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"Digital Classroom Etiquette for 21st Century Learners"

With Digital Learning Day right around the corner (February 6th, 2013), this might be a good time to review and solicit suggestions for behaviors that display exemplary digital etiquette or good digital manners. In days of yore, raising your hand before speaking, keep your hands to yourself, and no gum chewing might be examples of classroom etiquette, or behavioral expectations. But what about today's classrooms where students bring cell phones, tablets, or other electronic devices? What are the classroom behavioral expectations for learners in this digital age? What are the classroom management strategies associated with a digital learning environment?



  • Cell phones and other personal devices should be silenced or shut off unless they are to be used for the classroom learning activity. Movie theaters, libraries, meetings, weddings, and funerals - I am surprised how many important events are disrupted by an inconsiderate, and often obnoxious, ring tone.
  • Remove headphones or earbuds when engaged in face-to-face conversation with others. Give your undivided attention to the discussion because it is respectful. Sharing of earbuds is an unhealthy practice. You wouldn't share your toothbrush or athletic socks - would you? Earbuds are the #2 pencils of the digital age - bring and use your own.
  • Close the lid, dim the screen, or "click to sleep" when undivided attention is required. "Hands off" time (removing hands from keyboard or device) helps to stay on task and fully engaged in listening. Multitasking is another way of saying divided attention, lack of focus, or off task. Multitasking is a myth.
  • Refrain from checking email, tweeting, checking your wall, or gaming when those activities distract you or others from the task at hand. Turn off or silence message notifications, particularly if you are giving an on-screen presentation and you have visual notifications turned on. Yes, I am admitting to frequently being guilty of checking messages at my meetings. I'm working on it.
  • Most devices now have on-board cameras. Don't shoot photos or videos of others without their permission. Don't share or post pictures or video of others without their knowledge or permission. Is this considered invasion of privacy? Law.com / Legal Dictionary

Some of this boils down to understanding what is rude or disrespectful, or in many cases - what is simply right or wrong. In all likelihood, digital etiquette will become more universally understood and followed as the cultural rules and norms associated with mobile, digital devices become better publicized, learned, and reinforced in our daily activities.

What suggestions do you have for promoting positive digital behaviors in your classroom?

Graphic from Digiteacher
Related Reading

"The Chronicle of High Education"

"Digiteacher Wiki"

"MediaShift"

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