Digital Citizenship is HOW we Teach

Last spring I was lucky to hear Tanya Avrith speak about redefining digital citizenship at the YRDSB EdTech Camp. Tanya believes that digital citizenship is not an add on or something we teach in isolation. It is something that we integrate into our learning and that it is how we teach. She began her keynote by acknowledging the fears and roadblocks that teachers, administration and parents often have around the use of technology in the classroom such as over sharing and misunderstanding what privacy means in the digital world. She counters this by saying we need to be proactive and address these concerns with students, giving them skills to deal with such issues. That we all need to educate ourselves and learn how to harness the power of social media and develop positive digital legacies. As educators we need to shift our thinking so that digital citizenship is the foundation of integrating digital technologies into our learning.

If you are as inspired by Tanya’s ideas as I am, please join us at our free SCDSB PUSH Your Learning Conference and hear Tanya’s closing keynote on digital citizenship!

Here are a few ideas, resources and strategies to get started:

1) Build a foundation: Resources to build your knowledge

2) Build a foundation: Co-create Norms

  • Before getting started discuss this with your administration to see what the school policies are for technology use and bring your own device (BYOD). Co-creating with students is essential for understanding and ownership of norms.
  • Review the SCDSB Technology Use Guidelines 2014-15 (pages 8-10 of the student handbook)
  • Common Sense Media has a variety of digital citizenship posters that will inspire great ideas.
  • Common Sense Media’s example acceptable use policy.
  • Share norms with parents.

3) Be a technology role model (model appropriate use and balance)

4) Be a global learner (Read: What is a Global Learner?)

5) Discuss the meaning of privacy, over sharing and how to build a positive digital footprint.

6) Keep parents updated and informed about digital citizenship. Resources for parents: SCDSB Parent Resources and Common Sense Media Connecting Families resources.

7) Consider usage rights of content and how to give credit when creating

8) Provide Digital Opportunities

  • Give students choice and voice in their learning and assessment
  • Opportunities to make thinking visible (screencasting, Explain Everything, Pictures/Videos, etc..)
  • Opportunities to share and publish their work (blogging, Twitter, etc..)

About Marci Duncan

Technology Instructional Resource Teacher K-12 for #SCDSB; Google Educator; Co-chair of #edcampbarrie. You can contact me at
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