In the coming days, students are going to spend more and more time online, searching for information, creating it and communicating over the internet as a part of their social and professional worlds. Therefore, educating students on how they should conduct themselves in the virtual world is as important as training them to function in the physical world.
The amount of time we spend on the internet has grown substantially over the years. According to the Global Digital report by Hootsuite, 2018 witnessed more than four billion internet users, a seven per cent increase over the users in 2017. The report also states that an average internet user spends six hours a day on devices and services that are powered by the internet, including social media. Growing use of the internet makes it that we have crossed over into an era of ‘digital citizenship’.
We are now a part of a community that is connected by the World Wide Web. The impact of technology on our lives is clear when we look at the soaring number of users of social media sites and online communities. As the digital citizens grow in numbers, the voices in the digital landscape are also becoming more diverse. Anything that happens in the world finds an immediate expression in the digital world with widely differing perspectives.
It is becoming more and more important for educationists to engage with the concept of ‘digital citizenship’ and help students in becoming ideal citizens of this emerging world. One of the fundamental features of an educational institution is that of a space where people with radically different views can come together and find a common ground to learn and grow. Hence, it is an ideal place to teach students how to be a part of the digital
community in productive and responsible ways.
Students are already spending a significant amount of time online, researching and looking up learning resources. In the coming days, they are going to spend more and more time online, searching for information, creating it and communicating over the internet as a part of their social and professional worlds. Therefore, educating students on how they should conduct themselves in the virtual world is as important as training them to function in the physical world.
As we enter 2019 and prepare for another year, learning and teaching to be a better digital citizen can be a worthy resolution to make.
I wish you all a very happy and prosperous year ahead!
Dr. Chenraj Roychand