DigCit isn't "A" Thing; It's "THE" Thing!

     As schools return to in-person learning, a number of feelings are emerging from students and teachers about using technology. One reoccurring feeling described has been exhaustion. An Education Week article and survey calls it "Tech Fatigue".1 As teachers and students return to the traditional classroom spaces post-pandemic, one big technology factor has changed: Access. More students and families now have access to the internet through individual devices and with that access comes an open door to limitless possibilities. One of the rising arguments in tech exhaustion from teachers as well as parents has been the lack of guidance and boundaries for students in the new world of access and possibilities. This has led to the rise in digital misconduct.2

    Misconduct is an intentional word because many students don't realize what the appropriate conduct is as they discover and interact with the web. In the classroom, this is continuing to be a growing problem for teachers and administration. The increase of access has also brought to light the need to address digital citizenship and how it plays a vital role in how students succeed or don't in today's educational space. Because guidance is needed, Richland 2 developed the Responsible Use Procedures or the RUP, to give boundaries on the use of technology in the school district.

    The RUP can serve as a powerful tool of accountability in the classroom for teachers. The key is teaching the principles of the RUP not as a "gotcha', but as guidance to help students have a beneficial experience using technology in the digital space. Building a positive pathway to contributing digitally, according to Joel Westheimer's citizenship framework, lies in the progressing students through being personally responsible first, participatory second, and eventually justice-oriented.3  

Good Citizenship Framework


    Remember, digital citizenship is citizenship because technology and the internet are part of our everyday life.4 Believe it or not, it has been a part of our lives for over 30 years extending the possibilities of how we execute work flows and our every day efficiencies in life. Separating the two (digital citizenship and citizenship) discounts the role technology plays in our home lives, communities, and society at large.  

Next Steps

  1. Learn more about the RUP and digital citizenship or DigCit from Richland 2's RUP pathway in MobileMind (must be a R2 employee to access)
  2. Have a conversation with your school Technology and Learning Coach (TLC) on ways to prevent digital misconduct in your classroom. 
  3. Examine existing systems in your classroom (e.g., classroom expectations, assignment procedures, Dyknow Allow/Blocking plans) and incorporate guidance from the RUP to help your students become better digital citizens through personal responsibility, participatory interaction, and justice-oriented practices.  

References

1 Tech Fatigue Is Real for Teachers and Students. Here’s How to Ease the Burden by Alyson Klein. Education Week

2 What the Massive Shift to 1-to-1 Computing Means for Schools, in Charts by Kevin Bushweller. Education Week

3 Joel Westheimer: What Kind of Citizen by Joel Westheimer. uOttawa Education

4 It’s Not Digital Citizenship—It’s Just Citizenship, Period by Christy Fennewald. EdSurge

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