Students created information on environmental problems and posted the information on the class wiki. I showed the movie An Inconvenient Truth - which if you like or dislike Al Gore makes you have an immediate reaction to it. (There is another example of poor citizenship, don't you think?).
What surprises me is how they have not yet embraced the use of their voice. Let me backup: I first started with a world population activity where students analyzed an age structure diagram from a country and researched information to explain present and future populations. They also entered a silent online debate on TIGed over issues regarding world population problems. I thought all went well there and students enjoyed expressing their feelings.
Back to the movie: One student wrote in his my space about what he felt about the movie and global warming. Not kind, but his opinion. What bothers me is how he reacted when another student tried to clear up some of the miscnceptions he had and also asked for an explanation of a statement that he made. She had links, direct statistics from reputable sources, etc. I know it is off of school time, but he reacted by removing her as a friend and deleting her posts. I equate that to the same as saying: "Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah - I can't hear you".
Maybe I am making too much of it but I am trying hard to get them to be critical of information, receptive of other viewpoints, and be respectful to another viewpoint. Both students are very intelligent, opinionated, but the responder works in class like a citizen.
So, now what? I didn't let it go. I decided to post a poll on the wiki as to their beliefs on global warming (the my space student knows what is up). Because the believers, and those that don't or need more information are close in numbers, I believe a debate is in order carried out in the space of their choice. Maybe instead of telling them the guidelines, the classes should decide what they are. Could be a good chance to discuss what being a citizen is and how necessary it is to be so in the digital world. I am still thinking all the specifics.
I am not sure what it is I think can be accomplished. Unfortunately, many adults can't act appropriately in or out of the web. But baby steps can still accomplish something.
I went back to read the post from Vicki Davis about Alec Couros' post on digital citizenship. She has a part that I really caught this time (another note to self: re-read the blogs more often to get what you missed the first time):
It is time to pull character education out of the shelf and inject it and ourselves into the world which we have become with our voices and all we have.
What am I saying if I don't make this a teachable moment? If I let it go? If I think it is not my responsibility, then I have lost more than just that moment.