ISTE NETS Standard 4 – Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility: Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices.
Question: How can I use the internet to teach safe, legal and ethical use of digital information in language that is accessible to English Language Learners?
Although ISTE 4 advocates cultural understanding, awareness and collaboration between educators and students on a global basis, it seems to me that its primary focus is on the rights and responsibilities of digital citizenship, and the role of educators as both models and proponents for digital etiquette and safety. This is crucial for educators to understand, for although the use of technology in American classrooms has increased exponentially over the last two decades, the same is not true for instruction in the appropriate and inappropriate uses of the internet and on-line communication (Ribble & Bailey, 2004).
As an ELL teacher, my concern is not only to provide instruction in ethical, unethical and unsafe uses of the internet, but to find or create instructional materials that are accessible to students whose first language is not English and who may perhaps not be literate in their first language. I wanted to create a web-quest for my students that will help them to understand these issues as well as acquire some practice in using on-line resources for learning. One problem for me is that although there is a wealth of information on-line about digital citizenship, most of what I‘ve found is either too elementary (childish) for my 14-21 year-old students, or it is written in language that is too inaccessible. Another problem is that all of my students are low-income and many have reported that they do not have internet access at home, which in practical terms means that I have to be very careful about assigning outside work that involves the use of a computer or the internet (Greenhow, p.66). In other words, I have to give up portions of my limited instructional time to allow students access to the internet and to give them time for keyboarding, which in a more affluent community would be considered, more appropriately in my opinion, homework.
One on-line resource that I found that I will use in my web-quest is an article about digital literacy on the website Teaching Village; http://www.teachingvillage.org/2012/04/10/copyright-plagiarism-and-digital-literacy-by-sue-lyon-jones/. In terms of English language learning this may turn out to be useful down the road, and I can certainly put this one article to good use, but it’s not as good a resource as I had thought initially. Much more useful websites for this particular content are http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/ and http://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/blog/build-community-teach-digital-citizenship-in-edmodo. As anyone who has been reading my posts will already know, I am quite enthusiastic about Edmodo, and I think it is serendipitous that each question I ask myself about what technological tools I can use in my classroom, keeps leading me back to Edmodo. Fortuitously for me, I might add, because I will feel best about this course if I can dig deeply into one or two resources rather than skimming the surface of many.
Greenhow, C., Kim, S., and Walker, J. (2009) Millennial Learners and Net-Savvy Teens? Examining Internet Use among Low-Income Students. Journal of Computing in Teacher Education 26/2 Winter 2009-2010.
Ribble, M., Bailey, G., & Ross, T. (2004). Digital citizenship. Learning and Leading with Technology, 32(1)