Educators: Digital Hygienists
I usually go to the dentist office twice per year. I am always greeted by my favorite dental hygienist – Asha. She does a great job of connecting with others – always taking the time to update me on her last six months and asking questions about what I have been up to as well. While we catch up, she is examining my teeth, cleaning the hard-to-reach places, and making sure that I know my next steps to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
We, as educators, must be like Asha – but for our students’ digital health. Digital hygiene describes the cleanliness or uncleanliness of one’s digital habits – infused in one’s daily routine. We have flooded our schools with 1:1 technology initiatives across the country; we encourage our learners to utilize technology in their growth as a learner and a person; and we push for innovative ideas through the lens of technology. As a promoter of technology integration into the learning process, I am fan of this evolution. I caution however to ensure that we are also taking the position of digital hygienists in the process as well.
As digital hygienists, we must take the same road as Asha:
Establish trust and rapport – the relationship is always the core!
Examine students’ digital health – partner with learners to evaluate good and bad habits
Identify the’ digital blind spot – help learners see areas that can be detrimental to their digital health
Provide a framework & strategies to maintain healthy digital habits