Elements of Digital Citizenship

The focus of this week was centered around Dr. Mike Ribble’s book, Digital Citizenship in Schools. Dr. Ribble suggests that schools look at digital citizenship from the perspective of nine elements: digital access, commerce, communication, literacy, etiquette, law, rights and responsibilities, health and wellness, and security.

My colleague, Andrea Stineff, did a terrific job illustrating the analogy of a driver’s license as compared to driver’s education. I enjoyed the picture she painted as a young child, too young to drive, begins the awareness of etiquette (communication) on the road and continues adding to their vehicle and road awareness to the point of expertise as a licensed driver. This is a clear cut example that can be used with a leadership team as they rally interest in digital citizenship in their staff, student body, and parent support.

Honestly, the nine elements presented in the text were not new to me. But, I found Dr. Ribble’s suggestions for assessing school and student levels of knowledge and responsibility, when it comes to digital citizenship to be reasonable and helpful in the sense that a school community could easily adopt these strategies in order to build a strong plan. If a school wants to meaningfully look at technology and digital citizenship, it is helpful to have tools at the ready to help make this change fluid.

The issue of school change does center around leadership support. Ribble suggests “The technology leader is the administrator, technology coordinator, or teacher who is responsible for leading the technology work done in the school, site, or district.” Dr. Ribble, I respectfully disagree. As a coordinator for a school who is a strong advocate for integration of technology (which includes digital citizenship) and who has attempted in many ways with many audiences to inspire change, the coordinator cannot make the change happen without leadership support. The IT Director for my district has also expressed frustration with the level of technology integration in our district due to lack of high level administrative support. So, again, I am advocating that leadership vision for a 21st century school which includes technology and support for staff is the key to ensuring change happen.

My sentiment is mirrored by the authors of Project 2061,

Although teachers are central to reform, they cannot be held solely responsible for achieving it. They need allies. Teachers alone cannot change the textbooks, install more sensible testing policies than are now in place, create administrative support systems, get the public to understand where reform is headed and why it takes time to get there, and raise the funds needed to pay for reform. Thus, school administrators and education policymakers need to support teachers.


Works Cited:

Chapter 14: Reforming education. (2013, Dec. 09). Retrieved from http://www.project2061.org/publications/sfaa/online/chap14.htm

O’Connell, J. (Producer). (2011, Apr. 30). Digital citizenship in schools: Dr. Mike Ribble [Web Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_8dKP3bzUQ

Ribble, M. (2011). Digital citizenship in schools. (2nd ed.). Eugene, OR: ISTE.


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