Taken from a painting of Kapiti Island at Sunset.
by Sonia Savage.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Digital Citizenship

As I settle into my sabbatical ten weeks - almost half way through it, I am beginning to explore digital citizenship.  It has been a natural progression from where I began with my digital storytelling and movie making.

We have been thrust into digital citizenship and sometimes it is a matter of feeling our way.  I am a "catcher upper", the whole digital age does not come naturally to me.  At primary school I only knew what a TV was from the pictures in American and British magazines.

My first twenty years of teaching did not involve anything digital!  I was a teacher in a classroom with just the ideas of the teachers on the staff and occasionally teachers at professional development.  There was some connection and quite a lot of disconnection.  I am a reader, so I gleaned some ideas from books, but even they were very limited.

In the early 90's I returned from a year's study leave to find a small Apple classic in my room.  For the first week I was so scared of it. Probably didn't sleep at the very thought of using it.  However gradually through the 90's my knowledge of using Apple computers grew as I interacted with the teacher next door and attended some professional development. However it was still very narrow.  We had a school intranet that connected our computers, but more often than not it didn't work and as for logging on to an email account, it took an hours one on one PD and I was still none the wiser, as the internet rarely worked.

By the mid nineties I bought my own first personal computer, and by then there was some limited access to the web and email.  $3000 for a PC with about 2gb of space!  Gradually I began to know the delights of being able to access places like Amazon and Audible.  Now I could buy books that once had not been available to me in New Zealand.

The last five years has seen my activity grow exponentially.  I began blogging with Edublogs with my class - a steep learning curve that I persevered with until I could use it in my classroom. I began to join the class blogging challenge and started to open the students up to the global world in just small ways.  The greater advantage for me was that I was beginning to see what other teachers were doing around New Zealand, Australia and the USA mainly.  Exciting and at times just down right overwhelming.

Now I no longer need depend on the PD offered in my limited area, I can seek it out through Blogging, Twitter, Facebook,Wikis, Webinars and You Tube to name some places. And of course there are more books - I love my Kindle!

I am so grateful to the many gifted, knowledgeable teachers who share what they are doing.  I am so delighted that I can listen to leaders about using technology in the classroom from all over the world.  Wow!

I am an ordinary teacher, teaching in an ordinary classroom - doing my best to keep up in some small way with the exciting events taking place in education today.

Realising that to walk with my students in their digital footprinting, I need to give some thought to digital citizenship I am off to read Digital Community, Digital Citizenship by Jason Ohler.  I am reading it on my Kindle. A plus because there is no expensive postage to pay on it. A minus because I can't pass it on to others when I have finished it.

How did I hear about Jason Ohler, well I clicked on some link that led to another link and I spent an hour yesterday listening to an address he gave in Portland in 2011!

The digital world is so big and here and there I dip my teaspoon into it!

Just before I end I want to share this video made by Jen and Teach Mentor Texts.  Here is a little example of the world I can enter into with other book lovers!  My favourite part? The very end with Colby Sharp!


  1. Kathyrn, love your post! I plan to share it with my teachers just to let them know there are other "catcher uppers" in the world! Also love the video :)

  2. Theresa
    Nice to hear from you. Talking about the world of technology I had a peak at a YouTube video of a video conference you had on Google+. Isn't it wonderful how teachers can get together like that. Loved your youth and energy! Wish I was teaching in your school!
    Have a great and well deserved summer break.
    Yes I am a reader and I just love that readers around the world can extend my reach out into books.


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