Not Your Grandmother’s Digital Citizenship

Let’s try a little experiment (don’t scroll down just yet).

  • Describe digital citizenship in three words.
  • Now try it again just with citizenship. What words come to mind now?

Did strong passwords pop to mind when you thought of digital citizenship? Kids on their phones too long? Trolling and cyberbullying? How did the ideas compare to your definition of citizenship?

I think back to when I was first introducing the idea of digital citizenship as a computer teacher back in the day. The conversations at that point were almost synonymous with internet safety. We would have lessons on strong passwords and to tell a parent if somebody says something unkind. Officers would come in to caution on the possible dangers of being online. All important pieces but it is where our conversations would end. Over time definitions broadened with Mike Ribble’s work around the 9 elements of digital citizenship but I still struggled. There was this invisible divide in our conversations about being good citizens and being good digital citizens like they were two loosely related topics instead of an extension of each other.

I loved how the New Age Creators explained this online/offline self world




It was shortly after I stumbled upon ISTE’s new poster for digital citizenship. I loved how it captured not only the elements of personal safety but also active elements of collaboration and contribution. You could see how digital citizenship was an extension of our real life interactions.




In the end I’m reminded, citizenship is about rights and responsibilities, interactions and our contributions to a greater community locally or globally no matter whether we are interacting digitally or IRL.

Join us this Saturday for a day of learning around digital citizenship at the #DigCitSummitCA at OISE. So many sessions, panels, discussions to choose from that come back to the three themes in the ISTE poster. I’ll be at the playground for the day so come and say hi. We will be having pop ups all day looking at sketchnoting, Clips, microbits and NFB’s new AR/VR inquiry module OCEANS. It’s not too late to register at



3 Replies to “Not Your Grandmother’s Digital Citizenship”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: