School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Richard Bragg


digital citizenship, technology, cyberbullying, digital plagiarism, secondary students, case study




The purpose of this intrinsic case study is to discover the approach of rural secondary students regarding their attainment and practice of digital citizenship in a learning environment that utilizes technology. The theory guiding this research study is Kohlberg’s theory of moral development as it emphasizes how individuals establish their ethics and values because digital citizenship teaches students to use the Internet in an ethical and appropriate manner. The qualitative inquiry was conducted using an intrinsic case study in a small rural secondary public school. Convenience sampling was utilized, giving way to 18 adolescent participants and 10 teachers at the school. All participants were well-versed in using technology. The data were obtained via semi-structured interviews with students and teachers, observations in classrooms, and an analysis of the Acceptable Use Policy. The collected data were analyzed, coded, and categorized into common themes pertaining to the research questions. The results indicated that digital citizenship is approached in multiple ways. The results also indicated that the participants expressed a correlation between one’s ethics and morals and their actions while using technology. The implications of the findings suggest that frequent instruction of digital citizenship occur and that students receive guidance on the use of proper ethics and morals when using technology. The implications also suggest that consequences and repercussions be explained to prevent inappropriate use of technology by adolescents.

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