The role of the instructional technology coach as digital citizen advocate

What is a digital citizen?

The term digital citizen is defined as “a person who develops the skills and knowledge to effectively use the internet and other digital technology, especially in order to participate responsibly in social and civic activities” ( The instructional technology coach’s role as a digital citizen advocate includes supporting, inspiring, empowering, and partnering with educators to integrate digital citizenship principles into student learning experiences so that they are prepared to be responsible digital citizens living in a digital world

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The International Society for Technology in Education Digital Citizen Advocate Coaching Standard states that “Coaches model digital citizenship and support educators and students in recognizing the responsibilities and opportunities inherent in living in a digital world” (ISTE).

Following, I will provide evidence of my understanding of the four digital decision advocate performance indicators.

PI 4.7a: Inspire and encourage educators and students to use technology for civic engagement and to address challenges to improve their communities.

In my blog post titled, “Social responsibility and utilization of digital media among dietetics professionals to reduce health disparities,” I explored the utilization of digital technology as a forum for civic engagement within a community health context. When dietetics professionals engage and partner with communities to address shared health concerns, civic engagement through use of digital technology can address challenges and improve communities. Dietetics educators can discuss and model to their students how civic engagement through digital technology, including health-focused online communities and social media platforms, can improve the health of communities and reduce health disparities.

PI 4.7b: Partner with educators, leaders, students, and families to foster a culture of respectful online interactions and a healthy balance in their use of technology.

I explored student digital citizenship and respectful online interactions through the practice of providing peer feedback through utilization of digital peer review tools. In my blog post titled, “Integrating online peer review tools in higher education to reinforce digital citizenship skills,” I discussed how providing peer feedback through online assessment tools allows students opportunities to practice digital citizenship.  I learned that the PeerGrade peer feedback tool has built in opportunities for students being assessed to evaluate the digital citizenship of the evaluators, such as by clicking on a thumbs up or a thumbs down based on the online interactions. The recipient of the review can also rate the reviewer in the following categories: kindness, constructivity, and specificity. If a peer review is flagged, the instructor will receive notification and will be prompted to review the feedback provided. This notification will prompt the instructor to engage in a conversation with the reviewer on how feedback was provided and pave the way for a discussion on respectful online interactions.

Regarding the quest for a healthy balance of technology use, I wrote a blog post titled, “ Screen time, Zoom fatigue, and sedentary behavior: Tips for protecting your health in the digital age.” I wrote this blog post towards the beginning of the pandemic with a focus on students progressing into clinical dietetics work and concern for the amount of screen time that clinical dietitians are becoming exposed to due to the increased reliance on telehealth that emerged during the pandemic. And now in Spring 2022, it appears that telehealth and videoconferencing in general have become a mainstay in the profession of dietetics. Thus, it is important that all dietetics students, regardless of their future professional endeavors, understand how too much screen time can negatively affect health, and how to balance screen time with unplugged activities. Educators should consider the effects of screen time on physical and mental health as a component of designing learning activities and consider offering choice in how students complete assignments. For example, a journaling activity could be completed using a Google doc or in a notebook using a pen.

PI 4.7c: Support educators and students to critically examine the sources of online media and identify underlying assumptions.

In my blog post titled, “Digital literacy: An essential component of professional competence in the nutrition and dietetics profession,” I examined digital literacy as an essential component of professional competence. An aspect of digital literacy I discussed is the importance of critically evaluating online nutrition and health information prior to referencing digital communications intended for consumer communications. Students should only reference sources that are credible and evidence-based and should be able to differentiate between an author’s personal point of view and scientific fact. I also addressed the critical examination of online media sources in a digital ethics program audit. I discussed access, utilization, and referencing of online sources as well as content credibility.

PI 4.7d: Empower educators, leaders, and students to make informed decisions to protect their personal data and curate the digital profile they intend to reflect.

In a blog post titled, “An exploration of student integrity in the digital age,” I explored how integrity is demonstrated in students’ digital profiles and communications on social media platforms. I provided examples of how the ethical standards and principles of the nutrition and dietetics profession can guide students to curating a digital profile they intend to reflect in their online presence. The guidelines pertain to both personal and professional digital footprints. Examples include restraining from discussing confidential patient information or proprietary organizational data in personal social media posts or maintaining professionalism when interacting online with a consumer who disagrees with your stance on dietary modifications. Students should be aware that their digital footprint is permanent and non-erasable. Therefore, they should be made aware that everything they say and post online has the potential to be discovered and used in decisions that could affect their future, such as employment and educational opportunities.  

In summary, the instructional technology coach’s role as a digital citizen advocate encompasses the framework for healthy, respectful, and competent utilization of digital technology, which is essential for a productive digital presence.  


Digital citizen. (2022).

International Society for Technology in Education. (2022).

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