This week’s virtual visit from Pat Maze (thanks, by the way!) was really eye-opening. It is really scary to think just how under scrutiny teachers are. Teachers are really supposed to adhere to a strict set of behaviours, both in public and privately.
It seems like the role of the teacher has not changed all that much: teachers are still seen as guardians of student virtue and innocence. The medium may have changed, but the message remains the same: teachers are in charge of protecting the future at all costs. This may mean at the cost of the teacher as a person.
In my current context, I am at a fairly diverse high school. This means I have everything from having to explain what Twitter is:
To having students explain what VSCO is (spoiler: it’s Instagram without the drama). There’s a wide-range of levels in regards to digital citizenship in this context. For the beginners, it’s mostly how to navigate safely. For those more used to using tech tools, it’s a matter nuance and advocacy. How to use their voice to make a difference now that they’re done being a passive consumer of technology.
In my vision, the idea of digital citizenship will be ubiquitous. Right now, as it stands, digital citizenship isn’t as widespread or as integrated into curriculum as it ought to be. Digital citizenship is a growing concern because of the availability of information and content online, but there is a disconnect between how to discern what is good and what is bad.
As well, there is the issue of “filter bubbles” as seen in the TED talk video. Filter bubbles change the information you see, and sometimes to a drastic extent. I have discussed the concept of filter bubbles with classes and we experiment with searching terms that could change based on your search history (think political parties, particular news stories etc) and then searching that same thing in an incognito window or in DuckDuckGo. Students are shocked by the difference that eliminating a search history can make.
In conclusion, the demands on a teacher in regards to social knowledge online is expanding. Teachers must be hyper vigilant when working through their online identity and that of their students.
However, I think the gif below sums up teachers’ jobs perfectly: be vigilant but not afraid.