ALIA Schools National Online Forum – Digital Citizenship – Day 1



Today’s students need to develop skills so that they can behave safely and responsibly in the digital world. The school library should be part of its school’s mission to educate students to be effective digital citizens.

Over the next eight days we will explore a working definition of digital citizenship, investigate ACARA’s general capability of ethical understanding, identify how as teacher librarians we can meet the Australian Professional Standards for teachers in Standards 1, 3 and 4. In addition we will also unpack, in both the primary and secondary school settings, the issues of digital values, digital divide, plagiarism, copyright, cybersafety, social networking, sharing of work and other issues when dealing with the digital world.

You are warmly invited to join in this discussion to see how the school library works, in partnership with its school community, to prepare students to be responsible citizens in the digital world.


Today’s task:

Below are a range of definitions and articles focusing on digital literacy. Please take some time today to explore a few of these and to share your thoughts in the comments section of this post.

Discussion points could include what you think about these definitions/understandings of digital literacy? Do you agree or disagree with them? Why? We look forward to reading the comments that you will be sharing with us.


Digital citizenship definitions

  • The acceptance and upholding of the norms of appropriate, responsible behaviour with regard to the use of digital technologies. This involves using digital technologies effectively and not misusing them to disadvantage others. Digital citizenship includes appropriate online etiquette, literacy in how digital technologies work and how to use them, an understanding of the ethics and related law, knowing how to stay safe online, and advice on related health and safety issues such as predators and the permanence of data.

Glossary term by ACARA

  • Digital citizenship is about staying safe and healthy while using digital technology, appropriate and inappropriate online behaviour, and being a positive contributor in an online world.

Education Department of NSW

  • Digital citizenship isn’t just about recognising and dealing with online hazards. It’s about building safe spaces and communities, understanding how to manage personal information, and about being internet savvy, using your online presence to grow and shape your world in a safe, creative way, and inspiring others to do the same. Digizen is a Childnet International project made with the help and support of the Department for Children, Schools and Families and Becta.


Digital citizenship – further reading options

(Take a look at one or two of these, whatever time allows!)


13 thoughts on “ALIA Schools National Online Forum – Digital Citizenship – Day 1

  1. Many aspects of the role of the teacher librarian are mentioned in the ACARA definition. It is quite comprehensive and is compatible with the concept of academic integrity which I believe is at the heart of any program designed to develop digital/information literacy skills.

  2. I agree that the ACARA definition for digital citizenship is comprehensive. It does defines the scope and the area that digital citizenship covers. The role of Teacher Librarians is explicit because this definition covers aspect of a well developed Information Literacy skills program. However, I think staff and students are sometimes confused digital citizenship/digital literacy skills with the ability of using digital technologies.

  3. I also agree that the ACARA definition seems to be the most comprehensive and is therefore my favourite. Digital citizenship is something that is so important and some schools have fantastic programs but others have a more ad hoc approach which isn’t in the best interest of students. School libraries are definitely well placed to be actively involved in implementing and supporting these programs in their schools. I’ve had a quick look at a few of the further reading items too and have bookmarked a few for future reference. The graphic in the teachthought piece is a good summary too:

    • Thanks Anna,
      In the “Techthought” article, I liked the table – the visual representation – of guidelines for students to heed to be ethical digital citizens. I would like to share this table with students.
      I also look forward to sharing the following definition with students (which could help some students appreciate the concept of digital citizenship):
      “…….the self-monitored habits that sustain and improve the digital communities you enjoy or depend on.”

  4. The ACARA statement is very comprehensive and my preferred statement. This could be broken down into smalle components for presentation purposes. As others have mentioned the visual representation in the “Techthough” article is easily understood by students and a great discussion starter.

  5. The ACARA statement does cover digital citizenship really well but I also like “being a positive contributor in the online world” from the Education Department of NSW and “using your online presence to grow and shape your world in a safe, creative way and inspiring others to the same” from Digizen. Positive contribution really strikes a chord with me and I think we should be encouraging our students to take this on as a value to aspire to and share. Encouraging positivity in their online presence and sharing with their online friends could help to influence what is created and published.
    I found the eschoolsnews article thought provoking. The statement by Jennifer Scheffer that rather than digital footprint their online presence should be referred to as “digital tattoo” may be a way of getting our teenagers to think carefully about what they put online. I think the challenge for Teacher Librarians is to ensure that the skills are embedded across the curriculum and that leadership teams and teachers support and demonstrate through their own online presence how to be good digital citizens.

  6. What I gained from this Day 1 is a clarification for myself – that digital citizenship and digital literacy are different. I think it is easy to think of both concepts interchangeably instead of separating them. I view digital citizenship as the ethical and intangible side of what we do online these days. Just like being a good citizen in a suburb – you do not go around hurting people or stealing from them. Digital literacy is the nitty gritty of knowing how all the devices work and being able to use them with ease etc.

  7. It is so important in today’s world of online social media that we do all we can to protect our students who are in our care. What happens online stays online and it can hurt just as much as any physical hurt.
    It is imperative that we get the message out to as many as we can about safety online.

  8. I really like the infographic on the teachthought website, because it emphasises the verbs, which is how we teach students! I am not thrilled with the wording in the preceding paragraphs though, so I would match the various actions te the subheadings of the definition.
    I agree with everyone else above that the ACARA definition is quite comprehensive, but as Charlotte pointed out it is important to distinguish between the concept of digital citizenship and the skillsets that make up digital literacy.

  9. I enjoyed reading the definitions which are all noteworthy. I then visited a couple of the sites. The case studies in the guide offered by JISC make interesting reading. However, the breakdown of points pertaining to a global digital citizen from resonated with me. It is clearly set out and mentions ‘respect for youself’ first. I have also downloaded the ‘digital citizen agreements’ to share with students at the next opportunity. What struck me the most are the statements in the ‘code of honour’. Especially that students must be taught that “…they are identifiable and are creating a “digital footprint” with any online activity.” Herein lies our greatest responsibility – teaching them responsibility, beginning with self-respect.

    • Sandy I think that you have highlighted a really important point – self-respect and respect for others leads to more responsible online users

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