Netiquette as the foundation of 21st century skills.

Netiquette as the foundation of 21st Century Skills.

“21st Century Learning” is here to stay and many Teachers and schools are doing amazing efforts to incorporate the framework of the future into their curriculums, standards and everyday classes. One of the most important skills to begin with is Netiquette. Today Netiquette or Cyber etiquette is as important as on-ground etiquette, but many schools and parents are not teaching kids this new 21st century skill, even though, in my opinion, it is the building block for all the others.

What is 21st century learning you may ask? Helen Soule, Executive Director of Partnership for the 21st Century Learning (2015) talks about how learning in the 21st Century shouldn’t be limited to classroom walls, and as such should focus on “all the myriad learning experiences a child has throughout life that prepare him or her for the real world” this modern learning framework enfolds the certain skills that are needed for 21st century life.

  1. Information, Media and Technology: In a world packed with rapid changing mountains of information the 21st century citizen should effectively create, evaluate and utilize information, media and technology.
  2. Life and Career Skills: today’s life requires so much more global and competitive skills such as Social & Cross-Cultural, Productivity & Accountability and Leadership & Responsibility.
  3. Learning and Innovation Skills: these are the Skills that separate the readiness of the students to confront real life and focus on Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration, Creativity

The following Video created by EF Explore America (2012) perfectly sums up what 21st century learning framework should be like:

So, what is Netiquette and where does it fit?

Netiquette is described my many authors through out the web but as Virginia Shae (2004) puts it: Netiquette or Cyber etiquette is the forms required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be required in social or official life.” in this case in the cyber world. On-ground etiquette is a set of rules enforced by a culture or society with the purpose of protecting the individual of offences that are not punished by law, but are punished by society; the same can be said about Netiquette. For example, Law does not pursuit a person for not saying thank you or chewing with their mouth open or for speaking rudely at other people, but society does, and it shows its punishment by excluding said person from a social group. The same happens in the Cyber world, a “Troll” or “hater” will be blocked and flagged across different platforms.

Both on-ground and digital etiquette are basic for a peaceful interaction. It is imperative that people have a common knowledge, or shared parameters on how to behave, making it easier to come to understanding and facilitating prompt communication. Netiquette is extremely significant because there is no “indirect communication” or additional information such as body language or voice tone to add meaning to something said, so a Sarcastic comment or to-the-point message can be taken out of context.

One of the current main problems with teaching digital etiquette is the learning generation gap; etiquette or manners are traditionally taught at home, where parent are constantly watching and teaching kids how to behave properly in society, making etiquette a 24/7 learning environment, the problem with Netiquette is that parents are learning alongside kids this new skill, and in many cases, being left behind and being taught by their children, meaning that there is no constant teaching at home or a complete immersion in the learning of this new skill. “Millennials” are one of the first generations to completely turn around the power balance in a family, being the ones teaching their parents how act and preform instead of the other way around. If we want to start teaching kids to be global and cross-cultural leaders we are obliged to make sure that they are fully equipped to make the most of they interactions.

The importance of Teaching Netiquette as the first 21st Century Skills comes from the strong emphasis of communication and collaboration in the 21st century learning framework. “Internet users come from many cultures and walks of life. They arrive with a mix of expeculations using a variety of technologies, which they access in different ways” (Preece, 2004) and having a common set of ground rules for peaceful interaction is the first step to rewarding teamwork and communication.

For this 21st century skills to work, there has be a common social norm that mediates the interactions and partnerships between students learners of all ages, moreover between all Digital Citizens. This is basically the job of Netiquette, with out the basic knowledge of Netiquette the communication, collaboration and Digital Leadership, can be threaten, and for the 21st Century Framework to work, Netiquette should be the foundation upon which everything else is built, being the first step for diplomatic cyber citizenship.

Sources:

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