Blending Environments – Digital Citizenship is Participation

“Stop at the curb. Take my hand. Look left, look right and look left again.” Remember this? I remember this as if it was yesterday. Many of you are recalling when you first started teaching your children the rules of the road.  I don’t ever recall saying the streets are too full of danger so we should stay in the house.  Imagine not being allowed to play in the sand or climb up mountains or jog through trails or wade through streams.  Life demands that we explore, create, build, communicate and share.

So why are we so quick to avoid or dismiss environments that we might not be comfortable. Take for example the ‘digital world’.  Some believe in full access while others are all for blocking this and that. Either way, there is consensus that “digital citizenship” should be taught.  Rather than a list of “don’ts”, I see digital citizenship beyond internet safety, netiquette, schoolhouse management, security, or even footprint. Citizenship requires participation, a belonging to a greater whole, including rights and responsibilities to the community. From this perspective, the digital environment is not separate from the physical environment; they seamlessly co-exist. We learn through active participation, responsible participation and authentic participation. (Someone can tell me a million times how to make pastry but until I get into the floury mess I will never learn it or know how it turns out.)

What we might consider is explore what citizenship looks and feels like in the digital world, joining a community of practice within our schools and to venture with others to share our experiences and story with the larger community. Connectedness and authentic learning happens at the intersection. Conversation extends and deepens the relationships built in both face-to-face and digital environments.


Becoming a digital citizen means engaging with the world in authentic, purposeful and intentional ways. This comes with practice and in our schools, guided practice. This means that we have to model those practices. As we continue to work and explore ideas in this arena, we invite you to come play with us.  Just as we started with teaching the basics of crossing the street, our digital sandbox works within frames to purposefully guide and support the learning.  On May 22, we have a beginning launch for K-7 teacher leaders and mentors, administrator as learners to experience and reflect on some of these ideas. Registration  is through our Staff Development Calendar. Please consider joining us.

Digital Citizenship is Minimal Requirement – We Need Digital Leaders

Digital citizenship is a topic that is gaining a dizzying momentum.  The range of tools and environments continue to pop up at rates that far outstrip our ability to understand the new territory, much less navigate it.

It is one thing to be able to orient yourself through a new environment like a holiday drive in a new city and to truly feel you can navigate the streets and alleyways with confidence. It is another to state the same with regards to the media rich world we find ourselves negotiating. Our students, staff and parents show up in our classrooms with varying levels of experience and opportunity to negotiate this digital world. It is a whole new world in many respects. The importance of teaching/sharing digital citizenship just like we offer insights into citizenship and social responsibility is paramount.

digifootprint_edDigital citizenship is a belief and value system that aims to empower students to think critically and make informed choices about how we use the new tools to create, communicate and ultimately treat each other.

The digital citizenship journey can be divided into eight components: Internet Safety, Cyberbullying, Privacy and Security, Digital Footprint and Reputation, Relationships and Communication, Self-Image and Identity, Information Literacy, Creative Credit and Copyright (  Each component can stand separately or be easily grouped.  The topics are interconnected and woven together to form a foundational core value. In the language of Restitution, it would be “who is the person we want to be”.

socialmedia_think_jchowWe all (teachers, students, parents, wider community) have a stake in helping align our practices and experiences to support our students in this new world.

Our journey started four years ago with our district blogs based on WordPress MU. I adapted this graphic to add to our collective  resources on “digital wisdom”.  Will be adding more as time goes by.

Wondering how you are negotiating this area with your students or districts?

Digital Learning Day – Feb 5

The days of January have been whizzing by, partly due to the start of another term and partly due to our wonderful west coast weather.  Having some sun certainly invites a bit more energy in the steps as well as some hopeful signs of spring just around the corner.

We are hearing about so many projects in flight or in the planning stages of inquiry wonder.  Many have chosen to invite the technologies allowing entry points for learners.  Did you know that February 5th is  “Digital Learning Day“?  Although we know that many of you already use technologies in seamless ways, this is a day designed to invite you to further participate in a little something special.  Maybe it’s a connection with another class across the way through your blogs.  Perhaps it’s an encounter with creating a podcast or using QR codes to showcase/share your work with books.  Maybe it’s questions you post out on Twitter about things you wonder. How about creating a found poem and building it into a wordart piece to post?  This month’s Learning Technologies newsletter is full of ideas for you to ponder and put into action.  Consider celebrating the day with a little something special.  Drop us a line and share your story.

Since I’m a huge fan of Peter Reynold‘s work, I love how he captured the ideas for digital learning. It just looks so inclusive!