From Digital Native to Digital Citizen Without Repeating the Mistakes of Colonialism

In honor of Columbus Day, I am pushing this outline into at least a short version of what will be a longer work.

I hear the term Digital Native in discussions used to describe our students who have always lived with technology and the internet.

As I was musing on the variations and implications of the extension of digital native (think digital colonialism, digital imperialism) we risk viewing our kids and students as digital noble savages.  The internet is a culture thing and becoming a good citizen is about learning effective behaviors.

As I assemble my resources and plan for my ongoing digital citizenship units, I am using the following as a guide.

Keeping the kids engaged in a BYOT class is not a hardware or software issue, it is a pedagogy issue

1. Recognize and value the culture.  Student come into my class with a unique set of user experiences.  I have to acknowledge and value these preexisting skills.  They may well be transferable.

2. Evaluate, recognize and praise best practices.  Digital citizenship involves writing and students only grow as writers when they have ongoing feedback.  As they try new things we need to give them feedback and support.  We build good digital citizens by working side by side.

3. Model mindful and purposeful internet use. You have to be the user you want your students to be.  When I open up my twitter and I discuss the people in my PLN, they know I am telling the truth.  The students can see me as I work.  I allow them to follow me, but I don't usually follow them with my work-twitter because they don't build the resources I need in that account.

What lessons from history do you think we can apply to teaching?  Share in the comments below