SMART goals lesson using the UbD method


As I was brainstorming for the Community Engagement Project idea, I wanted to design a lesson that students could use and apply to their real life. I thought about the skills most benefited me during the academic year. Going through the pressure of balancing studies, work, and family issues, I needed to be more organized and goal-oriented. I developed a habit of setting goals and keeping track, which I had many successes with and still continue today. Decades of research have shown that goal-setting increases students’ goal-setting skills, self-efficacy, and motivation to expand their learning (Schunk, 2003). As explained by Schunk in his research, students used goal settings to plan their actions, assess their progress and initiate their learning, enhancing self-regulated learning ability (Schunk, 1990). While teaching students in college preparation classes, I noticed that planning and following through with the plan seemed difficult for many students. Especially for students with a cultural background that stresses the traditional way of cramming education, in which they are used to being told what to do. Therefore, designing a lesson with a specific model to follow for a goal-setting process, incorporating technology, seemed pertinent and could bring out an outcome of students’ ability to set realistic goals.   

Question: How can students use the SMART goal model to set their academic goals, keep track and reflect on the goal-achieving process with digital tools?  

I designed a lesson plan using Ubd -Understanding by Design (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005) to teach goal-setting skills through the SMART goal model (S-specific, M-measurable, A-attainable/achievable, R-relevant, T-time-bound). Each step of the model will have a sub-lesson plan comprised of understanding concepts, performing, and evaluating. Throughout the lesson, students will exercise critical thinking to set specific, realistic personal goals, set a goal with classmates, present and reflect on the process, and coach family members to set a goal to demonstrate their ability. Finally, students will apply goal-setting skills to set academic goals.  


Lesson Focus  

  • Understanding how to set a specific goal, have a realistic plan, and achieve   
  • Understanding the SMART goal model  
  • Taking an active role in applying each SMART concept of goal setting and tracking  
  • Digital literacy of tools used for goal setting   
  • Understanding how to set a goal with peers and collaborate  
  • Understanding how to coach someone to set a personal goal

The Six Facets of Understanding (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005): 

  • Can explain—via generalizations or principles, providing justified and systematic accounts of phenomena, facts, and data; make insightful connections and provide illuminating examples or illustrations: SMART goals model provides a specific process designed to refine goal setting. The lesson consists of clear instructions to follow, including a template, to go through a series of goal-setting activities as a class. They are measurable, meaning that progress toward the goal can be tracked and measured with real data. There will be daily reflection and weekly evaluation to monitor students’ level of understanding. The lesson’s goal is for students to set achievable goals within a given timeframe. A student who completed the lesson should be able to explain each aspect of the SMART goal framework and set academic goals independently. 
  • Can interpret—tell meaningful stories; offer apt translations; provide a revealing historical or personal dimension to ideas and events; make the object of understanding personal or accessible through images, anecdotes, analogies, and models: Students record their personal analysis of the goal progress through keeping a SMART journal. Also, setting a relevant personal goal shows students’ understanding of analogies to illustrate how the framework applies to their own situations. 
  • Can apply—effectively use and adapt what we know in diverse and real contexts—we can “do” the subject. Students who completed the lesson should be able to apply the SMART goal process to their situations or problems in real contexts. For example, they could use the SMART model to set goals like improving grades or language skills, keeping good habits, or even quitting unhealthy habits. 
  • Have perspective—see and hear points of view through critical eyes and ears; see the big picture. Students can see the goal-setting process from different perspectives by sharing and doing peer reviews and having classmates as counter-partners to encourage and motivate goal-achieving activities and gain different points of view by doing evaluations together. 
  •  Can empathize—find value in what others might find odd, alien, or implausible; perceive sensitively on the basis of prior direct experience. Setting SMART goals, students consider how their goal affects others. Going through a goal process as a class, students assess the impact of the process on others and learn to collaborate to achieve the common goal. They could also consider how their goal might impact their family, friends, and communities.
  • Have self-knowledge—show metacognitive awareness; perceive the personal style, prejudices, projections, and habits of mind that both shape and impede our own understanding; are aware of what we do not understand; reflect on the meaning of learning and experience. (p.84) Students reflect on their learning and understanding through daily reflection, a SMART journal, and weekly evaluations. Even though they might not achieve goals, they can still reflect on the process and refine the goal for the future. This is the reason why the lesson is designed to go through the goal-setting process multiple times with the class, independently, and by coaching family members so that they can reflect and learn from the experience.  

Overall, the six facets of understanding are reflected in all stages of the SMART goal-setting lesson and also promote Digital Citizenship through the using digital tools to track and achieve real-life goals. As defined by ISTE, Digital Citizenship is “Students recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical.” The SMART goal-setting lesson aligns well with Wiggins and McTighe’s Six Facets of Understanding and Ubd, demonstrating structured planning from backwards design. 


Gonzalez, J. (2014, June 23). Understanding by Design, Introduction and Chapters 1-4. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

SMART template. Retrieved from University of California (2017), SMART goal: A How to Guide

Setting SMART Goals – How To Properly Set a Goal (animated), by Better Than Yesterday. Retrieved from Youtube video.

Schunk, D. H. (1990). Goal setting and self-efficacy during self-regulated learning. Educational Psychologist, 25, 71–86.

Schunk, D. H. (2003). Self-efficacy for reading and writing: Influence of modeling, goal setting, and self-evaluation. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 19, 159-172.

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, Jay. (2005). Understanding by design (Expanded 2nd ed., Gale virtual reference library). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.


Global collaboration in the classroom: working together for a better world

We are familiar with the idea of a global alliance among countries worldwide working together to target global issues. We have heard about initiatives like the “Human Genome Project” and the “Paris Agreement on Climate Change” on the news and how they have brought significant changes in the world. I started to wonder, What about students? How can they partake in this movement of global collaboration? Especially in the era of technology that has enhanced our ability to work together globally. In an ISTE blog post, “5 ways students benefit from global collaboration,” Randles highlights the advantages of global collaboration in education. In her blog, Erin Dowd, a global education specialist, points out that global collaboration helps students understand themselves, their communities, and their culture to think about ‘who am I, and where do I fit in this world?’ Not only that, global collaboration helps students develop inclusively broader perspectives about different cultures and enhances students’ communication and digital literacy. Many findings show that global collaboration in the classroom increases students’ desire to become more engaged and motivated learners (Randles, 2018). I wanted to explore more examples of global collaboration projects students can get involved in to target global issues. 

GLOBE: The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment 

GLOBE connects students from different countries to collect environmental data and share their findings. They teach students about environmental issues, help them develop valuable scientific skills, and connect with peers globally. For example is a project like “Trees Around the GLOBE,” where students collect data on trees in their local communities and share it with students from other countries. By sharing their findings, students better understand the global impact of deforestation and climate change. Another example is the “Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP),” in which students collect data on soil moisture in their local communities and compare their findings to NASA’s data. These kinds of ongoing projects provide students with a hands-on learning experience that connects them with students from around the world. 

iEARN: The International Education and Resource Network 

iEARN brings together students and educators from different countries to collaborate on various projects. They have hundreds of ongoing projects to target the UN’s sustainable development goals, such as fighting poverty, hunger, health issues, etc… Not only that, they also engage and connect students at the classroom level through projects like “One Day in the Life” initiative, where students share their daily routines and traditions with students from different cultures. This project helps students develop a deeper understanding of global perspectives and cultures. Many studies have found that iEARN projects increased cross-cultural awareness and empathy among students and improved language and communication skills. 

GRA: The Global Read Aloud 

Once a year, GRA picks a book to read aloud to students. They have a track record of connecting millions of students around the world. In 2020, over 4 million students from 97 countries participated in the Global Read Aloud. According to survey data, 97% of teachers reported their students were engaged in reading, and 92% said their students had a greater understanding of diverse cultures and perspectives.

Overall, these examples of global collaboration projects and their results suggest that they positively impact global issues and students’ engagement, knowledge, and skills. Through meaningful connections with friends from around the world, students grow and contribute to positive changes in the world. According to the ISTE standards; 

1.7 Global Collaborator

Students use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally.

1.7.a Students use digital tools to connect with learners from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, engaging with them in ways that broaden mutual understanding and learning.

1.7.b Students use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.

1.7.c Students contribute constructively to project teams, assuming various roles and responsibilities to work effectively toward a common goal.

1.7.d Students explore local and global issues and use collaborative technologies to work with others to investigate solutions. 

In addition to the benefits of being a global collaborator, students learn to communicate, collect and transfer data and learn together globally using technology. Technology has accelerated globalization and collaboration. It has played a significant role in bridging the cultural gap and connecting students globally to collaborate for a better world. Finally, it is important to point out that students must develop cross-cultural communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills to be competent in this globalized world. 


GLOBE: The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment. (n.d.). Retrieved from

iEARN: International Education and Resource Network. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Randle, J. (2018, May 14). 5 ways students benefit from global collaboration. ISTE.

The Global Read Aloud. (n.d.). Retrieved from 


Using the Engineering design process (EDP) to solve real-world problems

The engineering design process is an iterative problem-solving methodology that involves identifying problems, collecting information, and making prototypes to come up with the best possible solutions (Frilles, 2015). EDP can be applied to many different fields and can be used in the classroom by students to try new ways of solving problems. The EDP includes several steps; defining the problem, brainstorming and visualizing solutions, prototyping, testing, and refining solutions until it is implementable (Frilles, 2015). I wanted to explore whether students can use the engineering design process to solve real-world problems and whether technology can help students with the EDP.

In a 2018 study by Siewe, students participated in a project-based learning activity where they used the engineering design process to address a renewable energy problem. Researchers discovered that the students could come up with workable ideas and solutions by just following through with the engineering design process. Also, the result showed that students strengthened their cooperation, communication, and critical thinking skills using the EDP.

There is evidence that technology can enhance the engineering design process. When students were given access to a computer-aided design (CAD) tool to help them design wind turbine blades, students improved their ability to design a functional solution. The CAD tool helped the students collaborate and communicate their ideas more efficiently (Achuthan, 2018). In a study by Dikmen, students were given a water conservation problem and access to online data and resources to help them refine the solution. Access to relevant information and resources helped them with decision-making (Dikmen, 2019).

In another study, students were given a project where they had to design roller coasters. Students had access to a virtual roller coaster simulator, which allowed them to test their designs and make adjustments. Technology allowed students to engage in virtual simulations and experiments before building prototypes. The study showed that students could design effective models (Lee, 2019).

These findings suggest that the engineering design process is a valuable tool for students in solving real-world problems, and technology can help students with EDP. The engineering design process helps students develop critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills. This concept of designing the solution helps students practice critical thinking and reasoning, and even when their designs fail, they can still learn from their failures to refine solutions. The engineering design process with technology can help students develop the skills and knowledge they can apply to solve real-world problems and become innovative designers as defined by ISTE; Students use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions.


Achuthan, K., Prakash, A., & Goel, S. (2018). Assessing the impact of computer-aided design on engineering design education. International Journal of Engineering Education, 34(1), 155-165.

Dikmen, O., Orhan, A., & Ozkan, E. (2019). A framework for integrating design thinking and engineering design process in education. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 29(4), 685-700.

Frilles, E (2015). Solve Real-world Problems Using the Engineering Design Process (Brochure)

Lee, H., Kim, Y., Kim, M., & Kim, J. (2019). Developing a project-based learning model using the engineering design process. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 22(1), 169-180.

Siewe, F., Ngoh, A., & Kimengsi, J. (2018). Project-Based Learning on Renewable Energy: A Case Study. Journal of Education and Practice, 9(18), 108-115.


Detecting and combating bias in news media: Can technology do the job?

These days, students are exposed to ‘too much’ information and expected to be savvy, informed learners without proper preparation or readiness. We cannot ignore the fact that as students go through puberty, they make choices to become who they are, and many of the things they take in from outside while transitioning into adulthood could easily influence them. The bias they are exposed to could shape them in certain ways without them even knowing. I wanted to explore how we detect bias in news media and whether we can use technology tools to combat bias.

According to a posting by FAIR, “Media Literacy Guide: How to Detect Bias in News Media,” a media watch group, in order to detect bias, we must consider many factors such as the source of information, the language used, and the context in which the information is presented. The media outlets could have a particular viewpoint they want to press on, and their way of using ‘language’ could evoke emotions and influence the viewers. Also, bias can be apparent in the headline, through selection and omission, through placement, by photos, captions, and camera angles, through use of names and titles, and bias by choice of words (UW Libraries, 2020). Depending on how the stories are covered and reported, it could change the whole picture. The biased news can be misleading and incorrect. Therefore, it is crucial to practice critical thinking to get the entire story, check multiple sources, and be alert for biased information.

Many studies have been done on using AI to detect media bias. AI and machine learning algorithms can be trained to detect bias by analyzing words, phrases, and even tones. AI can also check the sources of information and how stories were covered. One example of AI being used to detect bias is from the Bipartisan Press website.
“This website is the Bipartisan Press. Founded in 2018, it has developed an AI model for determining the political bias of its own articles and any text you might find on the web. Based on a regression model for machine learning, it’s capable of natural language processing (NLP) and of text classification. And because it has been trained on a large database of articles (pre-categorised according to bias), it can classify texts according to their direction (“left” or “right”) and degree (“minimal” to “extreme”) of bias…. And according to the website’s own research, it can classify the bias of articles to a 96% accuracy, with an average deviation of only 7%. (Chandler, 2020)”

There are also other websites and digital tools available online to combat media bias: NewsGuard is a technology tool that rates the credibility of news. This browser uses AI algorithms to analyze news websites and indicates the credibility and transparency of sources. Media Bias Chart is another website that uses human analysis and machine learning algorithms to categorize news sources based on their political bias and accuracy (Warren, 2023).

To combat media bias, we cannot rely on technology alone. We must equip ourselves to become empowered learners. As stated in ISTE Standards for Learners 1.3 Knowledge Constructor: Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others. 1.3.b Students evaluate the accuracy, perspective, credibility and relevance of information, media, data or other resources. 1.3.d Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions
Students should take charge of their own learning to educate themselves about different types of media bias and how to detect them. They can exercise critical thinking to analyze multiple sources, compare and contrast the views and take actions to hold media organizations accountable for accuracy. We have to do the work. However, we have the technology to finally help us. Learning to use these digital tools available to detect and combat bias is part of being an empowered learner.


Chandler, S. (2020, March 17). This website is using AI to combat political bias. Forbes.

FAIR. (2022, June) Media Literacy Guide: How to Detect Bias in News Media

University of Washington Libraries. (2022, August). Detecting Bias in the News – Savvy Info Consumers.

Warren, J. (2023, Jan. 04). Which information sources can we trust? NewsGuard report highlights some top sites. Chicago Tribune.


Self-regulated learning in the digital era

With the advancement in technology, we are seeing rapid changes in know-how-to and learning to adapt fast. We live in a new era in human history, a digital era where all aspects of our lives are affected by technology. The term “digital natives” refer to a new generation that has grown up with technologies (Prensky, 2013), and we, as educators, are struggling to catch up with how to deal with “digital natives” in our classroom. No doubt, technology has brought us convenience and efficiency in school; however, at the same time, it requires great responsibility. More than ever, students are expected to practice “digital wisdom” (Prensky, 2013) and self-control in their learning. 

According to Zimmerman, “Self-regulated learning refers to how students become masters of their own learning processes. It is not a mental ability or a performance skill but rather is the self-directed process through which abilities are transformed into task-related skills in diverse fields (Zimmerman, 2001).” Students take leadership in their learning to identify their own strengths and limitation in the process and thrive. SRL could encourage students to self-motivate by seeing their goals’ progress. Even when goals were not achieved and things did not play out the way they planned, students can still learn from their failures, know where to improve, and take a different course of action next time. 

There are three phases for self-regulated learning, “The forethought phase refers to processes and beliefs that occur before efforts to learn; the performance phase refers to processes that occur during behavioral implementation, and self-reflection refers to processes that occur after each learning effort (Zimmerman, 2001).” SRL comes down to setting goals, planning, and following through to achieve the goals. Also, students can transfer their self-regulated learning skills to achieve academic goals (Zimmerman, 2004).

Recent studies have shown that students who set specific goals for themselves have tremendous success in achieving the goals and also show positive perceptions of personal efficacy. In many cases, students just self-recording their learning process resulted in academic improvement. It is crucial to note that this self-presence in learning “…implied that students’ metacognitive (i.e., self) awareness of particular aspects of their functioning could enhance their self-control. …it can produce a readiness that is essential for personal change (Zimmerman, 2001).” These studies emphasize the critical role of technologies in recording and evaluating the self-regulated learning process. Not only technologies used to assist the SRL process, but another study conducted on university students showed improvement in SRL skills through the use of technology to display “personal presence” in collaborative learning, sharing and exchanging digital content, and creating opinions (Marcelo, 2017).

There is a correlation between SRL processes and academic success, and these SRL skills can be supported by technology (Winters, 2008). Self-regulated learning through technology supports the ISTE coaching standard for Empowered learner 1.1: Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences. There is a need for more up-to-date research on how recently invented technologies can enhance SRL to help students become equipped, empowered learners in this ever-changing educational environment. 


Cleary, T. J., & Zimmerman, B. J. (2004). Self-regulation empowerment program: A school-based program to enhance self-regulated and self-motivated cycles of student learning. Psychology in the Schools, 41, 537-550.

Marcelo, C. (2017). University students’ self-regulated learning using digital technologies. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 14(1), 1-18.

Prensky, M (2013). “From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom,” in From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom: Hopeful Essays for 21st Century Learning (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin, 2013), 201-15  

Winters, F. I., Greene, J. A., & Costich, C. M. (2008). Self-regulation of learning within computer-based learning environments: A critical analysis. Educational Psychology Review, 20(4), 429–444. doi:10.1007/s10648-008-9080-9.

Zimmerman, B.J. (2001). Theories of self-regulated learning and academic achievement: An overview and analysis. In B.J. Zimmerman & D.H. Schunk (Eds.), Self-regulated learning and academic achievement: Theoretical perspectives (2nd ed., pp.1-37). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum


Digital Ethics Audit

7a: Inspire and encourage educators and students to use technology for civic engagement and to address challenges to improve their communities. (ISTE Standards for Coaches 7: Digital Citizen Advocate)

I interviewed C. Wardlaw, a director of NQA Childcare Center and an Early Childhood Education professor. I approached this interview with the goal of understanding the perspective of an early childhood educator on using and implementing digital tools and going through the thinking process together. I experienced the role of a Digital Citizen Advocate, explaining digital citizenship and things to consider when using technology. I provided Ribble’s nine components of digital citizenship for better understanding (Ribble & Miller, 2013). We both agreed that educators play a significant role in a child’s life and can make an enormous impact. Therefore, we need early intervention to educate students about technology use. This project served the purpose of inspiring and encouraging the use of technology.


  • Start a conversation with colleagues about digital citizenship, identify the barriers, and discuss ideas and how to implement them.

7b: Partner with educators, leaders, students and families to foster a culture of respectful online interactions and a healthy balance in their use of technology.

The interviewee brought up two vital points during the interview; the importance of teaching social skills through personal interactions and parents’ involvement in educating technology use. She addressed the concern of how the use of technology can negatively affect social interactions and ‘too much’ exposure to technology could harm the children, especially when parents and teachers use them to just ‘quiet’ the children. She would consider using technology in the classroom if it is developmentally appropriate, using no more than an attention span of 10-15 minutes for younger children, and under the supervision and monitoring of teachers. The importance of the teacher being in control of the learning experience was emphasized. As digital citizens, our aim is to partner and find a healthy balance in their use of technology. Therefore, moderation and appropriately limiting screen time are essential topics. According to recent research by Radesky, a child development specialist at Boston Medical Center, toddlers as young as 18 months can begin learning fundamental concepts from media if they use it with an adult. However, the guideline recommends that children under five should only spend an hour a day using technology (Edwards & Fox, 2016). Removing uncertainty and fear through education and involving parents in taking action is a critical part of digital citizenship. The interviewee devised practical ideas to educate students, parents, and educators. I especially liked the idea of an educational event, inviting parents and kids to learn through hands-on experiments. Educators are trusted sources for parents, and we must build a solid network to work together for the sake of students.


  • Provide resources to parents through emails, blogs, and monthly newsletters. Keep the communication going.
  • Holding an event with a specialist to educate teachers, students and parents. Encourage parents to become models in using technology at home for their children.

7c: Support educators and students to critically examine the sources of online media and identify underlying assumptions.

As the interview continued, the interviewee emphasized the need for educators to “research and do the hard work” to validate digital tools. This goes well with our efforts to support educators and students to critically examine the sources. Educators must devise a plan and specific purpose for using technology instead of jumping into it with the underlying assumption that if many people use it, it must be safe. To teach students to use technology properly, teachers must have ‘digital literacy’ as well as ‘digital wisdom’ (Prensky, 2013).


  • Educate the teachers, and set a day to examine the sources of media and digital tools used in the classroom.

7d: Empower educators, leaders and students to make informed decisions to protect their personal data and curate the digital profile they intend to reflect.

The interviewee mentioned the need to expose students to technology to make them learn but must teach them how to ‘navigate’ first. She compared the students’ experience with technology as going into an unknown place. There is a need to do research, know if there is any danger, and have a map to navigate safely. The role of educators is to know the risk and guide students to understand the responsibility and consequences so that they can make informed decisions.


  • Install a monitoring program for children to safeguard them from potential online harm and educate parents and students about possible risks.

I organized the interview with Mrs. Wardlaw according to ISTE standards for Coaches 7: Digital Citizen Advocate to demonstrate that the goal of the interview was to promote digital citizenship. During the interview, the interviewee recognized some issues and came up with possible ideas to implement, which I listed under ‘Tips.’ As the interviewee emphasized, using technology is inevitable; however, we must have a purpose and clear plan to bring a positive outcome. There is a trade-off for connection, knowledge, and convenience we get from technology. Yes, we must handle it with caution. However, because there is a risk, just avoiding it is not a solution. We must be more proactive in preparing ourselves and students, and parents must be part of the digital educational plan. At the end of the interview, it was encouraging to see that the interviewee realized the need to teach students about digital citizenship at an early age.


Erika Edwards and Maggie Fox (2016, Oct. 21), Digital Devices Ok Even for Toddlers, Doctors Say. NBC News.

Mike Ribble and Teresa Northern Miller, “Educational Leadership in an Online World: Connecting Students to Technology Responsibly, Safely, and Ethically,” Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17:1 (2013): 137-45

Marc Prensky, “From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom,” in From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom: Hopeful Essays for 21st Century Learning (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin, 2013), 201-15 


Mission Statement-Digital Leadership

As I start my journey as a digital education leader, I must question what is going to be my driving force and what will be the guiding principles. I see it as building a house, laying a good foundation. First of all, I find a sense of purpose in serving the next generation. I feel responsible for the future they will inherit and for my children and their children. Just as wrong decisions made in the past resulted in the environmental disasters we see now; future generations will have to live in a world created by our mistakes. In this ecosystem or, more like, the food chain, whether you like it or not, you are part of the system, and whatever you do impacts the whole ecosystem (Floridi, 2010). My stand on the use of technology is ‘ambiguity,’ meaning I have doubts and fears (Campbell & Garner, 2016). However, I cannot ignore the reality that we live in, a digital era that the next generation is being raised. It may sound cliché, but there is a struggle between good and evil, even in the digital world. There will always be people who refuse to do good. Regardless of all the risks, we must find ways to maximize the benefit of using technology and take proactive measures to reduce the possible risks. And have a digital leadership in promoting the “use of the internet and social media to improve the lives, well-being, and circumstances of others”(Ribble, 2010).  


Trust in technology can be translated into trust with materials and sources, trust between the provider and users, trust between students and teachers, parents and teachers, parents, and their children, and between communities and government. You gain trust through fulfilling your responsibilities and by being honest with your communications and demeanors. I chose ‘trust’ as one of my values for the community engagement project because, in any type of learning environment, students should be able to put their trust in educators, to act in their best interest. Especially when choosing teaching materials online, educators must consider carefully to ensure the creditability of the source. Is the source created by an expert in the subject you are trying to teach? Is the information most current? Does it have any biased view? As stated in the ISTE standards for Coaches 7c: Support educators and students to critically examine the sources of online media and identify underlying assumptions. Parents trust educators and schools to make decisions to create a safe and healthy digital learning environment. This trust between educators and students creates the ultimate teaching and learning environment and the best outcome for the students. Trust in the two major areas; credibility and safety.  

  • Credibility: can parents trust the school on the source of teaching materials, schools abiding by laws and in compliance,  
  • Safety: online interactions and behaviors, technology usage, protection of privacy 

When you gain trust, you have more freedom and security. Two of the major factors to gain trust is through having responsibility and honesty which are my next two guiding values.  


Just as everyone has civic duties as a citizen, there are also responsibilities in the digital realm as a “digital citizen “(Ribble, 2010). With the recent increase in demand for distance learning, it has become crucial to inform ourselves of the most up-to-date regulations on digital education. As indicated in the ISTE standards for Coaches 7d: Empower educators, leaders, and students to make informed decisions to protect their personal data and curate the digital profile they intend to reflect. It is not just about responsibilities in compliance but efforts to help students and educators make wise decisions on what is safe and healthy in the digital learning environment (Prensky, 2013, p138). Our goal is to equip students and educators to become responsible digital citizens and get the most desirable outcome from the use of technology. I have broken down the responsibilities of students, teachers, parents, and communities.  

Responsibilities of Students – Self-control, being respectful, digital literacy, empathy, honesty 

The Pew Research Center’s 2011 report, Teens, Kindness and Cruelty on Social Network Sites, indicates that 25% of the respondents said that interaction on a social media site led to a face-to-face argument, 22% said that it ended a friendship, and 13% reported that it made them nervous to attend school the next day. (Ribble & Miller, 2013). Students must understand personal responsibility and recognize the impact of their behaviors.   

Responsibilities of Teachers 

  • Digital accessibility – Ribble cited a widening gap between the impoverished and the wealthy, as 41% of African Americans and Hispanics use computers in the home when compared to 77% of white students. He also emphasized that educators must understand that technology is important for all students, not only those who already have access to it, in order to decrease the digital divide that currently exists (Ribble, 2010). 
  • Digital Literacy – teach students how to use technology 
  • Digital Protection – protection of personal data and privacy, following laws and compliance, having a security system to protect from the harms of viruses and spyware.  
  • Digital Education – examining the sources of media, finding a healthy balance of digital usage, teaching students “electronic standards of conduct or procedure” (Ribble & Miller, 2013), and their rights and responsibilities. 

Responsibilities of parents/community  

  • Support – parents support the educators and teamwork with them for the well-being of a child. Parents set rules and boundaries, cultivating a character to respect others. And support students by becoming role models.  
  • Advocacy – Community efforts to hold social media companies accountable. Become active learners to address the issues keeping online communities healthy. Use technology to improve and solve problems. Become advocate and actively voice concerns for government to do their job. Teamwork with educators and parents in creating healthy digital communities for students.  


ISTE standards for Coaches 7a: Inspire and encourage educators and to address challenges to improve their communities. To achieve this and impact the communities, we must have honest, clear communication. How can we build strong communities on lies and dishonesty? A strong community is built on the foundation of truthfulness. Also, 7b: Partner with educators, leaders, students, and families to foster a culture of respectful online interactions and a healthy balance in their use of technology. Having truly authentic interactions and real experiences leads to quality relationships and networking online. Through honesty, you gain trust and respect, and communities work together to promote healthy ways of using technology. Wikipedia defines ‘honesty’ as “a facet of moral character that connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, straightforwardness, including straightforwardness of conduct, along with the absence of lying, cheating, theft, etc.” Honesty takes courage and sometimes sacrifice; however, honesty without respect and a sense of community serves no purpose. “Students need to put a ‘face’ to their postings and realize that they are interacting with real people, not just inanimate laptops or smartphones” (Riddle & Miller, 2013). Being true to yourself and being true to others for the well-being of yourself and others makes you a responsible member of the community. 

  • Expectations for Students – academic integrity, internet usage, creating a true self-image, being honest about mistakes made online to correct behaviors 


Recently there has been a significant shift to move students from digital citizenship to digital leadership to make a greater impact on online interactions. Though digital citizens take a responsible approach to act ethically, digital leadership is a more proactive approach (Ribble & Miller, 2013). Education for the next generation is like sowing seeds. Once I read an article about a man who started to plant trees in the desert. Everyone in his village said he was crazy and that he was wasting his time in vague. But he continued for 20 years, and later, the desert became a forest and protected the village from the issue of soil erosion and sandstorms. We may not see the profound result immediately, but still, we keep sowing seeds of trust, responsibility, and honesty into the digital ecosystem. We will see fully grown digital citizens forming a forest of healthy communities online. Just as Bible puts it, “Those who sow with tears will harvest with joy.” 


Cellini, S. R. (2021, August 13). How does virtual learning impact students in higher education? Brown Center Chalkboard.  

Coiro, J. (2017, August, 29). Teaching Adolescents How to Evaluate the Quality of Online Information. EDUTOPIA.  

Common Sense Media. How we rate and review. Retrieved September 23, 2022, from  

Educator Innovator. (May 06,2021). Deepening the ways we Engage youth as (Digital) Citizens 

Heidi A. Campbell and Stephen Carner, “Theology of Technology 101,” Networked Theology: Negotiating Faith in a Digital Culture (Baker Academic, 2016), 19-37 

ISTE (International Society for Technology and Education) Standards: Coaches 

Luciano Floridi, Chapter 1 (“The Information Revolution”) and Chapter 8 (“The Ethics of Information”), in Information—A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 3-18 and 103-18 

Marc Prensky, “From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom,” in From Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom: Hopeful Essays for 21st Century Learning (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin, 2013), 201-15  

Mike Ribble and Teresa Northern Miller, “Educational Leadership in an Online World: Connecting Students to Technology Responsibly, Safely, and Ethically,” Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17:1 (2013): 137-45 

Ribble, M. (2010). Digital Citizenship in Schools. ISTE. 


Learning how to self-control; a path to a healthy digital life

I wish I had a better word to describe the current digital world but to call it a ‘jungle.’ Because there is no standardized law and order to protect our children practically, it is operated by greed feeding off of people’s impulse desire to ‘consume humans’ attention.’ As David S.H. Rosenthal, a retired chief scientist of the LOCKSS Program at Stanford University, said, “The digital economy is based upon competition to consume humans’ attention. This competition has existed for a long time, but the current generation of tools for consuming attention is far more effective than previous generations. Economies of scale and network effects have placed control of these tools in a very small number of exceptionally powerful companies. These companies are driven by the need to consume more and more of the available attention to maximize profit” (Anderson & Rainie, 2018).

Our children are thrown into this digital jungle, often unprepared. There are many skills to teach children to survive and thrive in the digital world; however, the most critical one is self-control. Whether we like it or not, children will go online alone. We can not monitor them 24/7 and must rely solely on a child’s discernment and decision-making skills to practice self-control. Self-control is about discipline and regulating yourself, making the right decision to ensure well-being. It doesn’t happen overnight but develops over the years, with some significant changes occurring between the ages of 3 and 7 (Duckworth, 2018).

We’ve all heard about the famous experiment, Stanford marshmallow study, a clever self-control test administered to a group of 4-year-olds in the late 1960s. In the study, children were each given the option to eat one marshmallow now or wait fifteen minutes and get two. For a four-year-old, fifteen minutes could feel like an eternity, but many children already knew that two is always better than one when it comes to treats. So, the children used a variety of approaches to keep from eating the marshmallow before the fifteen minutes were up. The children most successful in doing this were those who looked away, engaged in other activities, talked to themselves in private, sang, and invented games with their hands and feet. Some even made an effort to sleep. Studies conducted in their adult life showed that those kids who could resist temptation were happier, healthier, and more successful at school and then in their careers, and had stronger relationships (Duckworth, 2018).

Furthermore, young children with poor self-regulation skills tend to make less academic progress (McClelland et al 2007; Welsh et al 2010; McClelland et al 2014). Throughout the school years, they are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and aggressive behavior problems (Martel et al 2007; Eisenberg et al 2010; Raaijmakers et al 2008; Ellis et al 2009). In the long run, kids with poor self-control are at higher risk for poor health outcomes, like obesity and drug dependency (Sutin et al 2011; Moffit et al 2011). They are more likely to commit crimes and less likely to become wealthy (Moffit et al 2011). Also have higher risk of online addiction according to each academic discipline that studies addiction, including medicine, psychology, neurology, and economics, saw correlation to habit formation and issues with self-control (Sutin et al 2011; Moffit et al 2011).

These are some profounding evidence showing how lack of self-control negatively affects all areas of a child’s life. Here are some ways we can help children maintain self-control:

  1. Avoiding risk by not putting yourself in tempting situations: Out of sight, out of mind make sense.
  2. Consistently reward self-control behaviors to encourage and reinforce.
  3. Making a plan for how to respond with self-control, simulating possible situations. When people consider the challenges they confront and devise detailed strategies for when, where, and how they will take action, they are more likely to succeed. (Duckworth et al., 2018) We must Partner with educators, leaders, students, and families to foster a culture of respectful online interactions and a healthy balance in their use of technology (ISTE standards 7b).


Duckworth AL, Milkman KL, Laibson D.. 2018. Beyond Willpower: Strategies for Reducing Failures of Self-Control. Psychol Sci Public Interest. 19(3):102-129.

Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie, “The Future of Well-Being in a Tech-Saturated World,” Pew Research Center, April 17, 2018

Mischel, W., Ebbesen, E. B., & Raskoff Zeiss, A. (1972). Cognitive and attentional mechanisms in delay of gratification. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 21(2), 204–218.

Martel MM, Nigg JT, Wong MM, Fitzgerald HE, Jester JM, Puttler LI, Glass JM, Adams KM, and Zucker RA. Childhood and adolescent resiliency, regulation, and executive functioning in relation to adolescent problems and competence in a high-risk sample. 2007. Dev Psychopathol. 19(2):541-63.

McClelland MM, Cameron CE, Duncan R, Bowles RP, Acock AC, Miao A, Pratt ME. 2014. Predictors of early growth in academic achievement: the head-toes-knees-shoulders task. Front Psychol. 5:599.

Sutin AR, Ferrucci L, Zonderman AB, and Terracciano A. 2011. Personality and obesity across the adult life span. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. doi: 10.1037/a0024286.


Be true to yourself and be true to others: building a healthy digital community.

Life is about finding out who you are and realizing your true purpose. We all go through the pain of growing up and the fear of facing the real world. As adolescents, we spend our time and energy figuring out how we fit in. Making decisions on what we wear, what we listen to, and whom we choose to be friends with is about how we want this world to see us. In the digital era, this self-portrayer or self-presentation has become a more vital part of life. It is fast-paced, and you get instant likes or dislikes. Therefore, this instinct to ‘fit in’ to this mainstream of trends has become more desirable, shaping how we view ourselves. We are literally connected to this digital world. How you choose to present yourself is no longer an issue for oneself but an issue for us all as a community.

As soon as we connect online, we become active participants and share a sense of community online. A “sense of community is a feeling that members have of belonging, a feeling that members matter to one another and to the group, and a shared faith that members’ needs will be met through commitment to be together” (McMillan & Chavis, 1986). Basically, a community is built on this mutual understanding of trust that we will take care of the well-being of the members and each other. There is an underlying agreement, as Floridi describes “the rights and responsibilities of the parties subscribing to the agreement are the terms of the social contract, whereas the society, state, group, etc. is the entity created for the purpose of enforcing the agreement (Floridi, 2010)” Setting standards, from self-preservation to characteristic of the community which members share and represent the same values. Along with ISTE standards for students and educators to “…improve their communities, …foster a culture of respectful online interactions…, and curate the digital profile they intend to reflect” (ISTE Standards for Coaches 7).

Education is more than just transmitting knowledge and skills but teaching students how to interact and engage in the world and learning character traits to become responsible members of society. It is more than just learning rules and regulations but also role modeling moral and ethical values we teach so that students choose to do the right things over what is popular. Wikipedia defines ‘honesty’ as “a facet of moral character that connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, straightforwardness, including straightforwardness of conduct, along with the absence of lying, cheating, theft, etc.” Honesty takes courage; however, honesty without respect and a sense of community serves no purpose. “Students need to put a ‘face’ to their postings, and realize that they are interacting with real people, not just inanimate laptops or smart phones” (Riddle & Miller, 2013). Being true to yourself and being true to others for the well-being of yourself and others makes you a responsible member of the community.

The problem with ‘honesty’ arises because we “internally presume that what is presented is true” (Harris & Bardey, 2019). In the study, only 18 percent of men and 19 percent of women reported that their Facebook page displayed “a completely accurate reflection” of who they are. Most commonly, participants said that they only shared “non-boring” aspects of their lives (32 percent) and were not as “active” as their social media accounts appeared (14 percent). Instagram users present themselves in an appealing way. “As a result, users may engage in a variety of virtually deceptive behaviors to counteract enhanced social insecurities. This appeals to young people between the ages of 18 and 29 specifically, who represent over one-third of Instagram users” (Harris & Bardey, 2019). Also, recent studies by Counts and Stecher (2009) attempted to compare this ideal online self-presentation with the actual personality. The result indicated that people hope to show personality traits through their online profiles and that users are able to create profiles they feel match their desired self-presentation.

Furthermore, “analyzing data of 10,560 Facebook users, we find that individuals who are more authentic in their self-expression also report greater Life Satisfaction. This effect appears consistent across different personality profiles, countering the proposition that individuals with socially desirable personalities benefit from authentic self-expression more than others” (Bailey, Matz & Youyou, 2020).

According to psychologists, “social interaction and feeling a sense of belonging to a community are two of the most important predictors of psychological and physical health” (McMillan & Chavis, 1986). More and more students will spend time online and make friends online. Probably their sense of belonging in an online community is much greater. So, we must create a safe, healthy online ‘ecosystem’ promoting authentic interactions online (Floridi, 2010). Building a healthy community requires all members to be healthy. Our efforts to encourage students to interact and reflect themselves honestly online will empower them and, in turn, will build strong, healthy digital communities.


Harris, E & Bardey, A. (2019, Apr. 24). Do Instagram profiles accurately portray personality? An investigation into idealized online self-presentation. Frontiers in Psychology. 10:871. to an external site.

Luciano Floridi, Chapter 1 (“The Information Revolution”) and Chapter 8 (“The Ethics of Information”), in Information—A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 3-18 and 103-18

McMillan, D. W., & Chavis, D. M. (1986). Sense of community: A definition and theory. Journal of Community Psychology, 14(1), 6–23.

Mike Ribble and Teresa Northern Miller, “Educational Leadership in an Online World: Connecting Students to Technology Responsibly, Safely, and Ethically,” Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17:1 (2013): 137-45

Warren, C. (2018, July 30). How honest are people on social media? Psychology Today.


What it takes to be a responsible Digital Citizen

What would it take to raise a child to be a responsible digital citizen? We get wisdom from African proverbs, saying, ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ It’s true. The responsibilities are for us all. Whether you are government authorities, educators, parents, or companies benefiting from students, we all share the responsibilities, and our choices impact a child’s well-being. The same rules apply in the digital world. Just as children learn their rights and responsibilities in the real world, they must also learn how to behave online.

The author M. Riddle in his book Digital Citizenship in Schools, wrote about the crucial digital elements: accessibility, commerce, communication, literacy, and etiquette. He emphasized the need to bridge the gap between educators and students and how educators must be digitally literate to help students with digital citizenship. According to research by Common Sense Media, approximately six out of ten K-12 teachers used a digital citizenship curriculum, and seven out of ten taught digital competency skills utilizing digital citizenship. Even with a higher utilization percentage, over 35% of students were determined that they did not have the proper skills to evaluate information online critically. The statistics showed a parallel increase as grades went up. Another result from the same study showed that approximately 60% of the K-12 teachers used online videos found on YouTube and Netflix in classrooms, and around half of the teachers used educational tools like Microsoft Office and Google G Suite in the classroom (Educator Innovator, 2021). These big-name companies profit from schools and students and should be taken more accountable for their actions. They need to be in compliance and be more transparent in their disclosures of how they are using students’ data, making efforts to protect students’ privacy.

International OECD guidelines state that “personal data should be relevant to the purposes for which they are to be used, and to the extent necessary for those purposes should be accurate, complete, and kept up to date.” Under Article 8, personal information revealing race, ethnicity, religion, political stance, health, and gender cannot be published online, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). For example, the FTC once sued Microsoft for failing to protect customers’ personal information properly. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) also prohibits the improper disclosure of personally identifiable information in education records. As responsible Digital Citizens, students should know their rights and “make informed decisions to protect their personal data” (ISTE Standards 7d).

After going through many resources on digital citizenship, I found The National Education Technology Standards (NETS) to be precisely applicable and reliable. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) updated NETS in 2009 for educational leaders, teachers, and students, and it integrated educational technology standards across all academic curriculum. The following nine crucial components, grouped into three broad categories, guide us to be responsible digital citizens (Ribble & Miller, 2013, p139).

Respect Yourself/Respect Others

  • Digital Etiquette: electronic standards of conduct or procedure.
  • Digital Access: full electronic participation in society.
  • Digital Law: electronic responsibility for actions and deeds

Educate Yourself/Educate Others

  • Digital Communication: electronic exchange of information.  
  • Digital Literacy: the process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology.
  • Digital Commerce: electronic buying and selling of goods.

Protect Yourself/Protect Others

  • Digital Rights and Responsibility: those freedoms extended to everyone in a digital world.
  • Digital Security: electronic precautions to guarantee safety.
  • Digital Health and Welfare: physical and psychological well-being in a digital technology world.

Our goal as educators is to help students understand the impact of their words and actions and learn to be respectful and have empathy towards others to “improve their communities and foster a culture of respectful online interactions” (ISTE Standards 7a,7b). It takes more than just individuals being responsible but collaborative efforts from all parts of our communities. We want to see technology improve the lives and well-being of students. Furthermore, we want to see digital leadership in educators, students, and our communities to promote digital citizenship actively, be proactive in prevention, and make positive changes in the digital world.


Educator Innovator. (May 06,2021). Deepening the ways we Engage youth as (Digital) Citizens.

Mike Ribble and Teresa Northern Miller, “Educational Leadership in an Online World: Connecting Students to Technology Responsibly, Safely, and Ethically,” Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17:1 (2013): 137-45

National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators, Teachers, Students. ISTE, (Portland, OR, 2009).

Ribble, M. (2010). Digital Citizenship in Schools. ISTE.