The Definition Of Digital Citizenship

Posted by The Committed Sardine on

“This Terry Heick article was posted on TeachThought on February 5, 2014.”

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As more and more students interact digitally–with content, one another, and various communities–the concept of digital citizenship becomes increasingly important.

Which begs the question: what is digital citizenship?

Well, first citizenship, which is formally defined as “the quality of an individual’s response to membership in a community.” This makes citizenship far more complex than a simple legal matter, but rather one that consists of self-knowledge, interaction, and intimate knowledge of a place, its people, and its cultural history.

So digital citizenship is nearly the same thing–”the quality of a response to membership in a digital community” would be a good first crack at the definition.

Revising that might more clearly articulate the differences between physical and digital communities, so a decent definition of digital citizenship then might be “Self-monitored participation that reflects conscious interdependence with all (visible and less visible) community members”

But that leaves out the idea of content itself, which leads us to a pretty good definition for educators: “The quality of habits, actions, and consumption patterns that impact the ecology of digital content and communities.”

Still too wordy? Maybe a shorter version for students–with some moral imperatives and implied advice–could be: “the self-monitored habits that sustain and improve the digital communities you enjoy or depend on.”

Later this week, we’re going to have a more in-depth look at the characteristics of digital citizenship, but the infographic below I ran across on educatorstechnology.com last week takes a more student-friendly approach by defining digital citizenship in terms of its actions and habits: using, sifting, mastering, creating–the literal actions that ultimately define the tone of a student’s interactions with their digital environments.

This makes it useful not just as a visual for teacher understanding, but for students to discuss, internalize, and apply themselves. In fact, hanging it in the classroom, computer labs, media centers, and other highly-visible places might make sense as well: the rules of the world of digital networks and social media.



What do you think?