Encouraging Digital Citizenship | On Effective Instruction

Encouraging Digital Citizenship

digital-citizenshipA major objective of any educational endeavor is the development of skills in students to enable them to function as effective citizens. Technology is playing an increasingly important role in citizenship. The access to information, the development and maintenance of relationships, and the ethics of one’s actions are just a few of the areas that are being influenced greatly by this increased role. Helping students understand how technology is both empowering and bringing added responsibilities is a role educators should include as part of their instruction.

Mia MacMeekin at her blog An Ethical Island has developed a list of traits for good digital citizens that is designed to help us think of ways to promote good digital citizenship in our students as we teach. I’m paraphrasing the traits from the Mia’s work below. You can see a larger version of her infographic by clicking on the image or download an even larger version of it from Terry Heick at TeachThought.


  • USES technology to gather information, communicate, or just to have fun
  • ENGAGES in the world through social media. Crowdsource! Inquire!
  • RESPECTS others’ points of view online, accepting what they say as meaningful and then explaining why you disagree
  • GIVES authors credit for the work one uses
  • VOICES one’s opinion respectfully using technology
  • SIFTS through resources gathered online, using what is appropriate and discarding what isn’t
  • SEEKS out different voices and points of view on a topic
  • INCLUDES all who wish to join in an endeavor online
  • LISTENS to what others are saying using active listening techniques
  • RESEARCHES a topic using all kinds of works
  • ESTABLISHES CREDIBILITY of resources before using them
  • MASTERS the use of technology to enhance one’s capabilities
  • CREATES a method to voice opinions  or feelings using technology
  • PARTICIPATES in other cultures using technology
  • STANDS UP against cyberbullying and other forms of intimidation
  • DISSEMINATES useful information using technology for others to experience
  • NETWORKS with experts on subjects using technology
  • IDENTIFIES scams and other internet hoaxes, avoiding them
  • CROSS REFERENCES all sources, never just “taking their word for it”
  • USES caution when talking to people one does not know
  • MAINTAINS one’s privacy, understanding the potential effects of sharing personal information
  • LIMITS time sitting and participates in a program of exercise-
  • UTILIZES proper online etiquette
  • ACCESSES technology only when one is supposed to, following rules in context of the situation one is in
  • EXPLORES what others do, learning from them and contributing to the global discussion

So what do you think? Are there characteristics that should be included on this list that aren’t there? Are there ways you can incorporate these digital citizenship concepts into your class? Please comment below.

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