When driving education was not formal training, “new drivers were taught by family members, friends, or car dealers“. To make driving safer, driving courses were created and new drivers must now show evidence of vehicle operation, application of traffic rules on the road, and responsibility. In addition, making good decisions based on road, traffic, and weather conditions is an important skill to reduce the risk of accidents.
Allowing people to drive without attending driving courses and demonstrating evidence of driveability would make driving very dangerous and life-threatening.
Let’s rephrase this last sentence:
Allowing people to use social media without attending digital education and demonstrating evidence of digital sociability would make interacting online very dangerous and life-threatening.
You may be thinking that I am exaggerating a bit by saying that lack of digital sociability is life-threatening. However, we do not need to go too far to find some cyberbullying stories with a very sad ending.
You do not need to imagine a world where digital education is not required for interacting online. This is the world in which we currently live.
When I say digital education I mean much more than “using technology to develop new environments for effective learning“. Digital education, for me, is the process of teaching and learning effective skills to use online tools with care and consciousness.
Let’s go back to the driving analogy used at the beginning of this post: digital users may demonstrate evidence of device operation (e.g. cell phone, iPad, laptop, etc.) but not necessarily netiquette (application of digital rules on the Internet), responsibility, and good decision-making.
Dan Schawbel’s 5th reason why your online presence will replace your resume made me think about my own digital presence not only for future job searching but, most importantly, as an educator. How are my digital sociability skills? Is my digital presence a good example for my students?
Do I have a digital presence? I never asked myself these questions before. I know some of my students may share the road with me, and I know I am a responsible driver. But how about sharing the digital world with them? Am I a responsible digital user?
I am suggesting that digital education is necessary to make the Internet a positive space for everybody. It is never too late to start discussing digital sociability skills in workplaces and schools. I will definitely start doing this with my students at the U of R. This week’s #eci831 assigned post made me want to not only develop a solid and respectful digital presence as an educator but also help my adult students to create their online presence more positively, understand the difference between being authentic and oversharing, and use social media to personalize their learning experiences.
I am not a utopian. I don’t think “a social media licence” would fix social media irresponsible use. However, I truly believe that digital education has the power to make an important contribution to this matter. Let’s teach our students how to use social media properly before implementing open learning resources into our teaching practices!
Drive Responsibly. Teach your students how to use social media intentionally.