Thursday, July 25, 2013

When Great Technology Tools Are Used Irresponsibly-Digital Citizenship Importance

Today I had the opportunity to go to a conference with 450 educators from across the country to learn more about technology in the field of education. Today I also had the opportunity to see the importance of good digital citizenship skills first hand.

It just so happens that I was participating in a workshop held by the keynote speaker after she talked to the masses. During the keynote she used TodaysMeet to allow back channeling during her address. I watched as she opened the dialogue up and saw the posts made by the audience. I also watch her become deflated by some rude and negative remarks. She was shocked at some of the responses (including put-downs of her dress...really?!) but handled it like a trooper. Her answer was, "well that's ok, it is out there to allow the audience to work out what they are seeing and hearing." My response was, "No, it's really NOT ok. It is bad form and gave very little constructive feedback and was a poor showing of digital citizenship."  I stand firm on my feelings regarding this and have been thinking about it all evening. I would like to share a few of my thoughts:

  1. Today's issues just goes to show that teaching Digital Citizenship is vital to good technology usage. We can't expect our students to be good digital citizens if we are not modeling it ourselves. 
  2. I wonder if those comments would have been said to the speaker's face? How often do we "hide behind the technology" and allow ourselves to use poor manners?
  3. I see the benefits of using someone to be a "moderator" anytime you are using back channeling. This would allow for some "policing" of the threads and prevent off task and inappropriate talk. The speaker said she had NEVER had that happen Atlanta, way to go! 
  4. From now on I will be very clear about what is and what is not acceptable before using back channeling with a group. (Suggested Rules for BackChanneling coming soon).
  5. We, as educators, often jump at a chance to use new technology in the classroom but we don't prepare our "students" (in this case, teachers that should have known better) on how to properly use the technology. Educators get stuck on "we aren't teaching the technology, it's just a tool" but I believe this shows we have responsibilities to teach both the content AND the technology.
This speaker handled the situation as a learning experience for herself but I have no doubt she did not leave with a positive view of that group. Being in the South and from the South myself, I would assume that the audience would have been more gentile. I was embarrassed by the feed....Bless their hearts! ;)
(stepping off soapbox)


  1. We often use TodaysMeet in our content area forums. Despite mini-lessons on the tool and digital literacy, there are always one or two teachers who behave inappropriately ( logging in as our Commissioner of Education or as ME!) Luckily we meet often enough that I can usually identify them to address the behavior with them- but it never fails to disappoint me! Can't wait to see your "rules" - coming soon!

  2. Posted Rules of Engagement for BackChanneling today on my blog -