National Week 2012

The Importance of Digital Citizenship

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Schools can no longer ignore the importance of digital citizenship

THINK before you by ToGa Wanderings, on FlickrThe need for digital citizenship programs to be developed in schools has been ongoing since the mid-1990s. So nearly 20 years on, why have so few schools actively developed policies and programs to support the education of primary and secondary students as digital citizens?

Is it because your school does not have one or more teachers who are champions of digital citizenship to lead such an agenda? Possibly.

Is this because it should be designed as a cross-disciplinary program and it is difficult to get buy-in of teachers across learning areas and year levels? Probably.

Is it because a school does not have a strong digital learning culture with ubiquitous access to digital technologies? Maybe.

Is it because it is not an essential part of a 21st century curriculum? Definitely not!

In fact the Australian Curriculum does have digital citizenship issues, skills and dispositions infused throughout learning areas and across year levels.

Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License by  ToGa Wanderings  

Where to get started? The Australian Curriculum

The most obvious and immediate place to start exploring digital citizenship in the Australian Curriculum is the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) capability.

Clearly there is an expectation that all students, no matter what year level, develop ICT capabilities as prescribed by ACARA:

"In the Australian Curriculum, students develop ICT capability as they learn to use ICT effectively and appropriately to access, create and communicate information and ideas, solve problems and work collaboratively in all learning areas at school, and in their lives beyond school. The capability involves students in learning to make the most of the digital technologies available to them, adapting to new ways of doing things as technologies evolve and limiting the risks to themselves and others in a digital environment."
(ACARA, 2013, p. 1)

The ICT capability learning continuum is organised into five interrelated elements, some of which are central to developing a digital citizenship program.

For example, to help develop students’ capability in applying social and ethical protocols and practices when using ICT, all teachers (no matter what their learning area or year level) need to work with students to recognise the existence and importance of intellectual property. Students need to recognise ownership of digital products that others produce and acknowledge when they use a part or whole of a digital work created by someone else. This involves a school establishing a set of conventions for referencing (appropriately recording bibliographic details of sources at the end of their work), citing (identifying those aspects of a student’s work that has been drawn directly from the work of others), checking for permissions and legal obligations before publishing work (understanding Creative Commons licensing), and strategies for avoiding plagiarism.

According to ACARA (2013), students as young as the Foundation Year are required to recognise ownership over their own digital work, i.e., recognising that they own text, photos and videos they produce. Thus, the expectation that a school’s set of conventions with regard to intellectual property are implemented with students as early as their first year of schooling, and sustained as they progress through to Year 10 and/or 12.

Other ICT capabilities forming the basis of a digital citizenship program includes students’ ability to apply digital information security practices, apply personal security protocols, evaluate information for authenticity, select digital tools based on functionality and appropriateness, safely and respectfully collaborate with others online, and understand appropriate communication protocols across a range of digital platforms and online communities, just to name a few.

A consistent, school-based approach is the solution

The key here is for all teachers to maintain a consistent approach to these digital citizenship practices across learning areas and year levels. This will help students develop the necessary skills and understandings to functional effectively, safely and ethically when engaging with information, people and technologies as 'connected learners'.

A school’s digital citizenship program can support teachers in achieving this by clearly articulating how these practices are developed in more sophisticated ways as students graduate to the next year level. The challenge, however, is that a school needs to have one or more teachers who can lead the development of a customised digital citizenship program to meet the specific needs of their school community, and given this requires a cross-disciplinary approach, for a program like this to succeed requires the buy-in of teachers across all learning areas and year levels. A school-based professional learning program on integrating digital citizenship knowledge and skills across the curriculum is also essential.


Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2013). Information and communication technology (ICT) capability, Australian Curriculum. Retrieved

Galvez, T. (2012, March 17). THINK before you. [Photograph]. Retrieved from 

Lyn Hay

Head of Professional Learning

Syba Academy

Need more help?

Join us in Sydney for a one day workshop titled Designing a Digital Citizenship Program for your School

This workshop is designed to provide teachers, teacher librarians, curriculum and e-learning coordinators with an opportunity to interrogate the Australian Curriculum for digital citizenship knowledge and skills outcomes across learning areas and general capabilities for each year level.

Participants will be introduced to the breadth of these understandings and skills using Ribble’s (2011) nine elements. These include: digital access, digital commerce, digital communication, digital literacy, digital etiquette, digital law, digital rights and responsibilities, digital health and wellness, and digital security.

It is expected that participants undertake an audit of Australian Curriculum for digital citizenship knowledge and skills in either one learning area across year levels, or across a number of learning areas for one year level, as part of the hands-on component of the workshop.

School teams of 2-5 participants are encouraged to enrol as their school’s Digital Citizenship Working Party. This can lead to a school planning and implementing a school based program to effectively address their community’s digital citizenship issues and challenges.

If you can't make it to the Sydney workshop, join us online for our series of two Digital Citizenship Online Extension Courses.

Each term in 2016, the Syba Academy is running a 4 week online extension course on digital citizenship in schools. This series of two courses are designed to provide teachers, teacher librarians and learning technology coordinators with an opportunity to develop digital citizenship policy and programs to address the specific needs of their school community.

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Define digital citizenship and identify a range of digital citizenship issues;
  • Evaluate digital technologies and social networking tools to support the teaching of digital citizenship in their school;
  • Develop a community awareness program to support discussions about digital citizenship issues in their school with students, teachers and parents;
  • Model digital citizenship skills to teachers, students, and parents; and
  • Develop a matrix of relevant Australian Curriculum content and skills to underpin a school-based digital citizenship program.

Upon completion of this course, participants will be eligible for 15 hours of NSWIT/AITSL endorsed credit of professional learning at proficient teacher level or 5 hours of TQI ACT accredited professional learning at graduate, proficient, highly accomplished or lead teacher level.

This course is designed to ensure that schools start planning and developing a digital citizenship program, with the view to implement and evaluate the program by the end of 2016. Undertaking this course will help your school make this happen.

For more information, please visit

Check out Syba Signs resources to support Digital Citizenship:

Digital Tools to Support the ICT Capability posters

Use this set of 6 laminated Digital Tools to Support the ICT Capability Posters to create awareness and guide students in the ICT Capability in the Australian Curriculum.

This poster set includes five elements together with selected Web 2.0 tools to support each of the elements.

This product is available in two convenient sizes:

  • A2 laminated posters
  • A1 laminated posters
For more information visit

My Digital Footprint range

Use our range of digital footprint posters, banners, digital signage, wall graphics, library mats and word walls to create awareness and to assist students in understanding and managing their own digital footprints and respecting others digital footprints.

For more information visit


Welcome to Term 1 2016

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

We hope by now you have received our first catalogue for the year and we trust you will find many new products and ideas that will assist you to keep your library modern, functional and at the forefront of your school. We developed so many new products this term we have had to increase the size of our catalogue to share them with you! We hope you love them as much as we do! To request a copy of our catalogue or to download a digital version head to

We have also prepared a rich and varied accredited professional development program including a series of two popular and highly practical Digital Citizenship Online Extension Courses that will be running each term in 2016. For more information about each of our courses and to view those accredited by BOSTES/QTC or TQI ACT please visit our website

See below for an overview of what's new this term!

All new Motivational Reading Rewards range. This science fiction themed range includes posters, bookmarks and banners. Perfect timing to capitalise on the Star Wars hype! 

New range of original contemporary senior genre products. This range now includes spine labels, posters, banners, location signs, wall graphics and bookmarks to help students become enthused with reading. 

All new printed acrylic products – a professional full colour option to sign popular genres or your nonfiction collection. Use our 500mm x 700mm classification guides to revamp your bay ends or use our silver freestanding displays for shelf top or table top use. 

Wall Graphics – These have become a “What’s Hot” product so we have extended our range to give you more choices. Wall Graphics are a very flexible, bright and visual way of enhancing the library space and visually conveying the philosophy of the library.

Syba Academy

As always we encourage you to head to for a comprehensive look at our professional learning programs for this year. At Syba Academy we are passionate about delivering relevant, quality and accredited professional learning to support teachers and teacher-librarians. All courses we deliver are aligned to Australian Professional Standards for teachers making it easier for you to document your professional learning. In NSW all courses are accredited with BOSTES/QTC at Proficient Teacher Level. In the ACT we have a number of courses accredited. Please refer to the individual course listings for information about accreditation. Of particular note are the following two accredited programs that we are really excited to deliver in 2016.

Connected Educator Summit 2016: Future Focused Schooling Monday 6th June, 2016
Literary Learning & Literacy Festival Friday 2nd September, 2016

For our complete 2016 professional learning program,visit our website

The highlight of our business is the relationships we develop with our customers. We love talking with you, guiding you with your purchases and meeting you at our seminars and workshops. We trust our well established relationships will develop even further this year and that we ‘meet’ many more of you.

Best wishes for 2016,

From the Syba Team.


Its Makerspace time

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A few weeks ago Will Richardson, an old Syba friend published a very thoughtful blog post. He  was reflecting on the work of educational psychologist Seymour Sarason. Sarason and subsequently Will believe that as educators our goal should be to encourage in our students, “the desire to continue to learn about self, others and the world.” The way that makerspaces foster curiosity and the desire to learn is what inspired us to start creating products that complement the movement.

It is exciting to see makerspaces increasing in popularity and we have expanded our range to ensure your makerspace looks as engaging and fun as all the creative and curious activities that goes on there. In addition to our standard range of products many of our customers have contacted us to customise our vinyl lettering or wall graphic products to suit their unique space. Here is a snapshot of some of the custom Makerspace vinyl lettering projects we have helped our customers create. We hope you like them!

Check out our full range of Makerspace products and resources visit or contact us for a custom solution to suit your school or library!

Below our featured Makerspace custom projects we have included a selection of Australian and International Makerspace Gurus worth following on Twitter!

Urrbrae Agricultural High School, SA

The Tech Deck

St Agnes Primary School, Port Macquarie, NSW

Makerspace Gurus on Twitter

Here is a small selection of Makerspace Gurus to follow on Facebook:


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