Digital Instruction Terms

Key Terms in Digital Instruction


Digital Immigrants: These are “older generations…new to technology…adopters of many aspects but lacking an instinctive aptitude” (Dotterer, Hedges, & Parker, 2016, p. 58). If you were not born into a world where consistent personal use of digital technology was the norm, you’re probably a digital immigrant.

Digital Natives: These are “young people who have grown up around digital technologies and seem to instinctively understand them” (Dotterer, Hedges, & Parker, 2016, p. 58). Most youth in developed countries fall into this category. Technology use to them is as natural as traditional acts such as reading and making telephone calls are to prior generations.


Digital Citizenship (also known as digital wellness or digital ethics): “the practice of defining the norms of appropriate behavior, responsible behavior with regard to technology use” (Dotterer, Hedges, & Parker, 2016, p. 58). In other words, this is the code of ethics, someone should follow in their online behaviors. They work just as good citizenship has forever, but address specific online situations.

Digital Literacy: According the NYC’s Department of Education, digital literacy is “‘the knowledge and ability to use a range of technology tools for varied purposes.’ Students who are digitally literate know how to effectively use technology to collaborate, create original content, and conduct in depth research for academic purposes” (Dotterer, Hedges, & Parker, 2016, p. 59).

Just like with traditional reading based literacy, these areas have specific skill sets.

Other Terms:

Acceptable Use Policies: Agreements on technology in schools and companies, created to detail appropriate technology behaviors and establish unapproved activities. These are usually signed by both parties (and a guardian if necessary).

Cyberbulling: Just like traditional bullying, cyberbullying consists of the use of embarrassing, threatening, harmful, or cohesive behaviors. Instead of in person though, these attacks take place through technology.

Digital Footprint: Just like a real footprint, a digital footprint is the mark you leave behind on the internet. Unlike in “real life” though, no wave, sweeping, or melting snow will wash this away.

Two Lives vs. One Lives Approach: “The two lives approach assumes that students should unplug when they enter school, and then plug back in when they leave and reenter the zone of continual connectivity that had no place during the school day (Ohler, 2012, p. 14). The two lives approach requires not necessarily no technology, but no personal communication technology while are school. Conversely, the one life approach assumes that this technology is a natural part of life now, and that students should be as actively engaged with in through learning scenarios as the modern world is.

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