Digital Citizenship

Navigating a Digital World

Months ago, when we decided that the April issue of T.H.E. Journal would have a theme of “Navigating a Digital World,” we had the kernel of a single idea. That single idea is represented in the feature “Quality Control: Maintaining Standards in a Digital World.” However, as we worked our way through all the other story ideas related to digital learning, we realized just how many more facets there were to it.

Months ago, when we decided that the April issue of T.H.E. Journal would have a theme of “Navigating a Digital World,” we had the kernel of a single idea. That single idea is represented in the feature “Quality Control: Maintaining Standards in a Digital World.” However, as we worked our way through all the other story ideas related to digital learning, we realized just how many more facets there were to it.

For instance, even the concept of digital citizenship ended up being something quite different than I thought it was going to be. We realized even one story on the subject was not going to be enough. That’s why we asked Mary Beth Hertz, a K-7 technology teacher in Philadelphia, to write about how she interprets the term as she talks about digital citizenship and online safety in her elementary school classroom. And it’s why we asked one of our regular contributors, John K. Waters, to interview several other experts on the subject, learning that the idea goes way beyond simple “netiquette” to an understanding of how the internet really works.

Michael Wesch, an associate professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University, told Waters that he encourages his students to “see behind the curtain” that is the web and learn how, not to just create their own digital content, but their own digital tools as well.

“Our lives are so entwined with the digital—so incredibly enmeshed in the digital,” Wesch says, “that, if you’re going to be a good citizen, period, you have to be a good digital citizen.”

About the Author

Michael Hart is the executive editor of THE Journal.

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