Fostering Digital Citizenship

REFLECTIVE POST for ETL523 Assessment 3 Part B

At the beginning of my ETL523 studies of digital citizenship I shared my thoughts on the group Padlet and in my blog: “Digital citizenship refers specifically to knowing how to behave in the digital world”, I wrote, and then continued: “as educators, (we) must help our young students develop the skills, habits and appropriate behaviour that will help them be safe, act ethically and respectfully and be accountable for their actions.  This is citizenship.” (Wocke, 2018c; Wocke 2018a).

Now, at the end of this module, I still agree with most of it, except the last sentence. This is not citizenship, at least not all of it. In my recent blogpost called Digital CITIZENship I reflected on my learning and new understanding (Wocke, 2018f). Yes, citizenship has to do with personal behaviour, but it is also tied to community, social responsibility and privileges (Ohler, 2011). It further has to do with participation, becoming active citizens rather than just passive consumers (Rheingold, 2010).

What is digital citizenship?, posted by Family Online Safety Institute

A century ago already Dewey argued that the goal of schools should be to educate young people to be citizens who can think, do and act intelligently and morally (“John Dewey,” n.d.). With the advent of the digital society, schools need to take on this responsibility, especially in the digital realm. In order to be empowered citizens, we have to ensure that we equip our students with the information literacy, digital literacy and social media literacy skills and the ability to transfer those skills to new media and situations (Wocke, 2018e, Hague & Payton, 2010, Rheingold, 2010). The networked and connected nature of the Internet means that this cannot happen in isolation, only in dedicated digital citizenship classes. It needs to be integrated into every classroom and every lesson, in order for this attitude to become part of the everyday behaviour of our students. The social, open and participatory nature of the Internet has eliminated boundaries to communication and collaboration to such an extent that our digital interactions are as likely to be local, as national or global. Digital citizens are by default global citizens and should be cultivated as such, by helping them develop a sense of personal and global responsibility and accountability (Lindsay, 2016, p. 22; Crockett & Churches, 2018, p. 24).

By intentionally designing digital learning environments (discussed here on my blog and in the forum),  where learning is facilitated and supported through the affordances of digital technology, we can create safe, authentic learning environments, where we guide our students in their development as 21st century citizens – see figure 1. (Wocke, 2018b). Digital learning environments (DLE) should be intentionally designed, allowing for personalised, empowering, learner-centred and learner-directed learning, where our students can practice and develop appropriate and ethical participation in the digital world (Veletsianos, 2016, pp. 246-7).
Figure 1. A definition of 21st Century Citizenship by P21.

Teacher librarians (TL), dually qualified educators and information specialists, are uniquely qualified to assist school leadership in designing DLEs and implementing policies and procedures with which to create environment that will facilitate the development of our students as effective citizens of the 21st century. While classroom teachers need to focus on subject content, TLs can collaborate with them and integrate aspects of literacy building and citizenship development into teaching and learning. TLs understand the needs and requirements of successfully, critically, ethically and honestly navigating the changing information environment, through teaching of research skills, evaluation, curation and ethical use of information sources. TLs can play an important role, not only assisting teachers to facilitate 21st century learning, but also helping teachers to develop the skills, competencies and fluencies needed to                              fully participate in the information economy. TLs are also able to
competently assist school leadership in building a successful DLE
(Martin & Roberts, 2015, p. 20).

At the start of my studies I subscribed to the concept of digital citizenship, but I now realise how important it is to proactively plan for the integrated development of 21st century learning literacy and global citizen awareness in the digital learning environment in our schools.



Crockett, L., & Churches, A. (2018). Growing global digital citizens: Better practices that build better learners. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Family Online Safe Institute. (2009, September 29). What is digital citizenship? [Video file]. Retrieved from

Hague, C., & Payton, S. (2010). Digital literacy across the curriculum. Retrieved May 13, 2018, from Futurelab website:

Lindsay, J. (2016). The global educator: Leveraging technology for collaborative learning & teaching. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

Martin, A. M., & Roberts, K. R. (2015, January/February). Digital native not equal to digital literate. Principal, 18-21. Retrieved from

Ohler, J. (2011). Character education for the digital age. Educational Leadership, 68(5). Retrieved from

Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (n.d.). Reimagining citizenship for the 21st century: A call to action for policymakers and educators. Retrieved May 21, 2018, from

Rheingold, H. (2010). Attention, and other 21st-century social media literacies. EDUCAUSE Review, 45(5), 14-24. Retrieved from

Veletsianos, G. (2016). Digital learning environments. In N. Rushby & D. Surry (Eds.), Handbook of learning technologies (pp. 242-260). Retrieved from

Wocke, G. (2018a, February 28). Digital citizenship in my words [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website:

Wocke, G. (2018b, March 3). The digital learning environment [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website:

Wocke, G. (2018c, March 7). Digital citizenship [Video file]. Retrieved from

Wocke, G. (2018d, March 29). We need to transliterate, practically [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website:

Digital CITIZENship

The digital world has broken down many walls (also classroom walls), built many bridges and has connected us like never before. The digital world is truly a global community, where we can connect, communicate, collaborate and create without the constraints of time and place.

image in the public domain, downloaded from pixabay

To be a citizen, is to be a native or naturalised inhabitant of a particular place or community, entitled to certain privileges. Since ancient times, being a citizen has meant to be virtuous and engaged. If we want to call ourselves digital citizen – of the native or visitor or resident kind – we must be prepared to take on the responsibilities along with the rights and opportunities.

I learnt from Jason Ohler when he looks at community and citizenship historically, and then applies the basic principles to digital communities and digital citizenship. Here is his reasoning:

  • “Citizenship requires individual ‘virtuous’ behaviour”
  • “Citizenship requires balancing personal empowerment and community well-being”
  • “Citizenship requires education (Virtuous behaviour is taught, not inherited)
  • “Citizenship requires participation”
  • “Citizenship is constantly evolving, and thus requires our ongoing debate”
  • “Citizenship must be inclusive”
  • “Citizenship is the result of media evolution”
  • “Citizenship is tied to community”

From: Digital Community, Digital Citizen (Ohler, 2010, pp. 33-35).

Ohler reasons that digital citizenship is all about understanding opportunities and responsibilities. He points out that digital communities differ from historical communities in that people join by choice, rather than geographic default. They join communities out of needs, curiosity and common interest.

I also learnt from Howard Rheingold, I also don’t believe that digital natives that are born with digital literacy and media literacy skills just because of the age they were born, reaching for iPads. I also do not believe that people are born good citizens. Rheingold (2010) sees participation as one of the five social media literacies. He links participation with citizenship: “When you participate, you become an active citizen rather than simply a passive consumer”. Or, as Putnum (2000) put it: “Citizenship is not a spectator sport” (p. 342).

The primary reason for the existence of schools is to educate young people to be productive, positive citizens. This is also true of being digital citizens. Ribble (2007) reasoned that digital citizenship instruction should include development awareness of social and political issues, not only learning correct behaviour in digital environments.

From the Partnership for 21st century skills’ document Reimagining Citizenship for the 21st Century I learnt:

Citizenship today means more than understanding the roles of government and voting in elections. It means making sense of local, national, and global events, trends and information, and acting safely, responsibly and ethically in online forums. Citizenship requires a wide range of knowledge, 21st century skills and experiences for effective and productive participation in the democratic process, community life, education and workplaces (p. 5).

They define a 21ST CENTURY CITIZEN as:

  • Informed, engaged and active
  • Literate in civics
  • Proficient in core academic subjects and interdisciplinary knowledge, such
    environmental literacy; financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy; and health literacy
  • Empowered with global competencies and 21st century skills
  • Capable of participating safely, intelligently, productively and responsibly in the
    digital world

I learnt from Lindsay, Crockett and Churches, that we need to develop global digital citizens: they reason that because technology has eliminated many boundaries to communication and collaboration, we can and must help students develop a sense of personal – and global –  responsibility and accountability (Lindsay, 2016, p. 22; Crockett & Churches, 2018, p. 24).


I have learnt that the CITIZEN in digital CITIZENship must be our focus as teachers, if we are to successfully prepare our students for the 21st century.


Crockett, L., & Churches, A. (2018). Growing global digital citizens: Better practices that build better learners. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Lindsay, J. (2016). The global educator: Leveraging technology for collaborative learning & teaching. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

Ohler, J. B. (2010). Digital community, digital citizen. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.

Putnam, R. D. (2007). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community (Nachdr. ed.). New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Reimagining citizenship for the 21st century: A call to action for policymakers and educators (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Comp.) [Pamphlet]. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Rheingold, H. (2010). Attention, and other 21st-century social media literacies. EDUCAUSE Review, 45(5), 14-24. Retrieved from

Ribble, M., & Bailey, G. D. (2007). Digital citizenship in schools. Eugene, Or.: International Society for Technology in Education.







image by SCY, downloaded from pixabay

image by SCY, downloaded from pixabay

The word literacy describes man’s competence with the social constructs of his environment. To be literate means man has the capability and knowledge to access and internalise text, oral and other representations of ideas. It includes the ability to engage with, interpret and understand ideas in a particular context, use it, and re-purpose it. It refers to the capability and skills needed to communicate these ideas, in multiple formats and delivery modes, with the competence. Literacy enables a person the interaction needed for integration in the social environment.

When we speak of information literacy (IL), we refer to the capability to interact with information in a particular context, for a specific purpose. More than just the ability to decode text and the spoken word, it incorporates the identification of an information need as well as the plan and strategy executed to find and use the information to meet the need. It further encompasses a critical evaluation of the information, as well as an understanding of the economic, social and ethical issues surrounding the use of the information.

Through these studies my understanding of IL has evolved from a primarily skilled based and behaviourist approach: I now understand that knowledge is contextual and because information is the basic foundation of knowledge, IL is a catalyst and scaffold to ALL learning (formal and informal). IL is the essential capability and competence for lifelong learning and learning to learn. I have also come to understand that information practices are not individualist but inherently social –  originating socially amongst members of a community of practitioners – and is dependent on specific contexts and the setting of activities.

Information literacy is a foundational and fundamental competence and capability for being successful in the complex and changing information landscape.

Of all the definitions of IL the one from ACRL (2016), adopted in the Information Literacy Framework, reflects my understanding best:

“Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.”


Association of College and Research Libraries. (2016). Framework for information literacy for higher education. Retrieved April 26, 2018, from American Library Association website:

Fitzgerald, L. (2018) Introducing information literacy [ETL401 Module 5.1]. Retrieved April 12, 2018, from Charles Sturt University Website:

Lloyd, A. (2007).  Recasting information literacy as sociocultural practice: Implications for library and information science researchers. Information Research, 12(4).

Talja, S. & Lloyd, A. (2010). Integrating theories of learning, literacies and information practices. In Talja, S. & Lloyd, A. (2010). Practising information literacy: Bringing theories of learning, practice and information literacy together. WaggaWagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies. pp. ix-xviii.

Reflecting on the ETL523 online collaborative group experience

Collaborative learning is a learning style that tasks a group of learners to learn together through creation of a product or the solution of a problem (Laal & Ghodsi, 2012, p. 486).

<em>image by harishs, downloaded from pixabay</em>

I agree with Harasim’s theory of online collaborative learning (OCL), where she identified the role of the teacher and peer discourse as central (2012, p. 88). The teacher actively mediates student learning by designing learning interactions where knowledge is negotiated through social discourse (Bates, 2015). The social and participatory characteristics of Web 2.0 renders it remarkably suited to facilitate OCL.

Characteristics of Online Collaborative Learning (OCL) as described by Harasim

Clear evidence of this theory is found in the ETL523 group learning experience, which is constructed to facilitate discourse and OCL. The Wikispaces platform is suitable as collaborative online environment, allowing users to fully employ affordances of Web 2.0 (embedding of artefacts and hyperlinks).  Wikispaces facilitates and records discussion and discourse, allowing the process as well as the product to be collaborative.

For our team the initial idea generating phase of OCL, involved exchanging general introductions to establish personal strengths and interests, and explore common ground. This was done through initial chats during an Adobe Connect class meeting, email exchanges and a Skype call. The second phase, idea organising, followed quickly to enable the group to formulate and submit a project proposal. The final phase, intellectual convergence – where group members exchanged knowledge, ideas and points of view – involved discourse and negotiation. Here I personally learnt that OCL involves the sharing of authority, acceptance of responsibility and consensus building (Laal & Ghodsi, 2012, p. 486; Wocke, 2018a). I was challenged to respect different perspectives and improve my ability to articulate and defend my ideas as I developed my part of the learning module and my individual digital artefact. The outcomes of this final phase of OCL should be consolidated, shared understandings and group convergence (Laal, Laal & Kermanshahi, 2012, p. 1696).

While there is evidence of OCL in our group’s collaborative process and product, it can be reasoned that we created our learning module primarily through cooperative learning, rather than through pure collaborative learning (the difference explained here). We created knowledge as individuals who worked together, rather than collaboratively. This may be because we are from a generation that practiced individual (not social) learning but may also be an inherent difficulty of OCL. To truly facilitate OCL different “norms” of behaviour must be clearly established for online collaboration and learning.

I found Lindsay’s 8 norms of global collaboration an excellent starting point for identification of behaviour that will lead to successful OCL, when writing Applying norms of online global collaboration to ETL523 groupwork (Lindsay, 2016, pp. 144 – 153; Wocke, 2018b). It is clear that the role of the teacher in moderating OCL is central: the teacher should employ these norms to ensure that user behaviour and actions lead to optimal OCL. An example is the norm of participation: Lindsay argued that collaboration is best facilitated when visible online participation can be observed through reliable and regular contributions and responses. To ensure this, clear guidelines must be agreed upon at the outset of the collaborative process. An example of how this can be achieved can be found in the IB PYP practice of Essential Agreements, where a class is lead to collaboratively develop, agree on, and commit to, expected behaviour during the collaborative project.

This experience with online collaborative learning convinced me that it allows for personalized – and participatory – student-centered learning, but tailoring and monitoring by the teacher is vital.

images by harishs, downloaded from pixabay


Bates, A. W. (2015). Online collaborative learning. In Teaching in a Digital Age. Retrieved from

Harasim, L. (2012). Online collaborative learning theory. In Learning theory and online technology (pp. 79-108). Retrieved from

Laal, M., & Ghodsi, S. M. (2012). Benefits of collaborative learning. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 31, 486-490.

Laal, M., Laal, M., & Lermanshahi, Z. K. (2012). 21st century learning; Learning in collaboration. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 47, 1696-1701.

Lindsay, J. (2016). The global educator: Leveraging technology for collaborative learning & teaching. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

Lindsay, J. (2016, June 24). You are a global educator. It’s time to start thinking like one [Blog post]. Retrieved from Flat Connections website:

Sackson, E. (2010, February 1). Essential agreement [Blog post]. Retrieved from  What Ed said website:

What is the PYP. (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2018, from IBO website:

Wocke, G. (2018a, April 9). An exercise in collaborative learning [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website:

Wocke, G. (2018b, April 14). Applying norms of online global collaboration to ETL523 groupwork [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website:

Wufei87. (2018, January 29). Cooperative vs collaborative [Video file]. Retrieved from

Applying norms of online global collaboration to ETL523 groupwork

Online global collaboration, according to Lindsay (2016), refers to the use of digital learning environments and technologies to learn with others beyond your immediate geographical environment “in order to support curricular objectives, intercultural understandings, critical thinking, personal and social capabilities and ICT capabilities” (p. 139). This is in reality what happened when 3 Australian educators and a Swiss school librarian met up to develop an online learning module for an assignment required for our ETL523 studies.

In this reflection I will attempt to apply Lindsay’s 8 norms of global collaboration to our collaborative learning process (2016, pp. 144 – 153).

Norm 1: Be Prepared
The collaboration started during an Adobe connect online class meeting, facilitated by our subject coordinator, continued through email messages, Skype calls and chats and later thought contributions and comments in the shared Wikispace. The learning environment was designed and prescribed and the task and objectives clear.

Norm 2: Have a Purpose
Our purpose was initially defined through the assignment that brought us together, but further emphasized by our common desire to complete the task and earn a good mark. I agree with Lindsay when she wrote: “Once a purpose is established then the collaboration should unfold” (2016, p. 147). Once we had agreed on a topic to propose we were set!

8 Norms of Online Global Collaboration, by Julie Lindsay, Flat connections (see reference below)

Norm 3: Be Able to Paraphrase
Care was taken by group members to re-phrase agreements and to repeatedly ask for confirmation to avoid confusion and misunderstanding. This was a very important practice to ensure efficiency and confidence.

Norm 4: Be Able to Perceive
There was immediate and ongoing empathy among group members. It was clear from the beginning that help could be asked for and would be given generously. This was also apparent in the supportive comments and contributing of resources during development of the product.

Norm 5: Participate
We are all hard working, busy educators and understood that we would have to be flexible and accept various degrees of participation as allowed by individual schedules. The timeline for our collaboration was predefined by the prescribed assignment schedule, but it was helpful that all contributed throughout the duration of the project, allowing us to feel confident at all times that the project would be completed successfully.

Norm 6: Be Positive
A positive and constructive approach to the project – and to the contributions of members – helped to create a “team spirit”. An initial face-to-face (Skype) “handshake” meeting was invaluable in creating a collaborative and respectful culture.

Norm 7: Be Productive
The driving force for this collaborative learning experience was the co-creation of a digital learning module. It is questionable if we would have been as committed – and productive – if there were no clear expectations for an end-product to give direction and act as visible motivation.

Norm 8: Realize the Potential
We had to alter plans during the development of the product and will all be able to testify that the learning experience was not predictable or straightforward, but worthwhile.


Lindsay, J. (2016). The global educator: Leveraging technology for collaborative learning & teaching. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

Lindsay, J. (2016, June 24). You are a global educator. It’s time to start thinking like one [Blog post]. Retrieved from Flat Connections website:

An exercise in collaborative learning

The affordances of Web 2.0 environments: open, social and participatory media, tools and practices are resulting in new forms of online communities and interactions. These online gathering places, or social networking sites, are promoting new forms of online interaction, communication and collaboration (Conole, 2013, pp. 10-11). This environment is not only conducive to collaboration in the general sense, but facilitates collaborative learning.

image by geralt, downloaded from pixabay

Collaborative learning is a learning style that involves the grouping of learners with the goal that they will work together to solve a problem, create a product or complete a task (Laal and Ghodsi, 2012, p. 486). Learners are responsible for their own learning and co-responsible for the learning of their peers.

This is a very different learning scenario to the one with which I grew up. We were ranked and rewarded according to our personal achievements, both at school and in tertiary education. Competition and individualistic effort were valued above cooperation. In my blog post Adapting to “a new culture of learning” I wrote that “I have seen significant movement towards collaboration and peer-based learning” (Wocke, 2017). It seems that I am set to experience this practically, not only in theory.

The group assignment in ETL523 is my first encounter with collaborative learning in a formal academic setting, where there is a lot at stake for me personally – 15% of the final mark for this subject. I did not look forward to it, was not even particularly prepared to enjoy the experience. I am learning that collaborative learning involves a sharing of authority, acceptance of responsibility and consensus building (Laal and Ghodsi, 2012, p. 486). But even more than this, I have to agree with Laal, Laal and Kermanshahi (2012) that as a learner I am challenged both socially and emotionally to respect different perspectives and improved my ability to articulate and defend my ideas (p. 1696). The authors further reason that through this process learners take responsibility for their own learning, thereby becoming critical thinkers, and to promote their ideas they create their own unique conceptual frameworks and do not rely solely on that of a text or expert.

What makes this particular collaborative learning experience difficult is the fact that it involves group members from different cultures and professions, who not only do not know one another personally, but live on opposite sides of the world and have vastly different, if equally demanding schedules. This is an exercise not only in collaborative learning, but in global relations as well, it seems. Social skills, such as mutual respect and trust-building are vital. Personal commitment, individual accountability and responsibility are essential…

I am learning, personally and collaboratively, through this assignment.  It will be interesting to reflect once the task is completed.


Conole, G. (2013). Designing for learning in an open world. New York: Springer.

Laal, M., & Ghodsi, S. M. (2012). Benefits of collaborative learning. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 31, 486-490.

Laal, M., Laal, M., & Lermanshahi, Z. K. (2012). 21st century learning; Learning in collaboration. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 47, 1696-1701.

Wocke, G. (2017, July 19). Adapting to “a new culture of learning” [Blog post]. Retrieved from Gretha Reflecting website:

Digital Artefact: Unintentional Digital Footprint

As part of the first assignment (Assessment items 1 & 2) for ETL523 we are required to develop a multimedia artefact that will be embedded into a collaborative Wikispace.

This is our group’s focus:


image by tweetyspics, downloaded from pixabay

This wiki space and learning module has focus on digital citizenship, across social media platforms. Student’s digital footprints can be evident forever and therefore have impact on their everyday lives, including their professional lives. This learning module seeks to uncover research and will present this research as active learning module components that have been sourced to develop student’s skills, knowledge and practice in the digital arena. This will develop a clear footing and will include sub topics that students can gain clear thought direction by engaging with the learning tasks, supporting resources and assessments that will guide their digital citizenship.

The wiki and LM will show elements of the intentional, which is more about the image that one wants to create online and the unintentional; where less safe practice can be seen – posting on snapchat when out partying with friends, for example, along with the accidental; where there is a lack of understanding of how a digital footprint can be created. The audience focus is creating resources that teachers can use, relevant to year 9/10; 15/16 year olds.

The module I am developing deals with the unintentional digital footprint, I described it as follows: “We know from the introductory module on digital footprints that our digital actions leave behind traces that make up our digital footprint. Some of our actions build positive footprints  and some incorrect footprints, but parts of our footprint are created unintentionally, or without our intent. Social media platforms, such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and collect personal data about us that may be passed on to third-party services or platforms. While we are logged in to social media platforms search engines, such as Google and Bing, can collect data about our surfing habits and collect personal data that we enter on other websites – all these bits of data add to our data profile and can be seen as our unintentional digital footprint.

The digital artefact was developed as part of a digital citizenship lesson for 15/16-year old students who are active on social media, but not necessarily knowledgable or skilled enough to understand the implications of their online activities. In line with design principles, a tool was needed that would allow presentation of the issue in a way that appeals to the intended audience.

I decided to use Powoon, where I have a subscription account, for development of the artefact. This fitted the most important criteria for the artefact, namely to use a “suitable multimedia tool”. The nature of the tool – cartoon style presentation – would appeal to the audience of 15/16-year old students. The topic is also a real-world problem that the audience can relate to, as most students of my acquaintance are vary active on social media without necessarily understanding the data gathering and mining that happens without their realisation.  I found a suitable and adaptable Powtoon template that allowed me to apply the most important criteria for the design of online learning content:

  • introduce the topic,
  • state the problem,
  • present a solution, and
  • give a summative ending.

I really liked the music available in Powtoon and wanted to use that to set the “tone” for the message, but I also wanted to add a narration to develop the text in more depth. My solution was to play the Powtoon video while making a Quicktime screen recording. The resulting video was clipped in iMovie and uploaded to my Youtube channel.

I have mixed feelings about the result. The message is clear and the quality of the video good. The narration, however is rather amateurish, if very enthusiastic (and South African sounding), and the sound quality not particularly good. With more time I might have been able to find a better solution. I also found the time constraint of 3 minutes a bit restrictive to deal with the topic sufficiently, but when I keep in mind that the audience are 15/16 year olds, this may actually be long enough. The result is, however, that some parts of the narration is rushed and some parts a tad slow…

I unfortunately did not remember to add a Creative Commons License, but added this as a comment to the Youtube video and include it below.

Here is the artefact:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

The artefact does not offer opportunity for active student participation because of its predominantly presentation style. This is not a major setback as the goal is to embed the artefact in a lesson module, where it can be linked to student-led learning activities.

Comments about the artefact are welcome!

We need to transliterate, practically

(to ‘transliterate’: to transfer the meaning of an idea as accurately as possible to a different alphabet or language)

The information landscape is changing, evolving in response to technological advances, the proliferation of information in new media and formats, as well as the changed information behaviour of users.

A new approach to literacy is needed in order to ensure that our students are prepared to successfully interact with this evolving landscape in the 21st century. Transliteracy is a framework that assumes a fluidly transferable skill-set that can be applied to a variety of settings and contexts that may arise in the evolving information landscape (Thomas et al., 2007).   The term ‘transliteracy’ was derived from ‘transliterate’: to transfer the meaning of an idea as accurately as possible to a different alphabet or language.

Can this be the answer to literacy in the future?

Transliteracy is presented as an over-arching concept, a unifying perspective, encompassing different literacies and communication channels, capturing in essence our capacity to interact with information as both linear and non-linear message (Andretta, 2009, p. 3). Sukovic (2016) listed creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration as the main skill and knowledge components of transliteracy.

This concept clearly has potential for application in the educational and school environments where we introduce our students to concepts and ideas, assist them to develop the necessary skills to master the concepts, but also to be able to transfer and adapt these skills to new situations and contexts. It is unfortunate that major collaborative projects such as the Transliteracy Research Group and Libraries and Transliteracy have been abandoned. The only recent publications on the topic seems to be by Sokuvic. Transliteracy needs educators and librarians to roll up their sleeves and produce an applicable implementable scope and sequence for this approach to really classify as a framework.

Transliteracy does not yet offer a complete and directly applicable proposal to develop the literacies of the future, but on reflection there is evidence of intuitive implementation of transliteracy by teacher librarians (Gogan & Marcus, 2013, p. 42). School libraries are in fact ideal places to develop transliterate skills, because its collections facilitate access to information sources in many different modalities: print on paper, digital print media, images, audio and video recordings, as well as access to different technological tools and platforms. Learners are exposed to a wide range of source and encouraged to investigate different media and environments (Jaeger, 2011, p. 46).

Teacher librarians understand that reading on paper is different to digital reading and can facilitate and encourage transfer of “reading” skills from one medium to another (Jaeger, 2011, p.45).  They support traditional literacy development, but also support students to interact with material in different formats: A book can be made available in paper, e-reader and audiobook format (encouraging transfer of coding and decoding skills to new content platforms). Social media book discussions and email contact with an author provides context, adding multi-modality and facilitating deeper and more authentic interaction with the content.

Teacher librarians create media- and resource rich environments and assist students in creating print, digital or multi-modal information artefacts, choosing the most suitable medium, tools or platforms, for the product. They encourage students to go beyond the ability to interact with specific modalities but includes the intentional follow through of repeated and transferred learning behaviour related to knowledge building and communication (Bush, 2012, p.5). They create opportunities, and provide scaffolding, for the development and execution of transliterate skills.

School libraries build collections of information sources that portray different cultures and can be accessed through different languages, helping students to develop a global consciousness, local purpose or intentional neutrality where appropriate (Bush, 2012, p. 6).

The transliterate learner is encouraged to maintain a critical approach to information and evaluate the authority of the source.

It is essential for the teacher librarian to be transliterate, to keep up with the development of new media and transfer skills to newer media in order to model and teach students and fellow educators. They do not teach use of a medium, but the skill to evaluate, produce, communicate, organise, encouraging higher order thinking skills and transfer of skills.

Transliteracy offers valuable conceptual guidelines that teacher librarians can interpret and implement as approaches to future proof our students in terms of skills and insight and prepare them to effectively and safely navigate the changing information landscape.

The school library is the ideal venue for students to acquire and develop the skills and insights needed to become transliterate users and creators of information products. It will serve us well to keep this concept in mind as we support and scaffold literacy development in our students.

NOTE: This post is based on an assignment submitted for ETL401 201830 and has been submitted in another format to the ETL523 discussion forum on Module 2.


Andretta, S. (2009, August). Transliteracy: Take a walk on the wild side. Paper presented at World Library and Information Congress: 75th IFLA General Conference and Assembly, Milan, Italy. Retrieved from

Bush, G. (2012, September/October). The transliterate learner. School Library Monthly, 29(1), 5-7.

Gogan, B., & Marcus, A. (2013, May/June). Lost in transliteracy. Knowledge Quest, 41(5), 40-45. Retrieved from

Ipri, T., & Newman, B. (2011, February 27). Farewell and thanks for the memories [Blog post]. Retrieved from Libraries and Transliteracy website:

Jaeger, P. (2011, October). Transliteracy – new library lingo and what it means for instruction. Library Media Connection, 30(2), 44-47.

Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robinson, A. J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Retrieved from MacArthur website:

Librarianbyday. (2009, October 7). Libraries and transliteracy [Video file]. Retrieved from

Sukovic, S. (2016, September 15). What exactly is transliteracy? Retrieved March 26, 2018, from Elsevier SciTech Connect website:

Thomas, S., Joseph, C., Laccetti, J., Mason, B., Mills, S., Perril, S., & Pullinger, K. (2007). Transliteracy: Crossing divides. First Monday, 12(12). Retrieved from

Transliteracies project. (n.d.). Retrieved March 26, 2018, from University of California Santa Barbara website:

Academic honesty at (our) school

Our school takes a very serious stance on academic honesty, as is required by the International Baccalaureate whose programmes we offer. One of the standards (C3) common to all IB programmes state the requirement that “teaching and learning promotes the understanding and practice of academic honesty.” IB Learners strive to be knowledgeable, principled thinkers and inquirers, after all. It is part of our practise: teaching students to be critical users of information and to think about the authority and intent of the creators of the information, and to always give credit to other people’s ideas and work through referencing and citation. Right?

We have a solid academic honesty policy that ensures our procedures are “transparent, fair and consistent”. We all understand our rights and responsibilities and “what constitutes good practice, and misconduct, and what actions are to be taken if there are transgressions” as we read in the Academic Honesty in the IB educational context. Our teachers and students sign an agreement to show that they will adhere to the requirements of this policy. Great. We submit every piece of major work handed in by our DP students to Turnitin to check for academic honesty infringements.

We regularly have “digital citizenship” sessions as part of our Personal Development Program – at least twice a year. When the problem arises, we deal with cyberbullying and inappropriate online behaviour without hesitation, consistently and sternly.

Outside of the strictly academic arena we also do what we can: A collaborative effort between the school administration, performing arts department, school library and SUISA (Cooperative Society of Music Authors and Publishers in Switzerland) ensured that our school is in compliance with Swiss copyright law and the organisation will be doing a presentation on the topic to our middle school students soon.

But here is the thing: This digital information explosion has created an information environment where we stumble over so much information, in so many digital formats that we do not even notice how and when we trip, and sometimes fall.

image by mohamed_hassan, downloaded from pixabay

  • It is really difficult to always stay honest in a digital world where you if you “steal” that image you found on Google that is perfect for your presentation, because by using it you did not take anything away from anyone, did you?
  • It is difficult not to cheat when it is so easy to pay someone (or get your mom) to write an essay for you when you just are not coping with your workload, you will do all the other assignments yourself, won’t you?
  • When English is still so very difficult, and you struggle to say what you mean, and you find the perfect information in your mother tongue and push it through Google translate – that surely is your own work now, you have added knowledge and re-mixed content, haven’t you?
  • And then there is this strange thing that the law in some countries say it is illegal to download or stream movies and here is Switzerland uploading is wrong, but downloading? No problem!

The digital information environment and the over-abundance of information has created serious problems and inconsistencies in ethical behaviour. To our students the Internet seems like a place where “everything goes” and our requirements in school are very inconvenient.  Academic honesty does NOT seem to be instinctive behaviour to the so called digital natives we teach. If we – teachers, parents and society – do not consistently model and teach ethical behaviour, this will remain an issue, because our students will do what we do, not what we say.

Productively and responsibly

I found Hollandsworth, Dowdy and Donovan’s article “Digital Citizenship in K-12: It Takes a Village” excellent reading and will look for an opportunity to share it with our school leadership.

In a recent follow-up to the article, “Digital Citizenship: You Can’t Go Home Again” Hollandsworth, Donovan and Welch remind teachers and administrators that “Technology is here to stay, and the focus now must be how to use it productively and responsibly“.

The results of their follow-up research show the need to:

  • teach digital citizenship at an earlier age, beginning in pre-K through fifth grade;
    I strongly agree that responsible digital behaviour must be taught at the primary school level. Erikson’s stages of psychosocial behaviour show us that in the 5-12-year-old age group teachers are important role models and children are starting to develop their sense of being part of community. In the older age group (12-18) part of personal identity development is achieved through experimenting and testing of boundaries.
  • improve the digital citizenship awareness of educators and administrators;
    ALL teachers “teach” digital citizenship through their own online behaviour. If a teacher fails to reference images and other resources, students are less likely to take this seriously. Administrators should be proactive in matters relating to digital citizenship, rather than acting reactively and very often punitively. Administrators also need to take the lead in making sure that parents are informed about issues relating to digital citizenship.
  • continue the focus on the misuse and abuse of technology
    Digital citizenship and civic citizenship should be seen and taught from the same point of view: citizenship requires virtuous and responsible behaviour. Virtuous behaviour is taught, not inherited. Citizenship requires education and opportunities for participation (Ohler, 2010, p. 33)


Hollandsworth, R., Donovan, J., & Welch, M. (2017). Digital citizenship: You can’t go home again. Tech Trends, 61(6),


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


McLeod, S. (2017). Erik Erikson. Retrieved March 3, 2018, from Simply Psychology website:

Ohler, J. (2010). Digital community, digital citizen. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.