When pre-service teachers participate in professional experience placements, they are expected to have extensive knowledge of all key learning areas belonging to the Australian Curriculum (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2017) back to front and inside out in order to confidently and efficiently teach them. Hours are spent planning the most effective and engaging lessons in the effort that students will understand and demonstrate knowledge of the learning objectives. Digital technologies are increasingly playing larger roles in this planning process in classrooms today due to the rapidly evolving digital society that we now live in. With this, also comes the responsibility for teachers to teach students how to use digital technologies safely, responsibly and ethically so that they become well informed digital citizens.
Digital citizenship involves students having well-rounded knowledge and competency in utilizing digital media as a platform for interaction and communication. This all-encompassing term includes teaching students about appropriate online etiquette, literacy in how digital technologies work and how to use them, an understanding of ethics and related law, knowing how to stay safe online, and advice on related health and safety issues such as predators and the permanence of data (Department of Education and Training, 2017).
A great place for teachers to start in providing students with an experiential learning experience in becoming confident and well-informed digital citizens is to begin a classroom blog. Classroom blogs are on the increase and have many educational benefits:
- Students can connect and interact with others in a secure online environment.
- Students can learn to be a responsible member within an online community context.
- Students can learn and practice netiquette (internet etiquette).
- Students can share ideas and opinions by posting comments and responding to comments made by their peers.
- Students can document and publish their work to an authentic audience.
- Students can make global connections with other classroom blogs.
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, (2017). F – 10 Curriculum. Retrieved from https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/
Department of Education and Training. (2017). Digital citizenship. Retrieved from http://www.digitaltechnologieshub.edu.au/teachers/topics/digital-citizenship