4.7a | Digital Advocate

As a digital citizen advocate, the coach is expected to inspire and encourage educators and students to use technology for civic engagement and to address challenges to improve their communities.

Having come from a technology background, I have always been a strong advocate for using technology for good. I am constantly seeking ways to integrate digital advocacy even through the teaching of seemingly unrelated courses like languages. As an example, I found a creative way to advocate digital citizenship in a Creative Writing Workshop. The workshop may be a language-based workshop but I have woven digital citizenship into the writing topic, thereby killing 2 birds with one stone. The workshop was a 4-session workshop and in each lesson, I designed the learning objectives to include elements of digital citizenship. The end goal is for students to create a fable that teaches a lesson related to digital citizenship.

In another Workshop I designed on Building Digital Literacy for 21st-Century Success, I addressed some of the misconceptions about building digital literacy in children. Some people feel that digital literacy means learning how to program and code in a specific language and that this skill is only particularly important if a child is planning to get into a  technical field in future. Some think that digital literacy should only be instilled once a child is older and that the job of developing digital literacy in children is a job for teachers and trained professionals only. The fact of the matter is that if we are to prepare this generation for the future workforce in an increasingly digitalized world, digital literacy should be instilled in children from a young age, especially at the fast rate at which technology is advancing. Instilling digital literacy is not just a job for professionals but a collaborative task between school and families.

To promote students’ interest in digital literacy, I have introduced Jibo the social robot in my school as a tool for students to learn growth mindset and social emotional learning. A more advanced model of this robot is even capable of making mistakes on purpose so that the child can learn the value of growth mindset and developing resilience from making mistakes.

Here is a video of the capabilities and opportunities offered by this social robot.

JIBO: The World’s First Social Robot for the Home

Exposure is essential for students to broaden their view of the world and become better digital citizens. In my post titled “Culturally Responsive Teaching: Enhancing Student Engagement and Digital Classroom Learning“, I suggested leveraging a platform such as ePals to let students collaborate and communicate with people around the world.

In being a digital citizen advocate, I also see it as my role to educate on safety and ethical considerations when it comes to technology. In my post on “Ethical AI by Design: Key Issues of Ethical AI“, I cautioned that eventhough technology like artificial intelligence (AI) has many advantages, it is also important for us to consider the key ethical issues raised by AI. The is a need for balance and for us to carefully consider what is advantageous vs. what is genuinely good for humanity.

I also highlighted the harms of fake news and digital misinformation in a digitalized world in my post titled “Fake News and the Crap Detection Radar“. In the post, I advocated that besides using technology to fight the war against fake news, education is our next best option. I shared a simple method for students to remember how to detect fake news using the F-A-B-L-E method by Logue (2019):

  • Find – find original footage, figures, and research to ensure that one is educated on what is true and what is not, rather than relying on others to summarize for us.
  • Analyze – analyze the headline to see if it was written to elicit a reaction as some juicy headlines may not necessarily be concerned with the truth.
  • Bias – Check your own bias as personal biases can cause us to avoid skepticism. At times, our speed to trusting something may be due to our innate wish for something to be true. Our desire to verify facts may be lowered when something plays too close to our own worldview.
  • Look – Lookup and use fact-checkers like Snopes or PolitiFact to vet stories before sharing.
  • Exert – Exert self-control before sharing any stories online especially when you are not entirely sure if the story is accurate.


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