Posted by: Ed Brazee | April 2, 2013

Three Perspectives on Digital Citizenship

Digital Citizenship

A simple Google search of “digital citizenship” nets 15,100,000 hits. Fifteen million! How do we make sense out of all that information? How do we separate the wheat from the chaff, the good from the bad, the ridiculous from the sublime?

I’ve selected these three blog posts because each represents a unique and thoughtful perspective on digital citizenship. You may like them so much you will want to follow these bloggers!

Does digital citizenship have to be a new program? School counselor, Lauren Seaberg, wrote a great piece on “Digital Citizenship” in her blog School Counseling Across the Pond.  School counselors and teachers worked as a team to develop a program that includes an Acceptable Use Agreement linked to their school rule of respect, provided information, resources, and sessions with and for parents, and designed a curriculum scope and sequence based on NETS performance standards and Common Sense Media curricular resources. Takeaways: A school program that is pro-active instead of reactive; connection between the character education work already in place and a newer digital citizenship focus; recognition that every member of the school is responsible for “…addressing issues as they occur in special teaching moments.” Don’t forget to watch the excellent Prezi (link embedded in Seaberg’s post) for more information about this unique program.

What is meant to be public and what is meant to be private? Recently George Couros, school principal, blogger, and technology and learning expert asked, “Is your school’s “digital citizenship” practice a pass or fail?” to begin a discussion about digital citizenship practice in schools. Takeaways: Key questions— “Do we work with kids and really talk about the implications of what bad online behavior can lead to?” In response to some inappropriate tweets…”Did a teacher ever work with this student to talk about the possible consequences of her actions?” Couros gives a rubric for schools as they consider their digital citizenship practice. While Couros believes that we ultimately need to move our students to the point of Digital Leadership (and I agree with him) his rubric is an excellent starting place for teachers and administrators confronting social media and school practice. Think carefully about Couros’ final query—where is your school on this digital citizenship continuum?

What are several things you think you know about Digital Citizenship? Tim Wilhelmus wrote an extensive piece about 11 things he thinks he knows in his blog, Playground Advocate. An Integrating Curriculum and Technology Specialist, Wilhelmus stresses the need for healthier conversations about digital citizenship. “We need to be less worried about being awkward and more concerned with making sure we are honest and open.”  Takeaways: A digital citizenship day/week or a one-shot lesson doesn’t work. “Digital citizenship discussions have to happen in every class throughout the year as learning opportunities arise.” Also, inviting kids to take a moral stand on digital citizenship issues is a powerful way to engage them because even though they are “…very protective of their rights and autonomy…they are also very protective of justice and fairness.” Finally, teachers and parents must be positive role models making good choices online and talking about those choices with our children and students. For schools who have not addressed the need for some sort of digital citizenship program this blog post is an excellent place to begin.

What digital citizenship resources do you recommend?



  1. Great and thought-provoking post. I’m honored to be included here. Thanks, Ed. We are actually in the process of reviewing how we approach digital citizenship in our district, and we’re constantly on the lookout for great resources. I’m looking forward to sharing George and Lauren’s posts as well as your guiding questions with our team.

  2. Ed,
    Wonderful post filled with lots of great information and great resources on a very important topic. I love to learn about what direction other schools are going in. Thanks so much for sharing my post!

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