boom" for many companies and experts in innovation, as well as for schools that have entered into serious competition to acquire more software and equipment to maintain them. always on the vanguard. Being a modern school, on the way to digital transformation, is no longer an option: it became a duty.

Well, there is also the other side of the coin, those schools that have closed the doors to digital technology, denying to a large extent what technology can offer to improve the learning levels of their students, based on proposals and projects that they have maintained over the years.

Be our school on one side or the other, or somewhere in between; It is real that today's students spend most of their time connected to the Internet. Studies like the one made by Common Sense Education in 2015 show that children from 8 to 12 years old spend 6 hours a day in front of the screen of some electronic device and adolescents, from 13 to 18 years old, spend 9 hours a day, on average. Half of these times, connected to the Internet (Saito & Aragaki,2017)..

21st Century Competences and Educational System

The simplest way is to ignore or be prohibitive, arguing that it is harmful and that it does not contribute to the educational training of students. That is not facing the situation, not wanting to turn the "problem" into possibility, leaving it to the students to develop it on the web; In short, ignore reality.

Digital citizenship is the set of tools and criteria that allow us to make safe, intelligent and ethical decisions online. This fact implies that it is something that can be formed, educated. And the school, which seeks to educate young people to be responsible citizens with ethical principles, can not look the other way when it comes to digital citizenship (Couldry, et al, 2014).. This is happening today, it is part of our day to day and it will be more and more in the future.

Educate and train in security and privacy on the web, how to handle relationships and digital communication, in reputation and digital image, copyright, cyber bullying; it will only contribute to the comprehensive education of students and is the true vanguard education that schools need to offer today. To look the other way is to ignore the reality of the students, is to offer an incomplete and decontextualized education (LeBlanc, Furlong, Leger & Freiman, 2018). Schools have an enormous responsibility today so that young people and the working world of tomorrow are as we dream them.


It is in the presence of modifications of both the training objectives of the students, who must be prepared to enter the labor market, as well as the pedagogical strategies of the teachers, who must constantly update their technological knowledge so that their forms of communication become more attractive.

The current knowledge society demands the educational system a set of knowledge and skills that students must develop in different areas of learning, all related to the so-called 21st century competences. These competences correspond to new ways of thinking (creativity, critical reasoning, problem solving, decision-making and learning), new ways of working and new skills to function in today's world (citizenship, personal responsibility, professional, social and individual development). characteristics that become transcendental for the good future development of students in society. In this way, the use, knowledge and understanding of technology in the education system is essential today.

In our country, practically 70% of the students who are in primary schools are able to give a basic use to Information and Communication Technologies, mainly through the use of text processors and the resolution of minimum problems raised; while 3% of them use them effectively to solve complex tasks related to learning, discriminating content and integrating different sources of knowledge to their own ideas (Curran & Ribble,2017).

Role of Teachers in ICT Integration

These figures show the multiple challenges that Australia faces as a country in relation to the use of information technologies in education. Perhaps one of the most important corresponds to the effective incorporation of these tools in the learning processes and in the official curriculum, using ICT as a source of information of relevance for the development of specific knowledge in the classrooms. Likewise, another important challenge that we must resolve is related to the role that teachers have in the incorporation and use of ICT in educational processes (Kane, Ng-A-Fook, Radford & Butler, 2017).. They are the ones who must find the meaning of its use in the classrooms and extend its importance for the future of the students. It requires your support, collaboration and understanding regarding the use of ICT, because the perception of the facility, related to the professional or personal competence required, and the perception of the utility in solving problems, are necessary for them to be feel able to technically master the technological tools (Paulus  & Ingersoll, 2015).. Third, it is also necessary to change the conception of what access to information means through digital tools. For this, it is essential to lose the fear and make sense of the use of ICT in an appropriate way, since it is demonstrated that the ease of creating, processing and disseminating information has overcome all the barriers that limit the acquisition of knowledge, contributing to the development of skills and abilities in society (Ribble, 2014). 

For all the above is that the Australians educational system must adapt to new socio-cultural contexts, imitating the initiatives of countries with greater use of Information and Communication Technologies, and preparing students for the daily management of these tools in their future entry into the labor market (Isman, 2014). Only in this way will these premises be established as a good basis for future delineation of public educational policies around the development of digital skills for all Australians.

Young children are often subjected to dependence on technology, cyberbullying (Internet harassment) and inducement to debauchery through the Internet. They also absorb destructive behavioral norms that affect the ability to communicate with others. Unfortunately, most children face such problems (Livingstone & Third, 2017).. Vulnerable groups are affected, including children with special needs, representatives of national minorities and children from low-income families. These categories are more often at risk and face serious consequences.

So what are the skills to teach children in digital citizenship? There are eight such skills:

Safe, Intelligent, and Ethical Online Behavior

The identity of a digital citizen is to create and control a healthy person online and offline in harmony with oneself.Organization of screen time - independently organize the time spent behind the screen, multitasking and involvement in online games and social media.

The ability to cope with online harassment - the ability to identify such situations and skillfully solve them.

The organization of cybersecurity - to protect information, creating reliable passwords and coping with cyberattacks.

Management of privacy - carefully handle personal information distributed online in order to protect your own and others' privacy.

Critical thinking -  to distinguish between true and false information, good and harmful content, reliable and questionable contacts on the Internet.

Digital traces - understand the essence of digital tracks and their meaning in the real world, as well as the ability to cope with them.

Digital empathy is to show empathy for one's own and others' needs and feelings on the Internet

A digital citizen as suggested is someone who develops knowledge and skills to effectively use digitall technologies and internet. Indeed, the information era has had an impact on  social, political and economic aspects of life.  Currently, we are used to listening and even repeating concepts such as information society, knowledge society, digital era and digital citizenship, among others. But we rarely stop to think about its meaning and especially the implications that these concepts have in our daily lives (Hollandsworth, Donovan & Welch, 2017)..

First, the citizenry has become more aware of the information around them.  On the contrary, it should lead us to reflect on what we can do in the different roles we play within our society. If we are parents, children, teachers, students, entrepreneurs, housewives or any other role in this social network, we have the possibility to prepare the eventuality or consequences of a digital citizenship.

Technological advances occur in a rhythm that sometimes exceed our ability to stay updated but it is our right and at the same time our obligation to act within our means to try to do so. It is important to mention that there must be intentionality in this to achieve favorable results. A final words At present, there is an important debate about the native and digital immigrant terms (Dotterer, Hedges & Parker, 2016).. we should not lose sight of the fact that it continues to fall on us, the responsibility and of course the privilege of guiding the following generations to be the digital citizens that our society requires: citizens aware of our rights and respectful of our obligations; integrated citizens to this reality called the digital age (Ribble, 2015). .

Politically, the students and the community in general have become more aware of what is happening around them, and political actions of the leaders and governments are being highlighted more.  Socially, there has been a lot of cyber bullying for example body shaming and many other negative vices which have got to be condemned and stopped (Fenaughty,2015).. Economically, the digital era has opened up markets and businesses are getting more clients.

Digital citizenship should be a key components of the classroom. It is important for teachers to use social media tools that are educational to have student practice digital citizenship in a better way.  Example of such a social media tool is the schoology, which allows students to have a two way conversation with other students and teachers. Such a social media tool allows the students to learn how to use social media  properly and responsibly outside the school.

Teachers should build a community on social media platforms such as twitter and facebook and through their use, they can know how to maintain a personal image. In this way learning and development doesn’t stop on the weekends even for the students (Ahlquist,2014).. 

Digital citizenship should encourage collaboration, i.e all stakeholders for example, the parents, teachers and students should be involved to provide a wholesome learning experience to everyone and their suggestions should be taken (Emejulu & McGregor, 2016)..

Teachers should encourage networking through digital networking to benefit from information from other students in other schools, therefore, digital citizenship should be incorporated in all schools.

References

Ahlquist, J. (2014). Trending now: Digital leadership education using social media and the  social change model. Journal of Leadership Studies, 8(2), 57-60.

Al-Zahrani, A. (2015). Toward digital citizenship: Examining factors affecting participation  and involvement in the Internet society among higher education             students. International Education Studies, 8(12), 203.

Alexander, B., Becker, S. A., Cummins, M., & Giesinger, C. H. (2017). Digital literacy in higher education, Part II: An NMC Horizon project strategic brief (pp. 1-37). The             New Media Consortium.

Couldry, N., Stephansen, H., Fotopoulou, A., MacDonald, R., Clark, W., & Dickens, L. (2014). Digital citizenship? Narrative exchange and the changing terms of civic culture. Citizenship Studies, 18(6-7), 615-629.

Curran, M. B., & Ribble, M. (2017). P–20 Model of Digital Citizenship. New directions for  student leadership, 2017(153), 35-46.

Dotterer, G., Hedges, A., & Parker, H. (2016). Fostering Digital Citizenship in the  Classroom. The Education Digest, 82(3), 58.

Emejulu, A., & McGregor, C. (2016). Towards a radical digital citizenship in digital education. Critical Studies in Education, 1-17.

Fenaughty, J. (2015). The blog that sank the Titanic: Cultivating digital citizenship in NZ             schools.

Hollandsworth, R., Donovan, J., & Welch, M. (2017). Digital Citizenship: You Can’t Go  Home Again. TechTrends, 61(6), 524-530.

Isman, A., & GUNGOREN, O. C. (2014). Digital citizenship. TOJET: The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 13(1).

Kane, R. G., Ng-A-Fook, N., Radford, L., & Butler, J. K. (2017). Conceptualizing and             contextualizing digital citizenship in urban schools: Civic engagement, teacher             education, and the placelessness of digital technologies. Citizenship Education Research Journal/Revue de recherche sur l'éducation à la citoyenneté, 6(1), 24-38.

Livingstone, S., & Third, A. (2017). Children and young people’s rights in the digital age: An emerging agenda.

LeBlanc, M., Furlong, C., Leger, M. T., & Freiman, V. (2018, March). Digital Citizenship in    a Global Context: The Relationships between Young People and the Digital World,  the Actions they take and the Issues Associated with those Actions. In Society forInformation Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 363- 371). Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).

Jones, L. M., & Mitchell, K. J. (2016). Defining and measuring youth digital citizenship. New         media & society, 18(9), 2063-2079.

Lim, W. Y., Tan, C. M., Nizam, M., Zhou, W., & Tan, S. M. (2016). Toward digital citizenship in primary schools: Leveraging on our enhanced cyberwellness framework. In Future Learning in Primary Schools (pp. 97-107). Springer, Singapore.

Paulus Jr, M. J., & Ingersoll, R. (2015). The Beginning of Digital Wisdom.

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

Ribble, M. (2014). The importance of digital citizenship in schools. District Administration.

Saito, N., & Aragaki, M. (2017). Comparison of the Internet Literacy of Youths and Their Parents for Evidence-Based Youth Protection.

Searson, M., Hancock, M., Soheil, N., & Shepherd, G. (2015). Digital citizenship within global contexts. Education and Information Technologies, 20(4), 729-741.

Voogt, J., Knezek, G., & Roblin, N. P. (2015). informed strategies to address educational challenges in a digitally networked world. Education and Information             Technologies, 20(4), 619-623.

Webster, J. P. (2018). Teacher Perceptions and Implementation of Digital Citizenship Curriculum in One-To-One High Schools in Missouri (Doctoral dissertation,  Southwest Baptist University).

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