ALIA Schools National Online Forum – Digital Citizenship – Day 5


Digital Citizenship – Secondary School Focus

Today we ask participants to identify how you deal with digital citizenship in a secondary setting? What is the divide between what happens at home and school? We would also love to hear from people working in a P-12 environment on this issue.

We look forward to reading your comments.


12 thoughts on “ALIA Schools National Online Forum – Digital Citizenship – Day 5

  1. In our school where students all have their own devices we recognise that we need to give a message right from the start, and deliver it again in different contexts and at different stages throughout their secondary life.
    This needs to be a positive message of digital citizenship, alongside a message of empowerment. We need to skill them in ICT (even though they think they know everything) and this helps them to trust the messages we give them. This takes us back to ACARA and the idea of digital citizenship rather than just cyber safety.
    At my school we don’t ban phones, Skype, YouTube. These are the tools of our life and we need to know the etiquette and appropriate use of these. It is important that a dialogue is opened with the parents about our expectations and limitations. It is often interesting to see that our students have better etiquette with their devices in public than their parents. It is also true that our messages about behavior are often not modeled by parents.
    I suppose this means that it is more important than ever that we give the message, reinforce the message, monitor and deal with misuse and model the behavior we expect from the students ourselves (in terms of ethical use of images, correct use of copyright, use of phones). Model, message, model, message.
    And we need to have the same dialogue with the parents we have with the students.

  2. Often students know what is expected and involved in being good digital citizens. They need constant reminders, explicit statements of expectations, inclusion of standards in their feedback and assessment criteria to reinforce the importance. Along with this, when appropriate, students are guided through exploring practices and consequences. Telling them will not change behaviours.

    • Agreed. As we know students take more notice of assessment than anything else so when expectations are included (consistently) in feedback then the message somehow is more powerful.

      • I second that Catherine. We are trying to embed such things in our assessment rubrics so that the students recognise their value.

  3. Students at high school level are exposed to many more opportunities to develop digital citizenship as parental controls lessen. While we can model good practice at school if it is not seen outside school it is less likely to be reinforced. Digital citizenship program for parents unfortunately are most likely to involve those who are genuinely interested, but perhaps not the ones who most need to receive the information. It is essential that information is provided and reinforced with practical use at many levels throughout school life.

    • Which is why there needs to be a program at all levels, and a message consistently given by the school which at least means that we have undertaken our duty of care when exposing young adults to the perils of online media. I agree that the message can be given but not always received in the way we want.

  4. Since we are a new school we have not had any influence over existing secondary students, who are pretty much used to doing what they want on the digital sphere and where many have several devices. We are attempting to drive home the dangers and requirement for responsible behaviour. To stress the concept of ‘creating a digital tattoo’ associated with their identities sounds to me as if it could resonate with the youth of today, and I would like to try and use that where I can. The ‘littlies’ will mimick the behaviour of the seniors…that is why the idea of a personal ‘digital citizenship agreement’ sounds wonderful to me. Perhaps with an end-of-year self-assessment to see how it was adhered to.

  5. At our College we run an ipad program from years 7-9 and a BYO device for years 10-12. Students and parents must sign an agreement at the start of each year – part of which acknowledges the values of being a good digital citizen. Phones are not banned and teachers are encouraged to take up digital modes of presenting curriculum. Digital citizenship is taught in context (in classes and pastoral sessions) and across all year levels. Teachers model appropriate behaviour, the College newsletter often has articles in it and the College Counsellors reinforce the idea of digital citizenship along with cybersafety in the presentations that they make to parents and students.

  6. Not being a teacher, this day’s comments are very interesting to me. What I have taken out of today is that one cannot force good practice on the students. We have to lead by example. The approach has to be holistic and it has to be ongoing – it is not like a one time lesson and then we move on. I like the idea of an agreement and a self assessment, perhaps a critical self reflection at the end of a year. Involving parents is a good idea but as Suzanne mentioned the interested ones who participate might not be the ones who really need it – a bit like preaching to the converted. Teachers can only do so much and it is usually the best they can.

    • Charlotte I am also not a teacher, but as you say we need to lead by example. We need to practice what we preach. We hear so many sad stories of social media and how not doing the right thing has lead to deaths, bullying and the like. Even if we only help a few by being seen to be doing the right thing, then we are doing our job. We can support the teachers in the process of them teaching digital safety.

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