The moral of the story…

Reflecting on my learning over the past twelve weeks, I asked myself what is the moral to this story? How will I move forward in my teaching practice to integrate technology in an effective manner that encompasses all that digital citizenship entails? Borrowing some familiar words from Aesop, here are a few of the lessons I have learned about Digital Citizenship:

1. Don’t judge a book by its cover.

The term ‘Digital Native’ does not equal ‘Digital Expert’. Growing up ‘wired’ and ‘connected’ does not mean today’s students will automatically become effective and ethical users of technology. I need to explicitly teach students how to appropriately use technology to create, share and analyze information.
The components of digital citizenship, must be an intentional part of my teaching practice.

2. Birds of a feather flock together.

Hollandsworth, Dowdy, & Donovan (2011) ask, “Who represents the village for our youth, as it relates to digital citizenship? Will it be parents, teachers, administrators, academics, technology professionals, media specialists, or students?” (p. 37). The answer is all of us. Teachers students, parents, the global community – we must work collaboratively, building relationships based on reciprocity, to develop all of our digital skills and literacies.

3. Look before you leap.

Student needs, teacher professional development, cost, privacy, equity of access, available infrastructure… there is much to consider before implementing the use of digital technology in the classroom.
There is also a great deal for our students to think about and understand, such as digital etiquette, copyright laws, safety, security and health. All of these areas require critical thinking skills. We must model critical thinking and teach our students to be thoughtful when using technology, taking into account the potential impact of actions and decisions on ourselves, each other, and the environment.

4. Slow and steady wins the race.

Perhaps most importantly, I have learned the importance of patience and perseverance. “Real and meaningful change, and real and substantial learning, require realistic and extended investments of time and resources.” (McGrath, Karabas, & Willis, 2011, p. 21). We must keep going, one step at a time, towards responsible, well-informed and active citizenship in the digital world.

What lessons will guide you in promoting digital citizenship?


Hollandsworth, R., Dowdy, L., & Donovan, J. (2011). Digital Citizenship in K-12: It Takes a Village. Techtrends: Linking Research And Practice To Improve Learning, 55(4), 37-47.

McGrath, J., Karabas, G., & Willis, J. (2011). From tpack concept to tpack practice: an analysis of the suitability and usefulness of the concept as a guide in the real world of teacher Development. International Journal Of Technology In Teaching & Learning, 7(1), 1-23.

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2 Responses to The moral of the story…

  1. caroleware says:

    While they have some skills, our digital natives do not all have strong skills to utilize technology to assist in their learning. It’s hard to know where to start when making sure our students not only use technology, but know how to ‘be’ with technology. Digital Citizenship skills require students to think about what is right and wrong. Being a citizen in the real world can, and should be transferred over to the digital world as well.

    While I agree that all technology users need to know about safety and digital citizenship, it’s hard to know exactly when to introduce what components of it. I think that as a teacher, it is my job to help guide students to choose the right “tool” to complete their assignments. However, we also need to consider the personal tools they need to effectively be part of the digital world. Just like technology needs to be embedded in our work, so does the digital citizenship component. This week my students were given their school email accounts – it is not enough just to give them the tool, but we also need to talk about etiquette around using email – we will be working on this now – the time makes sense, the students are eager and better to start them off on the right foot. Ribble, Bailey, & Ross (2004) state, “technology should be used in the curriculum and applying digital citizenship to help define students’ behavior will facilitate 
the development of well-rounded, technology-savvy students” (p. 11)


    Ribble, M.S, Bailey, G.D, Ross, T.W., 2004, Digital Citizenship, Addressing Appropriate Technology Behaviour., Learning & Leading with Technology, 32(1).

  2. kamal punit says:

    Hi Kim,
    There is no doubt that one of the most important lessons to be learned from various aspects of learning of digital citizenship is the use of the term ‘Digital Native’ and the way it is used especially from an educators viewpoint. I like that way you have pointed out the importance to recognize that children today, born into a wired world, using media and various media technologies doesn’t guarantee perfect knowledge of all the haves and have nots of the digital realm. A deeper and perhaps critical perspective is important to help digital natives make most of what the digital space has to offer. Livingstone (2011, p. 7) stresses that, “children do not draw a line where adults do so opportunities and risks relate to the same activity.” Our digital world makes it even more important to realize the close relationship between identity, intimacy, privacy and vulnerability. This is not to advocate that we should curtail the freedom or positive promotion of creative expression that online spaces offer but instilling the importance of why and how digital citizenship makes a difference for themselves and the people connected to them. As a teacher I think one of the most important lessons is to understand as well as adapt to the evolving nature of change and this not restrictive to any one area, compelling us to broaden our horizons and critically examine the assumptions of the past. McGrath & Karabas (2011, p.21) point out, that even TPACK model is taken for granted today, “but we need only look at our recent past to see that TPACK core values were not always there.”

    Livingstone, S. (2010). Digital learning and participation among youth: Critical reflections on future research priorities. International Journal of Learning and Media, 2(2-3). Retrieved from
    McGrath, J., Karabas, G., & Willis, J. (2011). From tpack concept to tpack practice: an analysis of the suitability and usefulness of the concept as a guide in the real world of teacher Development. International Journal Of Technology In Teaching & Learning, 7(1), 1-23.

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