Digital Citizenship

Global Digital Citizenship is a critical element of any teaching program at any level. Our students are connected. Irrespective of the age of the student they are wired. We are seeing devices reducing in cost, increasing in availability and entering most classrooms and almost every school.

If you ask a students a question there first response is likely to be to “google” it. If you go to a library for research, the students are most likely to use the computers.The digital world is a world almost universally without boundaries (Some countries do still attempt to restrict access, but these are usually the same countries that are restrictive with their people as well). Visiting, talking, chatting, messaging are seemless, real time and simple. The distance between two people is now measured in milliseconds rather than miles.

All of this, the speed, immediacy, accessibility and ease of use means that Global Digital Citizenship is paramount.

But how do we teach Global Digital Citizenship, a fluency that is critical at all levels of education?

I think there are four aspects of this.

  1. Clarity and rationale – Whether we are giving the students guidelines (my personal preference) or sets of rules there must be clarity and a transparent rationale behind the statements we make. Too often the communications that the students and staff sign to are not explained, written in quazi-legaleze and are too specific. I have seen schools and school districts present year1-3 students with documents to sign, stipulating what they can or can not do, written in language that I struggle with. The fact that the language used means the kids DO NOT understand it and therefore it is irrelevant AND the reality that a minor signing an agreement is immisable is often ignored. So a better option is to write guidelines that are flexible, encompassing and age specific. This adds CLARITY. The guidelines must have a logical basis – this is what we need from you and THIS IS WHY WE NEED IT – this is the rationale. If you can not provide a reasonable explanation for a decision or guideline then it is a POOR decision.
  2. Understanding and Purpose – this is the communication aspect with the students and  the community. You have to develop and instil in the students an understanding of WHY we are making these recommendations and setting these expectations. They need to see the bigger purpose of respecting and protecting themselves, other people and intellectual property. They need to understand about their actions and the consequences of these. They must be aware of global considerations and inherent in this the cultural difference that exist. Again this is age specific.
  3. Monitoring and consequences – As critical as rationale and purpose, monitoring and consequences should be transparent, timely and appropriate. We are building a trust model, which digital citizenship inherently is, but there must be a process of keeping safe and learning lessons. It is appropriate to have filtering of the internet at different age levels, it is critical to have tracking and recording of use and access – but these MUST be CLEARLY communicated. There needs to be immediacy in dealing with actions that are unacceptable, whether it is inappropriate content, actions or communications. The consequences must reflect the action. I would guarantee that most schools would have different levels of consequences for similar real and virtual actions. Consider this…. a student goes into the music department and steals a CD of the latest popular music  – the consequences of such theft would be severe. Take the online equivalent the student uses the schools network to pirate (steal) the digital equivalent of the album. The students is likely to be told this is not appropriate. How are the two actions different in the underlying action -both are  stealing media. But one is considered a lesser crime or action. Similarly how is cyberbullying less damaging than bullying face to face?
  4. Individual and community involvement. In developing and implementing our digital citizenship guidelines and processes we sought, valued and used feedback from staff, students and the community. We ask our parents to apply our guidelines at home. We had our students critique our guidelines and THEN WE MODIFIED THEM based on student voice, where appropriate. Getting buy in and understanding from all sides is critical. If the student is involved in designing, implementing and using the guidelines they develop ownership and it becomes their guidelines and their ethical and moral compass, a compass that is hopefully aligned to respecting and protecting themselves, other people and property by their actions, behaviours and in some cases inactions.

So what have I missed?

On the wire – seven things and 7 billion

Its been a while since I had the time to do a on the wire update, but I have taken a moment and I want to share a couple of interesting articles and resources with you.

Seven things you should know about…..

This is a brilliant series of resources produced by educause that examine an emerging technology and how it could be applied to education. There are several new one out that are worth examining

These are brilliant resources available in PDF and ePub formats

The second item on my agenda is the national geographic videos about the worlds population reaching  7 Billion.

7 billion typical person

7 billion timeline

The Hype cycle

Yesterday I attended the Horizon Projects New Zealand meeting. One of the exercises we undertook was to use the Hype cycle, a visualisation tool produced by Gartner to examine the different technologies identified in the New Zealand Horizon report

The hype cycle allows you to plot where either you are or your organisatiuon is on the use of a technology. The cycle is divided into a number of stages which a technology will usually progress through. The initial high expectations. the disappointment where it isn’t delivering quite what was expected and then a steady climb to effective use. The depth and height of peaks and troughs is dependent on the process and investigation that an organisation implements.


In the meeting we went through the three different technology horizons in the reports and then mapped where we consider ourselves to be on the hype cycle from an educational perspective and from a business perspective. The horizons were:

1 year or less

  • cloud computing
  • collaborative environments
  • mobile apps
  • tablet computing

2 to 3 years

  • digital identity
  • electronic publishing
  • game based learning
  • personal learning environments

4 to 5 years

  • augmented reality
  • gesture based computing
  • next generation batteries
  • smart objects

It was an interesting exercise and one that for me provided insight into many of the projects I have been involved in. Where are we on this process? Are we still in the early stages of high expectations or in the trough of disillusionment.

I can also draw parallels to what we see in change management. While often we miss the peak of high expectations we do see the four stages that correspond to the trough and slope of enlightenment and plateau of productivity

  • denial
  • bargaining
  • depression
  • acceptance

Here is a challenge for you. Pick a technology you have or are thinking of implementing. Now consider where you are on then “cycle”. Now considering your position, what can you do to move quickly to the “plateau of productivity”? How can you reduce the steepness of the slope to the trough or avoid it entirely?

It strike me that with due process and realistic expectations you can avoid most if not all of the roller coaster ride?


On the wire – Statistics and sentinel project

I am preparing for a keynote in a couple of week and I have found a couple of great statistics sources for some of information technology.

The three I have found most useful at the moment are:

The twitter blog also had this interesting video embedded on it with different celebrities, politicians  and people explaining why they use twitter
The sentinel project is another of the web sites I like. This is a humanitarian site, attempting to inform us of events happening around the world. Using Satellite imagery and analysis they are highlighting areas of conflict, need, oppression and genocide around the world. Another great source of stunning media about Humanitarian crisis’s is Media Storm – The videos they  produce will move and change you. -
And finally a great resource – EDUBUNTU – this is an education focused linux distribution. Its great. Available with a focus on different levels Primary, Secondary and Tertairy this distribution delivers not only an operating system but a suite of software.  -
Latest Distribution – Natty Narwhal – Download -

More Ladders, fewer snakes – NZ Institute report

This is an interesting report from the independent think tank – the New Zealand Institute - The report is focused on two proposals to reduce youth disadvantage. Reading through it a couple of things leap out  for me. Here is one that is critical

“Successful education requires more than just turning up at school. If students are engaged they will make the effort to learn but too few students remain engaged at school. By age 16, 36% are reported to be usually or always bored and one quarter want to leave as soon as they can, or already have (Wylie, 2009, p.2). ” - Executive summary

This is scary. over 1/3 of our students in year 11-13 are disengaged to the point of reporting boredom.

The report goes on to talk about eLearning as a potential tool for engagement, but states that elearning alone is not enough. I have to agree, there has to be a radical shift in pedagogy to accompany the implementation of elearning. There needs to be a focus on collaboration and communication, on higher order thinking. We need to consider to the assessment tasks we are setting, again I harp back to the comment I made a while ago…

… any question we ask that can be answered with google is a poor question.

The questions we ask, and in turn the learning experiences the students undertake must be higher order – creative, evaluative or analytical not Recall and simple understanding.

Engagement is not just academically focused – we know that students who exercise regularly, who have a balanced and appropriate diet will out perform those who come to school hungry, who are unfit, overweight or inactive. We must exercise on a daily basis, we know that academically and health wise this is vital.

Engagement means to that the students have ownership of their learning, they have tasks that are contextual for them, that they can see purpose and value in. The tasks must be relevant and have a degree of buy in on a personal, community or global perspective. Essentially there must be transparency.

To keep them engaged we must also make the tasks achievable and realistic, assessment focused and transparent and feedback must be learning centered, honest and timely.

If we too all of this, then perhaps we can change the poor engagement rates we are seeing.

Executive Summary - Executive summary

Full report - Full report

Perhaps those who criticize Orewa College’s decision to move their year 9 students to a one to one program with iPads should read the research.











On the wire – English, free stuff from microsoft, open library and more

In this update of on the wire we have resources available from MS Australia, the open library a cool school and much more.

1. Free Tools in the classroom – Applications and resources available through MS Australia. This is a good start and has links and resources for

  • Autocollage
  • Photosynth
  • Moviemaker live

Worth investigating – look at this PDF to –

2. Open Library – - this site hosts over 1,000,000 free ebooks. This is a hugely powerful resource,



accessing these can effectively save school thousands of dollars. Great stuff

3. Zooburst – – This is a digital storytelling site that allows you to develop digital storybooks in 3D. The basic account is free and allows you to develop upto 10 books of 10pages each , the premium account has a fuller feature set, is Ad free and obviously a cost. Pricing and sign up here –

4. Think Global Schools – – this is an interesting concept. I met some of the students at the flatclassroom project in Beijing. The catch line for the school is 12 countries in 12 trimesters. This is an exciting system. The students luerally travel around the world spending a trimester in a different country and school. They are developing outstanding global citizens. A great concept and one I will watch with interest.

5. Digizens – This is a useful resource for digital citizenship materials and resources. Well constructed and planned this should be on your reading list.

and finally from National Geographic this cool zoomable image made up of 7000 human figures – Zoom in and zoom out it is very cool –

On the wire – science, humanities, the arts and the flat classroom

In this update we have some interestingr esources for science and the environment, humanities, the arts, ipads and the flat classroom.

1. The story of Bottled Water – This is a great video that examines bottled water. The story, which is animated and real video talks about the history of bottled water and the environmental impact of this. Great and challenging. Also look at:

2. Google Art Project – This is a stunning resource for the Art historian and art student. Imagine visting the best galleries and museums and creating your own collection to share with your peers. Well this is the virtual way to do this. A google project it has huge potential –

3. Apps for Education – – this is an application store for the Android operating system. Like the Apps store for the iPad and Ipod this store has a variety of free and purchased tools to use. Worth considering if you are an android user.  In a related article Singapore is trialing the iPad as a replacement for textbooks – read the article here –

4. RPGMaker – - if you have ever wondered how to combine the language arts, with computing, imagination and creativity this is a tool for you and your students. RPGMaker allows you to create your own Role Playing games. This is a bastion for higher order thinking – creativity, analysis and evaluation

and finally at the end of the month I am heading over to China to the Flat Classroom Conference – this will be an amazing trip and one I am looking forward to immensely. I have a number of sessions I am running, including Global Digital citizenship, ipads and ipods in education and a TED Style talk… and

On the wire – Math, science, biology, health and more

In this update of on the wire we have a number of useful sites for you viewing pleasure – these include sites for science, the environment, videos, chemistry, health & biology, mathematics and humanities

1. ChemEd DL – Chemistry Education Digital Library - This is a digital repository for chemistry education resources. This is another site funded in part by the National Science Foundation. A useful resource for science and particularly chemistry.

2. Medical Animation Library This site has a wealth of medical animations that are very useful to the biology and health classes. Most are suited to the senior end of the school given the depth of information and the topics covered.

3. Yummy Maths This site is about making Mathematics relevant. It has resources for Algebra, Geometry, probability and much more.

4. Conceptua Math – this site has some useful resources for teaching fractions. Also worth looking at is dy/dan – Algebra supplement – this is brilliant.

5. When the water ends A media storm production for Yale Environment 360. A powerful video on climate change in East Africa

and finally  another from MediaStorm a 12 minute video – UNDESIRED -  that examines and discusses the cultural pressure to have a son in India – moving, scary and frightening –

In India, all women must confront the cultural pressure to bear a son. The consequences of this preference is a disregard for the lives of women and girls. From birth until death they face a constant threat of violence. See the project at

on the wire

Well I have had a great start to the new year, and its been a virtually technology free one too. The family spent a week camping at Waipu Cottages and we had a great time.

In this update of on the wire there are resources for the arts, Audio Books, Biology, Science & physics

1. Books Should be Free - I have long been a fan of Audio books, whether as a family traveling for long distances or for students going to and from school on a bus, audio books are a great opportunity to listen and be entertained. Almost every student I know has a MP3 player of some shape and form, and providing them with an auditory version of a text book is an excellent learning process for the dow time they have on buses. It also appeals to the Auditory learner. Also worth looking at

2. eSkeletons This is from the University of Texas Department of Anthropology. This is a useful biology site that compares the skeletal structure of 13 different primate species, looks at their comparative anatomy and the taxonomic tree. Good science and senior biology resources. from the same department are the following sites:

  • eLucy -
  • eFossils -

3. Exploratorium – Science of Music This is a online music resource funded by the national Science Foundation that allows you to create, compose, play listen and experiment with music. What a great way to bring science and the arts together. A resource for the arts, science and physics. Another site worth looking at is the online drum machine – Monkey Machine –

4. Online Museums for the arts – Almost every museum is gaining an online presence, it makes them more accessable and more relevant. Here are three to look at:

and finally a series of interactives from the council on foreign relationships - - this is a powerful series of resources for the social sciences. Have a look at the following crisis guides:

On the wire – Virtual manipulatives, Body browser and more

In this update we have a range of sites that are well worth visiting. Stuff for science, Mathematics, IWB’s, Global Project and video resources.

1. Body Browser This is an iteresting site, that used HTML 5 and WebGL to allow the visitor to manipulate and explore a human body. Other than the limitation of a very current browser, this has huge potential for the sciences, PE and health

2. National Library of Virtual Manipulatives - -  interactive activities great for IWB’s this is a library of interactive activities that cover a range of mathematics disciplines and age groups. Well worth visiting.

3. The model United nations – THIMUN – Singapore This is a global project which see students from round the planet involved and collaborating in a model United nations. This is a great project and well worth looking at.

Secretary General Kofi Annan, who visited THIMUN in 2002, stated:

“The fact that THIMUN exists to uphold the values of the United Nations among the young is particularly important, since it is from the young that we should draw our energy and inspiration as we strive to make the United Nations effective and responsive to the needs of the people worldwide.”

4. Snag Learning Films this is a useful site with a wide range of videos for various ages. searchable by subject and grade. For those of us who love TED talks – this is a very useful spreadsheet

and finally the institute for the future - this is packed full of interesting and stimulating material that could be sued for a range of subjects. However the one that leaps out at me is the wikileaks and the power of the internet – its topical and a great stimulus article for the ITGS curriculum and perhaps even paper 2.

Here is one last image that I liked