Digital Citizenship in Schools

This is a repost of a blog post I wrote for my CSU Masters of Education (Knowledge Networks & Digital Innovation) subject Digital Citizenship in Schools. More blog posts are available at my CSU blog.

As a Teacher Librarian I have always taken an interest in digital literacy and digital citizenship by reading and curating relevant articles for my own personal learning and to share with my colleagues. I understood the definition of digital citizenship to be the safe, responsible and ethical use of information and technology and the Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship confirmed my thinking.

flickr photo by sylviaduckworth shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

After exploring other models of digital citizenship it became clear to me that I had underestimated the complexities of digital citizenship. Using network technology in a global world involves technical, individual, social, cultural and global awareness as illustrated in the Enlightened Digital Citizenship model.

Before starting this subject I had not given much thought to the relationship digital citizenship had with digital learning environments. I reflected on my own digital learning environment and the literacies and skills required to use them effectively. I actively embrace and play with mobile technology, social media and a plethora of digital tools in a responsible manner but some of my colleagues are not as aware or lack confidence. Some of the tools I use for personal reasons are now becoming part of the school’s evolving digital learning environment and placing new demands on teachers and students. The visual representation of my personal learning network (PLN) in my blog post  illustrates the role technology plays in my learning and the importance I place on lifelong learning. I reiterated this by commenting in forum 2.2 that it is imperative that I am a connected educator to meet current and future digital fluency needs and to model lifelong learning within my school community.

Assignment one was a living, breathing example of a participatory digital learning environment in action. As team member Heather said in her reflective blog post,

It was clear from the assessment rubric and online class meeting that this assignment was as much about learning about and through collaboration as it was about the particular aspect of digital citizenship we had elected to focus on.

Working collaboratively, team 5.2 created a learning module hosted on a wiki using a variety of communication and collaboration tools that Donald Tapscott refers to as “weapons of mass collaboration” (Richardson, 2008, para. 20). Digital citizenship theory was put into practice using an authentic learning task that visibly revealed our digital footprints, use of digital tools and collaborative efforts. The value of learning by doing was made very clear to me through this assignment. Teachers can apply similar methods by flattening their classrooms or lowering the walls so that students can learn by collaborating locally or globally (Lindsay, 2013), however as discussed in the forums, some challenges and barriers need to be overcome.

Given suitable digital infrastructure we can “learn whatever we want, wherever we want from whomever we want” in today’s digital ecology (Richardson, 2008). The tools that students use outside of school and increasingly at school, allow them to connect, collaborate, communicate and create. These are examples of twenty-first century skills and capabilities that along with critical thinking and digital citizenship are being encouraged by education systems around the world. Wherever possible teacher librarians weave digital citizenship and digital literacy into classes to spread the message, however I have learnt through this subject that embedding digital citizenship into the curriculum is best practice. The entire school community must develop common ground to educate students in a proactive rather than reactive way (Hollandsworth, Dowdy & Donovan, 2011).

I have learnt an enormous amount about digital citizenship in schools by engaging with the module content, participating in lively discussions in the forums, connecting on Twitter and meeting virtually with Julie Lindsay and my fellow class members. It is now up to me to show my school community what effective digital citizenship practice is through my own actions.


Bailie, H. (2016, May 19). Assignment one reflection. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Hollandsworth, R., Dowdy, L., & Donovan, J. (2011). Digital Citizenship in K-12: It Takes a Village. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(4), 37-47. doi:10.1007/s11528-011-0510-z

Lindsay, J. (2013). Leadership for a global future. In E-Learning journeys.


Richardson, W. (2008, December 3). World without walls: Learning well with others In Edutopia. Retrieved from


ALIA Schools Conference – 19 March 2016

21st century resourcing: digital collection development

Pru Mitchell – ACER

  • Pru Mitchell encouraged us to revisit our library’s collection development policy.
  • Emphasis was placed on knowing your community and having balanced collections that support the curriculum and the recreational needs of the school community.
  • Balanced collections contain print, audio-visual and digital resources. Provide a virtual door to the library using the library catalogue and/or library website.

Part 1 – Digital Collections

Part 2 – 5050 by 2020 ebook trends

Anne Whisken – Carey Baptist Grammar School

  • Reading habits and learning strategies
  • Hard copy and ebook literacies required
  • Push through the constraints of ebooks
  • Research mostly anecdotal at this stage on which library programs build literacy
  •  Library as a learning space – physical zones of interaction and digital zones of interaction
  • Consider the way the collection is arranged
  • Need teachers to be aware of the quality of information, shallow versus deep information
  • Must promote subscription databases and the value of quality information
  • Make digital resources visible via Spydus and LMS, also include in pathfinders/researchguides
  • Use library password to access databases

Karin Gilbert – Lowther Hall

  • Think of the library in the life of the user
  • Discovery is happening outside of libraries now
  • Technology is part of the fabric of library space
  • Outlined the digital resources and databases at Lowther Hall
  •  Libguides and Worldcat Worldshare make digital resources visible
  • Lowther Hall Libguides

Slides from presentation – available only to PEGS Library via Google Drive

Storify of tweets during the conference


In small groups we were able to discuss and share our ideas and experiences of digital collections.

  • The benefits of managing a digital collection by the library
  • The structures of the school that need to be considered
  • Who we need to get on board
  • The challenges and blockers
  • Possible solutions to challenges and blockers
  • What each of us could do at our school to manage a digital collection
  • Handy hints and resources






Exploring Digital Literature

Recently I have been exploring digital literature in its many and varied forms and I discovered this outstanding example.
I am prone to sea sickness and the opening scene of the SBS interactive graphic novel of The Boat made me a little queasy. Multimodal texts are very new to me and I was captivated by the interplay of illustrations, images, sound and motion.

After reading/viewing the interactive graphic novel, I read the story in the original printed book of the same name by Nam Le . The short story is about fifty pages long and the interactive contains far fewer words than this. I was surprised by how much of the detail in the story was conveyed using less words in the interactive graphic novel. The sound, images, illustrations and motion made up for the lack of words in creating a mood, setting the scene and aiding the narrative.

With auto scrolling the interactive graphic novel runs for twenty minutes or you have the option of scrolling at your own pace. At any point you can go backwards and forwards. There are also side stories that you can explore at various points. This is a very powerful story for older readers that is enhanced by the interactive graphic novel format.

The Boat by Nam Le

SBS’s interactive graphic novel The Boat brings Vietnamese refugee experience to life

The Sound and vision of The Boat

Evernote Melbourne Meet-up

By User:ZyMOS [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons

During the school holidays I went along to the Evernote Melbourne Meet-up. I have had an Evernote account for a few years but only really started using it regularly this year. Evernote is a productivity tool available across platforms. I use Evernote on my iPad, iPhone and my desktops at home and work. I use Evernote to make notes, capture websites, screenshots, bookmarks and PDFs. I am able to access my Evernote notes and notebooks from any device, anywhere. Evernote has been a great tool for my studies and I was eager to learn more about it.

At the Melbourne Meet-up a representative from Evernote chaired a panel. Each panelist spoke about their Evernote use from either a business, education or personal perspective. The chair of the meeting also provided some insights and answered audience questions about Evernote. You can read more about the meet-up on the Evernote blog. 

One of the panelists was Bec Spink, a primary school teacher from Melbourne and an Evernote Education Ambassador. I was pleased to connect in person with Bec who I follow on Twitter and have encountered through my studies at CSU. Bec is one of my Evernote role models and I have found her advice very valuable. Have a look at Bec’s website Miss Spink on Tech for a huge range of resources.

Progress Made

I have successfully completed two subjects of my Master of Education, Concepts and Practices for a Digital Age and Social Networking for Information Professionals. I am about to embark on two more subjects in session two. I feel better prepared for the second session because I understand how distance education works and am more familiar with the systems and resources available to me. The learning environment was participatory and the subjects were interesting, engaging and challenging. Fortunately I was already familiar with some of the tools we used such as WordPress, Diigo, Twitter and Facebook. My fellow students supported each other with resources, insights and moral support during more stressful times. I was thrilled to have my digital essay for Concepts and Practices for a Digital Age shared by my lecturer on social pic

Getting started with my Masters

I graduated with my Bachelor of Education (Secondary) – Library and Information Studies degree in 1993. The world wide web was in its infancy as I embarked on my library career. Most of my early digital learning took place on the job by reading, attending conferences and experimenting with new tools and technologies. It was an exciting time to be involved in education and libraries. As part of my professional learning I did a number of online courses and found that they were suited to my learning style. I caught the travel bug in my twenties and took up photography as a hobby about ten years ago so these pursuits, along with my work have kept me busy and very happy. Last year I felt it was time for a new challenge, the time seemed right to return to study. The general Masters of Education courses offered by other universities didn’t appeal to me greatly, so I was excited when I started investigating the Masters of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation). Nervous but extremely excited about getting my Masters started.

My study blog is

School Library Roles: a Process of Change

SLAV Conference 31/10/14
The conference opened with Rhonda Powling (Head of Library and Information Services at Whitefriars College) discussing the evolution of school library roles. So often we hear gloom and doom stories about school libraries. Rhonda is optimistic for the future and drew our attention to the futuristic thinking of Mark Pesce and the 2013 ALIA discussion paper, Library and Information Services: the future of the profession themes and scenarios 2025. The three themes identified were convergence, connection and the golden age of information. Convergence generally means fewer jobs but require skills, connection is a library strength and the golden age of information is full of possibilities for libraries.
Libraries will flourish with professional expertise, connectedness, by building relationships with the community and by empowering clients. It is time to let go and move on. School library staff need to be open to challenges, creative, team based, collaborative and focused on the needs of community. Rhonda told us to promote our library and services, recognise the good work of teachers and share what you are doing.
After this introduction, a panel of library staff with diverse roles, experience and qualifications explored the roles and skills required in school libraries. A few key terms were mentioned by more than one person.
  • Stay positive
  • Ask questions – why do we do it this way? Is it good for the kids?
  • Be flexible
  • form a bridge
A group discussion followed about roles with the outcome being that school library staff need to:
  • Own your job
  • Own your job description
  • Own your personal learning

Jack Martin from the Public Record Office Victoria told us about the resources they offer.

  • Public records of people, places and events
  • Teaching resources and online exhibitions
  • Online research resources
  • Catalogue, guides, indexes, digitised records
  • Currently producing digital content for the Anniversary of Gallipoli
  • Tours
  • Indigenous history resources
  • Sustainability resources
  • Historic plans
  • Scholarly research
After lunch we got the chance to play with two of a number of applications. I chose to explore Google Forms and Evernote. While we only got a taste of the power of these applications, I could see how they could be used in schools to great effect. For more information about Google Forms, have a look at this Bright Ideas article.
Reluctantly we left the sandpit session and took a tour of ABC Splash. A great addition to the teacher librarian’s toolkit. ABC Splash provides a platform to bring digital learning resources mapped to the Australian Curriculum to students, teachers and parents. Currently these resources go to year 10 level, hopefully they will expand to year 11 and 12 as the National Curriculum evolves.