Digital Citizenship: How do you change the culture of a school, one librarian at a time?

For our last module, we are continuing our work with ISTE Coaching Standard 4: Professional Development and Program Evaluation, Indicator 4: Design, develop, and implement technology rich professional learning programs that model principles of adult learning and promote digital age best practices in teaching, learning, and assessment. The question that I am focusing on this week is, Digital Citizenship: How do you change the culture of the school one librarian at a time?

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A Little Background…

Our librarians are in charge of teaching library and research skills, creating lessons for Battle of the Books (upper elementary) and Washington Children’s Choice Picture Books (primary) in 50 minute blocks, give building-based PD, as well as being responsible for all of the tech distribution and minor fixes that happen in their buildings. It is also mandated that they teach the Digital Citizenship Lessons K-6. Many of our librarians are overloaded and feeling pressured to fit everything in.

This year, our district brought back Digital Learning Coaches to coach librarians specifically on Tech Integration. One of our jobs is to develop PD based on our district initiatives. We train the librarians to be able to take it back to their buildings. One area that I am working on for next year is to create a robust Digital Citizenship Professional Development. In this blog, I would like to explore what that might look like.

The Big Picture

My ultimate goal with changing the culture of our schools is to enlist our librarians in a train the trainer model to get teachers, administrators, and families to partner with them on teaching these lessons. These lessons need to be taught in context and reinforced more than the once a month students would get from the librarian.

Getting Started: What is our Purpose?

In an article about bringing DigCit school-wide, Cremin and Gallagher (2016) suggest that, “All stakeholders must have a clear understanding of both the “why” and the “how” of fully integrated digital citizenship.” They propose the following three questions be answered by the administrators. (It is my opinion that the elementary librarians are fully capable working together in an administrator role, since it is they who have been tasked to teach the standards.)

  1. Why is digital citizenship a necessary element in 21st century education, and why is a fully-integrated approach best?
  2. How does digital citizenship fit into your school’s vision, mission, and/or values statements?
  3. How will each stakeholder—teachers, administrators, and parents—contribute to meeting the goal of full integration?

My Ultimate Wish…

Mike Ribble’s Digital Citizenship in Schools

In my mind, I would like to give each librarian a copy of Mike Ribble’s, Digital Citizenship in Schools at the beginning of the summer so that they could familiarize themselves with his work. As a K-6 group, we would focus on the first six; digital etiquette, digital literacy, digital rights and responsibilities, digital access, digital communication, and digital security. Before school, I would like to devote a two-day (8-10 hours total) workshop model to address the three questions above and the six elements from the book.

Mike Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship

We have a large group of elementary librarians in my district. I would like them to divide themselves into six groups so that they could take a deep dive in one of the above elements, looking at it through the lens of both primary and middle perspectives. In the end, the groups would develop 3 action items. The first action item would be finalized prior to the first month of school and shared with the buildings so that the learning could begin right away. The last two action items would be completed one month prior to launch. Our librarians meet each month as a large group, so this would be doable for them to complete together.

Action Items:

  1. Each of the nine months of school will be given a DigCit Theme and librarians will curate a list of videos/activities/mini lessons in the format of “Learning in the Loo” for teachers/students/admin/families (digitally as a wakelet and/or a PDF with QR codes).
  2. A daily activity/lesson for Digital Citizenship Week 2020 (during the 3rd week of October)
  3. A #YOURSCHOOLDigCitCommit Challenge for your building to coincide with the DigCitCommit Virtual Confrence in February
Action Item 2: Here is an example of a lesson plan that could be shared with teachers
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This professional development workshop is just one idea that can help librarians bring the district’s initiative to their buildings and create a new culture around the topic of Digital Citizenship. I like the fact that the product created at the single workshop will last an entire year.


  • Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools – nine elements all students should know. International Society For Tech.
  • Fingal, J. (2019, July 30). The 5 competencies of digital citizenship. Retrieved from
  • Cremin, J. (2018, December 27). How to Take Digital Citizenship Schoolwide During the 2016-17 School Year – EdSurge News. Retrieved from
  • Stauffer, B. (n.d.). How to Celebrate Digital Citizenship Week 2020. Retrieved from
  • The challenge is now over. Thanks to all who participated! (n.d.). Retrieved from

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