Posts Tagged ‘digital citizenship’

Critical Reflection – Digital Citizenship in Schools

As a Teacher Librarian I have always taken an interest in digital literacy and digital citizenship by reading and curating relevant articles for my own personal learning and to share with my colleagues. I understood the definition of digital citizenship to be the safe, responsible and ethical use of information and technology and the Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship confirmed my thinking.

flickr photo by sylviaduckworth shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

After exploring other models of digital citizenship it became clear to me that I had underestimated the complexities of digital citizenship. Using network technology in a global world involves technical, individual, social, cultural and global awareness as illustrated in the Enlightened Digital Citizenship model.

Before starting this subject I had not given much thought to the relationship digital citizenship had with digital learning environments. I reflected on my own digital learning environment and the literacies and skills required to use them effectively. I actively embrace and play with mobile technology, social media and a plethora of digital tools in a responsible manner but some of my colleagues are not as aware or lack confidence. Some of the tools I use for personal reasons are now becoming part of the school’s evolving digital learning environment and placing new demands on teachers and students. The visual representation of my personal learning network (PLN) in my blog post  illustrates the role technology plays in my learning and the importance I place on lifelong learning. I reiterated this by commenting in forum 2.2 that it is imperative that I am a connected educator to meet current and future digital fluency needs and to model lifelong learning within my school community.

Assignment one was a living, breathing example of a participatory digital learning environment in action. As team member Heather said in her reflective blog post,

It was clear from the assessment rubric and online class meeting that this assignment was as much about learning about and through collaboration as it was about the particular aspect of digital citizenship we had elected to focus on.

Working collaboratively, team 5.2 created a learning module hosted on a wiki using a variety of communication and collaboration tools that Donald Tapscott refers to as “weapons of mass collaboration” (Richardson, 2008, para. 20). Digital citizenship theory was put into practice using an authentic learning task that visibly revealed our digital footprints, use of digital tools and collaborative efforts. The value of learning by doing was made very clear to me through this assignment. Teachers can apply similar methods by flattening their classrooms or lowering the walls so that students can learn by collaborating locally or globally (Lindsay, 2013), however as discussed in the forums, some challenges and barriers need to be overcome.

Given suitable digital infrastructure we can “learn whatever we want, wherever we want from whomever we want” in today’s digital ecology (Richardson, 2008). The tools that students use outside of school and increasingly at school, allow them to connect, collaborate, communicate and create. These are examples of twenty-first century skills and capabilities that along with critical thinking and digital citizenship are being encouraged by education systems around the world. Wherever possible teacher librarians weave digital citizenship and digital literacy into classes to spread the message, however I have learnt through this subject that embedding digital citizenship into the curriculum is best practice. The entire school community must develop common ground to educate students in a proactive rather than reactive way (Hollandsworth, Dowdy & Donovan, 2011).

I have learnt an enormous amount about digital citizenship in schools by engaging with the module content, participating in lively discussions in the forums, connecting on Twitter and meeting virtually with Julie Lindsay and my fellow class members. It is now up to me to show my school community what effective digital citizenship practice is through my own actions.


Bailie, H. (2016, May 19). Assignment one reflection. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Hollandsworth, R., Dowdy, L., & Donovan, J. (2011). Digital Citizenship in K-12: It Takes a Village. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(4), 37-47. doi:10.1007/s11528-011-0510-z

Lindsay, J. (2013). Leadership for a global future. In E-Learning journeys.
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Richardson, W. (2008, December 3). World without walls: Learning well with others In Edutopia. Retrieved from

Activity 2: Digital Citizenship Curriculum

I explored the following digital citizenship resources.

I decided to take a closer look at K-12 Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum by Common Sense Media and Our Space: Being a responsible citizen of the digital world by the GoodPlay Project. Both cater for students in years 9 to 12 so are suitable for my situation as a Teacher Librarian in a senior school.

K-12 Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum from the United States of America has units aimed at different year levels, K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. I focussed on the resources for years 9-12. The aim of the curriculum is to empower children in a world of media and technology in a positive way. The core curriculum is based on research by Dr Howard Gardner and the GoodPlay Project at Harvard School of Graduate Education.

The curriculum offers three different ways of delivering the curriculum using downloadable PDFs, Nearpod lessons and an iBook textbook. There are four units that cover different areas of digital citizenship with five separate lesson plans. The lesson plans are very detailed and include relevant multimedia, worksheets, activities, discussion points, assessment tools and background information. Teachers with limited knowledge of digital citizenship are well supported by the lesson plans and additional support material on the website. Flexibility in how lessons are delivered is provided by the different formats, the Creative Commons licensing and the ability to pick and choose topics within the four units. Common to all lessons is that students are learning by doing and there is room for discussion. The real world scenarios and media rich activities make the curriculum worthwhile considering however some adaptations would be necessary for an Australian audience.

Retrieved from

Our Space: Being a responsible citizen of the digital world from the United States of America is a collaboration of the GoodPlay Project and Project New Media Literacies. It is aimed at years 9-12 but some aspects could be used at years 7-8 to promote social skills and cultural competencies required to engage with participatory culture. They have taken a low-tech approach so that lessons can be used in classrooms without an internet connection. Supplementary material allows for a more high-tech approach if required. Our Space is a set of resources for educators and adults to use with young people to discuss digital ethics. Educators can pick and choose from lessons and are free to remix them using Creative Commons Licensing. Most lessons involve reflective exercises, role playing activities and small group discussion using realistic scenarios. Teachers are not expected to be frequent users of social media or Web 2.0 technologies to deliver the lessons. The facilitators guide and detailed lesson plans provide adequate support for educators. While realistic scenarios are used, the pen and paper approach may fail to engage some students. The involvement of Harvard Project Zero would be well received at my school. The American context would require changes to be made to lessons, such as those dealing with copyright, for it to be suitable for Australia.

While acknowledging the challenges and negative aspects the internet can bring, the above resources take a positive approach to digital citizenship and can be embedded into the curriculum or used for just in time lessons.