EDTC 300

Two lives? Or one?


Recently, the debate of whether we should teach our students as if they have two lives or one has been challenging me. Since technology and the internet have advanced, the digital world and the physical world being two separate things has been the norm. Nathan Jurgenson (2012) labeled the phenomenon of viewing the digital world being “virtual” and the physical world being “real” as “Digital Dualism.” Before thinking deeper about these concepts, it makes sense, right? You have your online presence through social media, and you also have your life outside of what you post on the internet. However, Jurgenson made me realize that both worlds are meshed together, forming an “augmented reality,” meaning that our world is enhanced by technology (2012). 

Our lives in the physical “real” world are being posted online for everyone and anyone to see. Jurgenson (2012) states: “What is most crucial to our time spent logged on is what happened when logged off; it is the fuel that runs the engine of social media. The photos posted, the opinions expressed, the check-ins that fill our streams are often anchored by what happens when disconnected and logged-off.” This quote hit me hard and made me realize that what we do online and offline is our lived reality, and there is no separation of the two. So, why are we separating online vs. offline in schools?

Since technology and social media is a part of our daily lives, why wouldn’t we want students to learn how to use it safely and effectively? In my opinion, school would be the perfect place to help kids become responsible online citizens. Jason Ohler (2011) mentions how problematic it is to not incorporate lessons with or about technology in the classroom as “it says that issues concerning the personal, social, and environmental effects of a technological lifestyle are not important in a school curriculum, and that kids will have to puzzle through issues of cyber safety, technological responsibility, and digital citizenship without the help of teachers or the education system.” As educators, it is our responsibility to teach students how to live one integrated life while empowering our students to be creative with technology while holding a sense of personal, community, and global responsibility. In order to do this, we can start by implementing Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship:

  1. Digital Access
  2. Digital Commerce
  3. Digital Communication and Collaboration
  4. Digital Etiquette
  5. Digital Fluency
  6. Digital Health and Welfare
  7. Digital Law
  8. Digital Rights and Responsibility
  9. Digital Security and Privacy
macbook pro on brown wooden table
Image from Samantha Borges @ Unsplash.com

Integrating digital citizenship in the classroom

As it is my goal to teach elementary students, I chose to focus on ways to integrate a few elements of digital citizenship within the grade 4 classroom.

Grade 4 Health Education and # 9 Digital Security and Privacy


  • USC4.4: Determine basic personal responsibility for safety and protection in various environments/situations.


  • D: Examine cyber safety etiquette and related safety risks and strategies
  • I: Share expectations for personal safety and protection in various situations

Here is a fantastic lesson plan made for grade fours about Private and Personal information.

Grade 4 Health education and # 6 Digital Health and Welfare


  • USC4.4: Determine basic personal responsibility for safety and protection in various environments/situations.


  • A: Examine prior knowledge and new information related to safety
  • C: Investigate common personal and community activities/environments to identify those that involve greater safety risks
  • H: Distinguish behaviours that may jeopardize people’s safety and those that increase people’s safety in a variety of situations

Here is another great lesson plan regarding healthy choices online for grade 4 students.

I highly recommend using Commonsense.org as a resource for teaching/incorprating digital citizenship within the classroom!

Comment down below with what other resources have you found to teach digital citizenship!


  • Laura Fiddler

    Hey Alexandra!
    I did not delve into the digital dualism topic in my post so I really enjoyed reading yours. I agree that we need to teach our students that there is no ‘face to face’ as well as ‘social media’ side of their lives. It is dangerous and creates the illusion that what you do online has no affect on your life, which is so untrue. Digital citizenship education should be incorporating into instruction as soon as possible. Here is a website I found that shares digital citizenship resources for grades 3-5: https://www.thetechieteacher.net/2018/09/digital-citizenship-resources-for.html. There are a lot of great options listed for bringing digital citizenship into early years classrooms which is often over looked/neglected.

    • Alexandra Crammond

      Hey Laura, I completely agree. It could be really dangerous to teach/lead students to believe that what they do online has no effect in their “real” lives. That kind of relates to the Amanda Todd documentaries that we watched. Oh wow thank you so much for the extra resource, I love how many options they have! Thanks for checking out my blog 🙂

  • Logan Fettes


    Great Post! I like the evidence you have provided to backup your logic. I think it is critical we teach students the safety lessons required for online. It is no different from walking down the street really. There are always people using it for bad, or posting fake news or something of that nature. So for the safety and wellbeing of our students, I think it is crucial they know their safety.

    • Alexandra Crammond

      Hey Logan, thanks!
      I completely agree. It is extremely important to provide students the knowledge, skills, and resources to use technology confidently and responsibly. I want to avoid using the “scare tactic” regarding online safety like I received when I was in school, it is ineffective and only works for a short amount of time before they get curious. We also can’t stop them from using technology/social media, so why not educate them about safe behaviour online in a positive nature.

  • Maya Rosenberg

    Hi Alex, I really liked your post, thanks for sharing! I appreciate especially how you base your classroom connection on prior knowledge before you introduce new info- your students will be lucky to learn your lessons!

    Looking forward to your next posts,


    • Alexandra Crammond

      Hey thanks Maya!
      I think it’s important to get a base line of their understanding before moving on or tackling heavy topics like digital citizenship. Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog!

  • Van Gonzales

    I really enjoyed this post about dualism. I never understood how people can separate their persons between the internet and “real life”. The illusion of having two lives separate from each other is simply dangerous and should be prevented.

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