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The purpose of the study is to explore the concept of digital citizenship in connection to learning and teaching among Saudi Arabia teachers. During the research, Ribble’s categories were used to analyze the data retrieved with the help of the interviews. The main research question of the study is digital citizenship awareness among teachers from Saudi Arabia. Qualitative case study research is the main methodology of the study. It reveals peculiarities of the e-citizenship education in different study levels, awareness of educators, and their readiness to use digital technology appropriately. Within the frame of the study, two teachers were interviewed via Skype. The analysis of their opinions showed that they attached great value to education, protection, and respect.
The present study is aimed at exploring the concept of digital citizenship in connection to learning and teaching among Saudi Arabia teachers. The revolution in the field of communication technology has resulted in the establishment of digital citizenship, also known as e-citizenship. As it was stated in previous research in the field, digital citizens should be aware of standards, rules, ideas, and principles to ensure the proper and positive use of technology. Within the frame of the present study, the researcher chose two male volunteers and interviewed them via Skype. Participants of the interview were chosen among teachers working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Throughout the interview, the researcher was communicating with the participants and discussing the purpose of the present study and participants’ attitudes to questions concerning the topic. As has been stated, the present research is to analyze the notion of digital citizenship in connection to learning and teaching among Saudi Arabia teachers. The data were analyzed in accordance to Ribble’s categories involving education, respect, and protection. At first, the interviewees were to describe their vision of digital citizenship. According to their answers, it was clear that the notion of respect belonged to the number of the key values shared by the teachers in Saudi Arabia. Thus, they saw digital citizenship as the way of modern technology use that was helpful both for them and for their students, and did not involve any violation of students’ feelings.
According to Al-Zahrani (2015), implementation of digital citizenship principles is often troubled by the prevalence of religious norms and people’s striving to promote the importance of cultural identity, and some of the answers of the interviewees were connected to the themes of religion and respect. They were asked to give an example of unethical behaviour of the teacher with regard to the technology use, and their answers contained a reference to respect. For instance, one of them regarded another teacher’s habit to use music during the lessons to be inappropriate as many people belonging to Muslim culture believed music to be incompatible with religion. Ribble (2011) supposes that the teacher should regard modern technologies as “tools that allow individuals to communicate, and, ultimately, create a new society” and this statement is close to the opinions that the participants were expressing during the interview (p. 20).
Answering the question concerning the importance of digital citizenship for teachers, the interviewees highlighted that teacher was supposed to be an example for the students. Therefore, his or her computer literacy should encourage students to learn from their teacher. During the interview, we also touched upon the question of violations of digital citizenship norms committed by the students. According to the interviewees, these norms can be violated in many ways but filming someone or taking photos without the permission remains one of the most common cases. Apparently, such an action involves a lack of respect and digital empathy (Terry and Cain, 2016). Describing the measures that can be taken by teachers in order to promote the image of a good digital citizen among the students, the interviewees focused on the importance of education. As it appears from their answers, there is a plenty of ways to make students aware of the digital citizenship rules.
For instance, the interviewed teachers proposed to lead the discussions with students on the proper use of the Internet. What is more, they believed that teacher should use strong examples of good digital citizens whose activity is of benefit to themselves and the society. In general, the answers to this question involved a concept of protection as other teachers were advised to leave no stone unturned in order to isolate their students from harmful information. Among the ways to teach students how to be a good digital citizen, the interviewed teachers mentioned the creation of Facebook page that would contain the information helping students to adopt the requirements imposed on good digital citizens.
Furthermore, the participants were proposed to express their opinion on the future of teaching digital citizenship. According to their answers, the situation is going to be quite stable, and in the future, more emphasis will be put on teaching students with help of examples illustrating the misuse of the technology. It will be more important to show that this misuse brings damage to both the society and the person who distributes the harmful information. Moreover, the participants were asked about their own level of confidence concerning teaching digital citizenship to the students. As it follows from their answers, they feel quite confident but there is a common opinion on the role of teacher that they find to be depthless. As the interviewees believe, it is unfair to regard teaching the rules of digital citizenship as the activity that should be performed only by teacher. Instead, they place an emphasis on the necessity of the collaborative work of the teacher, the society, and student’s parents.
In conclusion, it is obvious that digital citizenship is extremely relevant for the modern world as it offers a great variety of opportunities such as massive access to resources and effective learning. Throughout the study, the data was retrieved with help of literature review and conducting the interviews with teachers from Saudi Arabia. Within the frame of the present study, the teachers’ opinions on the subject of teaching digital citizenship were analysed in accordance to Ribble’s principles that include education, protection, and respect. As it follows from analysis and interpretation of their answers, the participants consider all these elements to be the important constituents of teacher’s competence in the field of digital citizenship. Nevertheless, there are more research gaps concerning the topic of digital citizenship education. For instance, it can be interesting to analyze students’ attitudes towards features that a good digital citizen is supposed to possess. To enrich the knowledge on the topic, it can be extremely important to focus further research on students’ opinions on digital citizenship lessons at their educational institutions (Jones and Mitchell, 2016). As the study examines the importance of digital citizenship education among teachers, it is able to attract more attention to the topic in academic community.
Al-Zahrani, A. (2015). Toward digital citizenship: Examining factors affecting participation and involvement in the Internet society among higher education students. International Education Studies, 8(12), 203–217.
Jones, L. M., & Mitchell, K. J. (2016). Defining and measuring youth digital citizenship. New Media & Society, 18(9), 2063-2079.
Ribble, M. (2011). Digital citizenship in schools. San Diego, CA: International Society for Technology in Education.
Terry, C., & Cain, J. (2016). The emerging issue of digital empathy. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 80(4), 58.