Digital Citizenship

how you interact, impact, involve and inspire the digital world


Journal Entry 5 - Course Reflection

I was surprised by all the information I believed I knew about digital citizenship being only half of what was really out there. Mark Ribble shared some significant elements that I would never have thought to mention if I created my own course on digital citizenship. Digital commerce, law, and health were elements that I just assumed would come naturally to people, but after this course, I understand how instrumental they are to growing a digital citizen. Opening my mind during this course allowed me to see these elements from a different vantage point. With a young daughter who is eagerly wanting to learn more about the devices we use, I can't help but think about what she needs to learn about her digital footprint and proper usage.

I was very proud of my work with on the short video where I focused on text neck awareness. As an avid fitness junkie, I am focusing a lot on my posture and stretching as I get older. When I came upon Ribble's element on digital health, I was in shock to discover how bad one's posture can become if they are unchecked while using technology. This not only affects us in the short term but will have an impact on our health many years down the line if it is left to continue.

I was challenged by this course to rethink my ethics when we discussed copyright law. I began to question all the times I used resources. Should I have done it that way or was I leading my students down an unethical path without knowing it? I began to look for more resources to help me understand the correct ways to share other's work and not mislead my audiences to believe my creations were 100 percent my ideas.

As an administrator on campus and after taking this course, I will be sure to advocate for digital citizenship for all ages. With the help of Ribble's respect, educate and protect categories and grade level breakdown, I will encourage we follow the framework. Beginning at the kindergarten level and following it all the way up, we can impact the future of our student's usage and understanding of the digital world. This course let me see how dangerous devices can become if left in the hands of students that have never been instructed about the power and potential they have at their fingertips. The digital world is more than just online games and shopping. The potential for digital access and empowerment for our country and others is enormous.

Also as administrator, I will take my learning about the world of cyberbullying and share it with my counselors and staff. The week we spent on this topic made it hard to sleep for sure but it was a necessary topic to cover. I would never have taken the dive into this topic without this course. It has challenged me as a leader in the district and pushed my understanding of the potential of devices and connection.


Journal Entry 4 - Cyberbulling

The hardest part about cyberbullying is the connection the students have with the device. It is an addiction. A student came to a door that was closed the other day and then knocked and immediately took out their device, not knowing what to do with free time. It is terrifying that the students we teach have never known a world without it. They are always on. They are always connected to the world around them. It is definitely an amazing feat of technology and science. It is also very exhausting.

To remain socially relevant they feel obligated to like and share excessively often. Always having to check for updates. Since they all post so often and feel compelled to respond they create more work for themselves. They live in this constant trance awaiting the next notification or alert. Have you seen the flashing LED notification go off in a classroom? It demands an immediate response. It controls them.

I was picked on in school and the butt of a few jokes now that I'm an adult. I think everyone should experience a jest every now and then to help keep them humble and human. Bullying is a different type of harassment though. It crosses the line and doesn't go away easily. Obsession with devices adds another level to this. Because of this type of constant connection, the effects of cyberbullying are so much more significant. They can't get away from it and still stay a part of their community.

On my campus, the policy for cyberbullying is taken to the same intensity as traditional bullying. Investigations are made, and counselor meetings are set. Follow up occurs if the situation warrants it. The severity of case can even affect the student's schedule. Classes can be adjusted, and students have also been assigned our version of a restraining order, "stay away plan." This plan includes not only the hallways but also the digital world too. Any breach of this results in disciplinary action. Our faculty and police officers are also trained to see signs of depression. This identification helps us also provide empathy and compassion to the case. We are taught to see the student as a human and not as a victim only.


Journal Entry 3 - Copyright in the Classroom

In my classroom, I shared with the students about how to search for images they have rights to use freely. They were very confused about this. They thought that because it was out on the Internet, then they could use it. "I don't need permission, because I already have it," they would state. They see copyright and usage of another's items as borrowing from them. Like it was a toy they left on the ground.

They aren't playing with it so it can be used without having to ask permission. You only need permission if they have it in their hand.

Children do use not only this logic but also many of us adults. Copyright is intended to help so many people accomplish their dreams based on their hard work but is often squashed by unaware consumers. We are too quick to abuse this as a consumer. Imagine yourself on the highway driving on the weekend. There are dozens of cars passing by any given point on the road every minute. Many going over the speed limit and therefore speeding and therefore breaking the law. You are one of them too. Five miles over isn't that big of a deal to you and since there are so many others doing it you will likely get away with the crime because you are lost in the sheer number of cars. Similarly, we get away with the copyright because there are so many out there doing it incorrectly. It doesn't mean we are in the right. We just aren't being called out on it.

Over the summer I began my own small business making videos and graphics for YouTube videos. I knew that I would stand out of the typical crowd because I am now asking for money for the creation of art. Like the scenario before except I have a bright yellow monster truck and can now be spotted more easily. This added exposure made me fearful and put me in place to watch more carefully what I was using to create my projects. I could not afford the mistake. Whether it was a sound effect, font or image, I made sure that I had the documentation to justify my use. I also had to check fair use law to be sure that I was repurposing material within the correct scope. (University, 2018).

Another way to think of it is this. While copyright infringement has one victim, the copyright holder(s), plagiarism has two sets of victims, the copyright holder(s) and the people who were lied to about the origin of the work. (Bailey, 2013)

As educators, we have an excellent opportunity to teach our students about potential legal issues and prevent future ramifications. Showing them how and why to give credit as they work through our lessons and projects allows for so much applicable learning. The last thing I would want is for a student to feel so confident in their vocal ability, but when presenting to the board, they plagiarize or use unauthorized images in marketing material. They never learned how to function in this dynamic digital world. Let's prepare them for their future by instructing them early and often about how to follow copyright laws.


Journal Entry 2 - Your Digital Footprint

Have you ever Googled yourself? Take the time to do so if you have not. You, like I, will be surprised at what you find. Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 10 years, you will find images, social media accounts and possibly your birthday. Really. I found mine and was shocked to see it. The fact that all this information is out there may make you think that you have been exploited somehow and your information released without your permission. To be honest, this is likely your doing. Your digital footprint is what you have found. The digital evidence you have left as you walked along the Internet.

Our digital footprint is an inevitable part of our life now. Instagram as an example has taken ownership of our students' spare time. They must "have more followers than people you follow... Otherwise you're a ghost" (Detwiler, 2016). This mentality is what encircles our students and leads them to post often and without considering what they post. They are compelled because of the unspoken rules of social media peer pressure. With apps like Snapchat, anonymity is a false mask that students believe in. They believe that their digital footprint is invisible and untraceable. This causes them to act in a way that defines this generation. Generation Z students are commonly bullies online, no work ethic and generally don't care (Ross, 2014).

Thinking of the current news stories about social media posts has my skin crawling. Heck, I'm looking through my accounts right now. Posts that are made with an attempt at humor or deliberately aggressive are all in the news. The world is watching. What you do post or did once can be brought back and affect you. The amount of time since the incident doesn't matter. Politicians, actors, and teachers are all being investigated for their actions. Their digital footprint is under scrutiny. It is ending careers.

Your digital footprint is something that will always be in the world we live in. Making our students and ourselves better about what we post and why we post. This is the beginning of a new age that needs more attention to what we post. Constant vigilance about what we post and the meaning behind it. Positive posts leave a digital footprint that gives a chance for this world. It encourages a change in how we do what we do. Reteaching us to think about the why behind our post. Creating a hesitation for reflection before taking a digital step is the right move. With the people being more conscientious of their actions we all will take a step away from the casual and impulsive actions our immediate access to technology has done to us.

I never thought that my digital footprint would make me think so much about how and why I post. I am eager to teach these things to my students and also my children. They are the future and will decide what will happen with the power and technology for the next generation.


Journal Entry 1 - What it means to me

Digital Citizenship is something I really had not heard of until I attended the ISTE Conference in Chicago this last summer. My district has been using technology in the classrooms since 2012 and I never thought of this element of the interaction between user and device. Learning more and more about Digital Citizenship through the masters program from Lamar University has grown my passion to learn more about this topic. This passion has affected me and my desire to better understand what it means to me.

My Personal Definition:
I believe Digital Citizenship to be how you interact, impact, involve and inspire with integrity in the digital world.

These “I” words connected with me to represent the integrity that should be used when approaching the powerful digital world. Without integrity in this arena, it is easy to fall down a rabbit hole of anonymous activity. The interactions and impact we users have goes unnoticed to us most of the time (Curran, 2012). We proceed without concern of our fellow users or the friends that are physically near us. We operate behind a mask that can become dangerous if we fail to involve others to keep us accountable for our clicks and posts.

In my opinion, the safe interaction of the user is the most important. As a parent of a curious child, I do my best to filter elements of life to her eyes and heart. Allowing them to pass through at a controlled pace. The web releases them at an unsafe and unhealthy way if found. Debauchery is around the corner but so is becoming too comfortable with clicking "allow" in the settings pop up (Polgar, 2015). All nine of these elements are crucial for one to learn but must begin with a focus on the overall safety of the user (Ribble, 2015). The digital world is like a kitchen knife that can be used to harm or create a masterfully crafted dinner.

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Technology's impact on lives today spans a multitude of areas. Understanding these impacts is important to developing good digital citizenship.


Helpful Resources

Bailey, J. (2013, October 7). The difference between copyright infringement and plagiarism [Web Blog]. Retrieved from

Curran, M. (2012, June). iCitizen: Are you a socially responsible digital citizen. Paper presented at the International Society for Technology Education Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX. Retrieved from (PDF: icitizen_paper_M_Curran.pdf)

Detwiler, J. (2016, December/January). Technology and the American teenager. Popular Mechanics, 193(1), 100-107. Detwiler_Technology and the American Teenager.pdf

Ohler, J. (2012). Digital citizenship means character education for the digital age. Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, 77(8), 14-17. (PDF: Ohler_Digital_citizenship_means_character_education_2012.pdf)

Polgar, D. R., & Curran, M. B.F.X. (2015). We shouldn't assume people know what digital citizenship is. Retrieved from

Poth, R. (2018, Dec). 5 resources to help students — and teachers — understand copyright law. International Society for Technology in Education. Retrieved from

Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools: Nine elements all students should know. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.

Rogers-Whitehead, C. (2019, Jan). Digital citizenship starts with the person not the tool! International Society for Technology in Education. Retrieved from

Ross, M. (2014). Digital natives-digital immigrants engaging the Google generation. Forum Lectures. Retrieved from Ross_Digital Natives-Digital Immigrants Engaging the Google Generation.pdf

University of Texas Libraries. (2018, March 5). Copyright crash course: Fair use. Retrieved from