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4 tips for teaching digital citizenship

Rob Clarke

Rob is the co-founder and CEO of Learning Architects. He supports leaders and organisations to thrive in the future through coaching, development, technology and learning design. He is a Ministry of Education accredited PLD facilitator. He is also a Dad and volunteers as Special Officer - Education for the United Nations Association of NZ.

For more information please visit: or get in touch via +64 21 590 572

Teaching Digital Citizenship

We believe that digital citizenship is a critical aspect of being a future focussed educator. These tips for teaching digital citizenship will help educators to easily and quickly get started.

As a professional learning provider for schools and Kāhui ako throughout New Zealand, we often find that digital citizenship is really lacking in school programmes.

Teaching digital citizenship is a critical aspect of being a future focussed educator. This article was featured on the Christchurch Connected Educators’ blog as part of Connected Educators’ Month in New Zealand. It describes a teaching sequence I led at Seven Oaks School where we initiated some learning about cyber-citizenship.

The process we undertook was quite straightforward but the dialogue/discussions it is creating have been fascinating… this is aimed at parents but for educators you will see the process we went through (hopefully) quite clearly…

Today we began a series of sessions for students to help them learn about what sort of citizen they are in the online world. This is particularly important at the age and stage where many of our senior students are. Here is an overview of what we did and ideas for how this can be transferred into the home:

1. Firstly we did a survey of the tools/services we use to connect and communicate – this entailed us brainstorming the various tools students use and how many of us are using each one. Many of the tools on this list are ones the adults in the room were unaware of (and you might be also unaware of them). We’ve put the numbers of students next to the tool/service who said they used it (students may not have wanted to share this so it is likely an estimate), what percentage of our students in total are using the tool/service and some blanks columns we’ll fill in as we go.

Spreadsheets Lockup

2. Next we played this movie clip from about the dangers of social media sharing for teens as a way to get the students thinking about what they are doing, or what their ‘friends’ are doing. Note I put the word ‘friends’ in inverted commas as this term is pretty loose in the online world. Here is this movie which we strongly encourage you to watch with your young people at home and have a discussion together:

3. The third aspect of this session is to get students to consider what happens to the stuff I share online so they can get a sense of how easily information (video, audio, text, etc.) can be on-shared in online spaces. This is set as a task for students to consider then we will invite a couple of them to present to the group to explore how this can happen.

4. Lastly, to conclude this first session, we introduced a great tool called the Triple Filter Test. Originally credited as coming from Socrates, this is a test of any kind of information coming at you, or in some cases from you. This is something we think our learners can ‘take with them’ to help guide them in their journey.

The second aspect of goodness is particularly interesting in the online world as it delves into areas such as morals and ethics, which ultimately children will need to decide for themselves, with the help/modelling/support of the great adults around them.

We encourage all parents to go through this session, watch the video with your son/daughter, and begin the conversations which will help us in how we are trying to guide the students at school. by Rob Clarke, Educator @ Seven Oaks School and consultant at

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