Written by Aya
Technology is a double-edged sword. Despite its positive effects on individuals and the development of society, its consequences and danger are increasing. With Technology’s strong entry into everyday life, many of the negative aspects and bad habits that are associated with it have emerged, such as: using mobile while walking, or during the school day in classes and lectures.
Without a doubt, we are now living in the era of information where our students decide for themselves easy and convenient ways to learn and search for what suits their interests. As a result, various forms of technological abuse and exploitation have arisen, whether at home, in school, or in society such as: Communicating with strangers online who are potentially dangerous or browsing dangerous suspicious websites. In the light of these risks and threats, there is an urging need to identify correct practices, and to establish clear principles for children of all ages when using digital technologies and the internet.
The teacher today plays an essential role in protecting students and equipping them with technological know-how. He/she is one of the vital pillars on which society depends for preparing a responsible citizen. A teacher’s role is no longer restricted to traditional education and knowledge transfer but extends to shaping students’ attitudes, life skills, and values that may directly affect their lives the lives of others, and society as a whole.
One of the key responsibilities of teachers is to influence student’s thoughts and behaviors, correct false perceptions and spread the culture of digital citizenship through educational activities. Here are few steps a teacher can take to empower students to access digital environments safely:
- Educate students about the risks and threats of improper use of technology with a focus on presenting examples of bad and inappropriate use of technology.
- Emphasize the values of digital citizenship and strengthen the values and skills of students in order for them to become aware and strong and possess the knowledge and skills necessary for the future, such as critical thinking, problem- solving, decision-making, social networking skills, individual responsibility, self-control and more.
- Help students to explore digital environments in guided practice and under supervision of teachers.
- Set an example and to be a role model in using technology, for example: If you’re the teacher, do you carry your phone while you’re in the classroom, or do you switch off it until the class ends?
- Provide students with constructive critical training and the know-how for using digital tools inside and outside classrooms correctly; through effective dialogue and discussion about the correct uses .
- Help parents by giving directions on how to deal with their children while using modern digital technologies.
- Use academic blog posts for better engagement. Using Internet sites in their traditional old form allows only sharing of information with parents by teachers. Blogs, on the other hand, can demonstrate writing and publishing capabilities of teachers and students on the Web through direct communication; allowing students to become more involved and more effective in reading and writing online.
Correspondingly, schools and educational institutions are trying to address and reduce the issues related to the misuse of technology by developing policies that include rules for appropriate and inappropriate use such as:
- Including some concepts of digital citizenship in courses and school’s curriculums using narrative and technological input of education.
- Giving attention to systematic and non-systematic school activities in promoting the values of digital citizenship through teachers initiatives and school plans.
- Establishing of community development programs for family reintegration to promote the values of digital citizenship among their children, who are the center of future community development.
- Developing teachers training programs as well as mentoring programs for parents to educate them about the fields and fundamentals of digital citizenship, to help them raise their children to live safely in the digital age.
- Monitoring schools’ duties and activities as well as evaluation of teachers and include evaluation criteria that consider digital citizenship practices.
- Training programs to increase technological awareness.
In conclusion, implementing the values of digital citizenship has become a necessity today and it is imperative to incorporate them into our future approaches. Digital citizenship values enable students to discover their strengths and weaknesses while using new technologies and find their ways of proper use of technology to succeed in their academic and practical lives. It is also important to spread these values it at home among family members to create a generation driven by a culture of knowledge and learning in a safe environment.