Module 4 Reflection – for EDTC6433

ISTE 4 deals with digital ethics and etiquette.  In a world where students have unprecedented access to both information and interaction, teachers must promote and model respect for the intellectual property and emotions of the masses.  My question for ISTE#4 is: How will I address/acknowledge digital dangers and promote and model digital citizenship in a one-on-on school setting?

In this module’s required reading, Ribble and Miller point to lack of empathy and audience size as two problematic features of internet communication.  The diminished emotional component of web interaction only adds fuel to the dumpster fire that is every adolescent’s deficient empathy (I love them! I cannot tell you why!).  The perceived distance between online life and real life make cyber bullying and plagiarism feel like small secret short comings.  It would be easy for a kid to feel like no one gets hurt by this stuff.

That’s why we have to teach them that cyber bullying does hurt people, can lead to bigger problems; that turning in an essay or a graphic made by someone else is like depositing their money in your bank account.  It’s stealing.

I’m addressing this in my classes.  I teach in a unique school with a one-to-one teacher-to-student ratio.  One of my students has watched me shudder at a nasty comment or two directed at groups I’m part of or people I love. The uniqueness of my teaching situation allows me the opportunity to talk through how comments spat out in private land on real readers.

A few of my students came to our school because they struggled with the social pressures of a larger school setting.  Even in the context of a personal teacher-student interaction, it’s helpful to have reliable, well-researched resources to lean on.  I’m a fan of the Ophelia Project, not only because of the free resources they provide, but also because the organization’s history has encouraged one of my students. They’ve provided lesson plans and a particularly helpful one sheet that have helped me think through what kids need to learn about cyber bullying.  The Ophelia Project resources agree with the major points from our required reading (as well as the ALA’s Standards for the 21st Century Learner, posted by a friend) in a handy format.



AASL.  (2007). Standards for the 21st-Century Learner.  ALA Guidelines and Standards. Retrieved from:

Miller, T. M. & Ribble, M. (year). Educational leadership in an online world: connecting students to technology, responsibly, safely and ethically. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17: 1. 137-145. Retrieved from: file:///E:/ARC/!Winter%202016/EDTC%206433/M4/Educational%20Leadership%20in%20an%20Online%20World%20-%20Copy.pdf

CYBERCOOL: 15 positively powerful lessons to teach digital citizenship and stop cyberbullying.  2010.  The Ophelia Project.  Retrieved from

Cyber Bullying OneSheet.  (2011).  [OneSheet displays basic info on characteristics and contributors of cyberbullying.]  The Ophelia Project.  Retrieved from

Characteristics of an Effective Educator

Effective educators are empathetic experts.  The order is paramount:  empathy comes first.  Empathy is the means by which an expert earns the right to share what they know with students.  In other words, passion for students is the necessary first step toward sharing a passion for content.  Students will encounter a variety of obstacles with content – disinterest, fear, embarrassment – until teachers communicate their willingness to be with students in the difficulty:  You can do this.  I’m with you.  I’ll help if you get stuck.

Empathy is communicated in atmosphere, words, actions, and reactions.  Empathetic educators will create a welcoming environment where students feel comfortable to ask questions and make mistakes as they confront new content.  Empathetic educators will remember more than just the names of their students; they’ll take pride in adapting a lesson for a specific kid.  Empathetic educators will respect even disrespectful students, will persistently treat everyone like they can learn.  This all-encompassing empathy is built with care and persistence.

Empathy continues and meets with expertise in the next phase where content is communicated.  An expert educator is intimately familiar with both their audience and their subject.  He or she can deftly field the questions of the intellectually curious, as well as break down material for the students who have yet to taste success.  At every step, each student is more important than the lesson or the content.