May 6

Part B: Critical Reflection Blog Post – 10%

ETL523 Digital Citizenship in Schools has been packed full of theories and practicalities at every turn. A secondary teacher without a leadership role, I endeavoured to focus my readings and experiences from my own classroom. I suppose as with Vygotskys’ Zone of Proximal Development, teetering through understanding – confusion – understanding, all through the guidance of Julie and colleagues.

Modules ETL523 and INF530 from the outset worked together. Whilst learning about Digital Citizenship, I was able to practice it through creating, no enhancing my own Personal Learning Network (PLN). Combine these experiences with the plethora of research, readings, experimentation and assimilation to my newfound digital world; along with my student needs and classroom experimentation, this Semester was awesome and yet bombarding.

An educator computing technologies for the past nine years obviously supported my technological understanding; however, until recently have steered clear of online communities. Due partly to the ‘bad’ hype, social media limited me to a very basic Facebook family and a really simple attempt at Blogging; and partly my known interpretations of curriculum documents.

Assignment 1 – our Wiki entitled ‘Digital Citizenship in the Digital Learning Environment‘ was a highlight for me. A simple definition of Digital Citizenship as being the “the norms of appropriate, responsible behaviour with regard to the use of technology” (Gillespie, K., Mate, D., Mathieson, S, & Sowter, J. 2014) by no means resembles the learning I received through this process.

I can now honestly say I have a digital footprint that I am proud. My PLN has grown from a simple family Facebook tool, to digital connectedness of Skype, Gmail, GDrive, Dropbox, Twitter, Google Circles, Diigo, Powtoons, SoundCloud and LinkedIn; and these are just the useful ones. 2010 saw my classroom commencement of social media through Blogging in a remote Indigenous High School; 2014 sees my classes creating, collaborating and publishing online with pride.

Collaboration as I’ve never seen it, our team worked through the issues of connectedness from Google Documents to Wikispaces. We came up with a topic we had no idea about, and designed a coherent wiki platform to present all facets of our topic: Tools and Components of a DLE(Dale Mate), Self Awareness (Jane Sowter), Policy and Practices (Sharon Mathieson) and DC in the Classroom DLE (Kylie Gillespie). Creating this Wiki made us realise fiddling required in formatting, and the time constraints in doing so.

Assignment 2 – allowed me to try my hand at applying leadership responsibilities; being my largest learning curve. Again, I tried to focus on what I knew, my classroom and personal experiences – as I am not in a leadership position. I chose a participatory culture as my main issue, as I have been able to successfully integrate my course experiences into my classes this year. This worked! The notion of the digital divide being comprised of legislative, economic, political and socio-economic status resonated with my experiences. Obviously, accountability is of utmost importance in government schools, and in reality even legislated through Internet filtering (for monetary gain I might add upon legislated compliance). It seems it is easier to have another organisation block information access, than have your own organisation accountable.

Rheingolds’ ‘awareness’ principle resonated with me, as it is such a major enabler of a connected curriculum. The need for awareness of these issues when leading through technological example, may hopefully resonate with my school students, parents and leaders. Awareness when planning curriculum documents, re-writing policy such as digital technologies that include all and providing teachers the autonomy in their practice to grow their educational commitment once more.

From these shared experiences I can honestly say ‘awareness’ has been a major component in my learning. Awareness that I can’t do this on my own; experiential awareness that my students are in control of their learning more than I am; and awareness that change happens slowly.

To make the necessary creative shift my physical and virtual classroom door needs to be open.

I wish to take this opportunity of thanking my colleagues for sharing their insights and experiences, and to Julie for her facilitation.

March 31

Module 4: Supporting the Digital Learner

4.1 Globalisation of Information & Learning

Supporting the Digital Learner. Local and global factors examined – social, cultural and global impact. Guidelines and policies to support digital learning.

– How can we nurture global and holistic practice for learning?
Learning and working digitally is ‘learning and working globally’.

Our PLN includes local and global people.

Skyping in the Classroom.

– How do you foster a globally sensitive personal brand?
‘Personal Branding’ – digital citizenship needs. Managing your online reputation.

Reading – 4 things you need to know to help your students manage their online learning.
– establish an active digital footprint. Your choice of how you want to be percieved online.
1) What’s an E-Reputation?
– Professional presence.
– Search engines: I have utilised this in class through a Google search for my own name. Bringing up Univeristiy graduation and an old phone number.
– Blogs and Websites:
– Blogs and Websites: students have actually found my Facebook account because I used a known avatar image.
– Social Media sites:
2) Why Online Reputations Matter?
The gossip factor of the Internet reaches farther and wider than real life.
– 78% of employers check search engines for your details. 63% of Social Media sites are checked.
– 8% of companies have fired for abusing social media.
– Ensure a ‘Good Online Presence’ to do good in your life.
3) What Potential Employers Are Watching For?
– Common BAD Reputation Issues Online.
– Photos used of you without permission.
Unflattering comments and information about you.
– Incriminating information.
– Digitally non-existent.
4) What Can You Do About It?
– Set your own reputation: participate online, create your own digital strategy and positive presence.
– Stay on top of things: monitor your online presence through Google searches, and Social Media comments.
– Ensure there is more Good than Bad: regularly post your own information, use SEO ensuring preferred articles are in top results.
– Secure Everything: secure your own online accounts. Don’t reveal personal information such as birth dates.
– Educate your Family and Friends: monitor tags and posts of your social media image; ask to remove photos and unflattering comments.

Nielsen, L. (2012, October 29). 4 things you need to know to help your students manage their online reputation by [Blog post].
Retrieved from


Reading Notes – Personal branding of a teacher: into e-educational environment.

A metaphor describing ‘how teachers look’ online and in school. Teachers’ need to ‘look good’ through their standards, atttitudes and habits. Similar to a statement from our principal “we need to become positive BBQ talk within our community”. So to, our community extends to e-learning. The positive BBQ talk needs to extend to our online personas. An advertisement persay of our professional and personal selves and painting our educational institutions with our own ‘online brush’.


Technology is the principal way of disseminating information.
Educational marketing – as teachers, we are responsible for our professionalism, our personas both online and off, before any intervention of our educational institutions.
1.2 Introduction – essential to build institution image through the teachers, and individual teacher images themselves.
– as teachers’ we are a commodity. Required or not by our future employers. A commodity that requires the nurturing of our personas.
1.2 Teacher positioning – marketing of teachers depends upon:
– external macro-environment: the country of employment. Labour market, demands for expertise, political stability, education policies, educational system, demographics, geographical, cultural conditions.
– external micro-envronment: staffing competition. How many, if any teachers can fulfil expertise area?
– internal environment: the teacher themselves. Self-analysis of worth and monitoring.

Strategic teacher planning for the next 3-5 years.

Teacher marketing mix developed on:
– Product: the functional needs of customers; i.e. the teacher.
– Price: value adding.
– Place: getting the educational organisation into the consumer’s hands.
– Promotion: communicate to the buyer (students, parents, community) to attend our school; i.e. teacher and school ‘looking good’ through web, print, social networks, events, PR.

Teachers can control the 4 Ps, subject to internal / external constraints.

1.3 A Teacher Brand – creating the external face (identity) that a person or business projects. Brand Strategy is how to be competitive – customers need to want their teachers and schools.

Brand Identity is key to a Functional Brand Strategy. Main determinants are:





Web 2.0 is about Connecting people.

Social Media (or Brand) Marketing is done through building positive connections and persona through:
– Blogging.
– Professional Networking (PLN).
– Social Networks (Twitter, Facebook, Google+).
– Sites and Forums.


Brandabur, R. E. (2012). Personal branding of a teacher: An approach into e-educational environment. Paper presented at the International Scientific Conference eLearning and Software for Education, 1 44-49. Retrieved from


Think, Reflect, Discuss

  • Why is it important to foster a global approach to digital citizenship?


  • What are the most important considerations when developing a professional personal brand? Or supporting students to develop their personal brand? What is your school doing in this area?

Your personal and school reputation. Fostering good digital citizenship as a professional is about ‘looking good online’. When your Global connections find your digital footprint, you and your school are being judged.

  • What do you see as typical challenges within a school when balancing ‘educational networking’ with ‘social networking’?
March 29

Activity 7 Forum


Activity #5: Tools people are using as part of your digital toolkit

  • What is your DLE?
  • What are your essential workflow digital tools?
  • What are tools you use for productivity fun in learning?
  • How do you connect, communicate, collaborate and create within this?
  • You might like to think of a fun way (another tool eg Glogster? Symbaloo?) to share the tools that you use every week with others


Forum: Designing the Digital Learning Environment

  • How does your personal DLE compare with your school DLE? Or your students?
  • What are the essential frustrations of going digital? How can you overcome these and support learning within a DLE?
  • What is on your ‘wish list’ to improve your current DLE? Or, what would you like to see in the future in terms of digital technologies to support a DLE?
  • What is responsible learning within a DLE? How do you instill the need for regular, reliable and responsible behaviour for learning while using digital tools?
March 29

3.1 Designing the Digital Learning Environment

Whole school Vision / Plan. A DLE design depends upon management style, teacher attitude, teacher education, pedagogical approaches and new learning styles.

What is the real context of the digital learning environment?

Personal DLE is Seperate from Employment DLE.
My personal DLE tools may not necessarily work for various reasons in school.

In-school frustrations:
Students have no less than 4 seperate login names to remember with many login failures. Quite regular computer system outages and unexpected shut downs in the middle of their work.

As a computing teacher, I attempt to utilise technology variety such as Blogging and mobile phones. I have had more success with the NSW DEC BlogEd only because it is approved and integerated into our Learning Portals. Quite often unfortunately NSW DEC Web 2.0 tools are down. It seems to be all too hard for executive and network administrators to correct. Maybe patterns of study such as this Masters study may influence change.

Despite not using my mobile device for personal communications in class, I have been asked not to even have my mobile device out in class time. School policy states they are not to have the mobile devices in class. I find my own mobile device an excellent PLN tool to photograph my lesson notes at lessons end. Students also become very engaged when utilising their own bluetooth or survey technologies in class.

How can learning spaces be personalized to learning needs?

Personalise learning spaces to learning needs!!!
1) Secret spaces -teenagers need secrecy / privacy more than adults realise.
2) Group spaces – students need friends. They find and engage with their friends through social media such as Facebook. School spaces not designed to engage collaboratively with friends.
3) Publishing spaces – the sharing of ‘Digital Artefacts’.
4) Performing spaces
5) Participation spaces
6) Watching spaces
7) Data spaces

Learning to Learn – an Experiment.
Facilitator of knowledge, not teacher.
A Teaching Revolution – 21st Century learning.
Content can be found anywhere. Get students to find the content themselves. Learning how to learn is what students should be focusing on.
Group work – account for learning styles. How to work with each other and sort of teaching ourselves. Delicious for bookmarks. Google Docs best for group work. Group contribution.
Unteach what they’ve been taught. Then start over teaching students ‘how to learn’, ‘how to collaborate’, ‘how to give feedback’.
Dean Shareski. (2011, January 18). Learning to learn [Video file]. Retrieved from, where Wright shares her classroom and the fluidity of learning between the physical and the digital.


How do you design and manage a digital learning environment?


What are the basics for setting up a digital learning environment?



March 25

2.5 Content Curation

  • What curation tools and methods do you use now?

Currenly I utilise the NSW DECs BlogEd as a school / home DLE. Whilst this has not been new for me since the commencement of my Masters studies, I am now understanding what I have ‘actually been doing’ with the construction of a Class Blog – a DLE; i.e. curation, which I had never actually thought of. I have also further integrated the use of Google Docs as a place to digitally store 21st Century learning resources. Thus enhancing my class Blog as a DLE, playing ‘host’ to curation methodologies as well. It is now my understanding that a DLE actually encompasses all that I have read thus far. It is just that; a ‘Digital Learning Environment’, and curation tool for digital learning resources of online tools and information, making them available in an easy to access location.

I have found vast differences in student abilities and preparedness to engage in Google Docs. Students are not used to Google Docs. I have realised through observation, that ‘digital literacy’ is key – not literacy itself. What do I think ‘digital literacy’ is? From my classroom experiences this term, students who are not, shall we say ‘achievement focused’ tend to be unable to, or choose not to ‘read’ the screen. Whether the right response I am uncertain yet, however, I have endeavoured for now to overcome this through ‘moving on’; which has brought greater involvement to those lacking. For example, I have experienced one student in particular say to me “come on, hurry. What are they doing?”; when I was assisting him to log in. This student was referring to his peers ‘collaborating’ via Google docs, whereby he was actually watching their ‘real time communication’ from different PCs.

Current in-class Curation Tools - 26th March 2014.

Snip of my Current DLE and in-class Curation Tools – 26th March 2014.

  • How do these compare with new ideas explored through this module?

What really stands out for me through my in-class Blog use and this course is the plethora of Web 2.o curation tools. It seems obvious now to me a good DLE utilises an appropriate range of curation tools, whilst not bothering with too many. For example, I have found it easier as stated in a previous reflection to utilise one Blog environment for like classes. This Blog hosts, or curates a range of Web 2.0 tools as a repository within. Students (and teachers if Blog access is shared with teachers) are able to ‘click on’ a particular tool – ease of access being the key to curation, I believe. Ease of access engages, of focuses student and teacher attention on collaboration, communication and creating, rather than the technology.

This course has got me thinking about all kinds of ‘other’ curation tools. Realtime Whiteboard, which is excellent for idea generation and I have determined is not filtered out through the NSW DEC. Diigo, excellent for curating and categorising Web 2.0 assets. Evernote, which I am using due to this course. An excellent ‘personal’ curation tool. Google cirles, excellent for sharing thoughts, ideas and and curation of articles etc. Just naming a few curation tools that I have tried through the course of study this year thus far, I must say it is easy to be overwhelmed. As an educator, if I’m overwhelmed, then so too are my students. Currently, I am thinking curation is the building of my PLN, to work towards a DLE development that works for education. That works for my students and colleagues. A curated PLN so to speak, that somehow does not rely upon students and colleagues ‘joining’ a Web 2.0 tool; instead demonstrates the tool. I can’t force change, I can only lead change.

March 24

2.3 The Digital Divide and Information Acess

Digital Divide


The Digital Divide has become the term for ‘bridging the gap’ between the haves and the have nots.

Contemporarily it is those who have access to technology but will not OR cannot allow access; such as filtered internet, lcokdown approach, outdated policies.

Digital Citizenship expectations are effected through through these conditions and constraints.

Video: The Digital Divide
Contracts are difficult so understand and sign – older people.
Remote communities – no banks, post offices, shopping centres, telecommunications.
Society requires communication between each other – sometimes only through mobiles.
Lack of senior connection brings isolation.
Social media an important innovation, beneficial to mainstream society; i.e. Skype for free opened a whole new world.
Services supplied by non-indigienous people. Requires non-indigenous good will.
20% Australians have disability. Disadvantaged to access the web.
25% seniors online currently. Make it easier for them. A fear, lack of knowledge, about online. Seniors need more knowledge provided to be aware of.
Broadband etc critical beyond schooling.
Bridging the Digital Divide: major expense for those on low incomes. Used by people with disabilities. Communicaiton is a lifeline.

Personal reflection:

  • Based on your reading of the digital divide, how does this translate in terms of a school’s responsibilities?
Approximately 75% of the students in my classes state they have internet access from home, only approximately 25% actually demonstrate internet access through providing completed homework. Whilst this may not be a true indication of home internet access amongst my students, it does resemble O’Leary (2012) ‘Making connections to end digital divide'( Thus, indicating a major contributor to lack of student digital homework ‘could’ be forced upon the students through the community, rather than chosen. 2014, I have personally experienced ‘one’ student having utilised her smartphone over the weekend to access our class blog and complete the homework. She used her smartphone due to not have home internet. It would seem that students ‘want’ to learn, to have fun and that they would have fun and learn from home ‘if it were as easy for them as their external social choices’. If a school is really to involve students in learning, they need to involve them in ‘their own society’. In what is important to the students.

ACCANvideo. (2010, July 1). The digital divide [Video file]. Retrieved from

Information Access

  • How can information specialists/leaders and school administrators adequately address the breadth of Internet regulation issues faced by their school community?
Schools in the first instance need to own for themselves the ‘responsibility’ of delivering a 21st C curriculum. School wide policy, process and practice should be inclusive of 21st C learning. I have personally just completed my third attempt to finalise a collaborative assignment through Google Docs for my Year 9 IST students. The previous two lessons have culminated in ‘blocked’ access from within school. Testing with a student Internet account from my own home determines the Internet account not to be the ‘blockage’, therefore, in-school factors must be the problem.
March 23

2.2 Information Literacy and Digital Fluency

– How do you see yourself developing the knowledge and skills to address current and future information literacy and digital fluency needs?
The roll of 21st C educators is to educate within an ‘information society’. Our information society is full of data without connections. Data used to reside in texts, however it now resides in everyday online societies. Our students are already operating within an ‘information society’. They are ‘transliterate’ within their own needs. Data is at their fingertips through their mobile devices. They utilise this data through their digital social connections (their own PLNs) such as Facebook. Students are connecting their ‘Data Dots’ to make sense of them – they have become ‘information literate’. Now, our schools, libraries and universities all operate through a DLE for administration purposes and have done so for a while. It is my roll as educator to engage in these DLEs and make them a part of my PLN. It is within this PLN that I will be able to make sense of the ever-changing Web 2.0 tools that the DLE of today and tomorrow can bring to educating my students.

– What is the relevance and purpose of transliteracy in this overall discussion of digital citizenship and 21st Century teaching and learning?


Transliteracy is a skill, a literacy if you will, that provides mastership of the ‘information society’ in which we operate. Thomas, S., et al. (2007) defines transliteracy as “the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks” – as being Digitally Fluent. As 21st C educators attempt to engage students within a 21st C curriculum, find digital citizenship in our students, students must be digitally fluent for researching, collaborating, communicating and creating meaning from information. It is the Digital Tools in a students’ PLN that enables them to source relevant information from ‘bits of data’.

Digital Fluency

March 22

2.1: 21st C Learner and Me

Dear Reflective Journal,

It makes sense that 21st C Learning begins with – ME! Educators have the responsibility of owning for themselves 21st C Learning if the students are going to become 21st C Learners. Whilst I hadn’t really thought about any PLN, or indeed my PLN before, I now realise my educational experimentation in the use of cloud resources such as Blogging has been the commencement of my own Professional Learning Network.

Whilst I have been building my PLN for a couple of years, it has not detracted from the actual curriculum; furthermore, I realise now the curriculum was being taught as an ‘entire entity’, similar to the 21st C Learning Model: Communicator, Collaborator and Creator.

Just recently, engaging a Year 7 class through problem solving in our blog task I included snipping evidence of their task completion for digitised communication back to me. A Year 7 girl enjoyed so much actually showing me how to use the ‘snipping tool’, how to save an image of her evidence. I was able then to scaffold her on the actual sharing of this piece of evidence (this singular data piece) and turn it into ‘connected information’ as a part of our Blog. These images are actually of their own avatar characters, where they need to construct their own families into characters.

Reading 2.1 I realise as 21st C Learners we need to make data connections of the little things that engage students through small steps such as ‘snipping an image’. Week 8 of this term sees my Stage 4 students now actually accessing our classroom PLN from home. Just last night at approximately (7pm, 8.15pm, 9.30pm and even 10.o9pm) I received communication through the PLN of student work. These students I realise, have built connections from school to their personal lives, through our PLN – they are 21st Century Learners already.

An open mind-set for trying new things, trying 21st C learning has engaged these students. I now come to realise the necessary open mind-set requires ‘partially letting go of control’.


March 20

Google Doc Collaborative inclass Observation

I have never quite been involved in a task like this before, it has been an education already. I even utilised a Google Doc collaboratively to a highly mixed ability Year 9 class today. It was more about access and collaboration than meaningful response, however, students became engaged when there were 14 of them all typing live data. I think the Google Doc actually would have been working overtime with all their alterations – not necessarily sensible, though. Now an attempt at sensible Google Doc collaboration!

March 18

Dear Journal – Evernote as a DLE

I’ve just finished setting up Evernote Premium on my devices (HP Laptop, Macbook Pro, Galaxy S4 and Sony Ultrabook).

Wow, syncs beautifully with 1 Gb upload max per month, premium account. Directory structures as good as the NSW DECs BlogEd, seemingly more versatile. Soon to experiment a student test account. Will keep you posted.

March 16

Assessment Item 1: Group Proposal – Due 24th March 2014

Digital Learning Environments (DLEs) empower educational institutions to develop 21st Century skills in learners that promote digital citizenship. Through analysis of research, literature and best practice exemplars, this wiki will explore how ongoing meaningful engagement with DLEs can influence the development of digital citizenship. It will provide a repository of information and resources for educators to utilise when identifying and analysing the skills, tools, standards and attitudes which encompass a DLE. By adding this knowledge to their Professional Learning Network (PLN) toolkit, educators can effectively address appropriate digital citizenship for the 21st Century.


Gillespie, K., Mate, D., Mathieson, S. & Sowter, J. (2014, January 23). Group Proposal for Assignment 1 [Collaborative Group Google Doc]. Retrieved from