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Digital Citizenship WebQuest


"What do you suppose Schlechty meant when he pointed that out?" asked Jerry, our leadership workshop facilitator looked at us; a room full of principals and central office team members stared back. Fumbling with our own assortment of laptops, iPads, iPhones, no one had really been paying attention. After all, wasn't this just another sit-n-get opportunity, a chance to catch up on email and craft exquisitely detailed to-do lists for team members back at our respective campuses and departments? 

Jerry paused for a moment as he waited for a response. "Allow me to share that quote again." His thumb depressed a button on his iPad, then the screen with the Schlechty quote slid back into view, appearing on the big projection screen to the right.

Often, it's one thing to develop policy, quite another to implement it in a way that makes sense. How can we, as leaders in a learning organization, model responsible use of technology with students and staff? 

Over the next 30-40 minutes, you will explore this question and learn how the school district plans to introduce students and staff to digital citizenship, cybersafety and responsible use.

The Task

As of July 1, 2012, the Federal Government has mandated that schools that want eRate funding--which is how many K-12 schools fund their Internet connectivity--must include statements like the one below in their Responsible Use Agreements and Policies?

"The school district will educate all students about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites (a.k.a. digital citizenship) and in chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness and response."

To develop an understanding of digital citizenship, cybersafety, and how it applies to you, you need to develop a thorough understanding of what digital citizenship means in K-12 schools. One way for you to get there is to critically analyze a number of digital citizenship scenarios and discuss them from multiple perspectives. That's your task in this exercise. 

By the end of this lesson, you and your group will be able to formulate a response these questions in an action plan:

  1. What is meant when someone says, "What are the nine general areas of digital citizenship?"
  2. What are some of the key elements of the District's Responsible Use Agreement?
  3. What's the connection between digital citizenship, social media/networking sites and responsible use in the classroom?
  4. How can we better help staff, students and parents realize the value of digital citizenship?

Task Checklist

Here's a short checklist you can go by to ensure you are complete:

  1. 3-5 minutes - Divide into groups of 4-5. Whomever is the School Administrator will be the "speaker" for the group.
  2. 2 minutes - Explore the roles below, choose one for yourself for your group, and let them know.
  3. 15 minutes - Read the Concept Builder activity, gathering notes using Concept Builder handout. Then, craft a "truth" that summarizes what you have come up with.
  4. 15 minutes - With your whole group, share what you discovered and craft an action plan. This is a statement that maps out how you might best approach addressing the challenges presented in the Role Summary below.
  5. 5 minutes - When your group has completed its action plan statement, contact the Session Facilitator so you can be video-recorded providing that statement.

The Process

Over the next 30-40 minutes, you will divide up into
 groups of 4 or 5 with each member assuming the role of a "digital citizen." You have 4 roles to choose from and it is up to each group member to choose the role that best interests them. 

Steps to Success

  1. Divide the whole group into small groups of four or five members. Each small group member will assume one of the different roles shown below:

     The Classroom Teacher: Over the past year, you've attended several state conferences such as the TCEA and TexasASCD conference. Everywhere you've gone, the message is coming in loud and clear--social media is THE way to connect with students where they are at since over 74% of students have mobile devices. Technology has never been easier to use! You're thrilled that Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) initiatives are starting up in your District. Last week at the local pizzaria, you ran into a parent of one of next year's students. You happen to mention that you'll be using Edmodo ("It's just like Facebook but for education!" you remember saying) to facilitate information sharing. Now, everyone wants to know what you're up to with this Facebook-like thing and you want them to support you. In spite of your enthusiasm, the question in your mind is, How can social media be used within the context of being a responsible digital citizen? Begin.

     The School Administrator: In your mind, the best use of technology is the one that results in the least amount of litigation. Yesterday, a parent happened to comment at a morning coffee how wonderful it was that one of the teachers was using Edmodo to manage communications about homework and classwork, sharing videos featuring students and what they are learning. Then he asked,What do you think about it? While you're thrilled parents are happy, you weren't so sure, worrying it wouldn't be long before you are embroiled in scandal. The less sharing, the better. You just want to stop the Internet and can't wait for this fad to be over. You decide to analyze the District's Responsible Use Agreement to see how the district may have missed the mark, and ask yourself, How will I share this with students, teachers and parents? Begin.

     The Parent: "Cheer, cheer, cheer!" Your straight "A" daughter Julie, who happens to be a cheerleader and a junior at the local high school, is constantly using her new iPhone to share pictures, video and status updates on Facebook. Although you try to keep up, Facebook is not your thing. You just ran into Julie's teacher, and she mentioned that she'd be using something called Edmodo, which she informed you, works "just like Facebook!"  Although Julie is now doing right punches for joy, you wonder, If I couldn't keep up with her at home using Facebook, how will the teacher keep track of all those students online? Begin.

     The Curriculum Specialist: In the last few years since No Child Left Behind accountability standards and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) kicked in, your job has transitioned from focusing on helping teachers be better learning facilitators to testing drill instructors. The challenge changed from a focus on project-based learning, differentiated instruction, multiple intelligences to just ensuring all students pass the test. You fundamentally believe that technology is irrelevant to classroom instruction, although it can enhance teacher efficiency and achievement data analysis. Teachers, students and BYOT are a dangerous mix because they take our eye off the ball--improving student achievement in a competitive economy. Why are we spending time on digital literacy, digital citizenship and learning? Begin.

     District Technology Support: Your July, 2012 copy of Network Worldfeatures this headline: "IT groups eschew BYOD." As you read the article, you can't help but reflect on the fact that many schools are jumping into BYOD or BYOT faster than they can build the network infrastructure. And, let's not forget other mobile devices (e.g. iPads, iPodTouch, Nexus 7/Kindle Fire Android Tablets) are replacing desktop computers and laptops as the tools of choice. Just like it says in Network World, "This is a disruptive technology. We're ripping PCs out of the environment faster than we're installing them. This may be the death of the PC." If that's true, and it certainly seems so, what do we need to change in how we plan school buildings and instruction? Begin.

  2. Individually, you'll examine each of the concept builder activities shown for your role on the list of resources and develop a set of guidelines from the perspective of your role. As you work through the Concept Builder, take notes using your Concept Builder Notes handout. You'll need to examine each web site fairly quickly. Don't spend more than 15-20 minutes on your concept builder. Research, analyze, and communicate quickly.

  3. When everyone in the small group has prepared their reports, it's time to get together to answer the following questions. One way to proceed would be to go around and poll each team member for their understanding of the concepts. Pay attention to each of the other perspectives, even if at first you think you might disagree with them.

  4. After identifying the main points from each of your perspectives, pool your perspectives and be prepared to share 3 important points from your work. 

  5. One person in each group should record the group's thoughts and then be prepared to share them aloud with the session facilitator (you'll be recorded).

  6. When debriefing time is called, use the Action Plan to speak from as you report your results to the whole class as a video recording. Do you think the other groups will agree with your conclusions?

Extension Activity
As individuals or group, complete the 
Digital Citizenship Quiz. The answers to the Digital Citizenship Quiz should pop up when you select the correct response; incorrect responses will yield a clue or suggestion about what the correct response may be.


Here are the supporting resources for this webquest:

  • Digital Citizenship for School Leaders slideshow presentation
  • Print Acrobat Reader PDF document - Print these materials or use them to deliver the actual presentation. Includes evaluation form.
  • Concept Builder Activities
  • Digital Citizenship Quiz - This 10 question quiz will help you gauge your understanding of digital citizenship.



When you're done discussing what you have learned, it is hoped that you will have understood the importance of modeling digital citizenship and cybersafety and where you stand as an educator, as well as sharing your understanding with your peers and students.

Web Resources

  1. Dr. Mike Ribble's 
  2. Responsible Use Agreement (RUA)
  3. iKeepSafe Educator Resources
  4. Classroom Teacher Concept Builder
  5. The School Administrator Concept Builder
  6. The Parent Concept Builder
    1. Slideshow - Digital Citizenship Symposium
    2. Top 10 Digital Citizenship Resources
    3. When Student Published Videos Go Viral
    4. Video and Article - Be a Good Digital Citizen (includes tips for parents and students)
    5. Blog - Read section entitled "We Need to Discuss and Practice Digital Citizenship" at a "Case Study on Digital Citizenship"
    6. Article/Video/Stats - MTV's A Thin Line - Digital Disrespect (there are other sections on sexting as well)
    7. Policy - District Responsible Use Agreement (RUA)
    8. 3 Steps to Digital Citizenship for the ECISD
    9. Video Series - YouTube Digital Citizenship Curriculum
  7. The Curriculum Specialist
    1. Policy - District Responsible Use Agreement (RUA)
    2. 3 Steps to Digital Citizenship for the ECISD
    3. Video Series - YouTube Digital Citizenship Curriculum
    4. Video: How to use iPads in the Classroom
    5. Article: Digital Citizenship and the 4 Stage Cycle of Technology Integration
    6. Video: Teaching in the 21st Century Classroom
    7. Policy - District Responsible Use Agreement (RUA)
    8. Article - BYOD Teachers Talk Classroom Use
    9. Video - The Flipped Classroom and Infographic
  8. Technology Support Staff Concept Builder
    1. Blog: Dispelling Myths about Blocked Sites
    2. Article: Digital Citizenship and the 4 Stage Cycle of Technology Integration
    3. Policy: District Responsible Use Agreement (RUA)
    4. Video: The BYOD Option
    5. Article: BYOD - Why Your IT Departments Shouldn't Despair
    6. Blog: Digital Citizenship and BYOD
    7. Article: Legal Challenges to Bring Your Own Device
    8. Resource links: Digital Citizenship
    9. Article (PDF): Do Students need a Technology Driver's License?

This webquest adapted with permission from The Copyright WebQuest. Want more challenges relevant to Digital Citizenship? Complete the Copyright WebQuest!