• June 1, 2018

Digital Citizenship is the norms of behaviour with regard to technology use.  It involves: having access to technology, being willing and able to use technology fairly, proficiently, and responsibly.  The concept of digital citizenship is complex and multi-faceted.  This resource focuses on digital citizenship as it pertains to educational settings.  Digital citizenship in education involves the appropriateness and responsibility we all have in using technology in educational settings, and beyond.  Educators have the opportunity to model and teach digital citizenship in their classrooms.  This resource has been created to assist those within an educational setting to understand digital citizenship, access resources, and develop implementation strategies.

This resource will explore Digital Citizenship in sequential modules:

  • Module 1 – an understanding of digital citizenship and how it relates to educational settings
  • Module 2 – understand how digital citizenship fits into BC’s K-12 curriculum
  • Module 3 – identify and explain the nine elements of digital citizenship
  • Module 4 – examine the ISTE Standards for Administrators, Educators, and Students
  • Module 5 – explore Common Sense Education’s Digital Citizenship Curriculum, including the K-12 Scope and Sequence
  • Module 6 – examine Media Smarts’ Digital Literacy Framework, lesson plans for all subjects (K-12), and the Digital Citizenship Guide for Parents
  • Module 7 – discover Google for Education training and complete the Digital Citizenship and Safety Course for Educators
  • Module 8 – access additional resources to teach and learn about digital citizenship

Module 1 - Introduction: What is Digital Citizenship?

Digital Citizenship is “the quality of habits, actions, and use patterns that impact the ecology of digital content and communities” (Ribble, 2015).  It is the norms of behaviour with regard to technology use.  It involves: having accessing to technology, being willing and able to use technology fairly, proficiently, and responsibly.

The concept of digital citizenship is complex and multi-faceted. This resource focuses on digital citizenship as it pertains to educational settings.  Digital citizenship is an essential 21st century skill that educators can develop and strengthen in their students for them to connect, collaborate, and communicate responsibly and safely in the digital age.  It consists of not only respecting, educating, and protecting ourselves, but also others as well as we are all members of the digital world.

The nine elements of digital citizenship, as defined by Dr. Mike Ribble in his book, Digital Citizenship in Schools (2015), provide a framework with which educators, parents, and students may begin to understand and implement strategies to be safe and responsible consumers and creators in the digital world, within the classroom and beyond.  It is a framework that identifies the current components of digital citizenship.  The nine elements of digital citizenship are digital: etiquette, access, law, literacy, communication, commerce, rights and responsibilities, security, and health and wellness.

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) also provides standards for administrators, educators, and students for rethinking about education as it relates to the digital world.  Digital citizenship is one of the core components of these standards.  This framework provides a roadmap for educators and students to be kind, safe, and responsible online.  Digital citizenship is about taking students beyond the protective to the proactive in order to empower students to become well-rounded digital citizens.

Module 2 - Digital Citizenship and Curriculum

Digital citizenship in education involves the appropriateness and responsibility we all have in using technology in educational settings, and beyond. As educators, we have the opportunity to model and teach digital citizenship in our classrooms. We can balance the positive aspects of technology while protecting students from the potential issues (Ribble, 2015). We can create partnerships with our students and form learning communities in our classes. The complexity of digital citizenship makes it overwhelming, especially for educators to try to learn about it and implement strategies to teach it. This resource has been created to assist those within an educational setting to understand digital citizenship and to develop implementation strategies.

BC Ministry of Education’s Digital Literacy Framework (K-12)

The Digital Literacy Framework provides guidelines for empowering students’ abilities to use technology in a safe and responsible manner. This framework focuses on the interest, attitude and ability of individuals to use digital technology and communication tools appropriately to access, manage, integrate, analyze and evaluate information, construct new knowledge, and create and communicate with others.

Digital citizenship is a significant component of this framework. It consists of the ability for students to understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behaviour, including:

  • internet safety: stay safe on the Internet by employing strategies such as distinguishing between inappropriate contact and positive connections
  • privacy and security: know how protect privacy, respect the privacy of others, and employ strategies to maintain information and data security online
  • relationships and communication: understand the risks and benefits of developing online relationships and use technology to communicate effectively and respectfully
  • cyberbullying: recognize cyberbullying and know how to deal with it
  • digital footprint and reputation: be aware that you leave a permanent “digital footprint” or “trail” on the Internet, so you must behave accordingly
  • self-image and identity: understand the nature of self-image and identity in the online environment, how our perceptions of others and our social values may be manipulated, and that people may not be what or whom they appear to be online
  • creative credit and copyright: respect other’s ownership of their digital creations
  • legal and ethical aspects: behave appropriately and in a socially responsible way in digital environments, demonstrating awareness and knowledge of legal and ethical aspects on the use of ICT and digital content
  • balanced attitude towards technology: demonstrate an informed, open-minded, and balanced attitude towards information society and the use of digital technology, is curious, aware of opportunities and new developments, and is comfortable to explore and exploit them
  • understanding and awareness of the role of ICT in society: understand the broader context of use and development of information and communication technology

The other components in this framework on digital literacy are:

  • research and information literacy
  • critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making
  • creativity and innovation
  • communication and collaboration
  • technology operations and concepts

Module 3 - The Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship

“Let’s help [students] do great things with technology while avoiding the pitfalls.” – Mike Ribble

The nine elements of digital citizenship, as defined by Dr. Mike Ribble in his book, Digital Citizenship in Schools (2015), provide a framework with which educators, parents, and students may begin to understand and implement strategies to be safe and responsible consumers and creators in the digital world, within the classroom and beyond. It provides a structure for digital citizenship education.

It is a framework that identifies the current components of digital citizenship. The nine elements of digital citizenship are digital: etiquette, access, law, literacy, communication, commerce, rights and responsibilities, security, and health and wellness. The elements have been organized into three overarching principles: respect, educate, and protect (REP).

“R” stands for respecting yourself and others. The elements categorized under the theme of respect are:

  • digital access: advocating for equal digital rights and access is where digital citizenship starts
  • digital etiquette: rules and policies aren’t enough, we need to teach everyone about appropriate conduct online
  • digital law: users understand it’s a crime to steal or damage another’s digital work, identity or property

“E” stands for educating yourself and others, which includes learning in the classroom, at home, and within the community. The elements categorized under the theme of educate are:

  • digital communication: with so many communication options available, users need to learn how to make appropriate decisions
  • digital literacy: need to teach students how to learn in a digital society
  • digital commerce: as more purchases are made online, students must understand how to be effective consumers in a digital economy

P stands for protecting yourself and others, which includes protecting identity, information, and ideas. The elements categorized under the theme of protect are:

  • digital rights and responsibilities: inform students of their basic digital rights to privacy, freedom of speech, etc.
  • digital safety and security:  know how to protect your information from outside forces that might cause harm; students must guard their tools and data
  • digital health and wellness: from physical issues, such as repetitive stress syndrome, to psychological issues, such as technology addiction, students should understand the health risks of technology; about achieving a balance between the online world and real world

These REPs, or repetitions, symbolize the ongoing modeling and facilitation of these elements that must take place in order to develop and strengthen digital citizenship skills. As educators do with all skills, these elements must be revisited and reinforced. Educators can provide opportunities for students to practice and model what they have learned regarding digital citizenship.

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The nine elements are categorized in REPs; however, they may also be organized by the appropriate school level at which each element may be modeled and facilitated: primary, middle, and high school. Elements that may be modeled and facilitated at the primary grade level are: digital etiquette, digital literacy, and digital rights and responsibilities. Elements that may be modeled and facilitated at the middle school level are: digital access, digital communication, and digital security. Elements that may be modeled and facilitated at the high school level are: digital law, digital commerce, and digital health and wellness. At the younger grades, digital technology skills may be modeled, with a minor focus on facilitation. At the later grades, the responsibility of skills may be placed more with the students with facilitation by educators.

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The modeling and facilitation of digital citizenship skills must take place within the classroom, as well as within the school and community. The teaching and modeling of these skills is not only the responsibility of educators, but it is also the responsibility of educational leaders, parents, community members, and the students themselves.

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As educators, we need to ensure we help students understand the issues that might occur online while also stressing the positive impact of technology. In a classroom, establish an acceptable use policy (in line with the school and district policy) that emphasizes empowering students and focuses on the positive uses of technology in educational settings. The focus in this policy should be on the choices students are making, and giving them more responsibility to do so by clearly stating what we want them to do with technology and digital citizenship.

Module 4 - ISTE Standards for Administrators, Educators, and Students

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) provides standards for administrators, educators, and students for rethinking about education as it relates to the digital world. Digital citizenship is one of the core components of these standards. This framework provides a roadmap for educators and students to be kind, safe, and responsible online. Digital citizenship is about taking students beyond the protective to the proactive in order to empower students to become well-rounded digital citizens.

ISTE Standards for Administrators:

Digital citizenship, as it relates to administrators, involves administrators modelling and facilitating an understanding of social, ethical and legal issues and responsibilities related to an evolving digital culture.

Administrators can:

  • ensure equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources to meet the needs of all learners
    promote, model, and establish policies for safe, legal and ethical use of digital information and technology/li>
  • promote and model responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information/li>
  • model and facilitate the development of a shared cultural understanding and involvement in global issues through the use of contemporary communication and collaboration tools

The other components in the Standards for Administrators and education leaders are:

  • visionary leadership
  • digital age learning culture
  • excellence in professional practice
  • systemic improvement

ISTE Standards for Educators:

Educators can be an empowered professional and a learning catalyst. As an empowered professional, they can be a citizen. Educators can inspire students to positively contribute to and responsibly participate in the digital world.

Educators can:

  • create experiences for learners to make positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online that build relationships and community
  • establish a learning culture that promotes curiosity and critical examination of online resources and fosters digital literacy and media fluency
  • mentor students in the safe, legal and ethical practices with digital tools and the protection of intellectual rights and property
  • model and promote management of personal data and digital identity and protect student data privacy

As an empowered professional, educators can also be learners, and leaders. As learning catalysts, they can be collaborators, designers, facilitators, and analysts.

The Standards for Educators also include an implementation and adoption toolkit, as well as a downloadable poster (“Stretch Your Edtech Practice”).

ISTE Standards for Students:

The Standards for Students recognize the importance of digital citizens and the needs for students to recognize the rights, responsibilities, and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and that they should/need to act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical.

Students can:

  • cultivate and manage their digital identity and reputation and are aware of the permanence of their actions in the digital world
  • engage in positive, safe, legal, and ethical behaviour when using technology, including social interactions online or when using networked devices
  • demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property
  • manage their personal data to maintain digital privacy and security and are aware of data-collection technology used to track their navigation online

The other Standards for Students are being:

  • an empowered learner
  • a knowledge constructor
  • an innovative designer
  • a computational thinker
  • a creative communicator
  • a global collaborator

The Standards for Students also include an implementation and adoption toolkit, as well as downloadable posters (“I Am a Digital Learner” and “Citizenship in the Digital Age”).

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Module 5 - Common Sense Education’s Digital Citizenship Curriculum: K - 12 Scope and Sequence

Common Sense Education has developed a Digital Citizenship Curriculum to empower students to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in the digital world.  The K to 12 scope and sequence consists of 80 lessons with supporting materials, such as student handouts, assessments, educational videos, and family tip sheets.  Educators may identify related elements and implement those lessons.  The lessons are organized into units for each grade band (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12).  The cross-curricular framework includes a variety of topics, including:

  • privacy and security
  • self-image and identity
  • relationships and communication
  • cyberbullying and digital drama
  • digital footprint and reputation
  • creative credit and copyright
  • information literacy
  • internet safety

Common Sense Education also has other resources available for learning and teaching digital citizenship to help students make safe, smart, and ethical decisions online.  Aside from the Scope and Sequence, there are student games (Grades 3-5, 6-8, 6-12), videos for professional development, and family education.

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Module 6 - Media Smarts: Canada’s Centre for Digital and Media Literacy

Media Smarts, which is Canada’s Centre for Digital and Media Literacy, has developed a digital literacy framework, named “Use, Understand and Create,” for Canadian Schools.  The framework is organized into four grade bands (K-3, 4-6, 7-8, 9-12). Each grade band has lessons on the following cross-curricular framework:

  • ethics and empathy
  • privacy and security
  • community engagement
  • digital health
  • consumer awareness
  • finding and verifying
  • making and remixing

The Digital and Media Literacy outcomes are organized according to the outcomes of each province and territory.  These outcomes include resource and lessons for all subjects.

Module 7 - Google Training: Digital Citizenship and Safety Course for Educators

Google for Education provides a self-directed course on digital citizenship for educators.  It consists of five modules to learn why and how to help students become good citizens and help create a safe and positive online experience.  In this course, educators learn about protecting and securing information, protecting mobile devices, evaluating the credibility of sources, and protection from scams, as well as assessing online interactions.  Each module includes notes, videos, and quizzes.  Once the course has been completed, you will receive a personalized recognition badge and a downloadable lesson plan for Digital Citizenship and Safety Curriculum.

Module 8 – Additional Resources