What a journey the last five weeks have been! This last class that I’ve just completed as a part of my Masters of Education in Digital Learning and Leading has been one the most challenging, yet informative classes I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of. Considering myself a “digital native” already, I thought I already knew a great deal there was to know about technology and digital citizenship. While I do remember a time before cell phones, GPS, Facebook and Twitter, the ability to navigate a website and learn the digital ways has become second nature to me, so I thought this class would be nice “refresher” on digital citizenship. Boy, was I wrong to assume. This has by far been one of the most challenging and time consuming courses that I’ve been a part of, but I’ve got to say, I’ve learned SO much. Things I hadn’t even considered when talking about digital citizenship.
I’ll try to be brief, but in a nutshell, when referring to digital citizenship, one is referring to “the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use” (Ribble, 2017). With technology surrounding us at all times, often managing our day to day lives, it is important to consider digital citizenship when interacting with others online. In my mind, digital citizenship meant acting and behaving appropriately online, but I soon found out that there was much more to it than that. For example, Mike Ribble (2015) goes further than just defining digital citizenship and lays out the 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship. This framework of digital citizenship is a great tool for teachers and educators as it helps them understand the connection between each element and how to address them when educating students. Briefly, the nine elements include: digital access, digital commerce, digital communication, digital literacy, digital etiquette, digital law, digital rights and responsibilities, digital health and wellness, and finally, digital security. I learned that not one element should be addressed separately, but that they are all interconnected and when addressed as a whole, make up digital citizenship.
After researching and learning about the nine elements, I quickly gravitated to focusing on digital etiquette, because everyday in the classroom, we are teaching and reminding out students of how to be classroom citizens with their friends and peers. We are teaching and instilling things like respect, humility and gratitude on a daily basis, in addition to the academic lessons we tackle every day. With the world wide web at our finger tips now, there is a whole new realm of communication that needs to be addressed and not ignored. I found Ohler’s (2012) comparison of the “two lives” and “one life” approach as a great example of whether bringing technology into the classroom is necessary and important. Many schools and educators are still of the mindset that social media interaction and any internet access needs to be left for at home use on the student’s own personal time, however, in an ever growing digital society, educators need to look at how they might be able to implement digital technology in the classroom while also taking the opportunity to educate students on how to be good digital citizens.
In addition to the nine elements of digital citizenship, there was a completely different aspect of digital citizenship that I hadn’t even thought of prior to entering into this course, and that is the copyright and legal component. Learning about and modeling correct copyright laws has helped me better understand the legal aspect of digital citizenship and will help me as I continue to teach my middle school digital photography class. If I’m being honest, I think that the biggest accomplishment for me in this course was not a specific assignment, but was the active self reflections that I was required to make weekly. While I’ve gotten in the habit to write thoughts and understandings I’ve taken throughout my courses, what set this course apart was that the self reflections for this course were to be make in APA format. This forced me to pause and think about where I was getting my information from and how to give the authors of those articles the proper credit they deserved. Additionally, I took the time to look for other applicable material that I could get information from and share with my audience to fulfill the requirement of adding 5 additional resources on my ePortfolio.
Again, this was a very rewarding and fulfilling course, my only suggestion would be to spread out or even omit some of the smaller, but still time consuming assignments that were included in the weekly submission documents. Perhaps that was what made this course so challenging, was that there was never one big assignment to turn in every week. Instead, there were 7-8 smaller, time consuming assignments to complete. That coupled with family and our daily jobs made the course a little difficult to manage, however, I’m leaving this course having gained much more knowledge and feeling more equipped in teaching digital citizenship to my students.
Digital Citizenship Mantra: Molding A Culture of Responsible Digital Citizens
Digital Etiquette for a Digital Society : A Scholarly Essay can be found here.
Ohler, J. (2012). Digital citizenship means character education for the digital age. Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, 77(8), 14-17. (PDF: Ohler_Digital_citizenship_means_character_education_2012.pdf)
Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools (3rd ed.). Eugene, OR: International Society of Technology in Education.
Ribble, M. (2017). Digital Citizenship: Using Technology Appropriately. Retrieved from
Ribble, M. (2017). Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship. Retrieved from