Becoming Digital Citizens in a World of Technological Growth

Should I Type That?

Figure 1: Digital Etiquette Poster; click on the photo to be redirected to my glog

H5 – Honor student potential for roles in the greater society. This standard states that teacher candidates are preparing students to be responsible citizens for an environmentally sustainable, globally interconnected, and diverse society, meaning students should be prepared to enter the real world with enough tools to help them make informed and knowledgeable decisions. With our world growing rapidly, it is also important for students to be educated in the changing environment and technology in order to be safe and responsible. Figure 1 shows a digital poster (or glog) I created as a potential resource for a 4th or 5th grade class. This glog discusses digital etiquette, digital footprints, thinking before you hit “enter” in any kind of social media or web sharing, and internet safety. It also provides additional content for students to view and explore either on their own or with parents, including links to more information, games to practice being digital citizens, and a video. Many school districts are finding positive results of direct instruction of digital citizenship to both teachers and students. For example, in Osseo, Minnesota, the school district is teaching digital citizenship to primary students as well as secondary students and teachers. Their program is aligned with ISTE’s National Educational Technology Standards, and provides a professional development program that “equips teachers to combine collaboration, creativity, and communication to create transformative content” (Ribble and Miller, 2013). Having created this digital poster, I realize that as a teacher it is my responsibility to not only explain how to be a digital citizen, but to model being one myself. That being said, I cited sources and followed my own instructions on the poster for digital etiquette. This poster is a resource for helping students learn how to become digital citizens, preparing them for their later roles in society. In creating digital (or other) resources, it is important that I spend time thinking about how I could present it, and whether it will be useful to a classroom or not. I also learned that it’s more time-consuming than I thought to create digital media for classroom use, though once this is created it is something I could tweak and edit, and reuse. However, it is a worthwhile use of my time, as I believe students can really benefit both from reading explicitly what digital etiquette is, then having the opportunity to both see a short video and practice what they’ve learned through a game. What may be more useful than a simulated game is actual real-world practice, where students can write social media posts to each other in a safe environment, and hold discussions from other members of their community, or even the world. This can be achieved through digital communication, using Twitter or blogs in the classroom, or by using Skype. All three are viable methods for student practice.

Ribble, M., Miller, T. (2013). Educational leadership in an online world: Connecting students to technology responsibly, safely, and ethically. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, (17)1, pp 137-145.

Promoting and Modeling Digital Citizenship

ISTE Standard 4 for teachers addresses digital citizenship, both promoting and modeling it. In this standard, teachers should understand issues that come with a digital culture, modeling legal and ethical behavior in their practice. This also means teachers should be modeling and encouraging safe, legal, and ethical use of technology and digital information; advocating for and providing strategies to help bridge the digital divide; provide opportunities for students to engage with other cultures through technology to develop cultural understanding; and promote digital etiquette when having social interactions using technology.

E3 – Exemplify an understanding of professional responsibilities and policies. This means teachers should be exhibiting knowledge of professional, legal, and ethical responsibilities and policies. This standard ties in very well with ISTE standard 4, which also requires teachers to teach and model safe, legal, and ethical behavior. To me, this means that teachers are both encouraging students to become ethical digital citizens (as well as ethical people) while also showing that they follow the same code of conduct themselves.

After reading the articles this week, plus some supplemental research, I realized that teaching digital citizenship is a much larger task than I originally thought. There are many topics that fall under the category of “digital citizenship” as well as many ways to teach them. The question I asked for this week was a broader look at digital citizenship and how I can help students practice responsible use of the internet and technology they come into contact with, in and out of school.

As a teacher, how can I encourage students to become digital citizens, who can create, read critically, and use online content or forums in a responsible and respectful manner?

With a rapidly-changing digital world, it can be difficult for digital citizenship to be taught effectively. It’s a large topic, and needs to be taught explicitly so students understand the language and law involved. It should also be taught implicitly, so students understand how digital citizenship looks in action, not just in words. As a teacher, it is my job to “effectively research technology trends, monitor the uses of technology in [my] school or district…and empower student centered learning to create vibrant, exciting learning projects” (Lindsay and Davis, 2010).

My search for the best methods for teaching digital citizenship in class led me to two possible resources, which give me ideas for lesson plans and methods for teachers to become model digital citizens themselves. One resource is an Edutopia Resource Round-Up that was posted for digital citizenship week in 2013. Not only does this resource have ideas for lessons, it also leads to articles to further educate myself in the necessity of teaching digital citizenship, allowing me to develop my educational practice. Some of the links discuss teachers using social media to communicate with each other, giving them a forum for discussion and reflection that involves teachers from around the country. My other resource from Common Sense Education is a variety of useful lesson plans and ideas for teaching digital citizenship. These will be useful to me as I develop my own practice.

Another resource I found useful was shared to our Google+ community by Colleen Lawler, from the Digital Citizenship homepage. This website discusses the nine elements of digital citizenship, provides articles for teacher development, and provides more resources to read about teaching digital citizenship and using technology ethically in class. As a teacher, it will be important for me to pay attention to trends in technology and ways they can be used in my classroom, and I will need to be acutely aware of the changes that occur. Part of this will be to research new ideas and resources, such as the ones I have shared, and collaborate with my peers for evaluation and reflection. In this way, I can effectively use technology to improve my own practices, while also using valuable resources to teach my students.


Lindsay, J., Davis, V. (2010). Navigate the digital rapids. Learning and Leading with Technology, (37)6, pp12-15. Retrieved from http://teachinglearningresources.pbworks.com/f/Navigate_the_Digital_Rapids_Lindsay_Davis_2010.pdf