Albany Senior High School deputy principal Miranda Makin says, "We want our students to be citizens of the world and to be actively participating in the community." She describes how digital citizenship teaching is embedded within classroom practice to ensure students have safe and informed practices when accessing and sharing information on the Internet.
We want our students to be citizens of the world and to be actively participating in the community. When they leave school they’re using things like Facebook, social networking sites, social media all the time. It’s part of their lives and so they need to be able to learn how to use these technologies, you know, in a safe way, in a sensible way, in a way that enables their learning. And we want to be able to provide that opportunity for them.
It is really important for us, as a school, to give our students opportunities to access all of that information that they would in their daily lives. We don’t want them to suddenly feel that their school is disconnected from the way they live their lives. But in the same way, or by the same token, we also want our students to be able to make really good and safe decisions about the way that they’re using these things. And also exploring, “how can we use these to facilitate learning?” we look at the guidelines and legislation around copyrighted material and when our students are involved in work or products around those lines, then the teachers will be talking with students around those requirements.
Most of the work that is actually put up online is the students’ own original work. It’s not reworking other people’s ideas. So, for example, the ‘Portal Unity Project’ is all those students’ work. The products that might go up on YouTube are often short films that the students have designed and, you know, or might be to raise awareness about a particular thing (aspect of conservation for example) like Zoo TV. So they’ve actually worked with the zoo to produce conservation snippets that then the zoo links to, to raise awareness for the public. Really there are a lot of checks and balances in place with the way that we work with our students and our stakeholders to make sure that we are hitting the mark and it’s appropriate and it’s legal.