back

Know the ISTE Standards for Administrators: Digital citizenship

ISTE Standards for Administrators 5:Digital Citizenship.Educational administrators provide digital age leadership and management to continuously improve the organization through the effective use of information and technology resources.

As the digital age advances, the importance of educating students in the appropriate use of web-based tools and resources grows. This means helping students become not just consumers, but critical consumers, of online content. Administrators can do this by setting the expectation that students must think about the accuracy and reliability of content they find online and become curators of the internet, which will ensure their own cyberwellness while creating and managing the information that’s out there for future generations.

To promote responsible use of the internet, administrators must also ensure all students learn how to be good citizens of the digital age. Digital citizenship refers to the behavior, knowledge and skills that people should demonstrate when interacting with digital tools. Children cannot become digital citizens without adult guidance. Although they are often very comfortable using technology, they still need help from their teachers to understand the regulations and safety concerns inherent in using the internet.

Not all teachers know how to demonstrate and teach digital citizenship skills. The increasingly complex and ubiquitous nature of technology necessitates ongoing training. Therefore, administrators should provide teachers with opportunities to continuously improve their understanding of digital citizenship.

In the activities described in the table below, three principals have decided they want to foster digital citizenship in their schools by improving teacher knowledge of this subject. However, each has gone about it in a different way. Some meet the standard and others do not. Although the activities refer to principals and assistant principals educating teachers in their schools, you can easily translate them to all levels of administration.

Educational administrators model and facilitate understanding of social, ethical and legal issues and responsibilities related to an evolving digital culture.

Approach 1. This principal has chosen to hold a meeting for all teachers to explain the dangers of using the internet. The principal introduces the policy that students should not have internet access unless they have one-to-one direct supervision from a teacher. Social networking sites are banned from use in school to keep students from posting anything that may harm their digital footprints.

Approach 2. This principal has chosen to implement a digital citizenship training day for the teachers. This training consists of teachers sharing strategies aligned to the digital citizenship concepts described in the ISTE the Standards for Teachers. Guest speakers also cover topics determined by a prior teacher survey.

Approach 3. This principal has chosen to implement an annual digital citizenship training day for the teachers. This training consists of teachers sharing strategies aligned to the digital citizenship concepts described in the ISTE Standards for Teachers. Guest speakers also cover topics determined by a prior teacher survey. The teachers use school-issued laptops to connect to a shared online community where they post digital citizenship resources and ideas. They are required to share how they are connecting to digital citizenship aspects of the ISTE Standards.

a. Ensure equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources to meet the needs of all learners.

Not addressed: This initiative does not ensure that teachers and students will have equitable access to technology.

Partially addressed: There is evidence that this initiative will help to meet students’ needs by encouraging teachers to follow the ISTE Standards on digital citizenship. However, this initiative does not describe how the teachers, who are the learners in this situation, will receive equitable access to technology.

Addressed: As part of this initiative, the teachers each get a laptop. Since they are following the ISTE Standards on digital citizenship, they will also ensure that their students gain equitable access to technology.

b. Promote, model and establish policies for safe, legal and ethical use of digital information and technology.

Not addressed: This initiative does not ensure that teachers and students will have equitable access to technology.

Partially addressed: This initiative will ensure that these policies are in place by helping teachers meet the standards in the annual training. There is no evidence that the principal will model these practices.

Addressed: By working with the teachers to meet the standards through ongoing training, this will ensure that these policies are in place. The principal can model good digital citizenship as she/he posts resources to the online community.

c. Promote and model responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information.

Not addressed: This initiative bans interactions related to the use of technology and information instead of encouraging teachers to model it.

Partially addressed: By working with the teachers to meet the standards in the annual training, this approach may promote responsible social interactions. There is no evidence that the principal will model these practices.

Addressed: The principal can model and promote good digital citizenship as she/he posts resources to the online community. This ongoing training initiative will also promote responsible social interactions.

d. Model and facilitate the development of a shared cultural understanding and involvement in global issues through the use of contemporary communication and collaboration tools.

Not addressed: This initiative bans interactions related to the use of technology and information instead of modeling and facilitating shared cultural understanding and involvement in global issues.

Not addressed:  There is no evidence of this indicator in this approach.

Addressed: The ongoing training and shared online community ensure that this indicator will be met.

In Approach 1, this principal has decided to educate the teachers in the school about the dangers that result when students create inappropriate digital footprints. The impetus behind this policy is the possibility that, when students post information on the web that could be seen in a negative light, they may suffer in the future. The principal then explains that due to this danger, the school has introduced a policy that allows students to be on the internet only when the students have direct one-to-one supervision. The policy also bans all social networking sites in school and discourages students from using these sites out of school, since social networking sites are the typical places where students may not follow good digital citizenship policy. This approach does not promote or allow the modeling of good digital citizenship and does not meet any of the indicators for this standard.

The principal in Approach 2 has decided that it is important that all students receive instruction regarding good digital citizenship practices. This principal has chosen to organize a one-time digital citizenship training day where teachers who are already implementing good strategies will share their knowledge. This is particularly helpful, as those teachers understand the school setting and specific needs of the students in that location. The teachers will complete a survey to assess their knowledge regarding digital citizenship, and an outside trainer will supplement the topics that were not addressed through peer training. This administrator has decided which topics to cover during the training day based on the ISTE Standards for Teachers. Approach 2 has partially met some of the indicators for this standard.

In Approach 3, this principal understands that a one-time training session can go only so far in promoting good digital citizenship. Training needs to be continuous — as well as manageable — for it to work. The principal also knows that the teachers will learn best if they take part in technology-based activities. Therefore, this principal is creating an online community for the school leaders in addition to conducting an annual training session. The shared online community will be private within the school and will immerse the teachers in an environment they may not be familiar with yet. In this community, the principal will model digital citizenship while posting additional information for the teachers. In this online community, the teachers will share how they are working toward the ISTE Standards for Teachers. And to ensure that the teachers have equitable access to technology, the principal has provided each teacher with a laptop.

Acknowledgment

Catharina Gräbe, a graduate research assistant in Darden College of Education at Old Dominion University, Virginia, assisted in writing this article.

Helen Crompton is an assistant professor of instructional technology at Old Dominion University in Virginia. She is a researcher and educator in the field of instructional technology, and she earned her Ph.D. in educational technology and mathematics education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ready to start planning a tech integration initiative in your district? Don’t jump in blind. Use the new Lead & Transform Diagnostic Toolto get a free customized report showing your school or district’s readiness to transition to a standards-ready digital learning environment.

And if you want to learn more about promoting and modeling good digital citizenship in your school, check out our self-paced Digital Citizenship Academy.

Like (0)