Last month, Common Sense Media hosted a brilliant webinar with Jason Ohler, professor emeritus at the University of Alaska. The webinar, “Digital Citizenship: Seeing the Big Picture,” was hosted on our Digital Citizenship Community on edWeb, a free community where educators can access lively webinars, discussion forums, and lots of resources. You can join here: http://www.edweb.net/digitalcitizenship.
Dr. Ohler's work in classrooms and online spans more than 25 years. In the webinar, he discussed parts of his new book, Digital Community: Digital Citizen, explaining that he sees technology and digital citizenship as an opportunity to re-look at education and restructure parent-teacher, teacher-student, and parent-child relationships. For the presentation, he broke his view of digital citizenship into five sections: talking to parents and empowering students, the history of digital citizenship, effective character education, mantras, and narrative research.
Ohler stated that the “day of knowing where your kid is all the time is over.” The key to keeping children safe in the world of technology, he shared, is great relationships. To build great relationships, both parents and teachers need to empower students by honoring their expertise and bringing them to the policy table. Ohler claimed that students must help come up with guidelines to technology in the classroom and at home. Students want to follow the rules, he said, so they need to be part of creating the rules. Ohler continued his presentation by bringing to light the need to create a framework for digital citizenship, rather than holding to our current model of attacking issues, such as cyberbullying, after they arise.
Despite the different topics covered, Ohler’s presentation always came back to the need to have conversations to successfully transition schools, students, parents, and teachers into the world of education technology.
We hope you’re as inspired as we are about connections between comics and digital storytelling and digital citizenship … and beyond. Share your ideas below!