This year, our school was fortunate to purchase 50 student iPads for classroom use.  However, much work needed to be done to help prepare both the staff and students on how to use these devices responsibly.  While the school has an existing digitial citizenship policy, many people were still unaware of what the term digital citizenship actually means or that there are commonly 9 elements associated with the term. In addition, they had no idea what digital citizenship look like in the classroom. This prompted me to approach designing a staff development session using the Understanding by Design framework.  After conversations with my Assistant Principal, the following overarching question was created: What does digital citizenship mean at Clarence Sansom? Essentially, we wanted staff to not only learn what digital citizenship means, but help identify what this looks like in our school. To reach this, three learning objectives were identified:

  • staff will be educated on what digital citizenship is and the 9 elements that guide digital practices
  • staff will be exposed to a flipped lesson that is active and learner-centered, potentially peaking interest in this pedagogical approach
  • develop a school-based policy as a staff for what digital citizenship looks like. This will provide staff with ownership over the policy

To build teach knowledge, I created a video (which was unfortunately quite text heavy). This was presented at a staff meeting and made available through our staff D2L shell and uploaded to YouTube. Teachers were encouraged to share this with their students. They were also encouraged to watch it once more prior to our session through the flipped classroom approach. Here is the video:

For the actual staff development, I tried to make the work as engaging as possible. Before I explain the steps, here is a list of the materials I required:

  • ISTE handout: Digital citizenship: Addressing appropriate behaviour – by Ribble, Bailey & Ross, 2004 (
  • Table top whiteboards and whiteboard markers
  • Video slide handouts
  • Paper strips
  • Felt markers
  • Masking tape
  • Chart paper

Here is how our policy development session unfolded:

1. Review of Flipped Instruction/Introductory Activity:

Using strips of paper and a marker, staff were instructed to write down their definition/thoughts of what digital citizenship means to them.

  • One strip of paper per idea if they have more than one thought/point. The paper was cut in half.
  • These were taped to the front wall using masking tape.
  • Staff we encouraged to see what others had written

When finished, staff were instructed sit in groups of no more than 4 at a table. Here are some pictures to share:

IMG_1866 (1)

IMG_1887 (1)

IMG_1888 (1)


2. Group brainstorm:

The group was brought back together. As a group, they were asked who could name and briefly explain one of the 9 elements of digital citizenship. When someone answers, that table received the video slide for that element and a copy of the ISTE article. This was repeated until all 9 elements have been handed out.

3. Policy Building:

Using the table top whiteboards at their tables along with the slide and ISTE article, each table group was asked to come up with a student friendly explanation of the element at the table and then brainstorm what this element means/look like for them at Clarence Sansom.

  • This could be completed in point form, providing examples, scenarios, do’s/don’ts…
    • here is an example:




After 10 minutes, groups were instructed to rotate to another whiteboard. Here, they reviewed the work that had been already done – adding or modifying to the dry erase board.

  • Staff rotated through until everyone has had an opportunity to contribute to each whiteboard

IMG_1869 (1)


IMG_1872 (1)


IMG_1870 (1)



4. Synthesis:

Staff were directed to return to their initial table group. From here, they synthesized the information and developed a 2-3 sentence summary (including examples) of that element. These were then presented to the group.

IMG_1884 (1)

IMG_1879 (1)


This will form the guideline/standard for our school.

They can use a whiteboard or chart paper to record the statement.  It should be large enough so everyone can read it

5. Culminating activity:

One person from each group will presented the table’s final summary to the staff.

*** This was the end of the policy building session. Staff were instructed that their work would be typed up and put up for display in a common area for reflection and revision for a one-week period. ***

6. Reflection & Revision:

Summary statements were posted on the walls outside of our staffroom for a one-week period in case anyone would like to add/change/tweak the guideline.

7. Final Touches:

Once the reflection stage was completed, ideas were synthesized and transferred into school posters – one per element. To see the posters, please click here: DC Posters

Overall, the session went great. Highlights included:

  • staff learnt what digital citizenship meant
  • staff understood there are 9 elements to digital citizenship
  • staff took ownership and pride in creating a vision and direction for their school
  • staff created a tentative policy for what digital citizenship looked for them


On a side note, as a result of this session, I noted that not only was there a more clear understanding of what digital citizenship meant, but I also perceived that staff were more willing to take risks and be more innovative with using technology in their classrooms.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s