Saturday, October 13, 2012

Take the digital out of citizenship

During the Learning 2.012 conference, I attended a session on Digital Citizenship by Clint Hamada.

The first question Clint posed to the group was what is digital citizenship? Hamada's argument is that there is no such thing. It is just citizenship. In other words, what a person writes on a facebook account or any form of social media, should be guided by what it means to be a responsible and respectful citizen. 

Hamada's viewpoint is we should remove the digital from citizenship. He states it is all about community. Citizenship online should be viewed through the lens of three windows; to think critically, to behave responsibly and to finally behave safely. 

During the discussion, the age old premise of 'do unto others as you would unto yourself' came up. Hamada pointed out that this concept can be found in many cultures and provides a good starting point when discussing citizenship online with students. Balance, copyright, footprint and community were also mentioned as key facets of citizenship.

The good news is that any character or ethical education program can easily link into the above. The most salient point of the presentation was that open is better. Educate rather than restrict is the best approach. 

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