Digital Citizenship

What is digital citizenship?

As a society that now uses the internet and digital world in almost every facet of our daily lives, we all have the responsibility to us technology appropriately. The education system is beginning to change rapidly, and technology is being integrated into almost every curriculum as a means of keeping up with the 21st century and extending student learning beyond the confines of the classroom. That being said, it it becoming increasingly important that teachers and students have a clear understanding of their responsibilities and the dangers in the digital world. Digital citizenship refers to, but is not limited to, the norms of appropriate behaviour with regards to technology use (Ribble, 2004).

Technology Briefing
Digital citizenship encourages students to respect themselves, others and intellectual property, while at the same time learning to think critically about protecting themselves and other from harmful content; it's finding a balance between the two.

Students have many opportunities for learning and social interaction, but with that comes potential dangers and risk (cyberbullying and identity theft). As teachers, we need to prepare students for these potential accompanying dangers, and help them develop digital and media literacies.

As part of the new Education Act, it requires school authorities to establish codes of conduct for students, in regards to the digital world.These codes of conduct include providing a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment for all students, thus promoting community well-being.

(Anderson, 2013).

Addressing Appropriate Technology Behavior
Digital citizenship is defined as the norms of behavior with regard to technology use. There are nine areas of behavior that make up digital citizenship.

1. Etiquette: As teachers, we need be model proper use of digital (not answering the phone in class, not texting when someone is speaking).

2. Communication: Making sure students are using proper grammar, rather than inappropriate slang or abbreviations they have learned from texting, Facebook, etc.

3. Education: Using technology-infused teaching is evermore common in schools. As such, teachers need to teach students how technology can be used to find credible resources and materials.

4. Access: The disparity between who and who does not have access to technology is widening. Teachers need to find ways to accommodate students who do not have access.

5. Commerce: Students need to understand the process of online purchasing, and the potential dangers (identity thief, impulse buying).

6. Responsibility: It's important that students understand that there are legal implications and consequences with using the internet (illegally downloading music, plagiarism).

7. Rights: When creating or publishing anything digitally, students have copyright protection.

8. Safety: Students need to be aware of potential health dangers when using technology for extended periods of time (Carpal tunnel syndrome, eyestrain).

9. Security: Students need to learn how to protect their software, as a matter of personal and community protection (virus protection, firewalls, proper saving, etc.) (Ribble, 2004).

(Rotten ecards).

Who Owns 'Digital Citizenship'?
Digital citizenship is confusing!

Carolyn Durley's blog is a somewhat cautionary tale about the confusions and dangers of the digital world. Every website, webpage, or digital source claims to be right, to be the best, and to have viewers/consumers best interests in mind. However, there are rules to be followed, and dangers lurking, and if you have a problem, it's really not their concern. In sum, Durley's blog is critique of the digital world (Durley, 2013).

(Fey, 2012).

Why I am Renouncing my Digital Citizenship!
"Digital citizenship is an empty and hollow construct, that has done as much damage to the integration of digital text and tools as the idea of Digital immigrants."

In Greg McVerry's blog post, Greg argues that we need to first focus on developing/enhancing instruction, existing pedagogical goals, and behaviour issues, rather than focussing on online-specific etiquette. Why should students have to be taught moral etiquette online; shouldn't students behave the same way online as they do offline? Greg also argues that the idea of digital citizenship was born out of fear; fear of content producers wanting to control channels of production and distribution, fear of all that lurks within the web, thus leading to an overprotection in schools.

Connected learning: digital citizenship should be more about engagement and connecting learners offline and online, rather than about fear (McVerry, 2013).

(Flickr, 2012).

Kiva: Loans That Changes Lives
Digital Citizenship is a personal and community responsibility everyone has, to create opportunities for themselves and others. Social participation is a key feature to responsible digital citizenship.

Kiva is a non-profit organization that connects people throughout the world, to help alleviate poverty. Through Kiva, people from five continents can loan money to help struggling individuals create opportunities for themselves. It relies on a world wide network of over 450 volunteers (Kiva).

(OH!MEDIA, 2012).

What is Digital Citizenship
Digital citizenship is the first step to becoming media literate in the 21st century. It is about preparing students to navigate the information and rules online, safely.

The importance of digital citizenship is developing an ethical core. Because online users can appear completely anonymously, they don' tend to think or act ethically. For this reason, and the dangers that lurk online, educators need to help students think through ethical dilemma's, such as cyberbullying. There are five main ethical issues that need to be addressed: identity, privacy, trustworthiness, participation, and ownership. Rather than shielding students from the dangers of the digital world, educators need to help prepare them to deal with them and embrace the 21st century (What is Digital Citizenship?).

(Naheed, 2014).

Learning to Change-Changing to Learn

Learning to change see's technology in education mandatory. We are no longer in the age where embracing technology is a choice. Technology has invented a new environment full of access, productivity, and community, and it is a bread mode for learning. 21st century learning has opened the door to connecting students and teachers to opportunities that will fundamentally shift their academic experiences, and better prepare them for the world. Education's old and traditional model is no longer relevant in our world today. The jobs that students will be moving into do not call for a right answer, vending machine approach. Instead, the work people are required to do will call on their ability of understanding context, their ability to synthesize, their ability to work in teams, be multilingual, multicultural, interdisciplinary, and it will call in their artistic and creative abilities. As such, students need to be provided rich and stimulating environments inside schools, that embraces all that technology has to offer (Learning to Change).

(Rieh, 2013).

A Vision of Students Today

This creative video, made by university students summarizes some of the most important characteristics of education and students today. It's a thought provoking look at how education is still very much stuck in the 19th century, and forces students to complete and engage in 19th century learning and assessment tasks. For example university; class sizes range from 100-200 students, teachers don't know student names, students spend hundred's of dollars on textbooks that they never even open, and complete formative assessment tasks that won't help them in the future of in the real world. At the end of the short video, it asks viewers to consider whether or not technology can really help our culture, like people have suggested, when all it does is remove us from the real environment. Instead of being engaged in class through technology, students are on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, watching videos, or downloading/listening to music (A Vision of Students Today).

Us Now- Internet Documentary

Us Now is a documentary film about the power of mass collaboration through the use of the internet. The film explores the idea and power of self-organizing structures, and how they could one day transform the way that countries are governed. In the future, citizens could be connected to the state online, and actively participate and collaborate in decision-making processes, and without the need for politicians. This film really speaks to the political and democratic power that lies within the digital world (Us Now, 2012).

TED Talk: Coding a Better Government

In this insightful TED talk, activist Jennifer Pahlka talks about the collective action possible through digital technology. Jennifer, too, explores the idea that the internet could be used to transform the way countries are run and governed. Technology has an empowering effect on what people can do and what can be accomplished. Through the digital world and collective action, societies can accomplish more, together, than they can alone. For example, through the creation of apps, which are cheap and efficient, citizens can connect directly to their neighbours and government (TED talk, 2012).


Alberta Education (2013). Technology briefing: Digital citizenship. Retrieved from

A Vision of Students Today

Anderson, Tim (2013) You Need Balance in Your Life. Retrieved from

Durley, C. (2013). Who owns digital citizenship? Retrieved from

Edmodo (2012). Best Practices: Digital Citizenship. Retrieved from

Fey, Thomas (2012). False Wisdom of Crowds. Retrieved from

Flickr (2012). Retrieved from

Learning to Change- Changing to Learn

McVerry, G. (2013). Why I am renouncing my digital citizenship. Retrieved from

Naheed, Nenshi (2014). Twitter. Retrieved from

OH!MEDIA (2012). Community Involvement- We Love to Help! Retrieved from

Ribble, M., Bailey, G. & Ross, T. (2004). Digital Citizenship: Addressing
appropriate technology behaviour. Retrieved from

Rotten ecards. Retrieved from

TED Talk: Coding a Better Government

Us Now (2012, December 8). Video file. Retrieved from

Kiva: Loans that change lives. Retrieved from

What is Digital Citizenship? t5__9yfLX8NRvb3&index=1&feature=plpp_video

(Edmodo 2012).

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