Digital Citizenship Instruction in K-20 Education

Digital Citizenship Instruction in K-20 Education

Lesley S. J. Farmer (California State University – Long Beach, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4249-2.ch017
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Abstract

As technology advances, so do the techniques for abusing it. While traditional crime has not increased in some countries, cyber crime is becoming increasingly common and steadily growing. One of the duties of educators is to teach the learning community about digital citizenship so everyone can understand, address, and prevent technology abuse. This chapter defines digital citizenship, discusses its ramifications on individuals and the learning community at large, and recommends strategies for digital citizenship education.
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Background

The Information Society

At the 2003 world summit on the Information Society, governments and world leaders “made a strong commitment towards building a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society for all, where everyone can access, utilise and share information and knowledge” (United Nations, 2006). What constitutes an information society? Fundamentally, an information society is one in which information replaces material goods as the chief driver of socio-economics. Human intellectual capital has higher currency than material capital, or at least intellect is needed to optimize the use of material resources.

Since information and material have always been needed, what particularizes the recent notion of an information (or knowledge) society? New information and technology have vastly increased the speed, access, and interconnectedness of information worldwide. Simultaneously, information and communication have converged, such as telecommunications and broadcasting, giving rise to informational industries. At this point in history, telecommunications and media constitute one-sixth of the U. S. economy, and 30 percent of all economic growth between 1996 and 2000 was attributed to enhanced productivity based on information technology (Wilhelm, 2004). The cost of technology has dropped precipitously so that the majority of people can access it, thereby reinforcing mass media and other information entities. As a result, new forms of organization and social interaction have emerged (Webster, 2002).

This information society impacts existing institutions and cultures. The speed and globalization of information leads to constant change, which can be hard to digest and manage. The majority of jobs now involve technology and other related new skills, so that the idea of a “terminal” degree or a static skill set is becoming an outdated paradigm. Rather, adults often need to “retool” themselves throughout their work lives. Particularly for adults who are largely digital immigrants, this new world of information, especially in electronic form, can be puzzling and overwhelming. Do they have enough background information to understand and use the new information?

in today’s global economy, change has become the constant, and education has the role of not only passing on existing knowledge but also preparing students to create new knowledge: to survive in a future world that has not yet been defined. Education now emphasizes lifelong learning and process-based knowledge. Likewise, literacy now encompasses reading and writing in order to survive in society. Indeed, the term “literacy” has sometimes been replaced by “multiliteracies,” and has been both parsed and broadened to explicit call attention to technology literacy, media literacy, visual literacy, aural literacy, numeracy, and even social literacy. School library programs have responded to the notion of process-based literacies in their promotion of – and instruction in -- information literacy, which involves a number of interdependent competencies.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Information Society: A society in which information replaces material goods as the chief driver of socio-economics.

Intellectual Property: Ownership of recorded ideas.

Assessment: Evaluation of a behavior at one specific time under one specific condition.

Instructional Design: A systematic analysis of training needs and the development of aligned instruction.

Millenials: People born between 1980 and 2000.

Digital Citizenship: The ability and habit of using technology safely, responsibly, critically, productively, and civically.

Information Literacy: The ability to locate, evaluate, use, manage, and communicate information effectively.

Learning Objects: Self-contained modules that can be incorporated into training to aid teaching or learning.

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