I wonder if we as teachers should be careful about focusing too much on the dark side of teaching digital citizenship. The world is full of dangers, and as teachers we need to do our best to prepare our students for all the challenges facing them. I have found myself delivering heart-felt lessons to my students on:
- texting and driving
- sharing inappropriate content
- effects of technology on empathy
- phishing, fraud, and viruses
But I wonder if we actually get through to the kids if we come across as being too 'preachy' or negative. In the film "InRealLife" by Beeban Kidron, a commentator made the observation that kids will use technology to escape the anxieties of the real world by retreating to the virtual one, so I wonder if focusing too much on the negative aspects of technology will just encourage students to rely on technology even more to escape the new dangers we present them with. The BC Children's Hospital warns us that students will use the fight or flight method to deal with anxiety, and we as teachers need to be wary of framing too much of the world in a negative light, or as having dangers around every corner. The hospital also notes that 1 in 10 students will come to class with an anxiety issue, so we must be careful as teachers not to be too negative in our discussions around digital citizenship.
How to we prepare our students, while not having them tune us out or to cause them to be more anxious? Fight or flight, anyone?
As this semester progresses, I believe it is important for me to find resources that prepare students for the real world digitally, but in a positive manner. I will seek out resources such as that developed by the Newfoundland government on being positive while teaching digital citizenship, that is also engaging. I don't want to be the person at the front of the room, wagging my finger at them and throwing out warnings that make half the class anxious, and the other tune out.
Fight or Flight [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/87/The_Fight_or_Flight_Response.jpg
Kidron, B. (Director). (2013). InRealLife [Video file]. Retrieved July 8, 2017, from https://www.nfb.ca/film/inreallife/
Newfoundland, Canada, Government of Newfoundland, Department of Education. (2013). Teaching Digital Citizenship. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov.nl.ca/edu/k12/safeandcaring/procedure_5.pdf
Tips for Teachers of Anxious Students. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ocdsb.ca/com/Mental%20Health%20Docs/Tips%20for%20Teachers-%20Anxious%20Students.pdf