Digital Citizenship across Lutheran Schools

Digital Citizenship across Lutheran Schools

(14 Nov 2013 – Article from Leadership Pages for Principals of Qld Lutheran Schools)  by Derek Bartels Executive Officer ICT – Lutheran Education Qld)

Safety, Bullying and Citizenship, are three items which are treated with integrity and priority by Lutheran Schools. We and most of the rest of the world would argue that serious foci on these three are needed for any civilised community to exist in some sort of harmony.

In recent times and with the advent of modern communication technologies, these three terms have birthed  sub-categories via the addition of a common prefix “Cyber” and “Digital” to  take on heightened life of their own: Cyber Bullying, Cyber Safety and Digital (Cyber)  Citizenship.

You shouldn’t be surprised that governments, industry,  welfare  associations, education authorities, schools and the media have all adopted a keen focus on Cyber Bullying, Cyber Safety and Digital Citizenship due to the increasing concern on the related adverse effects occurring across communities.

Digital Citizenship is an area which encompasses the former terms and any worthwhile program in Digital Citizenship will deal effectively with Cyber Bullying, Cyber Safety and other social and ethical related issues.

Digital Citizenship resources across the world are growing every day and being published by government, educational and private agencies. Our Lutheran Schools are utilising the wealth of Australian online resources, agencies and private consultants some of which are listed at the end of this article. (Have you seen them all?)

So how are we going? Is it having positive results in aiding us to transform our learners into Digital Citizens of good character? How can we recognise positive results? Are the illegal music downloads ceasing? Is sexting still an issue? Are mobile and online personal vicious attacks on the increase or decrease? Do some students still appear naïve in building a questionable digital footprint? These and other questions are ones we continue to ask ourselves when supporting our learners for the future.

While listing for students what not to do in cyberspace (and basing our success on its decline) we always need to show and model the positive influence they can develop and contribute to via positive online engagement and recognise an increase in such engagement.  Positive Online Engagement video by Aus . Cybersmart  –

As Susan Mclean (Australian Expert in Cyber safety) mentioned on Sixty Minutes last Sunday, we all have a responsibility to parent in the digital space and to understand the space.  She also highlighted removing access is sometimes not the appropriate consequence for a student.

Thus as educational leaders our continued efforts to stay current in understanding digital technologies and its impact on our learners becoming good digital citizens of the 21st and beyond centuries is paramount in order to have success.  Supporting the parent and wider community in this endeavour may also be the responsibility of the school.

Some Links and Resources:

Recent (this Week) 60 Minutes Segment “Chloe’s Law” (Susan Mclean at time mark 9:46)

Recent (this Week) International Lutheran Educators (approx. 100) #Luthed Twitter Discussion re Digital Citizenship based on 4 questions.

All Tweets from this #Luthed recent Discussion 272 pgs :

Small summary of Tweets from this #Luthed recent Discussion:

Australian Government CyberSmart Website

Australian Government Communications Department Website

Australian Government SafeSchoolsHub Website

Australian Communications and Media Authority Kids Safety Website

Positive Engagement Video by Australian CyberSmart 

Susan Mcleans  CyberSafety Site

Brett Lee’s Cybersafety Website

Allanah and Madeline Foundation Website

Mike Ribble (International Expert – Digital Citizenship) Website

International Digital Citizenship Site