Something I would like to focus on in my future classrooms is showing students the many different ways that the internet can be used to further their learning. In grade ten I took a German studies class. My teacher was younger, and always excited about implementing different technological strategies to see what worked the best. Sometimes it was detrimental to our learning because simply learning how to operate the rather poorly organized platforms was such a pain that it made learning difficult rather than easy. We created a wiki space but I did not see the point of using the space because we essentially had no use for it. We used it to send in our audio clips of conversational German, but I always thought it strange that we couldn’t just email it to our teacher. It wasn’t like we had public settings so we could benefit from listening to each others’ clips, either. It was just a really backwards way for her to have all of our submissions going to a separate email and being organized on one site. It was useless to us, but useful for our teacher at the time. Now there are resources like Google Classroom (check out this video if you haven’t heard of it before) and other such platforms meant strictly for educational purposes. There is a website called Academia.edu where scholars, students, professors, and passionate individuals can share their essays and articles on varying topics that are organized through tags.
Specifically, I think of our inquiry-based learning project that we are working on throughout this course. I would like to do something of a similar nature with my students but in order to do that, I must first teach my students digital citizenship. I must show them how to narrow the entire internet down so that when they inquire about their topics, they use educational resources instead. No reddit threads, no wikipedia articles. Instead, I want them to learn from other people on the internet who have documented their growth and understandings on topics similar to my students’. The internet has such an abundance of resources and has become such an integral tool in the parts of the world that have access to it. It would be a disservice to my students to not teach them how to effectively utilize the internet in ways they’ve never imagined before. While I see the benefit of the “two lives” perspective mentioned in this article, I think it is unrealistic to ever consider separating digital citizenship from any form of education in communities who have access to such technology.
Another benefit to using the education for inquiry-based learning is that all forms of learning styles can be incorporated. Do you work better when you listen to instructions? Perfect, there’s audio clips for that. Do you work better when you see a visual example? Check out YouTube. Do you prefer step-by-step images that you don’t have to pause videos for? Perfect. Wiki-how has got your back. Do you require immediate feedback in order to feel comfortable in proceeding with your assignment? Join some online communities and forums in which the participants would gladly critique your work! There is something for everybody, and students deserve the chance to experiment with different digital styles of learning so that they can carry these skills forward into their lives.
In this article, the author (Mike Ribble) wrote, “Now everyone has the opportunity to communicate and collaborate with anyone from anywhere and anytime.” It would be a shame to ignore the possible implications of cultural diversity that is present in the online community. We could use this as a way to teach cultural diversity as well. Students would have the opportunity to see cultures and individuals from all over the world in a way that is much less dehumanizing than the typical news stories that typically misinform the masses anyways. For these reasons, I plan on teaching digital citizenship to my students as a means to create efficient internet-goers who can then use the internet to independently further their own education.