Digital citizenship clicker questions in math, and Mendeley (Module 4, ISTE-TS 4 digital citizenship)

This week we are looking at ISTE-TS 4: Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility – “teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices.” In past blog posts I have discussed ways in which digital citizenship is or can be particularly relevant to a college math class – see my Mission StatementDigital Readiness Project, and Backwards Design Project. From these past…”musings” as I want to call them, what emerged as one of the most pertinent ways to tie in digital citizenship is the ethical use of digital tools to help students do their math homework – I mostly talk about that in the Digital Readiness Project. Another major thought I’ve had is that if you want to teach digital culture in relevant way, integrating online spaces for collaboration into the structure of the course helps – I mostly talk about that in the Backwards Design Project.

So for this module, I was hoping to find an example of a lesson plan or some thoughts on how to digital citizenship in a math class; an example of a teaching doing Indicator 4a – “advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources” – in the context of math. My investigation questions were:

When teaching digital citizenship in a college math class, what can implementation look like/how can you implement it? Can I find any example lesson plans?

Clicker Questions on Ethics

I didn’t find what I was looking for in the context of a math class, but I did find a great blog post by Derek Bruff (2010), Ethical or Not? Clicker Questions about Academic Integrity. In this post, Derek shares the clicker questions he asked his writing students (which were written by himself and a colleague, Maggie Bowers) and talks about the students’ responses/the discussion around these questions. The post is very insightful and offers a glimpse into the classroom during the lesson. (For day two of Derek’s lesson with more clicker questions, check out his other blog here. For a description of clicker questions, check out his guest blog post on Busynessgirl’s blog here.)

Since I didn’t find anything like this for math, and his questions did stimulate an engaged discussion around ethics, I thought I would try using his questions to inspire my own. I’m just brainstorming here and would call this a draft. But it’s a start! Some of Derek’s questions would be relevant to a math class, so I did include them below – 4, 5, and 6. And not all of these questions have a digital component, which I will say more about in a moment.

  1. You are stumped by a homework problem, so you…
    1. use Wolfram Alpha to look up the solution. Ethical or unethical?
    2. get help from someone. They write out a solution and it makes sense to you, so you rewrite the solution and turn it in. Ethical or unethical?
  2. You are working with a friend on a homework assignment. The two of you collaborate to write a solution on a white board. Both of you rewrite the same solution for your homework. Ethical or unethical?
  3. A friend of yours took this course last quarter and gives you…
    1. pictures of their homework from the class so you can check your work. Ethical or unethical?
    2. pictures of their old exams from the class so you can study for your exams. Ethical or unethical?
  4. The student next to you drops his test and you accidentally see the answers. This leads you to change one of your answers. Ethical or unethical? (Bruff and Bowers, 2009)
  5. You get a B- on an exam. You would really like a B, so you ask your professor after class for a few extra points on a particular exam question, even though you know your answer probably doesn’t deserve a higher score. Ethical or unethical? (Bruff and Bowers, 2009)
  6. You find a copy of the instructor’s solutions manual to one of your textbooks online. You use it to check your homework before turning your homework in. Ethical or unethical? (Bruff and Bowers, 2009)

Like I said, some of these don’t have a digital component, like 1.2 and 2 – however they could if you add in taking photo of the work. And similarly, the 3 doesn’t need to involve pictures to get at the same underlying ethical question – maybe your friend gives you the hard copies of their work. So if I were to develop these questions further, I would want to be more thoughtful about how I include technology in the questions, because it’s not always true that the heart of the ethical dilemma is inherently tied to technology. Instead, with some situations, it’s simply that digital tools make it easier to perform certain actions.

Imagining that I were to use these or similar questions, as part of this discussion I think it would be important to clearly define plagiarism in the context of a math class.

Now let’s abruptly switch gears…

Mendeley for Citation Generation and Management

On a different note, I found a free tool that is helpful for generating citations and references within Word: Mendeley. Citing our sources is important for students and teachers alike. In regards to ISTE-T4, Mendeley could aid teachers in doing Indicator 4a (i.e. modeling good citation practices) by making it a little easier to cite your sources – particularly if you are citing the same things more than once.

Mendeley is a free citation management tool. It has extensions for Word and most Internet browsers. In Word, it assists you in doing in-text citations, and will generate and update a references list. Online, it detects citation information so that you can add a citation to Mendeley while browsing, and whatever information it doesn’t detect, you can add. Here is a quick demonstration. (Looks like I need to figure out some better OBS Studio settings to make the image clearer!)

There is a WordPress plugin…but I couldn’t figure out how to use it. Nevertheless, if you’re in Word, this is a great tool and I can’t believe I only just started using it!


Bruff, D. (2010). Ethical or not? Clicker questions about academic integrity [Blog post]. Retrieved from

ISTE: International Society for Technology in Education. (2017). ISTE standards for teachers (2008). Retrieved from

Mendeley. (2017). Retrieved from