Posts Tagged ‘digital learning environment’

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.
Retrieved from


Richardson, W. (2008, December 3). World without walls: Learning well with others In Edutopia. Retrieved from

DLE Tools

The tools and/or platforms that contribute to the school’s “official” digital learning environment may be different to the tools that students and teachers use outside of school. Teachers need support to integrate these tools into their teaching practices because the technology alone will not transform learning (Kemker, 2005). Professional learning delivered by the school and individuals developing their own personal learning networks (with an emphasis on lifelong learning) is necessary.




Kemker, K. (2005). The digital learning environment: What the research tells us. Apple White Paper.
Retrieved December, 4, 2013.

Digital Learning Environment

My definition of a digital learning environment utilises technology to provide digital access to digital resources and spaces for learning that are not limited to a physical realm. Digital learning environments can take on different forms but usually consist of a variety of tools and technologies and are increasingly mobile and social.

At my school the digital learning environment is made possible by the network infrastructure that provides network, internet and wi-fi access to desktop computers and iPads. A learning management system has recently been implemented so teachers and students are transitioning to this new space. Email is heavily relied on for sharing and communicating and the use of Google Drive has been encouraged. A recently upgraded library management system offers new digital possibilities for interaction with the school community for me as a teacher librarian. Within the library I utilise a combination of tools for curation, screencasting and sharing.

My personal digital learning environment is vast and always changing. It is an important component to my PLN as represented below.

As an educator I have to be aware of changes created by our digital lifestyle. I believe my personal learning network and my studies are integral in keeping me informed and aware of technological changes and the impact they may have. By actively participating and collaborating with others using social networking, I feel more confident in transferring my skills to new digital environments. Academic and 21st century skills need to be developed (Kemker, 2005) at school so that students can navigate their digital world.

Social networking has impacted on teaching and learning by providing informal learning opportunities for students. Teachers are no longer the gatekeepers of knowledge. Students can learn from their peers or other experts using social networks and YouTube (Richardson, 2008). The video below outlines research into informal learning.

Kemker, K. (2005). The digital learning environment: What the research tells us. Apple White Paper.

Richardson, W. (2008, December 3). World without walls: Learning well with others. Edutopia. Retrieved from