Promoting digital citizenship by encouraging students to become aware of their digital footprint.

by LeAnn Morris

Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12


In my practice I emphasize the importance of digital citizenship – the codes of behavior that all people, but especially students, should be mindful of while online.

We often talk about what you leave behind on the internet as a digital footprint but I prefer the term “digital tatoo” – a more permanent set of artifacts and impressions. Many colleges and employers look at the social media artifacts of people they may accept or hire. So I consider it to be my job to insure that students are informed about their responsibilities as digital consumers and producers.

And beyond behavior, I want to make sure that students have every opportunity to know about how applications and devices can most productively be used for learning and how they can leave evidence of their learning in ways that will help them in the future.

There are many excellent resources and tools for students and teachers, some of which we have developed ourselves:

-The Digital Driver’s License from the University of Kentucky provides a guide to how to conduct yourself on the Internet;

Common Sense Media provides a curriculum for teachers that helps acquaint students with how to find and evaluate appropriate materials online;

-We’ve converted the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) into a more positive program called the Responsible Use Policy so that kids focus on the positive and beneficial aspects of what the Internet affords them.

Successful technology integration begins with developing a common sense of obligation and responsibility about our actions when we’re online. When you begin with that, you can really focus on all of the wonderful possibilities for learning, communication, and participation that the Internet brings.


What I did well…

I feel good about giving the teachers an opportunity to reflect on their own “Digital Footprint” as they shared out with the group. Teachers also learned how other teachers might use this activity with students.  I also liked reinforcing why Digital Citizenship is important and why all teachers regardless of what age students they teach need to understand, model and promote responsible use with their students as technology continues to increase inside and outside of school.  

What I would do more of, better, differently…

I would like to have the teachers spend more time delving into the digital resources I shared with them, perhaps those that would be grade level and age appropriate for their particular students. Having time built into the learning experience for meaningful exploration is always appreciated.  I also would have the teachers collaborate more with each other at their table groups for additional thoughts and ideas about what they discovered in their exploration

I still want to grow in this practice by…

I will continue to update the resources that I share with teachers, as information is constantly changing.  Just since the time of the video recording, the 2016 ISTE Standards for Students have been released and the new Standard 2 – Digital Citizen updated the previous 2007 Standard 5 – Digital Citizenship.   In addition, I want to pursue the Common Sense Certified Educator: Digital Citizenship to enhance my own knowledge and skills and promote this certification to other teachers.

About LeAnn Morris

LeAnn M. Morris is the Lead Technology Integration Specialist for Carson City School District in Carson City, Nevada. She is the 2008 Nevada State ...

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