The Time Is Now…We need to educate our students about sharing

Photo Credit: mintcandydigital via Compfight cc


This week in my EC&I830 class we explored a new debate topic- Openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our kids.  Going into this debate I was already leaning towards disagree because of my previous experiences with having my students sharing online through blogging.  When I took EC&I831  I was able to choose my own project.  For my major digital project I chose to create a classroom blog and I created individual blogs for each of my students under their secret agent number.  I saw so many educators using classroom blogs and thought it was a great opportunity to begin a new journey.  It also allowed me to teach my students about digital citizenship.  This project was a huge learning curve for me because I had no previous experience blogging before personally until I started taking classes from Alec and Katia.   Then when I took EC&I832 I was able to continue my journey by being able to expand on my previous project and I choose a new focus for my major digital project.  I  documented my journey on my blog discussing resources that I used such as, the Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools, Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship Scope and Sequence, the Government of Saskatchewan Digital Citizenship Continuum from Kindergarten to Grade Twelve, and other resources that I found.  I also created three grade two integrated units using the Common Sense Media lesson scope and sequence as a major resource:

I appreciated Shannon, Kelsie, and Danielle (the agree side) sharing the Peel Region School Board Staff Guidelines for Social Media.  The school division I work for also has administrative procedures for responsible use of technology and internet, confidentiality, media relations, and that the use of social media will comply with administrative procedures.  Before we can engage in any social media with our students we need to fill out a social media approval form.  It is critical for all teachers and staff to know their schools divisions administrative procedures! After I had approval from the division office then I was able to send home a Permission Letter to Parents About Using A Blog 2015-2016.  I encouraged  each family to talk about the blog with their child.  My students are  the ones participating in the blog so I think they should have a choice.  I have always had 100% of my students participate and I really appreciated one family that talked to me.  When the family talked to their child he was nervous about videos and audio being posted on the blog, but was excited about writing posts and having pictures posted.  I would never want a child to do something that he or she is uncomfortable with.  I was very proud of him!  His parents did sign off that part of the parent permission form incase he changed his mind and they knew that I would respect their son’s wishes.

digital footprintPhoto Credit: Source

Lisa, Haiming, and Stephanie (disagree side) shared with us an article that explored how teachers need to be positive role models and need to make sure they are taking care of their digital footprint.   As Andrew mentioned in the chat on Tuesday teachers need to “walk the walk.”  I agree with the article and Andrew!  If we are going to “talk the talk” with our students about the importance of having a positive digital footprint then it is imperative for teachers to be role models on what a positive digital footprint looks like.  I have Googled my name to show my students that anything you create or write online stays online.  My students thought it was very neat to see their teacher’s work online.  I learned on Tuesday night from Amy that I can use not only use Google to see what digital footprints I have left online, but I can also use Duck Duck Go-it is a search engine that doesn’t track you.  When I was reading Erin’s blog post this week I could relate to her when she talked about “how tiny [her] digital presence is” since she changed her name after she was married during the summer.  During the summer I also changed my name after I married my husband Damon.  Now I go by Justine Kyle, but for university I chose to hyphenate my name since I completed more than half of my Masters Degree as a Stephanson.  I have been slowly changing my name for my social media accounts while other accounts that I use professionally I chose to hyphenate since I am Justine Stephanson-Kyle at the university. Currently right now I do not have a big digital footprint under my married name, but I can show my students my footprint under my maiden and hyphenated name.

It is important to “walk the walk” when you “talk the talk” but I started to think about the educators who are not online and do not have a digital footprint or that has a digital footprint that is tiny.  Some people are “digital visitors” online while other people maybe “digital residents.”  In my post, “Which One Am I?” I reflected about how I know that I am a digital resident as I choose to be visible online through all the spaces I engage in.

Here is a short video that gives a quick snap shot showing the difference between digital visitors and digital residents:

I encourage you to also watch David White’s video about digital visitors and digital residents that I added in below.

I prefer White’s continuum over “digital natives” and “digital immigrants.” You can watch Do “Digital Natives” Exist? to find out more about digital natives and digital immigrants.  I like using the wording digital visitors and residents because it doesn’t assign people to groups based on age and population as the other video did that explores digital natives and immigrants.

People who are digital visitors may go online to  book a holiday or pay bills.  Once the person is finished their task then he or she goes back offline again.  Visitors are invisible as they do not leave any social traces online when interacting on the web in those spaces.  While a resident leaves their mark and identity through blogging, commenting, posting videos, posting pictures, and/or posting in variety of ways in a series of different places or spaces online.  Residents live a portion of their lives out online. They choose to go online to be present with others and will leave a social trace and footprint.

Photo Credit: thomasanthonyzampetti via Compfight cc

digital fingerprint

I believe every teacher needs to start understanding and learning about digital citizenship whether they are a digital visitor or resident.  So many of our students are becoming digital residents at a young age and they do not understand that they are leaving a social trace and their digital prints online for the world to see.  I know I do not want my students to leave negative prints online that could affect them as they get older.  I liked the quote that Kayla included in her blog post this week from -“If you aren’t controlling who you are online, some else is or will.”  I think it is critical to make sure we are personally shaping our own digital identity and giving the students the opportunity to learn how to do so in a positive way.  I believe we not only need to educate our students, but parents as well.  With many parents participating in different forms of social media their children are no longer anonymous at birth.  Some children are digitally born before their actual birthday as many parents post ultra sound pictures or make a pregnancy announcement.  Parents and other family members are the first people to start adding to their child’s digital identity so they need to make sure they are creating a positive digital tattoo for their child.  If parents are made aware of what digital footprint is maybe they will want to be proactive to protect their child’s future identity as the couple did in the article that the agree side provided us with.

I have been very proud of my students this year!  They have learned a lot about online safety when visiting websites, exploring how to keep their identity private, and they know what a digital footprint is.  My students really understood the permanency of a digital footprint when I described how it is like a digital tattoo.  Check out secret agent #5’s post about “No Sharing Your Stuff” and secret agent #15’s post “stay safe“.

lesson one #2 photo lesson one photo

Here are two pictures from one of the lessons I taught my students when they talked about safety.  My students were able to make the connection that the rules are similar when they are visiting places online and in real life.  I think so many times people view online and offline as separate places, but they are not because people are able to interact with other people in both spaces.

When I was looking through a website called Visual Library while I was exploring digital citizenship resources I saw this image:

all good citizensI believe Citizenship and Digital Citizenship are the same thing…

I want my students to be good citizens no matter where they are or what online spaces they are using!

Both of these digital citizenship posters “All Good Digital Citizens” and “Think” can be used to remind students how to be good citizens when they are offline too!

new think image

  Photo Credit: ToGa Wanderings via Compfight cc

This reminds me when I learned about digital dualism and augmented reality in EC&I832.   Alec mentions both of terms in his Ted Talk –Identity in a digital world. (Thanks for sharing Angela! I never saw his video until I read your blog!).

So…. do I think that openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our kids?

No I do not think that openness and sharing at school is unfair because there are many benefits to sharing student’s work in online spaces. I think that there is The Good, The Bad, and Just Plain Scary Side of the Technology and Media as I talked about in this post, but when policies are in place and teachers are educated about digital citizenship I think sharing can be positive for students.   I am very excited to continue blogging with my students again next year especially since I will have some lap tops that we can keep in our classroom. That will provide students more of an opportunity to blog daily!  This year we started off very strong using our blogs especially when we had learning buddies, but when we worked on some other projects during that time we did our blogs as much as I wanted.  I also want to branch out more to other schools and connect with them especially other grade two classrooms.  This semester I have been able to reflect so much about my learning through reading over my own posts and using pingbacks in my writing when a debate topic reminds me what I learned about in EC&I831 and EC&I832.  If students are able to blog daily or every other day then they could reflect on their learning, make connections to other subject areas, and continue to expand their thinking as they learn more about different topics. I really enjoyed reading Angela’s blog post this week.  I appreciated her honesty and sharing her journey with us.  I recommend to take baby steps and turn to fellow colleagues for advice and help along the way.  I was lucky that a colleague shared the information about a digital citizenship webinar that Kathy Cassidy presented on.  She is so knowledgable and gave us great tips to help us get started on our journey.  One of my struggles is sharing videos on my classroom blog because I will admit I have fear of Youtube and I am not comfortable having videos of my students on that space.  Are there other ways to post videos onto a blog?  Has anyone posted videos onto Youtube of their students?  There is always so much to learn!

I am looking forward to continuing my journey next year with my new group of grade two students and continuing to learn how to teach them to become positive citizens!


Photo Credit: Source



  1. I love how you mention “I believe Citizenship and Digital Citizenship are the same thing” so many people look at the two very differently. I feel as though our online citizenship is much more edited than our offline citizenship but, are infact citizenship. We need to be walking the walk by showing students that it is the same. They can both benefit one another when used in the proper manner.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Kayla for your feedback and for reading my post. I agree that our online identity is more edited as we get to choose what we want to share or post. I have had other teachers tell me that they don’t have time to teach digital citizenship, but when I explain how closely citizenship and digital citizenship are interconnected some are beginning to understand my perspective. I think it’s even more important to teach students how to be good citizens online because the prints they leave will last a life time. We all make mistakes throughout our lives, but I don’t want my students mistakes to follow them and affect them later in life. If we can teach them about digital citizenship we can be proactive and then maybe we can prevent that from happening.


  3. Really enjoyed reading your post! So many thoughtful ideas. I’m interested in learning more about Digital visitors vs residents. I appreciate the time and effort you invest in helping both your students and parents learn about digital citizenship:) It’s about learning how to find a healthy balance and not being afraid to try something new!

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  6. I stumbled upon your blog after reading Tyler’s blog this week and his comments about your leadership in this area.

    Wow! This is a fantastic blog post! When I read through the marking rubric for our class, I feel like you NAILED it!!! Your blog comments are insightful, well supported with excellent examples and links, and encouraging to people like me, who are having their eyes opened to something so much bigger than I saw at first glance. Thank you for sharing your experiences with how you facilitate this concept into your primary classroom. As a Grade 1/2 teacher, I often try to find ways to incorporate technology into the classroom in meaningful ways, but I love how you meaningfully teach about the concept of digital citizenship. I am sure that the scaffolding and support you are providing your students today will impact their better judgement online in years to come. I think everyone in our class should be reading your blog this week! Thanks for sharing such great information and experiences! Very impressive!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Danielle! Thanks for taking the time to read my post this week. Wow…Thank you so much for your kind words and for your positive feedback. 🙂 This is my third class that I have taken from Alec and Katia so I am lucky that I can connect to previous learning experiences. I have been trying to share some resources that I learned from those previous classes and share my experiences from trying those ideas in my classroom. When I first EC&I831 I had no clue how to blog, add in pictures or links into a post. I have really enjoyed blogging in my classroom and it connects so well to teach digital citizenship. Yes it can be hard trying to make educational technology meaningful for young students. I recommend taking baby steps and using resources like Common Sense Media and MediaSmarts-there are many resources for teaching primary classes on those websites. If you ever need any help just let me know! 🙂

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  7. First off- I love what you do in your classroom in regards to digital citizenship. Someday I will have you share it with the rest of the staff. I truly love how the kids are involved in the process. Dean helped a great resource regarding digital citizenship for Regina Catholic you should check out. Finally, I liked how you were able to tie in info from your past classes. This really shows that classes are intertwined and can help us as teachers become better to help our kids.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Tyler for taking the time to read my blog! Yes I would be happy to share with the rest of the staff how I have been teaching digital citizenship in my classroom. I will forsure check out the resource that Dean helped create for Regina Catholic. I have never heard of that resource before so I am excited to check it out and add it to my resource list. Yes blogging makes it very easy to connect to past classes and concepts that I have previously learned about. I am proud of my grade two students progress with blogging, but I would love to see and read older students blog posts. It think it would help our students reflect about their learning and provide opportunities to make connections and extend their learning my finding relevant resources/articles to link to their posts.


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  10. Justine, your blog is amazing. It helps that I know you as a person, but I absolutely trust your experiences and the information you choose to share. I love how you consider digital citizenship and citizenship the same thing, and for people like me that opens my eyes a bit and makes me realize that we are simply teaching students to be good people. I guess we could throw in the idea that we live in an augmented reality, so separation between the two is actually impossible.
    In your blog you wrote about teachers having a responsibility to role model digital citizenship. I wrote in my blog that while I agree with this, it also brings up other moral issues to me (mostly surrounding practices of good health, nutrition, physical activity, etc). I wonder what you think about this idea? Do you think we have a moral responsibility to conduct ourselves in positive ways outside of school in areas that extend outside of digital citizenship?


    • Thank you so much Nicole for your positive feedback and kind words! 🙂 Yes so many of the digital citizenship lessons tie into lessons I teach in my classroom about being good citizens. Children need to know to be respectful and kind no matter what space they are interacting with people in. Yes we do live in an augmented reality so the online and offline worlds blend together.
      I think we can model digital citizenship in many ways. I have a classroom blog with my name so I talk to my students what I write can affect my footprint positively and negatively. I often write posts together or model to my students how to write a post and we discuss the importance of being mindful of what we write. I think as educators it is important to be good role models in many areas. On the days I teach phys. ed. I often join in the games or lessons that I have planned to show students its important to be active even when your older. When we are on lunch supervision we also eat our lunch in different classrooms. Students are seeing myself and fellow colleagues eating healthy food choices and we have had many good conversations during lunch. I think as educators we are always in the public eye and we need to be good role models during school time and when we are in the community. Great questions Nicole! There are always so many areas to think and reflect about!


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