Connected Educators A-Z: D is for Digital Citizenship

As our lives are led to a great degree online, we are daily tasked with thinking about how our online actions and the actions of others impact us. In the early days of the web, it seems as though there was a big focus on online safety. Safety online is VERY important. We need to assure that there are safe measures employed and advocated by all.

Typically, when people act with mutual respect and responsibility, we say that they are good citizens. When this is in place in online interactions, we call it digital citizenship.

On top of the safety issue though is a real and recurring need to talk about appropriate ways to interact. As technology evolves and reinvents itself daily, these issues are ever changing too.

Digital Citizenship Issues

  • How to comment appropriately
  • How to license your work and cite the work of others
  • How to keep private information private
  • How to speak to a global audience
  • What are the rules for using particular social networks? How can I make sure I comply?
  • What makes up a positive online reputation?

When my children were small, there were daily reminders that were part of our daily lives. Be careful, don’t cross the street without an adult, don’t talk to strangers’. When we look at young people today, do we feel as thought they are getting the right reminders about online safety and responsible online behavior? Are these imparted daily by adults that students trust?  Below I am sharing my updated list of Digital Citizenship Resources. Which are your favorites? What would you add?

When schools and families take the time to share good digital citizenship practice, it is of benefit to us as individuals and to our global family!

17 Digital Citizenship Resources For School Leaders, Teacher Leaders and Families



These sites have resources for teaching Digital Citizenship in the classroom

  1. Google Interactive Lessons
  2. Google’s Family Safety Center
  3. Common Sense Media
  4. Netsmartz
  5. Be Cyber Wise
  6. Digital Citizenship Site
  7. Yahoo Safely
  8. Cable in the Classroom
  9. FOSI Family Online Safety Institute

Blogs and Projects

These blogs address topics around Digital Citizenship frequently

  1. Anne Collier – Net Family News
  2. Danah Boyd
  3. Innovative Educator Blog
  4. Digiteen –

Research To Know About

This research is related to the topic and can provide insights

  1. Zero to Eight -Children’s Mobile Technology Use in America by Common Sense Media
  2. Youth Safety on a Living Internet Study  – Study
  3. The Good Play Project
  4. Pew Internet and American Life Project
  5. Netsmartz Statistics

Related Posts
Online Safety Bridge Between Home and School –  TechConnects
Getting Started with Digital Citizenship – TechConnects

10 Resources for Assessing School Technology








Needs Assessments

In bringing the benefits of technology to education and indeed to any organization, needs assessments and surveys are a valuable tool for School CIOs and school leaders. These can work hand in hand with your school plans and technology plans. Both in the planning stages and during implementation, surveys can provide you with valuable feedback which can lead you to the goals you envision.

Seeking input and feed back is essential to the success of any initiative. This survey feedback can act as a ‘GPS’ telling you where you are currently and what you need to do to get to your destination. Your school or district technology plan is your map. Needs assessments and surveys can get you on the right path and keep you there.

These assessments can look at both classroom technology and overall technology needs in your school or district. Below are some resources for this purpose

Topics for Assessment – Consider Survey Topics

  • Technology Integration
  • Tech Support and Equipment
  • Communications
  • Professional Development
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Digital Learning and Skills
  • Lesson Planning for 21st Century Learning
  • Emerging Technology, New Ideas

Framework & Assessment Instruments – Below are some existing Surveying Guides and Instruments

Create Your Own – Ways to Customize to Your School/District Needs

  • TIMTechnology Integration Matrix created by the University of Southern Florida – Matrix which has been a model for other states and schools
  • Framework – Base it on given frameworks such as ISTE’s Nets, P21 or other frameworks
  • Local Vision – Base it on current school/district vision and other existing plans such as Technology plans

Tools to Use – Sampling of Available Online Tools

  • ZoomerangSurvey Tool – Free version or get additional features by subscription
  • Survey MonkeySurvey Tool – Free version or get additional features by subscription
  • Google Docs – Google Forms – Free. Includes many options. Data imports into spreadsheet format
  • Loti – Loti Survey – Administrative and Teacher Available

Related Posts

This post is cross posted by Nancy Caramanico on School CIO 
Image Flickr CC





15 Digital Citizenship Resources for Schools

For School Leaders, Teacher Leaders and Families



These sites have resources for teaching Digital Citizenship in the classroom

  1. Common Sense Media
  2. Netsmartz
  3. Be Cyber Wise
  4. Digital Citizenship Site
  5. Yahoo Safely
  6. Cable in the Classroom
  7. FOSI Family Online Safety Institute


These blogs address topics around Digital Citizenship frequently

  1. Anne Collier – Net Family News
  2. Danah Boyd
  3. Innovative Educator Blog

Research To Know About

This research is related to the topic and can provide insights

  1. Zero to Eight -Children’s Mobile Technology Use in America by Common Sense Media
  2. Youth Safety on a Living Internet Study  – Study
  3. The Good Play Project
  4. Pew Internet and American Life Project
  5. Netsmartz Statistics

Related Posts
Online Safety Bridge Between Home and School –  TechConnects
Getting Started with Digital Citizenship – TechConnects


This post is cross posted on TechConnects by Nancy Caramanico


Getting Started with Digital Citizenship








Since the beginning of time, rules and guidelines for behavior have been in place. These aim to provide order, peace, and respect for one another and for the common good.
The internet and easy access to the web have made this all important task. Add to that the infusion of social media into our daily lives and you’ll see that a once important task has now become a critical one.
It is important to teach digital citizenship in clear and easy to implement terms. Why? Is it because it demystifies it? Is it because it makes technology a positive force in our children’s lives? Digital Citizenship education brings benefit to all. It is supportive of students, teachers, school administrators and parents. Besides that, a world where respect and kindness are brought into our digital lives benefits us all!

Challenges Facing Digital Citizenship Education

  • Differing Definitions Exist
  • Varied Focus – Depending on local issues and concerns, schools sometimes will chose to focus on one area more than others –  Cyberbullying, Plagiarism, Online Posting
  • Resource Overload – Though there are many excellent resources, it can  be confusing to select which ones are best for a certain classroom or school
  • Not in Curriculum – No actual place in the curriculum or in the schedule
  • Deciding who teaches it – Is it the technology teacher, classroom teacher or other? Often teachers may not feel comfortable teaching on a topic that is still somewhat new to them.
  • Age Appropriate is Important – Though the themes remain constant for many ages, lessons should differ according to age level and grade level.


The safety and security of all children is of the utmost importance. If schools and districts are not actively discussing Digital Citizenship, here are some questions to start with.

Digital Citizenship Discussion Starter for Schools and Districts

  • What is our focus? What are the issues we feel are most pressing?
  • What issues do our students and parents feel are most pressing?
  • What does the data say? What does current research tell us about Digital Citizenship?
  • How can we make time for this important topic?
  • How can it be discussed daily? How can it be woven in to all that we do?

Once a commitment has been made to teaching Digital Citizenship, schools can have teachers and students explore resources and select their favorites. There are also several excellent resources with full curriculum on the topic to use and explore which I’ll profile in my next post.

What are the important questions to ask?  Do you have favorite resources?

Students Own Learning One by One


Welcome Back to our Virtual Academy!

What a way to kick of our 2011 Virtual Academy sessions! We recently held the first of our 2011 Virtual Academy sessions. These are online professional development sessions for our educators across the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

20 Years of One to One Laptop Experience – Gary Stager Sharing

Gary Stager has worked with schools for many years and has a sharp focus on student engagement and constructivism.  He helps educators make sense of the extraordinary potential of technology for learning and has worked with schools over the last 20 years in making the shift to One to One Laptop Learning. We were happy to have Gary with us at our first 2011 Virtual Academy session. This post summarizes this session and shares the resources. To listen and watch view the archive linked below along with the other resources shared.

Only inertial and prejudice stand in the way to giving every child access to a computer

Gary reminds us that it is ‘important to focus our energies and funds, schools can get more laptops into the hands of our children. We spend money on music lessons on entertainment on video games and so much more.’ Making laptops available to students more often for more purposes can have a profound impact on the quality of learning. In doing so, classrooms can ‘Be learning centered, provide more collaboration, and enhance learning.’

With technology advancing we can learn and do things that were not possible a few short years ago. More engagement than ever is now possible. It is important to stop believing that we live in a world where kids are not connected.

Expanding access is critically important says Stager. ‘Most children use computers for less than one hour a week. He feels that one reason that technology is not used more in schools is that there simply hasn’t been enough of them to use.

School has always reflected the technology of the day. What is readily available is what is present in schools.

Who is the Technology For?

Before going One to One with laptops for students, schools should determine who will have agency or power.  Who is the technology for?

  1. For the System
  2. For the Teacher
  3. For the Learner

Stager emphasizes that if we emphasize technology For the Learner, only then can we reach the full potential of technology in schools. Summing up the theme of his presentation, in four words, would look like this:

Less Us, More Them

Allow our students to do more and they can learn more.  Laptops create a more student centered, constructivist learning environment and this creates an environment for powerful learning. Stager’s 20 Lessons Learned is below:

20 Lessons Learned on One to One Laptop Classrooms

  1. Determine who has agency – Empower the learner espoused by many such as Seymour Papert
  2. What sort of ‘laptop school’ Move in this direction for the good of the students. Be  one that supports students and supports the use of the technology well.
  3. Set high expectations– Computers are readily available and more affordable than ever before.
  4. The laptops go home – “It is inevitable that all students will have laptops whether we are planning for it or not” Move towards one to one access if at all possible.
  5. Behave as if the laptops are personal computers – ‘The notion of personal is important’ Personal gives ‘ownership’ of the item and the learning.
  6. Children need real multimedia portable computers – The laptop hardware and software should enable the capacity to learn and create with the tools given.
  7. Laptops make good teachers better – They act as a magnifier onto our current practice.
  8. The network is not the computer – Trade laptops for wired computers. Heavy investments in infrastructure and server storage may be less necessary in laptop schools.
  9. Every child’s laptop is a studio, laboratory, publishing house – Actions and activities should flow towards student creativity, problem solving
  10. 1:1 is cost effective– nobody washes a rental car. Shift as much agency and ownership to the student as possible.
  11. Every laptop needs open-ended creativity software, but less is more if fluency is the goal – Young people ‘can learn to sing and dance and create on their computers. We need to empower students for these learning purposes.’  Software determines what you do and what you do determines what you learn. Microwolds Ex, Pixie or Imageblender, Animationish, InspireData, Comic Life, Scratch, Pico Cirickets and Wedo, I Work Pages,Keynote, Numberrrrs and Ilife for Imovie, Iphoto, Garageband, Iweb and Idvd are software examples cited.
  12. Seize the impossible – Imagine, build, create. Students will pleasantly surprise you in what they make and build.
  13. That is what it looks like if students have time -“Less us, more them” The ubiquity of one to one computing can transform the work that is done when fully supported. Provide the professional development time, the student time, the software, connectivity and more. Support it fully for best effect.
  14. Entire cohorts of students need to get laptops at once –  Choose full groups of students for one to one access. Example – One class or floor at a time.
  15. There is zero benefit in giving laptops to teachers first – Don’t make students wait until teachers have had new computers first. Teachers can see what is possible and reflect on their practice if they first can see through the eyes and screens of the child,
  16. Professional development must be focused on benefiting learning – Empower teachers with the skills they need to use the applications so that they can encourage the learning with these applications, activities and strategies.
  17. Work with the living and do no harm!
  18. You need sustainable leadership and vision – Have sustained reflection and collaboration for teachers.
  19. Expect everything to change – Laptops are a window onto the future and a magnifying glass on current practice.
  20. We are done arguing! “If you really believe that one to one won’t eventually happen, you will never believe in the future”  It is part of the world of young people today and ‘it is wrong to deprive them of this type of learning.’

The primary job of teaching is to ‘Make Memories’. says Stager.

‘These types of learning environments allow students to engage in a wider deeper range of projects than they ever have before. It is in their realm to do so and we should be using this environment to its greatest potential.’

Less us, more them

Gary was inspirational and it was clear that he had seen results of One to One Laptops from years of hands on experience. As educators, we know that it is imperitive to give our students the best opportunities for learning. Putting the technology into their hands that they now need can open the world to them. It is our job as administrators and teachers to make that happen. We as educational leaders need to support students and teachers in this regard.  Going One to One in schools really helps  ‘teachers to benefit kids by looking through their screens and through their eyes’.

Resources Virtual Academy Session – One to One Resources with Gary Stager:

  • Research on Technology and One to One Learning Environments by Gary Stager
  • Resources from our Virtual Academy – ONE to ONE Resources with Gary Stager Scroll to the bottom. Excellent resources and research materials for One to One Classrooms.
  • Listen to the archive here:

It was a thought provoking session which gave our educators excellent resources for supporting One to One student learning. We are thankful to Sheryl Nussbaum Beach and PLP for helping to bring Gary to our Virtual Academy.

As one school principal said, ‘ This session gave me the exact support and justifications I needed to take the next steps to One to One. I am excited and ready to make this happen in my school’.

EdTech Across the Arch

In working with schools, we as educational administrators hear of many innovative and engaging Instructional Technology uses in classrooms. In this New Year I plan to use the blog to share these uses in a series Ed Tech Across the Arch Tour in our schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. With camera or flip video in hand, I look forward to sharing these uses and some supporting resources.

This is the first in the series and will share technology uses in a One to One Laptop School.

Location: Pope John Paul Catholic School, Royersford, Pa.

Programming with ALICE

The students in Annette Lee’s Business Technology class are using Alice programming software and learning valuable programming and creativity skills. Each student has a netbook and is able to explore and practice the skills for programming. They present their class projects next week. Student Rob Barth said he enjoys using the software and found it easy to use and learn.  Teacher Annette Lee has taught the students many features of the software and has plans for expanding the curriculum to include advanced programming skills.


Alice Programming Resources:

Learn more about ALICE here and here

Dr. Stephen Cooper is a  professor at Perdue University and was formerly with St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He worked with Alice via a grant from the NSF and also spoke to our school business tech teachers and some administrators two years ago. This demonstration showcased the creativity and innovation skills come to the fore with a programming software such as ALICE.

Ebooks in the Classroom

In Janet Wigoff’s Theology classes students are using a blend of new technologies. They do class work using Google Docs. This consists of collaborative documents and forms for submitting assignments and reflections. This is the first year using ebooks. Students overall were very happy with the shift to all electronic books for Theology.  It is easier, more portable, search-able and green they reported!

IMG_0543 IMG_0545


One to One Laptop Sites

One to One Computing Study – Boston College

Links EngagewithTech

1 to 1 Schools Blog

Google Docs

Google Docs

Using Google Docs in the Classroom Jen Dorman, Discovery

Official Google Docs Blog


250 Places for Free Ebooks

7 Place to Find Free Ebooks

Ebook Post – How Do You Read?

It is important to share and celebrate the ways in which students are learning with the latest of instructional strategies and technologies. Do you have a favorite use of one to one laptops to share?