Tag Archives: digital citizenship

iPad Time!

As a class we have decided it is time to update our system of iPad access in class. Up until now the teacher has had control over when the students have access to their iPad’s. Increasingly students request their iPad’s for a range of tools (spelling, translation, research etc.) and I realised it is time for me to let go of the control. I asked myself ‘Am I hindering my students’ learning?’

Previously, I have been concerned about device distraction, lack of social interaction and an overload of screen time. Common sense media recommends one hour per day for primary aged children. We have six hours of class time per day. Does this same amount apply to supervised educational use? There appears to be limited research that applies to our specific situation: a small class of motivated Grade 5 students who are encouraged to independently make the right choices about their learning.

Are we hindering student learning by restricting tech use?

I proposed to the class my idea for allowing them to use their iPads at any time in the classroom. Surprisingly a quick vote showed me that students wanted a list of rules that they could follow. They explained that having some guidance made it clearer to understand what was acceptable.

When deciding on these rules the following points came out in a class discussion:

Encouraging self-management skills.

We conducted a ‘think, pair, share’ thinking routine to analyse these results. We narrowed these ideas into four workable class rules that addressed our concerns. A student also suggested we review these rules every month. Another student suggested that they monitor their own daily screen time – if we use the iPad’s a lot at school – play outside at home.

Class designed rules.

I look forward to the monthly review!

Are Some Primary Classrooms Short Cited?

Primary School Citation Expectations

Citation Children

https://academicallyhonest.blogspot.in/ Inforgraphic created by R. Langlands

In many primary classrooms citation can be a grey area. Often, by the end of primary school, students can source information from a book by identifying the author and perhaps the publisher/date. However, many students use images and videos from the web without ever considering who created them, how to cite them or if they are available for public use. In fact, many teachers don’t consider copyright or fair use regulations when using images and video clips in a school setting.

For a group assignment, 4 educators got together to try to find our why citation may be a problem in primary schools We began by asking Grade 5 students to reflect on their understanding of citation. Most of the students were in the process of their IB PYP Exhibition and all had some experience of citation. Students from our 4 schools were asked to reflect on their skills of citation on this padlet page.

padlet course2

Image authors own. Grade 5 citation reflections

An Idea Develops

The student feedback reflected what we were witnessing in our own schools. Some students can link to websites, but information about citing images and videos is unclear or non-existent. Whilst researching primary citation we located some useful resources for teachers, but no resources for primary students.

We began with the idea of producing posters for primary classrooms with examples of citation. It quickly became clear that this was too limiting and our ideas developed. We used a googledoc to share thoughts and develop our understanding. We quickly had an indepth, authentic collaborative inquiry into primary citation expectations.

Student Resources for Citation

We required an easily accessible resource where primary students could see examples of successful citation, especially of images and videos. Media is constantly changing and students need access to recent citation guidelines at their fingertips. Therefore we decided a blog focused solely on Academic Honesty with specific examples of how to cite a range of multimedia would be beneficial to both students and teachers.

A Truly Collaborative Inquiry

Although our googledoc was a great place to share ideas we felt we needed the opportunity to connect in real time so we decided upon a weekly google hangout. This provided us with the opportunity to really discuss the details of what our blog needed and enabled us to move our own learning forward. We were fortunate to have a range of backgrounds and areas of expertise in our group and everybody contributed significantly to the development of our project. Our collaboration enabled us to build extensively on our initial idea to a blog that we are all proud of. As evidence of our successful collaboration we recorded a ‘Google Hangout on Air‘.

A Unit of Inquiry on Citation

As our project evolved we identified the need for two units of inquiry. Firstly, a unit aimed at schools that are trying to support primary teachers in understanding how and why to teach citation. Secondly, a unit aimed at primary teachers delivering lessons in citation of various media.

A Unit Planner for Schools 

A Site to Help Primary Educators Teach Citation

A Unit Planner for Teachers

A Site to Help Children Cite


Student Self Assessment Rubric

Finally, we included on our blog a self-assessment rubric for students to identify specific improvements in their citation skills. We used the same headings for various media which will encourage students to identify that all images, videos, blogs etc. need to be cited correctly.

Final Reflections

We hope that by introducing our blogs in our own schools that teachers will be able to feedback on how useful it is in the classroom. There are many practical resources available on our blog to assist primary teachers in implementing accurate and age-appropriate citation guidelines for students. Our aim is that our blog will continue to evolve based on the comments that we receive from educators and students so that we will always have an up to date, child-friendly resource, easily available for all.

It Takes a Village…

The attitude to parenting in Tanzania is often referred to as ‘Mtu ni Watu‘ which translates as ‘A Man is People’ (often interpreted as ‘It takes a village to raise a child’). Children’s needs are not the sole responsibility of the parent. It is expected that the community is always able to help out. When a child is tired, hungry, bored or upset, passers by entertain children, offer snacks and drinks and greet parents with messages of reassurance and friendship. As a parent raising a young child in Tanzania this approach was refreshing and appreciated. Raising children is a shared responsibility.

Mtu ni Watu (It takes a village to raise a child) Photograph by S. McCloskey

I think the same attitude of ‘Mtu ni Watu’ is needed in the approach of teaching students how to be responsible digital citizens. Whilst I appreciate that being a responsible citizen is the same thing, it is important to identify specific situations for how to be a responsible digital citizen. Valerie Strauss’ article ‘Teaching kids to be ‘digital citizens‘ (not just ‘digital natives’) discusses why it is important to help students be safe and responsible online.

That’s more true now because today’s technologies have unprecedented power to harm, as we have seen in documented cases of cyber-bullying and harassment.


One of the ways schools can initiate the involvement of parents in raising responsible digital citizens is by holding parent workshops. This gives parents the opportunity to become more aware of what schools are doing and how they can also support their child in being a responsible digital citizen. Mike Ribble explains the importance of involving parents and using the same terminology to help students understand digital citizenship.

Do we have a “common language” that we can use to talk to students and parents about appropriate technology behavior?


With this ‘common language’ parents are then able to reinforce the same message at home that is encouraged in schools. Parents’ views on technology vary widely from no regulations to no technology. I believe there is a happy medium on this spectrum and that with an open dialogue and knowledge about potential problems students can manage their use of technology well wherever they are.

Another way that schools can support students to be responsible digital citizens is by educating all teachers about the uses of and dangers for children using technology. Awareness and knowledge about digital citizenship are essential for all teachers so that any problems that may arise are recognised and dealt with appropriately.

My Grade 2 class have recently completed their Common Sense Digital Citizenship work in Information Literacy lessons. I thought I’d see what they had learnt. I was inspired by @traintheteacher in the blog post ‘Back Channelling in the Primary Classroom‘ and used TodaysMeet to record their reflections.


TodaysMeet created by P5A. Image by Amanda McCloskey

It seems our village is on the right track.

Respect Your Privacy

As an educator my privacy is something that is very important to me. I am aware of my digital footprint and aim to always represent myself positively and professionally at work and online. However, as the boundaries of online privacy are continually changing I feel that it is an area where all educators should continue to be knowledgeable. My main concern is that I’m not sure what exactly I should be concerned about.


Is every touch of a button being monitored? Image authors own.

Privacy online can be distinguished into two main categories:

  1. Personally Identifiable Information (name, age, address etc.)
  2. Non-Personally Identifiable Information (your behaviour on a site)

A useful website, ‘Mark It Write‘ has a great ‘Beginners Guide to Online Privacy‘. Part of the guidelines explain the importance of not using your telephone number or date of birth online:

‘your date of birth is also a key piece of information that is often used for identity verification purposes by various providers. And the same is true about your telephone number.’


Other tips are mostly to avoid advertisers tracking your browsing habits including blocking cookies and location services. However, as a keen online shopper and someone who enjoys the increased convenience of the internet I don’t feel the need to block all cookies and data location services.


Cookies: Delete or ignore? https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9a/Choco_chip_cookie.jpg

Julia Powles wrote an interesting article in the guardian recently about data privacy which has helped me to understand what my concerns should be.

Privacy is about having decisional power, control, over which acts and events of our lives are disclosed and to whom, free from the prying eyes of states, corporations and neighbours. Privacy affords us the freedom to develop ourselves in the world.


The element of control over how my data is used is perhaps something that I have taken for granted. Previously we had more choice about what and how we share about ourselves but as technology continues to evolve at an astonishing rate we have to accept that the notion of privacy has changed. I enjoyed reading @braevans recent post ‘Goodbye Privacy‘ where he states that it now is ‘simply a matter of limiting how public we are’.


As I continue my adventure into ed tech I will attempt to stay knowledgeable about my own online privacy. This will begin with understanding my expectations of what privacy is and why it is important. I will also research, share and reflect on my awareness of how my own data and online habits are used and why. Hopefully this will help me to have some control over how my information is used.


Image authors own

All Steps Leave a Footprint


At what age should children manage their digital footprints?

Is there an appropriate age for children to be encouraged to consider their digital footprint? Should primary students be worried about their college applications and future employability? Who is responsible for ensuring a child has a positive digital footprint?

Image authors own.

Image author’s own.

Ultimately, I believe it is the responsibility of both parents and the schools to educate children about Digital Citizenship. However, it is critical for both teachers and parents to learn how to manage their own online presence first, if they are to be able to effectively teach children about the positive and negative consequences of digital footprints. Lisa Nielsen discusses the importance of teachers firstly managing their own digital footprints in her blog:

“Teaching kids to manage their Digital Footprint really starts with the adults. Teachers can’t teach this effectively if they, themselves have not managed their own digital footprint.”


A few events this week have given me a chance to reflect on young children’s digital footprints and how concerned we should be about them. Firstly, my ten year old son was telling us about a school project he had worked on. When he searched our home town for a photograph he was surprised that his image came up on the beach. Even more surprising for him was his parents reaction to this (panic and intense questioning). Did it have your name? Why was it there? What else came up? Have you saved our photo’s somewhere? Every online parenting fear quickly went through our heads. After a bit of investigation, it turned out it that was a photo that we had submitted to ‘The Guardian’ as part of a ‘UK beaches after the storms‘ article. The storm at home subsided. Panicking parents were the only problem.

Image authors own.

Image author’s own.

Another interesting discussion occurred in my Grade 2 class after we appeared in the national newspaper ‘The Hindu’ this week. My class were very concerned that my surname had been included in the article. We all know the rules; you don’t share your name. ‘It’s okay in the paper you can throw it away’ was one response. And another student pointed out that ‘If you are an adult it is okay’. Both were excellent observations and some interesting conversations followed. Yes, adults are responsible for themselves, and yes, when things are on the internet they are permanently accessible. What also felt important was that the students themselves had initiated this dialogue. This awareness and reflection about identify safety from such a young age is important in the understanding of a positive digital footprint.

Image authors own

Image author’s own.

I am fortunate to teach in a school that values Digital Citizenship. Our class blogs have links to age-appropriate Digital Citizenship lessons from Common Sense Media. The Information Literacy Teacher delivers the Common Sense Education programme to students at an age-appropriate level. Students as young as 6 learn what a digital footprint/trail is and that this can be helpful or hurtful.

common sense




Parents also have access to this information on each Class Blog.


Image author’s own.


We also have guidelines that outline how students’ images or work should be used. This helps to create an awareness of what is appropriate, with clear guidelines about what can and cannot be published. Within this document it also mentions the importance of representing students positively:

“we will not publish materials that may be considered objectionable or detrimental to the interests of any individual member of the Stonehill community or the school.”

Guidelines for the Publication of Students’ Images or Work, Stonehill International School

The Common Sense Media resources that we have adopted at our school have many excellent resources for teachers to use. Below is one of the videos used to help explain to students what a digital footprint is, and why you should consider what you post online.

So to answer my initial questions, no, we do not need to panic a 5 year old about their college application or employability. However, teachers and parents should be aware of content they are publishing and the impact it may have when viewed by audiences with multiple perspectives, both now and in the future. A Grade 2 student should have an understanding of what their digital footprint is, and should be encouraged to reflect on their online presence. And lastly, I believe that teachers, administrators and parents are all responsible for ensuring that children have a positive online presence and that they help them develop an understanding of their digital footprint as soon as they are given access to the web.

What does your digital footprint look like? Were you online before you knew what a digital footprint was?