Monday, February 5, 2018

Digital Citizenship is for Professionals, Too

Expectations for our students should align with the expectations we have for ourselves as educators.

You can apply this belief in every realm of education.  For the sake of this post, I'm focusing on digital citizenship.

The best way to teach digital citizenship is to model it yourself, leading by example, and demonstrating the expectations.

Unfortunately, I was recently made aware of an instance of very poor professional digital citizenship, which I felt inclined to utilize for a blog post.

Earlier this year, our teachers demonstrated such a high-level of enthusiasm to open the 2nd Semester upon returning to school after the Holiday break, I believed our students mirrored the enthusiasm.  As a result, I posted this tweet that evening:
Fast-forward to this past weekend.  I received a Direct Message from a member of my Professional Learning Network, who I greatly respect and admire.  I was actually able to meet him during the 2017 National Principals Conference and he is an invaluable member of my PLN (I frequently share his digital content with our faculty and staff).  His social media influence directly impacts me as a school leader.

He reached out directly to give me a heads-up about an administrator from another state "who plagiarized one of my tweets."  Apparently, the discovered individual had also plagiarized a great deal of material from the member of my PLN, as well as another very recognizable educator on Twitter, too.

[I have intentionally cut the image to not include the Twitter username and/or information.]

Check out the date of my original tweet and the date of the second image.  You don't need to be a licensed educator to identify the obvious plagiarism.


Word for word.

All of the plagiarized content has been removed/deleted, and per my PLN colleague, the user sent a gracious apology, which was accepted.

But, let's be real.  We are educators.  We are better than this.

It's never acceptable to take someone else's work and present as their own thoughts.  Our teachers spend a great deal of time and energy stressing this within their own classrooms.  Lessons on digital citizenship are located within our curriculum for students very early in their education, which specifically focus on how copying someone's content and passing off as your own is blatant plagiarism.

The Modern Language Association (MLA) even has a format to cite a tweet properly:

Last Name, First Name (User Name). 
"The tweet in its entirety." Date, Time. Tweet.
The above is courtesy of The Atlantic.  

Notice the article, "How Do You Cite a Tweet in an Academic Paper?", is from 2012.  Properly citing a tweet to recognize the true owner is not a recent development.

It's relatively effortless to take someone else's content and claim as your own original work.  The amount of easily-accessible digital content on social media, blogs, and other digital mediums make plagiarism a continuous temptation for some.

Again, we are the educators.  We are supposed to be the example.

Give the appropriate credit when credit is due.

Then there's the Retweet button.  That always works, too.

Thank you for viewing,


The opinions shared in this blog belong to Craig Smith and do not represent the school or district in which he works.

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