dcmooc – digital citizenship

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Global Digital Environment – We are not alone

I’m looking forward to engaging with other learners during the dcmooc – Digital Citizenship Massive Open Online Course – being facilitated by Alec Couros co-facilitator Katia Hildebrandt (@kbhildebrandt), and Government of Saskatchewan liaison Joanna Sanders (@MmeSandersand supported by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education. Like many of the participants, I’m very interested in Digital Citizenship and how it impacts students, teachers, and others involved in education. I’m also interested in how it impacts people outside of education and the slide that takes place as people move from space to space taking on different roles – teacher, student, child, parent, employee, etc… For many people, they are just beginning to really discover the power of connecting and being online. I love reading about people who are “thrilled, amazed, astounded” by the ability to connect with others around the globe. As educators discover the power of connecting through twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and using social sharing tools like Diigo, Pearltrees, Scoop.it and Flipboard, I believe there is a change in  how they perceive their classroom, their role as an educator and the different roles that education plays within in the lives of the people around them and in their community. Being able to join a chat and share ideas, stories and resources with teachers from around the globe is amazing. Reading about how other educators are dealing with many of the same issues is comforting and supportive. Being able to add your voice to the community of educators is empowering. Really, it is amazing. But, it’s more .

Enter the Global Digital Environment

Over the past 8 years, that’s how long I’ve been on twitter and it’s easiest to say my social connection adventure started here although I was involved online taking course 15 years ago. I’ve spent a great deal of time learning and sharing from the others within my PLN – Personalized Learning Network. However, it hasn’t been until the last few years that twitter and social sharing has really begun to catch on. Along with this growth, such things as Diigo, Delicious, Pearltrees, Pinterest, Scoop.it, Plurk,  and Google+, have allowed me to connect with others in ways that weren’t possible just a few short years before. I took part in my first Google Hangout EdCamp last year. Before that, it was somewhat difficult to share as freely as this in a synchronous environment. People can tweet, hangout, blog, curate, share, and engage with others from anywhere there is an internet connection. In some way, we’ve all now become part of a global digital environment where we can access and share with whomever. It doesn’t even have to be people you ever meet or really connect to. Blog readers don’t ever have to interact with you and people can read what you are doing – while they lurk – without any connection.  Connection isn’t mandatory.

Digital Citizenship – for me – is an extension of what it means to be a citizen and the different responsibilities that are involved in being a connected citizen in my community, province, country and international community. As a citizen in Canada, there are some pretty well set out guidelines – the Charter of Rights and Freedoms – that help us  as citizens. This isn’t necessarily true for our digital lives although when you join a community there may be some sort of user agreement. What does it mean to be a digital citizen? How do I act? What do I need to know? Where can I find this information? Does my role as an educator have an impact? What are some tools I can use?

Where to Begin

For me, one of the first resources I would suggest is Mike Ribble’s Digital Citizenship in Schools. From this resource, the 9 Themes that are outlined are great places to start a discussion regarding digital citizenship.

1.   Digital Access:   full electronic participation in society.

2.   Digital Commerce:   electronic buying and selling of goods.

3.   Digital Communication:   electronic exchange of information.

4.   Digital Literacy:   process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology.

5. Digital Etiquette:   electronic standards of conduct or procedure.

6.   Digital Law:   electronic responsibility for actions and deeds

7.   Digital Rights & Responsibilities:   those freedoms extended to everyone in a digital world.

8.   Digital Health & Wellness:   physical and psychological well-being in a digital technology world.

9.   Digital Security (self-protection):   electronic precautions to guarantee safety.

Combined with the REP’s (Respect/Educate/Protect)  that are also discussed in the document, educators can begin to reflect and ponder how these themes/ideas permeate their curricula and can be integrated throughout the learning experiences. It also provides a great overview of how people can begin to think about their own role as members of a global digital environment that is connected in ways that many of us cannot imagine – the whole 6 degrees reduced to 2!

On twitter, I shared a pearl of resources that I’ve been gathering over time related to Digital Citizenship. I’d like to say that if anyone is looking for a way to curate links and ideas, I would highly recommend Pearltrees as a source very worth exploring. Because it now allows for sharing of pearls to twitter and FB, it allows me to share without another step.

I also really like the following posters – both of which I believe might be worth sharing with other educators and having posted in some way in at least the staffroom!

Screenshot 2014-05-14 14.38.17 Screenshot 2014-05-14 14.45.44 Screenshot 2014-05-14 14.42.55

                        commonsensemedia.org                                  commonsensemedia.org                              ictevangelist.com

Common Sense Media has some well developed resources for Classroom and Digital Citizenship which can be adapted.  The Educational Technology and Mobile Learning blog has gathered a number of poster resources together in one spot. The option I like is have your students create their own – do it before you begin and then, as things progress, have them update their ideas until the end when they can do a finished product. Kind of like a before-during-after slip that is there for everyone to see! Regina Catholic School Division has a series of lessons based on Sask Curriculum with information from Mike Ribble’s work.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a link to this infographic that looks at the state of education – in the US. Education is changing as society changes – how educators decide to meet these challenges may well determine the state of education in the future.

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I am a husband, father, son.... I am currently working on my PhD in Education - Curriculum and Instruction. My focus is teacher professional development and social media integration. I have a beautiful, supportive wife who has been my partner for 28 years. We have 8 wonderful children who are amazing individuals. Together, we are exploring the world around us, sharing our stories, and enjoying the journey!


  1. Thanks for this Kelly. I am new to the concept of Digital Citizenship having retired from education 8 years ago. Many of the things we wrestled with then, seem not to be issues anymore. Appreciate the links to further reading. I have lots of catching up to do.

    I wonder about your thoughts on connectivity. One of the strengths you mention about blogging is the ability to read or lurk without connectivity, yet isn’t that one of the strengths of the digital world? We can connect across continents, countries, borders without leaving our house. Relationships are formed, ideas are shared, those are all connections. People are connecting without the physicality of size, skin colour, etc. Ideas and thoughts are important. I worry about a world where people don’t connect with one another.

    • Cathy, You’re right, connecting and connectivism is important. However, we tend to view connecting in a kind of one version form instead of seeing it at multi-faceted like a crystal. With each turn of the crystal, you see something different. Each new connection is like this. Because each is unique in some way, an individual will approach them in a different manner. My next post will be on this!

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