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Introduction to the Digiteen Project Topics and Actions

Note: All materials on this page are (c) 2010 All Rights Reserved Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis and may only be reproduced for use in this project.

There are TWO main parts to this project:
  • Global collaboration on research and sharing resources via a wiki, including ongoing discussion and interaction between global classrooms via the wiki and Ning
  • A school-based local project that takes the new knowledge about Digital Citizenship Areas of Awareness and Core Competencies and implements something within the school community that will raise awareness and make a difference

What is Digital Citizenship?

Digital citizenship encompasses many aspects of life, not always limited to the work done on or with a 'computer'. It can be described as knowing how to behave reliably, responsibly and respectfully with regard to technology use.

Digiteen Project Structure

Each student in the Digiteen Project will be in a team with a Digital Citizenship Area of Awareness and be cross-referenced with a Ray of Understanding Are, as shown in the diagram 'Enlightened Digital Cizitenship' below.
Depending on the size of the project (number of classrooms and students) the core competency areas are expanded to include digital citizenship perspectives from the students, teachers and parents & wider community.
See the Team Grid for details about this current project.
(c) 2012 Pearson Publishing, Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds, used with permission.

Areas of Awareness - TOPICS

There are five underlying areas of awareness that relate to being a global digital citizen. These are:

Technical Access and Awareness

Anyone who uses a cell phone, a computer, or any technological device has an awareness of how to use that tool and it is their onramp to the information highway. Therefore technical awareness is the core awareness that enables a person to be a digital citizen. However, there are people who refuse to use technology or do not have access. Therefore, before they can become part of the digital society, they must have access to the tools and an awareness of how to use the tool. This is the beginning.

Individual Awareness

As one moves into online spaces it is important to be aware of one’s values and goals and to have the self-confidence to advocate for oneself online and speak out when issues arise. Additionally, individual awareness helps a person make healthy lifestyle choices that help achieve online and offline balance and resist the tendency of many towards addictive behaviors or dangerous behaviors such as texting and driving.

Social Awareness

Many argue that face-to-face society is being impacted negatively by the proliferation of technology that causes the inattentiveness of people to their own families and face-to-face friends. Cell phones have interrupted movies, weddings, and social events, and often have become an intrusive, disruptive device when used in inappropriate ways for the context of the social situation. Social awareness allows the digital citizen to interpret situations and retain interpersonal skills with face-to-face and online friends and colleagues.

Cultural Awareness

Much of the world lives in a homogeneous face-to-face environment. Being aware that cultural differences exist and being able to understand deeply the nuances of cultural differences is a vital awareness for effective online collaboration and citizenship. Understanding that the world is diverse and that other cultures have different religions, holidays, school practices and that it is important to find commonalities rather than focus always on differences.

Global Awareness

Global awareness understands the regional nuances of other places in the world and causes the digital citizen to ask such questions as: What are the impacts of technology use and access in other countries and cultures? How can I connect and communicate with someone on the other side of the world? Understanding geography, politics, and local bandwidth concerns and the fact that one should understand these areas leads to a global awareness that makes one an effective digital citizen.

Core Competency Areas: (Rays of Understanding)

There are FOUR main core competency areas where global digital citizens are expected to have understanding of behaviors and attitudes.

A: Safety, Privacy, Copyright, Fair Use and Legal Compliance.


Students should be taught how to be safe online. Additionally, they should know how to protect themselves should they be made to feel uncomfortable by others. They should realize that pictures that show street signs or car tags can actually impinge upon their own privacy. When others reveal private information, they should have the confidence to delete the content or ask for its removal. They should understand to never meet a person from online unless they are in a public place with their parents (unless they are older and then with friends.)


Students should understand how to find and interpret the terms and conditions and privacy policies of websites and how to view their profile as the “public” sees it. They should peruse the Internet intermittently for information that may have been posted about them and guard against identity theft. By reviewing case studies of those who did not protect their privacy, they should understand the importance of protecting their own privacy and that information that is not posted cannot be used against them.

Copyright and Fair Use.

Students should know how to find content and to license their own. They should understand when fair use applies (at school for schoolwork) and when it does not (in their social lives and at home.) They should understand the difference between free music and owning the copyright to music: just because music is free does not mean they have the right to copy or use in their multimedia creations.

Legal Compliance.

Legal Compliance with Country of Origin.

Additionally, digital citizenship is about legal compliance of students with local laws as well as laws of the country of origin of websites and artifacts used by their school in projects. Although the Internet is global, it is governed by a melange of inconsistent and often conflicting legislation in the countries where it is used. For example, a student in a country where copyright laws are not encompassing or fully enforced may take the advantage and use or repurpose copyrighted material on YouTube or the Internet. However, if the student uploads that content to a Ning which is a USA based company, the website is bound by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) in the United States. Students can be following accepted behaviours in their home country and still jeopardize a project.

Legal Compliance with Country of Residence.

Just because a project allows a behavior does not mean that it is acceptable in the location of the teachers and students. Teachers and administrators at the local school should ultimately be responsible to familiarize themselves with the major legislation concerning privacy and copyright in their location. Additionally, this is part of the education of students to allow them to understand the nuances of local law and laws of the country of origin for websites used in their personal lives. Note also that a law not being enforced is different to having the rights. For example in a country like Bangladesh there is a clear, although not well advertised copyright law, but as can be typical in third world or developing countries the government struggles to enforce it.

Below are examples of how Awareness and Core Area A Competencies Cross.

Core Area A: Safety, Privacy, Copyright, Fair Use, and Legal Compliance and the Areas of Awareness
Some Examples
1. Technology Access and Awareness
· Safety - How to take screenshots, block people who treat them without respect, and how to report abuse to a website.
· Privacy - How to take a privacy inventory of their profile on a website. How to find terms and conditions, privacy policies, and change their privacy settings.
· Copyright - How to access to generate a license and embed media
· Fair Use – How to find the license on material and determine if fair use applies.
· Legal - How to report criminal activity and deal with infringement of their own copyrights.
2. Individual Awareness
· Safety – How to be a self-confident advocate for oneself and others when safety is of concern. Does one have a personal responsibility to report misbehavior and criminal activity when it is seen?
· Privacy – Long term implications of inappropriate photos and self-determination of what type of photos are acceptable in one’s online spaces. Does one know how to purchase safely online?
· Copyright - What kind of licensing one prefers for work depending upon the context.
· Fair Use – If one will adhere to fair use only when it applies.
· Legal – Self confidently able to resist peer pressure to pirate music or videos. Able to resist desire to text while driving.
3. Social Awareness
· Safety – Is one aware when behaviors of “friends” may compromise the safety of others? Is one have the technopersonal skills to deal with issues in a way that is positive and not condemning.
· Privacy – Does one notice when behaviors of others compromise the privacy decisions of others in the group? Does one understand what information, if divulged, can lead to identity theft? Does one know how to validate friend requests and build networks of friends in safe ways?
· Copyright – Can one realize when sharing between friends become piracy and have the ethics to resist infringing upon the copyright of others?
· Fair Use – When one is not in an educational setting does the use of media reflect an absence of fair use? Is one able to advocate and use media in appropriate ways with friends in online social environments?
· Legal – Do students understand legal risks of sharing? Do they understand legal ramifications of cyberbullying behavior and not reporting criminal activity of friends?
4. Cultural Awareness
· Safety – Is one aware that discussion of certain taboo subjects according to a person’s culture can cause personal ramifications to the person in the other country?
· Privacy – Is one aware of cultural differences in modesty and dress? Is one aware that people of certain societies may not be permitted to discuss non-academic topics with a person of the opposite sex including plans for the weekend or hobbies?
· Copyright – Is one aware of varying degrees of enforcement of copyright between countries and to discern that although others may behave in a certain way that it may not be legal in their own country?
· Fair Use – Does one realize that some people have in their belief system that using the work of another is wrong even if it could be claimed as fair use?
· Legal –Is one aware that people in other countries must follow their laws and that certain online behaviors although legal for one person could cause problems for another?
5. Global Awareness
· Safety – Is one aware of varying degrees of safety in other countries and to be sensitive to a person’s unwillingness to discuss certain sensitive political issues that may be censored in a country and could cause repercussions on the person or their family?
· Privacy – Is one aware that certain personal subjects relating to family are taboo subjects with strangers?
· Copyright – Copyright laws vary from country to country as does enforcement, does one realize that having a person in another country purchase or transmit something that is legal in their country back to another person that the receiver could be breaking the laws in their own country of residence?
· Fair Use – Is one aware that Fair Use is a “United States” term and may not apply in other countries?
· Legal – Is one aware that the “country of origin” of a website determines acceptable behaviors on a website and that one can be banned from a site for not following the laws of the country where the website is hosted?

B: Etiquette and Respect


Sometimes called "netiquette."
Knowing how to communicate and solve problems without causing stress. This includes synchronous as well as asynchronous communication. Sometimes a real-time conversation can solve a problem or clarify a situation quicker, but being able to work through frustrations with tasks or team members via discussions, messages and wiki environments is also very important. This includes appropriate use of emoticons and online “im speak” as well as proper language use for contexts.


Knowing that the written word can often be misinterpreted. Being respectful and reliable in communication habits. Being respectful means being aware of the different digital attitudes and practices of others globally and nuances of the different digital spaces. Respectful digital citizens promote and support participation in learning and sharing and advocate respectful treatment of everyone in online spaces. Being aware of different expectations for affection or familiarity and maintaining a professional communication mode.

Below are examples of how Awareness and Core Area B Competencies Cross.

Core Area B: Etiquette and Respect
1. Technology Access and Awareness
· Etiquette – Is one willing to limit their own access to technology in public places when the use could be considered offensive to others in their face to face environment?
· Respect – Is one helpful to beginners and sharing of new insights and tips for using technology? Does one respect parents and companies by keeping bills for technology use reasonable?
2. Individual Awareness
· Etiquette – Does one have a personal code of conduct of how others will be treated? Is one tuned in to their emotional state before sending emails or communications that may be regretted later?
· Respect – Does one respect their own need to be offline and disconnect from technology in order to recover and rest?
3. Social Awareness
· Etiquette – Is one aware of the appropriate use of certain technologies in different social contexts? Is one polite when answering a mobile phone call in public? Does one understand that ALL CAPS is considered shouting in online communications? Is one careful with sarcasm and humor online?
· Respect – Is one willing to focus on face to face people and put down technology at appropriate times to facilitate bonding with others?
4. Cultural Awareness
· Etiquette – Is one aware that certain taboo subjects can be offensive to others?
· Respect – Does one know how to respectfully respond when a taboo subject has been broached? Does one convey respect in word and action with the culture of others?
5. Global Awareness
· Etiquette – Does one realize that fundamental differences exist in personal closeness and information that should be shared in public spaces?
· Respect – Is one sensitive to notice when disconnects are occurring? Does one understand that often national pride is called into question if volatile political issues are broached?

C: Habits of Learning: Reliable, Responsible Management of Online Activity

What are appropriate habits of learning in the digital age? Being responsible means having a professional approach to the use of all things digital. It also means knowing how to maintain personal privacy and how to learn safely amongst the minefield of resources the Internet provides. At the same time, reliable means knowing how to manage online activity for learning, working and entertainment. It also means being a contributor and effective cooperator and collaborator for enhanced communication. It means having an online presence, often called ‘digital footprint’ that is proliferated through sensible actions and responses while using digital tools. These ‘habits of learning’ in a digital environment can be influenced by external factors.

Below are examples of how Awareness and Core Area C Competencies Cross

Core Area C: Habits of Learning – Reliable, Responsible Management of Online Activity
Awareness Area
1. Technology Access and Awareness
· Does one know how to learn about new technology and find information online about it?
· Does one know options for accessing technology?
· Does one understand how to build a PLN?
· Does one understand the difference between free and open source and the alternatives for finding software?
· Does one know open source alternatives exist for educational materials and how to take advantage of them?
2. Individual Awareness
· Does one have personal habits that facilitate lifelong learning?
· Does one share with others and understand their own value of education?
3. Social Awareness
· Does one know how to connect with networks of people to expand their PLN and how to join in the conversation effectively?
· Does one know how to build networks of people and resources to accomplish the tasks in their lives.
4. Cultural Awareness
· Does one work towards understanding cultures and resist tendencies towards ethnocentric behavior?
5. Global Awareness
· Has one considered the geographic strengths of certain areas of the world to bring appropriate people and resources from those areas into their PLN?
· Does one realize how to outsource activities and potential for building global partnerships?
· Does one understand time zones and how to easily facilitate cross time-zone meetings?

Core Area D: Literacy and Fluency

Realizing that language, including spelling and colloquialisms, differ globally and one culture or region does not always have to dominate. (Note: Language denomination in a collaborative wiki environment has prompted many global discussions with teachers and students during Flat Classroom projects. On some wikis we ask the students to decide which English is being used (USA or British) and then appoint an editor to maintain that consistency)

Below are examples of how Awareness and Core Area D Competencies Cross.

Core Area D: Literacy and Fluency
1. Technology Access and Awareness
· Literacy – Does one know the functions of software? Does one know how to access tools, software, and resources to accomplish tasks?
· Fluency – Is one fluent in the major aspects of the creation of digital media: word processing, spreadsheets, databases, audio, video, photography? Does one know how to publish on the Internet in various media?
2. Individual Awareness
· Literacy – Does appreciate their personal preferences for software and tools based upon budgetary concerns and personal access?
· Fluency – Does one have an accurate self-awareness of one’s own ability and where gaps may exist in fluencies. Does one have self confidence to problem solve?
3. Social Awareness
· Literacy – Is one literate in interpreting emoticons and the behavior of others in online websites?
· Fluency – Does one understand how to build networks of friends and is fluent in finding assistance from others to achieve goals?
4. Cultural Awareness
· Literacy – Does one know the timeframes of various holidays in different cultures and consider workflows with those who live in those areas? Is one understanding and respectful of the holidays of others as valid and important in their lives? Does one understand the difference between culture and geographic location and that they are not necessarily interconnected?
· Fluency – Is one fluent in cultural understanding and aware of major issues within different cultures?
5. Global Awareness
· Literacy – Is one literate in time zone bridging behaviors and appropriate technologies to collaborate with people in other locations?
· Fluency – Is one fluent in methods that allow the bridging of language barriers?