I was lucky enough to attend a session on exploring digital citizenship through the Educator Collaborative with Kristin Ziemke and Pernille Ripp. I came to the session expecting a session on how to teach students to be safe and respectful online and leave with concrete suggestions for teaching digital citizenship in the classroom. However, I left with more. Much, much more and my thinking is forever changed. 

How do you define digital citizenship? Common Sense Media (2017) defines digital citizenship as the ability to think critically, behave safely and participate responsibly in the digital world. Essentially, digital citizenship is the idea of using technology in safe, respectful and responsible ways for the global good. When I think about digital citizenship in elementary classrooms, I often see lessons on safe and respectful actions online and lessons focusing on accuracy and credibility. The focus is on the ‘safe, respectful and responsible’ aspect of the definition. While important, we must be sure to attend to the reasoning behind having students engage in digital and multi-modal literacy practices: to partner with others, collaborate to further learning and leave a lasting impact on the world. 

Kristin and Pernille’s session did just that and challenged viewers to rethink their ideas about what digital citizenship is, what we are all capable of accomplishing as teachers and learners and the potential we have to make the world a better place. Pernille and Kristin offered many starting points and shared a curated collection of global projects on their Padlet wall. I highly encourage you to take a look and give something a try. Let’s change the perception of what digital citizenship is to look at the world in a new way and help students leave their mark on it. 

How might you begin?

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