January Tech


Climate Control: Anti Bullying Effort in Today’s School

Bullying is a problem in schools and communities nationwide. Social media takes face to face interaction from individuals and creates a breeding ground for shame, insults, and bullying to occur. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has defined bullying as an act “That occurs when a person is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the Anti Bullyingpart of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself. It is aggressive behavior that involves unwanted, negative actions. It involves a pattern of behavior repeated over time. It involves an imbalance of power or strength.” (“Coordinated School Health – Bullying and Cyber-bullying”, 2017)

Today’s schools are navigating in uncharted territory, addressing bullying tactics that began outside of the school, but have bled over into the school day. Parents and administrators are unsure how to handle some of these scenarios. While schools decide on what is appropriate, students remain the victim of pain and ridicule. TEA had set laws into place such as Texas Education Code Chapter 37, Section 37.001 which requires school to have a anti bullying / harassment policy with consequences that are enforced by district employees. Education Code Chapter 25, Section 25.0342 adopted by TEA allows a parent to transfer their child to another school if the student has been bullied. These laws do not stop the bullying itself, but reveal that the state is aware of bullying in schools, they see the problem it creates, and have attempted to take action. (“Coordinated School Health – Bullying and Cyber-bullying”, 2017)

Incidents such as the Tyler Clementi and Amanda Todd cases have opened the eyes of the public, and shed light on the importance of the consequences of bullying, and cyber-bullying. Today’s youth needs to realize that real people exist behind profile pictures or characters, digital citizens use as their avatar. The internet creates a false sense realism. This environment makes it much easier to confront, accuse, or tease an avatar rather than an individual.  These scenarios which ended with tragedy for many have brought awareness to the seriousness of bullying and are now used as a fuel for anti bullying curriculum, camps, and support groups. (Ansary, Elias, Greene & Green, 2015)

Schools have seen bullying incidents decline when taking a proactive approach, instead of a reactive stance. Research has proven that preparing students for the dangers of the internet and teaching them how to respond when they are confronted with disrespectful comments or harassment is beneficial. Hollandsworth, Dowdy and Donovan share their feelings in the article Digital Citizenship K-12: It Takes a Village. They share the need to prepare our students for a digital environment, “Like a village, the K-12 professional community must develop common ground that advocates the use of technology in the classroom while preparing the student to make sound choices both for themselves and others in the digital world. (Hollandsworth, Dowdy & Donovan, 2011)

As leaders, we must gradually transform digital citizenship from a curriculum at school into a movement. Vicki Davis, co founder of digiteen.org shares “This is an opportunity to empower a new generation of students who will stand up and speak out when they see these things happening”. (Hollandsworth, Dowdy & Donovan, 2011) Teachers, parents, and community members need to model positive interaction while using social media. The negatives associated with the internet need to end. Ridicule and resentment need to be taught to be a thing of the past. Let’s empower digital natives with awareness, respect, and encouragement, and create a climate where bullying is not tolerated or accepted.


Ansary, N., Elias, M., Greene, M., & Green, S. (2015). Best practices to address (or reduce) bullying in schools. Phi Delta Kappan97(2), 30-35. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0031721715610088

Coordinated School Health – Bullying and Cyber-bullying. (2017). Tea.texas.gov. Retrieved 30 June 2017, from http://tea.texas.gov/Texas_Schools/Safe_and_Healthy_Schools/Coordinated_School_Health/Coordinated_School_Health_-_Bullying_and_Cyber-bullying/

Hollandsworth, R., Dowdy, L., & Donovan, J. (2011). Digital Citizenship in K-12: It Takes a Village. Tech Trends55(4), 37-47.


Understand Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents

TrademarksWhile studying the whirlwind of laws, words and symbols that relate to different property rights, I felt my head spinning. An article published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office shares clear examples and reminders to help everyday individuals determine the differences between copyrights, trademarks, and patents. These tips will help you understand the importance of the three and the protection they provide.

Copyrights are defined as “a legal right created by the law of a country that grants the creator of an original work exclusive right for its use and distribution.” (“Copyright”, 2017) Literary work such as books and articles can be copyrighted, along with sculptures, movies or music. Copyright laws ensure that permission must be requested from the original creator before any of the above listed items are reproduced, or replicated. (staff & staff, 2017) Copyright laws protect things such as Disney movies, Junie B. Jones books, or the infamous Blue Dog paintings by George Rodrigue. This is understandable, these creative artists and writers deserve recognition for their work. They are like everyone else and need to eat or have a phone bill that needs to be paid each month. But as you study copyright laws, the term Fair Use come into play. Fair Use allows limited copying of copyrighted work for educational and research purposes. So, does that mean teachers or researchers are exceptions to the law? Not necessarily. The situation in which the copyrighted material is used must be taken into consideration. The entire copyrighted piece should not be used to make a profit, or change the nature or meaning the creator is trying to convey cannot be altered. Fair use typically refers to educational or nonprofit purposes. (“Copyright Kids!”, 2017)

 A trademark is defined as “a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies a product or service of a particular source from others.” (“Trademark”, 2017). Trademarks are like brands, and can be names such as Michael Khor, that symbolize quality products, or symbols such as the golden arches that tell us a McDonalds is ahead. Catchphrases such as “I’ll be back” from the movie The Terminator is considered a trademark, along with a figure or a mascot such as the Aflac duck that reminds us we need accident insurance. (“Five Classic Examples of Trademark”, 2017)

 Patents usually protect inventions. A patent can be defined as “a right granted to the owner of an invention that prevents others from making, using, importing or selling the invention without his permission.” (“What is a patent?”, 2017) Patents last 20 years, and like copyrights, they protect the ideas or invention of the creator. The first example that comes to mind is athletic shoes. I remember when Nike Air was all the rage, their ideas were patented therefore you could only purchase the comfort of air in your shoes through Nike for a period. Patents also protect computer hardware, and medicines.

So, when referring to these terms, remember;

  • Copyrights protect original artistic works.
  • Trademarks protect brands.
  • Patents protect ideas or inventions.

By recognizing and understanding the difference between the three, hopefully you can accurately determine what you can use, duplicate and share.



 Copyright. (2017). En.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 23 June 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright

Copyright Kids!. (2017). Copyrightkids.org. Retrieved 24 June 2017, from http://www.copyrightkids.org/cbasicsframes.htm

 Five Classic Examples of Trademark. (2017). Intellectual Property Law Blog. Retrieved 24 June 2017, from http://legalteamusa.net/tacticalip/2012/11/13/five-classic-examples-of-trademark/

staff, F., & staff, F. (2017). Copyright Protection – What Are Some Examples?FreeAdvice. Retrieved 24 June 2017, from http://law.freeadvice.com/intellectual_property/copyright_law/qualify_copyright_protection.htm

Trademark. (2017). En.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 24 June 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark

What is Digital Citizenship?

Dig Cit

Digital citizenship has created its own generic meaning. Although many people have identified the importance of teaching digital citizenship, and elements to focus on while teaching digital citizenship, one true solid definition does not exist. When searching for the standard definition of digital citizenship, the teacher in me first turned to Merriam-Webster. I entered “digital citizenship” the response “Words Fail Us, this is not found in our dictionary.”. Then I decided to enter digital citizen, the same response occurred. Really? When you Google digital citizenship, a plethora of options appear, but searching for one true, standard definition was not possible. (“Dictionary: Search the Merriam-Webster dictionary first. Here’s why…”, 2017)

Google offered several examples of what other educators say about digital citizenship. As I skimmed the internet, and focused on my reading for the week, I came across three examples of the meaning of digital citizenship that I decided to take note of.

Ribble defines digital citizenship in section one of his book Digital Citizenship in Schools: Nine Elements All Students Should Know as a concept that “reinforces the positive aspects of technology so that everyone can work and play in the digital world.” (Ribble,2015)

Terry Heick defines digital citizenship on the website Teachthought.com as “the quality of habits, actions, and consumption patterns that impact the ecology of digital content and communities.” (“Definition of Digital Citizenship”, 2017)

Kristen Hicks shares in her writing featured on edudemic.com the importance of digital literacy, and digital citizenship in schools today. She explains that “Teaching digital citizenship means embracing the reality that we’re all interconnected through the Internet, and that we therefore need to understand the responsibilities and risks that come with life online.” (“Digital Citizenship”, 2017)

After studying, contemplating, and soul searching, I decided to share my thinking about digital citizenship. I felt the following ideas should be considered while sharing the importance and meaning of digital citizenship with our students. My personal definition of digital citizenship; The interpretation of the actions of digital users, including behavior that impacts others positively or negatively, while considering an individual’s contribution to our global community.

Educators take note, often you are the first source our students turn to when looking for the meaning of an unknown topic. Digital citizenship has a place in our vocabulary, and in our classrooms. It is our responsibility to expose our students to the responsibility and danger associated with the internet. Our goal should be to inform our students of what to expect, and how to react while living in this digital world.



Definition of Digital Citizenship. (2017). TeachThought. Retrieved 8 June 2017, from http://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/digital-citizenship-the-future-of-learning/the-definition-of-digital-citzenship/

Dictionary: Search the Merriam-Webster dictionary first. Here’s why…. (2017). Merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 10 June 2017, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/

Digital Citizenship. (2017). digitalcitizenship. Retrieved 10 June 2017, from http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/Home_Page.php

Digital Citizenship. (2017). Livebinders.com. Retrieved 8 June 2017, from http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=1335250

Ribble, M. (2015). Digital Citizenship in Schools: Nine Elements All Students Should Know (3rd ed., p. 1). Eugene, Oregon: International Society for Technology Education.

Citizenship and Digital Citizenship – What’s the difference?


Untitled presentation (1)Is there a difference between citizenship and digital citizenship? 

Citizenship can be formally defined as “the quality of an individual’s response to membership in a community.”

Digital citizenship lends itself more to “the quality of an individual’s response to membership in a community”, or in simpler terms, “the self-monitored habits that sustain and improve the digital communities you enjoy or depend on.”

My personal definition of digital citizenship pertains to your actions in the digital world, “the way you and others interact using digital resources”.

Digital citizenship is such a blanket term for so many different aspects of interaction using digital devices. Guidelines such as the following have to be taught and constantly monitored in the classroom, especially the elementary classroom. The following six elements are monitored very closely on our campus. They are covered with four easy to remember terms, and discussed frequently. On our elementary campus, we understand the importance in creating a bedrock for digital citizenship giving future teachers a solid foundation on which to build upon.

Ribble (2015) Digital Citizenship Approach Elementary Stems used to address Digital Citizenship (Practical Terms)
Digital communication – There are numerous ways to communicate online, and citizens need to make wise decisions in what and how they communicate. Respect for yourself and others

Never intentionally make another person feel bad about themselves or their work

Digital etiquette – Citizenship comes with a responsibility to follow etiquette when communicating with others. Respect for yourself and others

Never intentionally make another person feel bad about themselves or their work

Digital law – Citizens have a responsibility to behave ethically and be aware of laws governing them. Respect the work of other people

Give credit where credit is due

Digital rights and responsibilities – The rights of users are shared equally.  These rights come with responsibilities. Respect the work of other people

Give credit where credit is due

Digital health and wellness – Physical and psychological issues can occur when ergonomics and other problems are not addressed. Respect for yourself and others

Never intentionally make another person feel bad about themselves or their work

Digital security – Citizens must take action to protect their information online. Never ever share passwords



Definition Of Digital Citizenship. (2017). TeachThought. Retrieved 1 June 2017, from http://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/digital-citizenship-the-future-of-learning/the-definition-of-digital-citzenship/


Ribble, M. (2015). Digital citizenship in schools: Nine elements all students should know (3rd ed.). Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education



My Technology Landsacpe

How Technology Has Changed My Career

While looking back at my teaching career, I am so grateful to have technology in my classroom. I remember when I ran copies for the week, our assignments were paper and pencil, and we used film strips to share visual examples. Today, we have created global connections, and our students use independent thinking to explore and learn. My personal technological journey remains under construction, and I have high hopes for my future. If you would have told me 20 years ago, that I would be teaching with the technological resources I have today, I would have never believed you. My Technology Landscape1My technology landscape shares a short trip down memory lane, and where I would like to see my campus move towards in the future. A quick click on the above slide allows me to share this narrative with you.  The presentation explains the transformation of technology in my classroom, whispers from coworkers, and the growth of my students. Looking back, technology implementation has not always been easy, or acceptable. Looking forward, I know growth takes time. But considering where we are today, and the outlook for the future, I would retrace my steps and go through it all again.