Flat Connections

Transforming learning through global collaboration

  • How do the areas of awareness impact digital citizenship decisions?
  • Review each area of awareness as it relates to a case study taken from current events.
  • What are some common digital citizenship issues in collaborative projects? How should teachers handle problems when they happen?

As we discuss Chapter 5, here are the questions we will consider. Follow the guidelines for discussing the book topics.

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The areas of awareness impact digital citizenship decisions by giving you a “lens for viewing” in the decision making process. These areas point out aspects to consider that may cause you not to be a good digital citizen that you may be unaware of.

I am going to review each awareness based on my experience observing a current global collaboration. Technical awareness: Certain programs, such as Trello, may not be understood by all team members, which can cause confusion in the tasks to be completed. Individual awareness: Sites can be created and default privacy settings accepted by team members without any idea of what they had agreed to. Social awareness: Things that you would never do or say to someone’s face can be easily said between those sitting on one end of the computer with no sensitivity. Cultural awareness: Due to language barriers, it may be difficult for two groups to find a common understanding between cultures. Global awareness: Time zones may restrict people from communicating effectively and collaborators need to understand how the time zones are important in global collaboration.

One common digital citizenship problems are people not having a high degree of technical abilities to participate effectively. People may sign up for websites and agreeing to terms that they are not aware of. People can become addicted to technology and not participate in other aspects of their life. People may judge other cultures without trying to look for a common denominator that would bring the cultures together. Bandwidths may not be of the same capacity, inhibiting connection types and potentially causing problems between collaborators.

Teachers should use every moment as a teachable moment. They should reflect on the issue at hand and discuss potential solutions or concerns with their students. Then they should guide the students into finding a solution.

Hi Jennifer-- I agree and love the framework that the book lays out of "Enlightened Digital Citizenship" . 

The opportunities for teaching moments are huge.  I think that the most exciting part of this modeling and social presence in the learning spaces is authorizing students to encourage acceptable comportment.  

If they are really going to own this experience, then they should feel good about being held responsible not only for their own behavior, but for everyones.  Is that too utopian?  Maybe.  But, as they say, "Aim for the stars and you might hit the roof." 

Thanks for your post, 


Awareness impact digital citizenship decisions by giving you a “lens for viewing” in the decision making process.

Just like Jennifer  I am going to review each awareness based on my experience and global collaboration.

Technical awareness: The technical divide could result in the misunderstanding of some programs by all team members. This can cause confusion in the tasks to be completed.

Individual awareness: Users could unknowingly agreed to terms they do not agree with, and open themselves up to breaches in privacy. 

Social awareness: Face to face collaboration has certain advantages that online collaboration will never 100% replace.

Cultural awareness: Ethnocentric views when collaborating online could cause a user to say or do something with no sensitivity to the other users culture.

Common digital citizenship issues in collaborative projects include; lack of awareness, intent vs. impact, offline consequences for online actions. I think the future of technical education will move away from how to use technology practically, and towards how to use technology responsibly. Through responsible education of technology, teachers can develop students as stand up digital citizens.

Areas of awareness impacts digital citizenship decisions in numerous ways. It gives you a 'lens for viewing' in regards to the decision making process.

Technical awareness: All members need to be on the same page in terms of the technology, or difficulties can arise.

Individual awareness: You need to be aware of your actions at all times as to not get yourself into endangering situations.

Social awareness: Though online collaboration is great, it cannot 100% replicate face to face social interaction.

Cultural awareness: You need to be inclusive in your dialect and actions. Ethnocentric views can be dangers when collaborating online.

One common digital citizenship issues in collaborative projects is absence of technical abilities. Nothing is more frusterating than collaborating with someone who is relatively new to the software, websites and topics being used. This can be handled by teaching patience and acceptence to the students whose technological abilities are advanced. Maybe even get those students to create online tutorials for the less skilled students abroad.

I like your point about teaching patience and acceptance to the students if the technological abilities aren't on the same level.

There is so much more to having a great idea or profound piece of knowledge than simply voicing it aloud. The areas of awareness help us understand that there are so many more factors that affect who will receive your message, how it will be perceived and whether it will effectively consider the global and cultural differences among those with whom you interact. These areas require us to focus on the technology, on ourselves (individual and social awareness), and on those we are communicating with (cultural and global awareness).

The Eracism project currently underway is an excellent platform for analyzing each area of awareness.  Before the other areas can even come into play, the question of obtaining and applying the technology must be addressed.

Technology Awareness:  problems might have occurred with the use of the platform for debate, Voicethread, prompting our team to setup a boot-camp tutorial.

Individual Awareness: each team is asked to identify themselves with a symbol and information to represent their team.

Social Awareness: communication amongst the teams and coordinators is crucial for success in organizing a large event with time zone barriers. Maintaining those connections and making sure all questions are addressed in a timely fashion will help ensure a successful collaboration.

Cultural Awareness:  the project is reaching many areas of the world, relying on bridging cultures to keep the focus on the goals of successful debate, and of increased global awareness of the participants.

Global Awareness: the debates address one of the biggest issues in global politics, forcing increased awareness as the dynamics change greatly depending on the area of the world used as context for the discussion.

Some common digital citizenship problems occur with differing cultural views of sensitive topics. It is not always easy to find out a prevailing opinion in other areas of the world. Teachers must be aware enough to choose topics that will not broach these sensitive areas until more is known. Language is another problem, since even if collaboration is conducted in English, the language has come to vary so greatly around the world, due to slang, dialect and adopted words that meanings may still be unclear.  A successful teacher will advise their students to use proper English at all times, to better ensure proper understanding.

I love that you brought up the Eracism project.  The book clearly defines the areas of awareness.  It's up to all of us to come up with creative ways to address them.  The Eracism project, and the Flat Classroom Programs, in general, do a great job of addressing so many of these issues at once.  We tend to focus on one tiny part of a problem and fail to make much headway.  By folding the learning into one, big project, the students can see Digital Citizenship as a whole. And when kids are able to participate in these collaborative programs more than once, they build on each of these skills and are eventually able to teach other students - which we know is a very powerful form of learning.  

I attended a webinar on the neuroscience of learning a few weeks ago and one of the keys to deep learning was re-learning several months or a year later.  Wouldn't it be great if every student could participate in one of the "Flat" programs every year?!

The Eracism project is amazing to follow. Great oppportunity to  apply the concepts.

Good points on sensitivity to culture and language. 

The five areas of awareness impact digital citizenship decisions, as they make us evaluate ourselves as well as others in the online world.

As a teacher it is important that you know and understand all of these awarenesses so you can effectively teach your students.

Technical awareness: Know your technology, know others technology

Individual awareness: Know your own online reputation.

Social awareness: Be aware of the social abilities of your class and others.

Cultural awareness: Make sure you are aware of the rules and taboos of each of the classes you collaborate with

Chapter 5: Citizenship

  • How do the areas of awareness impact digital citizenship decisions?

They affect everything; they are 'lens' through which we view our world and filter how we make our decisions. They give us focus, they make us question, they give us detail to consider and they allow us to make informed choices.

  • What are some common digital citizenship issues in collaborative projects? How should teachers handle problems when they happen?

Some common issues include cyber-bullying, safety issues arising form learners providing specific details from geotagging or too much information posted and copyright and legality issues of posting. Building responsibly aware learners can prevent all these issues; explicit teaching of the 5 steps as well as educators themselves using the five steps means that we can help prevent many of these issues. Educators themselves have a responsibility to become educated an aware so they are not frightened, ignorant or unable to deal with these issues.


So true on the copyright issues. It is something I constantly need to reteach my students because they still feel that if it is on the internet...it is free.


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