I couldn’t find the exact quote; however, in the HBO Series The Sopranos, James (Gandolfini) as Tony Soprano passes on the advice that eventually your persona in the professional world and your persona in your personal world will become inseparable. I believe this concept holds true when addressing behavior in the digital world and behavior in the real world. Due to inexperience, humans may have the preconception that how they carry themselves online can differ than how they carry themselves in the real world. We, humans, are learning that this is not the case at all. Whether we use the digital universe for positive or negative activities, those activities are stored and tracked regardless of our desires to store or track them. This creates total transparency and those that participate in the digital universe must be aware of this transparency and adjust their behavior to ensure the proper reflection of self.
Monica (Lewinsky) was, as she described it, “ground-zero” for this type of transparency. Before the digital age, even when scandal broke, the scandal could be localized and those involved could usually find a way to “escape” or “start-over” somewhere new. The advent of digital media ushered in a new era lacking the privacy to engage in activity “behind-closed-doors.” There are two major points to consider when developing a stance on whether this loss of privacy will benefit or harm society. On one side of the coin, we want to maintain our privacy from an overzealous government that can manipulate practice of law to entrap and prosecute citizens that would normally move through life as positive citizens. For example, an adult educator may use social media to post pictures of a family beach vacation on their private account. The school district said educator works for may find their way to these pictures and deem them unacceptable, because they would not be appropriate if students were to view them. The educator has not broken any laws nor has done anything inappropriate but may face consequences due to posts in the digital world. On the other side of the coin, we can use total transparency to adjust human culture in a way that people no longer participate in activities they know will be seen by society as negative. Will people refrain from questionable activity in the digital and real realms of their world to avoid scrutiny? Could this lead to a more harmonious and free society? At what point do we separate professional life from personal life? Has the advent of the digital world erased that line between the professional life and personal life? What about those that use digital tools under an anonymous username?
If I had unlimited resources, I would eliminate the availability of using an anonymous username in the digital world. I would create a system that would link all digital activity of a user to one username that could be tracked to identify any illegal activity. This would assist in identifying, educating, and curbing cyberbullying on top of promoting kind, acceptable digital citizenship. Shane Koyczan wrote and performed one of the most moving poems I have had the pleasure of watching. His display of the effects of bullying demonstrate the importance of educating our youth on the importance of empathy. Lack of empathy will always be the driving motivation behind any type of bullying; however, it is not impossible to educate citizens of all ages on the effects of their actions. This education paired with introducing coping skills and empowerment skills has a better chance of helping our youth develop into positive, life-long learning, citizens. Our students must understand that digital activity cannot be hidden. They must also understand that their digital activity will be a direct reflection on their persona in the real world. Once these two ideas take hold, our students will adjust their online practices to ensure they are viewed as positive digital citizens.
Lewinsky, M. (2015, March). The Price of Shame. TED. Retrieved
Gandolfini, J. (n.d.). The Sopranos. HBO Broadcasting.
There is one idea that I have heard and read in most the information on this topic that sticks out and frustrates me: The law is having a hard time keeping up with the constant growth of the technology. The inability of the law to keep pace with the technology it governs poses a problem with instructing and abiding the law. How can we expect students to value and abide a law that they know will be reconsidered and revised within a year? If law is to effectively adapt to the technology it presides over, then a proper law-making body must be given the resources and autonomy to effectively create that law. The (Hudson Institute) White Paper makes the acceptable and fair case that the U.S. Copyright Office needs to be released from underneath the Library of Congress to ensure that intellectual property is managed properly and effectively. The success of the system’s past does not guarantee the system’s success in the future.
The Library of Congress may have spread its resources effectively to handle the U.S. Copyright Office in the past; however, the present and the future demand a change. I take one major idea away from this week: a large amount of assumptions are made concerning intellectual property and copyright law due to preconceptions of an outdated system. When addressing this issue from a growth mindset, it becomes difficult to side with staying in the same location. Adapting the U.S. Copyright Office practices within the constraints of the Library of Congress seems more like a sustaining innovation that is failing to effectively innovate. Allowing the U.S. Copyright Office to move out and begin practices with autonomy seems more like a disruptive innovation that holds immense potential to effectively create and implement law. Laws regarding plagiarism and copyright infringement along with the enforcement of said laws must be the sole purpose of the governing organization.
The U.S. Copyright Office must be able to provide the guidelines for understanding and enforcing copyright laws. Once those guidelines are in place, with a certain freedom to adapt, intellectual property can be created in an environment that values authorship which will result in increases in speed of information being transmitted and the validity of the information being transmitted. When the information being transmitted sees these increases, the development of societies with access to the Internet will exponentially rise creating a global community in which human rights can be acknowledged and granted to each of its citizens.
The Hudson Institute. (2015). A 21st Century Copyright Office: The Conservative Case for
Reform. Washington, D.C: Author.
Students and educators alike must adapt to the truth that our society demands Internet access. The potential for the gap between the impoverished and wealthy stands to grow out of an attitude that technology is not a human right and should be treated as any other business: pay to earn access. In the argument of healthcare versus access, (Fung) critiques those in favor of the idea that Smartphones are a privilege that should be addressed after achieving proper health care. Recent studies show that the low-income and impoverished population of American citizens depend on Smartphones for access to banking, job research, and personal medical research. (Fung) While healthcare may be at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, access to the Internet is rapidly rolling down the side of the pyramid. This need for access reaches into the classroom in the demands for teachers to use digital tools. Teachers that assign their students digital work must ensure that each of their students have access to the digital tools and resources necessary for the task.
Beginning to instruct students how to use their access responsibly at an early age greatly increases the chances those students mature into responsible digital citizens. (Heitner) addresses the issue of training our students/kids to use digital sources correctly through proper analysis and evaluation in her article When the news intrudes, helping kids make sense of the media. Students not only have to understand how to properly and effectively filter information found on the Internet, they must understand the process of creating a digital tattoo. Students can be informed and guided on how to ensure they are building a positive digital tattoo as early as they are provided access. The consequences of intentional and unintentional digital tattooing are an essential part of the mandatory conversation over Internet access.
Two of my baseball players added to their unintentional digital tattoo this season by posting a picture of themselves with bottles of liquor to Snapchat. The picture got to me and the athletes’ consequence was suspension for one game. One of the things that digital natives seem to understand, yet lack regard for, is the digital tattoo. Students comprehend that what they put on the Internet can remain there forever; however, true to their teenage mentality, they do not comprehend the scope and magnitude of their digital tattoo. Students should be taught to create both a professional and public ePortfolio in an attempt to provide practice creation under both lights. Students that engage in activities revolving around positive digital citizenship will consistently “think before they post.”
In last week’s discussion the element of access was discussed as the most prominent of the elements of digital citizenship. Students must understand the ramifications of being a positive and negative digital citizen. For that reason, unavailability of an Internet connection and a misuse of an Internet connection are the two greatest threats to effective accessing and sharing of content on the Internet. If we want our students to prioritize digital citizenship, then positive digital citizenship must be practiced from an early age. Guiding how they share and communicate through assignments provides an ideal opportunity to blend in aspects of digital learning forcing the students to acknowledge the standard for creating a digital footprint.
Fung, B. (2017, March 8). The luxury of telling poor people that iPhones are a luxury. The
Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Heitner, D. (2017, March 8). When the news intrudes, helping kids make sense of the
media. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/
Week One’s introduction to digital citizenship came as reinforcement of currently practiced ideas. After reading and watching the week’s resources, I realized that everything my parents taught me about being a positive citizen in the “real world” parallels the meaning of being a positive citizen in the real world. The intriguing and somewhat scary conclusion drawn is that in the near future citizenship and digital citizenship will be 100% synonymous. We still seem to be in a transition period between the culture of “two worlds” to the culture of “one world” (Ohler) On one side of the educating world is a tenacious group of traditionalists desperately desiring to cling to their storied practices. The other is made up of chameleons that are constantly absorbing information and adapting their practices to best fit their target audience. Educators must hold themselves accountable to model proper digital citizenship to promote a digital world that benefits each citizen that engages with it.
One of my favorite studies conducted in the field of education is the “Hole in the Wall” experiment. Sugata Mitra discovered that humans will adapt their practices to learn how to use the tools they are provided with. Humans are naturally self-directed learners. They only become stagnant when unchallenged and provided for. The largest problem in my organization my students face concerning the use of digital tools in their learning experience is access to the digital tools they desire to employ. Unfortunately, the lack of access stems from school policy and not lack of resources. My school was build less than a decade ago and has a multitude of computer labs, laptops carts, and a phenomenal media center. However, the technology policy states that all students must put all devices “Off and Away” through the entirety of the school day. My organization operates under the “two lives” approach described by Jason Ohler. Students must separate their digital lives from their educational lives, because the importance students place on their digital lives is distracting to their educational well-being (Ohler). This deliberate restriction of the students’ access cannot be maintained efficiently and more importantly, cannot create a learning environment conducive to 21st century learners. Digital literacy, an essential component of digital citizenship and citizenship in the 21st century, suffers under the restriction of access. By providing the students of my school with the access available to them, the student will learn to use the tools they are provided with and can improve within each element of digital citizenship.
Digital citizenship can be defined as engaging within the digital realm to ensure the positive development of the realm and those who occupy it. Citizenship during the 21st century demands digital citizenship. The qualities of digital citizenship demand digital citizens to demonstrate the equal parallel qualities of citizenship while participating within the digital world. Digital citizenship will not be completely synonymous with citizenship until all members of the global community have equal access to the digital global community. However, the two concepts will join under an equal definition through the employment of the second most important element of digital citizenship: digital literacy. Those who do not have access to the digital world and those who are not digitally literate cannot achieve the remaining elements of digital citizenship. I cannot expect my students to excel in the digital world if they have never been given access to hone their skills when using digital tools. I cannot expect my students to understand how to effectively use digital tools if they have never been introduced to those digital tools. It must be the responsibility of schools to provide their students with access to digital tools with proper instruction on how to operate using digital citizenship.
Ohler, J. (2012). Digital citizenship means character education for the digital
age. Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, 77(8), 14-17. (PDF: