Digital Citizenship and The Politics of Scale

Co-creating pedagogy to engage students in non-binary, complex thinking will help them develop the skills to navigate the digital world.

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As information becomes an increasingly valuable and accessible and portable commodity, human beings have been obsessed about it to the point of distraction. In the context of a world that the US Army War College calls volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (vuca) and where we are hyper-connected (which is both digital and chemical), human experience is becoming something that we are not all-together equipped to handle. An individual's path in the world is no longer as simple as it may have once been but we are problem solvers! As the Teachers Guild says: "Teachers are the innovators education has been waiting for." 

Teachers and schools will continue to be one of the most important spaces where young people learn and practice the skills that they need to thrive in the world. And across the generational, digital divide, we can co-create learning with students so that life is better in both the digital and analog world. We can also harness the power of technology to empower positive digital citizenship and SCALE IT ACROSS POPULATIONS AND POLITICS

One key here may be to teach students how to think and analyze the world in non-binary metrics across multiple axes. 

Or we can formulate the questions that we ask in a manner that invites multiple perspectives -- 2 + 2 = ?  versus  ___ + ___ = 4

Share research or student experiences that informed your idea!

Every year, I see students work to navigate their "real lives" with their "digital lives" and their struggles are growing more complex and less obvious. Parents + teachers also struggle as they watch their children + students. I worry that we are growing desensitized but I am hopeful that we can learn to pay better attention. World Economic Forum: Digital intelligence reports:

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Photo of Jason Breed

Posted this over on James Fester project and it seems to fit here as well. Here are some of the most recent studies on the topic that I am aware of :

Tons of recent metrics and studies from both UK and US -

The first global study looking at younger kids ages 8-12 - showing 51% of US kids exposed to at least some type of cyber-risks. My non-profit led the US portion of the study if you are interested in just the US numbers let me know.

Here is a recent study launched by Journal of Pediatrics showing prevalence of inappropriate messaging (the link is to a Quartz article in case you do not have a Journal of Pediatrics subscription)

Here is a very comprehensive study just released in UK on the effects of cyberbullying and the adolescent brain -

To be fair - many turn to CommonSenseMedia as well. Personally, there is so much there and much is dated (around research and lessons) that it takes more time to weed through it than it's worth. That is my opinion though and wanted to include it as a resource anyway. (I also feel their advocacy and lobbying in this space is second to none and to me that is where their value is)

Photo of Jason Breed

Hey Paul Kim , thanks for mentioning the global study just published by DQ Institute! We are actually the US Ambassadors for DQ World and drove the US participation of the study through our network. I just submitted our approach under the title "Digital Futures Initiative". Happy to collaborate with you, if interested.

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Hi Jason -- any insights you can share are very welcome. We would like to share as much research as possible around digital citizenship along with tips and creative ideas about how to incorporate education around digital citizenship in the classroom. Thanks so much.

Photo of Greg Lau

Helping students be accustomed to complexities and skilled in handling complex environments is foundational. A broad perspective is capable of encompassing a complex environment. A narrow perspective can only see bit by bit, headline to headline, feed to feed, tweet to tweet, which makes one entirely susceptible to the volatility of the digital world. A complex, broadened mind can see the full picture, so one troll or bot or fake headline or bait click article or commercial scam could easily be compared with everything else in sight, thus nullifying its trickery. A narrow, untrained eye would see one scam and without the capacity to know anything else, would be fooled.

Great to see someone tackling the fundamentals and the roots.