Digital citizenship vs Digital Literacy – Is There A Difference?

Digital Citizen


Digital citizenship like digital literacy has many definitions and parameters in our understanding about how it should be implemented, the subsets of each concept and where it fits in a variety of evolutions of overcrowded curricula. But have we created a chicken or egg mentality about this?

Some digital literacy definitions:

2012 – Digital Literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills

2015 – “The ability to interpret and design nuanced communication across fluid digital forms” Teach Thought

2017 – There are four levels of digital literacy according to The New Work Order (p30), including:

1 A digital muggle, requiring no skills;

2 A digital citizen, who uses technology to communicate, find information and transact;

3 A digital worker, who configures (such as website design or publication design) and uses digital systems; and

4 A digital maker, who builds and creates digital technology (for example JavaScript, HTML, Python and other programing tools)  Foundation for Young Australians.

Some digital citizenship definitions:

“the quality of habits, actions and consumption patterns that impact the ecology of digital content and communities” Teach thought

“Digital citizenship can be defined as the norms of behavior with regard to technology use.” Ribble’s  nine elements

Digital citizenship is about confident and positive engagement with digital technology. A digital citizen is a person with the skills and knowledge to effectively use digital technologies to participate in society, communicate with others and create and consume digital content. Office of the eSafety Commissioner

Many connotations of digital citizenship are from a safety perspective which is more often than not a negative connotation.

Perhaps you may like to check out a free course on digital citizenship currently running to further your own understanding.

So how do you define this term and how does this understanding impact the implementation of a digital citizenship program at your school?

There is a grey area in our understanding of these concepts. Is one part of the other? Do they stand alone? Can we teach one without the other…?

Questions such as these are put forward for you to reflect upon and discuss before you attend any session on digital citizenship. If you are interested in furthering these conversations and delving into other solutions to the norm, you may like to attend the discussion at the Leading a digital school conference

See you there,

June Wall,


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Education Technology Solutions has been created to inspire and encourage the use of technology in education. Through its content, Education Technology Solutions seeks to showcase cutting edge products and practices with a view to expanding the boundaries and raising the standards of education curricula. It introduces teachers and IT staff to the latest products, services and developments in education technology with a view to providing practical how-to guidance designed to facilitate the integration of those products and services into the school environment in the most productive and beneficial manner possible.

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