A key component to successful integration of technology in schools is digital citizenship, and this ties directly with acceptable use that I mentioned in an earlier post. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) recently updated and released new national standards, and digital citizenship reigns as one of the main six areas (see National Educational Technology Standards for Students: The Next Generation). This is a standard that must be taught and practiced if we want our students to become responsible digital citizens. Any social skills training can easily incorporate digital citizenship into its curriculum if it isn’t already a part of it, but this training is vital in our digital world. I also feel it is paramount that parents/guardians are part of this process to help them understand what their children face each day, especially on the internet, and to provide information that can be used to transfer these digital citizenship skills at school, at home, and anywhere our children may go.
Another area of focus in the ISTE national standards is creativity and innovation. As Dr. Tim Tyson mentioned in his keynote speech at the recent Building Learning Communities Conference: we should ask our students, “What do you have to say?” What a powerful question! The key is to then enable our students by allowing them to utilize new technologies to “say” what they have on their minds and to share their ideas and products with a global audience. This gives meaning to what they have to say and lets students contribute to our society as a whole. Allow students to use blogs, wikis, podcasts, videos, etc. as a medium to share their thoughts, creations, and let them figure out new ways to tell their stories: innovation. However, teach students to be safe in this digital world and to think critically about the information they are exposed to while fostering creativity and innovation. The connection is important, but you already knew that!