Digital Citizenship

I will start this post with a disclaimer: I am using the term “industrial era schooling” and “Factory Model education” as a rhetorical instrument and it is in no way an accurate account of western history, the history of our educational systems and methods is very rich and diverse one, and has come a long way since the 19th century. For a brief yet more accurate debate on the history of education go here.

We are facing a major cultural shift in a scale that hasn’t been seen in a long time in History. Technology is allowing a change in our everyday life in a worldwide scale, and it might just be the change we need to transform what it has been called the “factory-model education”. It has been mentioned again and again how our current educational system was made with another era in mind, specifically the industrial revolution, where kids were modeled as the perfect workers, some have even said that the bells and crowded classrooms where placed so children would get used to a factory setting. The following video by Ken Robinson:

It is true that available technology for the classroom has been around since the 80s when the “man of the year” of the Times was the personal computer.


But it hasn’t really transformed the education. Many argue that technology in classroom has been used as tools in an otherwise unchanged industrial education structure, but today with a growing generation immerse Internet Connectivity, the Digital world has become a culture on itself. This mayor shift is what is transforming education. The education system and real life are separated even more each day, and skills taught in the industrial system are no longer transferable to the Children’s reality, we are in need of teaching the so called 21st century skills, and all in all creating Digital Citizens.

We are reimagining what being a good citizen means as new and more complex challenges present themselves. The Partnership for 21st century skills (P21) state three trends that are significantly changing what citizenship means in their “Citizenship for the 21st Century Report

  • Complexity of issues the current citizen most grasp in order to contribute as a voter and a citizen.
  • The increasingly international and interwoven digital world that rewards those who can make global connections and collaborate respectfully
  • Connected empowerment where people can find like-minded individuals and amplify their voices.

For these trends the P21 presents three dimensions of citizenship:

  • Educate all students to become effective and involved citizens by giving them the skills that empower them to be informed, engaged and active.
  • Reimagine what citizenship means, heaving in mind the global perspective, expanding the involvement in reflection global forces challenges and opportunities.
  • Focus on Digital Citizenship, where the context of their involvement is deepened by the prevalence of the digital space, moving seamlessly between online and offline actions.

And lastly the P21 recommends three practices:

  • Understanding: using knowledge and skills to inform and guide participation
  • Engagement: the motivation and disposition to exercise rights of citizenship and get involved.
  • Action: the ways in which citizens participate and contribute positively to their communities and the world.

Even though the P21 gives a clear framework for what is needed to educate for the 21st Century citizenship, it focus more on the trends, dimensions and practices for the creation of Educational Policies than the specific Elements and so it might sound a bit abstract. Here is where Dr. Mike Ribble’s definition and clarification of Digital Citizenships comes in handy for educators.

Dr. Ribble divides Digital Citizenship in 9 elements:


The following guides are a good way to introduce some of the elements of Digital Citizenship into the classroom:

Users Guide to Digital Privacy:

Privacy is one of the main aspects that goes into the element of Digital Security, to see the guide go to this past post.

Users Guide to Digital Property:

Digital Property in the Digital World falls into the elements of Digital Law, Digital Commerce, Digital Literacy, Digital Etiquette and Digital Rights and Responsibilities

Digital Property (1)

Users guide to Digital Participation:

When it comes to participation, Digital Communication and Digital Ethics are the main Elements of Digital Citizenship but we could say that it could fall into all the elements. The most important aspect of appropriate participation is finding the correct venues for the age group.

Users guide to Understanding and Addressing Cyber-Bullying:

Cyberbullying awareness and prevention also falls into the Digital Communication and Digital Etiquette, but it is also important to say that it is a central part of Digital Health and Wellness element.

Here is a Cyberbullying video curation for Students, Teachers and Parents:

Cyberbullying video curation for Teachers and Parents:


And to finish here is a quick test to see if you are a good Digital Citizen:




Robinson, K. (2010, October 14). Changing Paradigms. Retrieved December 10, 2015, from—changing-paradigms/
Hobbs, R. (2010). Copyright clarity how fair use supports digital learning. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin.
P21. Reimagining Citizenship for the 21st Century. Retrieved December 9, 2015, from
Rose, J. (2012, May 9). How to Break Free of Our 19th-Century Factory-Model Education System. Retrieved December 11, 2015, from
Stim, R. (2013, April 4). Fair Use. Retrieved December 3, 2015, from
Watters, A. (2015, April 25). The Invented History of ‘The Factory Model of Education’ Retrieved December 10, 2015, from
U.S. Copyright Office. Retrieved December 04, 2015, from




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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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