Digital citizenship. Its a term buzzing around education right now as technology becomes more and more integrated in our schools. Often, the conversation focuses on how students use social media, encouraging them to post or text only safe, appropriate pictures, protecting passwords and not getting lost in their phones. I agree that all of that is important, but I’ve found when I start to initiate those conversations, students start to glaze over. They’ve heard it all before. They nod and agree then go back to trying to sneak a look at their cellphones under the table or send a quick Skype message on their laptop.
Maybe there are other sides of the issue that could be make this a more interesting and effective conversation. A fellow COETAILer recently shared this article bringing up an interesting discussion on internet file sharing and piracy. I can imagine a classroom divided on the topic and a fierce debate ensuing. Let’s give the students the reins and let them search for support of their arguments. Maybe they’ll come across something like this
But according to Game of Thrones director, David Petrarca, piracy is not a bad thing and “may do more good than harm” by contributing to the buzz around the series.
Now we’ve got a conversation going. Has the idea of usage and legality changed over the years? How does piracy affect the media industry? Is it ok to illegally download a movie or show? Are ethics and moral standards constantly shifting throughout time?
As students search through the data, the websites, the opinions, the laws, they are learning, discussing, critically analyzing sources and becoming stronger digital citizens. This is something they know and is real to them. Especially in a place like Ghana where a majority of popular media sites are considered “out of market” and unavailable for viewing.
We all know that students are much more likely to become engaged if they are interested in a topic or it has some sort of personal application to them. So let’s stop preaching to them about how to use the internet and let them tell us what’s right and wrong. But they should do it with research and reasoning, not just because they want to watch some good TV. Then maybe the conversation can continue into those basic ideas we mentioned above. In fact, it probably will organically.
Hopefully at some point it will even come around to figuring out how to get rid of this.