Module 4 – Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility

ISTE Standard 4 addresses ethics, safety, and responsible application of using technology in a global society. An educator’s responsibility is to teach students about the importance of respecting people’s digital privacy, ethical use of resources, and being cognizant of behavior online. This standard also recommends teachers consider if students have proper access to technology resources.

When I start teaching I would like to work with fourth of fifth graders. I strongly believe I have to model any type of behavior or expectations I have of my students. After reading Standard 4 I asked myself what opportunities do I have to model ethical behaviors to my students as we explore and practice using the digital tools and communication resources available in a global society? An objective is to demonstrate safe and ethical technology practices during class.

Digital citizenship is a key phrase school districts might use when creating policies to teach students Internet safety, responsibility, and proper technology-related skills. As a teacher, digital citizenship includes being informed about technology trends, being aware of district policies and options, and empowering students to create engaging digital learning projects (Lindsay & Davis, 2010). I think teaching digital citizenship to students begins with teaching students to understand how digital citizenship is similar to real-life citizenship. Ribble and Northern Miller (2013) describe how children have grown up with technology so they attend school with a basic skill set, but they are often not aware of technology etiquette or what is required of a digital citizen. Due to this, educators need to think about opportunities that will explicitly teach students about appropriate technology habits and attitude.

Researchers and experts have developed categories that target specific issues related to digital citizenship. Lucey and Grant (2009) list property, freedom of speech, priorities, privacy, and accessibility as the primary digital issues. They further explain the responsibilities of teachers, students, and administrators related to the five categories. One of my classmates shared an article that described three main categories to describe important digital issues: 1) respect yourself and others; 2) educate yourself and others; and 3) protect yourself and others (Ribble and Northern Miller, 2013). Within each category there are specific elements and examples so educators can understand how these issues relate to instruction. Ribble’s Digital Citizenship Website aptly summarizes the nine categories and provides additional resources and information.

Lucey and Grant (2009) state, “Teachers demonstrate their technology values through their instructional choices” so it is important to be mindful of how technology lessons are incorporated in the classroom and what students will learn from such examples. One opportunity for me to teach students is by explaining how I decided to use certain facts or research in a lesson. I can review with students how I determined a website was creditable, obtained updated information, and if there were any digital laws that prevented me from using the source. Another chance to practice digital citizenship is by evaluating if students have enough time to work on projects during school. If many of my students do not have computer access at home, then I should allow extra time to finish assignments or provide opportunities before or after school for students to work on school computers. A final example is teaching students why it is important to cite sources and paraphrase other people’s work into your own words. This activity involves me demonstrating aloud how I think about rewording another author’s work and decide on my own version. Over time I would assign students to work together to paraphrase examples or sentences and eventually have students work independently on sample paragraphs.

When planning digital citizenship lessons I will reference the various categories to ensure I am covering all the necessary issues. My objective is to teach, discuss, and model why these issues are important and how my behavior reflects an effort to follow the guidelines. Learning activities will be mixed in with different subjects so students have many opportunities to practice digital citizenship and learn that technology safety and ethics is applicable to numerous situations.


Lindsay, J. & Davis, V. (2010). Navigate the digital rapids. Learning and Leading With Technology (March/April 2010). Retrieved from:

Lucey, T. & Grant, M. (2009). Ethical issues in instructional technology: an exploratory framework. Multicultural Education and Technology Journal (3)(3). doi: 10.1108/17504970910984871. Retrieved from:

Ribble, M. & Northern Miller, T. (2013). Educational leadership in an online world: connecting students to technology responsibily, safely, and ethically. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (17)(1). Retrieved from:


Module 3 – Model Digital Age Work and Learning

ISTE Standard 3 recommends teachers utilize and adapt technology resources to promote effective learning and communication with students, peers, and parents. Educators should routinely evaluate how technology can help create learning opportunities during the school day and assist with interaction outside of regular school hours. This standard expects teachers to use technology tools to exchange ideas, create new content, and become a model digital citizen for students.

While learning about ISTE Standards 1 and 2 I researched how to use technology to work with students, so Standard 3 made me wonder what resources are available to communicate with parents. The specific question I asked was: What digital tools do students and parents find most useful that effectively impacts learning and improves communication while being easy to use on a regular basis?  When I started thinking about this question I assumed that many teachers primarily communicate through email, but I do not think email is the best solution. Emails can be quite formal, easily ignored, time-consuming, and challenging to personalize for each student. Instead, I wanted to find a technology platform that allowed easy communication while supporting student learning.

My research indicated there are several communication sources available so parents and teachers can easily contact each other. I was a bit surprised to find out that text-messaging programs are quickly becoming the preferred method of contact between parents and teachers. Text message preference is likely because Smartphone ownership among adults has increased from 35% in 2011 to 64% in 2015 (Gilgore, 2015). More importantly, studies have also found that student academic performance is improved when parents and teachers communicate by frequent text-messaging (Gilgore, 2015). As a teacher, it is encouraging to learn that taking time to send parents messages likely benefits student achievement too. Even if text messages are a preferred source, experts recommend teachers use multiple resources to reach all parents (Gilgore, 2015). This is a very important recommendation because technology is constantly advancing and teachers have to remember that not all parents have access to the new technology. Remind is an example of a multi-approach resource so teachers can communicate with parents and students by email, text messages, and phone calls. Phone numbers are hidden which is a benefit to all users. One user of this program stated he prefers the mixture of communication options because then he feels like he is reaching more parents (Gilgore, 2015).  Image 1 below shows a teacher’s view of Remind on a Smartphone along with a few features of the program. Remind appears to be an option that is age appropriate for all students and user-friendly for parents.

Image 1 (Retrieved from

One of my classmates asked a similar question about ISTE Standard 3. He discussed a digital resource called ClassDojo, which his school has already integrated. This program offers a range of options including direct messaging, class announcements, and tracking students’ academic and behavioral progress. The site also indicates that read receipts are available, which I think is a major benefit because then teachers can easily monitor who has seen important information. I like that this platform provides teachers the opportunity to provide both student feedback and message options to parents since no one wants to be using too many digital tools. The visuals and feedback in ClassDojo appear geared toward elementary school students, so I am not sure it would be the best fit for secondary school students and teachers.

Deciding which digital tool to use is often the biggest challenge for educators, especially future teachers who are still in teaching programs. The options can be overwhelming and there are numerous factors to consider. Many preservice teachers have reported a high level of familiarity with technology and using digital tools on a daily basis, but studies indicate preservice teachers are not appropriately prepared to utilize technology resources in their classrooms (Kumar and Vigil, 2011). I think this is likely because the current generation of students in teaching programs did not experience a high degree of digital tool integration in their childhood education. Technology tools have primarily been used for social or personal purposes. While preservice teachers understand the value of technology, they do not have as much experience with using or observing educational digital tools. Kumar and Vigil (2011) recommend teaching programs include technology learning experiences as part of curriculum so preservice teachers can practice evaluating digital tools and creating content. This is a reasonable proposal and I think it will result in a generation of teachers who more seamlessly integrate technology resources with instruction, content, and communication.

The best communication option depends on if parents have the appropriate devices and technology skills to effectively utilize the digital tools. Another consideration is if the school district has already integrated a preferred communication source. Teachers should use the platform the district offers; otherwise it might cause parents to become frustrated if they have more than one child in the district and every teacher is using a different source. The goal is to make communication straightforward and easy for parents. Teachers also have to observe the user response of communication. If parents are not utilizing a certain source, then perhaps it is a better decision to not devote time and resources to that platform. Similar to all aspects of technology, teachers will learn overtime and through experiences which resources are most helpful and what parents prefer.


Gilgore, S. (September 15, 2015). Probing the impact of parent-teacher digital communication. Education Week, 34(4). Retrieved from

Kumar, S. & Vigil, K. (2011). The net generation as preservice teachers: Transferring familiarity with new technologies to education environments. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 27(3), 144-153. Retrieved from:

Module 2 – Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

ISTE Standard 2 recommends that teachers utilize modern digital resources while designing, developing, and evaluating learning experiences. When effective technology tools are integrated as part of student learning, then learners become more actively involved in their education. Using digital tools also provides opportunities for teachers to modify lessons according to student learning styles while continuing to develop individual student’s knowledge, skills, and abilities.

After thinking about ISTE Standard 2, I was curious how I could design digital student assessments for fifth grade students and myself to evaluate their skills, knowledge, and learning goals. There are two core objectives as part of this inquiry since part is focused on what can help me facilitate the learning process while the other part focuses on how students are responsible for their learning. First, what digital tools might assist me to quickly provide feedback and evaluation during class? Second, what digital resources allow interaction between me and myself as they create learning goals and monitor their progress?

Numerous educational platforms are fun and engaging for students to use while practicing their knowledge and skills. These resources frequently provide teachers the ability to review how students have progressed. Socrative is an app that students use to submit an electronic version of their work so teachers can evaluate comprehension (Harold, 2014). This is an example of a resource that provides opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and teachers the ability to provide quick feedback. If students submit their work during class, then teachers can take a moment to review everyone’s work and modify instruction as necessary. Figure 1 below is an example of the teacher’s dashboard when logging in to Socrative.

Figure 1: Socrative Teacher Dashboard (Retrieved from Educators Technology)

Another useful program for teachers is VoiceThread. VoiceTread is an online tool that allows teachers to upload digital content like a video, image, or document, so students can then collaborate by interacting with the content (Cicconi, 2013). This platform offers students options since they select from different methods to communicate and they can collaborate with their classmates (Cicconi, 2013). This is a functional tool for teachers to incorporate as part of any lesson and provides students the possibility to gain a better understanding of different perspectives and learning styles. Both of these resources offer the instructor the ability to digitally assess student work. Then teachers can decide the best way to continue facilitating lessons for individual students or the entire class.

Finding a program that allows students to be actively involved in their learning while evaluating their critical-thinking skills is challenging. I initially found a digital program called PEAK (Personalize, Engage, and Achieve with K12). PEAK is a functional tool for teachers to track students progress since it combines digital content and assessments from various sources such as the company itself, third-party vendors, and any sources teachers upload (Harold, 2014). The advantage of this program is that it is a single source for teachers to monitor all the data from multiple platforms. Another benefit is that teachers can easily review each student’s information and modify instruction as appropriate. A disadvantage of PEAK is that it usually tests basic comprehension skills. Another downside is that the platform is for teachers to assess learner information so students are not involved in monitoring progress. Student involvement is essential in the creation, evaluation, assessment, and reflection process.

One of my cohorts shared an article that examined an electronic portfolio program called ePEARL (Electronic Portfolio Encouraging Active and Reflective Learning). ePearl is a comprehensive tool for students to create learning goals, monitor and reflect on individual progress, share and comment on each other’s work, and teachers provide feedback during each step (Abrami, Venkatesh, Meyer & Wade, 2013). ePearl is used throughout the school year so teachers and students are consistently engaged in reflecting on the learning progress. ePearl researchers also discovered students demonstrated a notable increase in reading and writing skills when test evaluations were compared to classes that did not integrate ePearl (Abrami, Venkatesh, Meyer & Wade, 2013). This result is significant because the purpose of integrating technology is to guide and improve the learning process. ePearl is Canadian platform so I am interested in finding an alternative that incorporates American education standards. Otherwise, ePearl appeared to be a fantastic solution for teachers and students to use during the school year.

While digital tools have advanced over the last two decades, the integration of technology in the classroom is becoming increasingly more common. As the Internet and computer technology have evolved, teachers have attempted to effectively combine digital tools with student learning. According to Hew and Brush, three obstacles have made it difficult for teachers to utilize technology in the classroom (Cicconi, 2013). These issues are: 1) lack of proper resources; 2) inadequate support when implementing technology; and 3) difficulty creating meaningful content. These are important considerations teachers should be mindful of when determining the appropriate technology to integrate in lessons. Technology tools can enhance the assessment process for teachers and students when realistic options are selected and proper time is spent on training how to use the platform. When students and teachers collaborate to use these resources, the result is likely to be a better understanding and appreciation of the learning process.


Abrami, P., Venkatesh, V., Meyer, E., & Wade, C. (2013). Using electronic portfolios to foster literacy and self-regulated learning skills in elementary students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105 (4), 1188-1209. doi: 10.1037/a0032448

Cicconi, M. (2014). Vygotsky meets technology: A reinvention of collaboration in the early childhood mathematics classroom. Early Childhood Education Journal, 42, 57-65. doi: 10.1007/s10643-013-0583-9

EdTech Team. (2013). Teacher’s guide to socrative 2.0. Retreived from:

Harold, B. (2014). Building better feedback loops. Technology Counts, 33 (25), 8-12. Retrieved from:


Module 1 – Facilitating and Inspiring Student Learning and Creativity

ISTE Standard I states that teachers facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity when using technology in the classroom. This standard made me wonder how I can use technology in science related lessons with fourth grade students.

Science lessons should include active learning opportunities for students to apply what they are learning. Technology can be involved in the practice stage of application or when students are ready to showcase their new knowledge. Project-based learning is one method for teachers to engage students and increase creativity (Dougherty, 2015). An advantage of project-based learning is that it helps students learn and retain information long term (2015). To accomplish ISTE Standard I, teachers should combine technology with project-based learning. One example of integrating technology and project-based learning is digital storytelling. Sadik explains that when students produce videos about their knowledge and comprehension of a topic, the video creation process is a prime opportunity for students to collect, organize, reflect, and communicate what they have learned (2008). A key element of digital storytelling is to involve students in the process as active participants (2008).

Is digital storytelling an effective way to incorporate technology in all subjects? Would it translate to science lessons? Students in Barney Peterson’s fourth grade class created videos after a yearlong physical science project learning about the design and construction of their environmentally friendly school (2015). Students were actively involved in researching construction and building systems, as well as engaged in the task of creating video content about what they had learned. Peterson found the unit very effective and specifies that other teachers were impressed by students’ knowledge when they described the materials and functions of the building system (2015). The videos were also assigned URLs so they could be QR tagged to share with an audience outside of class.

Peterson’s project is a great way to integrate technology while facilitating learning and creativity. Teachers can follow Peterson’s model to plan similar projects. Another example of a yearlong video science project could involve students learning about how plants change throughout year. Each month students would take pictures of plants, trees, and flowers around their school or home. Groups could be assigned based on if students preferred learning about trees, flowers, or plants. During the school year groups would research why and how the plants change each season. Near the end of the school year, students would create video projects explaining what they learned while incorporating their pictures and research.

Integrating QR tags in various lessons and activities is another option for teachers. Grantham suggests five ways for teachers to apply QR tags in education, including replacing standard classroom posters with special QR tagged copies (2012).

Figure 1 (Grantham, 2012).

Figure 1 on the right is an example of how QR tags support student learning. In this example, a QR tag replaces the information usually provided on a visual representation of the periodic table. When students scan an element on this poster,  a linked YouTube video begins to play which describes the details of the element. Students are actively engaged with QR tagged pictures and posters around the classroom because they make decisions about which pictures they are most interested in before moving to the next poster.

Student produced videos and using QR tags each have a few requirements. Making videos requires access to a computer and video creation software. Internet access is needed if students are completing any research online. Cameras or tablets with picture taking ability might be also be necessary. When using QR tags, students will need access to a tablet and an Internet connection to watch videos.

Whether teachers decide to assign students create a video, utilize QR tagging as part of lessons, or any other technology during activities, student responsiveness and feedback should be observed. The goal of integrating technology in lessons is to promote student learning and motivate them to investigate their interests.


Dougherty, K. (August 6 2015). Is passive learning unethical? The science of teaching science. Retrieved from

Grantham, N. (February 20, 2012). 5 real ways to use QR codes in education. Retrieved from

Peterson, B. (2015). A system of systems. Science & Children, 52(5), 75-81. Retrieved from d18815359567%40sessionmgr198&hid=101&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWlwJnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=eft&AN=100092448

Sadik, A. (2008). Digital storytelling: a meaningful technology-integrated approach for engaged student learning. Education Technology Research and Development, 56, 487-506. doi: 10.1007/s11423-0008-9091-8