What is Digital Citizenship?
Digital Citizenship encompasses the skills, responsibilities, and behaviors one is expected to exhibit while productively and positively existing in an online and/or digital environment.
While the topics and approaches will vary depending on the grade level of students, elements of digital citizenship instruction include:
- Online communication
- Media balance & well being
- Cyberbullying, digital drama and hate speech
- Online privacy & security
- News & media literacy
- Digital footprint & identity
- Device care
Why is it important to teach Digital Citizenship content to students of all ages?
Students of all ages are navigating digital and online worlds daily. They utilize technology to communicate, collaborate, and find information. Just as students are taught how to exist in the physical classroom and school spaces, they should be taught how to exist in the digital world. The best way to protect our students from negative online situations and content is to educate them and provide them with tools and resources to be safe in the vast online landscape.
Who should teach Digital Citizenship lessons to students?
Digital Citizenship content should be addressed in both individual classrooms and school-wide efforts. For Digital Citizenship lessons that directly apply to classroom content and learning experiences, it is far more impactful for the teacher to deliver the lesson on Digital Citizenship before students utilize a technology tool. In overarching and school-wide lessons, site leadership, librarians, and media techs are powerful resources in addition to teachers. Digital citizenship concepts and skills are also important to be reinforced at home for any personal internet use.
Individual Classroom Efforts:
Educators who are utilizing any digital or online tools for learning should incorporate lessons on digital citizenship before students access the tool. Learning should be revisited any time the same skills are being applied in the learning.
Here are some examples:
- Before 3rd grade students are asked to peer edit and comment on each other’s writing via Google Docs, students are given a brief lesson covering the power of words in a digital environment (The Power of Words- Commonsense Media). The teacher also covers expectations for how students should comment on each other’s work, and what to do if any accidental changes are made to another’s work. Students are then reminded of the expected behaviors briefly each time they are asked to comment or collaborate on digital work.
- Before 6th graders begin a research project about ancient civilizations, they complete the Nearpod lesson on Finding Credible News. The teacher facilitates a discussion about identifying credible and non-credible sources. Students then visit the library to learn about the academic databases they have access to in order to complete their research instead of using Google searches. The teacher checks student work along the way to ensure they are finding and using credible information.
- 10th grade students are beginning their Humanities Anchor Essay. As an introduction to creating a bibliography, the students complete a lesson in Citing Sources. The teacher then provides students with the expected template for their bibliography, and checks in with students along the way to ensure they are citing their sources accurately. Additionally, students can access the citation tool Noodletools as part of their GAFE and can seek help from their librarian if they have questions about citations.
YouTube in the Classroom
Currently, middle and high school students are able to access content on YouTube’s Moderate Restricted Mode access while on campus. They must first have parent permission via Data Confirmation, and they must have completed and passed a brief training. Teachers can approve content for student viewing, and are able to limit YouTube content for students using Blocksi, our Chromebook classroom management system.
Device Care- if your site runs a device check-out program, it is recommended that there is a site plan to walk students through the expected behaviors for caring for the devices across the campus.
This can include items such as:
- A PBIS matrix for device care in common areas on campus (lunch tables, library, etc)
- An overview of student insurance programs, device protection options, and what to do if the device is not working/charged during the school day on campus.
Social Media Lessons
Content from these lessons might not lend itself to class instruction in the same way as other Digital Citizenship content, however, it is important that students in certain grades receive these lessons in Digital Citizenship.
Things to consider with this content:
- The Nearpod Scope and Sequence shows social media lessons in the later elementary school grades. This is done with particular design regarding developmental appropriateness and relevance with this topic.
- EdTech Mentors and site librarians can work together to isolate specific lessons from the Scope and Sequence document that should be taught across the site to all students in particular grade levels in a site plan. For example, at a middle school, 8th graders all complete the lessons Being Aware of What you Share, Social Media and Digital Footprints, and Responding to Online Hate Speech at the beginning of each trimester in Advisement. Individual teachers may leverage the other lessons on the Scope and Sequence while teaching research, writing, and project work.
Digital Citizenship At Home
A strong partnership between home and school is truly vital when creating positive digital citizens. Parents and guardians are encouraged to discuss what it means to be safe online with their children, and implement practices, routines and policies that feel comfortable for the household. Parents are able to enforce time limits and blocks using the Blocksi Parent Dashboard. Common Sense Media also has excellent resources and talking points for families with children of all ages.
IUSD’s Digital Citizenship Scope and Sequence (Community Facing)
- This K-12 Digital Citizenship Scope and Sequence guide shows the curriculum teachers can use to teach the elements of digital citizenship based on the grade level of their students
YouTube Resources Community Facing- Nearpod Digital Citizenship Scope and Sequence K-12
- YouTube Community Information (also found in Parent Portal under Data Confirmation- for middle and high school only)
- Student YouTube Training
Parenting in the 21st Century Presentation
- This presentation slide deck is delivered to parent groups. Notes and resources are linked in the notes of the slides.
At-Home Web Filtering and Monitoring