My understanding of digital citizenship has been deepened during this subject. In a post to my blog earlier in this subject I explained that my understanding of digital citizenship as it related to primary school-aged students was limited to cyberbullying and its prevention (Lawler, 2014a). I now understand that digital citizenship encompasses so much more and includes the behaviours, rights and responsibilities when using technology, and particularly when in an online environment. In a wiki I collaboratively developed with two other students we compared being a new citizen of a nation to that of a digital citizen; and just as there are rights and responsibilities associated with national citizenship so too are there when you are a citizen of the digital nation (Lawler, Richardson & Henderson, 2014).
The completion of an environmental scan and subsequent report as a major assignment in this subject while challenging has been very helpful. Currently my school has very little in place in terms of any structure, policies or even direction as to where we are going with a digital learning environment (DLE) and the integration of digital citizenship. We need a strong vision and plan and I am hoping that in presenting this report to our leadership team it will go a long way in helping to develop this. I hope to impart through the report the need for the leadership team to step up and lead the school into new pedagogies and innovations in curriculum integration of ICT.
Throughout my degree I have been developing my personal learning network (PLN); developing a blog, creating a wiki, subscribing to other blogs, feeds and wikis, setting up a social bookmarking site, curating content and participating in social media on a needs basis or as prescribed by the subject being studied at the time. The significance and importance of this PLN has not really occurred to me until during this subject. Being connected to other professionals is powerful, particularly those professionals who participate in connected learning through content curation. Those professional are passionate, motivated and embracing of a future that utilises digital technologies to inquire, think critically, problem solve, communicate, collaborate and create. They are a wealth of knowledge and ideas and are willing to share these with other like-minded individuals. The potential for connections that can change the way I think and teach or that I may be able to affect positively is exciting to me.
On the topic of connections, through this subject I have become greatly interested in the concept of flattening classrooms; developing global connections and collaborations for my students that open the doors to deeper learning and understandings of other cultures and people. Living in a regional area as I do often means a more sheltered life for students with little day-to-day experience of a multicultural perspective. If being a digital citizen means being a citizen of the world then understanding and respecting other cultures and the differences between us must play a large part in this. I have taken some steps in this myself. In a post to my blog in April I mentioned that I would be exploring some ways to globally connect my students and I have started to do that (Lawler, 2014b). I have joined Skooville as a trial for the school and am exploring how I can utilise it to integrate a digital citizenship curriculum, to teach about social media and its uses and to connect my students. I have also signed up my class to an iEARN project about our carbon footprints and we have started research around the topic. I am so excited to see my students so keen and motivated already. Finally I am very much looking forward to attending the Flat Connections Conference in Sydney this June and learning about more ways that I can ‘flatten’ the walls of my classroom.
I will continue to develop my PLN and work to participate and contribute in more ways to it. I know that my current studies will allow me to be a valuable member of an ICT team in my school and I will work to help develop a vision and a plan for a DLE that will meet the learning needs of the school. I will continue to lead by example in globally connecting and making my classroom a vibrant and engaging place that students are excited about and look forward to learning in and that I enjoy teaching in every day.
Lawler, M. (2014a, March 14) Online persona [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://lawlerlot.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/online-persona/
Lawler, M. (2014b, April 3) Global connections [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://lawlerlot.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/global-connections/
Lawler, M., Richardson, D. & Henderson, S. (2014). Positive digital footprints [Wiki]. Retrieved from http://etl523-digitalcitizenship-14-1.wikispaces.com/-/Topic%202%20Digital%20Citizenship%20in%20the%20Curriculum/Group%202.3/Home?responseToken=06d8eee1c378c8f56f7d1b0a951c70d18