Communicating effectively in online contexts - Designing experiences with technology to promote digital citizenship

Fostering Digital Citizenship is crucial in the XXI century. The current education system is not completely responding to this need, and it is necessary to design experiences across the curriculum to help students to become digital citizens.

One of the components of becoming a digital citizen is to be able to use technology in an ethical way. This is, being able to communicate properly in online contexts, being careful to be respectful and mindful of other people's beliefs, ideas, cultural background and point of views of a particular topic. Online hate has become a critical issue in our society and one of the main reason this is happening is because the lack of ability to tolerate or respect opinions or ideologies different than ours. For this reason, I can think of some opportunities that can be executed inside and outside of classroom contexts to help students develop this abilities.


John Cano


Creating Personal Learning Environments through LMS
Creating a Personal Learning Environments (PLE) where students can discuss about a particular topic. For this, the use of Learning Management Systems can be useful, especially making use of different possibilities that these platforms offer to educators and students—forums discussions, Wikis, Blogs, personal assignments. These Web 2.0-based tools allows interactions to happen naturally (like the ones we can experience on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or others), making this a good exercise to help students identify their own reactions or communicative skills while sharing, discussing and making projects with their peers. These interactions can also help students develop conflict-solving skills while facing different situations that may emerge while interacting with many people that seek to accomplish a same goal (e.g. working in teams for a project).


John Cano


Analyzing interactions in online communities
In order to foster awareness of the potential and risks that technology and social media has in our society. Students can go to a social network space (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) or a Website with interactions available for regular users (like newspaper Website or forums) that are related to a topic that related to their interests. On these spaces, they will be able to make some textual analysis of the communicative cues people use to express their ideas, beliefs, disagreements or point of views of a specific topic.

Through this experience, students can become critical about the way they communicate with others in online contexts. Also, this allows to be aware of some restrictions and “rules” that should be considered while interacting with people in online communities, such as identifying who they are interacting with (friends, relatives, boss, professor, others), which is the purpose of the communication and being conscious of the quality of the interaction they are building (using the right words, tone or multimedia piece in a specific context, for instance).

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