For more insight check out How to Celebrate Digital Citizenship Week and Responsible Digital Citizenship.
So as we venture once again into Digital Citizenship Week I’m worried that the focus will, as it usually is, be placed on avoiding what is scary on the internet and all the problems modern students face in a digital world. While it is important to make students aware of the dangers, there are a number of positive changes they can make in their world that begin with connecting on the internet. The Pew Research Center shares stats about the power of the internet for crowdfunding, social connections, and student activism. They can connect and take group action through organizations like the WE Movement. There are so many areas to cover, so where do you start? Here is a map I’ve laid out to help you make your way through this week along with extra resources to extend your learning beyond 5 days.
Day 1: We Are Digital Citizens
Recognizing their role as a digital citizenship is step 1. Most students have been online and interacted with digital devices well before they were in kindergarten, but no one may have ever spoken to them about expectations for the online behavior of them and others. What guidelines should they follow? Where do they go if they have a problem? Common Sense is a great beginning resource to takes your students through positive and negative online interactions through lessons, media, and games across 8 areas of focus that span K-12. If you want to make it more interactive they have their curriculum available on Nearpod as well (find more information on Nearpod).
Day 2: My Digital Life
It’s important for students to take stock of their digital footprint. While you could continue with Common Sense lessons like Trillion Dollar Footprint I think it’s important to differentiate for the variety of your students’ needs. That’s where BrainPop’s digital citizenship curriculum comes in. They have several recommended pathways for students to follow whether it’s watching the Digital Etiquette movie, following it up by completing the challenge, and then making their own movie. Or maybe they need a deeper understanding of digital history and what the internet is so they complete graphic organizers, Make-a-Maps, and games in conjunction with other related videos. They are empowered to freely explore the unique nature of their online life through carefully curated resources. Oh and its FREE-no BrainPOP subscription required.
Day 3: Join The Community
Even though we’re reminded to not read YouTube comments or feed the trolls, there are many positive digital conversations that students should be encouraged to participate in. This can include students creating positive online content like videos, infographics, blog posts as well as other tools for visual learners. If that seems overwhelming though, these discussions can begin in your school LMS (i.e. Google Classroom, Edmodo, etc.). Let students have encouraging discussions through Flipgrid or follow a learning path on Symabloo that includes interaction.
They can participate in collaborative learning experiences perhaps exploring impacts thorough tools like the Arab/Israeli Conflict Simulation. If they need more insight you can turn to Ever-Fi Ignition which is a digital literacy and responsibility platform that uses digital storytelling games to teach about internet safety, cyberbullying, online research, hardware selection, and time management. Teachers too should seek out a powerful PLN for resources as well like the one on ISTE Connect.
Day 4: Make The Internet Better
Yes getting students to be their best in an online environment where they are constantly challenged by those who choose otherwise is difficult, but it doesn’t make it less crucial. Students can begin with Google’s game-based learning digital citizenship curriculum, Be Internet Awesome!. Their resources include a 5-unit curriculum and a game called Interland that guides children through fun digital safety exercises. It doesn’t need to end there though.
They can begin creating positive online tools themselves through the Scratch community that demonstrates positive online interactions amongst creative peers. Code.org also has embedded digital citizenship lessons throughout its various curriculums that students can use to facilitate creating a better digital world. Check out more ways to incorporate computer science creation in your classroom. As they create you can explore the importance of copyright and fair use.
Day 5: Digital Citizenship In Action
There are a number of ways online communities are impacting our civil institutions in the U.S. and larger world for good and for bad. One term that often gets discussed is ‘fake news’. The New York Times explores evaluating sources and the News Literacy Project has a number of tools to help students the difference between propaganda and genuine data. One of those is Checkology that has interactive lessons to help students decide what information to trust or share. They can also explore current cons from Snopes, Truth or Fiction, Threat Encyclopedia, or the Federal Trade Commission.
Beyond information, there is student activism. Students can get involved in WE Day and related events to get organized in their community. One of the ISTE students standards is being an active digital citizen. So to aid in achieving that goal they provide a poster, infographic, and resources. ISTE even offers books where you can dig deep for more information like Digital Citizenship in Action where the infographic below is from.
If you need more to continue your digital citizenship journey you can expand some of the resources above or connect to some of these others below.
- Nova Cybersecurity Lab – Play a game where you take a control of a company’s cybersecurity as they endure increasing cyber attacks.
- Anne Collier – As a DigCit expert Ms. Collier shares her insights on how we can teach students the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate the modern world.
- Creative Commons – Dig deeper into how students can access fair use resources.
- InCtrl – They have a series of lessons for students in grades 4-8 designed on media literacy, copyright laws, and privacy.
- Digizen – They have a collection of lessons to teach digital citizens.
- Teaching Channel – If you’re looking for more video resources, here is a playlist of 30 videos, developed in cooperation with Common Sense Media.
- Edudemic – This is mainly to serve as a starting point.
What if, instead of avoiding social media in school altogether or focusing solely on the negative aspects, we teach students how to leverage it to connect in positive ways and build a digital footprint that reflects their best selves…
-Susan M Bearden