Digital Citizenship

As the world changes rapidly in the technological sector, so to do the demands that the school community and businesses place upon today's learner. In completing this course, we hope you will better understand the ever-increasing impact that belonging to a digital world signifies, as well as learn some skills to better place yourself as a 21st-century learner.

Course Outline

Lesson 1 - The 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship

Lesson 2 - You Make The Call

Lesson 3 - Protecting Your Work and Respecting the Work of Others

Lesson 4 - Online Safety and Preparation for the Future

Lesson 1 - The Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship

In this lesson, you will learn to recognize the elements of digital citizenship:

  • Digital Etiquette
  • Digital Communication
  • Digital Literacy
  • Digital Access
  • Digital Commerce
  • Digital Rights and Responsibilities
  • Digital Law
  • Digital Health and Wellness
  • Digital Security

You will have 1 class period to complete this activity.

Who is a digital citizen?


Basically, a digital citizen is anyone who uses digital tools such as computers, cell phones, or the internet in their work, school or for recreation. Just like citizens of a city have to adopt rules and standards of behaviour in order to live together, those of us in the digital world should do the same.

There are general guidelines we can all follow in order to stay safe and work well in the digital world. These guidelines are outlined in the elements of digital citizenship.

What are the 9 elements of digital citizenship?

The elements of Digital Citizenship, defined by Mike Ribble and Gerald Bailey are as follows:

  • Digital Access
    • Making sure that all students have equal access to digital tools like laptops, digital cameras, and the Internet
    • Providing time and equipment for students with special needs
    • Making students aware of locations and resources you can use off campus
  • Digital Commerce
    • Using computers to buy and sell items on commercial websites and auction sites
    • Subscribing and purchasing media using tools like iTunes
  • Digital Communication
    • Exchanging information using:
      • email
      • cell phones
      • instant messaging
      • text messaging
      • web pages/blogs/wikis
  • Digital Literacy
    • Learning the basics of using a computer
    • Evaluating online resources to make sure they are truthful and accurate
    • Learning how to find information on a specific topic on the Internet
  • Digital Etiquette
    • Using technology in a way that doesn't affect others negatively
    • Using technology only when it is appropriate
    • Respecting others online by not posting information that is hurtful or untrue.
  • Digital Law
    • Understanding how to use and share music, photos, and movies legally
    • Creating original works that are free from plagiarism
    • Respecting the privacy of others and the integrity of networks in terms of passwords and data
  • Digital Rights and Responsibilities
    • Following Acceptable Use Policies
    • Using technology responsibly
    • Reporting inappropriate use of technology resources
  • Digital Health and Wellness
    • Using proper hand placement and posture when keyboarding
    • Balancing time spent using digital tools with time spent offline
  • Digital Security
    • Protecting hardware and network security by using secure and secret passwords
    • Protecting personal security by not posting personal information online

Still unclear? Here is a link to the video we watched at the beginning. Because this is online, many of you can access and watch it at home. Feel free to browse other Digital Citizenship resources online to get more information.  

Your Task:

  1. Read the Acceptable Use Policy and the Student Handbook. As well, find one website on your own that deals with either Digital Citizenship and/or Internet Safety and think back to the information learned so far in your other courses.
  2. Check out our Digital Code of Conduct!
  3. Find specific examples of where each of the 9 areas of digital citizenship are addressed by St. Matthew Catholic School. Be sure to cite any sources you use from other websites. Use the Google Forms document here to record your responses. If there are areas of Digital Citizenship that are not covered, write a suggestion of what should be added to cover that topic.

Lesson 2 - You Make The Call

In this lesson, you will learn to recognize situations involving both appropriate and inappropriate technology use and reflect on where you are with respect to technology use.

Your task: In a group of 2-3, review the scenario listed below that is assigned to your group. With your group, be prepared to answer the following questions and share your answers with the class:

  1. Is the student using technology appropriately?
  2. Why do you think so?
  3. What consequences might occur if there is inappropriate use?
  4. Are there any better solutions that you could suggest?

Technology Scenarios

  1. Luke uses his built in iPod camera to take pictures of his teachers during class. When he gets home, he posts pictures of his teachers on his website along with comments about which teachers he likes and which he doesn't.
  2. Joan forgets to complete her homework assignment and knows that her parents won't allow her to go to Jane's party if she gets a 0 on the assignment. Joan sends an email to her friends who send her a copy of their answers to copy and turn in.
  3. Mrs. Brown is helping students in the library when she sees a student using iTunes to purchase music.

You try!

Lesson 3 - Protecting Your Work and Respecting the Work of Others

In this lesson, you will learn about the issues of digital copyright and plagiarism, become aware of appropriate online etiquette, and understand the consequences of cyber-bullying.

What does it mean to be a copyright holder in the 21st century?  Find out HERE!

Here are a few recent court decisions that affect Facebook Users

Part 1 - Digital Copyright and Plagiarism

Canadian copyright video

What is copyright?
Copyright is a way to protect those who create content from having their work used without their permission. If you write a book, create a work of art, record a new song or film the next video blockbuster, copyright is there to make sure you receive credit for your creation.

The US Copyright office has created an animated video that explains copyright here.

Is everything copyrighted?
The simple answer is yes. Even if you don't see the little © symbol on something, you still have to assume that it is protected by copyright law.

Does that mean that I can't use stuff that's copyrighted in my school work?
Not necessarily. You can still use portions of copyrighted material for educational purposes if you follow some simple guidelines. The general guidelines are listed here along with resources for finding copyright-friendly pictures. However, if you want to publish something on the web or in another format that includes copyrighted material, you should contact the author and ask for written permission.

There are also two other options when looking for materials for school projects:

  1. Use items that are in the public domain. Many materials created by the US government are free from copyright.
  2. Use items from Creative Commons. Creative Commons is a form of copyright that makes it easy to use materials as long as a few simple rules are followed such as giving credit to the author. You can learn more from the Creative Commons website.

What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is the act of passing off someone else's work as your own. Whenever you write a report or complete a writing assignment, you must give credit for any sources you use. Not doing so can have academic consequences including receiving a failing grade on the assignment.

Part 2 - Online Etiquette

Whenever you work and communicate online, there are some basic rules you should follow:

  1. Think before you send.
    If you send an email or post a message in anger, it could come back to haunt you later. The same goes for pictures and videos you post online. Even when something is deleted from a page, it may still be out there waiting to be found when you least expect it.
  2. Respect the time and bandwidth of others.
    Don't pass along emails that contain hoaxes, or send messages to the entire student body. The same goes for sending large videos or attachments in an email message. It wastes everyone's time when they have to wade through extra information to get to the important stuff.
  3. Don't send messages that could be misinterpreted as threatening or hurtful.
    Be careful about the language you use as well as the information you pass along about others. Sending messages that could be seen as threatening may result in disciplinary action.
  4. Follow the conventions of writing when sending formal emails or posting comments online.
    Unless the message you're sending is informal (such as a text message to a friend), you should use correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. You shouldn't WRITE IN ALL CAPS! (It's considered shouting)
  5. Respect others' right to privacy.
    Don't use technology to pass along rumours or share personal information about someone without their permission. The same goes for posting names and photos of others.

Part 3 - CyberBullying

Cyberbullying is the act of using technology to intimidate or spread untrue information about a person. Not only is it wrong, it's considered a major disciplinary offence and can even be considered a punishable crime. Cyberbullying will not be tolerated in any form.

If you are a victim of cyberbulling, let a teacher or another trusted adult know, so it can be addressed.

This video from NetSmartz gives good advice on how to handle cyber-bullying.

Here are some more videos you can watch to get a better idea: 

Your task:

Create a Google Presentation (like a Microsoft PowerPoint, but online) that makes good use of copyright laws.

1. Find a partner, open a Google presentation in Drive, and share the document with your partner AND your teacher.

2. Choose a topic for your brief presentation (e.g. Kitties, Monster Trucks, Guitars, France, your favourite Saint, etc.)

3. Make sure your presentation includes:

  • a) a title page with your groups' names, 
  • b) a picture that you have permission to use (Wikipedia or government websites are good places to start your search) 
  • c) Some information that includes facts that you have found on the internet 
  • d) a bibliography page that gives the full website addresses of the places you have used to find your information. 

If you have completed all of the above assignments, please come grab a Personal Electronic Device Consent form to take home and read with your parents. After they have signed this, you will be issued a WiFi sticker, and permitted to use our network in school for educational purposes. Congratulations!