1.1 Digital Citizenship as a concept


Enlightened Digital Citizenship

My developing definition of digital citizenship :: Digital Citizenship is a way of using technology responsibly that focusses on the skills, attitudes and personal behaviours that allow citizens to engage with their networks in a positive manner.

I am enjoying the idea that the Concept of Digital Citizenship is multi-faceted as described by Mike Ribble at http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/Nine_Elements.html

The model shown above (Davis & Lindsay, 2012) is also very helpful as it helps  us acknowledge that as Digital Citizens we need to develop an understanding of our online citizenship from a variety of perspectives.

What is my stance on digital citizenship? :: I have learnt that students need explicit modelling and guiding as to how to be good Digital Citizens. They do not necessarily do this naturally; nor do adults.

This student mentoring needs to go deeper than the training of students to use various tools but also requires explicit discussions on acceptable use of social media, in its many forms.  In the digital medium there is always the temptation for youth to say things or post artefacts that are socially  inappropriate. Young students quite often engage in online behaviours that they otherwise would not when communicating face-to-face with their peers and wider communities. This also relates to the adult world; some of the most inappropriate emails that I have received have been from parents of students. I would take this one step further and suggest anyone that engages with digital communication technologies be made ware of the global perspectives of digital citizenship.
What should an informed, publicly engaged digital citizen look like? The informed publicly engaged citizen not only has access to the appropriate technology but they are skilled in contributing to their social networks.  They can do so in a way that is sensitive to a variety of audiences across social, cultural and global boundaries.

What direction are you (or your school) taking? To generalise,  in both my work places, policies appear to focus on acceptable use of ICT: the dos and don’t of social media and behaviours online. No explicit discussions of digital citizenship are apparent – to the depth that  we are exploring here and is communicated by Davis and Lindsay in the above image.

Of interest, my current school is what I call a high technology school; students work on their BYO iPads on a 1:1 basis. These students are supported by a renowned School Wide Positive Behaviour Support program. In place is also a supportive social media policy that works in conjunction with an ICT and responsible use policy.  Good use  of social media and other web 2.0 tools is explicitly advocated.  In the classroom students are encouraged to make decisions about how to use the digital tools at their disposal.  So, the school is clearly on a journey of exploring issues of Digital Citizenship similar to those being explored in the early modules of #ETL523.  However, perhaps a more in-depth journey is required to engage in the areas of awareness as suggested by Lindsay and Davis (2012).
I must say that in the museum where I work there is strong a commitment to digital transformation including “in the way people work, think and interact.” This includes but is not limited to 1) Staff incorporating digital systems into their daily life 2) trialling and adopting digital systems and platforms that enable flexible content generation 3) A digital infrastructure that meets business needs.  No explicit policy on digital citizenship  … more goals and acceptable use policies. It is my understanding that there is a strong difference between “Digital Citizenship” and “acceptable use”. Digital Citizenship certainly involves ‘acceptable use but delves into deeper issues, including those of a global relevance.


Hollandsworth, R., Dowdy, L., Donovan, J. (2011). Digital citizenship in K-12: It takes a village. TechTrends 55(4) 37-47.

Lindsay, J., & Davis, V. (2012). Flattening classrooms, engaging minds: Move to global collaboration one step at a time. New York: Allyn and Bacon. Chapter 5: Citizenship.

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