Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Cathy C. Kaufman, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

George Bieger, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Crystal H. Machado, Ed.D.


The purpose of this study was to investigate digital citizenship in Pennsylvania public schools based on the responses of school leaders including superintendents, curriculum coordinators, and technology coordinators. This study examined the relationship between Pennsylvania school leader's beliefs and the implementation of digital citizenship curriculum within their districts and the degree to which digital citizenship is addressed at various school levels. Furthermore, this study investigated if age, gender, administrative classification, and school geographical location are factors that influence digital citizenship curriculum implementation. Quantitative methodology was utilized to examine response data collected through an online survey instrument. The online survey tool link was emailed to 1,386 superintendents, curriculum coordinators, and technology coordinators currently practicing in Pennsylvania public schools. This methodology was employed for its ability to collect a wealth of information from a diverse group of subjects over a large geographical area. Additionally, this methodology provided the means to obtain response data anonymously ensuring confidentiality and openness for subjects to respond accurately. This study utilized a framework of digital citizenship developed by Dr. Mike Ribble comprised of nine elements: digital access, digital commerce, digital communications, digital literacy, digital etiquette, digital law, digital rights and responsibilities, digital health and wellness, and digital security. Administrators collectively indicated that the area of digital rights and responsibilities was most important to teach students. While the majority of study participants indicated digital citizenship is addressed within their school districts, only one-third seemed to do so with organized effort. This study found that administrators unanimously agreed digital citizenship need to be addressed for all students however they perceived that behavioral issues related to a lack of digital citizenship skills was not quite as important as traditional school behavioral issues. Findings suggest that there was not the strong relationship one would assume between leadership beliefs and digital citizenship curriculum practices. Analysis also showed a greater emphasis of digital citizenship skills at the high school and middle school levels as compared to elementary school curriculum. Age, gender, administrative classification, and district geographical location were not found to be factors that influenced digital citizenship beliefs.