This is a running journal of my learning in digital citizenship. Through journaling about my learning experience in digital citizenship I hope to be able to trace my learning to its origins so that I may create a solid foundation for learning and continue to add to it. This journal will run for four weekly installments of my learning progress. Follow along with my learning and contribute by commenting below!

Week 1

This week began our course in digital citizenship. Through our class readings, assignments, lectures, and discussions I was able to determine key elements of digital citizenship in order to prepare me for the rest of the course. This week’s important concepts are: digital citizenship is very similar to citizenship, digital citizenship is comprised of nine elements, and digital citizenship can be taught to all grade levels in order to produce happy, active digital citizens. In this journal response we will evaluate sources from this week’s class to detail and outline these key concepts and draw personal reflections upon them.

This week began by drawing connections between citizenship and digital citizenship. As I learned more about digital citizenship I began to see that the two should actually be one in the same, because both are statuses given to its members (Marshal, 1950) (class lecture).  Citizenship requires civil (personal freedoms- speech, assembly, property, etc.), political (voting, being informed), and social (your right to live) responsibilities, and digital citizenship expands to these same areas: civil (personal freedoms of speech, group forums, and digital content), political (participation, campaign support), and social (your right to access and explore the internet). Therefore, while the physicality might be different, both provide ways its members can actively participate.

After learning this I turned to Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship to better understand what digital citizenship is comprised of (Ribble, 2015). Ribble has come to identify nine components of digital citizenship as: digital access, digital commerce, digital communication, digital literacy, digital etiquette, digital law, digital rights and responsibilities, digital health and wellness, and digital security. Each of the nine elements are important for digital citizens to be familiar with, however three items stand out to me: digital access- ensuring everyone has the opportunity to enjoy digital tools and the internet,  digital etiquette- how to behave when online, and digital security- how to protect oneself on the internet. These items are of particular interest because I teach 9th grade world geography in a Title 1 school. I want to help every student gain access to the internet, ensure they behave ethically while on it, and I want to make sure they are safe while doing so.

Ribble (2015) further breaks down these nine elements into three categories: respect, educate, and protect. Ribble groups together etiquette, access, and law under respect; communicate, literacy, commerce for educate; and rights and responsibilities, security, and health and wellness (2017). By grouping these together Ribble aims to educate students beginning in kindergarten in order for them to become well adjusted digital citizens by the time they graduate (2017).  I believe this is a great idea as I am witness to students undeveloped digital citizenship skills as freshman. I try to compensate for this by addressing key issues such as digital etiquette and security. However, if students were able to begin learning and practicing these skills at an earlier age I believe they would be in much better shape by the time they reach high school, let alone graduate.

To review, this week was an introductory lesson into digital citizenship. From this lesson I derived key findings including: digital citizenship is not so different than ordinary citizenship, digital citizenship is made up of nine essential elements, and that digital citizenship can be taught to all grade levels in order to produce happy, active digital citizens. As I move forward in this class I look forward to building on these foundational ideas. Particularly, I am interested in digital access, digital etiquette, and digital security as they pertain to my role as a teacher in a Title 1 school.


Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools (3rd ed.). Eugene, OR: International Society of Technology in Education. ISBN: 978-1-56484-364-7.

Ribble, M. (2017). Nine elements. Found at

Marshall, T. H. (1950). Citizenship and social class: And other essays. Cambridge [England: University Press.


Additional Week 1 Resources:

Curran, M. (2012, June). iCitizen: Are you a socially responsible digital citizen. Paper presented at the International Society for Technology Education Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX. Retrieved from

Heick, T. (2018). The definition of digital citizenship. TeachThought. Found at

Kuropatwa, D. (July 16, 2015). Digital ethics and digital citizenship #blc15. Brainwaves Video Anthology. Found at

Mossberger, K., Tolbert, C., and McNeal, R. (2008). Digital citizenship: the internet, society, and participation. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Found at

NetRef. (April 4, 2016). White paper- digital natives: citizens of a changing world. Found at




Week 2

Week two in our digital citizenship course digs deeper into the concepts of digital citizenship and the nine elements comprising it. This week’s lesson rang with overtones of digital access, digital security, and rights and responsibilities of internet users through the main idea of this week’s lesson, the openness of the internet. This week we discovered how the internet can be unequivocal, damaging, and rewarding through net neutrality and digital footprints. In this journal entry we will examine key points of net neutrality and digital footprints in order to promote better digital citizenship.


The highlight of this week was learning about digital access and the ways in which digital access can be restricted. Digital access can be restricted in many ways, especially when internet providers are allowed to provide preferences to various users, sites, and applications (F.C.C., 2014). This concept refers to the openness of the internet and whether or not the internet should be free from restrictions for its users, or net neutrality.


Net neutrality was a founding idea as the internet began to take off in the 1990’s (F.C.C., 2014). It was originally passed by congress under President Bill Clinton but was repealed in February 2017 under Donald Trump’s administration (F.C.C., 2014)(Kang, 2017). Net neutrality was originally created to create an even platform for users to navigate and create spaces within the internet. Foundational ideas of net neutrality are: equally delivered internet content, freedom of speech, protection against discrimination, no prioritization (of sites or users), no degradation of connectivity, and transparency to the consumer (National Afterschool Association, 2017). Proponents of net neutrality argue it helps cut down on ISP’s monopolies, provides equal access, and encourages advances in technology (Bassiouni Group, 2017). Opponents to net neutrality argue it restricts market competition and will encourages investments into networks and services provided by ISPs (Bassiouni Group, 2017). Net neutrality is still widely debated amongst consumers and stakeholders.


Another important concept we discussed was digital footprints. A digital footprint is a user’s information that is left on the internet. It can include purposely left information or unknowingly left information but either way the information is permanently left on the internet. Some examples of information left on the internet include: social media posts, internet browser searches, and IP addresses. As information like this is left behind it becomes possible for others to locate and link data to individuals, whether it be for good or for bad.


Given the possibility of digital footprints damaging an individual’s reputation it is necessary for people to understand how their internet use creates a digital footprint. One important concept for users to understand is they are not anonymously using the internet. This is an especially important concept to start teaching students. Students begin using the internet at a very young age and may leave negative or controversial information on the internet that later comes back to damage their identity. Increasingly more popular is the practice of employers researching job candidates to learn more about them (Johnson, 2009). If employees do not like what they find this can result in the not hiring of the individual.


One interesting thing I learned is digital footprints can live much longer than the actual user (digitalnatives, 2008). This is due to parents sharing and commenting about their pregnancy before the user is able to grow up and leave their own digital footprint, as well as postmortem comments other users share about the user after the user has passed away (digitalnatives, 2008). Considering this information, and the fact digital footprints are permanent, equates to a digital footprints living long past the life of the user. This further supports the idea that digital citizenship skills should be taught to our students in order for them to leave positive lasting legacies.


In review, this week we learned about key points of net neutrality and digital footprints in order to promote better digital citizenship. Our topics supported the digital citizenship elements of digital access, digital security, and rights and responsibilities of internet users. These lessons are necessary in that if we teach these ideas to our students we can promote higher standards for digital citizenship.



Bassiouni Group. (November 28, 2017). Net neutrality policies: proponents and opponents. Found at

Common Sense Educator. (August 12, 2013). Digital footprint: what digital footprint are you leaving behind. Found at

Digitalnatives. (august 13, 2008). Youth and media – ditial dossier. Found at

F.C.C. An introduction to net neutrality. (2014) Retrieved from

Johnson, S. (Noember, 9, 2009). Digital footprints – your new first impression. Found at

Kang, C. (December 14, 2017). F.C.C. Repeals net neutrality rules. Found at
National AfterSchool Association. (November 7, 2017). 6 principles of net neutrality and how they support stem. Found at


Week 3

Week three’s focus is to understand the principles of copyright law and how they pertain to digital citizenship. In reading and viewing the many sources provided in this weeks lesson I can say I am much more comfortable in explaining various aspects of copyright law, but I am by no means an expert. However, one thing I am certain of is how understanding copyright law will impact me as I graduate and become a leader of digital learning. In order to better prepare me for life after graduation, this journal reflection will examine ways copyright law will impact me as an educator.

To begin, I am no stranger to copyright law. As I pursued my Bachelor degree in History I had plans of continuing my education to study intellectual property law. I saw this route as a combination of my love of music and debating and began making preparations to pursue this dream. As I neared graduation however, I realized the immense financial burden I would have and how many other people were also competing to become copyright lawyers. This realization forced me to reconsider my dream, and I decided to become a teacher. What is interesting is how copyright law has come back around. I generally hold an interest in copyright law as I see it is a protection of personal property, and have long been an advocate for protection of individual rights.

Having a basic understanding of copyright law coming into this course, I was excited to learn new ideas about it. This week allowed me this opportunity through our reading and video assignments. This week I was able to learn about: the difference between plagiarism and copyright infringement; the history of the U.S. Copyright Office; the similarities and differences between fair use, creative commons, and public domain; and most importantly the issues of intellectual property in the digital age.

An important topic I will need in becoming a leader of digital learning is understanding the difference between plagiarism and copyright infringement. Both are similar, but the two have nuanced meanings to separate them from the other. Plagiarism is failing to submit attribution (citation) of a source and thus tries to pass the idea off as their own (Bailey, 2013). Plagiarism may infringe upon intellectual property rights but is generally considered unethical (Morrow, 2009). Copyright infringement is when a person does not get permission or follow the laws specifying how to use a copyrighted source. Understanding these two concepts will help me differentiate these ideas to the students I teach. I will better be able to explain plagiarism and how to properly cite its sources, as well as teach students how to avoid copyright infringement.

Another topic I was fascinated by was the history of the U.S. Copyright Office. In a detailed paper arguing for the removal of the U.S. Copyright Office from the Library of Congress, Tepp and Oman discuss the heritage of the U.S. Copyright office in order to show how it has outgrown its antiquated methods (Tepp and Oman, 2015). In this reading it was interesting to learn about how copyrights are issued; the originator needs to register their work by submitting a form and a copy for preservation and reference and the work must be an original idea worthy of copyright (U.S. Copyright Office) (Tepp and Oman, 2015). This is particularly useful if I am to explain to students why it is important to obey copyright laws, as it is procedural safeguards to the time and work of individuals. Copyrights protect people’s property and it is up to us to properly follow the rules of use by the author.

One last thing I learned this week that will greatly impact me as a digital learning instructor is the differences between fair use, Creative Commons, and public domain. All of these are ways one can use another author’s work without fear of copyright infringement. Fair use is an acceptable way to use an author’s work if the work undergoes transformation. This includes if the work is to be commented on, criticized, or parodied, and may also include a segmented portion of the work if it is for nonprofit educational use (Common Sense Education, 2014). Creative Commons is an organization that is trying to simplify digital piracy by doing away with copyrighted restrictions with digital material (Creative Commons, 2008). Creative Commons has created a networked organization where authors can submit their works and allow users to freely use their work (Creative Commons, 2008). This is similar to public domain, as public domain allows anyone to freely use the material because it is not protected by copyright, trademark, or any patenting laws (Stim, 2018). Once a work enters public domain it can never be copyrighted again, and is free to use. For this reason the U.S. government places a contemporary rule of a copyright lasting the author’s life plus seventy years (Stim, 2018). These concepts are important for a digital educator to understand because they help clarify what is acceptable to use as digital content. If digital material is fair use, found through the Creative Commons, or is public domain than it is acceptable for teachers and students to use. This is essential to understand as it will allow me to better instruct students on what is acceptable use in copyright law.

This week has been a walk down memory lane but has afforded me the opportunity to clarify my understanding of copyright law. Through my understanding of copyright law I will better be able to instruct students on acceptable use of digital content. This week’s learning centered around what constitutes as a copyright violation, how to achieve a copyright, and how to avoid copyright infringement. By understanding these concepts I will be able to instruct my students and foster them to become productive digital citizens through obeying and respecting digital law.



Bailey, J. (2013, October 7). Retrieved from

Common Sense Education. (September 5, 2014). Copyright and fair use. Found at

Creative Commons. (2008, July 30). A shared culture. Retrieved from:

Creative Commons. (2014, March). Best practices for attribution. Creative Commons. Retrieved from

Morrow, Stephanie. (December, 2009). Plagiarism: what is it, exactly? Found at

Stim, R. (2018). Copyright basics faqs. Retrieved from

Stim, R. (2018). What is fair use? Retrieved from

Stim, R. (2018). Welcome to the public domain. Retrieved from

Tepp, S. & Oman, R. (2015, October). A 21st century copyright office: The conservative case for reform. Hudson Institute. Center for the economics of the Internet. Found at

U.S. Copyright Office. Registering a work. Found at


Image Source:

Garner, E. (December, 2014). Democracy chronicles. Found at

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