In Chapter 10 of Digital Community Digital Citizenship (2010), Jason Ohler writes about character education and how it relates to our digital needs. This chapter highlights a school board working together to ensure students are prepared and understand what is expected of them in this day and age. If school boards can start the planning process and involve the teacher, parents and students the outcome could be a really great emphasis on relevant character education.
Whether school boards, educators, parents or students are ready or not there is a need for character education that embodies digital policies. In fact, “character education happens whether we intend to or not. Therefore, it needs to be deliberately planned and developed. Otherwise, it will not produce the results that the school community wants” (Ohler, 2010, p.188). Parents and students need to become part of the process. If the community becomes involved it will allow the school to incorporate a set of standards that will help guide the development of character education and digital policies that the community is willing to support.
Parent and student involvement also creates a greater awareness of policies and expectations. I work harder if I believe that what I am doing has valued purpose and believe the majority of parents and students that participate would also. By getting parents and students involved in the process of creating valuable character education they will feel there is a purpose or reason. Just as educators take students input at the beginning of the school year to create and decide on class rules, the same concept should maybe apply for creating and implementing a technology policy.
On page 197, I saw great importance of the section in the chapter where the school board was using values that they wanted students to walk away with as their driving force for character education. I believe the school board was looking at students as a whole person not just making sure they implemented a character education program. The values in the book I thought were important were: “balance safety for yourself and others, knowing when to unplug, and working in diverse teams”(Ohler, 2010, p. 197). It’s important that students understand and think about not just themselves but others. Students need to also realize how their actions can affect other people in their communities. It’s also important to know when to unplug. In this day and age where everything is at our fingertips there are times when we don’t need technology. Lastly, in the real world people need to work together/collaborate, if we can teach students at a young age how to do this they will be better prepared for when they grow up. The school board used the values to guide the type of students they wanted to help grow and mold as local, digital, and global citizens.
What should educators do if they see a need for a more digitally focused character education? How can educators get their school board members to also embrace the importance? As an educator I know I can make change in my classroom. I can discuss character education with in my room with my students and get their input on what they believe good values of character education are. Starting small can sometimes create big change.
Ohler, J. B. (2010). Digital community, digital citizen. SAGE Publications.