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 http://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators
  2. Netsmartzhttp://www.netsmartz.org/educators
  3. Be Cyber Wisehttp://www.cyberwise.org/
  4. Digital Citizenship Site http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/
  5. Yahoo Safely http://safely.yahoo.com/
  6. Cable in the Classroom http://www.ciconline.org/DigitalCitizenship
  7. FOSI Family Online Safety Institute http://www.fosi.org/


These blogs address topics around Digital Citizenship frequently

  1. Anne Collier – Net Family News http://www.netfamilynews.org/
  2. Danah Boyd http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/
  3. Innovative Educator Blog http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/

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 http://www.commonsensemedia.org/research/zero-eight-childrens-media-use-america
  2. Youth Safety on a Living Internet Study  – Study
  3. The Good Play Project http://www.goodworkproject.org/research/goodplay/
  4. Pew Internet and American Life Project http://www.pewinternet.org/
  5. Netsmartz Statisticshttp://www.netsmartz.org/sitecore/content/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


Social Media – A Listening Tool for Leaders


Submerged Rocks


Great leadership is a practice pondered by many. I believe that one of the most essential leadership practices is the ability to listen well.
Today’s technology offers leaders new tools for leading and communicating. Social Media is an excellent tool for the essential leadership practice of listening.

Social media allows for engagement with others, discussion, the exploration of ideas and collaboration . Best of all though, through social media leaders can get extended practice in listening. Through social media you can find out what people’s interests, needs and challenges are. Marketing professionals know this. Many educational leaders are finding this to be true. Many are talking about how important social media can be to improving their schools. Add social media use to your leadership practice and find out how to remove obstacles to learning with technology.

“Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”
—  Thomas Paine

Listening via Social Media

As a central office technology administrator/technology director at a large archdiocesan school system, I found social media to be not only a great way to engage with people but a great way to listen carefully. I found social media avenues to be a great source of information for helping to find out what challenges people faced in incorporating technology into schools. Social media can help you learn about what obstacles stand in the way of teacher and student implementation of new strategies and new technologies. Additionally, social media can be a source of information about what you might want to consider adding or removing from your programs.

Social media is a great tool for the facilitative, listening leader. Facilitative Leadership means essentially creating an environment where employees can easily succeed. Facilitative Leadership is interactive, collaborative and connected.

In using a variety of social media and connecting to others via Twitter and Online Communities (via Ning) I found myself asking…

  • What can I do as a leader to remove obstacles?
  • What challenges do people face?
  • What do they need to know about the school/organizational mission or objectives?
  • What do they need to succeed?
  • How can communication be enhanced?
  • What can I do to empower teachers as they learn and implement new strategies, new technologies?
  • What are the ‘submerged rocks’ or obstacles and how do I help to remove them?

In listening via social media, I found some common threads on challenges faced. Below is a list of 7 items to remove. What others might you add?

Technology Leadership Checklist – 7 Obstacles to Remove

  1. Remove Obstacles to Quality Tech Support – Is tech help readily at hand? Make sure tech support help is always available.  One on one support is important.
  2. Remove Outdated Policies -Are your policies supportive of technology use? Do they encourage innovation?  If your policies are prohibiting uses of many websites, educational resources and tools, its time to seriously question the benefits vs. the cost of this practice.
  3. Remove Loose Ties – Can people easily explain how technology fits in to the overall mission of the school? Tie the uses of technology in your school/organization clearly to the vision, mission and objectives. Tie the the uses of the technology in your school to the academic goals.
  4. Remove Outdated Technology – Are you expecting success with equipment, software and peripherals that are not up to the job? Is internet slow and wireless capacity nil? Update on a regular basis. If you want people to use technology…Upgrade the technology!
  5. Remove Outmoded Professional Development – Is your mode of professional development relevant to today’s adult learners? Use online professional development options, differentiate professional development, and by all means – give teachers choice.
  6. Remove Obstacles to Collaboration – Do teachers have time to collaborate? Build in time for teachers to work together and share. Help them to develop a professional learning network of their own so that they can connect to new ideas, new practices.
  7. Remove Outmoded Thinking – Are YOU changing with the times?  Most people are not because put simply, it is hard to do. The world is changing rapidly. Learning about these changes and their impact on those in your school or organization is essential for leaders.

School and Technology Leaders can tap into many excellent uses of social media to connect and listen. Today’s new, social media makes this possible on a large scale.

This post is a post for Leadership Day 2011 as promoted by Scott McLeod.

Related Resources

Policies to Empower Learning

Communications Checklist for 21st Century Leaders

Facilitative Leadership

Emerging Technologies to Watch















Professional Learning Communities Online

Professional Learning for the 21st Century Looks to the Cloud

Tulips - Spring Bloom

Choosing a new form of professional development produced meaningful and lasting results for our schools.



Technology and Education conferences present a great opportunity for learning and growth for attendees. Since conferences are chock full of information and because schedules are packed, it is always a good idea before you go to stop and think about what you would like to accomplish.

Before attending ISTE 2008 in San Antonio, I had a particular goal in mind.  As Director of Technology K-12 at the time for the schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, I was looking for professional development that could meet the following criteria:

21st Century Professional Development Aims

  • Reach – Reach a large number of Teachers and Administrators at 20 high schools (1000 teachers and administrators approximately)
  • Result – Benefit students. Enrich their learning through new technologies and digital resources (20,000 students)
  • Focus – Technology infused and 21st Century learning focused. Keeping abreast of what was new was important.
  • Quality – Delivered by academically focused educational professionals who were knowledgeable of new trends and available to answer our questions. Also being that we were a group of Catholic Schools I wanted to be sure our choice worked well with our school’s vision and understood the importance we placed on our faith based environment.
  • Interaction – Collaborative, Professional Learning Community oriented
  • Capacity Building– Future focused and allowing individuals and groups to expand on what they learn.
  • Champion Building – Create a group in each school who would learn, implement, share and encourage
  • DeliveryONLINE – It had to take advantage of online learning for teachers. Not only would this be efficient and practical. It would expose the participants to the world of connected, digital learning.
  • Easy to Assess – It would have to provide a means of assessing progress.  There would have to be an end product that schools would produce. This would build in a way to measure the benefits and also build in accountability.

That was a tough bill to fill. The conference was coming to an end. I had attended every professional development session I could find that had an online professional development component. No luck. One more session.

I went in to the PLP (Powerful Learning Practice) session hosted by Will Richardson and Sheryl Nussbaum Beach. I heard about a new type of professional development. They discussed their work in building professional learning communities around 21st Century learning which would take advantage of online learning shifts and social learning. It would last throughout the school  year and would be job embedded. This sounded perfect for our needs. Soon we were looking forward excitedly to a new type of professional development. Far reaching, job embedded, collaborative and online.

New Forms of Professional Development Leads to New Types of Discussions

Soon new conversations were taking place. Our schools could connect with other archdiocesan schools across the broad geographical area. Our educators could connect with one another and learn from other educators around the world.

Soon our teachers and administrators were talking about

  • Wikis, Blogs, Twitter, Nings = Tools
  • Collaboration, Reflection, Community = Engagement
  • Change, New Ideas, New Ways of Teaching and Learning = 21st Century Mindset


“Conversation is food for the soul” Mexican Proverb

Fast Forward

During past school year, for the third year in a row, a cohort/community group from our Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was formed through Powerful Learning Practice (PLP). The cohort begins in the fall and throughout the year is infused with the best learning that 21st century technology has to offer. In the spring, final projects are completed and then showcased in an exciting culminating event attended by all team members. At those culminating events our schools share what they have learned and discuss plans for the future.

Read about the work of some of the schools who participated here (Mercy Vocational) and here (Father Judge High School) , here Archbishop Ryan and here (Cardinal O’Hara High School). This is just a small sampling of our school’s projects.

Having participated and watched our schools learn and grow via the cohorts has been wonderful. The program was expanded to our elementary schools also. In many of the schools the teams chose professional development of their own faculty as their PLP project. This helped to spread the concept of 21st Century learning in their schools. For others, they chose a school wide or classroom project with students. St. Anastasia School in Newtown Square is doing a school newsletter integrating various subjects and storytelling. St. Pius School is having the students create videos about their science lab projects.

Thinking in New Ways

Accomplishing today’s professional development requires that we stop and think. What is best? What will produce the results we want for our children? What will provide the best support for teachers?

New conversations are necessary. New forms of learning for administrators, teachers and students can bring about the 21st Century classrooms we need.

Related Information

Action Research PLP 

Creating the Vanuard, Jamie Mackenzie

Cohorts for the 2011-2012 Year



Communications Checklist for 21st Century School Leaders


Communication is the real work of leadership.” Nitin Nohria

As education experiences reform and change, good communication from school leaders is more important than ever. Television, film, popular media and others are frequently discussing educational trends. Add to that, the ever evolving changes in the world of technology.  It is more important than ever for school leaders to have clear communication strategies. A clear message from school leadership around educational programs supported by technology is necessary. A good communications strategy can make all the difference in providing quality programs that make a difference for the students we serve. These strategies explain the school’s vision for change and encourage collaboration and participation within the school community.  How can school administrators and leaders best communicate regarding  21st Century digital age change and technology? Below is a communications checklist for School Technology Leadership which I based on the Nets A(National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators). You may want other items for your list. Here is a checklist to think about.

Communications Checklist for School Technology Leadership

Visionary Leadership – Inspire and Lead for development of a shared vision for technology integration

_Do you often share the vision for 21st Century change and improvement at your school and explain technology’s role in supporting this?
_Have you explained how specific school  programs and initiatives relate to that vision?
_Have you invited members of your school community to help in creation and periodic evaluation of school technology strategic plans?
_Have you invited members of the school community to be on a technology team?
_Have you examined and publicly advocated for local and federal funding and policy support for technology programs?
_Do you ask for school community support and funding support?

Digital Age Culture – Create, Promote and Sustain a dynamic, digital age learning culture

_Do you highlight technology trends and their impact on the school, teachers and students?
_Do you point out emerging trendsand encourage discussion on how they may be incorporated in to the school program as needed?
_Are you piloting any new technologies and sharing the results?
_Do you promote best uses of technology at your school/organization?
_Do you regularly celebrate examples of enriched student learning supported by new technologies?
_Are students and teachers routinely encouraged to use collaborative and creative tools?

Excellence in Professional Practice – Lead by example. Promote an environment of professional learning and innovation.

_Are professional development goals and offerings well communicated?
_Do teachers know how to access best resources for technology enriched lesson planning and learning?
_Do teachers have easy access to these resources at all times?
_Are you distributing an electronic newsletter, blog or podcast on a regularly scheduled basis?
_Do you encourage collaboration using cloud based tools and resources such as Google Documents?
_Are you using social media to communicate?  Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, Google +?
_Are you using social media to learn and expand professional practice?
_Is this also taught to and expected of teachers? Do they know how to create a their own learning network?
_Do you take advantage of video chat such as skype or online webcasts when needed?
_Does the school website employ social media resources and widgets allowing website visitors to share content?

Systemic Improvement – Provide digital age leadership and management

_Do you share goals and give project updates on technology related projects? Tech support personnel can provide updates and necessary steps for special upgrades.
_If there are problems, are planned solutions explained so that staff feels supported?
_Are teachers and students given clear instructions for how to get tech support and technology applications support?
_Are infrastructure improvements and related goals communicated regularly? Are their ties to school academic programs communicated?
_Do other leaders communicate your support for digital age learning?

Digital Citizenship – Responsible Use and Information Literacy

_Is the Responsible/Acceptable Use Policy for Technology clearly communicated?
_Are the AUP and other policies for technology available on the school website and handbook?
_Are resources for online safety and digital citizenship shared frequently with parents and teachers? Are they part of the student curriculum?
_Are resources readily available and shared on the school website?
_Do students understand how to have a good online footprint?  Are resources shared often with them?

Communication works for those who work at it. John Powell

It s essential that schools involve teachers, students, parents and other stakeholders in the process of shaping a 21st Century school. In doing so, good communication is critical. Tell the stories. Share the successes. Allow people to share in and shape the vision. Good communication is essential as your school adapts new 21st Century learning strategies supported by technology. Mark as completed …A clear message from school leadership!

Related Resources

All Principals Should be Tech Savvy – Lyn Hilt

Emerging Technologies to Watch Policies to Empower Learning – AUPs

Come Again. Why Leaders Need to Repeat Themselves Mike St. Pierre

Publishers, Participants All – Will Richardson

Build a Personal Learning Network – Sue Waters

This post is cross posted at School CIO a publication from Tech and Learning

Sitting Unplugged

Sitting Unplugged
Sitting Unplugged


For many who connect daily online via blogs, twitter, the new Google + and more we know the value of these online connections. The online connections empower us to learn, to work, to grow to connect with others. At best with online connections we also have the opportunity to enrich the lives of others, to empower them.

In fact we may find that the value of online connections is recreated daily.  The ‘always on’ characteristic of the internet can beckon us to explore and connect in new ways everyday.

I recently returned from a vacation where I ‘unplugged’ almost entirely. No computer. Little cell phone access. Spotty email connectivity.  To get email, I had to go to the main lobby ( a bit out of the way) and connect to the hotel wifi. Though I did this at least once daily, I stayed largely unconnected. In addition, the group I traveled with left our phones off for the most part. We were a bit surprised to find that we didn’t miss them at all. We did not have trouble meeting up for meals or walks on the beach. We managed to communicate easily without calling and texting with our cell phones.
What struck me also was that we did not see people walking around looking at their phones, talking on the phone or peeking at cell phones during face to face conversation. Cell phone use has become constant so that was something to note.

I did bring my digital camera (Canon S95) and had my Iphone camera handy too. I was able to capture some beautiful photos such as the one shown above. I look forward to sharing photos online.

Did I long to read twitter stream, TechCrunch, and more? Did I wonder what I was missing? Just a bit. It would all be there when we returned. There is a time for that just as there is a time to ‘sit unplugged’ and renew, re-energize and re-connect in meaningful ways.

In short though, unplugging for a short time was wonderful.  Sitting unplugged for me allowed more time for seeing the sun set, enjoying time with others, praying and reflecting on the many blessings in my life and  taking photos to record memories.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

Take Action Checklist for Technology in Education

Speak Up Survey – Take Action Checklist for Technology in Education

What do you do when you read a research study related closely to the work you do?Do you share it? Save it? Discuss with colleagues?What makes a research study truly valuable is taking those results and turning them in to action.

Speaking Up about Classroom Technology

Recently the Speak Up Survey was released. Studies such as these are intriguing and insightful. They are more than that though. They are guides for us in a rapidly changing world.  It is however up to us to act on them. We must turn them in to action.

Speeding Train

Speaking Up about Classroom Technology

Recently the 2010 version of the Speak Up Survey was released. Studies such as these are intriguing and insightful. They are more than that tough. They are guides for us in a rapidly changing world.

It is however up to us to act on them. We must turn them in to action.

In schools as in many organizations, technology can seem like a swiftly moving train going to an unknown but highly rewarding location. We know we need to get on this train. We just don’t always know when and how.
If we let them research studies such as Speak Up and the Horizon Report can act as the ticket which gives us entry to innovative and new learning if only we are ready to take action.

How school leaders take those results and turn them into action?

Close to 400,000 students, parents and teachers were polled in the recent Speak Up 2010. Conducted by Project Tomorrow, the Speak Up Survey conducts yearly studies on Education and Technology. Take the time to read and share the full report with others in your school community. The results point us to desired classroom environments where mobile technologies, online learning  and collaboration and access to digital resources are abundant and effective for learning.

Key Findings – Speak Up 2010:

* 67 percent of parents said they would purchase a mobile device for their child to use for schoolwork if the school allowed it, and 61 percent said they liked the idea of students using mobile devices to access online textbooks.
* 53 percent of middle and high school students reported that the inability to use cell phones, smart phones or MP3 players was the largest obstacle when using technology in school. Additionally, 71 percent of high school students and 62 percent of middle school students said that the number one way schools could make it easier to use technology would be to allow greater access to the digital content and resources that Internet firewalls and school filters blocked.
* Parents are increasingly supportive of online textbooks. Two-thirds of parents view online textbooks as a good investment to enhance student achievement compared to 21 percent in 2008. However, E-textbooks are still a relatively novel concept in the classroom. Slightly over one-third of high school students report they are currently using an online textbook or other online curriculum as part of their regular schoolwork.
* Nearly 30 percent of high school students have experienced some type of online learning.

Mobile Learning Speak Up 2010

Below is a checklist that can be used to help you to use and act on findings in the Speak Up Survey.

Key Trend Checklist for School CIOs/Technology and Educational Leaders

Mobile Learning-Key Trend 1

___Seek examples of successful mobile learning initiatives by connecting with other educators, other schools. Visit those classrooms face to face or virtually. Learn about what challenges and benefits they face.
___Ask students what school related tasks they would use a mobile device for.
___Find out if parents be willing to purchase a mobile device.
___Find out if teachers would be accepting of mobile devices in the classroom and what professional development would be necessary.
___Pilot this at your school.  Work with several teachers to implement moblie learning strategies and share what they learn.

Online and Blended Learning–Key Trend 2

___Survey your students and teachers on their interest in using collaborative online learning environments.
___Seek examples of successful online learning initiatives by connecting with other educators, other schools. Visit those classrooms face to face or virtually. Learn about what challenges and benefits they face.
___Explore the use of Web2.0 and collaborative or social online tools for teaching and learning.
___Pilot use in classrooms. Experiment with various online platforms and sites.
___Explore some device options for online and blended learning?  Look at netbooks, tablets, smartphones and ereaders. Stay tuned to new device releases by following trends.
___Assure that students are keeping information and media literacy skills sharp. With the rapid increases in online and blending learning, these skills are and will be essential.

There is a ‘strong interest in leveraging the power of online leanring through self study online ourse, teacher-led online classes as well as blended/hybrid learning envornments’

EText Books-Key Trend 3

___Survey your own school students, parents, teachers.
___Seek examples of successful etext book learning by connecting with other educators, other schools. Visit those classrooms face to face or virtually. Learn about what challenges and benefits they face.
___Find out if current classroom resources are accessible in online or e-reader formats.
___Advocate for support from your legislators, school boards and vendors.
___Explore some device options for etext books. Can you choose a multi-function device?  Look at netbooks, tablets, smartphones and ereaders. Stay tuned to new device releases by following trends.

Parent Digital Choice-New Trend

___Provide for parent communications via the technologiese they know.  Use electronic communications, etexts, secured sites and more.
___Provide information to parents about to the uses of digital media for learning. Make it easily viewable and accesible. Share your goals and vision for incorporating more into teaching and learning.
___Survey parent interest in supporting or purchasing mobile devices for their students
___Start a Digital Parents Club in your school community so that you can expand parent support of technology related initiatives. Often parents can bring resources to the school that you are not aware of without having asked.
___Forge parent connections to the school via an interactive website, secured site or social media. Be sure to incorporation the use of digital media such as video, photos and audio.
quote ‘Parents are not only supportive of the student vision but also are enabling and empowering the use of thesee emerging technology by their children.

‘Middle School students placed a high premium on using ‘communicaitons and collaboration applications, access to 3 D content’ mobile applications and capabilities’

General Must Do’s

___Survey your own school students, parents, teachers to better understand the needs and interests of  your local school community on the topics above. See how your results match up with published research.
___Find out what is being done in other classrooms successfully. Seek examples of successful mobile, online and blended learning and ereaders by connecting with other educators, other schools. Visit those classrooms face to face or virtually. Learn about what challenges and benefits they face.
___Teach Digital Citizenship/Internet Safety regularly. Assure that your students are prepared to engage safely and responsibly.
___Check to see if the current internet access capable of providing the learning environment suited for technology integration.
___Survey teachers and students about the current internet filter?  Find out if the current filtering setup is hampering access to educational resources? Take action to assure access to valuable internet resources.
___Make a plan for making improvements to your school internet access and infrastructure.
___Create and share a vision for technology and learning at your school
___Last but not least – Become familiar with new technologies through your own practice. Sample devices, collaborative tools and online communications methodologies. Stay on top of technology developments.

Examples of successful uses aboud. Seek those examples to support your own decision making.  At St. Patrick School in Malvern, Pennsylvania, students are using cell phones in the classroom. Principal Pat O’Donnell reports that using cell phones in the classroom is ‘a way to engage students by utilizing technology they are familiar with and use on a daily basis. There is good interaction and it is educational’.  Students are entusuastic and find it an intereting way to learn and use their cell phones at the same time.

The checklist about provides just some of the actions you can take. Surely there are others that all of us can think of. As we collaborate to implement these findings we can make a difference in our schools and in the lives of the students we care about.

The research is hard to ignore.  Read it, consider the checklist items or create your own checklist. Above all – take action.

This post is cross posted on School CIO, a division of Tech and Learning

7 Related Links:

  1. Speak Up 2010 – Full Report
  2. Project Tomorrow  http://www.tomorrow.org
  3. Speak Up Data 2010 – US State by State
  4. Horizon Report 2011 Summary
  5. Learning about New Technology Trends 7 Ways for Leaders to Stay on Top of Technology
  6. Speak Up Reports http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/speakup_reports.html
  7. One to One Schools Blog http://1to1schools.net/