Becoming Connected Citizens

via Tanya Avrith

Are we Connected Citizens?

Are we ready to prepare our students in becoming Connected Citizens?

I saw this image in my Twitter feed last week by Tanya Avrith last week, where she decided to make a graphic of a quote that she had heard from a colleague of hers (Sam Bruzzese). I’ve been following Tanya for a year or so now, and she has provided me much guidance in understanding what an effective digital citizenship program needs to look like.

When I decided to include this into my post, I went back and I found many more related tweets/quotes that were on her Twitter feed:

It doesn’t get more powerful (and true) than this. Digital (Connected – I like it!) Citizenship is a topic that we all need to address from various angles now – not tomorrow.

In an earlier post, I shared my thoughts on how school boards are still basing how much security and tracking is necessary within the walls of their networks is needed from a corporate stand point. The problem with this model is that – as I stated previously, we cannot keep our students behind the walls or reality – we are only harming them by doing so.

How can we teach/model Digital Citizenship in schools if students are in a sheltered environment?


In a meeting this week with our Technology Committee, we discussed some factors that pertain to such walls, including Youtube and Facebook, which are currently blocked on our networks. These are two completely different tools that could be used in a productive means for education and learning tools in today’s classrooms. I am not agreeing nor am I disagreeing that we should be opening up everything at this point, given that it would be such a drastic change that it would leave for much hype and distraction. All I am saying is that before we make any decisions, we have to have a plan in place not only for us as leaders, but for our students.

The conversation then led to a digital citizenship, and how there is a lack direction or even a plan to follow right now. I disagree with this a little, as there are so many resources on digital citizenship out there that we just need to know where to find them. Gathering resources shared by others will allow us to make a plan – not only at the local level, but at the provincial level.

In my opinion, we just need to make concerted effort to look for and gather these resources. For example, the Lester B. Pearson School Board has a very thorough and well thought out plan, which has been shared by Tanya and many others who have seen it:

I think teachers who are actively using technology in their classrooms don’t give themselves enough credit. They are providing digital citizenship to their students in more ways than one by are embedding into their lessons, without even knowing it.

Here’s hoping that a program such as the one shared by Tanya Avrith receives the much deserved attention and credit, and that we take on the task developing an effective plan to teach our students these critical skills today that will help make them sound digital citizens.

3 Replies to “Becoming Connected Citizens”

  1. Interesting Peter. I think the only ones who would be distracted would be the adults; students are already accustomed to Youtube and Facebook. The distraction for students is that it is blocked at all.

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